This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli against Orange Cassidy & Kazuchika Okada, plus MJF in action and a whole lot more.
The show started with AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman about to be interviewed by Renee Paquette. Max called Adam Cole on the phone, so Roderick Strong in wheelchair arrived (“ADAM!”) with The Kingdom’s Mike Bennett & Matt Taven. Cole hung up. MJF shoved Strong in his wheelchair. MJF shouted that he has a bullet with Juice Robinson’s name on it and he’s not going to miss.
It’s Wednesday night and you know what that means. Excalibur was on commentary with Tony Schiavone and Taz.
Juice Robinson was joined by Bullet Club Gold’s The Gunns. Maxwell Jacob Friedman, the AEW World Champion, made his entrance to a big pop and MJF is also one half of the ROH Tag Team Champions. MJF has a singles record of 8-0-1 in 2023.
Dynamite Diamond Ring Match: Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. Juice Robinson (w/Austin & Colten Gunn)
This is for the Dynamite Diamond Ring that MJF has had for every year that AEW existed.
MJF attacked Juice with punches and stomps against the turnbuckle. They left the ring with MJF tossing Juice into the barricade a few times. MJF tossed Juice over the ringside table. MJF broke the referee’s very slow count, then left the ring again and hit a running boot to knock Juice over the barricade. MJF did a slingshot sending Juice into the ring post. The camera went on MJF while Juice did a blade job on the floor and Juice had bloody head. MJF put Juice’s mouth against the steel steps and wanted to stomp on his head, but The Gunns got close to save their friend. Juice grabbed MJF by the tights and sent Max into the steel steps. Juice hit a DDT on the apron. Austin slid the scarf to Juice while Colten distracted, so Juice choked MJF with the scarf. Jay White arrived with the AEW World Title that belongs to MJF, so White joined the commentary team.
The match continued with MJF choking Juice with the scarf, the referee saw it and just threw it out of the ring. MJF got some offense going with a body slam. MJF sent Juice into the top turnbuckle along with the ten corner punches along with some head biting. MJF did an armdrag into the turnbuckle. MJF hit his kangaroo kick that is a dropkick. The Gunns tripped up MJF trying to go off the ropes and Juice hit a jumping side kick. MJF avoided some moves leading to an eye poke, so Juice spit in his face. Juice punched MJF in the jaw and Juice hit a Powerbomb for two. MJF jumped off the middle turnbuckle with a double foot stomp on the left arm. Juice countered a move that MJF wanted to do and then MJF done onto both Gunns on the floor. MJF trapped Juice against the ring apron along with some facial gouging. Juice kicked the rope while MJF was against the middle rope, so it was like a low blow and the referee never saw it. Juice hit the Juice is Loose DDT. Juice put his ring on, MJF avoided it and MJF punched Juice while MJF had the Dynamite Diamond Ring on his finger. MJF punched both Gunns off the apron. MJF hit the Heatseeker for the pinfall win. It went 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Maxwell Jacob Friedman
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very good match with MJF outsmarting Juice and Bullet Club Gold. I don’t think anybody really thought Juice was going to win, so MJF finding a way to get the win is what was expected here. Juice is really entertaining to watch and a guy that I hope wins a singles title in AEW at some point. They worked well together.
Since MJF won, that meant he won the Dynamite Diamond Ring for five consecutive years.
Analysis: We know in the past MJF has said his contract is up in January 2024. In my opinion, he has already re-signed and the fact that they put the Dynamite Diamond Ring on him again is further proof of that. I could be wrong. It hasn’t been reported. I’m just saying I think it’s likely he’ll be in AEW long term.
Post match, The Gunns, Juice and White attacked MJF with cheap shots. Matt Taven & Mike Bennett tried to save with Roderick Strong in the wheelchair, but The Gunns knocked Taven and Bennett out of the ring. The Acclaimed ran out for the save, so Bullet Club Gold retreated.
Jay White did a promo from the top of the ramp. White said that he’s got the AEW World Championship even though MJF is the champion.
The Gunns did a promo with Colten challenging MJF to an ROH Tag Team Title match at AEW Full Gear. MJF told the Ass Boys to shut up. MJF said if they want a shot at Full Gear, they got the shot.
MJF said he’s not waiting until Full Gear to get his hands on White’s Jack Sparrow looking ass. MJF said that next week on AEW Dynamite, he’ll take them up on the offer of an eight-man tag team match against Bullet Club Gold. The BCG guys left to the back.
Roderick Strong shouted at Max and then said that he was going to pick them, right? MJF told Roddy and his friends to roll on out of there.
Max Caster wondered if that meant that MJF was going to pick them. MJF said he’s known Caster since he was 18 years old but said that he wouldn’t tag with him if MJF was on fire and tagging with Caster would put the fire out. Anthony Bowens did the line about how “Everybody loves The Acclaimed” and that led to Caster trying to get MJF to scissor him. MJF didn’t want to do that.
MJF was on the stage with his AEW World Title when Kenny Omega approached him. Omega said that MJF has a lot going on here, so he’s going to get straight to it. Omega said even though he has no right to ask and if MJF is the type of scumbag that is “their scumbag” then you’re going to hear him out. Omega said that he wants a shot at the AEW World Title. MJF suggested “The Cleaner vs. The Devil” this Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut on Collision for the AEW World Championship. MJF: “May the best man win.” MJF did his usual promo saying his name saying, “I’m better than you and you know it.” Omega did his catchphrase. Omega: “Three days, bitch.” The fans cheered. If Omega wins then MJF won’t break Omega’s record for the longest AEW World Title reign in company history.
Analysis: There was a lot of post match stuff going on there. Obviously, the big news is MJF facing Kenny Omega this Saturday on AEW Collision, which is one of the biggest matches you can do. That’s a PPV main event level match that they are putting on Collision instead. Collision isn’t shown on TV here in Canada. I do have other ways to watch, but I wish it was on TV.
Wardlow was featured in a video package talking about how he has sat at home for four months watching MJF become the name and face of the company despite doing some awful things. Wardlow said that he had to watch the man that he beat headline the biggest show ever. Wardlow said that there is nothing left, so now he’s going to take everything from him.
Analysis: I am all for a Wardlow push. It came across as heelish a bit, but the fans also like Wardlow. The man made some good points at least.
Hook & Rob Van Dam vs. Dark Order – John Silver & Alex Reynolds (w/Evil Uno)
This is RVD’s third AEW match with a 1-1 record. The win was a tag team match with Hook. RVD is a legend in Philly, which is ECW country.
RVD got an armdrag takedown on Alex. Silver tagged in with some flexing, but RVD gave him a monkey flip across the ring. Alex went into the ring, Hook took him down with a fireman’s carry. RVD and Hook hit clotheslines to knock their opponents out of the ring to the floor. That led to a break.
Dark Order was in control of Hook, but Hook hit a suplex on Silver to break free. RVD tagged in with multiple kicks and a spinning leg drop to the back of Silver. RVD kicked Alex off the apron. RVD kicked Silver followed by the Rolling Thunder splash for a two count. Alex was in illegally, RVD suplexed him and then Silver tried some offense, but RVD kicked him down. Hook tagged in with crossface forearms to the face of Silver and Alex went into the ring with a boot to Hook’s face. Uno went into the ring with a chair, so RVD kicked him with the chair. RVD with a step-over kick on Alex, who isn’t legal just like RVD. Rob went up top and hit the Five Star Frog Splash. Silver went after RVD, but RVD avoided it and Hook applied the Red Rum submission on Silver. That was it with Silver tapping out. It went about nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Hook & Rob Van Dam
Analysis: **1/2 An average nostalgia match with Rob Van Dam doing his usual spots while the Dark Order guys looked like losers with no chance of winning this match. It was lacking drama or any kind of excitement. The last three minutes had far too much action with the illegal man in the ring, but that’s AEW. Hook is well-liked by the fans although he has yet to have an interesting storyline in his career.
RJ City was backstage with Toni Storm walking in to tell them to play the picture. It was another Toni Storm silent movie during the picture-in-picture break.
Sting & Darby Allin Interview
Tony Schiavone was in the ring as he introduced Sting and Darby Allin for a promo. Allin had his right arm in a sling. Tony mentioned Sting’s announcement from a week ago.
Sting said he was glad to be there now. Sting thanked Philadelphia for all of the history he has had in this city. Sting also thanked his tag team partner Darby Allin saying he could not have come this far without Darby by his side. Sting said Darby was by far the best tag team partner he has ever had. Sting thanked somebody else for making this happen and for making the phone call four years ago – Tony Khan. Sting thanked Tony Khan for asking him to come back and Tony Schiavone took the microphone back. Tony S spoke on behalf of Tony Khan thanking Sting for what he has done. Tony S reminded us that Sting’s final match will be at Revolution 2024.
Tony Schiavone said that 35 years ago on this network, Sting put professional wrestling on the map. Tony said it elevated Sting to the icon that he is now. The fans chanted “Thank You Sting” for the Stinger. Tony Schiavone said that Tony Khan had a special gift for Sting and he’s proud to bring out that special gift right now.
It’s Ric Flair! The famous music of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair played as the legendary Flair walked down to the ring. It is Ric’s first time on AEW TV. Sting greeted Flair with a hug in the ring. Ric hugged Tony Schiavone as well. The fans chanted “Holy Shit” at the sight of the Nature Boy in an AEW ring.
Ric Flair spoke about how in life there are moments that are magical. Flair said that 35 years ago, Sting and Ric made history on TBS at the first Clash of Champions against WrestleMania. Flair said going 55 minutes in a match is hard. Flair said that Sting is not only one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of our business, but he’s also one of the nicest guys he has ever known. Flair said that when Tony Khan asked him to be here, Flair said he wants to be part of it all the way until March when Sting retires. Flair even chopped Sting in the chest.
Christian Cage, the TNT Champion, was here for the interruption with Luchasaurus and Nick Wayne by his side. They were on the ramp. Christian said that Tony Khan is a billionaire and this is the gift that he gives Sting. Christian made old jokes about Flair. Christian said he knows that Flair isn’t dead, but said if there was a God then Ric Flair would have been dead 20 years ago. Ouch. The fans chanted “fuck you Christian” at him.
Christian said he was out there because Sting and Darby decided to stick their nose in his business again. Christian held up the TNT Champion while mocking the Philadelphia Phillies for not getting it done in the baseball playoffs. Christian said that his proposition is that he didn’t want to wait until Revolution for Sting to be gone because he wants Sting gone right now. Christian said he sees the two of you and Ric Flair is close to turning into dust. Christian suggested a six-man tag team match at Full Gear and told Darby & Sting to get a partner.
Sting spoke up, he sneezed and said he was allergic to jackasses. Sting said they will find a partner and they accept his challenge.
Analysis: It’s cool to see Ric Flair in AEW. I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. We have a post up on TJRWrestling with Dave Meltzer saying that AEW wanted to use Flair earlier, but then the Dark Side of the Ring episode happened, so it was delayed. Anyway, seeing Ric reunited with Sting is a cool sight considering their long history together. Christian said some awful things as usual because that’s the kind of heel he is. People legitimately react to him thinking “this guy has gone too far” and it’s the kind of heat that makes fans cringe, but it also works very well for a heel pro wrestler.
Chris Jericho was interviewed by Renee Paquette earlier in the day. Jericho said he can’t remember having a beatdown like what he took from Powerhouse Hobbs a few weeks ago on Dynamite. Paquette wondered if Jericho was having self reflection about what’s left. Jericho spoke about how he’s always had immense self confidence in himself and knowing he can beat anybody. Jericho said he couldn’t get out of the whole he was in during his match with Hobbs. Jericho wondered if he has what it takes to beat Hobbs, is it time to step back or is it time to get some sort of revenge. Jericho said that Don Callis has a family. Jericho said he has a lot of friends too. Jericho said some of those friends are even bigger than Will Hobbs, so maybe it’s time to give them a call.
Analysis: A good interview with Jericho putting over Hobbs and how powerful he is. I wonder if the man that Jericho may call is Paul Wight, who still wants to wrestle and is a good friend of Jericho.
ROH Six-Man Tag Team Championships: The Elite – The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) and “Hangman” Adam Page vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) and Brother Zay (Isiah Kassidy)
I forgot these titles existed. Kidding. Maybe. I’ll refer to Matt Hardy as Hardy in the writeup and Matt Jackson as Matt to avoid confusion.
Young Bucks did some tag team offense on Zayn against the turnbuckle. Page tagged in with a top rope clothesline on Zayn. Jeff did a cheap shot knee on Matt Jackson and Hardy hit a Side Effect on Matt for two. Zay tagged in with a twisting splash onto Hangman & Nick on the floor. They went to a PIP break.
The match continued with Matt Jackson hitting a double Northern Lights Suplex on Hardy & Zayn. Page tagged in, clotheslined Hardy on the apron and Page hit a fallaway slam on Zay. Page hit a Death Valley Driver on Zay for a two count. Page tried a move on Zay, but Zay used the back of Jeff Hardy to bounce back leading to Zay hitting a DDT on Page. Nick tagged in with a superkicks for all three opponents. Matt Jackson tagged in, Zay got in some kicks and a dropkick on both opponents. Jeff was legal as he hit Twist of Fate and Zay jumped off Matt Jackson’s back to hit a dive on the floor. Hardy hit Twist of Fate on Matt. Jeff went up top and hit a Swanton Bomb on Matt for two because Nick saved his brother Matt from being pinned. Zay with a jumping kick on Matt and Page hit a Buckshot Lariat on Zay. Young Bucks hit superkicks to knock the Hardys off the apron. Bucks hit the BTE Trigger on Zay for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Elite – The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) and “Hangman” Adam Page
Analysis: *** It was a good match with an obvious result with the champions retaining the titles. There was one spot where the challengers looked like they might win when Jeff Hardy hit that Swanton Bomb for a two count. Other than that, it was all about the champions working well together and picking up the easy win. Brother Zay did have some good spots in the match.
A video package aired on the screen showing Swerve Strickland and Prince Nana in Hangman Adam Page’s house. Hangman ran to the backstage area. Swerve sat on the couch and looked a children’s book that was on a table. Swerve put his camera phone by the crib. Swerve wondered if Hangman isn’t there, if Hangman Jr going to give him opportunities. Swerve said Hangman Jr will, but not today. Swerve left a Mogul Embassy shirt in the crib saying that you’re never going to forget it is Swerve’s House. They never actually showed the kid.
Analysis: A home invasion angle is a way to make the rivalry feel very personal because it’s going to make Hangman want to destroy Swerve for it. I like both guys, so I’m fine with the rivalry continuing. The question of, “how was it so easy to get in this man’s house?” isn’t going to be answered, so I’ll pretend like I didn’t ask it. It’s pro wrestling. Logic doesn’t apply.
Adam Copeland was interviewed by Renee Paquette backstage. Renee summed up that Adam doesn’t plan to fight Christian Cage. Adam said that his friendship with Cage matters more than anything in this business. Darby Allin and Sting walked in. Allin said it was “kill or be killed” here now. Sting spoke to Adam saying he knows what it was like to have the blinders off. Sting said that he learned from Ric Flair to see through guys like Christian. Sting told Adam to open his eyes up before it’s too late. Sting yelled at Adam to listen before it’s too late. Sting said, “we go way back, don’t mess it all up now.” Sting and Allin left while Adam said nothing.
Analysis: It’s an interesting story in terms of Sting & Allin wanting Adam Copeland to team with them, but Copeland is reluctant to face his buddy Christian Cage. I like it as a story.
AEW Women’s Championship: Hikaru Shida vs. Ruby Soho
Ruby and Shida exchanged holds with neither woman getting the advantage. Shida did a cross body block that didn’t work very well and the fans didn’t even react to it. Shida hit a body slam. Ruby did a STO trip for a two count. Shida and Ruby did the roll around the ring going for a pinfall spot. Shida worked over Ruby with punches in the corner, which was really Shida punching her left hand repeatedly because of the camera angle they used. Shida hit a missile dropkick to knock Ruby out of the ring. Ruby hit a No Future Kick on the floor (sort of) to take control.
Shida got some offense going with an elbow strike to the head along with a torture rack submission on the back. Shida hit a running elbow strike to the face. Shida went up top and Ruby slammed her down for a two count. Ruby pulled off the turnbuckle, then got the spray paint and tried to make it look like Shida used the spray paint. Ruby tried to use the title, then Shida sprayed the title with the spray paint. The referee took the title away, Ruby used tape to choke Shida and Ruby hit a Destination Unknown neckbreaker for two. Ruby hit the No Future kick and Shida hit her Katana kick for two. Shida countered a move leading to a knee strike and a Falcon Arrow for two. Ruby countered it into a pin, Shida kicked out to put Ruby into the exposed steel and then Shida hit the Katana kick for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Hikaru Shida
Analysis: **3/4 It was okay. They had some sloppy moments in the match. The conclusion had a lot of silliness that felt like it was overbooking. Shida winning was not a surprise although I do like Ruby as a performer.
After the match, “Timeless” Toni Storm arrived as the black and white camera appeared while Storm did some ridiculous posing on the stage. Storm has a new ally in Luther with her. Storm is against Shida for the AEW World Title at Full Gear.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman was interviewed by Renee Paquette in the trainer’s room. Samoa Joe said that MJF lacks friendship. Joe said that he would be MJF’s friend on one condition…he wants MJF to give him a rematch for the AEW World Championship. Joe said you don’t have to give an answer now, but he’s sure he’ll get an answer soon enough.
Analysis: I’m intrigued to see where that goes.
It was main event time with AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy up first followed by the legendary Kazuchika Okada making his AEW Dynamite in-ring debut. Big pop for Okada.
The Blackpool Combat Club’s Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli entered together to Danielson’s music. It is the first time Danielson and Okada have been in the same match since Forbidden Door in June.
Orange Cassidy & Kazuchika Okada vs. Blackpool Combat Club – Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli
Orange tried to put his hands in his pockets, so Bryan kicked him in the leg. Thank you! Bryan stomped on Orange’s arm and kicked Orange in the back. Claudio tagged in with a couple of body slams on Orange. Okada tagged in leading to a huge pop from the crowd. Okada did a drop toe hold followed by an elbow drop to the back. Claudio & Okada exchanged forearms followed by an uppercut fest. Okada hit a body slam. Orange tagged in and hit an elbow drop fall off the top rope for two. Claudio sent Orange into the turnbuckle followed by a delayed vertical suplex on the top rope. Bryan tagged in leading to a knee drop to Orange’s back for two.
Claudio charged at Orange with an uppercut, but Orange avoided it and Orange did a back body drop to send Claudio to the floor. Claudio prevented a tag leading to suplex attempt, but Orange countered it and Orange hit a DDT. Okada tagged in against Bryan at the same time as the fans cheered loudly for it. Bryan pointed at his right arm that was broken during the Forbidden Door match. Bryan hit lefty chops while Okada threw forearms. Bryan worked over Okada with kicks to the body and Okada ran the ropes leading to a back elbow. Okada hit a running back elbow attack followed by a DDT for two. Okada with a body slam. Okada went up top, Bryan got back up and Okada hit a flatliner for two. Bryan broke free leading to a stomp on Omega’s right arm. Bryan delivered several kicks to the body followed by a LeBell Lock submission, but Okada got out of it and they each got nearfalls. Bryan charged, Okada avoided it and Bryan did some lefty chops. Okada punched Bryan hard in the face. They ran the ropes leading to a double cross body block, which put both guys down and the fans were cheering.
Claudio and Orange tagged back in with Orange jumping onto Claudio, so Okada kicked them down with Orange getting a two count. Orange did his stupid comedy kicks, then he did it more intensely and Claudio got a hold of Orange. Claudio tried the Swing, but Orange grabbed the head. Orange hit a Stundog Millionaire and Orange hit a swinging DDT for two because Bryan made the save. Bryan kicked Okada out of the ring. Orange dove onto Danielson on the floor. Orange charged at Claudio, who caught him and Claudio did a Giant Swing! That was a great counter. Claudio spun Orange around about 20 times. I didn’t count it. Claudio applied a Sharpshooter submission on Orange, so Okada kicked Claudio in the head. Okada was the illegal man with a backbreaker variation. Okada with body slam on Claudio. Okada with an elbow drop off the top on Claudio. Okada did a pose, so Orange hugged him and Bryan hit a missile dropkick to stop that. Bryan and Okada were in the ring as the illegal men. Okada hit a dropkick. Orange Cassidy hit Bryan with an Orange Punch and Okada did a Rainmaker clothesline on Bryan. Claudio hit a springboard uppercut on Okada. Orange was back in, Claudio launched him in the air and Claudio hit an uppercut on Orange for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Blackpool Combat Club – Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli
Analysis: ***3/4 That was an awesome match. I would have gone four stars or higher, but in the last two minutes there was so much illegal action with guys in the ring doing spots that were not in the match that it makes it hard for me to reward that. The action was great for the most part with the Okada-Danielson spots standing out the most. I also thought Claudio did a tremendous job throughout the match. Orange Cassidy getting pinned by Claudio sets up Claudio for an International Title match next week.
After the match, Bryan Danielson was selling an injury after taking an Orange Puch and Rainmaker before the finish. It was a weird ending with the doctor checking on Bryan. The rest of the BCC guys arrived at ringside while Orange’s friends and Okada’s friends were there as well. Okada was pointing at Danielson. They also plugged Orange Cassidy defending the AEW International Title against Claudio next week on Dynamite. Anyway, it just kind of ended there with Bryan on the mat getting checked on by a doctor. Weird ending.
Analysis: I don’t know what they were going for with that ending. Bryan was just on the mat selling the idea that he got hurt by an Orange Punch and a Rainmaker. I’m all for Bryan facing Okada in a singles match again. Perhaps it will be at Full Gear, but maybe they have something else in mind for it.
Three Stars of the Show
- Kazuchika Okada & Orange Cassidy, Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli
- Sting & Ric Flair
This Week: 7.5 out of 10
Last Week: 7
2023 Average: 7.35
I’ll be brief here to say I thought it was a very good show that I enjoyed. Good action throughout the night. MJF was all over the broadcast especially that first hour and then in other segments as well. I really liked the main event tag team match with Okada/Cassidy beating Danielson/Castagnoli. The MJF match with Juice Robinson was really good too. Most of the other matches were just average to me.
A nice surprise as well with Ric Flair making his AEW debut to support Sting. That was a cool moment with them which Christian Cage had some strong insults as usual. What a guy.
The next AEW pay-per-view is Full Gear from Los Angeles on November 18th. Here’s the lineup so far:
* AEW World Championship: Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) (c) vs. Jay White
* Sting, Darby Allin & a partner vs. Christian Cage, Luchasaurus & Nick Wayne
* AEW Women’s Championship: Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Toni Storm
* ROH Tag Team Championships: Maxwell Jacob Friedman (c) vs. The Gunns – Colten & Austin Gunn
Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors & Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.