This week’s AEW Dynamite featured four more Continental Classic matches including Jon Moxley against Swerve Strickland, plus “Hangman” Adam Page against Roderick Strong.
It’s Wednesday and you know what that means. Excalibur was on commentary with Tony Schiavone and Taz.
Let’s Hear from Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe walked out in a t-shirt, jeans and a towel around his neck. Joe reminded us that his name is Samoa Joe so the fans chanted “Joe” for him. Joe said that he promised MJF he would protect him until Joe faces him at Worlds End and Joe can become the AEW World Title. Joe said last week we saw MJF laid out in the back, which potentially takes away his championship opportunity. Joe claimed he saw a beer nearby that a certain Cowboy drinks and it turned out when Joe went looking for people, a certain Hangman was missing.
“Hangman” Adam Page’s music played as Hangman walked out to the ring. Page said he didn’t care about The Devil, the bromance, the laser tag and the game of Clue figuring out who has done it. Joe said maybe he’s not a detective, maybe he’s an executioner. Page dared Joe to do something about it.
Roderick Strong arrived yelling “Samoa” repeatedly. Strong had a neckbrace around his waist while The Kingdom were with Strong. Strong said that Hangman was his “young boy.” Strong mentioned circumstantial evidence about the mystery attacks. Strong claimed that it’s obvious that Max is The Devil since nobody saw them lay their hands on Max. Page punched Strong, who he has a match with. Referee Aubrey Edwards went into the ring to call for the match to begin.
Analysis: They are doing a nice job of giving The Devil storyline a lot of attention every week. AEW doesn’t have that many storylines for my liking, but when it comes to The Devil story, they are pushing it a lot. I think getting Page involved makes it a bit more interesting as well since Page is a likable guy that also has a long history with MJF too.
“Hangman” Adam Page vs. Roderick Strong (w/Matt Taven & Mike Bennett)
They started out throwing some hard chops and strikes. Page hit a fallaway slam followed by a Shooting Star Press for two. Strong came bac with chops and stomps on Page against the turnbuckle. Strong hit a backbreaker. Page came back with a running boot to the head along with a suplex. Strong went for a charging attack, but Page sent him to the apron. Page clotheslined Strong to the floor. Page did a slingshot over the top onto Strong on the floor. Bennett distracted the referee, Taven held Page and Strong kicked Page while Page was on the top rope. Strong hit a backbreaker onto the top turnbuckle. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
Page and Strong exchanged forearm strikes. They each went for moves, there were counters and then they each hit a spinning forearm at the same time. Page pounded Strong with punches along with some stomps to the chest. Page caught Strong on his shoulders leading to a Death Valley Driver for two. They battled by the turnbuckle with Page biting Strong’s head. Strong avoided a move, so Page went for a moonsault and landed on his feet. Page hit a sitout Powerbomb on Strong for a two count. Strong avoided a move with some kicks to the head followed by a high angle suplex flipping Page over for the slam. Strong hit an Olympic Slam and a Tiger Driver for a two count. Strong applied the Strong Hold (Boston Crab), but Page crawled to the bottom rope to break free. Page did a necksnap across the top rope. Bennett distracted the referee, Page kicked Taven back and Page hit a moonsault onto Taven. Page hit a moonsault off the top onto both guys on the floor. Strong kicked out of a pin attempt. Page hit a lefty lariat and a Deadeye slam (Page holds the guy on his back and drops to his knees) for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: “Hangman” Adam Page
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a very good match between two talented veterans. I thought Page winning was pretty much a lock, so it was just a matter of when he was able to put Strong away. They did a nice job of using The Kingdom guys to help Strong stay into it by having them cheat. It certainly went longer than I thought it would go. I don’t love the Deadye as a finish because to me it’s just a move where Hangman takes the whole bump on his knees while Strong is just holding onto Page’s waist and it doesn’t look that devastating at all. At least with a Tombstone piledriver you can say it might hurt somebody if their head hit the mat like we have seen in the past. At least Deadeye is a safe move.
They showed the Continental Classic standings because there’s an Andrade El Idolo-Brody King match after the break.
Continental Classic Blue League: Brody King vs. Andrade El Idolo
King and Andrade are both 2-0 with 6 points in the Blue League bracket. This is the first time a Blue League match has aired on Dynamite because these matches have been Collision exclusive in the past.
Andrade was in control with a side headlock early on. King hit a belly-to-back suplex, but Andrade held onto the headlock. King knocked down Andrade with a shoulder tackle followed by a senton splash. King knocked Andrade down with elbow strikes. Andrade came back with neck snap leading to a cross body block off the ropes. Andrade hit a moonsault off the middle turnbuckle onto King on the floor. It looks better when he does it compared to his wife. Just saying. Back in the ring, King lifted Andrade so he was seated on the top rope and King hit a hard chop to knock Andrade to the floor.
King was in control after hitting a cross body block against the barricade. They exchanged chops, King sent Andrade into the turnbuckle and Andrade hit a dropkick to the knee to send King into the turnbuckle. Andrade did two dragon screw leg whips to take King down followed by a flying elbow stroke. Andrade did a kip-up back to his feet to show he had a lot left. Andrade charged, King avoided it and Andrade did a body slam. Andrade hit a split-legged moonsault off the top for two. Andrade went for a running knee attack, but King avoided it so Andrade hit the turnbuckle. King hit a running lariat leading to Andrade doing a flip bump leading to a two count. King hit the cannonball splash on Andrade against the turnbuckle for two. There were chops exchanged again, Andrade connected with a kick and King hit a forearm. King punched Andrade in the head. Andrade went for the kick, but then he hit a back elbow smash to the head. Andrade did a very slow climb up top, so Brody sent Andrade to the apron. Brody wanted a superplex, but Andrade was able to DDT King onto the steel connecting the turnbuckle. Andrade hit a Hammerlock DDT for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Andrade El Idolo
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a great match. I liked the crafty finish with Andrade hitting a DDT by driving King’s head into the steel beam connecting the turnbuckle to the post. That’s a unique spot that you don’t see very often, so doing something like that to set up for a finish is a great idea. They hit hard, there were lots of nearfalls and they took their time rather than rushing through things. I liked the match.
Andrade El Idolo is now 3-0 with 9 points and King is 2-1 with 6 points in the Blue League bracket.
Kevin Von Erich with his sons Ross & Marshall were interviewed by Renee Paquette. Kevin said it was great to be there. Orange Cassidy walked in with his International Title along with Danhausen and Trent. Orange said he’s in a six-man tag team match on Rampage, so he wondered if Ross & Marshall would tag with him. Ross said sure.
Analysis: That’s cool. I don’t watch Rampage, but it’s cool to have the Von Erichs there.
Kenny Omega made his entrance for a promo after a break.
Let’s Hear from The Golden Jets – Chris Jericho & Kenny Omega
Chris Jericho joined Kenny Omega in the ring. They have been off for most of the last month. They have been attacked by AEW Tag Team Champions Big Bill & Ricky Starks on multiple occasions.
Jericho welcomed Dallas to the return of The Golden Jets. Jericho said that the reason it’s been a while since they have been here it’s because of Big Bill & Ricky Starks. Jericho claimed they injured his arm since Jericho had a big arm brace. Jericho called for Bill & Starks to get their sorry asses out there.
Ricky Starks and Big Bill appeared on the stage. Starks had no problem with Omega for creating AEW and he said Jericho sucks the life out of everything. Starks wondered if you could really trust Jericho because look at the Inner Circle and JAS. Bill mentioned the things that Jericho has done to Omega and if Jericho attacked Omega again, nobody would be surprised.
Omega said so you’re basing this off his trust with Jericho? Omega told Jericho he knows that Omega doesn’t trust him. Omega mentioned The Firm and the fans said they didn’t remember The Firm. I don’t remember it. Omega said it wasn’t firm, it was more…soft. Omega said that he’s the king of receiving a beatdown. Omega said that they have earned themselves a title shot and they were thinking that at World End they’ll get that tile match on December 30th.
Ricky Starks said that they are on. Starks reminded Jericho that he beat Chris twice. Starks said he has done half of the work already. Starks said that they are the best tag team champions and they are without a name. Jericho suggested a name: “The Absolute Assholes.” The second word was muted. Jericho suggested “The Rick & Dick.” Jericho suggested combining the names…Big Billy Starks. The fans barely reacted. Starks ripped on Jericho for his outfit. Jericho said that he sees a better dressed, less charismatic version of Enzo Amore. The fans reacted to that. Omega said that at least Enzo would hype up Big Bill and not take up all of the spotlight. Starks said that nobody cares about Chris Jericho anymore. Starks said that they are sick of Jericho & Omega. Starks said that they are the best tag team there is and told Jericho/Omega to try to prove that the Golden Jets are better. Omega said he would bid us adieu so for today, goodnight bang.
Analysis: This felt off in a lot of ways. I don’t want to say it was bad, but there were some awkward parts to the promo due to some of the tag team names they mentioned. We know there’s a Tag Team Title match at Worlds End and I think that was the goal of the promo. That line about Enzo Amore was pretty funny at least, so at least Jericho & Omega did a decent job of getting that line. Other than that, it certainly didn’t feel like these four guys had any sort of chemistry doing this promo.
The AEW Women’s Champion “Timeless” Toni Storm made her entrance with Mariah May following her. Storm was on commentary.
Ruby Soho vs. Riho
Ruby Soho came out with The Outcasts music. Is that group still a thing? That group really kind of fizzled out. Ruby hit a body slam. Riho hit a running dropkick. Riho hit a running knee followed by a fisherman’s suplex. Riho did a roll through leading to a stomp to the ribs. Riho was on the top rope, she held onto the turnbuckle and Riho jumped off the top with a double foot stomp.
Riho was on offense with a spinning kick around the ropes (the 619) and a cross body block for two. Riho and Ruby exchanged pinfall attempts for two counts. Ruby hit a Saito Suplex for two. Storm said she was ready for her closeup, so they zoomed in on her and she made silly faces. Riho got onto Ruby’s back leading to a Crucifix Bomb for two. Riho jumped off the top, but Ruby avoided it and Ruby hit a NO Future kick to the head for two. Riho avoided a move leading to a Dragon Suplex and the running double knee attack for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Riho
Analysis: **1/4 It just felt like an average match to me. Typical AEW giving the women less than ten minutes to have a cold match to try to build up a title contender. Riho is being built up for a title shot while Ruby seems to lose most of the singles matches she has. It wasn’t that interesting at any point in the match. I review four wrestling shows every week and Dynamite uses its women’s division by far the worst of the four shows.
After the match, Riho pointed at Toni Storm to let her know that she was coming for the Women’s Title.
A video package aired about Wardlow talking about how he has left a path of pure mayhem. Wardlow bragged about destroying every single person in his way. Wardlow said he will be the one to bring The Devil to his knees. Wardlow said MJF’s world is coming to an end.
Analysis: Wardlow is barely on television, yet he wins every match he has and can’t seem to get a title match. It’s a slow build, I guess.
Rush entered for singles action.
Continental Classic Gold League: Rush vs. Jay Lethal
Rush is 1-2 in the Continental Classic while Lethal is 0-3.
It’s a matchup between two heels. They exchanged strikes early. Lethal connected with a dropkick followed by a strut to celebrate. Rush hit a snap German Suplex and a running knee. Rush sent Lethal into the barricade a few times. Rush worked over Lethal with chops to the chest. Rush charged at Lethal against the turnbuckle leading to a boot to the face. Rush hit a powerslam. They were both on the turnbuckle with Lethal chopping Rush down. Lethal Combination connected with a backbreaker/flatliner and Lethal tried to wake up the crowd. Rush countered a submission attempt into a two count. Rush hit an overhand chop, but Lethal came back with an enziguri kick. Rush suplexed a charging Lethal into the turnbuckle. Rush charged, Lethal hit a superkick and Rush caught Lethal with a rear naked choke sleeper with the body scissors. Lethal tapped out. It went about five minutes.
Winner by submission: Rush
Analysis: **1/2 I think at some point in this tournament they needed to have a shorter match to put somebody over more decisively and that’s what this was. Lethal has lost every match in the tournament, so it was right to have Rush win dominantly.
Rush is now 2-2 in the Continental Classic while Jay Lethal is 0-4 as the biggest loser in the tournament.
A video aired about Jon Moxley and Swerve Strickland both being 3-0 in the Continental Classic tournament going into their match.
Continental Classic Gold League: Mark Briscoe vs. Jay White
Mark was aggressive early knocking down Jay and hitting a Death Valley Driver. The fans were chanting “Dem Boyz” due to what Mark tweeted a couple of days ago because of a dumb tweet by an account not affiliated with another wrestling company. Mark hit a Froggy Bow elbow drop off the top rope, so White rolled out of the ring to avoid being pinned. Back in the ring, Mark remained in control with forearms to the head along with some head biting. White tossed Mark over the top rope onto the apron and a hard bump to the floor. White sent Mark into the barricade. Back in the ring, Mark did a chop to the head to avoid a move and White hit a DDT for two.
White was in control with a running uppercut. Mark came back with a back body drop. Mark charged, White got a boot up and Mark decked White with a clothesline. Mark hit a running forearm followed by a kick that sent White off the apron to the floor. Mark hit a running elbow drop off the apron onto White on the floor. Mark set up White on the top rope with some hard chops to the back. Mark hit a Razor’s Edge like move coming off the top. White wrenched Mark’s knee a couple of times. Mark got a rollup for two. White hit a Sleeper Suplex. Mark with a strike, but White came back with another Sleeper Suplex. Mark avoided a Bladerunner and dumped White hard onto his head/neck area. Mark went up top for a Froggy Bow elbow, but White got the knees up. White hit the Bladerunner for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jay White
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match even though AEW booked Mark as a loser in this tournament. Mark was in control for a lot of the match before he took the L. White countered a Froggy Bow and hit a Bladerunner to get the easy win. The fans really like Mark Briscoe and want to support him, but AEW doesn’t book him like a winner at all.
Jay White is 3-1 in the Continental Classic with 9 points. Mark Briscoe is very talented, but AEW continues to book him like a loser who is now 0-4 in this tournament.
A video aired about ROH Final Battle 2023 on Friday with FTR teaming up with Mark Briscoe against Blackpool Combat Club’s Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli. That’s a match to honor Jay Briscoe, who passed away this year. Last year’s Final Battle was Jay Briscoe’s last match.
Swerve Strickland made his entrance first. Considering Swerve stole the “Whose House” thing from my LA Rams (his favorite team too), he is certainly one of my favorite wrestlers in AEW. Jon Moxley was next by doing his entrance where he walked in from the back of the arena. The fans loved Moxley.
Continental Classic Gold League: Swerve Strickland vs. Jon Moxley
They are both 3-0 in the Continental Classic with 9 points. They each have two matches left in the tournament including this match.
This feels like a big deal with the fans chanting “holy shit” since both guys were undefeated in the tournament and both have been booked strongly going into this match. It was slow-paced early on with nothing going on in the first couple of minutes as they took their time. Swerve did a headscissors to send Moxley out of the ring, so Moxley regrouped on the floor for a few moments. Moxley went back in the ring as they exchanged strikes. Moxley went to the turnbuckle to try some sort of move, but Swerve kicked him and Swerve hit a DDT off the middle turnbuckle for two. That was great. Moxley regrouped on the floor, they went back into the ring and Moxley came out of the corner with a running clothesline. Moxley bit Swerve’s right arm which has kinesio tape on it. Moxley hit a piledriver for two. They left the ring again with Moxley trapping Swerve against the ring apron. Moxley sent Swerve’s right shoulder into the steel steps as the show went to a PIP break.
Moxley was in control with a stiff clothesline as Excalibur noted they were past the 10-minute mark in this match with a 20-minute time limit. Swerve ducked a move leading to a backbreaker. Swerve jumped off the middle turnbuckle leading to an uppercut to the back. Swerve went for a charging move, but Moxley stopped that with a Cutter. Moxley hit a Gotch-style piledriver aka a cradle piledriver for a two count. Fun fact: That’s the move I always used in my video game playing days as a finisher for my created wrestlers. Just saying. Moxley kicked Swerve, but Swerve got back up and hit a flatliner. Swerve hit a vertical suplex followed by a running boot to the face for two. Swerve held onto Moxley’s arms leading to some elbow smashes to the face. Swerve did a House Call kick to the head. Swerve went up top and Moxley shoved him off the top to the floor leading to Swerve taking a hard bump to the floor. When Swerve got back in the ring, Moxley hit The Stomp (hey Seth) for a two count. It was 15 minutes into the match at that point. Moxley went for a submission move so he turned it into a cross armbreaker onto the right arm, but Swerve got his right foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Moxley left the ring, he grabbed a chair even though it’s illegal to use it and Swerve hit a cross body block on him. Swerve kicked Moxley so he was seated on the chair on the floor. Swerve hit a Swerve Stomp (double foot stomp) on Moxley while Moxley was seated on the floor. Back in the ring, Swerve jumped off the top with the Swerve Stomp for a two count. Great nearfall there while Swerve was frustrated. Swerve went for a JML Driver, but Moxley hooked the legs and sat on top while grabbing the legs. Moxley also grabbed the tights/belt of Swerve for the added leverage. It went 16 minutes. Taz correctly pointed out that Swerve’s shoulder was up before the three count, but the referee missed it.
Winner by pinfall: Jon Moxley
Analysis: **** It was an excellent main event as expected by two of the best wrestlers in AEW getting a lot of time to put on a big match. The tournament is working in the sense that you had two 3-0 guys facing off in this main event and the fans treated it like a big deal because it was a big deal. I figured Moxley would win just because he’s treated like such a big deal in AEW although I would have preferred a Swerve win because I think Swerve winning this tournament is the right move. With that said, Swerve could still make it to the final four of this tournament and emerge as the winner, so I hope it happens for Swerve. There is also the story of Swerve having his shoulder up during that finish, so he has a legit gripe about how he didn’t lose the match. It wouldn’t shock me if they do a Swerve/Moxley finals in the tournament and Swerve wins that match. I’d like to see it.
That win means that Jon Moxley is 4-0 with 12 points while Swerve is 3-1 with 9 points. The top two guys in Gold and Blue Leagues move on to the semifinals of the Continental Classic tournament.
Jon Moxley looked into the camera saying “whatever it takes, baby” and kissed the camera. Moxley left by walking out of the back part of the arena. Swerve was frustrated in the ring. Excalibur was shilling upcoming Collision matches.
There was a parking lot scene with “Hangman” Adam Page fighting against masked assailants. It was four people beating up Hangman. The Devil appeared standing by a car, so the wrestlers slammed Page on the windshield of the car. Page was selling the pain on the car. End of show.
Analysis: This story just keeps going and going. I hope it concludes by the Worlds End PPV because it’s been going on long enough at this point. There is a theory by some people after seeing this that The Devil is Jack Perry, who has been off television for over three months since his backstage altercation with CM Punk. Since Jack and Punk argued about glass usage, this spot involved Page being slammed onto windshield glass, so perhaps it is a nod to that past Perry incident. I don’t know. I think Adam Cole is The Devil character with Roderick Strong, Matt Taven, Mike Bennett and likely somebody else (they could say Kyle O’Reilly, who is close to a return) as the guys in masks. That’s just my guess at this point.
The Devil's Men are attacking #HangmanAdamPage in the parking lot!
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 14, 2023
Three Stars of the Show
- Jon Moxley
- Swerve Strickland
- Jay White, “Hangman” Adam Page
This Week: 7.25 out of 10
Last Week: 7.5
2023 Average: 7.33
Final Thoughts on AEW Dynamite
I enjoyed the show for the most part due to the great wrestling matches, all of which were singles matches. It was six singles matches over two hours and four of them were tournament matches. That promo exchange between Chris Jericho/Kenny Omega and Ricky Starks/Big Bill was not very good, so that was a downer on the show. The Enzo Amore line was mildly funny at least.
It’s like I say most weeks. If you really care about the Continental Classic tournament then you probably like that they had four matches this week and a couple of those matches were outstanding. With that said, there are probably some fans who don’t care about yet another AEW tournament. I don’t mind the tournament, but I also think AEW could have more actual storylines than they do. They are pushing “The Devil” story quite a bit and I wrote a bit about my theory on that in the review.
The Moxley-Swerve match was the match of the night. That was terrific as expected. I continue to feel bad for the women’s division getting less than ten minutes of TV time week after week. As for the “Winter is Coming” name of this show, there was nothing special about the show. Just a regular episode of Dynamite.
The next AEW PPV is Worlds End on December 30th with these matches:
* AEW World Championship: MJF (c) vs. Samoa Joe
* AEW Tag Team Championships: Ricky Starks & Big Bill (c) vs. Chris Jericho & Kenny Omega
* Finals of the Continental Classic Tournament
There will be more matches in the coming weeks.
Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors & Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.