This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Christian Cage facing Adam Copeland for the TNT Title, the Continental Classic continues with three more matches and more.
It’s a Montreal edition of Dynamite. Montreal is a great wrestling crowd in my home country of Canada. They taped Collision there on Tuesday so this is the second AEW show in the city, but the first live Dynamite episode.
It’s Wednesday and you know what that means. Excalibur was on commentary with Tony Schiavone and Taz.
Continental Classic Gold League: Jon Moxley vs. Rush
Moxley has 6 points in the Continental Classic with a 2-0 record while Rush is 1-1 for 3 points.
It started as an exchange of chops/strikes. Moxley hit a knee, but Rush hit an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Moxley’s shoulder was caught under Rush during that move. Moxley left the ring, so Rush tossed him over the barricade. They were fighting by the fans as the announcers wondered about a countout, but the referee wasn’t even counting because it is AEW. Anyway, they went into the ring briefly and tossed Moxley over the barricade. They went fight into the crowd again. I don’t know why the announcers were talking about a potential countout when the referee doesn’t count. The announcers then decide to praise the referee for not counting. I’m not complaining. Just saying it’s very inconsistent watching AEW matches. Rush tripped up Moxley against the turnbuckle with some stomps on the body. Rush hit a boot to the face followed by Rush’s pose, so Moxley did a double middle finger gesture. Rush hit a powerslam for a two count. Rush stomped on Moxley’s chest a few times. Moxley popped back up with a Cutter. Moxley hit a superplex off the middle turnbuckle for two. They exchanged forearms, they went to the apron and Moxley blocked a suplex leading to a knee to the ribs. Moxley charged at Rush, who gave him a belly-to-belly suplex into the barricade. Ouch. That led to a picture-in-picture break.
Rush delivered some kicks, but Moxley came back with a DDT. Rush hit a knee to the ribs, then Rush tried a move, Moxley got out of it and Rush hit a piledriver for two. They went to the turnbuckle with Rush hitting a superplex off the top for a two count. Moxley sent Rush out of the ring followed by Moxley hitting a suicide dive. Both guys were down on the floor with the referee counting them and they both got back in at a nine count. It turned into a chop fest again. Moxley delivered a clothesline followed by Rush hitting a discus elbow. Rush charged, Moxley with a forearm that wasn’t sold so it made Moxley look weak and they hit more forearms. Rush charged at Moxley by the turnbuckle, but Moxley came back with a lariat followed by the Death Rider DDT/slam. Moxley applied the Bulldog Choke while wrapping his legs around the waist and the referee called for the bell saying Rush was out even though Rush got up right after the bell. It went 14 minutes.
Winner by submission: Jon Moxley
Analysis: ***1/4 The match was pretty good. I don’t think it was ever that exciting unless you like spots where guys stand and exchange chops for a lot of time. I didn’t like the brawling on the floor for several minutes because the announcers were talking about a countout and the referee didn’t even count them. Later in the match, the referee did count them while they were on the floor. Where’s the consistency with the refereeing? You can’t count sometimes and then ignore it at other times. This hurts the match rating in my eyes. Moxley picking up the win wasn’t a surprise since he wins nearly every match he has.
The win by Mox means that Jon Moxley is 3-0 in the Continental Classic while Rush is 1-2.
A video aired about the Jay White-Jay Lethal match coming up. White mentioned looking up to Lethal in the past in ROH.
Roderick Strong and The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) were interviewed on the stage by Renee Paquette. Strong is still in a wheelchair with a neckbrace. The fans were shouting “Adam” so Strong yelled “Renee” and “Samoa” for Joe. Strong said that actions have consequences. Strong kept on yelling names. Strong claimed that he is in this wheelchair because of decisions he made and this is life every single day. Strong got out of the wheelchair so Taz called it a miracle. Taven shoved the wheelchair off the ramp. Strong said that wheelchair held him back for far too long. Strong slammed the microphone down.
Analysis: The end of the wheelchair gimmick. That’s some progress for this delusional character that is Roderick Strong. Good for him.
Renee Paquette was outside of MJF’s locker room. “Hangman” Adam Page was walking by saying that he couldn’t fly for a few weeks after Full Gear due to injuries in that match. Page said that Swerve broke into his eyes and got near Page’s son, so this is very personal. Page said that Swerve Strickland beat him and he can recognize when he has lost. Page said that this is not over. Page said that because of what Swerve did to him, he will make sure that Swerve never has what he wants in his life. MJF walked out of his room to mock Page about his match with Swerve trying to get STDs. Page and MJF exchanged wins. MJF bragged about beating Page for the Dynamite Diamond Ring for the first time. Page said he went on to become a World Champion. MJF said that he has had a reign for well over a year. Page said that MJF will be 70 years old by himself telling his cat about his year-long title reign. MJF said he thinks Page is The Devil out of everybody in the locker room. Page said that MJF is a manipulator and it’s probably MJF that is The Devil. Samoa Joe walked in saying that MJF was his responsibility. Joe said that they have other things to do tonight and they don’t involve Page. MJF and Joe left.
Analysis: That was a lengthy promo exchange. Good to see Hangman back. I don’t think either of these guys are The Devil, but it’s a good thing to keep that storyline as a major focus on the show.
Continental Classic Gold League: Mark Briscoe vs. Swerve Strickland
Swerve is 2-0 in the CC with 6 points while Mark is 0-2 in the CC with 0 points.
They spent about a minute exchanging headlocks and some basic mat wrestling. Mark got a boot to the head. Mark worked over Swerve with chops along with a suplex. Mark hit a Russian legsweep taking Swerve down. Swerve came back with a snapmare followed by an uppercut to the back. Swerve got a neckbreaker for a two count. Mark hit a running dropkick while Swerve was on the floor. They battled on the apron where they exchanged chops and Mark hit an enziguri kick to the head. Mark sent Swerve into the barricade. Swerve sent a charging Mark over the barricade into the crowd. Swerve suplexed Mark off the barricade onto the floor. Ouch. The referee checked on them on the floor instead of counting. Anyway, they went to a PIP break there.
Swerve remained in control with a neckbreaker. Swerve pulled back on the arms, but Mark hit an uppercut and connected with some chops. Mark hit a running elbow to the head. Mark hit a running high boot to the head followed by a fisherman buster for a two count. Swerve sent Mark into the turnbuckle. They countered eachother leading to Swerve hitting a German Suplex and a roundhouse kick to the head got a two count. Mark headbutted Swerve a couple of times as they battled by the turnbuckle, so Swerve slapped Mark to knock him down. Mark hit an uppercut to knock Swerve down. Mark hit a slingshot dive over the top onto Swerve on the floor. Back in the ring, Mark ran the ropes leading to a running clothesline for two. Mark went for the Jay Driller, but Swerve got out of it and hit a House Call kick to the head. Swerve went up top and went for a 450 Splash, but Mark blocked with the knees up. Mark got an inside cradle for two. Mark hit a rolling senton. Mark jumped off the top with a Froggy Bow, Swerve got the knees up to block and Swerve did a crucifix pin for two. It was the 15-minute mark as announced by Justin Roberts, so five minutes left. They battled on the apron with Swerve hitting a Death Valley Driver on the apron. Back in the ring, Swerve went up top and hit a Swerve hit a Swerve Stomp for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland
Analysis: ***3/4 That was a terrific match that was very competitive the whole way. Swerve remains undefeated while Mark is winless in the tournament. I feel like Swerve is having the best matches in the tournament as far as the Dynamite guys go (I don’t review Collision). Swerve really can do it all the ring and tells a story well every time he’s out there. It’s fun watching him work. Mark is also a very entertaining guy who can do a lot in the ring and puts his body on the line at all times. I enjoyed this match.
The win by Swerve means that Swerve Strickland is 3-0 in the Continental Classic while Mark Briscoe is 0-3. The announcers noted that Mark is eliminated from moving on in the tournament, but Mark will still have two more matches.
Mariah May was interviewed by Renee Paquette backstage. Mariah said that she talked to Tony Khan about her debut match, but she didn’t tell Renee who she would be wrestling. Mariah said tonight is about Toni Storm’s AEW Women’s Title defense. That was it.
Samoa Joe made his entrance for tag team action. The lights were flickering, then the lights went out and then there were spotlights on Joe. Four masked men were surrounding Joe and the lights went out again. The Devil was shown on the video screen. MJF, the AEW World Champion, was shown on camera backstage face down on the cement with his AEW World Title. There was a broken bottle by MJF’s head. Joe went running to the back.
Analysis: It was supposed to be a tag team match in this spot, but the mysterious attack on MJF prevented it from happening. I like the mystery story involving who The Devil might be and I don’t mind that it continues like this.
There was a recap of what happened before the break.
Jon Moxley was backstage doing a promo saying he was humble before God and his mother. Moxley said that he expected to be 3-0 in the Continental Classic and said that he’s the Ace of the World. Swerve Strickland walked in saying he was 3-0 too mentioning they each had 9 points. Swerve said that he’ll do whatever it takes and Moxley said that was good. Swerve said “see ya in Texas” because that match is next week on the Winter is Coming episode of Dynamite.
Analysis: That’s an awesome match next week. It should be outstanding with Swerve and Moxley in singles action.
Ben Mankiewicz of Turner Classic Movies (never heard of him) was in a studio and talked about how “Timeless” Toni Storm encapsulates what it means to be a woman in pro wrestling. Ben introduced Toni for her match.
Analysis: I don’t think I’ve ever watched the Turner Classic Movies channel in my life. Sorry Ben. He did a good job.
AEW Women’s Championship: “Timeless” Toni Storm (w/Luther & Mariah May) vs. Skye Blue
Storm grabbed a side headlock, then Blue went for some holds and Storm did an arm wringer, so Blue did it back to Storm. Storm had Blue trapped on the apron and then Strom went on Luther’s shoulders to drive Blue into the turnbuckle. Storm worked over Blue with chops on the floor. Storm hit a running hip attack on Blue against the barricade. That led to a PIP break.
Blue got some offense going with a dropkick along with a rising knee. Blue hit a spinning enziguri kick to the head. Blue to the apron with a forearm and then a diving cross body block off the top for two. Storm countered a move leading to a German Suplex. Storm charged, Blue moved and Blue hit a superkick. Blue hit her version of a hip attack along with a running boot to the face. Blue hit her Code Blue finishing move that led to a two count. They battled by the turnbuckle with Storm hitting a superplex off the middle rope. It’s a popular move on this show. Storm hit a running hip attack against the turnbuckle, Blue went for a pin attempt and then Blue managed to roll forward with a sunset flip style pin on Blue for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: “Timeless” Toni Storm
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match with Toni Storm making her first successful title defense since she won the title again. Blue did get to hit her Code Blue finishing move for a two count, but I don’t think the crowd thought that Blue had a chance to win here. They didn’t react to the match that much.
Riho ran out to the ring to confront Storm, who was not happy about it. Riho dropkicked Storm to the apron and Luther grabbed Storm to save her.
It was Jay White against Jay Lethal up next.
There was a brief video about the Christian Cage-Adam Copeland story. It reminded us of how they were best friends since they were about 10 years old. They started in wrestling together and 40 years later, they are set to main event Dynamite.
Continental Classic Gold League: Jay White vs. Jay Lethal
Jay Lethal had an 0-2 record for 0 points and White was 1-1 with 3 points. It’s a battle of the guys named Jay who are both heels.
There were “Let’s Go Jay” chants from the creative fans. They battled over a headlock a bit. White delivered a chop and Lethal got some offense going leading to a cradle pin for two. Lethal with a hiptoss followed by a dropkick. They each did an eye gouge move since they are both heels. White wrenched the leg of Lethal. White hit a DDT for two.
They were exchanging strikes with White knocking Lethal down. Lethal hit the Lethal Combination ending with a flatliner. Lethal blocked a kick leading to a clothesline knocking White out of the ring. Lethal hit a suicide dive onto White on the floor. Back in the ring, Lethal did a torture rack and went running with a rolling senton. Lethal jumped off the top with the elbow drop for two. White wrenched on the left knee. White hit a brainbuster on Lethal for two. White and Lethal did the “stand and throw chops” spot that AEW wrestlers love to do. White hit a Sleeper Suplex on Lethal. Lethal got a rollup for two. Lethal went off the ropes, but White did a chop block. Lethal went for a pin attempt, then White rolled through and White sat on top while hooking the leg for the pinfall win. It went 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jay White
Analysis: **3/4 I think it was just an average match. I liked the finish with White outsmarting Lethal because Lethal overcommitted on the rollup and White was able to use the momentum to sit on top. It’s tough when it’s a match between two heels. They went with the close finish where White countered a pin attempt with a pin of his own and he held onto the leg for the win. Lethal has been one of the two biggest losers of the tournament with his third straight loss just like Mark Briscoe.
The Continental Classic Gold League Standings look like this:
* Swerve Strickland (3-0-0 = 9 pts)
* Jon Moxley (3-0-0 = 9 pts)
* Jay White (2-1-0 = 6 pts)
* Rush (1-2-0 = 3 pts)
* Jay Lethal (0-3-0 = 0 pts)
* Mark Briscoe (0-3-0 = 0 pts)
The top two wrestlers advance to the semifinals. Lethal & Briscoe have been eliminated, but they will still compete. Everybody has two matches left.
There was a rundown of matches coming up on Rampage, Collision and Dynamite next week. Here’s Dynamite for next Wednesday since it’s the only one I review:
* AEW Continental Classic Gold League Match: Jon Moxley vs. Swerve Strickland
* AEW Continental Classic Gold League Match: Jay White vs. Mark Briscoe
* AEW Continental Classic Gold League Match: Rush vs. Jay Lethal
* We’ll hear from Samoa Joe
* The Von Erich family returns to Dallas
* “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Roderick Strong
The main event was next.
Adam Copeland made his entrance first as the challenger. Copeland was full of energy as usual as his classic song played in the arena. Christian Cage was booed as the TNT Champion who walked out to the ring on his own. When both guys were in the ring, the ring announcer Justin Roberts did the introductions. Copeland is 3-0 in AEW and Christian is 7-1 in Dynamite singles matches.
Analysis: It’s pretty cool seeing Adam and Christian in this match with each man recently turning 50 years old. They are about a month apart in age. They have been best friends for 40 years. I first saw them in the indies in our province of Ontario in 1997, which was a year before they started in WWE. To see them still doing this after all these years and all the injuries they have had is pretty cool.
TNT Championship: Christian Cage vs. Adam Copeland
Cage and Adam got into an argument to start as the fans chanted “holy shit” leading to Adam slapping Cage hard. Adam tried a choke hold submission, but Cage got to the ropes. Adam delivered ten forearms to the chest like his buddy Sheamus and knocked Cage off the apron to the floor. Adam sent Cage into the commentary table repeatedly, which is just Cage hitting his hands against the table. Adam blocked a low blow attempt and stomped on the right hand. Adam did some finger-snapping on Cage as well. Adam sent Cage into the barricade and Adam went into the ring to break the referee’s count. Adam went back out to put his foot against Cage’s throat. Adam rammed Cage into the ring post. Cage finally got some offense when he pulled Adam’s arm to send Adam throat first into the ring post. They went to a PIP break.
The match returned with Cage hitting a back elbow. Cage tried some punches by the turnbuckle, but then Adam bit his injured right hand and Adam hit a legsweep off the middle turnbuckle. Adam blocked a kick by the ropes leading to Adam hitting a clothesline off the middle turnbuckle while Cage was on the apron. Cage did a drop toe hold to send Adam into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Cage went up top and hit a Frog Splash for two. Cage charged, Adam avoided it and hit an Impaler DDT for two. Adam took way too long climbing the top rope, so Cage tripped him up. They were battling by the turnbuckle, then Adam got a hold of Cage and Adam hitting a sitout Powerbomb for two. Adam got a cradle for two. Cage wanted a Killswitch, but Adam hit his sitout neckbreaker for a two count. Adam applied a Crossface submission, but Christian got his foot on the bottom rope to break it. Adam set up for a Spear, he charged and Christian did a leapfrog leading to a Killswitch by Christian for two. Nice spot there. Cage charged for a Spear, Adam moved and when Adam moved, he bumped into referee Bryce Remsburg by accident. Christian kicked the referee in the groin to knock him down. That was hilarious and very cheap. Cage brought the TNT Title into the ring. Cage charged, Adam avoided it and they each ran the ropes leading to a double Spear to knock each man down. Shayna Wayne, who is Nick Wayne’s mother, walked down the aisle and went into the ring. She grabbed the TNT Title and hit Adam Copeland in the head with it. She did a decent job with that belt shot too. Cage was stunned by it as Shayna left the ring. Christian picked up Adam and hit a Killswitch for a second time. Cage put Adam’s head on the TNT Title and stomped on the back of the neck. The referee miraculously woke up as Cage covered Adam for the pinfall win after 18 minutes. Tony Schiavone called it one of the worst things he has ever seen.
Winner by pinfall: Christian Cage
Analysis: ***1/4 A dramatic finish to this very personal match. It wasn’t a classic match by any means, but it was a match that should continue their story since Christian won in an extremely cheap manner. Shayna Wayne helping Christian win a match was coming at some point because that’s pro wrestling where we see shocking turns happen all the time. Since Adam took out her son Nick, they can say that’s why Shayna did it even though Christian is the one who has said nasty things to Shayna. I assume we will be getting a rematch between the guys and if Christian is still the champion then Adam Copeland might be the guy that takes the TNT Title from him. I thought Christian and Adam worked very well together throughout the match. It wasn’t a classic match like I said, but still a lot of fun to watch and furthered the story even more.
Christian Cage held up the TNT Title over a fallen Adam Copeland. End show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Swerve Strickland
- Jon Moxley
- Christian Cage/Adam Copeland
This Week: 7.5 out of 10
Last Week: 7.5
2023 Average: 7.33
Final Thoughts on AEW Dynamite
It was an entertaining episode of Dynamite. It was a nice mixture of some really good matches in addition to stories progressing throughout the night. I think the inconsistent refereeing was a problem again as I have written about for five years with this company, but I just can’t ignore it sometimes.
I wasn’t surprised by any of the results in the Continental Classic matches. It has had a lot of obvious winners. The turn in the main event angle was a shock to me, but I thought they pulled it off well.
The Christian Cage-Adam Copeland match was very good, but hardly an epic match or anything close to it. They went with an angle to get more heat on Cage while Copeland will try to get revenge. It’s basic storytelling that generally works well in pro wrestling. I’m looking forward to Swerve vs. Mox next week.
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