By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 206)
Cincinnati, Ohio at Heritage Bank Center
Aired live September 13, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] The Dynamite opening aired and then pyro shot off on the stage. Excalibur, Taz, and Tony Schiavone were on commentary. Ring announcer Justin Roberts handled the introductions for the opening match. Hometown boy Jon Moxley made his entrance through the crowd, and then Big Bill made a standard entrance with Ricky Starks…
1. Jon Moxley vs. Big Bill (w/Ricky Starks) for the AEW International Championship. Bill got the better of Moxley early and booted him to ringside. Taz said Moxley and Bill were once friends who lived together. Starks worked in a cheap shot at ringside while the referee was distracted. Bill sent Moxley into a ringside table heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Moxley was a bloody mess coming out of the break. Moxley superplexed Bill. Moxley fired up and then walked into a Bossman Slam, which led to a two count for Bill. Moxley tried to choke out Bill, who stood up and backed into the corner to break the hold.
Moxley responded with a cutter. Bill exited the ring. Moxley went up top, but Starks tripped him up and Moxley was crotched on the top rope. Bill hit Moxley with a big boot and got a near fall.
Bryan Danielson ran out and attacked Starks at ringside. Danielson battered Starks with punches. Meanwhile, Moxley rolled up a distracted Bill for a two count. Starks sent Danielson crashing into the ring steps. Bill chokeslammed Moxley and got a close near fall.
Bill flipped off the fans in response to their Moxley chant. Moxley caught Bill in a triangle. Bill tried and failed to power up Moxley and then tapped out.
Jon Moxley defeated Big Bill in 11:25 to retain the AEW International Championship.
After the match, Bill and Starks attacked Moxley and Danielson. Claudio Castagnoli ran out and tried to power up Bill, who slipped away on the apron. Bill grabbed Castagnoli by the throat. Castagnoli slipped away and hit Bill with a European uppercut. Bill and Starks made their exit…
Powell’s POV: A nice match with Moxley in hometown babyface mode while facing the bigger heel. I thought AEW might flip Starks babyface now that CM Punk is gone, but he was definitely a heel during this match.
Renee Paquette tried to interview Roderick Strong, who was accompanied by Matt Taven and Mike Bennett on the backstage interview set. Adam Cole interrupted and told Strong that he felt facing Samoa Joe with a neck injury was a big mistake. Strong said he would beat Joe and then go on to become AEW World Champion “because I’m a wrestling legend”…
Excalibur narrated highlights of Konosuke Takeshita beating Kenny Omega twice in eight days…
Tony Schiavone stood in the ring and introduced Don Callis, who came out with Takeshita. There was another covered painting set up inside the ring. Callis took the mic and said “we just bet Kenny Omega twice in one week” and demanded respect. Callis said Takeshita is better than the Japanese aces. He ran through a list of Japanese wrestlers, including Antonio Inoki.
Callis said when you beat Omega twice in seven days, they don’t call you the Ace, they call you the Alpha. Streamers fell from the ceiling and the big screen listed Takeshita as the Alpha. Callis said beating Omega twice wasn’t enough for them. Callis said now he would break Omega’s heart. He said this one would kill Omega.
Callis unveiled the painting, which showed him watching as Takeshita held a blade over Kota Ibushi. Callis said they wouldn’t just beat Ibushi, they would butcher, skin, and burn him. Callis said he would love that while they were spilling Ibushi’s blood, Omega would be at home helpless and watching “like the pathetic cuck that you are.” Callis jabbed a screwdriver through the head of Ibushi’s image on the painting…
Powell’s POV: Takeshita vs. Ibushi? I’m all in for that one. The segment was fine. Callis building up to Inoki’s name while mentioning the Japanese aces didn’t get much of a reaction from the live crowd, which does not surprise me. I think the WrestleDream tribute means way more to Tony Khan than it does to the the average fan. The only thing I didn’t understand is why Callis implied that Omega would be watching at home when Takeshita takes out Ibushi, but maybe it will make more sense when it happens.
Alex Marvez interviewed Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, and Claudio Castagnoli in the backstage area. Danielson challenged Starks and Bill to face him and Castagnoli in a tag match on AEW Collision. Marvez noted that Moxley would be defending his title against Rey Fenix while Castagnoli would defend the ROH Title against Eddie Kingston.
Moxley downplayed their title defenses and said they would be like a day off. Rey Fenix entered the picture and yelled that he would beat Moxley. Fenix was held back by Penta El Zero Miedo and Alex Abrhantes. Meanwhile, Eddie Kingston also arrived and had a staredown with Castagnoli that continued while everyone else was dragged out of the picture. “One more week,” Kingston said before laughing… [C]
Paquette was about to interview Hook on the backstage interview set. Orange Cassidy showed up. Paquette asked him what was up. He said he didn’t know, then said he saw Hook worked up. He told Hook that his body isn’t all taped up and he still has a title like he once did. Hook said Cassidy was a great champion, which led to a fist bump. After Hook left, Cassidy told Paqutte that he’s still tired…
Entrances for the four-way match took place…
2. Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida vs. Nyla Rose (w/Marina Shafir) vs. Toni Storm in a four-way for a shot at the AEW Women’s Championship at Grand Slam. Storm exited the ring once the bell rang. Taz said she’s “been a little out there lately.” Rose clotheslined Baker and Shida. Storm returned to the ring and struck a pose in front of Rose. Funny. They cut to a PIP break shortly thereafter. [C]
Baker set up for a superkick on Shida, but stopped when Shida spotted her. Storm and Rose chop blocked Baker and Shida. A short time later, Shida hit the Kitana on Rose and had her pinned, but Baker kicked her to break it up. Baker followed up with a Stomp on Shida, but Storm rolled up Baker and pinned her.
Toni Storm beat Britt Baker, Hikaru Shida, and Nyla Rose in 6:30 to earn a shot at the AEW Women’s Championship at Grand Slam.
After the match, Storm bolted from the ring and celebrated her win. Shida shoved Baker a couple of times. Baker rolled out of the ring…
Paquette interviewed Saraya and Ruby Soho on the backstage set. Saraya congratulated Storm and said she did it without them. We could not be…prouder, I guess is the word,” Saraya said. Saraya added that Storm lost everything, including her mind. Saraya said Storm is crazy and will leave Grand Slam without the championship and would be left with nothing…
Excalibur hyped Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara for after the break… [C]
Jericho and Guevara entered to “Judas” by Fozzy and were both dressed in non-wrestling attire. Once in the ring, Jericho hyped his match with Guevara as their first-time ever meeting. Jericho spoke about the history between the two and noted that they’ve been together since the very first edition of Dynamite.
Jericho set up a video package that spotlighted their time together. Guevara said he had a confession. “I still don’t know the lyrics to Judas,” Guevara said. Jericho laughed and said Guevara wasn’t in key either and told him not to worry about it.
Jericho recalled watching the NWA 70th Anniversary pay-per-view and said Guevara working one of the prelim matches. Jericho said he was blown away and called Tony Khan and said they had to sign him. Jericho said he wasn’t impressed by the big panda head that Guevara wore, which got a laugh from Guevara.
Jericho said he’s watched Guevara grow from a boy to a man. Jericho told Guevara that he’s really proud of him and everything he’s accomplished over the last four years. Guevara said he knows the typical wrestling thing is to talk trash about his brother, but he doesn’t want to do that. He said Jericho inspires him and he used to do Codebreakers in his mom’s backyard.
Guevara thanked Jericho for changing his life and the lives of so many people backstage. Guevara said there would not be an AEW without Jericho. “But truthfully, Chris, I didn’t come to this company to be Chris Jericho’s sidekick,” Guevara said. He said he wants people to look at him the way they look at Jericho, Moxley, and Danielson. Guevara said he needs to beat Jericho.
Jericho said Guevara was never brought to AEW to be his sidekick. He said Guevara was brought to AEW to be a main event draw and he’s coming closer to that every week. Jericho recalled telling Guevara and Daniel Garcia that if they want to get to the next level, they have to do it outside his influence and on their own.
Jericho said Guevara has to beat him to get to the next level. Jericho said that in order to beat him, Guevara will have to be better than he’s ever been before. Jericho said he doesn’t think Guevara is ready to beat him yet.
Guevara took offense and said that Jericho doesn’t truly respect him like he respects Jericho. Guevara said he would beat Jericho next week and earn his respect. Guevara said they would shake hands, hug, and win some tag team titles. Guevara offered Jericho a handshake, which Jericho accepted before pulling in Guevara for an intense staredown.
“Let me make something perfectly clear, Sammy, next week I’m going to give you the match of your life,” Jericho said. “And I’m not going to go easy on you. I’m going to beat the living hell out of you.” Jericho said he would punch Guevara harder than he’s ever punched anyone and said he expects the same from Guevara. Sammy said he wouldn’t want it any other way…
Powell’s POV: I was hoping that both men could somehow lose next week after watching that video package. And it was an eye-rolling moment when Jericho claimed this would be one of the biggest matches of his career. But they won me over with the rest of the segment. I’m looking forward to their match and I’m curious to see if they play it straight or if one of them turns on the other at the end. My guess remains Sammy joins the Callis Family despite previously shooting down Callis.
Footage aired from last week of Paquette in MJF’s locker room while a trainer tended to him and Adam Cole stood by. The trainer said MJF wouldn’t be ready to wrestle next week (tonight), but he would be ready for Grand Slam. MJF was happy to have a week off.
MJF spoke about his potential opponents Roderick Strong and Samoa Joe. MJF mocked Strong for being bland. He said he’s not afraid of Joe because it’s not about the size of the dog, it’s about the size of the fight in the dog and he’s a New York pitbull. MJF started rattling off percentages regarding his home field advantage and said Joe had no chance of winning…
Brian Cage and Prince Nana made their entrance…
[Hour Two] Hangman Page made his entrance…
3. Hangman Page vs. Brian Cage (w/Prince Nana). A “Cowboy Shit” chant broke out as the match started. Page eventually hit a 619 on Cage. Page set up for the Buckshot Lariat when he was interrupted by Swerve Strickland’s entrance theme. Nana was shown dancing (yes!). Swerve walked out, allowing Cage to suplex a distracted Page heading into a PIP break. [C]
Page hit a top rope moonsault onto Cage at ringside. Back in the ring, Page performed a top rope crossbody block for a near fall. Swerve was shown watching the match from the stage. Cage came back with a German suplex. A short time later, Cage set up for the Drill Claw, but Page countered into an inside cradle for a near fall. Page ducked a clothesline and then hit the Deadeye and got the three count.
Hangman Page beat Brian Cage in 12:05.
After the match, Swerve shot Page a mean face while standing on the stage. Page got a microphone and recalled Swerve saying he wants his position in the company. Page said for a second, he thought Swerve had some balls, but now he’s pretty sure he’s just keeping them stowed away in Nana’s “Burger King ass crown.”
Swerve pulled out a mic and said those sounded like fighting words. He said that if Page thought things would be settled tonight, he must be stupider than the Cincinnati education system. Swerve said they would do it when and where he says. Swerve said he chose the great state that birthed him. Swerve called for the match to take place at WrestleDream on October 1.
Swerve said he would make sure that Page didn’t get too comfortable before then. “Ain’t that right, Brian Cage?” Cage hit Page from behind. Cage and Nana put the boots to Page. Nana stopped to dance.
“The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson entered the ring and double superkicked Cage. Nana had no idea and kept dancing. Once he turned around, the Bucks double superkicked him…
Paquette interviewed Daniel Garcia on the backstage set. She tried to ask him about Jericho vs. Guevara, but he cut her off and asked why they didn’t talk about the Arizona Cardinals doing his dance. Don Callis showed up and tried to talk about the Callis Family. Garcia put his hand up to silence Callis and then did his dance in front of him. Callis said that’s money and ran after Garcia…
Powell’s POV: This situation calls for a Garcia vs. Nana dance off! Okay, so I’m probably in the minority on that one, but I do get a big kick out of Nana dancing to Swerve’s entrance song. Anyway, the Page vs. Cage match was entertaining even though the outcome was never in question. It’s too bad that Cage puts over so many people in AEW. He did a terrific job as the Impact World Champion and should mean more than he does in AEW.
A video package recapped Jade Cargill returning on AEW Collision and attacking Kris Statlander…
Excalibur announced Statlander vs. Cargill for the TBS Championship for Friday’s AEW Rampage…
Powell’s POV: Rampage?!? I wonder if it will be more of an angle than a match or if they are suddenly serious about trying to get viewers to watch the Friday night show. If nothing else, the taped format does let them clean up some things if necessary.
4. Darby Allin and Nick Wayne vs. Matt Menard and Angelo Parker (w/Jake Hager, Anna Jay). Both entrances were televised. Early in the match, Christian Cage’s entrance theme played and he walked onto the stage with Luchasaurus. Cage sat in on commentary. Jay distracted the referee, allowing Hager to interfere heading into a PIP break. [C]
Allin, who had tape on his back, performed a senton from the apron on Menard and came up selling his back. Allin went up top and Wayne followed. Allin hit a Coffin Drop on Parker while Wayne performed a top rope moonsault onto Menard and Hager at ringside. Allin got the three count.
Darby Allin and Nick Wayne beat Matt Menard and Angelo Parker in roughly 7:30.
After the match, Christian Cage took a mic to the stage and called it a very impressive victory. Cage said he went home last week and scrolled through Wayne’s mom’s Instagram accounts. Cage said it bothered him that she doesn’t post enough bikini pics. He said he sent her a special request on the side.
Cage said he’s getting pissed that people are still talking about Allin and Sting’s win at Wembley Stadium. He said it was embarrassing, though not as embarrassing as losing to the Cleveland Browns. Cage said he didn’t have his regular partner with him. Cage said it was time to right the wrong. Cage challenged Allin and Sting to face him and Luchasaurus at Grand Slam…
Powell’s POV: More than anything, this match felt like it was there to establish that Allin is injured heading into the newly proposed tag team match for next week’s show.
Excalibur hyped the following for Friday’s AEW Rampage: AEW Trios Champions The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn in action, Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal vs. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett, Penta El Zero Miedo, Rey Fenix, Matt Hardy, and Jeff Hardy vs. The Butcher, The Blade, Jeff Jarrett, and Jay Lethal…
Excalibur listed the two previously advertised matches for Saturday’s AEW Collision and then ran through the previously advertised matches for AEW Dynamite and AEW WrestleDream. The Swerve vs. Page match was made official for the October 1 pay-per-view…
A video package recapped the AEW Grand Slam tournament quarterfinals and semifinals… [C] Entrances for the main event took place. Roderick Strong came out with Bennett and Taven, while Samoa Joe flew solo…
5. Samoa Joe vs. Roderick Strong (w/Matt Taven, Mike Bennett) in the Grand Slam tournament final for a shot at the AEW World Championship.Strong sold neck pain early and rolled to the floor for a moment. Joe and Strong traded chops heading into a PIP break. [C]
Joe had a flurry of offense that he capped off with a big boot followed by a senton, which resulted in a two count. Joe powerslammed Strong for a near fall. Strong came back with a series of running forearms and then caught Joe with a knee strike in the corner. Strong put Joe down with a lariat and covered him for a two count.
A short time later, Joe put Strong on the ropes for a Muscle Buster. Bennett climbed on the apron and was punched off by Joe. Strong took advantage of the distraction and executed a suplex and a running boot to the face for a close near fall. Strong waited for Joe to stand up and then charged him, but Joe drilled him with a lariat. Joe applied the Coquina Clutch and got the submission win.
Samoa Joe defeated Roderick Strong to win the Grand Slam tournament in 11:00 to earn a shot at the AEW World Championship.
Afterward, Joe took the mic and said, “Oh, Max, it seems my little prophecy has come true.” Joe said he was going to MJF’s backyard and will beat him up and take everything he has. Joe said “everything” one more time and then dropped the mic and exited the ring. The broadcast team hyped MJF vs. Joe for the AEW World Championship for next week’s Dynamite Grand Slam edition.
Strong got to his feet and was blowing off Taven and Bennett wanting him to put his neck brace on. Adam Cole walked out without entrance music. Strong spotted him and fell to the mat and started yelling “Adam” while selling his neck. The trainers brought out a stretcher.
Strong was placed on a board with a neck brace and moved to the stretcher. Strong continued to yell “Adam” while he was being tended to. Taven told Cole he did enough. “You came down and this is what happened,” Taven said. Strong was wheeled to the back on a stretcher. Taven and Bennett blocked Cole from accompanying Strong to the back, so he went to the stage while they followed Strong and the EMTs to the side of the stage.
Samoa Joe returned and choked out Cole on the stage. Joe said something into the camera, but the broadcast team wouldn’t stop talking. Joe stood over Cole and flexed while the broadcast team reminded viewers that MJF was heading into next week’s title defense with a neck injury. They ran through the rest of the Grand Slam matches. Referees were checking on Cole as the show concluded.
Powell’s POV: A good main event with a hilarious post match angle. Strong cracks me up every week. As predictable as the majority of the tournament was, I leaned Joe winning this match, yet I didn’t feel entirely confident about him winning, especially with the possibility of interference from Taven and Bennett. It sets up an intriguing finale and I like the way Joe choked out Cole afterward.
Overall, a good episode that was well paced and didn’t have much filler content. I will have more to say about Dynamite in my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of Dynamite by grading the show below.