By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 212)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Liacouras Center
Aired live October 25, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] Renee Paquette stood backstage on the interview set and introduced MJF, who said he had to take a quick phone call. MJF called Adam Cole and said he was happy that he got out of “that psycho’s” house.
Roderick Strong yelled “Adam” and was wheeled onto the set by Matt Taven and Mike Bennett. MJF ended the call. Strong said MJF is obviously the man behind the devil mask. He said that he would help him with Bullet Club Gold due to their mutual friendship with Cole.
MJF wasn’t interested and shoved Roddy’s wheelchair away and then cut a promo about how he would not miss when he faced Juice Robinson… They cut to a shot of the Devil Mask mystery person…
Excalibur, Taz, and Tony Schiavone were on commentary. Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced the wrestlers who were in the opening match…
1. AEW World Champion MJF vs. Juice Robinson (w/Austin Gunn, Colten Gunn) for the Dynamite Diamond Ring. MJF went on the offensive to start the match. MJF took Robinson to ringside and sat him on a chair next to the barricade. MJF booted Robinson and sent him over the barricade.
Back at ringside, MJF catapulted Robinson into the ring post. Robinson bled from the forehead while MJF continued to dominate him. MJF put Robinson’s open mouth on the top of the ring steps and stood on the back of his head for a moment before he was distracted by the Gunns.
Robinson took advantage of the distraction and sent MJF into the ring steps. Austin passed MJF’s scarf to Robinson, who choked MJF with it while Colten distracted the referee.
Jay White walked onto the stage holding the AEW World Championship belt heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C] White stood at the broadcast table with a headset on and shouted encouragement to Robinson, who choked MJF with the scarf again while the Gunns distracted the referee.
MJF came back and threw punches at Robinson while standing over him in the corner, then bit his forehead. MJF came up with Robinson’s blood around his mouth and then performed a Kangaroo Kick for a big crowd pop.
Robinson spay in the face of MJF and then hit him with the Left Hand of God. Robinson powerbombed MJF and covered him for a near fall. MJF fought back and then took out the Gunns with a suicide dive. Robinson kicked the middle rope into MJF’s groin and ended up picking up a near fall.
The Gunns tried to enter the ring and the referee tried to keep them out. Robinson put on his ring while MJF put on the Dynamite Diamond Ring. MJF punched Robinson with the ring and ended up hitting the Heat Seeker and scoring the pin…
MJF defeated Juice Robinson in 15:00 to keep the Dynamite Diamond Ring.
The Gunns attacked MJF after the match and White joined in. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett wheeled Roderick Strong down the ramp and then ran in and fought the Gunns. Taven and Bennett were cleared from the ring.
Max Caster, Anthony Bowens, and Billy Gunn came out and ran off the Bullet Club Gold members. White stood on the stage and told MJF to forget about all of the people who are after him because he’s the only challenger who matters. White said MJF would never get his hands on the “Bang Bang Belt” again.
Colten took the mic and congratulated MJF and winning his ring and then reminded him that he didn’t have his belt back. Colten challenged MJF to put the ROH Tag Team Titles on the line against him and Austin at the Full Gear pay-per-view.
MJF agreed to defend the ROH Tag Team Titles at Full Gear. He said he would also see White at Full Gear, but he wasn’t waiting that long to get his hands on him. MJF said he would pick three partners of his choosing to face Bullet Club Gold in an eight-man tag match. MJF said that when his team wins, they have to give him his belt back.
Strong started yelling “Max” until MJF said he was right in front of him. “You’re obviously going to pick us, right?” Strong asked. MJF told Strong to have Taven and Bennett roll him off a cliff and then called him a bland bitch.
Caster asked if that meant MJF was going to pick his team. MJF said he’s known Caster since he was 18 and never liked him. He said he wouldn’t tag with Caster if he was on fire and teaming with Caster was the only way to put it out. “So you’re saying there’s a chance?” Caster asked. Caster asked MJF to scissor him. MJF teased doing it and then pushed Caster’s fingers together and left the ring.
Kenny Omega made his entrance and went face to face with MJF on the stage. A “holy shit” chant broke out. Omega told MJF that he has something he wants. Omega said he has something MJF wants. Omega said that if MJF is better than him, then he shouldn’t be afraid to show it. MJF challenged Omega to face him for the AEW World Championship on Saturday’s AEW Collision.
MJF and Omega shook on the match. MJF delivered his catchphrase. Omega did the same and then held onto MJF’s hand while he tried to walk away. “Three days, bitch,” Omega told MJF… [C]
Powell’s POV: Man, they really packed a lot of star power into that segment. While a case can be made for saving MJF vs. Omega for a pay-per-view, this company and Collision need a spark, and perhaps that’s the match that can give it to them.
A Wardlow video aired. He said he went to a very dark place while he was away from AEW. He said he had to sit and watch MJF become the name and face of the company despite the evil things he did. Wardlow said he had to sit and watch the man he beat main event the biggest show in the history of the business as the world champion. Wardlow said he felt the devil’s claw digging deeper in his back. He said there’s nothing more than MJF can take from him and now he’s going to take everything from MJF…
Powell’s POV: This is a logical direction for the Wardlow character to take and it explains his recent heelish attitude.
The Dark Order were inside the ring coming out of the break. Hook made his entrance and then Rob Van Dam came out to his “Walk” theme song…
2. Rob Van Dam and Hook vs. Alex Reynolds and John Silver (w/Evil Uno). There were loud “RVD” chants once he checked into the match. They cut to an early PIP break. [C] The referee was distracted by the heel duo, allowing Uno to run in with a chair, which RVD avoided. RVD hit Reynolds with the Five Star Frog Splash. Meanwhile, Hook caught legal man Silver with Redrum and got the submission win…
Rob Van Dam and Hook beat Alex Reynolds and John Silver in 7:55.
Powell’s POV: Hook did the bulk of the selling for his team, so it was good to see him get the win while the fans still got to see RVD hit his finisher. That said, I really wish they would stop making the referees look so idiotic.
RJ City sat backstage and tried to introduce Toni Storm’s latest film. She showed up and stopped him and then had the “Hold That Butler” film, which played during a PIP break. It listed November 18 as Storm’s Hollywood homecoming and said she would have her biggest picture yet. The split-screen switched to a full screen break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I have no idea if we saw the end of the movie before they went full screen or not.
Tony Schiavone stood in the ring and said they were in the greatest pro wrestling city in the world. Excalibur said he bets Schiavone says that to all of the cities. Schiavone introduced Sting and Darby Allin, who had his right arm in a sling. Once in the ring, Sting said he had a couple of people that he forgot to include last week. He started by thanking Philadelphia and said he had great history in the city.
Sting thanked Allin and said he’s the best tag team partner he’s ever had. Sting said the fans may have had someone else in mind, but Darby was the best partner he’s had. Sting also thanked Tony Khan for calling him and allowing him to come back and wrestle a little longer.
Sting noted that Schiavone was asking for the mic and then gave it to him while Excalibur and Taz cracked up. Schiavone said it was 35 years ago that Sting put pro wrestling on the map on TBS. He said it elevated Sting to the icon that he is now. A “thank you, Sting” chant broke out. Schiavone pointed to the stage and said he was proud to bring out Tony Khan’s gift.
Ric Flair made his entrance and hugged Sting and Schiavone once he arrived in the ring.
Powell’s POV: Flair can be gifted? I know he’s had some debt issues over the years, but… Oh, there’s more? Hold on.
Schiavone welcomed Flair to AEW. Flair said that in life there are moments that are magical. He said they are few and far between. He said that 35 years ago, he and Sting made history on TBS on the Clash of Champions against WrestleMania. Flair said that going 55 minutes in the ring 35 years ago or tonight is hard.
Flair said Sting is one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the business and probably the nicest guy he’s ever known. Flair said that when he got the invitation from Tony Khan, he decided that he wanted to ride it out with Sting until his retirement match in March. Flair wooo’d. Sting asked Flair to give him one. Flair chopped Sting and they had laughs.
Christian Cage’s entrance theme played and he walked onto the stage with Luchasaurus and Nick Wayne. “Tony Khan is a billionaire and this is the gift?” Cage asked. Cage said Khan basically gave Sting a suit, some gold chains, and a black liver. Cage said he didn’t feel like he was watching Weekend at Bernie’s because he couldn’t even see the puppet strings.
Cage told the fans to relax. He said he knows Flair isn’t dead. He said he also knows there’s not a God because if there was, Flair would have been dead twenty years ago. A “F— you, Christian” chant broke out. “We are in Philadelphia,” Excalibur said. Funny.
Cage asked Allin how his arm was feeling. Cage said Allin still had sour grapes over losing to him in his hometown. He said he would give him another look and then took a jab at the locals over the Phillies losing the the NLCS.
[Hour Two] Cage said he didn’t want to wait until Revolution for Sting to be gone. Cage said there were three of them on the stage. Cage said he saw Flair in the ring and they could pick Flair if they wanted, but he was a superkick away from his pacemaker going out. He told Sting and Allin to find a partner and face them at Full Gear.
Sting acted like he was sneezing and then said he was allergic to jackasses. Sting said he and Allin would find a partner and see Cage and his team at Full Gear…
Powell’s POV: Flair has always packed a ratings punch over the years and I won’t be surprised if that’s still the case today. Cage heeling on Flair was a riot.
Footage aired from “earlier today” of Renee Paquette’s interview with Chris Jericho, who said he wouldn’t recall ever losing the way he did to Powerhouse Hobbs. He said his ego was probably hurting the most. Paquette asked if he was hitting a certain point in his career where he needed to self reflect on what’s left.
Jericho said he’s always had immense self confidence in himself. He said he didn’t see it coming when Hobbs dominated him last week. He said he just couldn’t get out of the hole that Hobbs “continued to dig with my body over and over again.” Jericho said he had to wonder if it was time to step back or get stronger and even more intense.
Jericho asked if it was time to get some sort of revenge. Jericho said Don Callis has a family. Jericho said he has a lot of friends and some of them are even bigger than Hobbs. Jericho said maybe it was time to give them a call…
3. Hangman Page, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson vs. Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, and Brother Zay for the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Titles. Both entrances were televised. Matt Hardy and Zay mocked the Young Bucks’ pose heading into an early PIP break. [C]
Zay had a nice run of offense and capped it off with a flip dive onto Nick and Page at ringside. In the ring, Jeff hit Matt Jackson with a Swanton Bomb, but Nick returned to the ring to break it up. A “this is awesome” chant broke out.
Matt Jackson stuffed Matt Hardy’s Twist of Fate attempt. Zay tagged in and ate a Buckshot Lariat. The Bucks superkicked the Hardys off the apron and then Page joined them in hitting a BTE Trigger on Zay, which led to the champions getting the win…
Hangman Page, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson beat Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, and Brother Zay in 10:15 to retain the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Titles.
After the match, Prince Nana appeared on the big screen and said welcome to the Hangman’s residence. Page and the Jacksons headed toward the back while Nana and Swerve Strickland was shown walking around Page’s kitchen. Swerve took a child’s painting off the fridge and said they had no taste.
Swerve sat down on Page’s couch and then heard a noise. He had Nana hand him the camera and then went to find out where the noise came from. Swerve entered a child’s room and leaned over a crib while talking about how Page owes him a debt for costing him title opportunities. Swerve left a Mogul Embassy t-shirt in the crib and said it’s a reminder that the child that was never shown is in debt to him and added that it’s his father’s fault. Nana said they had to go and then Swerve covered up the camera… [C]
Powell’s POV: While I don’t think too many fans actually care about the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Titles, the actual match was a crowd pleaser. The Swerve angle was dark, but at least it was just implied that he was talking to Page’s child.
Adam Copeland was interviewed by Paquette on the backstage promo set. She asked him if anything had changed regarding his stance about not facing Christian Cage after what he just saw. Copeland said no because nothing is more important to him than his friendship with Cage.
Sting and Darby Allin showed up. Allin said he knows Copeland came to AEW to ride off into the sunset with his best friend, but that’s not the type of world they are living in. Allin said he didn’t want to break Nick Wayne’s face, but it’s kill or be killed.
Sting told Copeland that he knows what it’s like to have the blinders on. He said he went up and down the road with Lex Luger and had blinders on. He said he learned from the dirtiest player in the game to see through guys like Cage.
Sting told Copeland he needed to open his eyes up before it’s too late. Sting got fired up and told Copeland to listen to what he was saying before it was too late. Sting told Copeland that they go way back and told him not to mess it up now…
Powell’s POV: Does Copeland wake up or turn heel with Cage and do something that actually lives up to his Rated R Superstar monicker?
4. Hikaru Shida vs. Ruby Soho for the AEW Women’s Championship. Both entrances were televised. Soho pulled Shida off the apron and hit her with the No Future kick from the floor heading into a PIP break. [C] Soho removed a turnbuckle pad. When the referee cleared it from the ring, Soho grabbed a spray paint can and tossed it to Shida.
The referee turned and caught Shida with the spray paint can. Soho went to ringside and grabbed the title belt and brought it back to the ring. Soho wanted to use the belt as a weapon and instead used it as a shield when Shida tried to spray her. Soho hit Destination Unknown for a near fall. A short time later, Shida sent Soho face first into the the exposed turnbuckle and ended up pinning her moments later.
Hikaru Shida defeated Ruby Soho in roughly 9:00 to retain the AEW Women’s Championship.
After the match, Toni Storm made her entrance and was accompanied by Luther from her movie. Storm posed on the stage while Shida acted confused…
Powell’s POV: So Ruby’s big plan involved running the risk that her Eddie Guerrero spot would lead to Soho being disqualified, meaning Shida would have retained the AEW Women’s Championship?
Backstage, a trainer checked on MJF’s right elbow or shoulder when Paquette entered the room. The trainer left the room while Paquette tried to ask MJF about his match with Kenny Omega. MJF was interrupted.
Samoa Joe entered the room and applauded MJF and said he came with the best of intentions. Joe said MJF suffered from a lack of friends and offered to watch his back. MJF shook his hand and said it sounded good to him. Joe said it was on the condition that MJF give him a rematch for the AEW World Championship. Joe said MJF didn’t have to answer him now, but he assumed he would have his answer soon given the way things were going… [C]
Entrances for the main event took place. Hip hop artist Armani White was shown in the crowd and was given a name graphic…
5. Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli vs. Kazuchika Okada and Orange Cassidy. Schiavone let the world know that Tony Khan(!) let him know that they would stick with the match if it ran past the top of the hour.
Excalibur announced the AEW Worlds End pay-per-view for Saturday, December 30 in Uniondale, New York at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Cassidy started the match for his team and ended up being isolated. Castagnoli draped Cassidy over the top rope and then Danielson jumped from the top rope and dropped a knee on Cassidy, which resulted in a near fall heading into a PIP break. [C]
Cassidy was still isolated coming out of the break. Schiavone reminded viewers that Tony Khan(!) told him that they would stick with the match as long as it took.
Okada was finally tagged in while Danielson was tagged in simultaneously. The crowd came to life and a “holy shit” chant broke out. Okada and Danielson threw chops and elbow strikes. Excalibur listed some Rampage and Collision matches while Danielson threw kicks at a kneeling Okada.
Okada ducked the grand finale and rolled up Danielson for a two count. Danielson countered into a LeBell Lock. Okada leaned back on Danielson for a two count, and then Danielson rolled him over and got a two count of his own. Danielson and Okada ended up performing simultaneous crossbody blocks and then tagged out.
Cassidy caught Castagnoli with a DDT and had the pin, but Danielson broke it up. Cassidy went for the Orange Punch. Castagnoli caught Cassidy and performed the Giant Swing and then put him in a Sharpshooter.
[Overrun] Oklada returned and kicked Castagnoli, who released the hold and hit him with an uppercut. Okada put Castagnoli down and then went to the top rope and performed an elbow drop. Okada struck the Rainmaker Pose. Cassidy hugged him. Danielson hit both opponents with a missile dropkick.
Okada caught Danielson with a dropkick. Cassidy hit Danielson with an Orange Punch. Okada put Danielson down with a Rainmaker. Castagnoli took out Okada with a springboard uppercut. Cassidy charged Castagnoli, who performed a popup uppercut on Cassidy and then pinned him.
Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli defeated Kazuchika Okada and Orange Cassidy in 16:35.
After the match, Danielson held his jaw while a trainer tended to him. Excalibur noted that Danielson took an Orange Punch and Rainmaker back to back. Castagnoli also checked on Danielson, and Jon Moxley and Wheeler Yuta also came out and did the same. Rocky Romero, Trent Beretta, Chuck Taylor, and Hook were out to check on Cassidy. Hook and Yuta had words.
Excalibur announced that Tony Khan(!) had just informed him that Cassidy vs. Castagnoli for the AEW International Title will take place on next week’s Dynamite. Danielson was helped from the ring while Excalibur closed the show with a plug for MJF vs. Omega on Collision…
Powell’s POV: A very good main event. The post match scene was strange. Danielson’s selling really brought the crowd down, so it was pretty quiet by the time the show actually went off the air.
Overall, this was an entertaining episode of Dynamite. I will be back later 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 Dynamite by grading it below.