The John Report: AEW Dynamite 09/27/23 Review

aew dynamite september 27

This week’s AEW Dynamite featured a Hangman/Strickland contract signing main event, one title match and more. Plus, a Captain Insano sighting. Really.

It’s the last AEW Dynamite episode before the first-ever WrestleDream PPV this Sunday, October 1st.

This was AEW Dynamite episode #208 at the 1STBank Center in Broomfield (Denver), Colorado. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

It’s Wednesday and you know what that means. Excalibur was on commentary with Taz. No Tony Schiavone this week.

International Championship: Rey Fenix (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, Satnam Singh & Karen Jarrett)

Fenix won the International Title from Jon Moxley last week because he hit Jon with a knee to the head to give him a concussion and Jon told Fenix to pin him. This week it’s an open challenge.

They battled on the floor for a couple of minutes before the title match officially began. Jarrett was in control with a running splash to the back with his wife Karen choking Fenix. Fenix came back with a kick and a spin kick. Satnam Singh distracted Fenix, so Fenix jumped over him and Jarrett hit a DDT.


They did some spot by the ropes with Jarrett tripping Fenix and Fenix hit his hip against the ropes. Something like that. Jeff’s allies at ringside tried to get involved, so referee Aubrey Edwards got in Karen’s face and Karen bumped. The fans were chanting “Aubrey” for the attention seeking referee. They went back into the ring with Fenix hitting a double foot stomp. Fenix delivered a superkick. Fenix ran the ropes and kicked Lethal. Dutt distracted the referee, so Jarrett did a low blow uppercut and an inside cradle got a two count. Jarrett hit Fenix with The Stroke, then Fenix slid himself closer to the ropes and Fenix covered with his feet on the bottom rope. It was pretty obvious what was coming there. Fenix dropkicked Singh in the knees while Singh was on the apron. Jarrett went for a Figure Four Leglock, but Fenix got an inside cradle for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Rey Fenix

Analysis: **3/4 It was a decent match with Jeff using all of his allies around ringside to try to get the win. A lot of nearfalls because of that. I didn’t think Jarrett had a chance in winning, but at least there were some good nearfalls there. Fenix winning with an inside cradle isn’t very impactful, but it shows he can win with basic wrestling moves instead of just high flying moves.

A replay was shown off last week with Adam Cole hurting his ankle at ringside during the MJF/Samoa Joe match.

There was an MJF/Adam Cole video in Long Island, New York. Cole was on crutches. They went on a boat that MJF said was his dad’s boat, but he didn’t need to find out. MJF mentioned Cole was on the phone with Roderick Strong for a long time. Cole said that Strong is like a brother to him. MJF asked Cole to hold his beer and MJF said he’ll get his own beer too. MJF put his Dynamite Diamond Ring on his hand. Cole asked if MJF would hit him with the diamond ring and pushing him overboard. Cole said it’s healthy for somebody to have more than one friend. MJF said that’s not for him, but he guesses if it’s normal then he supports him. MJF joked he almost got caught throwing somebody overboard, so this is great. They acted like they got a fish and it was Paul Wight in a Captain Insano outfit. Paul went onto the boat to drink beers with them.

Analysis: Good comedy bit. It’s funny how MJF teased attacking his friend Cole again, but he didn’t end up doing it.

They showed Don Callis and Konosuke Takeshita in Japan last Saturday.

Up next we’ll hear from the Don Callis Family.


Don Callis & Konosuke Takeshita were introduced by Renee Paquette. A replay was shown of last week when Sammy Guevara turned on Chris Jericho to join the Don Callis Family

Let’s Hear from the Don Callis Family

Don Callis was asked by Renee Paquette if Sammy Guevara was officially in the Don Callis Family. That led to Don officially introducing Sammy as the newest member of the Don Callis Family. Sammy Guevara made his entrance wearing sunglasses, a colorful shirt and white pants.

Analysis: I noted in the past that I was ready for Sammy to be a babyface, but he’s still in a heel role.

Don Callis said that Kota Ibushi wasn’t safe in Japan, so they had a camera crew with him and went looking for Ibushi. The video showed Konosuke Takeshita beating up some friend of Ibushi. When Ibushi showed up, Takeshita attacked him. Takeshita hit Ibushi with an object to the head to knock him out. Takeshita choked Ibushi with a jacket. Callis said they have never been stronger with Takeshita, Will Ospreay and Sammy Guevara.

Sammy Guevara spoke saying he’s being painted out to be a bad guy, but in reality, he’s the hero. The fans chanted “f**k you Sammy” while Sammy said that Jericho was holding him back for four years. Sammy said that Jericho was holding him back. Sammy thought that Jericho would pass him the torch, but he never did because Don Callis showed him that Jericho was selfish. Sammy said he’ll become the champion and star he was meant to be. Callis said at WrestleDream he’ll take everything from Omega, Jericho and Ibushi until there’s nothing left but the tears. Don and the guys left.

Analysis: Good promo work by Callis and Sammy. I thought Sammy explained his turn on Jericho very well. Callis is always a good promo guy. The fans absolutely hate him.

There was a replay of Bryan Danielson beating Ricky Starks last week on AEW Collision.

Ricky Starks was with Big Bill backstage (last week after Collision) talking about how Bryan didn’t pin him. Wheeler Yuta walked up to Starks saying that he’s an entitled prick that whines and moans. Yuta said that Starks stayed down, but Yuta gets back up. Yuta doesn’t think that Starks can handle that. Yuta challenged Starks to a match at WrestleDream in Seattle. Starks said nothing and left.

It’s official for WrestleDream: Ricky Starks will face Wheeler Yuta.

Analysis: Ricky Starks has lost twice to Bryan Danielson, so now Starks gets to beat Yuta.

Nick Jackson vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Brian Cage (w/Prince Nana)

The winner gets an International Championship match next week on AEW Dynamite.

Cage quickly picked up Nick and tossed him over the top to the floor. Claudio hit a suplex on Cage and Cage came back with a suplex of his own. Nick got back in for some flippy shit including an armdrag/headscissors off the ropes. Nick hit a somersault dive over the top onto both guys. Nick remained in control with a stomp on Claudio’s back and a double knee attack to Cage’s back. Claudio was back up with a boot to knock Nick down.


Cage delivered a kick on Claudio followed by a German Suplex. Nick hit a bulldog on Cage. Nick kicked Claudio while he was on the apron followed by a facebuster. Nick hit a moonsault onto a standing Claudio on the floor. Nick hit a 450 Splash off the top onto Cage for a two count. Claudio pulled Cage out of the ring and sent Cage into the steel steps. Claudio did the giant swing to Cage ten times for a two count because Nick broke it up. Nick sent Claudio out of the ring. Nick jumped off the top, Cage caught him and did his version of the F5 he stole from Brock Lesnar. Cage stood on the middle rope and hit a suplex on Claudio into the ring for a two count. They took turns getting nearfalls with Nick delivering a bunch of superkicks. Claudio sent Nick into the air leading to an uppercut. Claudio hit a lariat for two on Cage. Claudio hit a Ricola Bomb on Cage. Nick jumped back in with a hurricanrana on Claudio to send him out of the ring. Nick covered Cage for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Nick Jackson

The win by Nick Jackson means he’ll challenge Rey Fenix for the International Title next week on AEW Dynamite.

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a fun match that was exciting and fast paced. A lot of big moves by everybody in the match with Nick doing some incredible high-flying moves while Cage showed off his power. I was hoping Claudio would win, but I don’t mind Nick in singles action because he’s really good at it.

A video aired about The Righteous duo criticizing fake people. They spoke about beating MJF & Adam Cole for the ROH Tag Team Titles at WrestleDream.

Analysis: They need to do more with these guys. Tell us their names and some backstory. You can’t assume most fans know.


Let’s Hear from MJF and Adam Cole

The Ring of Honor Tag Team Champions Adam Cole and AEW World Champion MJF made their entrance. Cole had his left ankle wrapped up along with a big boot on his foot. Cole was using crutches to get down to ringside. They are supposed to defend the ROH Tag Team Titles against The Righteous at WrestleDream.

MJF spoke about how The Devil has arrived in Colorado. Cole said that it was story time and it was a sad chapter of the story. Cole said he got hurt really bad. Cole said his ankle broke in three different places and he tore ligaments. Cole said unfortunately he has to go get surgery. Cole said he’ll do everything in his power to get back as soon as humanly possible. Cole said that he and Max are the ROH World Tag Team Titles. Cole said since they can’t defend the titles, they have to relinquish…and MJF said hold on a second.

MJF said he didn’t wrestle twice in one night to relinquish them to The Righteous. The fans booed that idea. MJF said that Cole got hurt because MJF needed his help at Grand Slam. MJF said that when Cole comes back here, he wants the titles to still be with them. MJF spoke into the camera saying that he’s going to defend the titles against The Righteous in a handicap match.

“ADAM!” It was Roderick Strong with The Kingdom – Matt Taven & Mike Bennett. Strong was in a neckbrace while wearing a hospital gown. Strong was in a wheelchair saying he needs Cole more than ever. MJF said he doesn’t like it, but he respects Cole enough to let Cole go take care of his boy. Cole left the ring with his crutches. Excalibur asked if Strong gets admitted to a hospital in every city they are in. That was fun.

Analysis: That line by Excalibur was funny, but it also exposes how silly the gimmick of Strong is.

Jay White’s music interrupted MJF while Bullet Club Gold joined Jay on the stage. Jey told them to go to the back and went down to the ring. Jay told MJF to shut up saying we’ve heard MJF enough while claiming that people want to hear his exotic voice. Jay said he sent everybody to the back so that Max could enjoy this moment.

MJF said that White must be smoking some of the sweet Colorado grass. A “Weed” chant started. MJF if you come at the king you best not miss (shoutout Excalibur mentioning Omar Little for The Wire reference) mocked White’s goatee saying it looked like pubic hair. MJF spoke about how he used to read things about how good he was, but then people would say “he’s no Jay White.” MJF said he didn’t understand it, but now they are standing eye to eye and the fans know that MJF is a fine filet mignon. MJF said that whenever he’s in the ring the show is about MJF because nobody is on the level…(fans said this part) of The Devil. MJF said he’s a generational talent.

MJF told White that he was very talented. MJF said that White tried to convince the fans that he was filet mignon, but really White is tofu. MJF said that White has been given everything like the cool entrance, nickname, t-shirts, big match opportunities and handed the keys to one of the greatest wrestling factions of all time. MJF said when you pluck it all away he’s left with boring, brand, tasteless tofu. MJF said he didn’t mind Jay trying to steal some of the champ’s flavor. MJF said that Jay is what somebody in Japan thought was a top guy. MJF told White to leave the ring and stop talking smack to the fans. MJF finally got to the point saying that in the future they will say Jay White is good, but he’s no MJF because he’s better than you and you know it.

White said that’s what he came out here for – a personalized MJF experience. The fans chanted “tofu” at White, so he stopped. White said that MJF seems off perhaps because of his bromance with Adam Cole. White said the fans chant “bay bay” for Adam Cole while saying he’s not sure they love MJF the same way. The fans chanted “MJF” there. Jay talked about how he nearly ended Cole’s career last year leading to the concussion. White summarized the MJF/Cole history while claiming that Cole’s ankle is broken and that is MJF’s fault.

White said that MJF calls himself The Devil. White said that MJF has to get to another level to stop White from taking the AEW World Title. White talked about his credentials, his history and his nicknames. White said he’s going to be the AEW World Champion. White said that MJF is just like the “poors” because he is their scumbag. White said they can have eachother while White has the AEW World Champion. White said that this is the Switchblade Era because MJF has gone soft and you know it.

MJF told White he had no clue about what MJF is capable of, so MJF will show him right now. As MJF approached, White left the ring and MJF posed with the AEW World Champion.

Analysis: That was a long promo that went nearly 20 minutes between the segments. It should set up Jay White against MJF at Full Gear in November. I think they need to build up White more as a contender, but it is a fresh match at least.

Christian Cage & Darby All are interviewed

The TNT Champion Christian Cage and Darby Allin were seated on the opposite side of Jim Ross for a sitdown interview. JR asked Christian about being the TNT Champion. Christian said he’s been the champion for months even though he really just won it last Saturday on Collision. JR pointed out that Christian lost to Allin twice. Christian said he’ll walk out of Seattle as the TNT Champion. Christian said that Allin is nowhere near the wrestler that Christian is. Christian asked for the 2/3 Falls to see what Allin can do when he actually wrestles. Christian said he’ll humiliate Allin at ringside. Christian asked if Allin will be in attendance and then reminded us that Allin’s uncle died for drunk driving and he’s dead. Allin said he’s dead. Allin said Christian keeps talking shit about dead people. Allin said he’s won the TNT Title in Seattle before and he’ll do it again. Christian told Allin to bring his family, even Nick Wayne’s mom and told him to bring them. Allin said he’ll tell Nick Wayne not to show up at ringside because he wants to do it on his own. Allin told Christian to not bring Luchasaurus. Christian mocked Allin for having face paint and hiding behind the face paint. Christian said he didn’t need Luchasaurus with him. Christian said he’ll always be the TNT Champion so get used to it.

Analysis: That was well done with Christian Cage coming across like a jerk as usual while Allin continues to be a likable babyface. Their 2/3 Falls Match at WrestleDream should be excellent.

Orange Cassidy entered for a four-way match.


Matt Jackson vs. Orange Cassidy vs. Austin Gunn vs. Penta El Zero Miedo

These four guys are part of tag teams that are in a Fatal 4-Way match at WrestleDream to earn an AEW Tag Team Title match.

Matt was on fire with some offense early. Penta took down Orange with a headscissors followed by a leg drop. Penta dropkicked Orange out of the ring. Austin faced off with Penta leading to a bunch of taunting. Penta chopped Ausitn to knock him out of the ring. Penta delivered a superkick to Matt. Penta superkicked Orange out of the ring. Austin was back in with a forearm on Penta, a forearm on Matt and Austin did a Road Dogg punch sequence to knock Orange down.


The action continued with Matt hitting a cross body block onto Penta on the floor. Orange pushed Austin down into the ring leading to Orange hitting a dive onto the two guys on the floor. Austin hit a neckbreaker on Orange for two. Penta was back in with a Canadian Destroyer on Gunn and Matt hit a Destroyer on Penta. Orange hit a Destroyer on Matt. Orange hit a Destroyer on Austin. All four men decided it was time to sell. Matt hit a Northern Lights Suplex on Orange two times in a row. Matt tried a rollup on Orange, but then Matt hit Northern Lights on Austin & Penta at the same time for a two count. Penta blocked a knee, they exchanged kicks and Penta hit a jumping kick. Penta with a Slingblade on Austin followed by a kick to the gut. Orange back in with an Orange Punk on Penta. Orange hit a Beach Break on Matt and Austin hit a Fameasser on Orange. Austin covered all three opponents for two counts. All four guys were back up with superkicks to Austin and superkicks to Orange. Penta superkicked Matt. Penta ran to the ropes, Austin pulled him out and Orange hit an Orange Punch on Matt for the pinfall win after about 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Orange Cassidy

Analysis: ***1/2 A chaotic tag team match. They did a lot of repeated moves with far too many Canadian Destroyers and superkicks for one match, but that’s AEW. Do the same shit over and over. They love doing that. Anyway, it was fun to watch with a lot of action. I thought Austin Gunn was impressive at some points in the match while Matt Jackson did a lot too. Penta was just kind of there. Orange winning is not a shock.


Julia Hart (w/Brody King) vs. Willow Nightingale

Julia Hart is challenging Kris Statlander for the TBS Championship at WrestleDream so we know she’s going to win here.

Willow had some covering on her left eye due to Hart spitting mist on her recently. Willow was working over Hart with forearms to the chest and a suplex. Willow’s face covering really wasn’t working. Willow delivered two body slams. Hart ducked a move and left the ring. Hart went under the ring and back out leading to a chop block to the back of the knee and a forearm to the back.


Willow was in control getting a nearfall while her face covering gimmick wasn’t working. Hart tripped up Willow and went for the Hartless submission, but Willow got her hand on the ropes. Hart tried a cartwheel attack that looked like it was never going to connect and Willow hit a Pounce attack to knock Hart down. Willow set up Hart against the turnbuckle, took way too long and Hart avoided it. Hart went up top and hit a moonsault onto Willow for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Julia Hart

Analysis: **1/2 A simple match to put over Julia Hart ahead of her TBS Championship match at WrestleDream. Willow did some good power moves in the match, but this was all about Hart finding a way to win. Julia is only 21 years old and has improved a lot.

After the match, Julia applied the Hartless submission on Willow. Kris Statlander, the TBS Champion, ran out to the ring to go after Hart, but Hart got out of the way. Hart hid behind King and Statlander stared from a distance.

Here’s a WrestleDream lineup rundown.

bryan danielson zack sabre jr wrestledream aew

* Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

* Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho & Kota Ibushi vs. Konosuke Takeshita, Sammy Guevara & Will Ospreay

* ROH World & NJPW Strong Openweight Championships: Eddie Kingston (c) vs. Katsuyori Shibata

* Ricky Starks vs. Wheeler Yuta

* ROH World Tag Team Championships: MJF (c) vs. The Righteous

* AEW World Tag Team Championships: FTR (c) vs. Aussie Open

* AEW TBS Championship: Kris Statlander (c) vs. Julia Hart

* Winners Receive AEW Tag Team Title Match: The Young Bucks vs. The Gunns vs. Lucha Bros vs. Orange Cassidy & Hook

* TNT Championship 2/3 Falls: Christian Cage (c) vs. Darby Allin

* “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Swerve Strickland

The Hangman/Swerve contract signing was up next. Swerve Strickland made his entrance and stopped Prince Nana from dancing.

Analysis: It’s an odd choice for a main event. I can understand a contract signing for a title match or maybe even a grudge match, but doing a contract signing segment for a random singles match is strange.


Contract Signing: Swerve Strickland vs. “Hangman” Adam Page

There was a table and two chairs in the ring along with Renee Paquette moderating the segment. “Hangman” Adam Page made his entrance. The Elite and Mogul Embassy were banned from ringside, so there was security surrounding the ring.

Swerve said he’s been impressed by the fire that Page has been showing lately. Swerve warned Page about walking into Seattle, which is Swerve’s house. Swerve said it’s nothing like what Page has dealt with ever before. Swerve said they are a lot different. Swerve mocked Hangman for being a cowboy and a farmer while wondering what is a buckshot compared to a killshot.

Page admitted that he thought about what Swerve said a few weeks ago. Page said that Swerve was right about what he said. Page said that for a year and a half he felt like there was a little black cloud hanging over his head. Page said that he beat Jon Moxley in a Texas Death Match and he reunited with his friends The Elite. Page said every time he smiled, that cloud came back and it started to rain. Page said that the rough period is done and he’s still here. Page said now that he has had time to think about his past, he has come to realize that the people deserve more from him – the best of him. Page said that he deserves it for himself too. Page told Swerve he will get the best of Hangman at WrestleDream. Page signed the contract.

Swerve laughed while the fans chanted “cowboy shit” to support Page. Swerve claimed that it was pathetic and even more pathetic than Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. That was great. Swerve said he’s glad that Seattle got him out there. Swerve said he might have mental health problems because he makes an enemy out of somebody every day in his life. Swerve said he’s going to take Page’s position from him.

Page said that Swerve wants the spot and he wants to be a main event guy. Page said that Swerve thinks he would have been the first Black World Champion. Page said we can argue about if opportunities were handed to him or if he earned it. Page said he knocked those opportunities out of the park. Page told Swerve he doesn’t have what it takes to fill his boots. Swerve signed the contract and Page came back by stabbing Swerve’s hand with another pen. The security guys jumped into the ring to separate the two guys.

Analysis: I thought they did well with the promos. Hangman doesn’t think he was handed anything and he actually earned what he’s accomplished in AEW. Meanwhile, Swerve thinks Hangman didn’t deserve it, so now we get to see WrestleDream to see who the better man is. The hand stabbing with the pen is actually something The Undertaker-Brock Lesnar did nearly a decade ago. It’s a good move because it works and leads to a reaction.

There was a backstage scene with four guys in masks beating up Jay White. They stomped on him and threw him into a wall while on an equipment case. The camera panned over to see somebody in a mask similar to The Devil mask that MJF used to wear. That person put their hand on the camera to end the show.

Analysis: A mystery attack that could have been led by MJF, but since he’s a babyface, maybe it’s somebody else that will be involved in this story.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. MJF
  2. Nick Jackson/Claudio Castagnoli/Brian Cage
  3. Orange Cassidy


The Scoreboard

This Week: 7.25 out of 10

Last Week: 8.5

2023 Average: 7.33


Final Thoughts

A pretty good show overall mixing the in-ring action with a lot of talking to build to WrestleDream matches for Sunday night. They only had four matches, which is low for Dynamite. Two of those matches were under ten minutes and I’d call those two just average. It’s rare for AEW to main event with a contract signing segment. The Adam Page/Swerve Strickland isn’t for a title, yet they need to have a contract signing apparently. Anyway, I liked the words they exchanged. It just felt weak for a main event.

The triple threat with Nick Jackson beating Claudio Castagnoli & Brian Cage was great. A lot of fast-paced action and nearfalls. I liked the finish a lot. The four-way match wasn’t as great as that one, but it was still solid with Orange Cassidy getting the win.

It sucks that Adam Cole is out with a broken ankle. I doubt he wrestles again until next year. The MJF/Jay White promo exchange felt fresh as a new feud. It was also a long talking segment. Jay White was mystery attacked to end the show with somebody wearing the “Devil” mask like MJF has worn in the past. Mysteries are a good thing in pro wrestling. Last week’s show was definitely better with so many great matches that actually had storylines, but there was still plenty to like here too.

Here’s the lineup for AEW WrestleDream on October 1st.

* Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

* TNT Championship 2/3 Falls: Christian Cage (c) vs. Darby Allin

* Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho & Kota Ibushi vs. Konosuke Takeshita, Sammy Guevara & Will Ospreay

* AEW World Tag Team Championships: FTR (c) vs. Aussie Open

* ROH World & NJPW Strong Openweight Championships: Eddie Kingston (c) vs. Katsuyori Shibata

* ROH World Tag Team Championships: MJF (c) vs. The Righteous

* “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Swerve Strickland

* AEW TBS Championship: Kris Statlander (c) vs. Julia Hart

* Winners Receive AEW Tag Team Title Match: The Young Bucks vs. The Gunns vs. Lucha Bros vs. Orange Cassidy & Hook

* Wheeler Yuta vs. Ricky Starks


Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Rams. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton


Twitter/X: @johnreport