By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 208)
Broomfield, Colorado at 1stBank Center
Aired live September 27, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] The Dynamite opening aired and then pyro shot off on the stage. Excalibur and Taz were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled the introductions for the opening match…
1. Rey Fenix (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/Karen Jarrett, Jay Lethal, Satnam Singh, Sonjay Dutt) for the AEW International Championship. Once the heels arrived at ringside, Fenix dove from the top rope onto some of them. Fenix and Jarrett fought at ringside. Fenix performed a huracanrana on Lethal, whose head collided with Singh’s balls. The referee called for the bell to start the match once Fenix threw Jarrett inside the ring.
Singh climbed onto the apron while Fenix was standing on the top rope. Referee Aubrey Edwards stood and watched while Singh took a swipe at Fenix, who jumped over his arms. Fenix then ate a kick from Jarrett, who put him down with a DDT heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Jarrett kicked Fenix off the apron to the floor. Jarrett’s crew ran over. Edwards ran out and ended up shoving Karen to the mat, which drew “Aubrey” chants. Fenix regained offensive control once he returned to the ring. Fenix went up top and then ran the ropes to kick Lethal, who climbed onto the apron.
Dutt distracted the referee and then Jarrett low-blowed Fenix and covered him for a near fall. Jarrett put Fenix down with The Strike and had him pinned, but Fenix got his feet on the ropes. Singh climbed onto the apron. Jarrett sent Fenix toward the ropes, but he dropped down and kicked Singh’s legs out from under him. Jarrett went for the figure four and then Fenix countered into an inside cradle for a near fall…
Rey Fenix defeated Jeff Jarrett in 8:15 to retain the AEW International Championship.
Powell’s POV: An overbooked match with silly spots that required the wrestlers attempting to interfere to look like schmucks. It wasn’t all bad and the crowd was into Fenix, but it just wasn’t for me.
Excalibur announced Nick Jackson vs. Brian Cage vs. Claudio Castagnoli for later in the show with the winner getting a shot at the AEW International Title on next week’s fourth anniversary edition of Dynamite…
Footage was shown from last week of Adam Cole jumping off the entrance ramp and then limping. Excalibur said Cole came down awkwardly on his ankle…
A video aired of Adam Cole on crotches on a dock in Long Island. MJF stood behind him on a boat and invited Cole to join him. Cole asked if it was MJF’s boat. MJF said it belonged to his father, “but that schmuck doesn’t need to find out.” Footage aired of the duo enjoying time on the boat. Cole thanked MJF for bringing him. MJF recalled Cole being on the phone with Roderick Strong last week that he nearly didn’t arrive in time for his match. Cole said Strong is like a brother to him.
MJF went to his cooler and put his Dynamite Diamond Ring on his hand. Without turning around, Cole asked if MJF brought him there to hit him with the ring and knock him off the boat. MJF acted innocent. Cole told him that it’s normal to have more than one friend. MJF accepted it and then said that he nearly got caught the last time he threw someone overboard.
Cole had a bite on his fishing line. Paul Wight was shown on a duck floating device and pulled the hook out of his mouth. He joined the duo on the boat and told them they are all right…
Footage aired of Don Callis and Konosuke Takeshita standing in Tokyo earlier in the week. Callis said they were hunting Kota Ibushi. Callis said they know all of Kenny Omega’s secrets and he may need a new partner… [C]
Powell’s POV: Good dumb fun with a tease that the MJF and Cole relationship isn’t rock solid.
Renee Paquette stood inside the ring and introduced Callis and Takeshita. Once inside the ring, Callis introduced Sammy Guevara as the newest member of his family.
Callis set up footage of him and Takeshita arriving at Ibushi’s dojo. A wrestler told Callis that Ibushi would be back in two minutes. Callis slapped him and then Takeshita roughed him up.
Kota Ibushi showed up and fought with Takeshita. Ibushi got the better of it and then went after Callis, but Ibushi picked up a kettle bell and hit Ibushi with it. Takeshita used his jacket to choke Ibushi.
Back live, Guevara dubbed himself the hero and said Chris Jericho is the villain. A loud “f— you, Sammy” chant broke out. Guevara claimed that when he started to fly high, Jericho would always clip his wings. He said he thought Jericho would pass the torch to him, but Callis showed him that Jericho is selfish, so he decided to take the torch. Callis said they would take everything from the babyface trio at WrestleDream until there was nothing left but the tears…
Powell’s POV: If Sammy thought Jericho’s character stole the spotlight from him, this segment should have him second guessing himself. This should have been his moment and it was tucked inside of footage from Japan and Callis’s promo about the trios match at the pay-per-view.
Footage aired of Bryan Danielson and Ricky Starks shaking hands after their Texas Death Match after AEW Collision went off the air. Starks spoke backstage after the match while Big Bill stood by. Starks said Danielson never pinned him, so he should still be ahead of Danielson in the rankings.
Wheeler Yuta showed up and said he was wrong to put his hands on Starks when he was trying to show Danielson respect. Starks barked at Yuta, who said that Starks is an an entitled prick and then challenged him to a match at AEW WrestleDream…
Excalibur said Tony Khan (drink) made Starks vs. Yuta official for WrestleDream… Entrances for the three-way match took place…
2. Nick Jackson vs. Brian Cage (w/Prince Nana) vs. Claudio Castagnoli for a shot at the AEW International Championship. A couple minutes into the match, Cage was down on the floor and then Castagnoli put Jackson down with a boot to the face. Castagnoli mugged for the camera heading into a PIP break. [C]
Late in the match, Castagnoli put Cage down with his Ricola Bomb finisher. Nick performed a springboard huracanrana on Castagnoli and then stole the pin…
Nick Jackson defeated Brian Cage and Claudio Castagnoli in roughly 9:00 to earn a shot at the AEW International Championship.
Powell’s POV: A crowd pleasing match that sets up what should be a hell of a big spot match involving Nick and Fenix for next week’s show.
The Righteous duo of Vincent and Dutch were featured in a video package. They spoke about how people are bonded by materialistic things, just like MJF and Cole… [C]
MJF and Adam Cole made their entrance. Cole came out on crutches and had a cast on his left leg. MJF set up a chair for Cole, who took a seat and they still did the “Bay Bay” routine. MJF declared that The Devil arrived in Colorado.
Cole did the story time bit and said it was a sad chapter. Cole said his ankle broke in three places and he tore ligaments. Cole said he did everything he could, but he had to get surgery. Cole gave his word that he would return as soon as humanly possible.
Cole started to say that he and MJF would have to relinquish the ROH Tag Team Titles, but MJF cut him off. MJF asked the crowd if they wanted to see them relinquish the titles to The Righteous, which drew boos. MJF said he thought so.
MJF said he knew how much the titles meant to Cole. He said he wanted to do what he could to make sure they were waiting for Cole once he returns. MJF said he would face The Righteous in a handicap match at WrestleDream.
“Adam!” Roderick Strong yelled a few times before he was wheeled onto the stage by Matt Taven and Mike Bennett. Strong, who was wearing a hospital gown, said he needed Cole more than ever and said it was an emergency.
MJF said Strong is a simp, but he learned on the boat that Strong is Cole’s boy. He told Cole to do what he had to do and said he would be there for him when he returned. Cole used his crutches and followed Strong, Taven, and Bennett to the back.
MJF started to speak in the ring, but he was interrupted by Bullet Club Gold’s entrance theme. Jay White, Juice Robinson, Austin Gunn, and Colten Gunn made their entrance. White had his allies head backstage while he went to the ring.
Jay White entered the ring and stood in one corner while MJF remained in the opposite corner. MJF was going to speak, but White told him to shut up. White said everyone has heard MJF’s voice enough and they’d like to hear his sweet, exotic accent for a change.
White said he sent his crew to the back so that MJF could have his one-on-one time with him and relish in his moment. MJF said White must be smoking some strong Colorado grass. MJF said that mid mic work wouldn’t work. He said that when you come for the king, you better not miss. MJF took a jab at the pubic hair that White calls a goatee.
[Hour Two] MJF said it never bothered him when people said he wasn’t as good as others until someone wrote that he’s not as good as Jay White. MJF said White is very talented, but he said some fans have convinced themselves that they are on the same level.
MJF referred to himself as filet mignon and said White is tofu. MJF said you have to add something to tofu to give it taste. MJF said White was given everything, including the keys to one of the greatest factions of all-time. MJF said if you pluck it all away, you’re left with boring, bland, tasteless tofu.
MJF said he sees through White and called him all hype. MJF said if he were White, he’d leave the ring. MJF said that if White didn’t leave, whenever their names are mentioned, it will read that White is good, but he’s no MJF “because I’m better than you, and you know it.”
White applauded MJF once he was finished speaking. White said he came out to get his very own personalized MJF experience. White said he was a bit letdown. The crowd interrupted him with a “tofu” chant.
White said he doesn’t know if it’s the injuries, but it seems like MJF is distracted by his new friendship with Cole. White said he doesn’t think the fans love MJF like they love Cole. A loud “MJF” chant broke out.
White said everything that’s happened with MJF and Cole was because of him. He said that if he didn’t temporarily end his career at the first Forbidden Door, then maybe everything that’s happened with Cole and MJF wouldn’t have happened. White said he’s been ruining MJF’s life from afar and now he would do it in the flesh.
White said he would take the AEW World Championship from MJF. He said it’s still the Switchblade Era. He said MJF has gone soft and he knows it. MJF said White doesn’t have any clue what he’s capable of and said he would show him. MJF unbuttoned his shirt and White acted like he would fight him, but then White took a powder when MJF approached him…
A pre-taped interview segment aired with Jim Ross sitting between Christian Cage and Darby Allin. Ross pointed out that Cage has lost to Allin twice and asked what makes him think he can beat him in two out of three falls at WrestleDream. Cage said they were fluke pinfalls. Cage said Allin isn’t the man or the wrestler that he is.
Cage spoke about Allin relying on other things and said he wants to see what happens when he actually has to wrestle. Cage asked if Allin’s uncle would be in attendance. Cage said that’s right, he took his five-year-old nephew out for a joyride while intoxicated. Cage asked what happened.
Allin said he’s dead. Allin said it doesn’t define who he is today. Allin said he’s not afraid of losing in Seattle, but Cage can’t beat him there. Cage told Allin to bring his mother and brother, then said he should bring Nick Wayne’s mom. Cage said on second thought, he’d call Nick’s mom. Cage told Allin to bring Buddy Wayne.
Allin said Cage wants him to bring Wayne so that he can take advantage of him. Allin said Cage should face him without Luchasaurus. Cage said Wayne needs a real mentor, not someone who hides behind face paint. Allin got fired up and washed some of the paint off his face…
Powell’s POV: Did they just set the AEW record for the most consecutive talking on a single episode? Those were two strong promo segments back to back. MJF was strong and the “tofu” line seemed like it might stick. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. White was solid, but they really need to emphasize his accomplishments and put him over as a major threat to the championship. Cage and Allin had great intensity. I’m a fan of long verbal segments if they are good, but it felt like they really should have taken a break in between these two to let things sink in.
Orange Cassidy made his entrance. His opponents made their entrance during a PIP break. [C]
3. Penta El Zero Miedo (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. Matt Jackson vs. Orange Cassidy vs. Austin Gunn in a four-way. They took a PIP break a few minutes into the match. [C] Late in the match, Matt and Penta were going at it when both men ran the ropes. Gunn tripped Penta, causing Matt to stop running. When Matt turned around, Cassidy hit him with an Orange Punch and pinned him…
Orange Cassidy defeated Matt Jackson, Penta El Zero Miedo, and Austin Gunn in a four-way in 12:25.
After the match, Hook and Nick Jackson entered the ring, while Rey Fenix and Colten Gunn came out… [C]
Powell’s POV: They played this up as a battle for momentum as all four men will team with their respective partners in the four-way tag team match at WrestleDream. Momentum matches typically feel like time fillers, but this was good for its style.
4. Julia Hart (w/Brody King) vs. Willow Nightingale. Both entrances were televised. Willow came out with a bandage wrapped around her head and covering her left eye (from Hart’s mist). Hart smiled at the damage. Willow’s bandage didn’t stay over her eye for long and she had makeup around the eye.
Hart took a powder and climbed under the ring in front of King. Willow headed to ringside and showed fear of King. Hart emerged from under the ring behind Willow and clipped her knee heading into a PIP break. [C]
Willow put Hart down with a Pounce. Willow followed up by tying Hart up in a tree of woe. Willow went for a cannonball, but Hart sat up to avoid it. Hart performed a top rope moonsault and scored the pin.
Julia Hart beat Willow Nightingale in 8:05.
After the match, Hart put Willow in a submission hold. Kris Statlander ran out and chased Hart out of the ring. Statlander went after Hart, who hid behind Brody King…
The screen cut out and then when it returned Excalibur listed Andrade vs. Juice Robinson, and Best Friends vs. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett for Saturday’s AEW Collision. Excalibur ran through the WrestleDream lineup…
Powell’s POV: A solid match with the obvious outcome given that Hart is challenging for the TBS Title at WrestleDream. The broadcast team has been paying up Hart’s unbeaten streak over the last couple of weeks, but it feels like something the company should have started making a fuss over months ago.
Swerve Strickland and Prince Nana made their entrance. When they arrived on the stage, Nana was about to start dancing, but Swerve stopped him and headed to the ring…
Powell’s POV: Perhaps it was the music drowning out the crowd, but this didn’t get the reaction that I think they assumed it would. As much as I get a kick out of Nana’s dancing, it seems like it’s more over with some folks backstage than it is with the actual fans. It just needs more time and thus it was too soon to have Swerve cut him off.
Excalibur thanked viewers for sticking with them through transmission issues and then turned things over to Renee Paquette, who was in the ring with Swerve and a contract signing set. Paquette introduced Hangman Page, who headed to the ring for the contract signing.
Once both men were seated, Paquette said that The Elite and Mogul Affiliates were banned from ringside. Swerve said he was impressed by the fire that Page showed over the last two weeks. He said it was a little too late since they were only four days out from WrestleDream.
Swerve asked Page if he understood what he was walking into. Swerve said Page was facing him in Seattle, which he called a lion’s den and played up the 12th Man (a Seattle Seahawks gimmick). Swerve asked what’s a cowboy to an outlaw and a Buckshot to a Killshot.
Page said Swerve was fired up and should be. Page said Swerve’s previous comments stung a bit and now he thanked him for it. Page said he knew deep down inside that Swerve was right. Page said that for a year-and-a-half, there was a little black cloud over his head that he couldn’t get rid of.
Page said the sun would shine. He recalled beating Jon Moxley in a Texas Death Match and rejoining his friends in The Elite. Page said that whenever he started to smile, that black cloud returned and it started to rain. Page said he knew that he couldn’t say or do anything about it.
Page said that’s over with and he weathered the storm. Page said the downpour washed something out of him whether it was passion, determination, or hope. Page said the people deserve the best of him. Page said he deserves it for himself and that’s what Swerve will get at WrestleDream. Page signed the contract.
Swerve laughed at Page and said he was more embarrassing than Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos last week. He expressed happiness that they got rid of Wilson from Seattle and sent him to Denver.
Swerve said he might have mental health problems because he makes an enemy out of someone every single day. Swerve said he’s going to take Page’s position from him at WrestleDream. “Oh, and by the way, it rains a lot in Seattle,” Swerve said.
Page said Swerve wants to be a main event guy in AEW and believes he would have been the first Black AEW Champion had he been given Page’s opportunities. Page said that he’s knocked every opportunity he’s ever had out of the park.
Both men stood up. Page said Swerve should want his spot, but he doesn’t have what it takes to fill his boots. Swerve slapped Page across the face. Swerve signed the contract. Page stabbed Swerve’s hand with another pen. Security pulled Swerve and Page apart…
They cut backstage where four men dressed in black beat up Jay White. A fifth man in black wearing MJF’s devil mask appeared and looked into the camera. The man put his hand over the camera to end the show…
Powell’s POV: Wow, long promo segments earlier and a promo segment to essentially close the show. No complaints from me, as I enjoyed them all. Swerve and Page needed a good segment to heat things up again and they pulled it off here. Meanwhile, the question now is whether the devil mask man was MJF or someone who wants us to think it’s MJF.
Overall, a talk heavy show that offered a pretty good final push for WrestleDream. I will be back tonight with my weekly same night audio review of AEW Dynamite for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.