It’s AEW Worlds End featuring MJF facing Samoa Joe, Jon Moxley taking on Eddie Kingston, Christian Cage against Adam Copeland and more.
This is the first ever AEW Worlds End pay-per-view. I wasn’t home on Saturday night to write about the full four-hour show due to being at a family member’s birthday party. This was AEW’s eighth PPV of 2023. I have reviewed every AEW PPV in company history.
Here are the ZERO HOUR pre-show results.
* Willow Nightingale defeated Kris Statlander by pinfall.
* Killswitch (fka Luchasaurus) won a 20-man battle royal to earn a TNT Title shot. Killswitch won by last eliminating Trent Beretta.
* Hook defeated Wheeler Yuta by submission to retain the FTW Title.
That was it for pre-show matches. The main show was next.
AEW Worlds End
Saturday, December 30, 2023
From Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island, New York
There was a video package hyping up the big matches on the show.
It’s Saturday and you know what that means. Excalibur welcomed us to the show with Nigel McGuinness and Taz on commentary.
8-Man All-Star Tag Team Match: Claudio Castagnoli, Bryan Danielson, Mark Briscoe & Daniel Garcia vs. Brody King, Jay White, Jay Lethal & Rush
These eight wrestlers were in the Continental Classic tournament. “Daddy Magic” Matt Menard joined commentary for this match.
Claudio started with Rush. They exchanged strikes, Claudio was sent out of the ring and then Claudio was back in before Rush could dive onto him. Briscoe and Lethal got into the ring leading to a chop fest. White tagged in against Bryan, which led to cheers from the crowd as Bryan was wearing an eye patch covering his left eye and orbital injury. Bryan went for a takedown, but White got his foot on the ropes to get out of it. Bryan hit a running dropkick on White against the turnbuckle. Bryan took down White with a top rope hurricanrana. Bryan worked over White with kicks to the chest and then he backed up right in front of Garcia, so that led to Garcia tagging in. Nigel liked it because he always trashes Bryan. King tagged in with a Bossman Slam to Garcia. King got in Menard’s face and pushed Menard. King body slammed Garcia and King called Menard a bitch. Garcia was isolated by his teammates as the heel side made quick tags and took turns beating up Garcia. White tripped up Garcia leading to a wrenching of the left foot. Garcia was bleeding by the nose. White bodyslammed Garcia two times in a row. White hit Garcia with a forearm to the back. Garcia managed to break free leading to Briscoe tagging with strikes for everybody. Briscoe hit a jumping kick on Lethal. Briscoe punched White off the turnbuckle to the floor. Everybody was fighting on the floor including Briscoe hitting a blockbuster on Lethal on the floor. Briscoe hit an elbow drop on Rush on the floor. Back in the ring, Briscoe hit a Fisherman’s Bomb on White for two. White dumped Briscoe over the top so the heel side worked over Briscoe as the face in peril. Lethal hit a superplex on Briscoe. King tagged in, Briscoe managed to get out of there and Claudio got into a slugfest with King. Claudio hit a boot to the face, a kick to the ribs and a delayed vertical suplex on the big man King for a two count because Rush broke up the pin. Bryan and Rush were fighting in the ring illegally. King hit a cannonball on Claudio and Rush kicked Bryan while Rush did a pose. I think that was over a minute with two illegal men in the ring. Claudio did the Giant Swing on Claudio and Bryan illegally hit a dropkick for two. Taz just said it was tag team action even though it’s not a tag team. Yes, it is in fact a tag team match. Lethal hit the Lethal Combination on Garcia and a Figure Four Leglock, but Briscoe broke that up with a Froggy Bow. They did the sequence of the match where six different guys hit moves and the guys taking the moves rolled out of the ring. It was back to Garcia and Lethal leading to Garcia doing the double leg trip followed by a jackknife pin for the pinfall win. It went 17:50.
Winners by pinfall: Claudio Castagnoli, Bryan Danielson, Mark Briscoe & Daniel Garcia
Analysis: ***1/2 It was an entertaining tag team match for the most part if you want to ignore the illegal action that is typical in AEW matches. It wasn’t like it was some classic tag team match or anything close to a match. They worked well together, took turns hitting big moves and there were a couple of decent nearfalls too. Poor Jay Lethal lost every match in the Continental Classic and he had to take the pin in this match too. Garcia winning gives him a bit of a boost.
After the match, Daniel Garcia did his bad dancing with Mark Briscoe dancing along with him.
Miro vs. Andrade El Idolo (w/CJ Perry)
CJ Perry is married to Miro. She is doing a lot better after being hospitalized with an infection in her finger. Going into this match, there were rumors that this was Andrade’s last match in AEW.
Miro attacked Andrade from behind when Andrade got into the ring. Andrade tossed a charging Miro out of the ring. Andrade went for a diving attack, but Miro punched him. Back in the ring, Miro hit a German Suplex with Andrade doing a moonsault bump out of it. Miro choked Andrade across the middle rope, Perry yelled for Andrade to get up and Miro mocked her yelling. Miro hit a suplex, Andrade no sold it and Andrade hit a jawbreaker. Miro caught Andrade hitting a spinning slam. They left the ring with Miro slamming Andrade face first into the hood of the commentary table. Andrade fought back and pushed Miro over the commentary table to the floor. Andrade sent Miro into the steel steps. This referee Paul Turner was counting them out of the ring properly, but Andrade broke the count twice. Miro gave Andrade a superplex from the middle rope. They exchanged strikes, Andrade ran off the ropes and Miro punched Andrade in the nose to knock him down. Andrade came back with a cross body block along with a running elbow strike. Miro was sent out of the ring and Andrade hit the moonsault onto Miro on the floor. Andrade sent Miro into the steel steps and Andrade hugged Perry. Back in the ring, Andrade did the double jump moonsault spot for two. Andrade charged, but Miro got back up and hit a superkick. Miro shouted “GAME OVER” and Miro applied the Game Over submission, but Andrade got his left hand on the bottom rope. Miro yelled at Perry telling her to cheer for her husband instead. Andrade sent Miro to the apron followed by a leg whip. Andrade hit the back elbow to the head which looks better than when Chris Jericho does it, but when Jericho does it that is Jericho’s finisher. Andrade applied the Flair family Figure Four Leglock, which he inherited through marriage. I guess. Andrade tried to do the Figure Eight submission that his wife Charlotte Flair uses, but Perry swiped Andrade’s hand during the bridge attempt. Perry was smirking about it. Miro got back up with superkick. Miro applied the Game Over submission and Andrade tapped out to give Miro the win at 14:45.
Winner by submission: Miro
Analysis: ***1/4 A win for Miro because his wife CJ Perry turned against Andrade during his Figure Eight attempt and Miro capitalized to get the win. The crowd was quiet for a lot of this match. I don’t think they cared that much about it even though there was a bit of a story. The problem is in AEW sometimes they don’t distinguish the face-heel roles well. As I mentioned, it was rumored that this was Andrade’s last match in AWE, so it’s not a surprise that he lost. Miro hasn’t been booked that well in AEW this year, but maybe it will get better next year.
After the match, CJ Perry blew kisses to her husband Miro after the match. Perry had a smirk on her face while pointing to Miro.
They put Tony Schiavone on commentary replacing Nigel. Tony is there to talk about how great everything is. I like Nigel more because he favors the heels a bit.
AEW World Women’s Championship: “Timeless” Toni Storm (w/Luther) vs. Riho
Storm hit a body slam. Riho tried a body slam, but she couldn’t lift Storm. Riho hit two dropkicks, a flying knee and a bulldog. Riho delivered a roundhouse kick to Storm by the turnbuckle. Luther caught Riho, handed her to Storm and Storm hit a body slam. Riho got a cradle on Storm for two. Storm hit a body slam again for two. Storm has hit four body slams as if she is taking Riho to Body Slam City or something like that. Riho countered a pin attempt with a sunset flip for two. Storm hit a sitout spinebuster for two to no reaction. Storm did some back walking onto Riho’s back. Storm applied a single leg crab until Riho got to the ropes. Luther put Storm on her shoulders and together they threw Riho off the apron to the floor. The referee did nothing about it even though the person on the floor literally helped a woman in the match. Storm applied a Texas Cloverleaf submission and Riho nearly got to the ropes. Luther pushed the ropes, so the normally useless referee Rick Knox ejected Luther from ringside. Riho sent Storm into the ropes and Storm had to oversell. Riho with the 619 kick off the ropes. Riho with a dropkick and Riho did a very weak body slam in wrestling history for two. The announcers tried to cover for it. Storm was on the floor, so Riho hit a top rope cross body block onto Storm on the floor. Dragon hit a suplex into a pin for two. Riho charged, Storm avoided it and Storm missed her hip attack because Riho moved. Storm came back with a Storm Zero piledriver for two. Riho got a cradle for a two count. Storm slammed Riho down. Storm grabbed Riho over her back and Storm hit a DDT for the pinfall win.
Winner by pinfall: Toni Storm
Analysis: **3/4 It turned into a pretty good match after it wasn’t that interesting in the first half. The fans seemed to care more about Storm because she actually is a gimmick. There was no point in the match where I thought Riho was going to win. They need to learn how to book babyfaces better to build contenders for Storm.
After the match, Mariah May appeared in the ring to celebrate with her hero Storm.
It's a 'Timeless' celebration thanks to @MariahMayx
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 31, 2023
Dante Martin was interviewed by Lexi Nair backstage. Dante talked about getting a pin on Rampage. Orange Cassidy walked up with his International Title and that set up a title match between Orange & Dante at AEW Dynamite.
Analysis: It’s weird that Orange Cassidy was left off this show considering how much Tony Khan loves to push him.
The Swerve Strickland match with Dustin Rhodes was next. This was supposed to be Swerve against Keith Lee, but Lee is injured and wasn’t cleared to compete. Dustin is Lee’s sometimes tag team partner, so AEW put Dustin in this match.
Swerve attacked Dustin on the floor. Swerve threw Dustin into the barricade and into the steel steps. Swerve hit a running knee while on the floor. Nana put Dustin’s left ankle against a cinderblock on the floor. Swerve jumped off the apron with a stomp on Dustin’s ankle on the cinderblock. The bell didn’t ring to start the match.
Swerve sending a VICIOUS message to Keith Lee!
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 31, 2023
The AEW referees and medical team helped Dustin back up. Swerve stood in the ring. Dustin turned around and Dustin wanted to compete in the match.
Swerve Strickland (w/Prince Nana) vs. Dustin Rhodes
Dustin got to his feet while selling the left ankle, so the referee called for the bell because Dustin wanted to have the match. Swerve attacked as soon as the bell rang. Swerve kicked the left knee. Swerve trapped the left leg against the rope and Swerve hit a running dropkick. They battled on the turnbuckle, Dustin delivered a headbutt and a cross body block for two. No reaction. Dustin worked over Swerve with punches. Swerve kicked the left knee along with a punch. Dustin came back with a Canadian Destroyer and a powerslam for two. Dustin delivered his Shattered Dreams kick while Nana the dumbass distracted the referee. What a dumb spot. Dustin hit a piledriver followed by Cross Rhodes for two. Dustin went for a move on the legs, so Swerve kicked the left leg. Swerve hit the flatliner. Swerve applied a single leg crab and Dustin got his hand on the rope to break the hold. Swerve kicked the leg, so Dustin gave Swerve a double middle finger salute and a spit to the face. Swerve hit the jumping House Call kick to the head. Swerve hit another House Call kick to the head. The fans chanted “one more time” for the heel to beat up the veteran babyface. Swerve stepped on the left hand to pull it back. Swerve went up top, Dustin sat up to make it look better and Swerve hit the Swerve Stomp for the pinfall win. It went 9:30.
Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland
Analysis: **3/4 A decisive win for Swerve Strickland as you would expect here. Dustin’s spit in the face fired up Swerve, who finished up Swerve after that. I know AEW loves long matches, but if you’re going to do an injury angle like that and you want Swerve to become a top guy then he needs to win this match in about five minutes or less. You don’t need to give Dustin a lot of offense. Fans need to see Swerve as a big star. Winning this match more decisively would have helped Swerve.
After the match, Swerve did the “belt” motion around the waist.
It was time for the second 8-man tag team match except this one wasn’t called an All-Star Tag Team Match. Despite the social media controversy, the fans were still behind Jericho and were singing his song. When the song stopped, there were boos. During Darby Allin’s entrance, he was yelling at somebody and some people think it was Jericho.
Ricky Starks, Big Bill, & The Don Callis Family – Konosuke Takeshita & Powerhouse Hobbs (with Don Callis) vs. Chris Jericho Sammy Guevara, Sting, & Darby Allin
Starks & Bill are the AEW Tag Team Champions. This is not an “All-Star” tag team match like the other eight-man tag team match earlier on the show.
Sammy started with Takeshita, who has lost a lot of momentum in the last few months. Sammy hit a cross body block. Jericho was booed when he tagged in leading to a double shoulder tackle. Jericho and Sammy did their pose, which drew boos. Takeshita hit a leaping clothesline. Starks did a middle finger salute to Jericho and Hobbs tagged himself in leading to a shoulder tackle on Jericho. Bill tagged in to toss Jericho into the air and Jericho hit the mat. Allin tagged in with a dropkick. Allin hit a cross body block on Takeshita. Allin hit a dropkick on Takeshita followed by a Code Red or a two count. Callis went on the apron, so Takeshita punched Allin. Takeshita hit an impressive spinning Blue Thunder Bomb off the top turnbuckle on Allin. The heel side took turns working over Allin as the fans chanted for Sting. Hobbs and Cass held Allin by the limbs and tossed him across the ring. Starks missed a splash on Allin, who came back with a jawbreaker. Hobbs went into the ring illegally to stomp on Allin. Sting tagged in with punches along with corner splashes. Sting hit a double clothesline. Sting crotched Bill on the top rope. Jericho got in the ring and the fans were booing. Sting and Jericho each hit splashes. Bill clotheslined Sting to knock him down. Starks did the rope walk with Sting leading to a weak punch to the shoulder. Sting botched a stun gun attempt on Starks because they missed the rope. Sammy tagged in to no reaction. Sammy hit an enziguri kick on Starks. Sammy wanted a Cutter, Starks avoided that and Sammy hit a Cutter off the turnbuckle for two. Bill hit a sidewalk slam on Bill. Jericho into the ring illegally with a Codebreaker on Bill and the fans booed. Bill and Jericho botched something. Bill punched Jericho, so some fans were cheering. Jericho hit a missile dropkick off the middle turnbuckle on Bill leading to boos and Hobbs hit Jericho with a spinebuster leading to cheers. There were “NDA” (non-disclosure agreement) chants toward Jericho at some point too. Hobbs hit a front slam on Jericho. Allin ran into the ring with a leap onto Hobbs to stop another move. Allin hit a reverse DDT on Hobbs. Takeshita hit an overhead German Suplex on Allin across the ring with Allin landing on his head. Takeshita did a German Suplex to Sammy, who held onto Allin, so it was like a double German Suplex. Sting and Takeshita botched whatever they tried and Takeshita hit Sting with a knee, which Sting no sold. Sting applied a gentle Scorpion Death Drop on Takeshita because I don’t think Sting can bend down that match. Callis nearly hit Sting, so Sting chased him out of the ring. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho on Hobbs, which drew more boos from the crowd. Sting applied the gentle Scorpion Death Lock with barely any bend again. Starks broke up the submissions. Bill hit Sting with a boot to the head. Allin sent Bill out of the ring and Allin hit a suicide dive onto Bill. Sammy charged, but Starks hit a Spear on him for a two count. I have no idea if they were really legal. Starks hit a sitout slam that drove Sammy into the mat on his stomach for a two count. Sammy hit the GTH on Starks. Sammy went up top and Sammy hit a Shooting Star Press on Starks for the pinfall win. It went 15:40.
Winner by pinfall: Chris Jericho Sammy Guevara, Sting, & Darby Allin
Analysis: **3/4 It was an average TV tag team match, but it wasn’t that great at any point. They didn’t build up the drama with nearfalls that much except a couple of them at the end. The crowd hated Jericho, yet the announcers ignored it completely even though they often acknowledge crowd reactions. There was about a two minute stretch in the match where they completely forgot about who the legal men were so that other people could run into the ring to do spots. I respect Sting a lot, but he’s showing his age and not moving very well despite what the announcers try to tell us. This was Sting’s second last PPV match before Revolution in March and AEW didn’t treat it like a big deal at all. It felt like he was just another guy in this match. That’s disappointing. Anyway, Sting remains undefeated in his career. Sammy pinning Starks likely sets up Sammy & Jericho getting a Tag Team Title match against Bill & Starks. I’m really not that interested in that except to hear how the fans will boo Jericho.
After the match, they played Sting’s song and the fans gave him a standing ovation. Sting greeted fans around ringside. It was Vladimir!
Analysis: At least that was a nice appreciation of Sting after he played such a minimal role in the match.
TBS Championship: Julia Hart vs. Abadon
Abadon hit a Cutter to start the match. This company loves that move. Abadon hit repeated clotheslines in the corner. Abadon hit a spinning slam for two. Hart got a crucifix pin for a two count. They exchanged strikes for a bit and then Hart dumped Abadon out of the ring. Hart whipped Abadon into the ring apron. Hart hit a suplex on the floor as the crowd was really quiet. Hart choked Abadon across the middle ropes and Hart said “no rope breaks” into the camera and Excalibur said it for the first time. Way to explain the rules, guys. Hart hit a forearm. Abadon did some arm biting with the announcers saying it all legal. Abadon hit clotheslines and a running elbow. Abadon hit double knees in the corner. Abadon hit double knees for a two count that got no reaction. Hart hit a superplex for two. Tony called it a “great” title match while the crowd was dead quiet. I told you Tony says everything is great. Anyway, Hart hit a running clothesline to the back of the head. Abadon countered a submission move into a pin attempt for two. Abadon hit a spinning slam along with a driving knee strike for two. Abadon did some head biting. The referee was checking on Hart, so Skye Blue appeared and shoved Abadon off the top rope. Abadon pulled Blue out from under the ring and Abadon hit a couple of punches as well as a clothesline. Abadon hit a running knee to Blue. Hart clotheslined Abadon in the back. Hart sent Abadon back first into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Hart did a slow climb to the top. Hart did a moonsault where her feet hit the mat and Hart’s arms barely touched Abadon. The fans didn’t even react to it. Hart still covered for the pinfall win at 11:35. Poor Excalibur had to say that it looked like Hart hit her knees to Abadon. No, it did not.
Winner by pinfall: Julia Hart
Analysis: **3/4 A decent match. The finish was bad. Hart did a moonsault where she landed on her knees and her forearms barely touched Abadon, yet Abadon had to sell it. Hart needs to change her finishing move if she can’t do a moonsault properly every time. They should have given Abadon more moments where it looked like Abadon might win. It just wasn’t that interesting of a match.
The pop for Adam Copeland’s entrance was great. The crowd woke up after sounding like they had fallen asleep during the previous match. They put Nigel McGuinness back on commentary to replace Tony “everything is great” Schiavone. As Christian Cage made his entrance as the TNT Champion, Adam attacked him in the aisle and the bell rang to start the match since there are No Disqualifications, which meant No Countouts as well. I think they should say just say Street Fight, but it’s not up to me.
No Disqualification Match For The TNT Championship: Christian Cage (w/Shayna Wayne & Nick Wayne) vs. Adam Copeland
They are both 50 years old born about a month apart and from my part of the world in southern Ontario. Adam threw Christian into the screens on the ramp. They went down to the ring with Adam beating up Christian. The fans were chanting for tables. They left the ring with Adam throwing Christian into the steel steps. Adam tried to stomp on Christian’s head, but Christian avoided it and Christian ran away into the crowd. Christian climbed the steps slowly, so Adam went after him. Nick Wayne got involved, so Adam threw Nick into a wall. Adam climbed up to the 104 section barricade and Adam jumped onto Christian/Nick. It was about ten feet high with Adam jumping onto both guys. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them with Nigel saying that the fans love Christian because he’s awesome. Back at ringside, Adam walked across the barricade leading to a leaping clothesline on Christian on the floor. The fans chanted “you still got” which is always a dumb chant that wrestlers don’t even like because they feel like they never lost it. Back in the ring, Adam charged, Christian moved and Christian sent Adam into the ring post so Adam bumped to the floor. After Adam was on offense to start the match, Christian finally took control. Christian stomped on Adam’s head on the steel steps, which got a two count back in the ring. Christian beat on Adam’s back with a kendo stick repeatedly. Christian told Adam he was the champion and called Adam a piece of shit. Adam was bleeding above the left eye. Christian worked over Adam with punches. Nick put some chairs into the ring. Christian posed over Adam while a chair was on Adam’s back. Christian applied a Boston Crab while sitting on the chair, but Adam wouldn’t give up. Christian attacked with a metal rod, but Adam moved and Adam hit a sitout neckbreaker like he has done many times. Adam hit Christian with the kendo stick a few times. Adam used the kendo stick to hit Christian in the throat. Adam applied a Crossface with the steel rod in Christian’s mouth, but Christian got to the ropes, hugged the ropes and Adam let go.
Adam pulled a ladder out from under the ring and Adam had a sadistic smile on his face due to his long ladder history. Adam did a catapult move that sent Christian face-first into the ladder. Christian hit Adam with a kendo stick to the ribs followed by a reverse DDT. Christian did a very slow ladder climb, so Adam went after him. Nick was holding the ladder as Christian hit a sunset flip Powerbomb on the ladder. I can remember Eddie Guerrero doing that to Adam in 2002 and this wasn’t off the top of the ladder, but it’s still a dangerous move. They did it well. Christian and Nick set up the table on the floor. The fans chanted “we want fire” as Adam charged, but Christian got out of the way. Adam hit Christian in the back with a kendo stick followed by a chair to the back. Adam hit an Impaler DDT on the chair, but there was no cover. Adam teased a Conchairto spot, but Nick got in the ring and pulled the chair out of Adam’s hand. Christian was back up with a low blow chair shot to the groin for a two count. Christian set up a table against the turnbuckle. Chrisitan charged, Adam did a leapfrog and Adam threw a chair at Christian’s face two times in a row. Adam hit a Spear on Christian through the table. Adam covered, but Shayna pulled the referee out of the ring to stop the pin. Nick hit Adam with the TNT Title in the back of the head. Nick jumped off the turnbuckle and hit a Cutter on Adam on the floor. This company really loves the Cutter as I have said. Christian hit the Killswitch (aka Unprettier) on Adam for a two count. Christian and Nick put some lighter fluid on the table on the floor as the fans chanted “holy shit” for it. Christian told Adam: “Go F**k Yourself.” Adam stopped Christian from throwing him onto the flaming table. Adam hit Christian with a Spear. Adam hit Nick with a forearm. Nick had to sell on the apron for about a minute while Adam put more lighter fluid on the table. Adam lit the table, he grabbed Nick and gave Nick a Powerbomb onto the table…sort of. It was more like Nick’s butt hitting the table/fire and then Nick’s head hit the floor. The fire went out while Nick was selling the fire attack. Back in the ring, Christian tried an attack with the TNT Title, but Adam kicked him in the groin. Adam hit the Killswitch on Christian for the pinfall win at 25:02. That was the longest match on the show.
Winner by pinfall AND NEW TNT Championship: Adam Copeland
Analysis: **** A terrific match between two outstanding veterans with some SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT~! aspects to the match. It felt like a fight the whole way and had a finish that the fans loved since Adam Copeland beat Christian Cage. Sometimes there are No DQ matches where people don’t use weapons a lot, but these guys used weapons throughout the match and they logically used them. That’s because Adam and Christian are smart guys who know how to tell a story, which a lot of people in this company don’t seem to care about as they attempt to have matches just to get their spots in. Another thing worth pointing out is that the fans were heavily invested in the match the whole way. That’s different than a lot of other matches on this show.
Adam Copeland celebrated with the TNT Championship. The fans popped big for it. As Adam celebrated, Killswitch (fka Luchasaurus) was in the ring and Killswitch clotheslined Adam in the back of the head. Killswitch earned a TNT Title match earlier in the night. Killswitch hit a Chokeslam. Killswitch gave Adam a Chokeslam onto a chair that was opened up in the ring. Killswitch grabbed the contract that he won earlier for a TNT Title match. Christian went into the ring and told Killswitch to give it to him. The fans were chanting “no” because they didn’t want Killswitch to do it. Christian said something to Killswitch, so Killswitch handed Christian the contract. Christian signed the contract. Referee Paul Turner called for the bell.
TNT Championship: Adam Copeland vs. Christian Cage
When Adam got up, Christian hit a Spear and Christian covered for the pinfall win. That was about 10 seconds.
Winner by pinfall AND NEW TNT Champion: Christian Cage
Analysis: That was about as cheap as it gets with Christian forcing Killswitch to give him the title match and taking advantage of the situation to get the title back. I would have been cool with somebody else holding the title, but Christian is an entertaining champion.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 31, 2023
Christian Cage left with the Wayne Family and Killswitch, who was carrying Nick Wayne on his shoulder. Adam Copeland was getting checked on by the doctor and referee in the ring. The fans cheered for Adam as he got back up. Excalibur mentioned that Adam was the shortest reigning TNT Champion. Adam Copeland was helped to the back.
Analysis: I guess that rivalry will continue. That’s fine with me.
Continental Classic Final: Eddie Kingston vs. Jon Moxley
The winner will become the first AEW Triple Crown Champion holding the AEW Continental Championship, ROH World Champion and NJPW Strong Openweight Championship. Bryan Danielson was on commentary with Excalibur and Taz for this match.
Eddie went for a waistlock, but Moxley tripped him up. Moxley was in control of Eddie on the mat in a mounted position, but Moxley let him back up. Moxley did a snapmare leading to a kick to the back. Eddie did his own snapmare leading to a kick. They exchanged chops along with shoulder blocks right after that. Eddie hit chops to the body, then chops to the neck and Eddie hit an enziguri kick. Eddie hit a suicide dive that saw him jumped over Mox so that Eddie went crashing into the barricade. Back in the ring, Moxley hit a German Suplex because Eddie was selling an injury. Moxley sent Eddie out of the ring leading to Moxley hitting a Paradigm Shift. There were some light boos for Moxley because the fans were supporting Eddie, who is a New Yorker. Bryan: “I can’t believe I lost to this guy.” He was speaking about Eddie. Back in the ring, Moxley worked over Eddie with kicks. Eddie came back with chops, but Moxley blocked a chop with his forearm. Moxley hit a piledriver for a two count. Moxley applied an STF submission, so Eddie bit Mox’s hands to get out of it. They exchanged some hard chops with the fans cheering for it. It turned into a chopfest. Moxley stagged Eddie, so Moxley did a middle finger salute and Eddie gave it back to him. They did double clotheslines twice, then Eddie hit an overhead suplex and Moxley decided to start selling a left knee injury. Eddie hit the spinning back fist, but Eddie fell down. Eddie delivered the machine gun chops along with another hard chop. Eddie kept on delivering chops followed by a DDT. Moxley hit a Cutter, which again is a very popular move in this show. Moxley bounced off the ropes with a lariat. Eddie came back with a Northern Lights Bomb for two.
Eddie worked over Moxley with repeated hammer elbows to the jaw. Bryan mocked Eddie saying that wasn’t his specialty. Eddie grabbed a headlock, Moxley got out of it and Moxley grabbed a headlock. Moxley had grounded Eddie with a weak-looking choke, but Eddie got out of it. That was not a choke that looked good like the Bulldog Choke that Moxley does. Moxley approached Eddie, who hit a spinning back fist for a two count. Eddie hit a Northern Lights Bomb again for a two count. Eddie delivered some light knees to the jaw, but Moxley came back with a lariat. They exchanged headbutts, which don’t look that scary when you shoot from the wrong camera angle and see that they are headbutting their hands. At least they cut to the right camera. They exchanged hard slaps to the face, Moxley did a slap to the face and Eddie hit a spinning back fist right into a cover for the one…two…and three! Eddie Kingston wins! It went 17:20.
Winner by pinfall and winner of the Continental Classic: Eddie Kingston
Analysis: ****1/4 This was an excellent match from two guys who know eachother very well. It was very even the whole way. The finish was sudden because it was as if that spinning back fist was hit absolutely perfectly and it knocked out Moxley enough that Eddie was able to get the win. Moxley lost clean to Jay White a few weeks back and Moxley lost clean here. Moxley didn’t lose clean much in the last five years, so at least he’s starting to lose clean to give some other guys big wins. The chopping was fine because it pops the crowd, but there was maybe too much of it at one point. You don’t see a lot of match finishes like that. That’s why I like it as a finish. It tells the fans that Eddie can knock anybody out with that spinning back fist since he was able to beat Moxley with it.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 31, 2023
After the match, Eddie Kingston was presented with the AEW Continental Championship, ROH World Champion and NJPW Strong Openweight Championship to become the Triple Crown Champion. It was our first time seeing that Continental Championship, which Eddie held over his head. The graphic called Eddie the “Continental Crown Champion.”
Eddie Kingston put his three titles down in the ring and got on his knees until Jon Moxley got back up. The fans chanted “you deserve it” for Eddie. Moxley patted Eddie on the chest and Moxley hugged his friend Eddie. The fans cheered. Eddie celebrated with his titles again.
Analysis: Eddie Kingston overcame a lot in this tournament because he found a way to get into the semifinals after starting 0-2 in the tournament, yet he got out of his group. That led to Eddie beating Bryan in the semifinals and then this huge win over Moxley in the finals. I said before the tournament that I wanted Swerve Strickland, but I certainly don’t mind how this was booked with Eddie overcoming a lot to get the win. Good booking. Great tournament overall.
This Wednesday on AEW Dynamite: Orange Cassidy defends the International Championship against Dante Martin.
This Saturday on Collision: FTR vs. House of Black. That match will be better than most of the matches on this PPV. How can you leave FTR off this PPV? Use them better, please.
Samoa Joe was up first for the AEW World Title match. They did a video for MJF with fans talking about Long Island. The fans chanted “He’s Our Scumbag” for MJF, who walked out with a white robe that said “King of Long Island” on the back. Tony Schiavone was back on commentary for this match Excalibur and Taz. MJF enjoyed the “He’s Our Scumbag” chant while Joe didn’t seem to be impressed by it.
Adam Cole made his entrance to support his “best friend” MJF, so Joe complained about it. Cole was on crutches with his left foot in a boot since Cole had a surgically repaired broken ankle.
AEW World Championship: Maxwell Jacob Friedman (w/Adam Cole) vs. Samoa Joe
MJF had his left shoulder wrapped up with a black sling and he had tape on his upper body as well.
Joe went after the left shoulder right away. MJF punched Joe in the corner a bit. MJF charged, but Joe hit a uranage slam. Joe worked over MJF with strikes followed by a leg drop to the left arm. MJF tried to come back with chops, but Joe came back with an atomic drop and Joe did a senton splash on MJF’s left arm. Joe hit a back elbow against the turnbuckle and a jumping kick to the head. MJF avoided a Muscle Buster and MJF managed to send Joe out of the ring. Back in the ring, MJF got an inside cradle for two. MJF hit a sunset flip for two and a rollup for two. MJF superkicks Joe in the chest. MJF teased his kangaroo kick, but Joe blocked it and Joe sent MJF to the apron where Joe kicked MJF out of the ring. Joe hit a suicide dive elbow on MJF on the floor. Back in the ring, Joe hit the Death Valley Driver for a two count. Joe hit a German Suplex, a Dragon Suplex and a Straightjacket German Suplex for two. They battled on the apron with Joe hitting a headbutt. Joe gave MJF a Muscle Buster on the ring apron. Adam Cole had a shocked look on his face. That looked brutal. Joe sent MJF into the ring and MJF kicked out at two while selling the left arm injury again. MJF avoided a charging Joe leading to MJF hitting a forearm smash to the back. MJF did nine punches followed by some head biting or at least that’s what we were supposed to think. MJF charged, but Joe kicked him in the left shoulder. MJF did an eye poke. MJF put Joe on his shoulders, but he couldn’t do a move, so Joe collapsed onto MJF. Joe charged, MJF got a boot up and MJF did a double foot stomp onto the left arm of Joe. MJF stunned Joe on the apron leading to MJF hitting the Heatseeker DDT for two. MJF went for Heatseeker again, Joe blocked it and MJF tried a rollup for two. MJF grabbed the left arm going for a submission, but Joe countered it into his own submission on the left arm. MJF managed to crawl to the bottom rope to break the hold.
Joe went for a submission move, but MJF got out of it and MJF shoved Joe into the referee Bryce Remsburg against the turnbuckle, so the referee was down. MJF had a smile on his face after the referee was down. Joe went to the middle turnbuckle, MJF hit him with a low blow. MJF had Joe on his back and MJF hit an F5-like move. Both wrestlers were down selling along with the referee while Cole encouraged MJF. When MJF covered with one arm on Joe’s chest, referee Bryce Remsburg slowly woke up and counted a two fall. MJF got the Dynamite Diamond Ring from Cole. Joe went for a submission, MJF countered it into a pin for two. Joe applied a Coquina Clutch submission on the mat. The referee checked on MJF’s arm, MJF’s arm went down twice and…a third time. That was it. Samoa Joe is the new AEW World Champion. The crowd was stunned by it. The match went 17:50.
Winner by submission AND NEW AEW World Champion: Samoa Joe
Analysis: ***3/4 They did a great job of telling the story of MJF dealing with the left shoulder injury throughout the match and while he did his best to fight through it, I think the right finish was for Joe to get the win. I did predict MJF to win, but I’m certainly fine with a title change because Joe is a terrific heel who has a lot of credibility as the new champion. Joe kept wearing MJF down throughout the match until he was able to choke him out and instead of MJF hanging on, MJF passed out to the surprise of the audience. It gives Joe a lot of credibility because he won clean. I’m happy for Joe while MJF held the title for over 400 days, so there’s nothing wrong with losing at this point.
Samoa Joe was presented with the AEW World Title and Joe left with the championship. There wasn’t a long celebration for Joe. Joe just left up the ramp and went to the back.
MJF and Adam Cole were left alone in the ring with Cole trying to encourage his friend. The fans were chanting “bullshit” because they didn’t like that booking decision.
The masked men appeared at ringside and they went into the ring with MJF and Cole. There were four masked men. They teased hitting MJF or Cole. The lights went out.
The lights went back on as the four masked men revealed themselves to be Roderick Strong, Matt Taven, Mike Bennett and Wardlow. Adam Cole was seated in the chair. There was no Devil mask, but it was obvious that it was Cole as the Devil. Wardlow hit MJF with a Powerbomb. Cole pulled the devil mask out of his jacket and held it up in the air. Cole put the Devil mask onto MJF. The announcers trashed MJF. Cole kneeled down over a fallen MJF. Excalibur said: “The world of Maxwell Jacob Friedman has ended.” Get it? The show’s name is Worlds End. Well played. End show.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 31, 2023
Analysis: It was the ending that I predicted with Cole as The Devil joined by The Kingdom and Strong. I didn’t predict Wardlow with them, but that’s certainly fine since Wardlow has had nothing to do for months in this company. This sets up MJF to take a break to heal up his body, maybe fix that shoulder and come back for vengeance on his “best friend” Cole who was going to turn on him from last summer, but then he broke his ankle and it delayed this whole storyline. Anyway, this gives Cole his own heel stable like he had in NXT and we know Cole does well with a stable. I think MJF and Cole will have a bloody rivalry in 2024, that’s for sure.
AEW Worlds End had a runtime of 3:52:32 minutes on pay-per-view.
Five Stars of the Show
- Samoa Joe
- Eddie Kingston
- Jon Moxley
- Claudio Castagnoli, Bryan Danielson, Mark Briscoe & Daniel Garcia
It gets a 7.25 out of 10 from me.
The last three matches saved this show because I enjoyed all three of them a lot. Everything before that was just okay. Several of them were disappointing. The finish to the TBS Title match was one of the worst finishes in AEW this year. A moonsault was completely missed and then used as a pin while Excalibur claimed the knees hit even though they did not and the poor crowd was dead silent for that ending. That eight man tag team match with Sting barely featured him in his second last PPV match. They did honor him a bit after the match, but you could tell Sting was frustrated by that match.
To get back to those three great matches, I thought Adam Copeland and Christian Cage had a terrific brawl for the TNT Title. They worked so hard and had a lot of creativity as usual for them. The Eddie Kingston win over Jon Moxley was my favorite match on the show. It felt like a fight. The finish was clever because it felt like a boxing or UFC kind of finish. As for the Samoa Joe win over MJF, it was a decisive win for Joe as MJF’s World Title reign ends over 400 days. I’m happy for Joe. Post match, Adam Cole was revealed as The Devil with the henchman as I predicted in the preview and several weeks before that. It should lead to a bloody MJF-Cole rivalry in 2024. Poor MJF. I still MJF as a heel, but they are obviously keeping him as a face whenever he returns.
The crowd was dead for some of the matches, which isn’t uncommon for the Long Island fans. They did wake up to boo Chris Jericho, chant “NDA” at him and other things, so at least they were into that. It was still mostly a good show. I just think compared to AEW’s other PPVs this year, this was perhaps their worst PPV of the year. Still a good show overall, but weaker compared to other AEW PPVs in 2023.
My AEW PPV reviews for 2023:
WrestleDream (October 1) – 9
Full Gear (November 18) – 8.5
Revolution (March 5) – 8.25
All In London (August 27) – 8
AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door (June 25) – 8
All Out (September 3) – 8
Double or Nothing (May 29) – 7.5
Worlds End (December 30) – 7.25
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