Write Forever: AEW Dynamite 9/6/23
The show opened up with the sweet sounds of "Jane" as Orange Cassidy made his way to the ring for a solo promo. The former International Champion said he was told he could stay home but decided "nah", then followed up saying that he'll be here every week whether or not he has a title. Short and sweet, Cassidy left the ring but as he made his way up the ramp "Wild Thing" kicked in as the new International Champion, Jon Moxley, made his way to the ring.
Cassidy paused on the ramp to watch his opponent from last Sunday make his entrance before exiting, pausing briefly next to AR Fox and Darby Allin as they made their entrance. Fox continued to the ring while Darby and OC exited to the back, leading to our opening contest.
International Title: Jon Moxley vs AR Fox
Fox was able to garner a bit of an advantage in the beginning with brief glimpses of hope here and there, but it was Moxley's brutality and overbearing offense keeping the challenger at bay. Just as Fox began to cook a little bit, Moxley cut him off with a King Kong Lariat and a Death Rider for the three count to retain the title.
A fine little opener but nothing to write home about for either man. It sounds like Fox has been in the doghouse a bit for having to miss the All In show in London, and this may just have been collateral damage from that. It wasn't a complete squash, but Fox only got so much.
Post-match, Darby made his way back to Fox's side to help him up and raise his hand while Nick Wayne watched on from the big screen. Wayne turned to walk away, coming face to face with Christian and Luchasaurus. The TNT Champion didn't want any trouble – Christian offered his skills as a mentor to the young Wayne before vacating the scene, but not before asking Wayne to let his mother know he said hello. What a sweet guy!
TBS Title: Kris Statlander vs Emi Sakura
I'm sure Emi came to Dynamite with the rage of a thousand suns for not having been able to wear a fake mustache in Wembley Stadium.
I wrote that first sentence as a joke before the match started, but Emi started by beating the absolute piss out of Statlander including a cross body through the ropes sending Stat to the floor and a second cross body squarshed (yes, squarshed) up against the steel steps.
This looked like as much a hard sell from Emi to prove why she should be featured more often on television as well as a focus on two of the better wrestlers in the division coming after some pretty lousy weeks of women's division action at times (looking at you, Britt Baker vs Taya Valkyrie).
Stat had enough at a certain point and powered up to drill Emi with the second discus lariat I've seen in two days, following with the Wednesday Night Fever to wrap things up and retain the title!
Story Time with Roderick Strong
In the greatest comeback story of 2023, Roderick Strong sat backstage in full Bob Ducca gear with The Kingdom by his side. He talked about his parents and his rough upbringing, detailing his mother's drug issues and his father's alcohol issues. Professional wrestling was the only place where Roderick felt good and whole – the most important thing in his life.
Somehow Strong's problems are also Adam Cole's fault.
Roddy has his sights set on winning the entire Grand Slam tournament before becoming the new AEW World Heavyweight Champion.
In the ring, Roddy has always been great in his AEW run but this new twist of the jilted, jealous ex-best-friend is maybe one of the greatest character turnarounds I can remember seeing. I hope he never takes that neckbrace off!
Le Sex Gods vs Aussie Open
There are two stories to be told here: the growing uneasiness between Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara and the former ROH Tag Team Champions, Aussie Open, trying to get back on the winning track.
Both teams have their problems rooted in All In. For Jericho and Sammy, Jericho shoved his apprentice away after the match and essentially blamed Sammy for the loss the following week on Dynamite. For the Oi (Oi Oi) Bois, their loss of their titles to Adam Cole & MJF is a major setback in what was a quick rise to teh top after Mark Davis' return from injury.
There were a pretty decent number of "OI OI OI" chants for the Aussies, as there were evidently a ton of Australian Garfields in Indiana in attendance at the Garfield Arena. Do Australian Garfields hate Fridays instead?
There was a slight miscommunication with Le Sex Gods where Jericho came over the top rope with a dive and landed on Guevara instead of Aussie Open. This led to Jericho eating the Aussie Arrow for a two count and Guevara was back in to save Jericho from another double team.
In recovery mode, Jericho looked for a tag but Guevara was nowhere to be found. This opening allowed Kyle Fletcher to blast Jericho with a running boot in the corner and then spike him with a gnarly brainbuster for a two count.
A second miscommunication came again at the hands of Jericho who charged at Fletcher, his intended target ducking out of the way causing Jericho to knock Guevara off of the apron.
Jericho was able to recover again and catch Fletcher with the Judas Effect for the win.
Post-match, Sammy returned the favor and shoved Jericho away when The Ocho attempted to make amends. Guevara bailed through the crowd as a dejected Jericho looked on from the ring.
Ricky Starks is the fucking man
Informative video package time!
With bits of footage from the incredible strap match with Bryan Danielson at All Out, comments from Ricky Starks were cut in. Starks made the true claim that Danielson didn't tap him out and claims that nobody can tap him out. Starks hit a nice little line with, "Don't give me a piece of bread and tell me that I've been fed. I want a full course meal."
One of these days, it's gonna be Ricky Starks' time. I just hope it's not too far down the road because I'm already looking forward to the days of guys like Starks, Hobbs, Swerve Strickland, and Brody King holding the AEW World Heavyweight Title.
Sister Wendy's Don Callis' American Canadian Collection
Don Callis and Konosuke Takeshita were backstage with Renee Paquette and a covered easel, stating that they will unveil the artwork – and their next target – one week from tonight on Dynamite.
M-Joe-F. Is that anything?
In an in-ring promo, the World Heavyweight Champion at first complained about having to wrestle again on September 20 before realizing that September 20 is Grand Slam. In the backyard of The Devil, MJF was more than eager to step back into the ring.
MJF shifted focus to a man who needed to be taught a lesson – before Samoa Joe's music hit, bringing the ROH TV Champion to the ring much to the chagrin of MJF.
Joe got under the skin of the champ by referring to him as "kid" twice, leading to MJF making a bunch of stupid weight and tiny penis jokes.
Joe delivers a third "kid", sending MJF over the edge and into story time to recount his tryout at 19-years-old with the WWE. This included the GIF that everybody has seen time and time again by now – Samoa Joe strong arming MJF against a wall in a backstage segment.
MJF also made mention of William Regal, telling Joe that if he's not careful he's going to send the Samoan Submission Machine back to NXT, too. Of note, Joe was wearing black and yellow gear. Maybe just a coincidence?
From here MJF played the hits for the most part, circling back to a pair of catchphrases first telling Joe that MJF is going to kill him and that MJF is better than you (and so on and so forth).
Joe also played the hits, using the Big B Word for effect. After a slap from MJF, Joe backed off and said he's simply win the tournament and not react the way MJF wanted him to. Joe offered to let MJF leave the ring and then, SHOCK OF SHOCKS, he attacked the champion on his way out of the ring.
MJF turned the tables for a moment with a low blow, but Joe swung things back in his favor before being chased off by Adam Cole before he could deliver a Muscle Buster to the champ.
MJF was helped to the back by the medical team, clutching his neck and complaining of a numb arm while Joe lobbed one more blow at the World Champion before leaving.
But that wasn't all! Over the PA system we heard the sweet voice of Roderick Strong bellowing "AAAADDDAAAMMMM!" repeatedly as Roddy made his way to the ring. Is this his new theme song?!
Roddy and The Kingdom shot some verbal barbs at Cole as they made their way to the ring leading into a break.
Grand Slam Tournament: Roderick Strong vs Trent Beretta
Sadly, Roderick didn't wrestle with the neckbrace on.
This was a fun, hard-hitting match with Strong using his strength and love of breaking backs to keep Trent at bay for much of the match. As Strong went for the Stronghold late in the match, Trent twisted out of it and dropped Roddy on his neck with a suplex and a piledriver for a two count.
After clutching to the ropes to avoid further offense from Trent, Roderick came out with a jumping knee strike before End of Heartache for the win!
Thankfully, The Kingdom rushed into the ring post-match to put the neckbrace back on Winner Roddy as they're apparently the only two other people in the company who care about Roderick's neck health.
The Illustrious Toni Storm
Renee was backstage with Toni Storm asking about Toni's involvement in Kris Statlander/Ruby Soho at All In leading to Ruby eating the loss against Stat. Toni brushed Renee off and then mentioned that we'd be getting a special look at her life next week.
Toni exited with the catchphrase that will sweep the nation: "Chin up, tits out, watch for the shoe" before a shoe (from someone) came speeding towards Renee.
Swerve Boy Shit
In the ring, Tony Schiavone asked Hangman about his weekend. Hangman detailed his battle royale win and his donation of $50,000 to the Chicago Public School Fund.
Hangman didn't want to talk about last weekend, though. He wanted to talk about the future... but his immediate future involved Swerve Strickland who interrupted the former AEW World Heavyweight Champion.
Prince Nana sent Tony packing before formally introducing Swerve. Swerve opened up with the claim that he'd been in a casket for the past two weeks (rude of Tony Khan to allow this) and it provided him some clarity – clarity that included Hangman Page.
Strickland laid it out as he saw it – Hangman has gotten soft and may not even want his spot anymore after having been handed everything on a silver platter at the start of AEW.
Swerve continued to say that if he had gotten the same opportunities as Hangman had received, he would have been the first black AEW World Heavyweight Champion by now and YES, SPEAK IT INTO EXISTENCE.
Hangman, frustrated, got in the face of Swerve and told him that he's "had enough of this shit this year" and that if Swerve wanted a match he could go in the back and get one. Hangman started to make his exit but as he did, Swerve baited him back in with a line about his wife and child.
This was enough to draw Page back into the ring, leading to Brian Cage clobbering Hanger with a clothesline to the back of the head and the Drill Claw to leave him laying.
Swerve Strickland vs Adam Page is extremely my shit, I just want this to be a moment for Swerve to move to that next step. I'm just not sure that's what we'll get, as it seems like we're in a rebuilding era for Hangman Page.
Grand Slam Tournament: Darby Allin vs Nick Wayne
I wondered, will this match will be equal parts good and insane? And as I did, Darby Allin flung his little body out of the ring like a sad little cannon ball with a topé suicida attempt on Nick Wayne which missed sending Darby flying into the guard rail at about 8,500 miles per hour.
Wayne showed concern, allowing the doctor to check on Darby before making any additional moves.
Darby was able to regroup and take the advantage albeit at a much slower pace than you'd typically expect from Darby Allin.
In the middle of a strike-off, Darby grabbed the mic and told Nick he "hit like an 18-year-old" and to hit him like he actually wanted to win this thing. Darby placed his hands behind his back to allow for a free shot, which Wayne obliged him with via a superkick leading to a near fall.
At this point, Christian Cage and Luchasaurus made their way to the commentary table to get a better view of the action. Tony bit back that "you can get a real good look on TV these days with a monitor." Love that Tony Schiavone.
With an already damaged Darby, Wayne turned up the heat and went for a number of falls in quick succession without much luck other than wearing down his opponent with repeated forced kickouts.
With both men fighting on the apron, Wayne leapt into the air with a picture perfect hurricanrana sending Darby hurling toward the arena floor with a sick splat. Wayne came off the top rope with what looked like an attempt at a frog splash on the floor but may have ended up as more of a bit of a double stomp or double knees. Looked gnarly.
After blocking an attempted super cutter from the top rope, sending Wayne to the mat, Darby balked on going for a a Coffin Drop and his hesitance almost cost him the match at the hands of Wayne's own Last Rites. Darby went hard for multiple covers here, now the one to force his opponent to repeatedly kick out.
In the end, Darby bent Wayne's arms back over his shoulders and laid in several kicks to the back of the head knocking Wayne out for the victory and advancing in the tournament.
Christian and Luchasaurus looked on from the ramp as Darby tended toward Wayne, sending Dynamite off the air.
A fun show and a great start to some new stories and new wrinkles in existing stories coming off of All In. Roderick Strong is truly transcendent in this character and could make it all the way to the finals, coming face to face with the man who caused his neck injury in the first place – Samoa Joe.