As we reach the halfway point, things are heating up with the Continental Classic in both the Gold and Blue League with both Mark Briscoe and Jay Lethal eliminated from victory in the Gold, Daniel Garcia (depending greatly on Saturday night) stands on the precipice of suffering the same fate in the Blue following his loss on RAMPAGE, and Eddie Kingston could end up in the same position depending on his COLLISION contest! We are heading full speed toward WORLDS END on December 30th, but there’s a lot of story to be told before All Elite Wrestling gets onto Long Island, and Montreal plays host to the next chapter!
In a clash of Canadians, “All Ego” Ethan Page goes head-to-head with Kenny Omega in their first-ever contest, Willie Mack steps up to defend his friend AR Fox against Wardlow, an old rivalry renews between Willow Nightingale and Mercedes Martinez, and the Blue League continues with Claudio versus Kingston and Danielson versus Andrade! The night begins at 8pm ET/7pm CT on TNT, and to best get prepared for it, visit the official AEW YouTube channel, as well as AEW’s other social media platforms, to catch highlights from this week’s DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as events from last week’s COLLISION, and the latest CONTROL CENTER!
CONTINENTAL CLASSIC: BLUE LEAGUE
Brody King (6)
“The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson (6)
Claudio Castagnoli (3)
Andrade El Idolo (3)
ROH World Champion/NJPW STRONG Openweight Champion Eddie Kingston (0)
Daniel Garcia (0)
ROH World Champion/NJPW STRONG Eddie Kingston (0) vs. Claudio Castagnoli (3)
The history between these two men is well-documented; former training partners, as well as former roommates, whose bad blood blossomed long ago and spilled all over the independent wrestling landscape in the years before Castagnoli left that landscape to ply his trade elsewhere. It was never laid to rest, never settled, and the truth was, even after Eddie Kingston finally defeated Claudio Castagnoli at GRAND SLAM 2023 to win the ROH World Championship, that animosity wasn’t going to fade away even if the two men planned on never fighting each other again.
Unfortunately for Kingston and Castagnoli, their plan to never have to fight one another again became impossible as soon as the brackets were set for the Continental Classic and both were positioned in the Blue League. That made a conflict inevitable, whereas if they’d been kept in separate leagues then the finals would’ve been their only possible meeting place. Instead this Saturday night on COLLISION, in their third tournament matches, the ROH World & NJPW STRONG Openweight Champion will fight the man he dethroned for the former, only this time no title will be at stake, rather three points in the league and the potential for Kingston to be mathematically eliminated from tournament victory. That loss would be a blow more devastating than any other he’s experienced thus far because not only would it mean Kingston is out of contention in the Continental Classic, it also means that he has effectively lost both the ROH World Championship and the NJPW STRONG Openweight Title.
He may have the championship sobriquet attached to his name until December 29th, but if Kingston is eliminated from this tournament before WORLDS END, its a meaningless distinction and he’ll only have himself to blame for putting both titles into the mix to create this modern North American Triple Crown! Can Kingston ward off elimination with a second consecutive victory over Claudio Castagnoli? Or will “The Swiss Superman” bounce back from his loss to Brody King with yet another victory over “The Mad King”?
Bryan Danielson (6) vs. Andrade El Idolo (3)
The last time these two men met in combat was on the October 21st edition of COLLISION, and also the last singles match Bryan Danielson had before the orbital bone injuries he sustained just four days later in that DYNAMITE tag team bout against Okada and Orange Cassidy. It took nearly 19 minutes of fierce battle, but “The American Dragon” managed to topple Andrade on that night to emerge the victor. Now this Continental Classic tournament has given Andrade an opportunity to even their score…
It’s common knowledge that Bryan Danielson comes into this fight still healing from that eye injury, but it didn’t stop him from defeating Eddie Kingston last week in Bryan’s first tournament bout, it didn’t stop him from beating Daniel Garcia on RAMPAGE less than 24 hours ago, and it isn’t going to prevent Danielson from giving it his all against Andrade either. Much like how Danielson had to be wary of Kingston’s spinning back fist when it came to protecting the eye, this time around he needs to be cognizant of that deadly spinning back elbow Andrade employs to knock his opponents senseless. If that connects, not only could it mean the end of Danielson’s bid for three more points, it could mark the end of his participation in this tournament as a whole thanks to another re-fractured orbital bone…
A CANADIAN CHALLENGE…
“The Cleaner” Kenny Omega vs. “All Ego” Ethan Page
For the very first time in their careers, “All Ego” Ethan Page and “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega will go one-on-one after Ethan challenged AEW’s only Triple Crown winner to see who was the better Canadian! Back in June, when AEW came to Hamilton, Ontario for the first time, Ethan stepped up to give AEW World Champion MJF a run for his money in an impromptu title bout, and now he’s making another stand in the Great White North by calling out one of the most influential athletes of this generation!
Omega has had a rough 2023, losing four of his last six singles matches beginning with the night Don Callis stabbed him in the head inside a Steel Cage, and constantly being on the wrong end of an assault from Callis’ Family, but he’s now won three straight in tag team and multi-man affairs, including beating his own best friends The Young Bucks to steal their guaranteed AEW World Tag Title match while apparently sending them off to lick their wounds.
In Montreal, will Omega continue to get himself back on track or will it be Ethan Page’s time to step up to the plate and knock it out of the park?
FOR A FRIEND…
Wardlow vs. Willie Mack
Willie Mack and AR Fox have ties that run deep, back some ten years to shows in Mexico, even include the two men reigning as champions together as part of a trio back in 2015, and those ties have led Wardlow to putting himself in the path of “The War Dog”! For Wardlow, the path ends at MJF’s grave, but the AEW World Champion has a whole lot on his plate and his former bodyguard is going to have to get in the queue. Until then, every one who slows Wardlow down from getting to his goal is going to suffer, and he intends to make Willie Mack the next victim!
TIME FOR A FIGHT…
Mercedes Martinez vs. Willow Nightingale
Willow Nightingale and Mercedes Martinez have a rivalry that has spanned a half-decade, crossed across multiple companies, and across the United States. It began in 2018 in the Berwyn Eagles Club and picked back up in 2022 at ROH’s SUPERCARD OF HONOR event when the two competed for the Interim ROH Women’s World Championship. Both those singles matches were won by Martinez, as was their first AEW bout, a tag team match on COLLISION in August where Martinez and Diamante topped Willow and Kris Statlander. A Trios bout on the ZERO HOUR of ALL OUT 2023 finally saw Nightingale, with Hikaru Shida and Skye Blue as her partners, get that first victory over Mercedes who had ROH Women’s World Champion Athena and Diamante as her allies, and she would score another win over Martinez in a tag match for the Kitsune Women’s Wrestling promotion a few weeks later.
But nothing has brought an end to this rivalry, and the insistence of Mercedes and Diamante to engage with the woman Willow calls friends has kept them in each other’s lives as well. So it comes to blows once again this Saturday night on COLLISION in the third singles match between Nightingale and Martinez! After scoring the last two victories in their rivalry, can Nightingale finally get her first one-on-one win over Mercedes Martinez?
The Blue League tournament action continues, Mercedes Martinez and Willow Nightingale clash, Wardlow goes into battle with Willie Mack, and in a first-ever battle, Ethan Page meets Kenny Omega! COLLISION gets underway 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!
Article source: allelitewrestling.com