All Elite Wrestling returns to Garland, TX and our home for the last four years at the Curtis Culwell Center! It’s the first time COLLISION has emanated from this great venue, and with WORLDS END fast approaching, that means more Continental Classic action in the Blue League! We saw Brody King take his first loss in the tournament on DYNAMITE, falling to Andrade El Idolo in each man’s third League bout, and boosting El Idolo up to the top spot with 9 points.
This week the Blue League continues with Claudio Castagnoli taking on Andrade, ROH World & NJPW STRONG Openweight Champion Eddie Kingston fighting an old rival in Daniel Garcia, and Bryan Danielson facing the immense challenge of Brody King! The bouts begin at 8pm ET/7pm CT on TNT, and the best way to get ready is to visit the official AEW YouTube channel, as well as AEW’s other social media platforms, for highlights from this week’s DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as events from last week’s COLLISION, the latest CONTROL CENTER, and so much more!
CONTINENTAL CLASSIC: BLUE LEAGUE…
Andrade El Idolo (9)
Brody King (6)
“The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson (6)
Claudio Castagnoli (3)
ROH World Champion/NJPW STRONG Openweight Champion Eddie Kingston (3)
Daniel Garcia (0)
Daniel Garcia (0) vs. Eddie Kingston (3)
The Continental Classic is getting down to the wire, we’ve passed the halfway point, and unfortunately for Daniel Garcia there is no way for him to win the Blue League on points, nor even come in second in order to battle it out with the points leader for that spot in the Continental Classic Finals at WORLDS END. All Garcia can do now is play spoiler to those with hope in their hearts, and with enough points to potentially get them to the Blue League Finals.
One of those men who has to hold onto hope right now is Eddie Kingston, an opponent Garcia has battled many times over the last two years, because after dropping his first two Blue League bouts, Kingston finally scored his first three points last week over Claudio Castagnoli.
But with Bryan Danielson, as well as Brody King, at six points and Andrade El Idolo at nine points, Kingston finds himself with two must-win bouts left in the league, and also dependent on the failings of others. Save the possibility of a draw, either Danielson or King will walk out of Saturday with nine points to their name, and Kingston has lost to both of them already. With the other bout pitting Castagnoli against Andrade, either Claudio walks with six or Andrade with 12, the latter result puts that top spot in the league totally out of Kingston’s reach, with only a hope of second place to hold onto.
Now this is where things get very interesting, the possibility of ties and what draws could potentially do to shake up the entire Blue League, but the bottom line for the ROH World/NJPW STRONG Openweight Champion is that he must defeat Daniel Garcia to have hope, he must defeat Andrade El Idolo in his next match to have hope, otherwise Kingston’s gamble with his two championship titles will have failed.
But is it a failure to risk it all in order to achieve something greater? Is that willingness to fail actually what makes a person great? Is it brave or foolhardy for an athlete to look at their future and be willing to gamble everything at the risk of walking away with nothing? Only at the end of this road will Eddie Kingston be able to answer that question for himself…
Bryan Danielson (6) vs. Brody King (6)
In his first two matches in the Continental Classic, Brody King showed the world just how dangerous an individual he can be. Generally competing in tags and trios with his fellow House of Black devotees, Brody took it to Eddie Kingston and Claudio Castagnoli with a fierceness. That first match with Kingston kind of shook up the competition as many thought Eddie, as the ROH World and NJPW STRONG Openweight Champion, would come into the tournament strong. Instead Brody dropped “The Mad King”, and moved onto Claudio Castagnoli, who was coming off a strong win on Daniel Gacris. Just as he did with Kingston, Brody King handed Castagnoli his first loss in the tournament, shocking the world once more with his dominance in singles competition, and with eyes on his third bout against Andrade El Idolo.
But Brody’s power and capacity for violence were no match for Andrade’s cunning as El Idolo took advantage of an exposed turnbuckle, cracked Brody’s head against the steel, and ended up with the victory of The House’s behemoth. Every man coming into this tournament did so knowing loss was a possibility, if not an inevitability, so King will take the defeat as a lesson and move forward with no excuses into his last two fights. For better or worse, Brody King has to meet former multi-time World Champion and Blackpool Combat Club member Bryan Danielson in his next fight.
Bryan has been through a bit of hell during 2023; from the litany of injuries sustained after REVOLUTION 2023’s Iron Man Match with MJF to his broken arm from FORBIDDEN DOOR 2023 against Okada to the fractured orbital bone suffered at the hands of both Okada and Orange Cassidy, the body of “The American Dragon” has gone through the ring.
And yet he never stops, Bryan Danielson never yields, and that is why he is a part of this tournament in spite of how much his body has endured. It seems with Danielson that no matter what his body may feel, his mind is strong, his will is iron, and his drive to compete is inevitable. That’s why he went through three Continental Classic matches in a week against Eddie Kingston, Daniel Garcia, and Andrade El Idolo. The first two were victories for Dragon, hard-fought, still victories nonetheless, but then came Andrade and his willingness to do something that the other two competitors did not: attack the eye.
With a relentless aggression, Andrade went after Danielson’s eye to the point that many wondered if Dragon would even be able to fight the match through to its end, but anyone who questioned that clearly doesn’t know the heart of Bryan. He fought through to the bitter end, taking the pain and punishment Andrade dished out, never stopping his fight, but ultimately succumbing. So now that the man who many thought would run the table with a perfect bracket has tasted defeat, what is his road to the finals? What is Brody King’s?
Obviously for both victory here is the goal, putting the winner at nine points in the Blue League, and potentially tied with Andrade El Idolo depending on how his battle with Claudio sways. If that’s the case, it comes down to the final match of the League for each, for Bryan that is actually fellow BCC member Claudio Castagnoli while for Brody King it is Daniel Garcia, someone who holds a victory over Brody from earlier this year. Win or lose, both men are still in the fight to win the Continental Classic, but whoever walks out of this with hand raised will be just a bit more comfortable in their position…that is if anyone is in position to walk away from this fight. Add in the fact that Bryan Danielson had a Fight Without Honor war last night at ROH’s FINAL BATTLE 2023 that ended with Mark Briscoe dropping “The American Dragon” with a Jay Driller to win the match, and it’s really questionable how Danielson is even capable of walking into this one, much less expecting to walk out the winner!
Claudio Castagnoli (3) vs. Andrade El Idolo (9)
Though some may have questioned whether or not Andrade El Idolo was wise to take on CJ Perry for his management, it’s hard to question the results as El Idolo is undefeated thus far, with victories over Daniel Garcia, Bryan Danielson, and Brody King just this past Wednesday on DYNAMITE. In each case Andrade has looked strong, dominant even, and as evidenced in both the Danielson and Brody King matches, willing to do anything it takes to secure that victory. In Bryan’s case it meant attacking that eye injury, and in King’s making use of the exposed turnbuckle, either way it ended with points for Andrade, enough to put him at the top of Blue League with just two matches left.
As for Claudio, he had a great first outing against Daniel Garcia to score his three points, but then ran into the brick wall of Brody King, and stumbled once more in his DYNAMITE: GRAND SLAM 2023 rematch with Eddie Kingston. The latter likely stung greater than the former given the ill will between Kingston and Castagnoli, but the Brody loss is still a loss and Castagnoli finds himself in the same hole as Kingston.
Claudio’s path to possibly make the cut for League Finals means defeating Andrade and, in his final match, his own Blackpool Combat Club brother Bryan Danielson. Even that would only net him nine points, leaving The Swiss Superman also dependent on the outcome of other matches in order to be one of the last two men standing for the Gold League Finals in Orlando on December 27th. Andrade is obviously in the Gold League driver’s seat, but he could end up fighting for that second place spot if he drops this match and his final bout with Eddie Kingston. No one in this Blue League should let themselves get too comfortable…especially considering four of these six men fought at ROH’s FINAL BATTLE 2023 event last night. All but Andrade El Idolo and Brody King went through a fight, so it will be very intriguing to see how those may effect these three bouts!
AEW INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH…
“Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy(c) vs. “The Bounty Hunter” Bryan Keith
Last night at FINAL BATTLE 2023, Bryan Keith came into ROH for the very first time with nothing more than an opportunity to qualify for the ROH World Television Championship Survival of the Fittest Elimination bout. “All” Kieth had to do was beat Jack Cartwheel on the ZERO HOUR to get there.
Well he did that, and in the span of the seven minutes that fight lasted, Bryan also won over the ROH faithful in Garland, TX. Then “The Bounty Hunter” stepped into the Survival of the Fittest Finals and hung in there for seventeen minutes, eliminating Lee Moriarty in the process before Kyle Fletcher took him out, and Bryan Keth solidified himself as a force to be reckoned with anywhere he goes.
Obviously someone took notice because Orange Cassidy, the 2-Time AEW International Champion, actually stepped up to “The Bounty Hunter” and offered him an opportunity to challenge for the title this Saturday night on COLLISION! Now Orange is coming into this off a fight of his own, teaming up with The Von Erichs on RAMPAGE to beat Cool Hand Ang, Daddy Magic, and Jake Hager, but that took far less a toll on the champion than FINAL BATTLE 2023 did to his challenger!
Can Bryan Keith upset the defending champion this Saturday night in Garland, and continue to show the world what he brings to the table inside that squared circle? Will OC’s own challenge backfire on him come COLLISION?
All Elite Wrestling has called Garland, TX and the Curtis Culwell Center home since 2019, and for the first time we are bringing COLLISION action to town! The Blue League tournament action heads into its fourth round with Castagnoli versus Andrade, Kingston battling Garcia, and Danielson tackling King! COLLISION begins at 8pm ET/7pm CT on TNT, and to get prepared for it all, drop by the official AEW YouTube channel to watch highlights from this week’s editions of DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as events from the last COLLISION, and the latest CONTROL CENTER!