The end of the year is upon us, and All Elite Wrestling intends to close 2023 with a bang! The celebration begins this Wednesday night in Orlando with the League Finals of the Continental Classic and a ROH World Tag Team Championship match with huge implications for both the WORLDS END pay-per-view event going down Saturday night, as well this entire Devil mystery that’s been looming over MJF, and by proxy anyone around him, for the last couple months!
The final DYNAMITE of 2023 begins at 8pm ET/7pm CT live on TBS, as well as at AEWPlus.com for international fans, so be sure to drop in on the official AEW YouTube channel, as well as AEW’s various social media platforms, for highlights from last week’s episodes of DYNAMITE, RAMPAGE, and COLLISION, as well as the newest CONTROL CENTER, a wild HEY!(EW) with Danhausen, and more!
CONTINENTAL CLASSIC LEAGUE FINALS…
Jon Moxley (12)
Swerve Strickland (12)
Jay White (12)
Mark Briscoe (3)
Jay Lethal (0)
“The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson (10)
ROH World Champion/NJPW STRONG Openweight Champion Eddie Kingston (9)
Andrade El Idolo (9)
Brody King (6)
Claudio Castagnoli (6)
Daniel Garcia (3)
BLUE LEAGUE FINALS
“The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson(10) vs.
ROH World & NJPW STRONG Openweight Champion Eddie Kingston(9)
There is a glee quite apparent in Bryan Danielson when he throws insults at Eddie Kingston, when he disrespects the ROH World Champion. It was there when he came out after Kingston’s extremely hard-fought victory over Andrade El Idolo, and it was there when Danielson provided his thoughts on the Finals after event ended. “Bum” is Danielson’s favorite label for the NJPW STRONG OPENWEIGHT Champion, and he intends to stomp that into the consciousness of the AEW faithful, as well as Eddie’s skull, this week in Orlando…
As for Kingston, he is the underdog, but he’s the one still standing, the one who is still here, and who takes pride in being “the king of the bums”. He is the man Bryan, as well as others, have judged harshly since the beginning of his career, and while some of that judgment has been warranted (Eddie himself is the first one to own up to his own mistakes), what those people have never done is accepted, or acknowledged, his growth as a person. They still see the same Eddie they met twenty years ago, not the man he’s become through his struggles and mistakes and problems, and thus they don’t see the fighter he has become inside the ring either. They don’t see the man who earned the ROH World Championship from Claudio, and won the NJPW STRONG OPENWEIGHT Championship over KENTA. They don’t see a man who, this year alone, beat Minoru Suzuki, Satoshi Kojima, beat SHINGO while competing in his first G1 CLIMAX tournament, fought in DDT Pro Wrestling alongside Jun Akiyama, and is the man responsible for Jay White being excommunicated from New Japan Pro Wrestling. Eddie Kingston is also the reason the winner of this tournament will walk away a Triple Crown Champion because he was brave enough to put his two championship titles into the mix…
With the Continental Classic Finals taking place as part of WORLDS END, all that remains is to determine the winner of each league, and this massive grudge match is all the remains of the Blue! Bryan Danielson has won all three of their previous singles matches, and was on the winning side of a 2009 Trios match that featured Bryan teaming with Claudio and Dave Taylor to take on Kingston, the late Brodie Lee, and Grizzly Redwood. Coincidentally, the only time the two men ever stood on the same side of the ring, Anarchy in the Arena at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2022, they lost the battle when Danielson was choked out by The Jericho Appreciation Society.
Suffice it to say there is a lot on the line with this battle, some of it going far behind the standard win and loss. It’s a berth in the finals at WORLDS END, it is Kingston’s status as the ROH World and NJPW STRONG Openweight Champion, it’s the potential to challenge for the American Triple Crown, it is pride and respect and all the things that make professional wrestling the greatest sport on Earth!
GOLD LEAGUE FINALS
“Switchblade” Jay White(12) vs. Jon Moxley(12) vs. Swerve Strickland(12)
As the Gold League barreled towards its conclusion it became clear that Jon Moxley, due to the 12 points he carried into the last night of the points battle, would be part of the Finals taking place this Wednesday in Orlando. The only question was just who would Moxley be facing in the Gold League Finals, and what condition he would be in for that fight. The elusive concept of momentum was certainly on Mox’s side, he’d won four straight bouts in the tournament not to mention fourteen of his last sixteen one-on-one bouts, with two of those losses coming in AEW International Championship situations while the third was in a Three Way bout where Trent Beretta pinned Penta El Zero Miedo.
Then the hammer fell in the fifth fight of the tournament, Jay White versus Jon Moxley, with Jay White’s tournament future hanging in the balance. If “Switchblade” lost, he was entirely dependent on Swerve Strickland falling to RUSH in order to have some hope of making it to the Finals, and even then he, Swerve, and RUSH would’ve been locked in a three way tie at nine points that wouldn’t have guaranteed White anything. So the end result of “King Switch” sliding out of a Paradigm Shift attempt to drill Moxley with a Bladerunner and score the pinfall victory was the perfect outcome for Jay White; it insured that he, at least, was tied with Moxley at 12 points while also holding a victory over the man.
In the remaining match affecting the Gold League Finals, Swerve Strickland was able to rebound from his loss to Moxley the week prior and overcome RUSH, meaning Strickland was also part of the 12-point club, and forcing the League Finals to be contested as a Three Way bout. After all in the head-to-head battles, Moxley beat Swerve, Swerve beat Jay White, and White beat Moxley, meaning no one man had a definitive case for being selected ahead of the other as was the case in the Blue League where while Eddie and Andrade were tied in points, Kingston held the head-to-head victory on El Idolo.
So that brings us to Orlando where Moxley, Swerve, and “Switchblade” will fight it out in a Three Way Bout to determine who heads to WORLDS END for the Continental Classic Finals! While the Blue League Finals are loaded with the personal issues between Danielson and Kingston, this fight is all about who will be the better wrestler on Wednesday night! It’s about the love of competition, the desire to be the best, and the grit to fight against all odds just to get one step closer to that American Triple Crown Championship awaiting the tournament winner on Saturday! This fight here, this entire tournament, is a testament to what professional wrestling can be and why so many strive to make it their profession. This is heart and love and passion and guts and glory all rolled into one tournament, and as it draws closer to its end, the world sees just who has the deepest well on the deepest roster of talented assembled under one roof!
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH…
MJF(c) & Samoa Joe (Substitute for Adam Cole)
For three months a Devil has lurked among the locker rooms of the arenas where All Elite Wrestling has traveled, first announcing their arrival with an assault on Jay White at the close of the September 27th DYNAMITE, and most recently challenging MJF to put the ROH World Tag Titles on the line this Wednesday night in Orlando. The details between those two events is where the Devil’s mystery has lived, making a victim of individuals who align themselves with Maxwell Jacob Friedman (such as The Acclaimed and Daddy Ass) just as much as those who oppose the AEW World Champion (Hangman Page and Jay White), and apparently even MJF himself, though as Samoa Joe pointed out, the assault on Max just happened to be the only one not at least partially captured by cameras.
We’ve heard Roderick Strong and The Kingdom shout at the top of their lungs to all who will listen that it’s all just MJF pulling a ruse, that he himself is The Devil and simply using the tools at hand to pull the wool over everyone else’s eyes. They’ve got a group of masked individuals carrying out the attacks, they’ve yet to stand in the same space as MJF much less breathe the same air, and all interaction between the two has been over a video screen that could just be pre-recorded. It’s not impossible for MJF to pull this off, difficult yes, but not impossible, and the fact he’s spent the vast majority of his time in AEW being generally detestable also makes it a bit more reasonable he could be the man behind the mask.
Yet MJF is answering the challenge for a ROH World Tag Team title fight this Wednesday on DYNAMITE despite the impending AEW World Championship fight with Samoa Joe on Saturday, or perhaps, to be more accurate, that should read Samoa Joe is accepting a fight with The Devil (or his lackeys or both) on MJF’s behalf. Up until that moment last Wednesday, Samoa Joe had tried to be a voice of reason, a cooler head, while the AEW World Champ was running off taking every fight he presented, or picking ones he didn’t need . Yet in that moment, it was Joe who threw rationality out the window and accepted this tag title fight against a pair of unknown opponents, presumably to finally remove it as a distraction from the AEW World Championship fight ahead.
So will we all finally get to see what’s behind the mask of the Devil? Or will this be just another part of the game as it was last time Joe and MJF anticipated fighting their masked men? Will the final DYNAMITE of 2023 bring MFJ’s final night as ROH World Tag Champion, or the final night of The Devil’s games?
MARIAH MAY & RENEE…
While “Timeless” Toni Storm may be perpetually unaware of who Mariah May is, it is very clear that the fans of AEW know given their response to Mariah stating she’s medically cleared and her wrestling license is good to go. They are aware of her history with STARDOM, her work put in throughout England, and are eager to see what she brings to the table for All Elite Wrestling’s Women’s Division. It seems it is just a matter of time until Mariah May makes her debut, and maybe Toni Storm will even be in attendance for it, so perhaps there will be some answers to be head when Renee Paquette is joined by the former Goddesses of Stardom (Tag Team) Champion! Will we finally get a date for that debut match?
A FRIENDSHIP FRACTURED…
Kris Statlander vs. Skye Blue
They were friends, allies, at one point, but Skye Blue being affected by Julia Hart’s black mist changed all that. She and Kris Statlander have drifted ever since that date, despite efforts Willow Nightingale made to keep fences mended, but perhaps Skye’s failure to capture the TBS Championship on COLLISION, and watching it go to Julia Hart on FULL GEAR 2023, fully broke the woman and turned her to Julia’s side against Abadon.
Now these two former friends will clash once again, but the status quo of their relationship is quite different now, meaning this one is going to be a bit more violent than the others. There is animosity, betrayal, and disappointment, and now they can have it out before the end of 2023!
The last DYNAMITE of 2023 comes to you from Orlando, FL this Wednesday with the Blue & Gold League finals in Continental Classic as well as a ROH World Tag Team Championship match with potential ramifications on the AEW World Championship match at WORLDS END this Saturday! We will see Eddie Kingston and Bryan Danielson fight for the top spot in the Blue League while Jon Moxley, Swerve Strickland, and Jay White battle for leadership of the Gold League! Plus Samoa Joe teams up with MJF one last time to defend the ROH World Tag Titles against…someone…from the Devil’s camp. Could it be the Devil himself? More masked men? We will see this Wednesday in Orlando, and perhaps the mask will finally come off!
The night’s fights begin at 8pm ET/7pm CT live on TBS, as well as at AEWPlus.com for international fans, just be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel for all the highlights from recent episodes of DYNAMITE, RAMPAGE, and COLLISION, as well as this week’s CONTROL CENTER!