AEW Dynamite (Sep. 6, 2023) emanated from Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, IN. The show featured MJF standing up to Samoa Joe, Roderick Strong gritting through pain, Darby Allin in a battle with his student, and more for the fallout to All Out.
Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.
MJF stands up to Samoa Joe
The burning question coming into Dynamite was how MJF would handle the incident with Samoa Joe from All Out. Joe shoved MJF, a fracas ensued, and Joe slapped on a chokehold before security separated the two at the PPV.
On Dynamite, MJF arrived to the ring for promo time. He hyped the Grand Slam World Title Eliminator Tournament to determine his challenger for the AEW World Championship at Grand Slam on September 20. The winner will find out the hard way that nobody is on the level of the devil.
Enter Joe to interrupt the champ’s speech. Insults were exchanged with references to their past altercation. MJF explained the details of how Joe shoved him as a young lad trying to do security in NXT. That filled the gaps for the viewers that were unaware.
Joe let MJF say his piece, but he kept coming back to one question, “What the problem, kid?” MJF took that as disrespect and warned Joe not to call him kid anymore. MJF hyped himself as world champ and dropped his catchphrase.
Joe clarified that he didn’t shove MJF, because he viewed him as a kid. Joe shoved him, because he thought MJF was a little bitch. Slap! MJF laid five across the face of Joe, who didn’t budge.
Joe stated that he will go through the tournament to earn his shot. As MJF exited, Joe kicked the ropes into his groin and stomped the champ. MJF rallied with a low blow of his own, but Joe pummeled him on a uranage. As Joe set up a musclebuster, Adam Cole ran in for the save. The damage was done though. MJF cried out in pain about his injured neck.
That segment was hot. MJF stood up for himself, and Joe came across every bit the villain. It did well straddling the line of current story and inside jokes not to lose the plot. Best of all for me is that I’m actually questioning who would win in that championship challenge. Joe is a badass and tough to beat when the opponent is 100%. With MJF’s neck injury, I have trouble imagining how he can survive against Joe. And with how thick AEW is laying on MJF’s pain, a surprise title change into the hands of Joe wouldn’t shock me. It would actually feel natural, since Joe should be the favorite on paper given the circumstances.
First thing first. Joe has to earn his shot by winning the #1 contender tournament.
Grand Slam World Title Eliminator Tournament
AEW put forth two quarterfinal bouts of the Grand Slam World Title Eliminator Tournament on Dynamite. Roderick Strong wrestled Trent, and Darby Allin tussled with Nick Wayne.
Strong laid it on thick telling the story of his journey to wrestling. His parents didn’t know how to be parents. Wrestling was everything to young Roddy and gave him purpose in life. This tale is drenched in manipulative guilt toward Adam Cole. Just take one look at the still image to start the clip, and you’ll see how obvious it is. That image would also make a spiffy holiday card for the Kingdom. What nicely dressed lads they are.
Roderick Strong speaks candidly about his life in professional wrestling, his thoughts on Adam Cole, and the #AEW Grand Slam Title Eliminator Tournament.— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 7, 2023
Watch #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS!@roderickstrong | @MattTaven | @RealMikeBennett pic.twitter.com/aGzbkEgfNL
Strong entered for his match as Cole was assisting MJF with his own neck injury. Strong was insulted by the compassion Cole showed for his new best friend.
The Kingdom ceremoniously removed Strong’s neck brace, and Strong went to work. Trent focused his offense on testing the neck. Trent eventually hit a piledriver, and Strong was able to reach the ropes for a break on the pinfall. Strong pushed through to continue the fight. He gained an advantage with a jumping knee and finished with a double knee backbreaker. Within seconds after the match, the Kingdom rushed in to put the neck brace back on Strong.
That was a solid match leaning on strategy. Strong reminded AEW of his skills in the ring despite the injury, and he also played the weasel at times to ratchet up dislike. Strong oozes slime as an unsavory character. It’s so much fun to watch.
On the other half of the bracket, Darby Allin defeated Nick Wayne via submission in the main event. Strong versus Trent was a good wrestling match from a sporting perspective, whereas Allin versus Wayne tried to work too much story and made it a mess. Oh, let me count the ways that it was annoying.
Wayne dodged a suicide dive, and Allin collided head-first into the barricade. AEW did the spot where the trainer paused the action to check on the injured participant. By itself, fine. Overall, how many neck injuries will we have on this episode?
Keep in mind that this match is one step toward the opportunity to challenge for the world title. Those are important stakes. Allin seemed more concerned about bringing out the best in Wayne rather than winning. During a chop exchange, Allin paused to grab a mic and tell Wayne to hit him like he wants to win. Allin stood there offering a free shot, so Wayne comically surprised him with a superkick.
Christian Cage decided to interrupt with music for a grand entrance to join commentary in the middle of the match. That was an unnecessary distraction from the flow of combat.
The finish was the worst aspect of all. Throughout the match, they were telling a story about being concerned for the safety of each other. Wayne didn’t pounce when Allin was down on that suicide dive mishap. When Allin had the upper hand with Wayne down on the mat, he didn’t want to execute the Coffin Drop. Once again, that’s fine by itself. So, how did Allin win the match? He stomped the back of Wayne’s head to set up a submission. That’s not at all consistent with the story that had been told to that point. Those stomps are arguably more dangerous than a Coffin Drop.
The match wasn’t all bad. The action was very exciting. Both Allin and Wayne pulled out cool moves. The finishing sequence was pretty neat, when judged by wrestling and not story. The reactions between mentor and student were played well to drive home the love in their friendship. It was just a wrong place, wrong time situation.
Moving on to the tournament bracket. Samoa Joe wrestles Jeff Hardy, and Pentagon rumbles with Jay Lethal. Both those quarterfinal matchups will take place on Rampage. Strong versus Allin and the second semifinal will be on Collision. The final is next week on Dynamite.
#AEW Grand Slam Title Eliminator Tournament continues this FRIDAY NIGHT on #AEWRampage!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 7, 2023
- @SamoaJoe vs. @JEFFHARDYBRAND
- @PENTAELZEROM vs. @TheLethalJay
The semi-final matches will take place THIS SATURDAY on #AEWCollision!
Watch #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/9kfNLOXjBM
AEW is manipulating storylines in a good way to create unpredictability for the tournament winner. Strong seemed like a strong bet before Joe stepped to MJF. Both of those stories make sense for Grand Slam. Never count out Allin. He also his history with MJF. Ahem, headlock takeover. That’s three out of four semifinalists with an attractive case to believe.
Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.
AEW International Championship: Jon Moxley retained against AR Fox. This bout was a clash of styles between Moxley’s ornery ruggedness and Fox’s high-flying finesse. For example, Fox stormed a flurry for a rolling cutter, vaulting off the ring post for a backflip dive to the floor, and a 450 splash in the ring. In comparison, Moxley was mean and nasty working the legs, digging knuckles, and pounding flesh. For the finish, Moxley obliterated Fox on a King Kong lariat and closed with a Death Rider.
Moxley is starting off his title reign on the right step with an action match to follow in the footsteps of Orange Cassidy. Fox is electrifying on offense, and he was given time to shine to make it a competitive fight. Mox was tougher in the end.
TBS Championship: Kris Statlander retained against Emi Sakura. The challenger brought the thunder early for a slugfest. Sakura smashed Statlander against the ring steps on a running crossbody. Oof!
The physicality was hammering all match long. Sakura executed a stalling double underhook backbreaker, but she was arrogant on the cover. Statlander kicked out and rallied for an electric chair drop. A discus lariat set the way for the Wednesday Night Fever piledriver and victory.
This match wasn’t long, but it was very entertaining with a rapid pace. Sakura had an explosive performance in minimal time. Statlander was no slouch herself. She fought back hard to earn the win in convincing fashion. That was the kind of effort that makes me look forward to Statlander’s next title defense.
Le Sex Gods defeated Aussie Open. The story of this match was if Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara could work together as a cohesive unit. There was no quarreling during the match. Guevara made timely saves when Jericho was in danger, such as a flying cutter to intercept Mark Davis on the Aussie Open clothesline sandwich.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Le Sex Gods. They collided into each other twice, both at Jericho’s fault. Jericho landed a slingshot plancha onto Sammy early on. Toward the end, he smashed into Sammy on the apron. Both incidents occurred when Aussie Open moved out of the way. The good news for Le Sex Gods is that Jericho won the match with a Judas Effect on Kyle Fletcher.
The bad news is that Sammy was upset about the accidental contact. He refused to celebrate with Jericho. Shoves were exchanged, and Sammy walked out alone.
Strong contest, however, the post-match drama left a bad taste. Sammy is supposed to be the good one in Le Sex Gods friendship, and he comes off looking bad by walking out on Jericho. Friendly fire happens sometimes in tag team match. At least Jericho still got the win. Sammy had to turn a molehill into a mountain and pout. Jericho has been a crappy friend on several occasions, but that wasn’t the case this evening. We know it’s a matter of time before the friendship explodes. The previous story steps suggested that AEW was positioning Sammy as the fan favorite between the two. Instead, he’s looking like a punk with that behavior. Who are we supposed to root for when they blow up at each other?
Hangman Page blindsided. Hangman was interrupted by Swerve Strickland. Swerve looked down on Hangman as someone who was a franchise pick and now seems content with a fat contract. Swerve threatened the cowboy to step aside, or else he’ll take his spot. Hangman showed fire in his eyes, then boom! Brian Cage attacked from behind for a powerbomb and a Drill Claw.
Swerve was money on his promo. Even if his talking points aren’t true, they are sound enough to question the validity. Hangman has looked less driven lately partaking in Elite business rather than focusing on his personal quest to become a two-time world champion. There is nothing wrong with Hangman sticking by his friends, but it’s the idea that is worth exploring to kick-start this feud in an exciting manner. Swerve is bringing out the best in Hangman, and that means cowboy shit will be served.
Notes: Orange Cassidy opened the show with a promo. He won’t be staying home despite not having a championship anymore. Cassidy told the crowd that he will still be there every single week. As Cassidy exited, Jon Moxley entered for his match. Eye contact was noticeable between the two. That story isn’t over just yet. The simplicity of this appearance was kind of weak, but it kept him in focus coming off a hot PPV main event, fit the character, and teased a rematch. That’s much better than not having Cassidy appear at all.
After AR Fox lost to Jon Moxley, Darby Allin came down to hype Fox’s performance and solidify their friendship. Backstage, Christian Cage approached Nick Wayne trying to poach the kid from his mentor. Christian offered himself as a good role model, since he is a champion. Of course, Christian had to squeeze in an insult about Nick’s father. Wayne was disgusted.
Don Callis sat in on commentary for Le Sex Gods versus Aussie Open. The mere sight of Callis earned the ire of the crowd with loud boos. Callis was focused on insulting Jericho. Later backstage, Callis teased a portrait reveal next week for the next target of Konosuke Takeshita.
Ricky Starks lost to Bryan Danielson in a strap match, but he proved a point. No man in this business can tap him out. Starks will not quit. His passion in that promo is absolute.
Toni Storm dodged questions about interfering in Ruby Soho’s loss on the PPV, however, she did offer important advice to Renee Paquette. Chin up, tits out, watch for the shoe. Storm exited then threw her shoe at Renee. Storm will be competing next week in a four-way against Dr. Britt Baker DMD, Hikaru Shida, and Nyla Rose to determine Saraya’s world title challenger at Grand Slam.
Stud of the Show: Roderick Strong
Strong won the match with an injured freaking neck. Kurt Angle would be proud of Strong’s intensity, integrity, and intelligence.
Match of the Night: Le Sex Gods vs. Aussie Open
Every match on the show delivered excitement, so this is a tough call. I’m rolling with Le Sex Gods and Aussie Open as a slight notch above the rest. There was a lot of motion coming in all directions for great timing to hit the spot.
Dynamite delivered in many ways. Fresh matches were high quality, storylines weaved in and out across programs, hot promo battles, and fiery fallout moments.
Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?