AEW Dynamite 9/6/2023: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

It's the first week of September, and while the official start of fall is still a couple of weeks away, it certainly feels like a season of change for All Elite Wrestling.

Wednesday night's episode of "Dynamite" was a chance for AEW to start fresh, coming off a chaotic and triumphant weekend that saw the firing of the company's top star, CM Punk, followed by an All Out pay-per-view that's getting rave reviews.


There's little time for AEW to rest on those laurels. There's work to be done ahead of the big "Dynamite: Grand Slam" show at New York's Arthur Ashe Stadium in two weeks; and the first WrestleDream pay-per-view on October 1.

So, let's dig into what the Wrestling Inc. staff thinks AEW got right and got wrong during the first "Dynamite" following All Out. A friendly reminder that this is not a comprehensive review of everything that happened on the show. You can find that by clicking here.

Hated: MJF's scraping the bottom of the barrel (Ross Berman, WINC News Writer)

I'm not sure if you know this, but at one point in time, MJF tried out for WWE and was let down by a seemingly endless stream of veterans that he now shares a locker room with. Last year, MJF's riveting tale of disappointment made for some dramatic television between the AEW World Champion and former Blackpool Combat Club manager William Regal, but something about this Wednesday's invocation of MJF's fateful tryout felt lazy and uninspired.


MJF, already plagued with neck issues, already dealing with his best friend Adam Cole's former friends, seemingly put a hat on a hat last week by bumping into Samoa Joe, which led to a showdown between the two men.

Wednesday night, MJF called out Joe and brought up the infamous moment on an "NXT" TakeOver, when Samoa Joe shoved the then-WWE extra into a wall during his entrance. While a bit formulaic, MJF was able to hit the same beats he hit when dressing down Regal for not believing in him. The crowd invested in the novelty of MJF delivering his "WWE let me down" speech as a babyface, and at one point the two men went back and forth on who has the smaller d**k. The verbal war of words led to a confrontation between Joe and MJF, in which the Ring of Honor World Television Champion dropped MJF on his neck.


An already long segment ran even longer as MJF was helped to the back by physicians, overacting the whole way. Commentary, usually known for slipping into the "Owen Hart Tragedy Voice" at the drop of a hat, almost jovially talked over MJF's injury, further deflating an already limp segment.

MJF has successfully used his trauma in past promos but eventually, wells run dry, and lodes get mined, and MJF is seemingly scraping the bottom of his barrel of bad memories.

Loved: Swerve Strickland Is Back And Better Than Ever (Olivia Quinlan, WINC News Writer)

This. This is the kind of stuff from Swerve Strickland that has made me a fan of his over the past few years.

Strickland most certainly did not disappoint in his first appearance in AEW since being the one who was put in the coffin during his tag team match at All In. Interrupting an interview between Tony Schiavone and "Hangman" Adam Page, he not only took several clever jabs at the latter but addressed the way he's been used in the company thus far and called Page out for taking up a top spot he views as something Page doesn't really care about. Moreover, Strickland's delivery only added to everything, giving it another layer of believability and credibility. The way he whispered into Page's year was just *chef's kiss* for me.


Many segments in professional wrestling strive to achieve what this one did, and the reason that it worked so well in my eyes was the fact that there was truth in what Strickland had to say.

Hated: Aussie Open Loses Again (Matthew Carlins, WINC News Editor)

Aussie Open is too good for this.

The tag team suffered another loss on Wednesday night's "Dynamite." They were defeated by Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara (collectively known as Le Sex Gods). It was a fine match, but also part of an upsetting trend for such a skilled and decorated tag team.


Aussie Open's latest loss Wednesday followed a disappointing defeat at the hands of AEW World Champion MJF and Adam Cole on the All In "Zero Hour" pre-show in Wembley Stadium. That one cost Aussie Open the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Titles. That's on top of being flat-out embarrassed by MJF and Cole on the final "Dynamite" before All In. Aussie Open also came up short in a battle royal on "Rampage" last week.

Aussie Open is one of the best tag teams on the planet, but AEW is not presenting them as such right now. They're being treated like any number of other teams in the company.

I understand the perceived need to give a win to Jericho and Guevara, but why did it have to be Aussie Open taking another loss? Doesn't AEW have anyone else?


Loved: Toni Storm Is Looking Forward, Not Backward (Berman)

Toni Storm's work as an Old Hollywood starlet was a bright spot on an otherwise inert episode of "AEW Dynamite," saying that she has played so many performances that she can't even remember costing her former friend Ruby Soho the TBS Championship at All Out on Sunday, as she's always looking forward, never backward.


The new character has been a breath of fresh air for the former "WWE NXT UK" Women's Champion, who has always been more praised for her in-ring work and her physical assets than her personality. Each week, Storm finds a captivating new twist on her irreverent, anachronistic character.

For lack of a better term, "grown-up" characters like Storm's are few and far between in AEW. Between Storm's ode to the women of Turner Classic Movies and Roderick Strong shouting for his former friend Adam Cole like Stanley Kowalski calling for his beloved Stella in "A Streetcar Named Desire," it feels like more and more characters and stories are being taken from places other than old wrestling territories and comic books, and adding a modicum of maturity to the oft-childish antics of the AEW roster.


If some viewers are turned off by Adam Cole explaining what he's learned about friendship like he's Barney The Dinosaur, or petty backstage drama that often overshadows the programming, then Storm's satin robes and pin-up curls provide a mature Sunday matinee to go with the oft-childish Saturday morning cartoon world of wrestling.

It's like Vince McMahon once famously said, "We make movies."

Hated: The Le Sex Gods Reunion Has Barely Begun, But It Already Feels Too Long (Quinlan)

I already was not very keen on the idea of a Le Sex Gods reunion, to begin with, but to give them a win only to have them get into a shoving match like children really put the nail in the coffin for me. Whilst I thought that the match they had with Aussie Open was good, I definitely could've done without all the post-match shenanigans and the two security guards simply there to add an element of drama that did not land as intended.


Guevara didn't walk out on Jericho alongside the rest of the Jericho Appreciation Society and was singled out as a means of building a match between the two men, but not every wrestling storyline needs a complicated build like this one. AEW could still build a match with a more simplistic former mentor-mentee storyline, even if Guevara has still left Jericho in the rearview mirror.

Loved: Roderick Strong is in the zone (Carlins)

After years of struggling to find the right persona in "WWE NXT" and early in his AEW run, Roderick Strong is dialing in on a character so sublimely absurd that it should come as no surprise that it's a perfect fit in the twisted world of professional wrestling.


We got to enjoy more of Strong's whiney, delusional act on Wednesday night's "Dynamite." We also got the added bonus of him performing an actual match. In case you'd forgotten amidst the drama of the Strong-Cole-MJF friendship triangle, Roderick Strong is a great in-ring performer. He proved it once again in a win over Trent Beretta that advanced him into the semifinals of the Grand Slam Title Eliminator Tournament.

It's all working for Strong right now. The neck brace. The glasses. The annoying voice, Plus, the promos that I can't call great, but work nonetheless. It's all coming together at once and it's so much fun to watch.