This week’s AEW Dynamite saw the Continental Classic tournament kick off with Jon Moxley facing Mark Briscoe in the main event, words from MJF and more.
It’s the first AEW show since the Full Gear PPV last Saturday night, which I thought was a great show.
Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the United States celebrating on Thursday. It’s a writing day off for me as far as news and show reviews, so I’ll enjoy watching NFL games all day.
It’s Wednesday and you know what that means. Excalibur was on commentary with Tony Schiavone and Taz.
The announcers talked about the Continental Classic which ends on December 30th at the Worlds End PPV. The winner gets the Continental Championship, as well as the ROH World Title and the NJPW STRONG Openweight Title. The winner will be known as the Triple Crown Champion. The rules for the tournament are below.
* 20-minute time-limit
* Three points for a win
* One point for a draw
* Everyone is banned from ringside
The 12 wrestlers in the Continental Classic tournament are below.
BLUE LEAGUE: Bryan Danielson, Eddie Kingston, Andrade El Idolo, Claudio Castagnoli, Brody King and Daniel Garcia
GOLD LEAGUE: Jon Moxley, Rush, Mark Briscoe, Swerve Strickland, Jay White and Jay Lethal
Analysis: When I saw the 12 guys in the tournament my immediate thought was that I wanted Swerve Strickland to win the tournament. Guys like Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson are already established. Let’s see a guy like Swerve pick up the win to really elevate him after his feud with Adam Page. Jay White winning would be fine too.
Continental Classic Gold League: Swerve Strickland vs. Jay Lethal
It’s a matchup between two heels. The announcers talked about how Swerve wasn’t 100% healthy after the incredible match with Hangman Page at Full Gear. Swerve had some kinesio tape on his right shoulder. Lethal sent Swerve out of the ring followed by a suicide dive that sent Swerve into the barricade. Swerve his body to trip up Lethal followed by a low dropkick to the knee. Swerve hit a running dropkick into the left knee that was against the ropes. Lethal got some momentum back as he pulled on Swerve’s right arm. Swerve faked a high chop and chopped Lethal in the leg instead. Swerve hit a German Suplex, but Lethal was back up with a shoulderbreaker. Both guys laid on the mat selling as the show went to a picture-in-picture break.
The match continued with both guys on the top turnbuckle with Lethal going for a wrist lock, but Swerve hit him with a superplex. Swerve worked over Lethal with punches followed by a flatliner and a brainbuster for two. Lethal got an inside cradle for a two count. Lethal did an eye gouge followed by a reverse suplex. Lethal went up top and hit the elbow drop for a two count because he’s not savage enough. Swerve avoided a Lethal dropkick and Swerve applied the Stretch Muffler submission until Jay got to the bottom rope to break it. Lethal captured Swerve’s right arm for a submission, but Swerve got out of it and Lethal hit a pump kick. Lethal went for the handspring off the ropes, Swerve kicked the left leg and Swerve hit a House Call kick to the head. Swerve went up top and hit the Swerve Stomp on Lethal for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland
Analysis: ***1/4 This was pretty good with the right man getting the win in my opinion. Lethal got plenty of offense in the match, but he really didn’t get that much consistent offense. Swerve working over the left knee throughout the match led to Swerve kicking the knee when Lethal was going off the ropes and Swerve hit two moves after that to get the win.
The trio of Orange Cassidy, Hook and Katsuyori Shibata were about to do a promo with Renee Paquette, but Wheeler Yuta walked in to interrupt. Yuta ripped on Orange for how he beat Moxley at Full Gear and said he was coming for the ROH Pure Title held by Shibata. Orange was going to announce something, but Renee said they were out of time.
Let’s Hear from MJF with Adam Cole
The duo of AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman and Adam Cole made their entrance to their theme song. They are still the ROH Tag Team Champions so they had those titles. Cole was on crutches with a black boot on his left ankle that was surgically repaired. MJF had a cane in his left hand to support his sore left leg.
MJF did his usual promo sucking up the fans and the city of Chicago. MJF said that he learned that Jay White was one of the best professional wrestlers in the world, but nobody is on “the level of The Devil.” MJF said that he has the most successful title defenses of all time, the youngest of all time and the longest reigning of all time. MJF called himself the greatest AEW World Champion of all time, which totals a whopping four-plus years. MJF said that none of that is possible without his “brochacho” for life. The fans were shouting “ADAM” like Roderick Strong does.
Cole said that it was great to be back in Chicago and it’s also great that they are the ROH Tag Team Champions with a little help from Samoa Joe. Cole said he’s not even close to walking yet, much less wrestling. Cole said he’ll work hard to come back at 100% and be the best Adam Cole that he’s ever been. Cole said that it feels like the entire world is gunning for Max. Cole mentioned The Devil and his goons. MJF said that you don’t have to worry about him. MJF issued a warning saying that the hell he sends The Devil to will feel like heaven. The Devil mask appeared on screen, The Devil laughed and then it ended quickly.
Samoa Joe made his entrance to join MJF and Cole in the ring. Joe said that MJF should be celebrating two wins. Joe talked about how MJF started off his night right by retaining the ROH Tag Team Titles and said that the deal is that Joe gets a shot at the AEW World Title. MJF told Joe his breath smells like a skunk’s a**hole. MJF had some thoughts on the deal and it was muted here in Canada. Joe grabbed MJF by the collar and Cole shouted saying he’ll talk to MJF. Cole said that the fans love MJF not just because he’s a great wrestler and a great wrestler, but because MJF is a man that makes things happen. Cole wanted MJF to be a man of his word and give this man the title match that MJF promised him. The fans chanted “he’s our scumbag.”
MJF said that you wouldn’t be the first ROH legend that he beat in Chicago…twice (that’s a CM Punk reference). MJF wanted an AEW World Title match right here and right now. Joe said no to that. Joe said that MJF isn’t healthy, but Joe wants the fully healed Max to face him. Joe said that by Worlds End, MJF should be nice and chipper to get in the ring to defend that title. MJF summarized saying that Joe wants to face MJF at Worlds End in Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, which is MJF’s home. Joe said that’s correct and MJF said that you’ve got yourself a deal. They shook hands. The fans were mad that MJF put over Long Island, so MJF said he loved Chicago deep dish pizza and told them to calm down. Joe said that MJF is Joe’s property from now on. Joe said that he would be a few steps behind Max whenever he sees him and Joe said he has MJF’s back. Joe said that we will have the best MJF at Worlds End, then Joe was going to strangle him and take the AEW World Title from him in front of MJF’s friends and family. Joe left.
The graphic was shown to make it official: MJF will defend the AEW World Title against Samoa Joe at Worlds End on December 30th.
Analysis: I figured that’s where it was going. Great promo work from MJF for the most part even though he panders to the crowd too much for my liking. Samoa Joe is always excellent making his points as well. Doing the MJF-Joe match at Worlds End makes a lot of sense and allows them to build up to the match over the next month.
The entrances took place for the six-man tag team match. Orange Cassidy said he had a surprise. It was the return of Danhausen, who missed the last six months with an arm injury. Danhausen was there to support Cassidy.
Orange Cassidy, Hook & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Jake Hager, Angelo Parker & Matt Menard
This was called a “huge” Trios Tag Team match by Excalibur. I wouldn’t call it that. I’d call it a match with an obvious result. Hook did multiple hiplock takeovers. On Menard and Parker. Hager hit Hook with a forearm to the back. Menard held Hook while Parker hit a running knee. Hager tagged in with a Hager Bomb splash off the turnbuckle for a two count.
Hook broke free with an overhead suplex. Orange got the tag with a DDT on Menard. Hager went into the ring illegally and lifted up Orange for a powerslam. Orange hit a Stundog Millionaire on Hager. Shibata tagged in while going after Hager and Hager hit Shibata with two boots. Shibata hit a pump kick. Shibata kept going after Hager with repeated chops and strikes. Shibata hit a running kick on Menard and a running dropkick on Hager against the turnbuckle. Parker and Menard also went into the ring. Hager tagged in Parker and Danhausen had Hager’s purple hat that Hager used to love. Danhausen cursed Hager. Orange hit a dive onto Hager with an elbow. Hook was legal for his team leading to Red Rum and a sleeper while Orange punched Hager down from the apron with an Orange Punch. Parker tapped out to Hook for the submission win for the faces.
Winners by pinfall: Orange Cassidy, Hook & Katsuyori Shibata
Analysis: **1/4 It was average wrestling to put over the faces against easy opponents who lose nearly every match they have. The heels had no chance and there were several minutes where multiple people were in the ring after Hook made the tag. Anyway, it was a nothing match to put over the faces.
Adam Cole was interviewed by Renee Paquette backstage with Cole talking about being there to support MJF. Here is the obvious interruption from Roderick Strong (in a wheelchair with neckbrace) and The Kingdom. Strong said he was sorry he missed Cole on Saturday. Strong complained that Cole wasn’t there for him when Action Andretti dropped strong on his head. Cole told Strong that he wasn’t his best friend anymore, so he told Strong to leave him alone. Cole left while Strong didn’t know what to say.
Will Ospreay signing with AEW last Saturday at Full Gear was shown. It led to a plug for AEW All In London on August 25, 2024 with tickets on sale next week.
Let’s Hear from Christian Cage
The TNT Champion Christian Cage made his entrance Luchasaurus and Nick Wayne for a promo. This trio lost to Adam Copeland, Sting & Darby Allin at Full Gear last Saturday.
Christian said that their match at Full Gear didn’t exactly go their way. Christian spoke about how he did not lose that match, Nick Wayne did not lose that match…but Luchasaurus lost that match. Christian said that was unacceptable to him. Christian said they are both his children, and it’s time that he recreates them both in his image.
Christian told Luchasaurus to take a knee. There was some reluctance, so Christian told him to do it again. Christian said that the name Luchasaurus will forever be associated with being a loser. Christian came up with a name of strength, toughness and means certain victory, which never means defeat. Christian called Luchasaurus his Finisher because he will forever be known from here on out as Killswitch. That was a name that Christian used for his Unprettier finisher at one point during his career.
Christian spoke to Nick Wayne, who went down to one knee and Christian told Nick to get on his feet. Christian told Nick to not get on his knees for another person. Christian said that Nick is the son he always wanted. Christian said that he was a golden boy. Christian said that he will forever be known as “The Prodigy” Nick Wayne.
That led to Nick Wayne’s mom Shayna going down to the ring to try to talk to her son Nick. Christian told Shayna that she was a terrible mother. Christian said that she couldn’t provide for Nick since she was making $40,000 a year being a waitress. Christian said that was embarrassing for Nick. Christian said that she couldn’t give him anything. Christian claimed it was a good thing that her husband was dead anyway because Nick would have disowned his father since his father was never as good as Christian. Christian told Shayna to get the hell out of his ring because she had to punch a card at Denny’s. Christian told Shayna to go. Luchasaurus aka Killswitch stood in front of Christian, so Christian told him to get back on his knees now. Christian slapped Killswitch in the head. The fans were chanting “Luchasaurus” or else Christian would make him show the world why he wears that hideous mask. Christian shoved Luchasaurus, who backed into Shayna Wayne and she hit the ropes. Shayna bumped to the mat to sell it like she was hurt.
While Shayna was down on the mat selling, Christian instructed Nick to get something, so Nick brought two chairs into the ring. Christian teased doing a Conchairto while the announcers spoke about how they needed to stop this and not even shoot it. Christian told Killswitch to do it. Finally, Adam Copeland’s music hit to interrupt this.
Adam Copeland ran out to the ring and hit a Spear on Wayne followed by a kick to Luchasaurus aka Killswitch. Copeland wanted to hit Christian with a steel chair, but Killswitch pulled Christian out of the ring. Copeland hit Wayne with a chair followed by an Impaler DDT. Copeland hit Nick Wayne with a Conchairto while Shayna Wayne was seated in the ring and she watched it happen. Copeland stared at Christian from a distance while Shayna checked on her son.
Analysis: That was a good segment because of how talented Christian Cage is and how much of a scumbag heel he is. Copeland doing the Conchairto to Nick Wayne while Shayna was in the ring was an interesting visual as well to show that Copeland has snapped due to how much Christian has been messing with him. Terrific performance from Christian as usual.
Anna Jay was backstage with Renee Paquette while Matt Menard, Jake Hager & Angelo Parker were there complaining about the loss. Anna was asked about her match with Anna saying she just wanted to wrestle. Anna said she was going to help herself.
Continental Classic Gold League: Rush vs. Jay White
It’s another match between two heels. White is 13-1 in singles matches this year with the only loss happening at Full Gear last Saturday. Rush hit a dropkick knocking White down. Rush hit running splashes against the turnbuckle followed by another dropkick (with a loud leg slap) to knock White out of the ring. Rush chopped White down on the floor. Rush whipped White into the barricade multiple times. Rush sent White into the barricade again. Rush continued the attack with another hard chop on the floor. They were back in the ring with more chops by Rush. White finally came back with punches and chops of his own. Rush teased the running dropkick, but then he did the kick to the face instead. Rush posed in the ring leading to a break.
White was in control as the chop fest continued. Rush ran the ropes followed by a running clothesline. Rush hit two vertical suplexes, White got out of a third, Rush punched him and Rush completed the third suplex for a two count. Rush took way too long going up top and missed a senton splash because White moved. White hit a brainbuster for two. They exchanged chops along with punches. Rush hit a jumping knee. White hit a uranage slam for a two count. They continued exchanging chops. Rush hit an overhand chop, then a regular chop and Rush hit a German Suplex. White hit a dragon screw leg whip to take down Rush. White charged at Rush, who hit an overhead belly-to-belly suplex into the turnbuckle. Rush hit a running elbow strike. Rush charged, but White was back up going for a Bladerunner, there was nearly a referee bump and White hit a low blow kick that the referee never saw. White hit the Bladerunner for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jay White
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match that was even most of the way. Rush got a lot of offense early on and then White came back leading to the finish. I don’t know why they felt the need to throw so many chops, but there were a lot of chops in this match. The finish was cheap with White hitting the low blow kick that the referee never saw followed by the Bladerunner. I think White will do well in the tournament while Rush will probably lose a few matches in this tournament.
Jay White celebrated the win.
There were highlights from Full Gear telling the story that Big Bill & Ricky Starks will have to defend the AEW Tag Team Titles against Chris Jericho & Kenny Omega.
They showed a backstage attack where Starks & Bill attacked Jericho backstage including Bill rolling an equipment case into Jericho’s injured right arm. Jericho was down on the mat holding his right arm.
Toni Storm Celebrates AEW Women’s Championship Win
Renee Paquette and RJ City appeared on the stage with a microphone where they presented the AEW Women’s Champion. It was done like it was an award ceremony. They announced that “Timeless” Toni Storm won the award, so Storm was in the crowd with Luther. Storm went onto the stage while Mariah May arrived with the AEW Women’s Title that she presented to Storm. This was in black and white.
Toni Storm claimed she didn’t have anything prepared, yet she pulled out a sheet. Toni thanked “Anthony Khan and the wonderful people at Warner Discovery.” They played some music to cut her off. Storm said that she thanked the little Toni Storm’s who wanted to be her. Storm told them to stay in school and said thank you. Storm called for a standing ovation.
Analysis: They have about 30+ women in the division that barely have a gimmick or do anything relevant, so Storm really stands out playing this unique character. Toni does a good job with it.
Skye Blue walked past Toni Storm since Blue was up next in a triple threat match.
Anna Jay (w/Angelo Parker & Matt Menard) vs. Skye Blue vs. Ruby Soho (w/Saraya)
There is a storyline where Parker has been flirting with Ruby Soho, so the announcers mentioned that. Blue and Jay kicked Ruby out of the ring. Jay rolled up Blue for a two count. Jay hit a back kick to the face of Blue and Ruby went back in with a running elbow on Jay. Ruby hit a Saito Suplex on Blue. Ruby hit a back elbow to knock Blue back, but then Blue knocked Ruby off the apron to the floor. Parker was grabbing Blue’s leg right in front of the referee as Excalibur mentioned there’s no disqualification in a triple threat match. Jay hit a spin kick knocking Blue off the apron. Jay stretched Blue against the ring post as the show went to a PIP break.
They returned with a Tower of Doom spot out of the corner with Jay doing the Powerbomb part while the other two were involved in the Superplex, so Jay got a two count on each woman. They did a clothesline/DDT combo spot with Blue hitting a clothesline on Jay. Ruby avoided a charging Blue and Ruby sent Blue into the barricade. Ruby hit Jay with a knee to the face. Parker smiled at Ruby while Saraya and Menard stopped that flirting moment. Jay hit a boot to the face to knock Ruby down. Blue got back into it with a cross body block off the top on both opponents. Jay countered a Blue move with a slam of her own and Ruby broke up the pin. Blue hit Ruby with multiple knees and Blue kicked Ruby off the apron into Parker’s arms. Saraya pulled Ruby off. Back in the ring, Blue hit a superkick on Jay and Blue hit a Cutter off the shoulders for the pinfall win because Ruby was too slow to break it up due to arguing with Saraya at ringside. It went about nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Skye Blue
Analysis: **1/2 It was a decent triple threat match that was all about the story of Ruby flirting with Angelo while Ruby and Menard don’t like it, so they had issues out of the ring. Anna Jay was in the match since Parker has been her ally, so it was a way to give Blue a win while advancing the Ruby story with Parker. I don’t think it’s that interesting. I feel bad for Saraya having barely anything to do in AEW at this point other than trying to stop Ruby Soho from feuding with a jobber on the show. She has fallen off from where she was.
Wardlow was interviewed by Renee Paquette backstage. Paquette asked Wardlow what is he waiting for? Wardlow said that the downfall of The Devil is going to be when he’s ready. AR Fox walked up to try to talk to Wardlow, so Wardlow said he didn’t need advice from anybody. Wardlow headbutted Fox to knock him down.
Analysis: This is the slowest World Title chase in history. Does Wardlow just travel to shows and not get booked? They barely use the guy.
Continental Classic Gold League: Jon Moxley vs. Mark Briscoe
Mark is a babyface while Moxley was a heel, but I think he’s a face again. There were seven minutes left in the show, but the announcers said they would go past the top of the hour since there’s a 20-minute time limit.
Mark and Moxley exchanged strikes early on. Mark sent Moxley out of the ring followed by a running dropkick while Moxley was on the floor. Briscoe hit a running neckbreaker on Moxley on the floor. Back in the ring, Mark jumped off the top and Moxley moved out of the way. They exchanged forearms, which was a battle won by Moxley leading to more forearms. Mark was on the apron, so Moxley kicked Mark off the apron. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
Moxley worked over Mark with a forearm to the head. Mark was bleeding from the forehead. Moxley hit a piledriver on a bloody Mark Briscoe for a two count as they reached the 10 p.m. ET time. Mark hit a running elbow strike to knock Moxley down. Mark hit an overhead suplex. Moxley came back with an armbar on the left arm, but Briscoe managed to get to the ropes. They battled on the top rope, Mark bit Moxley in the head, Moxley hit a superplex and Mark was back up with a dropkick. Mark hit a rolling senton followed by the Froggy Bow top rope elbow drop for a two count. Moxley fought back with a king kong lariat along with the Death Rider for one…two…and no because Mark’s left shoulder popped up for the kickout. That drew a big reaction because it was Moxley’s finisher. Moxley hit a half n half suplex across the ring. Mark didn’t sell it much as they exchanged chops and punches. Moxley kicked the leg, Mark with a punch and Moxley hit a running knee to the ribs. Moxley hit The Stomp followed by the Death Rider for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jon Moxley
Analysis: ***3/4 I thought that was an excellent match. The pacing was very fast, they treated it like a fight and it was the kind of action that AEW fans love to see. It’s not always about going 20 minutes. Sometimes it’s about how you fill the time you have. In this case, it felt like a fight as I said and not a match where guys exchange 30 chops just to fill time. Mark Briscoe was impressive throughout the match as a guy who wouldn’t back down, but Moxley is pushed more so of course he was going to win.
That win by Moxley means that he has three points along with Swerve Strickland and Jay White while the other three guys in the league have zero points.
After the match, Moxley and Briscoe shook hands. This Saturday on Collision, Eddie Kingston faces Brody King in the Blue League of the Continental Classic as well as Daniel Garcia facing Claudio Castagnoli. Jon Moxley continued to celebrate his victory. That was the end of the show. They signed off at seven minutes past the top of the hour.
Three Stars of the Show
- Jon Moxley
- Swerve Strickland, Jay White
- Mark Briscoe, Christian Cage
This Week: 7.5 out of 10
Last Week: 7
2023 Average: 7.33
Final Thoughts on AEW Dynamite
It was a show focused on building up the Continental Classic tournament with three tournament matches taking place. The wrestlers in AEW are very good so they are going to have great matches in the tournament, so the question is can they tell compelling stories within the tournament too? That’s important. The AEW diehards will love the tournament format and we know that’s who Tony Khan caters his booking to a lot of the time. I just don’t know if it’s that compelling to the casual fans. Two of the tournament matches featured heels so it was tough to get into them although having Swerve Strickland and Jay White win was the right call.
I liked the Jon Moxley-Mark Briscoe main event a lot. It wasn’t too long, but full of action. They matched up well style-wise and it felt like more of a fight instead of two guys standing there and throwing 30 chops in a match. We know AEW TV shows usually have a few very good matches, so we’ll get more of those in the tournament matches.
There were lengthy promo segments in the ring. MJF and Samoa Joe did a good job of building to their AEW World Title match at Worlds End. I like how Joe said he’ll protect MJF until the match because he wants MJF to be healthy. There was also a CM Punk reference by MJF because of course there was in Chicago. I also liked the Christian Cage segment since he’s the best dirtbag heel in the company. Adam Copeland ended it on a happy note, but I thought it was done really well with Christian being a jerk to Luchasaurus aka Killswitch and to Nick Wayne’s mom too. Everything else on the show was just decent.
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