This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Darby Allin facing Nick Wayne in the main event while MJF and Samoa Joe had a verbal confrontation.
This week’s show followed the AEW All Out PPV, which I enjoyed and as I wrote in the review, it exceeded expectations.
I am going to do a summary style review for every match expect one, which will be a play by play review.
It’s Wednesday and you know what that means. Excalibur was on commentary with Tony Schiavone and Taz.
Let’s Hear from Orange Cassidy
Orange Cassidy made his without the AEW International Championship that he lost last Sunday at All Out. The fans chanted “Freshly Squeezed” and “Thank you Orange” for him. Orange thanked the fans and claimed that “they” told him to stay home. Orange said whether he has a championship or not, he will be there every week because he is “Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy and “I do not have a catchphrase.”
Analysis: I wouldn’t call it a promo of the year by any means, but to his credit, he has done a great job of becoming a top guy in AEW. I didn’t always like him, but he has earned my respect even though I think some stuff he does is goofy. That’s also part of his charm for some people.
Jon Moxley made his entrance as the new AEW International Champion joined by Claudio Castagnoli, the ROH World Champion. Orange was on the ramp watching Moxley make his entrance with Orange looking frustrated. AR Fox entered with Darby Allin, but then Darby stayed in the back.
AEW International Championship: Jon Moxley (w/Claudio Castagnoli) vs. AR Fox
Moxley was dominating the early part of the match including a big clothesline. Darby Allin and Nick Wayne were watching on a TV backstage even though they are wrestling later. Fox hit a DDT while Moxley was by the ropes. Moxley tossed Fox over the barricade leading to a picture-in-picture break.
The match returned with Fox hitting a Cutter for a two count. Fox hit an impressive moonsault off the ring post onto Moxley on the floor and a 450 Splash off the top got a two count for Fox. Moxley got the momentum back with a King Kong lariat and Death Rider for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jon Moxley
Analysis: **3/4 A decisive win by Moxley. It was pretty good action for the time given. I don’t think Moxley should go 15 minutes with a guy like Fox, who is just a midcarder. Champions need to have decisive wins sometimes to put them over.
Darby Allin went into the ring to check on AR Fox. While that happened, Christian Cage and TNT Champion were talking to Nick Wayne. Christian said that Nick’s late father Buddy Wayne was worse than Christian thought. Christian told Wayne if he wants a mentor maybe he should think about a champion (like himself even though Luchasaurus is the champion). Christian: “Say hi to your mom for me.” Christian and Luchasaurus left.
Analysis: Christian Cage the dirtbag heel is very entertaining.
Kris Statlander entered for a TBS Title defense that was an open challenge.
TBS Championship: Kris Statlander vs. Emi Sakura
Sakura hit a Tiger Driver for a two count right off the bat. Sakura hit a cross body block on Kris against the steel steps. They had an exchange of strikes with the fans getting really into and both women sold it by going down to the mat at the same time. Sakura hit a backbreaker for a two count. Kris hit a slam off the shoulders, then a running clothesline and Wednesday Night Fever piledriver for the pinfall win after about five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kris Statlander
Analysis: **1/2 The match was physical and fast-paced, so I give them credit for working hard. I didn’t expect a title change in an open challenge like this. It was another champion getting a decisive win. Kris has come a long way in AEW and has improved a lot since doing the dumb alien gimmick when she started.
A video package aired featuring Roderick Strong (in a neckbrace) along with The Kingdom’s Mike Bennett & Matt Taven. Strong said that his parents had a drug and alcohol problem. Strong said that professional wrestling was there for him and it’s his everything. Strong said he grew up alone and he’ll win the Grand Slam tournament alone. That starts tonight.
Les Sex Gods – Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara vs. Aussie Open – Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher
Don Callis was on commentary. Jericho and Sammy did a double shoulder block knockdown leading to some posing. Davis came back with a double clothesline. Sammy hit a dropkick to the stomach of Fletcher. After Jericho tagged in, Les Sex Gods hit a double delayed vertical suplex. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
Aussie Open were in control of Sammy, but then Sammy broke free and Jericho took over with a shoulder tackle on Davis. Both Aussie guys hit Jericho with forearm smashes. Sammy jumped off the top with a Cutter on Davis to take him out. They were the illegal men. Jericho hit a Codebreaker on Fletcher for two because it is not Jericho’s finisher any more. After Jericho sent Fletcher to the floor, Sammy hit a twisting dive over the top onto both Aussie Open guys on the floor. Jericho tried a slingshot dive over the top, but the Aussies moved and Jericho hit Sammy on the floor. Aussie Open hit their Aussie Arrow double team move that was a Cutter by Fletcher and that got a two count. Sammy ran into the ring with a one man Spanish Fly on Davis. Jericho ate a couple of kicks from Fletcher, who also hit a brainbuster for two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Jericho went for a running attack on Fletcher, but Fletcher moved and Jericho knocked Sammy off the apron to the floor. Fletcher rolled up Jericho for two. Jericho was back up with a Judas Effect elbow for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Les Sex Gods – Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara
Analysis: ***1/2 That turned into a great match. Lots of action and double team moves. There was some illegal action with guys running into the ring doing moves, but it wasn’t that bad compared to some AEW matches. The Aussie Open guys always have great matches and are one of the better teams in AEW, so I’m glad to see them being featured more. There was also the story of Jericho accidentally hitting Sammy twice during the match, which is what led to what happened after the match.
After the match, Jericho raised Sammy’s hand, but Sammy dropped his hand. Sammy shoved Jericho away. Sammy shoved Jericho, then Jericho shoved back and security guys got into the ring. Sammy left through the crowd.
Analysis: Sammy Guevara wasn’t happy about Jericho hitting him twice accidentally. It’s time to make Sammy into a singles babyface wrestler. Jericho should be a face too, but I don’t know if they are going to go that way with him.
There were highlights shown of the great Bryan Danielson-Ricky Starks Strap Match from AEW All Out last Sunday. I thought it was a great match that was one of the better matches on the show. They aired a promo from Starks from after the match saying he would not quit.
Bryan Danielson will be on AEW Collision. It’s probably going to turn into the Bryan Danielson show since CM Punk is fired and Bryan has a big say in the creative direction of Collision. That’s fine with me.
The AEW World Champion MJF was up next.
Don Callis & Konosuke Takeshita were interviewed by Renee Paquette. Callis bragged about Takeshita beating Kenny Omega twice in seven days. Callis said next week they’ll unveil the next target for Takeshita. They had a painting that will be revealed next week.
Let’s Hear from Maxwell Jacob Friedman…and Samoa Joe
The AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman, who is also one half of the ROH Tag Team Champions, made his entrance for a promo. The announcers put over the story that MJF still has a neck injury from All In London.
It was babyface MJF talking about how he’s The Devil. MJF said when he was trying to make a name for himself in the indies, he lived in Indiana, so he asked who’s your daddy? The fans cheered and chanted “MJF” to reply. MJF said that the “mark” Tony Khan said that MJF had to wrestle again on September 20th. MJF didn’t like that, but that’s Grand Slam and that is the Devil’s Den because that is MJF’s home state because he’s coming back to New York, New York. MJF said whoever wins that Grand Slam Tournament will find out that “nobody is on the level of The Devil.” MJF said one person might be need to taught a certain lesson, which led to “Joe” chants.
Samoa Joe made his entrance as the ROH TV Champion. Joe asked: “What seems to be the problem, kid?” MJF made a fat joke saying maybe Joe confused Max’s music with an ice cream truck. Joe said when he was last involved with an ice cream truck, he was busy being in the biggest star on the other company’s network. Joe called him “kid” twice. MJF said that he was a pretty creative guy. MJF made fat jokes toward Joe. MJF called Samoa Joe – “Samoa Dough.” They made dick jokes toward eachother. Joe said that Max doesn’t seem to understand what is going on. MJF didn’t like being called “kid” and threatened Joe for it.
MJF said when he was 19 years old he had a tryout in Brooklyn for WWE and he knocked it out of the park. MJF mentioned William Regal recapping the story that Max was too young. As MJF retold the story, Regal blew him off and the fans chanted “he f**ked up.” MJF said that story ended with MJF knocking Regal out and back in NXT where he belongs. MJF said Joe is next. MJF told a story about how Max was Security backstage trying to do his job, but Joe shoved him into a brick wall and Joe laughed. MJF said he knows how scumbags thinks because he is “their” scumbag referring to the fans. MJF said he’s not a boy anymore, he’s a generational talent and the AEW World Champion that is the best wrestler on God’s green Earth while also headlining the most historic pay-per-view of all time. Max: “I am MJF.” Max warned Joe to stay out of MJF’s way or MJF is going to kill him. MJF spouted his catchphrase after that.
Samoa Joe said that was a point beautifully made. Joe said that he didn’t think of MJF as a kid when he pushed him. Joe didn’t think MJF was a kid, he thought of Max as a “little bitch.” Ouch. Joe said he’s not going to take the beat. Joe said he’ll be in the tournament, he’ll beat everybody in it and then he’s coming from MJF. Joe told MJF to “have a nice day.” When MJF got between the ropes, Joe kicked the ropes and crotched MJF. Joe stomped on MJF. Joe held up the AEW World Title overhead, but MJF was back up with a low blow uppercut. MJF stomped on Joe against the turnbuckle. MJF charged and Joe spiked him with an STO. Adam Cole ran out for the save, so Joe left. MJF was getting checked on by the doctors saying “my left arm is numb.” They helped MJF leave the ring. Joe mocked MJF as he was getting helped to the back.
Analysis: I thought it was a great segment in terms of pushing MJF as a babyface AEW World Champion while Samoa Joe is the perfect bully heel that knows how to get heat any time he wants. The attack by Joe on MJF was good as well because of how well MJF sold it. Cole running out for the save was predictable, but also came a bit late after Joe did a lot of damage. Anyway, I think it’s probably going to lead to MJF against Joe at the Grand Slam Dynamite and possibly the October WrestleDream PPV as well. MJF is doing a nice job of being a babyface champion who panders to the crowd.
Roderick Strong and The Kingdom made their entrance for their match. Strong yelled at Adam Cole about it with Cole saying that MJF is not okay right now. The Kingdom have “Neck Strong” shirts to support Roderick Strong. Matt Taven took Strong’s neck off. Strong’s match was next.
Grand Slam AEW World Title Tournament Quarterfinals: Roderick Strong (w/Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) vs. Trent Beretta (w/Chuck Taylor)
You might think people in a tournament for an AEW World Title shot would have earned their spots by winning singles matches, but Strong has barely wrestled in AEW while Trent is a tag team guy. It’s not like AEW is going to explain why certain people are in or out of the tournament.
Trent hit a jumping knee strike leading to Strong selling a neck injury. Strong came back with one of his patented backbreakers. Trent hit an impressive DDT with Strong selling the neck injury. Strong managed to fight back with a slam onto the apron as the show went to PIP break.
Trent hit some German Suplexes along with a Death Valley Driver for two. Strong came back with a jumping kick. They battled by the turnbuckle with Trent getting a hurricanrana leading to battle of pin attempts for a two count. Trent hit a piledriver for two with Strong’s foot on the bottom rope. Strong managed to get the pinfall win after an End of Heartache backbreaker. It went about 11 minutes. No replay was shown.
Winner by pinfall: Roderick Strong
Analysis: *** A good match between two veterans. A lot of Trent’s offense was focused on moves that targeted Strong’s neck. Considering Strong gets a lot of TV complaining about Adam Cole liking MJF more than him, it seemed obvious that he would win over a tag team guy like Trent. It was a good match overall.
After the match, Taven and Bennett put the neckbrace back on Strong’s neck, which was pretty funny to see.
Toni Storm was interviewed by Renee Paquette. Toni was doing her over the top gimmick again with some silly lines as usual.
“Hangman” Adam Page made his entrance in street clothes. So why is he not in the tournament or an AEW World Title shot? I know. Don’t ask logical questions.
Let’s Hear from “Hangman” Adam Page
Adam Page was interviewed in the ring by Tony Schiavone. Page won a battle royal at All Out to win $50,000 for a charity, which was a Chicago Public Education Fund. Page said it meant a lot to him because he was a teacher while adding that teachers are underpaid and underappreciated. Page said he wanted to look forward. Page wanted to speak about the rest of 2023, but here comes Swerve Strickland.
Swerve Strickland and Prince Nana got into the ring with Page. Nana told Tony to leave while telling the fans to show some respect for Swerve. That led to Swerve saying “being in a coffin for two weeks” gives you some perspective. Swerve said those students are just going to flunk out anyway. Swerve mocked Page for only being on the pre-show at All Out. Swerve said that Page hasn’t got any new ring gear and any new merchandise while pointing out that Hangman is eating good with his new contract, so he was mocking Hangman’s figure. Swerve said that Page has gotten comfortable hanging out with The Elite. Swerve said if he had opportunities that Hangman got then he’d be the first black AEW World Champion by now. Swerve said Page should move out of the way that he doesn’t want and Swerve can take the spot. Swerve suggested “option B” telling Page to show these people and show himself what “Cowboy Shit” is all about. Swerve said that Page can fight Swerve for that spot. Swerve said he had no regard for anybody. Swerve said he will walk him like a dog. Swerve said either way he’s coming for that spot that Page acts like he doesn’t even want. Page said if you want a match then go to the match and get it, but Page is “done with this shit right now.”
Page left the ring. Swerve said that it’s a shame that Hangman’s wife and kids have to see him walk away from responsibilities. Page got in Swerve’s face, but Brian Cage attacked from behind with a clothesline on Page. Cage hit a Powerbomb and Drillclaw on Page. Swerve looked down on Page. Taz called it a “phenomenal setup” by Swerve with Cage. Swerve and Cage left while Hangman was down selling.
Analysis: It’s the start of a new rivalry. I have mentioned that Hangman hasn’t had anything to do for several months, so I’m happy to see there is something for him. A rivalry with Swerve feels fresh, so I don’t mind seeing that at all. They should have a great match together. Hangman can beat Brian Cage first since Brian rarely wins the big matches in AEW and is usually just there for guys to beat before they get to Swerve. Anyway, I thought Swerve did a great job of being a jerk with that promo.
There was a rundown of matches on Rampage and Collision. Matches on Rampage in the World Title Eliminator Tournament include Penta vs. Jay Lethal and Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe.
Darby Allin made his entrance for the main event followed by Nick Wayne. We know the story is that Allin is Wayne’s mentor so they know eachother well. I don’t believe has won a singles match in AEW, but he’s in this tournament.
Grand Slam AEW World Title Tournament Quarterfinals: Darby Allin vs. Nick Wayne
This is the match where I’ll go play by play. They shook hands to start the match. Wayne had a waistlock on Allin, who sent Wayne out of the ring. Allin went for a suicide dive, Wayne moved and Allin went crashing onto the floor by the barricade. The fans chanted “holy shit” for that. Wayne was stunned by it.
There were about ten minutes left until the top of the hour as Wayne hit a superplex and a Fisherman’s Buster for two. Wayne jumped off with a Frog Splash, but Allin got the knees up to block. Allin hit a shotgun dropkick sending Wayne into the turnbuckle. Allin applied a Figure Four Leglock. After Wayne got out of that rather easily, they ran the ropes leading to a double cross body block spot that knocked them both down. They exchanged forearm smashes. Nick has to work on those. Allin asked for the microphone to say that you hit like an 18-year-old and Allin told Wayne to hit him like you want to win this. Wayne hit him with a punch followed by a superkick for a two count. The superkick looked better than the forearms. Christian Cage and Luchasaurus interrupted with Cage’s music playing. They went to a picture-in-picture break with five minutes until the top of the hour.
The action continued with Wayne hitting a knee to the face followed by a hurricanrana off the apron to the floor. Allin was laying on the ground and Wayne did a Frog Splash on the floor. It didn’t look that great, but Taz still said it was impressive. Wayne hit a Wayne’s World off the ropes (a Cutter) for a two count. Wayne went for a Cutter off the top, but Allin blocked it and sent him to the mat. Allin thought about doing a Coffin Drop, but then he flipped Wayne over for a two count. Wayne got a pin attempt for two. Allin with a pin attempt for two and a cross body block. Allin hit a Code Red for two. Allin applied a submission pulling back on Wayne’s arms, then some stomps to the head and Wayne quit, so the referee called for the bell to end it. It went 14 minutes.
Winner by submission: Darby Allin
Analysis: ***1/4 It was an entertaining match. Wayne moves well, he can bump and is willing to put his body on the line. Clearly, he’s worked on hitting cool moves in a match because that’s what he’s all about. I think in terms selling, he could be a bit more consistent about it although he did sell the submission well at the end. Allin winning was never really in doubt despite all the crazy bumps he takes by diving to the floor and taking hard bumps on the apron. Seeing Allin win with a submission is rare. Allin didn’t want to hit Nick with a Coffin Drop because he cares about him, yet Allin was willing to apply a painful looking submission on him to win the match.
The win by Darby Allin means he faces Roderick Strong in the semifinals at AEW Collision.
Darby Allin was victorious in the ring look at a fallen Nick Wayne while Christian Cage and Luchasaurus stood by the entrance area. Allin checked on Wayne. That was the end of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara
2. MJF/Samoa Joe
3. Darby Allin
This Week: 7 out of 10
Last Week: 6.25
2023 Average: 7.31
I thought it was a good show overall. Nice mix of in-ring action and some strong promo work by some of the best talkers in the company. I really like the MJF-Samoa Joe storyline that they are doing. Their promos had some cheap lines in there, but generally speaking it was a solid pro wrestling promo exchange. I’m also glad that AEW is finally doing something with “Hangman” Adam Page and a feud with Swerve Strickland feels fresh.
The tournament matches were okay with obvious winners. I do question why some people in this company are in this tournament while others are not, but I guess you need to put lesser people in to do the jobs. It’s just hard to justify why tag team wrestlers or a guy like Nick Wayne with no singles wins is in the tournament yet so many other people in AEW are not in it. Anyway, that’s pro wrestling. Every company does that with tournaments.
There were decisive wins by Jon Moxley and Kris Statlander to continue their title reigns. I thought the Jericho/Sammy G match with Aussie Open was the best of the night while Sammy is mad at Jericho for a couple of accidental spots in the match. I feel like putting Allin/Wayne on last was weak for a main event match because you know Allin is going to win, but I get that Darby is one of AEW’s bigger homegrown stars too. Anyway, hopefully we get some bigger TV matches in the coming weeks. As I said, I enjoyed the show overall. I wouldn’t say great, but pretty good and nothing really was that boring or anything like that.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Rams. You can contact me using any of the methods below.