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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Sep. 27, 2023): Mystery attackers

AEW Dynamite (Sep. 27, 2023) emanated from 1stBank Center in Denver, CO. The show featured MJF with a new rival, a mystery attacker angle, and more in the go-home to WrestleDream.

Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.

MJF, Adam Cole, Jay White, and mystery attackers

Egads! We have a mystery afoot.

Dynamite acted as the go-home to WrestleDream, but it was a story that doesn’t necessarily involve the PPV, at least not yet, which was the most intriguing scene of the show. The overall tale touched on a lot of different points with MJF, Adam Cole, The Righteous, Roderick Strong, The Kingdom, and “Switchblade” Jay White. The end result was a mystery attacker angle.

First up was Brochacho bonding with MJF and Cole on a boat. They went fishing and snagged Paul Wight in a rubber ducky floating tube. (Can we get a trios team of MJF, Cole, and Captain Insano, please?) Also of note, MJF thought about murdering Cole with the Dynamite Diamond Ring and dumping the body in the sea, but Cole talked him out of it.

The takeaway from this scene was Cole explaining how it is okay to have more than one friend. MJF was unaware, since he never had friends before. MJF trusted Cole and agreed to tolerate the friendship with Roddy Strong.

Next up was Cole addressing the world about his injury. MJF & Cole were scheduled to defend the ROH World Tag Team Championship against the Righteous at WrestleDream. Unfortunately, Cole is out of action. He broke his ankle in three places and needs surgery.

Before Cole could declare vacating the ROH tag titles, MJF cut him off to declare his intention to fight the Righteous in a handicap match. MJF knows how much those belts mean to Cole, so he is going to do his best to keep them safe until Cole returns.

Enter the Neck Strong crew. Roddy wore a hospital gown in a wheelchair to sell his traumatic injuries. MJF put that lessons learned on the boat into practice. He respected Cole’s decision to deal with that ass clown. Strong’s manipulation is a sight to see with his custom Hot Roddy chair and urging Cole to rush up stage despite the broken ankle.

Business picked up in a curious way once Cole exited the scene. Enter Jay White with an eye on the AEW World Championship. Witty banter was exchanged. MJF had a crushing analogy of filet mignon and tofu. MJF is the steak that makes the rest of the plate better. White is the tofu that needs all special spices to be presented like something that it’s not. When stripping away all of White’s accessories and clubs, he’s bland like tofu. That insult had to burn.

White took the trash talk in stride. He remained focus on goading MJF for a shot at the world title. White played mind games trying to drive a wedge in MJF’s mind about Cole’s friendship. He also took credit as the catalyst that injured Cole which lead to the path of the Brochachos. White preyed on MJF’s feelings of insecurity by questioning if this friendship has made him go soft. MJF was irate, and White bailed with a grin. No official match was made for now.

All in all, that was an excellent segment to pump up the future feud. White’s arrival feels fresh as an opponent, and it was a complete surprise. It’s nice to be surprised in this day and age of professional wrestling. Both those promos were entertaining in their own way, but I’d give the edge to White. MJF had the harsher criticism, however, he didn’t really sell the fight. He spoke as White clearly being beneath him. On the other hand, I felt that White sold it better for reasons to have the match. He kept his cool to jab at MJF’s fragile psyche. White boxed MJF in so that the champ has prove himself. It showed how playing mind games could give White the edge in the ring.

The best was yet to come.

As the show was about to conclude, AEW aired a backstage scene. Masked hooligans served a beatdown to White as the leader watched on wearing a devil mask.

Oh, mama. This scene has so many scenarios running through my head. The best part is that I am completely befuddled at piecing together a theory. For every potential culprit with motive, I can think of reasons why it wouldn’t make sense. MJF as the devil once again? Sounds good, but why would he need the mask and so many friends. He doesn’t even have any more friends, but he may have taken Cole’s lessons to heart from the boat chat. A frame job on MJF? Let’s say it’s a c-o-n-spiracy with Cole and Strong. Well, that doesn’t make sense for motive to pick on MJF’s enemy. Andrade with Los Ingobernables? El Idolo has beef with the Bang Bang Gang, but those masked men didn’t look jacked enough to be Rush. The identity of this group is a genuine mystery. And then there’s ideas about a new crew of ex-WWE wrestlers or NJPW beef spilling over into Bullet Club Gold territory. Or it could be something completely different.

Bottom line is that scene creates intrigue as a cliffhanger to demand my attention for next week. It’s an injection of energy into AEW storytelling.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

AEW International Championship: Fenix retained against Jeff Jarrett. This match was made last minute when Fenix was cleared to compete. Jeff Jarrett stepped up before the show to answer the open challenge.

Jarrett’s full crew was ringside to interfere. Fenix had Alex Abrahantes watching his back, but Alex did nothing to help. Fenix’s best ally turned out to be referee Aubrey Edwards. When Edwards spotting Karen Jarrett encroaching on Fenix, the referee used her full power of authority to shove Karen on her ass.

Whenever Fenix gained momentum, the interference continued. Fenix made his own luck in the end. Jarrett landed a low blow, but that wasn’t enough to keep Fenix down. When Jarrett went for the Stroke, the luchador was close enough to the ropes to place his foot out for a break on the pin. Jarrett went to the tried and true figure-four, however, Fenix countered into a roll-up for victory.

Even though the blatant interference was annoying at times due to the sheer volume of numbers, it fit in tune with Jarrett’s character of trying to do whatever it takes to win. This match was more about the Jeff Jarrett Experience playing into his bad guy persona rather than Fenix showcasing slick moves. It’s funny that Jarrett has an angle to yet again blame Edwards for his defeat.

Nick Jackson defeated Claudio Castagnoli and Brian Cage. Tony Khan explained that this match was for a shot at the AEW International Championship next week as a special treat for the anniversary of Dynamite. This bout rocked hard. Claudio and Cage brought the power, while Jackson supplied the high-flying. In the end, Jackson was too savvy for the musclemen. Claudio hit a Ricola Bomb on Cage, then Jackson flew in for a headscissors to send Claudio out of the ring. Jackson happened to land on Cage for the win.

This match was a delight seeing Claudio and Cage go toe to toe with competitive fire. On social media, Cage suggested a singles match against Claudio. I say hell yeah to that idea. Give Cage what he wants! Jackson carried his load well adding his brand of excitement to the mix. The finishing sequence was smooth to show Jackson deserving the win at the same time as lucking into it.

Orange Cassidy defeated Matt Jackson, Austin Gunn, and Pentagon. This singles four-way was a preview for the PPV tag team four-way. Cassidy was in the right place at the right time to win. He blasted a superman punch to Jackson’s kisser as Gunn and Pentagon were trifling outside.

The pace was frantic and action was aplenty for an entertaining bout. I hope Cassidy winning isn’t a bad omen for the PPV result. The tag team winner will earn an AEW title shot. I’m pulling for OC & Hook to prevail as something fresh. The Young Bucks, The Gunns, and the Lucha Bros are all at the top of the ladder to challenge FTR anytime they want. Cassidy & Hook would create a unique matchup for FTR.

Julia Hart defeated Willow Nightingale. Willow entered with her face bandaged from black mist. Willow showed extra aggression assaulting Hart at the start. Hart relied on shifty tactics to gain the edge. She dipped under the ring, as King distracted Willow, to come out around the back for a blindside chop block. Willow rallied to spear Hart during a cartwheel. In the end, Hart had another trick up her sleeve. She was hanging upside down from the corner and pulled herself up when Willow charged for a tackle. The result was Willow colliding into the ring post. Hart pounced for moonsault to win. Afterward, Hart slapped on a submission until Kris Statlander ran in for the save. Hart hid behind Brody King to taunt the TBS champion.

The attitude from Willow and Hart set this match for better enjoyment. Willow wasn’t in the mood for cheerfulness. It was interesting to see her anger reflected in power moves. Hart showed brains when initiating the momentum shifts. That was the kind of win that makes me buy in to believing she could sneak the W on Statlander.

Contract signing. Hangman Page and Swerve Strickland shared the main event segment to sign the paperwork for their PPV match. Hangman admitted that Swerve’s bullshit got him out of a rut. The cowboy will be the best version of himself at WrestleDream.

Swerve is focused on taking Hangman’s spot at the top. Hangman plainly said that Swerve can’t fill his boots. Slap! Swerve gave five across the face. When Strickland signed the contract, Hangman came back to stab the mogul’s hand with a pen.

Fiery trash talk brought heat to this matchup. Hangman impaling Swerve’s hand with a pen was a nice touch of insanity to create a memorable moment. One flaw I’m still stuck on is Swerve’s confidence in this feud. Sure, he’s yapping his mouth as a heel. That’s understandable. My issue is that I’m not buying. Swerve has main event talent, but his record is mid-card manner. He hasn’t been presented on the same level as the former world champion. Nothing I’ve seen makes me believe Swerve could win.

Notes: Don Callis and Konosuke Takeshita went to Japan to beat up Kota Ibushi in his own dojo. That was a message for Kenny Omega. Sammy Guevara also chimed in during the promo about how Chris Jericho is the real villain. Jericho was selfish and always held Sammy back. No more. Sammy is ready to fly to great heights without Jericho.

Wheeler Yuta and Ricky Starks exchanged fighting words backstage, so a match was made for WrestleDream. Yuta was tired of Starks being an entitled prick. Yuta takes beatings every day in BCC practice, and he rises tall stronger every day.

The Righteous aired another hippie vignette with plans to expose MJF and Cole.

Christian Cage poked at Darby Allin’s ego. Christian cautioned that Allin will suffer the embarrassment of defeat in front of his hometown fans. In classic Christian fashion, he squeezed in shots at Allin’s dead uncle and Nick Wayne’s mom. This scene had great intensity. The hatred is palpable.

Stud of the Show: Claudio Castagnoli

The Swiss superman earned this honor for the giant swing on Brian Cage. Marvelous!

Match of the Night: Nick Jackson vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Brian Cage

Athleticism was abound with a nifty finish.

Grade: B

Overall, Dynamite was entertaining as a standard show. It fell short as a go-home with few effective elements of hype for the PPV. The show redeemed itself with the weaving of stories between MJF, Jay White, and the mystery attackers.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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