The John Report: AEW Dynamite 11/29/23 Review

aew dynamite november 29

This week’s AEW Dynamite saw the Continental Classic tournament continue, words from MJF, a Christian Cage-Adam Copeland confrontation and more.

This was AEW Dynamite episode #217 from the Target Center in Minneapolis. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

It’s Wednesday and you know what that means. Excalibur was on commentary with Tony Schiavone and Taz.

Bryan Danielson joined commentary for the Continental Classic matches. Danielson has an eye patch on his left eye to sell his orbital bone injury.

Continental Classic Tournament Gold League: Jon Moxley vs. Jay Lethal

If you think that Lethal has a chance in this match then you haven’t been watching AEW long enough. Moxley knocked down a running Lethal with a back elbow. Lethal applied a figure four leglock near the ropes and then they went tumbling to the floor. Lethal tackled Moxley into the apron. Lethal hit a suicide dive onto Moxley on the floor. Moxley decked Lethal with a forearm off the apron along with a suicide dive that sent Lethal into the barricade. Moxley was selling a left knee injury, so when they got back in the ring Lethal hit a knee breaker and a dragon screw leg whip. Moxley did some face biting. Lethal hit a jawbreaker, kneebreaker and belly-to-back suplex. Lethal hit an elbow drop off the top for two. Moxley went to the apron so Lethal knocked him off the apron into the barricade, which led to a break.


The match returned with Lethal working on the left leg, but Moxley came back with a Cutter. Lethal barely sold that move and came back with a dragon screw leg whip to take Moxley off the ropes. Moxley avoided a dropkick and hit a couple of forearms to the face. Moxley hit a clothesline. Lethal hit a gentle Lethal Combination with a backbreaker into a flatliner for two. Moxley countered a move into an inside cradle and a rollup got a two count. Lethal applied a Figure Four Leglock submission, but Moxley got to the ropes to break it. Lethal kicked the leg, Moxley decided to stop selling the leg and hit a DDT, clothesline and piledriver for two. Moxley applied a rear naked choke submission leading to Lethal tapping out after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jon Moxley

Analysis: ***1/4 Easy win for Moxley that shouldn’t have taken as long as it did, but we know AEW loves giving these matches more than ten minutes. At least they tried to tell a story with Lethal working over the left knee a bit before Moxley made the comeback. I don’t think they want to book any of these matches under ten minutes. Moxley sold the knee injury most of the way until the final minute when he stopped selling it so he can finish off Lethal.

The win by Moxley means he has 6 points in the Gold League of the Continental Classic while Lethal has 0 points.

Eddie Kingston was shown talking after his loss on AEW Collision. Eddie spoke about how difficult of a tournament it is. Kingston said he’s got Bryan Danielson next and he’s behind the eight ball. Kingston said he’s going to be humble in victory and humble in defeat. Kingston said he’ll be ready for Bryan.

Bryan Danielson was on commentary shouting about how he was coming into this tournament to win and be the first AEW Triple Crown Champion.


Sting & Ric Flair Interview

Tony Schiavone was backstage announcing that the AEW Revolution PPV will take place at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC on Sunday, March 3rd. That was the sight of Ric Flair and Sting’s classic Clash of the Champions match with Flair in 1988 when they had a 45-minute draw on television. Sting was there to say that it was a big night for him and a make or break night for him with Ric putting him on the map. Sting said that it was a fitting place for him to end his career all these years later. Flair did one of his shouting promos about how he didn’t make Sting, he made himself. Flair said they went 45 minutes with him and Sting went out and did it. Flair said they didn’t rehearse it. They went out and did it. Flair said that he’s 74-years-old and he’s going back to Greensboro for what will arguably be the greatest moment of his life. Flair said that he’s honored to be by Sting’s side. Flair said that Highway 85 will be lined up like it always was. Flair shouted “WOOO” and Sting said it was the 1980s all over again. Sting: “It’s showtime!”

Analysis: It’s a great place for Sting’s final match due to Sting’s history with Ric Flair. I know that Sting lives in Texas now so I thought maybe a location close to him was a possibility. They also could have picked a bigger city and charged a lot of money for tickets. However, I think Greensboro is a fine choice.

Continental Classic Tournament Gold League: Rush vs. Mark Briscoe

Both of these guys lost last week. It started out as a slugfest followed by some chops being thrown. Mark hit a running dropkick against the turnbuckle. Rush hit a clothesline along with a snapmare leading to a kick to the back. Rush went to the middle turnbuckle, so Mark punched him over the top to the floor. Rush hit a running dropkick sending Rush into the barricade. Rush came back by sending Mark into the barricade three times in a row. Rush broke the count, then went back out and Mark hit a slam onto the top of the barricade. Mark hit a running elbow drop off the apron onto Rush on the floor. Back in the ring, they exchanged strikes again, Mark hit a boot and Rush hit a German Suplex. Mark bounced off the ropes leading to a clothesline.


Rush had Mark grounded with a leglock leading to Mark getting to the ropes to break the hold. They did the “let’s stand and throw chops” spot that AEW matches have all the time. Rush knocked down Mark with a chop while Rush was held up against the ropes. Mark hit an overhead suplex followed by Rush hitting a belly-to-belly suplex into the turnbuckle. Rush charged right into a spear by Mark for two. Mark hit a neckbreaker for two. Mark broke free leading to a jumping kick to the head. They were on the apron with Mark kicking Rush, but then Rush got a hold of Mark leading to a suplex off the apron to the floor. That’s a brutal bump. Mark punched Rush off the turnbuckle and Mark hit a Froggy Bow for the two count. Rush countered a move with a back body drop. Mark charged again and Rush hit an overhead belly-to-belly suplex into the turnbuckle. Rush hit a forearm to the head. Rush hit the Bull’s Horns dropkick (with a loud leg slap) while Mark was against the turnbuckle for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Rush

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very good match between two guys with a similar hard-hitting style. I thought it could have gone either way, which makes the match more interesting to watch. It really was an even matchup the whole way with Mark getting some offensive spurts, but then Rush had a lot of offense too. Mark took some crazy bumps as usual including that suplex off the apron to the floor. Rush got the momentum going with the suplex into the turnbuckle, the forearm and the Bull’s Horns for the win. It was a fun match to watch.

Rush has 3 points in the Continental Classic now while Mark Briscoe has 0 points.

There was an AEW Women’s Champion “Timeless” Toni Storm video in black and white with Mariah May and Luther with her. Storm said that she was a bit dehydrated and has a touch of the gout. RJ City was asked if she was worried about her title match. Storm wasn’t worried while she told City to take off her shoes because she was getting a little bit swollen.

Analysis: Toni Storm does a good job as this character. I don’t think AEW cares enough about the women’s division in general, though.

Let’s Hear from Maxwell Jacob Friedman

MJF walked out with the AEW World Championship and the ROH Tag Team Championship. MJF had a cane on his left hand to sell his leg injury and he also a torn labrum shoulder injury. MJF talked about how he has to defend the AEW World Title against Samoa Joe at Worlds End. MJF said that he didn’t like Joe personally, but he respects him because Joe believes in those three letters – AEW. MJF said that in the early 2000s he got a poster in his mailbox about TNA Wrestling. MJF said that he saw a new cast of wrestlers that he never saw before and there was one man that stood out among the rest – the Samoan Submission Machine Samoa Joe. MJF said that when Joe walked through the curtain, we knew Joe was the baddest man walking on God’s green earth. MJF said that later on in his career he was not afforded the opportunity to be a World Champion in WWE, but what Joe did for this sport was bigger than that. MJF said that Joe proved you don’t have to be a massive male bodybuilder and Joe proved that alternatives matter. MJF said that the road that Joe paved has allowed a man like MJF to stand in front of you. MJF said without a guy like Joe, there might not be an AEW. MJF said “thank you” to Joe even though it was painful for him to admit.

(I would say without Tony Khan’s dad being a billionaire there would be no AEW. But that’s just me.)

MJF said that he’s not too shabby himself. MJF said that he helped build a new alternative. MJF said that he has been in AEW since day one and he has helped build this place brick by brick. MJF mentioned beating big names like Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega, but of all the names that he has faced and he has been lucky to have been victorious and survived, that would be you Joe. MJF said that December 30th is not about Joe’s legacy, it was about MJF’s legacy.

Analysis: That’s a bit of a stretch to say Samoa Joe broke the mold as a World Champion. Guys in the 1990s who held the WWE Title that weren’t huge guys broke the mold a lot more than a 300-pound Samoan guy who looked tough. I get what Max is trying to say because he’s trying to put over his PPV opponent, but like I said it’s a bit of a stretch. MJF does this for every opponent where he puts over his opponent with a long promo by also mentioning the other people he has beaten.

MJF said that he was going to make a promise. MJF said on December 30th, he doesn’t care about his knee, hip or shoulder being hurt and that Joe beats him within an inch of his life. MJF said he’s going to show the world that it’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, it’s about the fight in the dog. MJF said that at Worlds End, Joe will have to put him down.

The lights went out and when they came back on, a bunch of guys in masks grabbed MJF for an attack. Samoa Joe showed up to make the save since he said he would protect MJF before Worlds End. The guys in masks ran away.

There was a text promo that appeared on the screen asking MJF and Samoa Joe if they would face the unknown in a tag team match. A question appeared on the screen asking if MJF is a hero. MJF said that this is “bulls**t.” MJF said that he’s going to take out all your men one by one and unmask you, you coward. MJF said that if you want a tag team match, you are on. Joe wasn’t too happy about it as MJF left the ring.

Analysis: It was the usual good promo from MJF pandering to the crowd showing his confidence ahead of his match with Samoa Joe. MJF talked about other guys he had beaten, but also made a point to say that Joe was the toughest guy he’s ever beaten because it tells the audience that MJF might lose. I’m not sure who the masked person was. Adam Cole makes a lot of sense, but his injury may have led to those plans changing. Wardlow is another option, I guess.


The announcers talked about it with Tony Schiavone saying whoever this is has access to the lighting and production of AEW. They don’t know who it is that’s doing it.

Wardlow vs. AR Fox

Wardlow had his hair messed up a bit, so maybe that’s a tease about him being The Devil mask guy. Fox kicked Wardlow off the apron and hit a couple of dives, but Wardlow didn’t bump. Wardlow caught Fox and tossed him aside. Wardlow slammed Fox into the ring so the bell rang. Wardlow tossed Fox across the ring. Fox left the ring again, so Wardlow threw Fox back into the ring. Wardlow tried a press slam, Fox got out of it and Wardlow went running into the turnbuckle. Fox kicked Wardlow down followed by a 450 Splash off the top for just a one count. Wardlow no sold multiple kick attempts and Wardlow hit a spinebuster followed by a wind-up clothesline. Wardlow hit a Powerbomb followed by a second Powerbomb. Wardlow went up top and hit a Senton Bomb. Wardlow hit more of a Last Ride Powerbomb. The referee Bryce Remsburg called for the bell. It was a KO win. It went four minutes.

Winner by referee’s stoppage: Wardlow

Analysis: *1/2 It took longer than most Wardlow matches, but it was still the same result with Wardlow dominating for the win.

They replayed Dante Martin’s brutal injury eight months ago when he suffered a broken leg/ankle doing a crazy spot. Be smarter, pro wrestlers.

Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy & Brother Zay vs. Top Flight – Darius Martin & Dante Martin and Action Andretti

The Hardys still work here? I guess so. The Martin boys are in their hometown of Minneapolis. Action hit a dropkick on Matt followed by a sunset flip. Matt hit a hiptoss. Jeff tagged in with an atomic drop leading to a double team leg drop on Action for two. Zay tagged in with a shoulder tackle as he exchanged moves and Darius hit a dropkick. Dante got a big pop as he hit a corner clothesline and a senton splash. Action tagged in with a double foot stomp to Zay’s arm.


Jeff worked over Action with a dropkick to the back while Action was seated. Matt tagged in with a Side Effect on Action for two. Action broke free leading to some kicks including an enziguri kick. Dante tagged back in with some crazy athletic moves including a springboard cross body block for two. Darius hit a rising flatliner on Matt. Zay got a rollup on Dante for two and a clothesline by Zay. Zay jumped off Jeff’s back leading to a dropkick on Dante. Jeff hit a splash on Dante against the turnbuckle. Zay hit a missile dropkick on Dante while the Hardys held Dante on their shoulders and that got a two count. Darius hit a forearm on Jeff while Action hit a moonsault on Matt on the floor. The three guys on the face team were in the ring leading to a dropkick into a suplex and Dante hit a spinning slam on Zay for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Top Flight – Darius Martin & Dante Martin and Action Andretti

Analysis: **3/4 It was just a regular tag team match to put over Dante Martin now that he’s back after a long injury. Since it was in Dante’s hometown, it’s understandable why they did the match. With that said, it was also just a random match without any kind of story. I’m not shocked that Zay took the pin because he is the younger guy on the team while The Hardys are protected to a certain degree even though they rarely win any matches.


Dante Martin was backstage with Renee Paquette with Dante’s buddies. Before Dante could say anything, he was interrupted by Penta, Komander and El Hijo del Vikingo. They had a staredown so it should be a six-man tag team match.

TBS Championship: Julia Hart vs. Emi Sakura

It’s another random match with no story. Hart is 16-1 this year. No reaction for Emi at all. The fans were chanting “Julia” even though she’s part of a heel stable. Hart sent Emi into the turnbuckle and hit a splash. Emi hit some chops and Hart did an armbar takedown. They left the ring leading to Emi sending Hart into the steel step. Emi hit a cross body block onto Hart against the stairs.


Emi was in control with a double hook as she held Hart upside down and hit a backbreaker onto the knee. Hart tried a move, but Emi got out of it with a surfboard submission. Emi took way too long to go up top and hit a moonsault. Hart applied the Hartless submission, but the story is that Emi said you can’t win by submission since it was House Rules. Hart hit a running clothesline. Hart took way too long and hit a moonsault while Emi was rolling out of the way. Hart covered Emi for the pinfall win. It ended at around eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Julia Hart

Analysis: ** It was tough to get into the match. Every time Sakura wrestles on this show she loses, so it’s difficult to care about the match. I don’t blame the crowd for being quiet for some of it. Bad finish to the match with Hart going for the moonsault and Emi rolled out of it, yet Hart barely hit her with the moonsault. It didn’t look good.

I say it every week about how AEW has about 30 women on the roster or more, yet they rarely have any storylines while most of them get brought into the shows to hang out in catering all night. Book your women’s division, better. Britt Baker even tweeted a complaint about a lack of promo time this year.

Mariah May was interviewed by RJ City. May talked about how she was dying to show AEW what she’s all about. May thanked RJ for helping her get a meeting with Tony Khan and she knocked on the office door that said Tony Khan on it.

Analysis: I think Mariah May was flirting with RJ City, but he was oblivious to it. She’s a pretty woman.

Let’s Hear from Christian Cage

Christian Cage made his entrance as the TNT Champion with five AEW security guys (aka indy wrestlers) in the ring with him. Christian invited the Rated R Superstar Adam Copeland to this ring right now. Christian wanted to speak to him about some of the things he said last week, so Christian called out Adam again. Christian called for Adam Copeland that he wanted to speak with him. After a couple of minutes, here comes Adam.

Adam Copeland made his entrance with a serious look on his face as Christian stood behind the security guys. Adam was in the ring. Christian said they didn’t need security, so he asked security to vacate the ring.

Christian summarized how Adam challenged him to a TNT Title match in Montreal next Wednesday on Dynamite. Christian said that they won’t make it to Montreal because “I’m sorry.” Christian said they may think he’s on an island by himself and the fans chanted “bullshit” at him. Christian said that he was upset by what Adam did to Luchasaurus aka Killswitch and Christian was so mad that he just started driving. Christian said it was a road trip that made him think about what happened to him. Christian recalled when they took his mom’s Ford Taurus and they knew they were going to make it.

Christian said they went on to become multiple-time Tag Team Champions and he thinks they were the greatest Tag Team Ever. Christian said they were multiple-time World Champions too. Christian talked about how Adam grew up with a single mom and Christian said that Adam grew up without a father. Christian said that he was a brother, then his father was like his own and Christian’s family took over. Christian said that his dad is still Adam’s biggest fan. Christian told Adam that he loved him and they are family. Christian spoke about how when Adam’s mom passed away a few years ago, it was the hardest time of his life. Christian said that Adam’s mom said that she wished they got to team together one last time. Christian wanted them to go on this journey again as a tag team for Judy, for Adam’s mom and they should do it for her. Adam looked sad about what he said. Christian tried to attack with the TNT Title, but Adam kicked him in the groin, so Christian collapsed to the mat.

Adam: “Nice try, dumbass.” Adam told Christian to shine up the title and even sleep with it because she’s coming home with him. Adam said he almost forgot: “Go f**k yourself!” That wasn’t muted this time. It was muted when Christian Cage said it to Adam in the past, but I heard it this time.

It’s on for next week on AEW Dynamite: Christian Cage defends the TNT Title against Adam Copeland.

Analysis: That was a tremendous job by the desperate heel Christian trying to convince Adam to team with him again rather than face him because Christian didn’t want to get his ass kicked. A lot of good lines by Christian as usual while I like how Adam sold it so that it sounded like he was buying into what Christian was saying until he realized it was bullshit. The payoff was great when Adam realized that Christian was just faking it and Adam was ready for the cheap attack. Nice touch with the low blow and the ”go f**k yourself” line just like Christian said to him in the past.

The main event was next.


Continental Classic Tournament Gold League: Jay White vs. Swerve Strickland

Bryan Danielson was on commentary for this match. Both wrestlers got three points last week for winning their first matches.

It’s a matchup between two heels. White sent Swerve out of the ring to chop him and send Swerve into the barricade. Swerve came back briefly, but White sent Swerve into the barricade again. White with chops while Swerve also hit some chops. White sent Swerve out of the ring again, but Swerve hit him with a belly to back suplex onto the barricade top and White went into the crowd. Swerve jumped off the apron with a Swerve Stomp onto White’s back. Swerve was on the apron, White kicked him and White hit a DDT leading to a break.


White remained in control with a Saito Suplex and another suplex that sent Swerve back-first into the turnbuckle. Swerve came back with a vertical suplex for a two count. White kicked Swerve in the left leg followed by a flatliner into the mat. White hit a German Suplex, but Swerve came back with a strong lariat. White came back with an armbar submission on the right arm. Swerve managed to turn it in with his own armbar while Swerve pulled on the right arm and Swerve pulled back on the arm in a big way so the fans chanted “you sick f**k” at Swerve. Swerve blocked a blow attempt from White and Swerve hit a backbreaker. Swerve hit a House Call kick. Swerve went up top, White was seated and Swerve hit a Swerve Stomp for just two because White got his left shoulder up. Swerve had a shocked reaction to that kickout. White got back up and managed to hit the Bladerunner, but Swerve rolled to the apron. Swerve rolled to the floor. White brought Swerve back in and Swerve pulled on the left arm. White with a rollup for two and Swerve did a jackknife pin for two. They exchanged chops and White hit a Sleeper Suplex. White went for the Bladerunner, but Swerve countered with an arm drag into a pin attempt for the three count. It went 16 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland

Analysis: ***1/2 This was a very good match that really picked up in the last few minutes. There were a lot of counter holds in the last couple of minutes. When White hit the Bladerunner, Swerve was able to roll out of the ring to the floor meaning White couldn’t pin him. That’s a nice way to show how smart Swerve is to avoid being pinned. The first part of the match wasn’t that interesting and then the pace picked up. I think it’s tough doing heel-heel matches since the fans don’t have anybody to root for, but they got through it fine since they are talented veterans.

The win by Swerve means that Moxley and Swerve have six points to lead the group while Rush and White have three points. Lethal and Briscoe have no points.

Analysis: I said when this tournament started that I wanted Swerve to win it or at least make the finals, so it’s going well so far.

Swerve Strickland celebrated the win in the aisle while White was frustrated about the loss while Excalibur was screaming about upcoming matches. Swerve had a smile on his face. That was the end of the show.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Swerve Strickland, Jon Moxley & Rush
  2. Christian Cage/Adam Copeland
  3. Jay White, Mark Briscoe


The Scoreboard

This Week: 7.5 out of 10

Last Week: 7.25

2023 Average: 7.33


Final Thoughts on AEW Dynamite

It was another week with a heavy spotlight on the Continental Classic tournament. If you love the tournament then you got another three very good matches. If you don’t like tournaments much or you are confused about the format then it might be a turnoff for you. The Swerve/White match was great, I enjoyed Rush/Briscoe too even though I doubt either of them goes far in the tournament and Moxley beating Lethal was very obvious.

In terms of storylines, they continued The Devil mind games with MJF where we continue to not know who The Devil is that is haunting MJF. I thought MJF’s promo was fine, but not his best. It’s typical pandering to the crowd while putting over his next PPV opponent Samoa Joe as a threat. The same thing MJF does for every opponent. Maybe it’s just me, but I enjoyed MJF way more as a heel.

I thought the Christian Cage/Adam Copeland promo segment was great. Christian is such a fantastic heel that acted like he regretted his past actions, but Adam knows him well enough to know that it was just bullshit from Christian, which led to Adam firing back. Nice job of Adam saying “go f**k yourself” too just like Christian said to him recently. That should be a fun match in front of a hot crowd in Montreal. They’re my local guys and still incredible performers.


Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors & Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton


Twitter/X: @johnreport