AEW Dynamite 11/29/23: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc.'s weekly review of "AEW Dynamite," the show where you can set your watch by what time the women's match comes on! We had a number of interesting developments this week — three more wrestlers earned points in the Continental Classic, Adam Copeland did a swear, and MJF and Samoa Joe got challenged to a tag team match via mysterious typewriter. Many more things happened, of course, not all of which we can touch on here — you would be wise to drop by our live coverage/results page for all the objective information you might require.


If you're looking for commentary, opinion, and analysis, however, you've come to the write place. What did the WINC writing and editorial staff actually think of MJFs promo? Yes, the winners of the C2 matches earned points, but did the matches themselves deliver? And most importantly, were we sucked in by Christian Cage's complicated plan to *checks notes* try and hit Adam Copeland in the head with the TNT title belt? These are three things we hated and three things we loved about the 11/29/23 episode of "AEW Dynamite."

Loved: The dream of ROH is alive in the Continental Classic

Rush and Mark Briscoe beat the piss out of each other on Wednesday night.

Both men, winless so far in the Continental Classic, were out to prove that they were more than just scrubs for the main event talent to get through in the round-robin phase. By the end of the match, only Rush's hopes were still alive, but both men brought the kind of competitive spirit that was often seen on ROH's days on Sinclair Broadcasting, especially since both were featured talents of the brand at the time.


AEW's incarnation of Ring of Honor is an interesting refresh for the "AEW Dark" developmental system, as young and independent talent tend to be featured most on the "ROH on HonorClub" streaming show, but for roughly 10 minutes on Wednesday, Rush and Briscoe reminded fans what watching ROH on a random weeknight used to feel like. Neither Rush nor Mark Briscoe has been highlighted as a winning or substantive talent in AEW recently, so to see them once again feel like the featured talents they were on ROH was a refreshing change of pace for the storied competitors. Neither man feels likely to win the whole tournament, and it will be seen if Rush can sneak out any more points — or Briscoe any at all — but tonight, the spotlight was theirs, and they made the most of it.


Written by Ross Berman

Hated: The lamest trick the Devil ever pulled was making people not care whether he exists

The story of MJF, once my favorite part of any given "Dynamite," was the show's low point once again this week, with a messy (if passionately delivered) promo from the champion that doubled as AEW's indirect response to CM Punk returning to WWE, followed by some of the silliest, WCW-ass nonsense I've seen since the silly, WCW-ass nonsense from the Full Gear main event. At this point I really am starting to think MJF is going to go the "Sike, I was a heel the whole time" route, which would definitely finish the job of pushing this storyline off the cliff.


Every aspect of this just gets more muddled every week, particularly now that there are reports MJF is injured. The story was about how Joe wanted to keep MJF safe so he would be 100% healed up in time for Worlds End, but now that has to change because there's no way MJF is 100% by Worlds End. So now this is about MJF battling against impossible odds, which is literally the same thing we just finished doing at Full Gear, but Joe is still protecting him because he wants him to be, what, 75%? Or maybe Joe was just touched by the sheer amount of time MJF spent praising him for his impact on the business, crediting Joe with proving wrestlers who didn't have huge bodybuilder physiques could make it to the top of the industry — you know, the thing that usually gets credited to CM Punk.


Anyway, the Devil and his minions attacked MJF after the promo, but we didn't learn anything new about who they might be, and to be honest, I don't really care anymore. This thing has been dragged out too long without much in the way of compelling plot threads, and I am more than ready to just find out who's under the mask, already — not least because it will hopefully mean the end of MJF interacting with mysterious typed words that definitely came straight out of one of Kenny Omega's fanfics.

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Hated: Wardlow's booking remains stagnant

It's hard to believe, when watching him compete on "Dynamite" nowadays, that there was once a time when Wardlow would regularly receive some of the biggest reactions on AEW television. Sure, he's straddling the line of being a heel due to his aggressive tendencies, but the half-hearted chants of his name coincide with the lackluster booking of his character, which is why he has fallen off so badly.


AEW giving Wardlow a lengthy break from television was a wise move, but since his return, it has been routine squash matches and brief threats that he wants to take the AEW World Championship from MJF. This week was no different, and while his match against AR Fox was slightly more competitive than what he has been doing as of late, it was still essentially the same thing. Wardlow dominated the match and left Fox lying, but ultimately the audience didn't care. That's because they're no longer invested in "Mr. Mayhem," and at the moment, AEW isn't providing much reason to. Everything feels very one-note with him, which shouldn't be the case for someone so explosive inside the ring, who can blend powerhouse and aerial styles and who has a genuine grievance for wanting to challenge MJF.


Unfortunately, Wardlow is at the back of the line as far as the world title is concerned, and he needs heating back up properly before Tony Khan should even consider booking that match (assuming, of course, he's not part of the Devil's group). But in order to achieve that, he needs to be doing more than the same routine squash matches that he has done far too often throughout his career. It's Wardlow booking 101 at this point, and while it has worked in the past, it isn't anymore.

Written by Matthew Wilkinson

Loved: The Rated-R Superstar finally does something Rated-R

Earlier on Wednesday, when Elon Musk told the advertisers that have fled the X platform formerly known as Twitter "Go f*** yourself," it was seen as an uncomfortable gaff that made me cringe; poor form from a man losing relevance as quickly as he's losing money. Later in the night, when Adam Copeland told Christian Cage "Go f*** yourself," it was a glorious return to form that had me hooting and hollering — a return to what made the "Rated-R Superstar" great in the first place.


Copeland snapped on last week's "AEW Dynamite," and it was a nice touch to see him tap into a level of violence that the formerly family-friendly wrestler hadn't lately, at least not since his Hell In A Cell match against Finn Balor. But the promo that Christian Cage cut before the show-stealing profanity is what truly set Copeland up for success. Cage drew on his long history with Copeland, reminding Copeland that –like all of Cage's targets — Copeland is a man without a father figure. Cage preyed on the father-shaped hole in Copeland's heart, as well as Cage's own vaguely familial relationship with Copeland's mother — the Jude-ster — that had fans believing that maybe Copeland was seconds away from crumpling and joining his friend, his heartstrings thoroughly plucked by Cage's manipulative spiel.


Instead, Cage tried to attack the emotional Copeland, but Copeland struck first, delivering a low blow and the final, amazing line to a felled Cage. I've waffled on Copeland's time in AEW so far, but Wednesday's Jerry Springer drama absolutely hooked me from beginning to end.

Written by Ross Berman

BONUS HATED: The AEW 'security' wardrobe

This might be nitpicking — okay, there's no avoiding the fact that it's definitely nitpicking — but what was going on with the wardrobe of the alleged security team in the ring for the showdown between Christian Cage and Adam Copeland?


As Cage entered the ring to the tune of his entrance music, five men of varying physiques followed him. Five men in five AEW polo shirts wearing five different kind of pants. We're not fashionistas at Wrestling Inc. — in fact, people could be forgiven for assuming I myself purposely go out of my way to avoid being fashionable. But one thing we do care about on this here website is good storytelling, and part of that is believability. Yes, I'm name-checking believability as being vital to the world of sports entertainment, an industry that doesn't exist without the suspension of disbelief.

Seriously, though, you can't expect a crowd of thousands and hundreds of thousand of viewers to buy this ragtag bunch as an official security team when they look like it's everyone's laundry day. If you want to present an air of authority, symmetry and consistency in wardrobe is actually important when it comes to saying "These guys are here to keep the peace in AEW." They would need nothing else in common except a solemn or even menacing demeanor and absolute silence.


Instead, we see a quintet of dudes who look like they were dressed by someone with a limited budget and penchant for hitting the clearance rack at TJ Maxx. Don't get me wrong; by all means, stretch your dollars so you can spend money on things like tickets to pro wrestling events. But if you're a billionaire with a wrestling company, pay attention to detail and don't skimp out on wardrobe coordination if you want to keep the illusion alive.

Written by Kevin Tall

Hated: Is Timeless Toni on a road to nowhere?

I hate "hating" this. It's more an "I'm afraid of hating it" than a "hate" altogether. It wasn't all that long ago that I'd pop in here for "Dynamite" and psych myself up to "love" something other than Toni Storm so as not to be repetitive. In short, I show up each week(ish) with my chin up and my tits out, and I most certainly am ready to watch for the shoe. At this point, however, I'm just not sure where in the hell any of this is going.


Toni needed a character shift. Nailed it. "Timeless" Toni Storm is a treasure. But then we went black and white and onto the Golden Age of Hollywood stuff. Now we're full-on, chips-pushed-in, in a time warp, with present tense references to the Kennedys, Fatty Arbuckle, Jean Harlow, and Frances Farmer. All of those names (that very few of the target demo here is going to recognize, mind you) met unfortunate early demises, so I get RJ City's line of questioning as to whether or not Toni is worried about defending her AEW Women's Championship next week given her current state, but still, what is this? Am I to believe that Toni has been rip-roaring blitzed for a week now? With gout? A title-holder is hammered for a week straight and now has gout? Come on, man.


Let's get her back into the ring doing what she does best, because Toni Storm is a fantastic wrestler. We were good with the "I'm ready for my closeup" character touches. I feel like someone in the back thinks all of this is just hilarious. Maybe next, we invoke the ghost of Joe DiMaggio for a quick romance angle?

I'd like to see us turn toward getting out of this, at least out of its depths, and maybe we have that in something involving a Mariah May Mickie James-esque stalker angle or something. Otherwise, wherever this is going could very well be a point of no return.

Written by Jon Jordan

Loved: Swerve Strickland and Jay White put on a fantastic main event

A fantastic match from two fantastic performers. What more can you ask for, really?

Swerve Strickland and Jay White left it all in the ring in this back-and-forth bout, which absolutely got the time that it deserved. It was already an impressive match in and of itself, but what made it all the more so for me was it managed to stand out as the best of the three Continental Classic matches despite it being the last one to go on.


The closing moments of the match saw Swerve roll up White to prevent him from hitting a Blade Runner, and while it was a simplistic finish, it was effective in the sense that both men anticipated each other's finishers and did their homework before facing each other. Strickland is currently one of the most over performers in AEW right now (evident by the loud chants he received throughout the match), and having him tie Moxley with six points each to become the two top scorers in the Gold League was absolutely the right call. I have been all for Strickland getting the push he deserves, and I hope it results in him taking home the entire tournament.

Written by Olivia Quinlan