The John Report: AEW Dynamite 12/27/23 Review (New Year’s Smash)

aew dynamite december 27 review

This week’s AEW Dynamite featured two Continental Classic semifinal matches: Bryan Danielson facing Eddie Kingston and a Jon Moxley-Swerve Strickland-Jay White triple threat match.

It’s the last AEW Dynamite episode of the year and the last show before the AEW Worlds End PPV on Saturday night. The “New Year’s Smash” name means nothing just like Holiday Bash last week.

This was AEW Dynamite episode #221 from the Addition Arena in Orlando, Florida. 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.

The show started with Jon Moxley making his entrance for the triple threat match to open the show. Jay White was up next followed by Swerve Strickland. Those three men tied at the top of the Gold League group in the Continental Classic tournament.

Continental Classic Gold League Finals: Jon Moxley vs. Jay White vs. Swerve Strickland

The winner of this match will compete for the new AEW Continental Championship at the AEW Worlds End PPV. The round robin matches had a 20-minute time limit while this match had no time limit.

They quickly spilled out into the crowd with all three guys brawling. Moxley sent White groin-first onto the top of a guard rail. Swerve sat Moxley on a chair and hit a running knee attack. The referee was with the wrestlers in the crowd. I believe there are no countouts and no disqualifications in a triple threat in AEW similar to WWE. Moxley sent Swerve over the barricade at ringside. White nailed Moxley with a chop block to the left knee that White attacked Moxley last week. Moxley said “fuck” on camera right after that. White suplexed Moxley hard into the barricade. White suplexed Swerve into the turnbuckle for a two count. Swerve kicked White off the apron to the floor. Swerve went for a dive over the top, but White moved and Swerve managed to come back with a knee to the face. Moxley was back in with a boot to the face of White. Moxley got a boot up for Swerve too. Moxley did a middle finger salute, so Swerve bit the finger. Swerve hit a running clothesline. Swerve hit an uppercut to a seated Moxley’s back. Swerve kicked White off the apron to the floor. Swerved dumped Moxley onto White on the floor. Swerve went up top and hit a frog splash cross body block on both guys on the floor. They went to a picture-in-picture break.


Swerve tripped up White on the apron and Moxley hit a suicide dive to send Swerve into the barricade. Moxley worked over Swerve with a clothesline along with punches and some face biting. Moxley nailed Swerve with a piledriver for two. Swerve tried to get some offense going with a leap off the top, but Moxley did a kick to the gut followed by a double underhook DDT for two. Moxley teased a move on Swerve onto a table, but White hit Moxley with two chair shots to the back and a chair shot to the left knee in theory, but it was really White hitting the floor with the chair. White hit Moxley in the left knee with the chair for two. Swerve cradled White for a two count. Swerve punched White, who came back with an elbow and Swerve hit a jumping forearm. Swerve kicked White’s knee followed by a House Call kick. Swerve hit an impressive powerslam followed by Swerve hitting a 450 Splash off the top. Swerve covered White, but Moxley was there with The Stomp to break up the pin. They were all down selling going into another PIP break.


It was about 20 minutes into the match at this point. The three men exchanged strikes. Moxley had White in a Bulldog choke, but Swerve hit a House Call kick on Moxley. White hit Moxley with the Bladerunner and Swerve broke up the pin. The fans chanted “fight forever” for them. White brought a chair into the ring leading to two chair shots to Moxley’s back and a chair jab to Swerve. White jammed the chair against the turnbuckle, but Swerve reversed White and Swerve sent White into the chair. Swerve countered a Moxley pin attempt with a rollup while grabbing the pants, but Moxley kicked out at two. Moxley and Swerve exchanged open hand strikes along with headbutts. Swerve delivered two pump kicks and a discus lariat on Moxley. Moxley did some hand biting while Swerve sent Moxley into the turnbuckle. White shoved Swerve off the top rope. Moxley decked White with a lariat. Moxley hit Death Rider on White for the one…two…and three. Swerve lunged to break it up, but he couldn’t do it. It went 24 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jon Moxley

Analysis: ****1/4 It was an excellent match. My preferred result would have been a win for Swerve Strickland because I think winning this tournament would have benefitted him a lot while Moxley didn’t “need” to win this tournament considering he’s been a World Champion and five-year main eventer in AEW. If Swerve won it would solidify his spot as a main event level talent. It was a typical triple threat in some ways because a lot of the match saw two guys battle in the ring while a third guy stayed on the floor for an extended period of time. I did like the majority of the match and the importance on getting the win. White nearly got the win at one point, Swerve came close to winning and ultimately it was Moxley finding a way to win clean.

Jon Moxley’s win means he faces the Blue League Final winner: Eddie Kingston or Bryan Danielson.

There was a video recapping the Continental Classic Blue League matches from AEW Collision last Saturday to set up the Danielson-Kingston finals. Danielson called Kingston a bum and Kingston said this bum will make you pay. That match is later.


Swerve Strickland was backstage with Prince Nana while Tony Schiavone was there to do an interview. Swerve said he wanted to win this so bad. Swerve said it meant it when he said that this tournament brought life into this business. Swerve said he didn’t get pinned – Jay White got pinned. Swerve said that Keith Lee was looking for him. Swerve said if Keith Lee wants him then Swerve doesn’t have a match at Worlds End. There was a contract that Schiavone. Nana said he didn’t approve this and Swerve said we’ll see if he shows up on Saturday.

The graphic was already shown for Swerve Strickland vs. Keith Lee at Worlds End.

Analysis: Finally we get a Swerve-Keith Lee match. That should be a lot of fun.

Mariah May was interviewed by Renee Paquette, who brought up May attacking Riho last week. May said she was supporting the greatest star of our time, Miss Toni Storm. May said she didn’t feel like 2023 had enough energy. May said her debut will be next week on the first Dynamite of the new year. May said that 2024 is all about Mariah and she pushed Renee out of the way. Riho appeared on the stage, so May ran down to the ring to run away from Riho. Toni Storm ran out to the ring to go after Riho, but Richo tripped up Storm by the ropes. Storm left the ring. Luther held Storm in his arms, so Riho jumped onto Storm/Luther on the floor. May checked on Storm. Riho posed with Storm’s AEW Women’s Title while Storm was freaking out about it.

Analysis: It was a quick way to build up the Toni Storm-Riho match at Worlds End. I’m not that invested in it. Storm should win that.

The team of Top Flight and Action Andretti talked about how they came up short against The Acclaimed, but there are other trios teams they can challenge. Orange Cassidy, Trent & Rocky Romero walked in with Trent saying they were standing right there. Orange said they’ll see them Friday (on Rampage, which is taped after Dynamite). Rocky said Orange did the same thing to him last week. Action drank a water bottle really fast and crushed the bottle. Okay.

Analysis: I don’t watch Rampage. It’s not televised in Canada. I’m not going to pay for TSN Plus just to get it.

Christian Cage and his “family” were backstage for an interview coming up.


Miro was featured in a video talking about how he was done avoiding people to appease his wife. Miro said he didn’t want to face Andrade El Idolo because he is his wife’s client, he wants to face him because he’s an asshole.

It was a challenge from Miro, so that led to the graphic being shown: Miro vs. Andrade El Idolo at Worlds End.

Analysis: That should be a good match between two ex-WWE guys who married lovely blonde women.

Don Callis Family Interview

Don Callis was with Konosuke Takeshita, Powerhouse Hobbs and ROH TV Champion Kyle Fletcher for an in-ring interview. Tony Schiavone was disgusted just introducing Callis. The fans chanted “Fuck You Callis” at Don before he spoke. Don noted there was some family stuff outside of the wrestling business and it’s been a difficult two weeks for him. Callis was celebrating “Boxing Week” here in Canada with these gifts. Callis gave Hobbs a poster of Hobbs & Callis with muscles. There was a Takeshita-Callis painting for Takeshita too. Callis had a Fletcher picture with kangaroos since Fletcher is Australian.

Sammy Guevara made his entrance for his television return after a few months away. Sammy and wife Tay Melo had their baby boy recently. Sammy was in the Callis group in the past. Callis said it’s like Christmas all over again and Sammy put his hand on the microphone as the fans chanted “Sammy” for Guevara.

Sammy said it was “long time no talk.” Callis asked if you got the gift for the kid and Sammy said no. Callis mentioned Sammy hasn’t shown up for work for two months. Callis said he had a painting for Sammy too, so Sammy pulled the cover off to reveal all five of the guys in the “Family” including Sammy with his baby in his arms. Sammy asked Callis who told him to put his baby on that. Callis claimed that Sammy wasn’t mentally capable of being a parent.

Sammy talked about Hobbs beating Jericho and Takeshita beat Omega twice, but the people don’t remember it because Callis makes everything about him. Sammy said he had people asking him how he was doing when he was concussed, but Don didn’t ask him about it. Callis said he was disappointed that Sammy dropped the ball when he got hurt. Callis ripped Sammy for being hurt, having babies and being on maternity leave. Callis suggested that Sammy choose the other family or the Don Callis Family. Callis told Sammy to think about it so he’s not a failure as a wrestler like he’s about to be as a parent. Sammy shoved Callis down. The Don Callis Family guys attacked Sammy. Chris Jericho made the save with his baseball bat Floyd, so the Don Callis Family left the ring.

Jericho smashed the paintings with the bat. Sammy smashed the last painting with the bat. Jericho and Sammy did a slow face to face meeting that led to a hug. Big Bill & Ricky Starks attacked Sammy & Jericho from behind. Bill & Starks worked over Jericho & Sammy against the turnbuckles. The lights went out in the ring.

When the lights came on, Darby Allin & Sting showed up with Sting using his bat to hit Big Bill. Bill had to wait there so that Sting could hit him in the back again. Jericho lightly hit Bill with his bat too. Bill & Starks left the ring.

Analysis: There was a lot to digest there. Sammy Guevara is back from his concussion and having a baby while Darby Allin is back from practicing to try to climb Mount Everest. It felt like they did too many things at once because it was the last Dynamite before Worlds End. Anyway, I’m glad Sammy is going to be a babyface now. It’s about time we see how he does as a babyface. Jericho and Sammy have been aligned for most of the last four years, so they make sense as a tag team. Good to see Darby Allin back too while Sting is back in the mix as well.

Roderick Strong was interviewed by Renee Paquette. Strong was with The Kingdom. They had a board claiming that several other people in AEW are not The Devil, but Strong said that MJF is The Devil. Strong said he’ll prove that MJF is The Devil and he’ll eventually be exposed.

Analysis: That’s more of the same from the yeller Strong.

Continental Classic Blue League Finals: Bryan Danielson vs. Eddie Kingston

They are both babyfaces, but the fans were behind Eddie more with chants of his name. Bryan was wrestling with an eye patch protecting the left eye again. After about a minute, Eddie hit a belly-to-back suplex to send Bryan out of the ring. Eddie hit a suicide dive onto Bryan on the floor. Eddie chopped Bryan repeatedly along with a hard whip into the barricade. Eddie chopped Bryan a lot. The referee Bryce Remsburg was on the floor with them rather than counting them out of the ring. Excalibur said this was no countout and no disqualification. Back in the ring, Bryan got some chops, but Eddie nailed a stiff chop to knock Bryan down. They battled on the apron with Bryan hitting a DDT on the apron. Bryan hit a flying knee off the apron to the floor. Bryan shouted: “He’s a bum!” They went to picture-in-picture there.


Bryan was in control as he went for the LeBell Lock, but Eddie got his foot on the bottom rope to break it. Eddie hit an Exploder Suplex. Eddie went for the spinning back fist, Bryan blocked it and Eddie hit a DDT. Eddie worked over Bryan with chops. Bryan spit at Eddie a few times, so Eddie hit Bryan with some more hard chops to the chest. Bryan took down Eddie by the arm and went for a submission move, but Eddie managed to get his hand on the bottom rope. Bryan wrenched on Eddie’s left arm followed by a suplex. Bryan sat upon the top turnbuckle leading to Eddie tripping up Bryan and Eddie hit some more chops. Bryan slipped out of a move by the turnbuckle and Eddie hooked his legs against the turnbuckle, so Bryan kicked Eddie repeatedly. Bryan hit a running dropkick to the face. Bryan went for a belly-to-back suplex off the top rope, but Eddie turned it and landed on Bryan’s face. They were both down leading to the break.


The match returned with Eddie and Bryan exchanging hard chops to the chest. Bryan worked over Eddie with chops and kicks until Eddie no sold it leading to chops of his own. Bryan caught Eddie leading to a shoulder capture suplex. Bryan worked over Eddie with the kicks to the chest. Bryan went for the running dropkick, but Eddie moved and Eddie hit a running clothesline. Eddie hit a Northern Lights Bomb for two. Bryan countered a move with a hurricanrana and Eddie got a rollup for two. Bryan avoided a strike and Bryan hit a running Busaiko Knee to the head for two. The fans chanted “Eddie” again. Bryan worked over Eddie with lefty elbow smashes to the head/neck area. Bryna stomped on the side of Eddie’s head while the referee Remsburg checked on Eddie, who did a middle finger salute to Bryan. That led to more “Eddie” chants. Bryan charged, but Kingston was ready with a spinning back fist. Kingston with a suplex. Eddie hit another spinning back fist leading to a Powerbomb right into the high stack pin for the pinfall win after 23 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Eddie Kingston

That match result means that at Worlds End, Eddie Kingston will face Jon Moxley at Worlds End in the Continental Classic for three titles: AEW Continental, ROH World Title and NJPW Strong Openweight Title.

Analysis: ***3/4 It was a tremendous match as usual when Bryan Danielson is in a lengthy match and Kingston is the kind of guy that can keep up with him. A lot of chops in that match. I don’t mind chops in matches but there were so many of them by Kingston especially. The story going in was that Bryan was cocky that he could beat Kingston and that Kingston had never beaten Bryan before, but Kingston found a way to win. It was a clean win too, which is great to see.

After the match, Eddie Kingston was in shock about the win. During the celebration, Jon Moxley walked out to check on Danielson, who rolled out of the ring.

Jon Moxley said all he’s ever asked of Eddie is to give 100%. Moxley said that for a guy who thinks the whole world is against him, Eddie has a lot of people who love him. Moxley said that everybody loves Eddie Kingston. Moxley said they don’t care if wins or loses. Moxley said that they deserve your maximum effort. Moxley said that he knows Kingston better than Eddie knows himself. Moxley said that Eddie has already lost. Moxley said that a couple of years ago, he let Eddie die a warrior’s death because he wanted Eddie to come back stronger. Moxley said that if Eddie wants to be a Triple Crown Champion like his heroes then he’s going to have to earn every inch.

Eddie Kingston told Moxley not to treat him like his “young boy, bitch” Yuta. Eddie said that he broke in before Mox and Mox was lucky that Eddie let Mox live. Eddie said that he’s going to push Moxley. Eddie said when he almost quit AEW, Moxley wouldn’t let him quit because they needed Eddie to help shape the younger guys. Eddie said he’s going to bust him up and he’s going to enjoy it. Eddie said that was his “out line” so his music played. That’s funny. Mox and Eddie spoke to eachother without a microphone. Moxley left while Eddie thanked the fans.

Analysis: They continue to tell the story about Kingston being the underdog with Moxley saying that Kingston can’t beat him, so that makes me think Kingston will probably get the win. It’s a Triple Crown Title and that’s cool, but it’s not the AEW World Title that Moxley has held three times. Anyway, Mox and Eddie should have a great match.

Christian Cage was seated with the TNT Title along with his “family” and they were told Adam Copeland was there for the interview.


Christian Cage was backstage with the TNT Title along with Nick Wayne and Shayna Wayne by himself. They were supposed to be interviewed by Lexy Nair, but Adam Copeland showed up to brawl with Christian. There were security guys that showed up, but then Copeland beat them up. A bunch of AEW wrestlers and officials emptied out of the locker room to separate them. Adam shouted: “You’re mine.” Christian shouted that Copeland was a coward.

Analysis: That Adam Copeland-Christian Cage match at Worlds End should be an outstanding match and it’s a No DQ match too, so I think it could be a bloody battle too.

Kris Statlander vs. Skye Blue

Here is the lone women’s match on the show with 20 minutes left and another match still to come, so you know it won’t be long. Blue is 29-25 in 2023. I bet you AEW has full-time women on the roster with under twenty matches, yet Blue has over 50 matches, so good for her.

Stokely Hathaway was on commentary. Kris got some arm drags. Blue with a slap to the face, so Kris hit a shoulder tackle along with two body slams. Blue did a headscissors, but Kris landed on her feet and hit a dropkick. Kris hit a delayed vertical suplex. Blue did a drop toe hold into the ropes along with a rising knee and a pump kick to the head. Blue hit a knee lift. Bue sent Kris face-first into the ring apron leading to a PIP break.


Kris made the comeback with multiple clotheslines. Kris hit a running knee with a loud leg slap. Kris did the Air Raid Crash with a German Suplex for two. Blue hit a superkick and Blue hit her Code Blue finisher for two because Kris powered out of it. Blue went for a hurricanrana, but Kris caught her and they went tumbling around the ring a bit until Kris hit a Powerbomb for two. They battled by the turnbuckle, the referee checked on Blue, who was faking an injury and Julia Hart kicked Kris while Kris was on the top turnbuckle. Blue superkicked Kris while Kris’ head was against the turnbuckle. Blue hit her Code Blue finisher off the middle ropes for the pinfall win. It went about ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Skye Blue

Analysis: **3/4 It was pretty good with Blue getting the cheap win because of Julia Hart interfering. That finisher by Blue off the turnbuckle was impressive. Kris lost because the heel had a friend while Kris did not. Statlander rarely loses, so they did a finish that protected her.

Post match, Sky Blue attacked Kris with stomps and Julia Hart hit a running clothesline. Blue applied a choke on Kris, but Willow Nightingale ran out for the save. Willow cleared the ring, so the heels ran away. While Hart and Blue were on the ramp, Abadon appeared on the stage and made creepy faces toward Julia Hart, who she faces at Worlds End.

Analysis: This isn’t great storytelling or anything, but at least they are trying to use some more women. I can praise them a bit for an attempt at least.

Saraya and Ruby Soho were interviewed by Renee Paquette, who mentioned that Ruby was facing Marina Shafir on Rampage. Saraya walked in saying she got Ruby a little helper Harley Cameron. Ruby got a phone call, Saraya figured it was Angelo (Parker) and Ruby left. Harley pulled out a huge knife and Saraya said put that back. Um…okay.

There was a rundown of Rampage matches that I don’t watch. The Worlds End PPV lineup was next.

* 20-Man Battle Royal For Shot at TNT Title – ZERO HOUR PRE-SHOW

* Hook (c) vs. Wheeler Yuta – ZERO HOUR PRE-SHOW

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

* Swerve Strickland vs. Keith Lee

* Miro vs. Andrade El Idolo

* TBS Championship: Julia Hart (c) vs. Abadon

* Powerhouse Hobbs, Kyle Fletcher, Big Bill and Ricky Starks vs. Chris Jericho, Sting, Darby Allin & Sammy Guevara

* TNT Championship No Disqualification Match: Christian Cage (c) vs. Adam Copeland

* Finals of the Continental Classic Tournament: Eddie Kingston vs. Jon Moxley

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

They went to break with five minutes left until the top of the hour.

Analysis: The eight-man tag team match was just added. I’ll pick Sting’s team to win since Sting never loses in AEW.


Two guys dressed in all black outfits with masks entered for this tag team match. The AEW World Champion and ROH Tag Team Champion MJF made his entrance two hours into this show. Samoa Joe was up next as MJF’s tag team partner and opponent at Worlds End this Saturday, but there was no sign of Joe. A video was shown of Samoa Joe on the ground selling a right knee injury. MJF told referee Bryce Remsburg that he was doing this match.

ROH Tag Team Championship: MJF & Samoa Joe (?) vs. The Devil’s Masked Men

Ring announcer Justin Roberts announced a 60-minute time limit for this match, which is comical considering it started after 10 p.m. ET. MJF had his left shoulder heavily wrapped. MJF tried to pull the mask off, but the second guy did a neck snap to MJF. The second guy charged at Max, who dumped him over the top to the floor. MJF sent the masked guy into the steel steps and MJF sent the guy into a ring post. A third masked guy emerged from under the ring and hit MJF with a steel pipe to the injured left shoulder. A masked guy hit a Heatseeker DDT on MJF and pinned him with his feet on the ropes. The referee didn’t see the feet on the ropes. It went about three minutes.

Winners by pinfall AND NEW ROH Tag Team Champions: The Devil’s Masked Men

Analysis: * It was more of a storyline rather than a match. That’s it for MJF as the ROH Tag Team Champion while two wrestlers without names are holding the ROH Tag Team Titles. I thought the Heatseeker usage was a nice move to do since that is one of MJF’s moves.

After the match, four masked guys attacked MJF. Samoa Joe went to the ring with a steel chair and the four guys in black left with the ROH Tag Team Titles. The Devil image appeared on the screen. It said this: “Pleasure doing business with you.”

While MJF had his back to Joe because they were looking at the screen, Joe hit MJF in the back with a steel chair to the injured left shoulder of MJF. The announcers realized that Joe made a deal with The Devil. Joe was moving around fine so he was never attacked. Joe yelled “I did this to you” to MJF. Joe hit the Muscle Buster. Joe posed with the AEW World Title over a fallen MJF. The show ended at 10:06 p.m. ET.

Analysis: That was a really good angle to get heat on Joe going into his AEW World Title match with MJF. The fans are going to hate Joe in Long Island while MJF will be selling the left shoulder injury a lot. I still think that The Devil will be revealed as Adam Cole and that the four guys in the masks are Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, Roderick Strong and a returning Kyle O’Reilly. I think Taven & Bennett were in the masks and just won those ROH Tag Team Titles. I could be way off of course. I might be. That’s just my theory at this point.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Jon Moxley
  2. Eddie Kingston
  3. Bryan Danielson, Swerve Strickland & Jay White


The Scoreboard

This Week: 7.75 out of 10

Last Week: 7.25

2023 Average: 7.33


Final Thoughts on AEW Dynamite

I thought it was a very good show that was a nice balance between putting on two outstanding matches and also advancing a lot of the storylines for the AEW Worlds End PPV on Saturday. The Moxley-Swerve-White triple threat match was outstanding and I thought it was the better of the two Continental Classic matches. Eddie Kingston and Bryan Danielson had a great match too. I think Eddie should beat Mox in the finals. I wanted Swerve to win it, though.

It’s interesting to note that there was only one match in the first hour of the show. It was a great match that got a lot of time, but still, it’s rare for Dynamite to do that. There was a lot of talking to set up some matches at Worlds End. That segment with Don Callis and crew was done to bring back Sammy Guevara, who may finally be a singles babyface after four years of being a heel. An issue with that segment is that it felt like they did two or three weeks of angles in one segment because they had to set up the PPV 8-man tag team match.

That ending angle with Samoa Joe setting up MJF and kicking his ass was terrific in terms of a heel outsmarting a face. It made MJF look gullible to the veteran Joe, so that makes the fans watching think that maybe Joe will beat MJF at Worlds End. I don’t know about that. I’m just saying from a story perspective, I like how Joe was booked in that segment. Plenty of great matches coming at the Worlds End PPV. I’m looking forward to it.

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

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

* TNT Championship No Disqualification Match: Christian Cage (c) vs. Adam Copeland

* Finals of the Continental Classic Tournament: Eddie Kingston vs. Jon Moxley

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

* Powerhouse Hobbs, Kyle Fletcher, Big Bill and Ricky Starks vs. Chris Jericho, Sting, Darby Allin & Sammy Guevara

* Swerve Strickland vs. Keith Lee

* Miro vs. Andrade El Idolo

* TBS Championship: Julia Hart (c) vs. Abadon

* Hook (c) vs. Wheeler Yuta (ZERO HOUR PRE-SHOW)

* 20-Man Battle Royal For Shot at TNT Title (ZERO HOUR PRE-SHOW)


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