The John Report: AEW Dynamite 12/20/23 Review (Holiday Bash)

aew dynamite december 20

This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Jon Moxley against Jay White in the Continental Classic, plus two more matches in the tournament.

Merry Christmas to you AEW fans out there. I’m looking forward to Christmas on Monday although I’m more interested in my LA Rams playing a big game on Thursday night. Go Rams.

This was AEW Dynamite episode #220 from the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 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.

They went right to the action with the Continental Classic Gold League matches. Swerve Strickland was 3-1 with 9 points and the second place competitor in the group. Jon Moxley leads the group with a 4-1 record for 12 points. Rush was 2-2 with 6 points. Rush needed to win this match and a Jon Moxley victory in the main event over Jay White.

Continental Classic Gold League: Rush vs. Swerve Strickland

Rush had his left quad taped up while Swerve had kinesio tape on his right shoulder. They did an exchange where they ran the ropes leading to Swerve hitting a headscissors. They each did arm drags and then they avoided moves. Swerve delivered a couple of chops and Rush came back with a running forearm. Rush hit a somersault dive over the top onto Swerve on the floor. Rush was limping around selling the left leg soreness. Back in the ring, Rush teased a running kick and then he did a standing kick to the face. Swerve went for an armbar, Rush got out of that and Rush hit a powerslam for two. Swerve trapped Rush’s left leg against the ropes leading to a kick to the leg and Swerve hit a running dropkick into the left leg. Great move. Rush was on the floor, Swerve went for a kick, Rush caught the foot and sent Swerve down onto the apron. Rush threw Swerve shoulder-first into the barricade. Swerve hit a German Suplex on the floor and Rush dropkicked Swerve into the barricade. They were both on the floor for way too long, but it’s not like AEW has referees that try to enforce countouts. Anyway, they went to a picture-in-picture break there.


The match continued with Rush hitting a German Suplex, no sell by Swerve and Swerve hit a German Suplex. They each hit forearms followed by each man hitting kicks to the face. They decided to sell at that point. Rush hit an overhead release suplex into the turnbuckle. Rush hit a forearm. Rush charged, but then he sold the left leg injury and Rush applied the single leg crab submission. Rush got out of that and delivered a forearm. Rush hit a straightjacket piledriver for a two count. They went to the apron where they exchanged strikes and Rush suplexed Swerve off the apron to the floor. Back in the ring, Rush teased a move off the top and then he went down due to the leg injury. Swerve hit a 450 Splash for a one count because Rush no sold it. Swerve hit a flatliner, brainbuster and a House Call kick to the head. Swerve jumped off the top with the Swerve Stomp (double foot stomp) for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland

Analysis: ***3/4 I thought it was a very good match. It was one of those matches where they decided to sell moves at times and then at other times they refused to sell just so they could hit another suplex. Rush’s sore leg did come into play towards the finish since he wasn’t able to hit a move off the top and Swerve capitalized with a few moves in a row for the decisive win. I fully expected Swerve to win here. Swerve has been on an incredible roll of great matches lately. Great job by him.

That win means Swerve is 4-1 with 12 points while Rush finished at 2-3 with 6 points. Swerve moves on depending on how the Moxley-White match goes.

There was a video about the Continental Classic Blue League bracket matches on Collision.


Chris Jericho was standing backstage with a microphone in hand. Jericho talked about Kenny Omega being out indefinitely due to diverticulitis. Jericho spoke about how that means their Tag Team Title match against Ricky Starks & Big Bill is on hold for now. The fans chanted in support of Omega. Jericho said we are pulling for Kenny, the entire locker room is and most importantly Jericho is pulling for him. Chris said when Kenny comes back, Jericho will be waiting for him and the Golden Jets will resume. Jericho did the Omega-like “goodnight and goodbye…bang…but only for now.” Jericho said we’re pulling for Kenny.

Analysis: Best wishes for Kenny. I have heard horror stories about diverticulitis and it’s no joke. I hope Kenny is back soon, but he can’t rush it. Take your time and get right.

Continental Classic Gold League: Jay Lethal vs. Mark Briscoe

They were both 0-4 in the Continental Classic. When the tournament started it was obvious they weren’t going to win much and they were both used to put over the four other guys in the bracket.

They spent the first minute trying to get the advantage while the announcers talked about how they knew eachother for 20 years. Lethal and Mark got into a chop fest for about a minute. Lethal did a hiptoss followed by a dropkick. Mark delivered an uppercut followed by a missile dropkick off the turnbuckle. They battled over a suplex with Lethal completing the move. Lethal sent Mark out of the ring followed by Lethal hitting a suicide dive. Lethal did a Flair strut on the apron. Lethal tried a dive again, but Mark caught him and Mark hit a suplex on the floor. Mark hit a running elbow drop off the apron onto Lethal on the floor. They went to break there.


Lethal was in control with his Lethal Combination move. Lethal slowly went up top, Mark went after him on the ropes and Lethal elbowed Mark on the upper back to knock Mark down. Mark hit a running punch knocking Lethal down on the floor. Mark brought a chair into the ring, then Mark ran the ropes and Mark jumped off the chair for a somersault dive onto Lethal on the floor. That was funny as Mark put a fan’s hat on his head. Back in the ring, Lethal hit a German Suplex. Lethal kicked Mark twice followed by Lethal doing a rolling senton. Lethal went up top and jumped off with an elbow drop for two. Mark hit an overhead suplex on Lethal followed by a running clothesline and a Fisherman’s Buster for two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Mark hit a rolling slam. Mark jumped off the top with a Froggy Bow, Lethal got the knees up and Lethal hit the Jay Driller for two. Mark countered a move leading to Mark hitting a Burning Hammer. Mark hit the Jay Driller for the pinfall win after 13 minutes. That is the move that Mark’s late brother Jay Briscoe used.

Winner by pinfall: Mark Briscoe

Analysis: ***1/2 A competitive match between two veterans who know each other very well. They are good wrestlers, but two 0-4 guys in a match isn’t that interesting in the tournament where wins are supposed to matter. With that said, they did put a lot of effort into having an entertaining match and that’s what they did. Lethal using the Jay Driller for a two count was a cool spot and then Mark used the same Jay Driller to get the win. It was an entertaining match.

Post match, Mark Briscoe and Jey Lethal shook hands. Mark Briscoe ends the Continental Classic at 1-4 with 3 points and Jay Lethal went 0-5 with 0 points.

A video aired about AEW World Champion MJF being inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame this past Monday. They showed MJF talking to others like New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, former Patriots Wide Receiver Julian Edelman and others. Good for Max.

MJF and Samoa Joe were up next.


Wardlow was featured in a video saying this has always been a battle between good and evil. Wardlow said we are getting closer to MJF’s world ending. Wardlow said we have seen MJF run, cry and we have seen him weak. Wardlow said that the payment for MJF’s sins cannot be delayed any longer and Wardlow said he’ll be the one to bring The Devil to his knees.

Analysis: They feature Wardlow in these videos every week yet he barely wrestles or has any interaction with MJF. Wardlow is a very patient guy apparently.

A replay was shown of last week’s Dynamite when “Hangman” Adam Page was attacked by masked men who were directed by The Devil. Page was slammed onto a car windshield.

Let’s Hear from Samoa Joe and MJF

Samoa Joe was greeted by “Joe” chants. Joe went into the ring for a promo saying that Roderick Strong brought up a good point. Joe said that week after week, we are assaulted by The Devil and it seems like MJF wasn’t the only victim. Joe said for some odd reason, “Hangman” Adam Page was a victim. Joe said that we found the World Champion laying on the ground and passed out on the ground. Joe called out MJF to answer a few questions right now.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman made his entrance wearing a suit with his AEW World Title and the rarely defended ROH Tag Team Title around his waist.

MJF got into the ring saying that he recalled Joe saying that he would protect MJF going into the World Title match at Worlds End. MJF even did a good job of imitating Joe’s voice while recapping what Joe said. MJF said that Joe seems to care about his property as much as he seems to care about his diet. MJF claimed he had accusations of his own. MJF said he doesn’t recall the goons laying a finger on Joe. MJF said he didn’t like Joe and he didn’t trust Joe. MJF threatened Joe saying he can end his world right now. MJF took off his jacket and his two titles for a staredown with Joe.

MJF shoved Joe in the chest. Some masked men went into the ring, so MJF & Joe tossed them out of the ring easily. Apparently, if you toss them out of the ring, those guys are unable to fight again. Four more masked men appeared at ringside. That’s when the lights went off in the building.

The Devil appeared on the screen. The message said: “Where can you go? Who can you trust? Next week will you accept a challenge for the ROH Tag Team Championships? Are you a hero, Max?” The masked men disappeared from ringside.

MJF said that he knows Joe will say no. MJF said he made a promise to his best friend that he’ll keep the titles for as long as he can until he (Adam Cole) comes back. Joe shouted “we accept” to be MJF’s tag team partner. Joe said they will kick their asses.

Analysis: The mystery attacks continue with no resolution, but maybe it’s coming soon at Worlds End. I don’t know. Joe and MJF accusing eachother just shows “The Devil” continues to play mind games very well and it’s working. Anyway, there will be an ROH Tag Team Title match next week for the rarely defended titles.

The Best Friends group of AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy, Kris Statlander, Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero were backstage. Rocky said he was a champion in CMLL for 329 days. Rocky wants to bring gold around his waist. Orange said he’ll see him Friday. Rocky sold it like he didn’t really issue a challenge.

“Timeless” Toni Storm arrived as the AEW Women’s Champion with Luther. Storm was on commentary for this match. Storm thought that Taz was a landlord who gets called the Human Duplex Machine. That’s funny.

Riho vs. Saraya

This was a number one contender’s match for the AEW Worlds End PPV against Toni Storm.

Riho tripped up Saraya against the ropes. Ruby Soho was watching on TV backstage as Excalibur tried to tell us about The Outcasts issues as if we are supposed to care. Riho teased a move, but Saraya bailed to the floor instead. Riho hit a headscissors on Saraya on the floor three times in a row. Saraya hid behind a security guard at ringside and then Saraya punched Riho. Saraya swung Riho into the barricade a couple of times. They went to break.


Saraya was in control until Riho did another head scissors. Riho hit the 619 kick against the ropes. Riho went up top and slipped jumping off the top with a cross body block. Riho hit a running knee against the turnbuckle. Riho went up top, Riho jumped off and Saraya kicked Riho in the ribs. Riho got an inside cradle for two and a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Riho jumped off the top with a double foot stomp. Riho hit the running double knees for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Riho

Analysis: **1/2 A very average match. Saraya got some offense, but really wasn’t put over as a threat. They have done a poor job of booking Saraya since she lost the AEW Women’s Title and doesn’t come across as a big star at all. Riho beat Ruby Soho and Saraya, so that gave Riho some momentum going into the title match.

At AEW Worlds End on December 30th, Toni Storm will defend the AEW Women’s Title against Riho.

After the match, Toni Storm went into the ring and looked at Riho with opera glasses since Riho is so small. Riho attacked Storm, sent Storm into the ropes and Riho hit a 619 kick on Storm. Mariah May went into the ring and hit Riho with Storm’s AEW Women’s Title. Storm was shocked by that while Luther carried Storm away.

Analysis: I’ll pick Storm to win over Riho. I don’t see that being a title change.

Tony Schiavone appeared on the stage saying that he had a statement from Christian Cage. Tony read the letter as Cage saying that Cage took Nick Wayne on vacation. Cage claimed he would return this Saturday on AEW Collision to respond to Adam Copeland, who issued a No DQ Match challenge for Worlds End. Cage said he expects nothing less than a hero’s welcome upon his return.

Analysis: The Copeland-Cage match at Worlds End seems likely. I think Copeland might become TNT Champion on that night.


There was a backstage segment featuring AEW World Champion MJF and Samoa Joe. They were arguing a bit, so Joe went into the locker room. MJF found a mask on the floor. It was Mogul Embassy’s locker room. MJF asked Prince Nana what that was. Swerve Strickland walked out saying it feels like MJF has been dodging him. MJF said that he had a long history with him coming up in the independents. MJF said he’s proud of Swerve. MJF said that there are levels to this shit and Swerve isn’t on his level. Swerve said that MJF was one of the best chauffeurs he ever had in his life. Swerve mentioned that MJF failed in a tryout (with WWE). Swerve said that MJF does tryouts and Swerve signs contracts. Swerve warned MJF saying that the last guy that disrespected him like this is somebody that Swerve hung by a chain at ringside. MJF wanted Swerve to pull those grills out of your mouth when you talk to MJF. Max mentioned that Swerve hates Hangman and mentioned Swerve wanting to be a World Champion. MJF wondered if Strickland was The Devil. MJF said that he is the big bad wolf of professional wrestling. MJF said he’ll break both of Swerve’s arms so he can always swerve while he drives. Swerve warned MJF about messing with him and the door opened with Swerve’s buddies in there. Samoa Joe re-emerged to say that he had business with MJF to take care of. Swerve went back into his room with his buddies.

Analysis: That was a long backstage segment. I like MJF and Swerve a lot. It was interesting to have MJF accuse Swerve for being The Devil and Swerve didn’t go out of his way to deny it that much. I also thought it was a nice tease for a future MJF-Swerve match at some point down the road.

Roderick Strong (w/Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) vs. Komander (w/Alex Abrahantes)

Strong hit running knees to take control. Strong delivered a hard chop to the chest. Komander came back with a headscissors followed by a dropkick. Komander charged, so Strong kicked him in the gut. Strong hit a backbreaker. Komander came back with a chop, so Strong drove his knee to the ribs. Komander used his legs to flip Strong over the top to the floor.


Strong went for a charging attack, Komander moved and Strong hit the turnbuckle. Komander hit a spinning kick to knock Strong down. Komander kicked the leg of Strong to send Strong into the ropes followed by Komander hitting a springboard cross body block for two. They went to the turnbuckle where Strong wanted a move, but Komander got out of it by sweeping Strong’s legs. Komander hit a Phoenix Splash off the top for two. Strong left the ring, so Komander walked the ropes leading to a twisting dive onto Strong, Bennett and Taven on the floor. Back in the ring, Komander jumped off the top with nothing so Strong got the knees up to block. Strong launched Komander into the air leading to Strong hitting the knees to the ribs for the pinfall win. It went about 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Roderick Strong

Analysis: **3/4 A random match to give Strong a win. I don’t think Komander wins very many matches. There were some nice flips by Komander in the match. It was the second match in a row where double knees were used for a finisher.

After the match, Roderick Strong and The Kingdom had signs saying “MJF is The Devil.”

Roderick Strong was interviewed in the ring while wearing a neck brace. Strong said it was so obvious that Max is The Devil. Strong said that Joe has to believe him since Hangman mentioned The Devil and Hangman was attacked. Strong claimed that Samoa Joe was his best friend by proxy.

Analysis: It’s an interesting accusation by Roderick Strong. I think Adam Cole is The Devil while Strong and The Kingdom guys are some of the masked men. I don’t know how much I love that prediction, but I think it can work.

There was a rundown of Collision matches for Saturday.


The legendary Jim Ross was on commentary for the main event replacing Tony Schiavone. JR was in his home state of Oklahoma.

Jay White was 3-1 in the Continental Classic with 9 points. Jon Moxley was up next with an incredible 4-0 record in the Continental Classic with 12 points. Moxley is already in the semifinals of the Continental Classic tournament.

Continental Classic Gold League: Jon Moxley vs. Jay White

The only way that Jay White can make the Continental Classic semifinals is if White wins. That would mean a Moxley-Swerve-White triple threat match. If White loses then Swerve Strickland will make the semifinals.

As soon as the bell rang, White left the ring. When White got back into the ring, Moxley caught him with a rear naked choke. Moxley let go and delivered elbow smashes. Moxley hit a piledriver for two. Moxley went for the Bulldog Choke, but White rolled to the ropes. White whipped Moxley into the steel steps. They kept on fighting around ringside with Moxley sending White into the barricade. They went up the ramp where Moxley gave White a back body drop. Excalibur mentioned the referee’s ten count. They were out of the ring for about two minutes and the referee still wasn’t close because…AEW. Back in the ring, Moxley worked over White with punches along with some head biting. Moxley charged with a kick, White avoided it and White did a chop block to the back of the left leg. White knocked Moxley off the apron to the floor leading to a picture-in-picture break.


White had Moxley’s legs tied up leading to White wrenching back on the head, so Moxley did some eye gouging. White delivered a hard chop to the back two times in a row. White hit Moxley with forearms, so Moxley hit White with a forearm. Moxley put his boots on White’s throat. Moxley slapped White on the back along with some dreaded back raking. Moxley bit White’s face. Moxley hit a superplex off the middle turnbuckle. Moxley clotheslined White over the top to the floor. Moxley hit a suicide dive onto White on the floor with Moxley selling the left knee injury. White gave Moxley a front suplex onto the steel steps. The referee checked on Moxley rather than count them out of the ring. White teased using a chair, but the referee stopped that. White tossed a chair into the ring, the referee threw it out and White used another chair to hit Moxley in the left knee. The referee never saw it. The referee decided to count Moxley out after more than two minutes and Moxley got back in before the ten count. Moxley was back in with a DDT for two. Moxley went for a sleeper, White blocked that and White did a dragon screw leg whip. Moxley got an inside cradle for two. Moxley rolled up White leading to a running knee for two. They exchanged forearms and Moxley hit a Cutter. White didn’t sell it at all leading to a Sleeper Suplex followed by a Uranage slam for two. White hit a Kiwi Crusher slam for a two count. White hit another Sleeper Suplex, Moxley no sold that and Moxley hit a lariat. Moxley hit another lariat. Moxley hit The Stomp. It was 15 minutes into the match and five minutes left. Moxley went for Death Rider, White countered it and White hit a Bladerunner neckbreaker for the pinfall win. It went 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jay White

Analysis: ***1/2 It was pretty good with Moxley selling the knee for most of the match and White kept on attacking it. Both guys no sold big moves throughout the match while the referee did a poor job enforcing countouts because it’s AEW. I’m not saying I want a countout finish. I’m saying I want logical matches. Anyway, White using the chair to cheap shot Moxley ended up working because it weakened Moxley and White found a way to win. I like heels that cheat to win.

The win by Jay White means he is 4-1 with 12 points in the Continental Classic and Moxley had the same record.

That means that next week on AEW Dynamite in the Gold League finals it’s Jon Moxley vs. Swerve Strickland vs. Jay White since they all have 12 points.

Swerve Strickland made his entrance to have a staredown with Jon Moxley and Jay White. Swerve was standing on the ramp while White was in the ring and Moxley was still selling the left knee injury. When Moxley got up, White did a chop block to Moxley’s left knee to knock him down. White was yelling at Swerve from a distance. End show.

Analysis: I want Swerve Strickland to win that triple threat match and the whole tournament. I don’t know if he will, but that’s what I want to see. Jon Moxley winning is very possible too. It wouldn’t shock me if that happened either. I doubt Jay White wins it, but I guess it’s a possibility.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Swerve Strickland
  2. Jay White/Jon Moxley
  3. Rush


The Scoreboard

This Week: 7.25 out of 10

Last Week: 7.25

2023 Average: 7.33


Final Thoughts on AEW Dynamite

It was a solid edition of AEW Dynamite this week. It felt similar to the last month of shows featuring the Continental Classic tournament. They have all been good shows, but I wouldn’t call them great. I think the Swerve Strickland-Rush match was the best of the night as Swerve continues to put on outstanding matches every week. The Jon Moxley-Jay White match was good with a bit of a surprising finish since Moxley rarely loses. That sets up Swerve-Moxley-White for next week.

They continue to push The Devil story by involving even more people this week with Swerve getting in MJF’s face and Roderick Strong making accusations as well. I’ll give AEW credit for actually involving a lot of people in The Devil story. It keeps people guessing. I included my theory in the review.

This was the last week of Continental Classic round-robin rounds, so maybe there will be a focus on some other people next week.

The next AEW PPV is Worlds End on December 30th with these matches:

* AEW World Championship: MJF (c) vs. Samoa Joe

* AEW Women’s Championship: Toni Storm (c) vs. Riho

* 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.

John Canton


Twitter/X: @johnreport