WORLDS END proved to be exactly that for Maxwell Jacob Friedman as, in front of his hometown audience, he saw the AEW World Championship slip away to Samoa Joe and witnessed his best friend Adam Cole reveal himself as The Devil. Flanked by The Kingdom of Matt Taven and Mike Bennett, Roderick Strong, and Wardlow, Cole watched as his associates demolished the dethroned champion. Why Cole and these men have traveled this path remains to be learned, though it’s been clear for months Wardlow’s wanted Max’s head, and perhaps we will find out more soon.
In addition, the bums around the world rejoiced as Eddie Kingston defeated Jon Moxley in the finals of the Continental Classic to not only retain his ROH World & NJPW STRONG Openweight Titles, but to also become the first Continental Champion, and the holder of the Continental Crown! It was one of the most emotional moments in AEW’s history, and likely the biggest in the career of Eddie Kingston. WORLDS END was also a night that saw the wildest TNT Championship situation imaginable, including the shortest title reign in history, and Killswitch make a surprising decision in the heat of the moment. Toni Storm retained her AEW Women’s World Championship, as did Julia Hart with the TBS Title, and so much more went down on AEW’s final PPV presentation of 2023!
With a new year upon us, and a new AEW World Champion at the helm, All Elite Wrestling embarks down a new path but starting on familiar territory. The Prudential Center in Newark, NJ will host the first DYNAMITE of 2024 and with it comes an AEW International Championship Match where Orange Cassidy will defend against Top Flight’s Dante Martin! In addition, after two months of anticipation, Mariah May will finally make her in-ring debut this Wednesday night on DYNAMITE!
The first AEW event of 2024 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 WORLDS END, as well last week’s episodes of DYNAMITE, RAMPAGE, and COLLISION, the newest CONTROL CENTER, and more!
THE CHAMP IS HERE!
At WORLDS END this past Saturday, the longest reigning ROH World Champion and ROH World Television Champion of all-time added another accolade to his resume: AEW World Champion. Samoa Joe, after eighteen minutes of a tremendous fight, choked Maxwell Jacob Friedman unconscious to end the longest and most successful AEW World Championship reign experienced since Chris Jericho first won the crown at ALL OUT 2019.
While the way the remainder of the evening played out for MJF will haunt him for some time, knowing that he is no longer the champion will likely linger the longest, especially as he watches DYNAMITE this Wednesday night, healing up from the various injuries sustained over his championship run, and sees Samoa Joe walk to the ring with the AEW World Championship over his shoulder. The added knowledge that the Triple B is in a dumpster somewhere on Long Island may just make it even more painful…
But that’s MJF’s burden to handle; the question at hand is where does Samoa Joe go from here? He made it abundantly clear in the Media Scrum that anyone can try to step to the champ, that he’d fight Hangman Page and Swerve Strickland and anyone else who wants a piece of the action. So who will be brave enough to be the first? We already witnessed Hangman and Joe have a confrontation in recent weeks, will it be him? Will it be Swerve who said his road to the title started December 31st? We will find out soon enough if anyone is willing to put it all on the line for a shot at greatness…
THE DEVIL REVEALED…
Why Adam? Why? That’s the question on everyone’s mind after seeing Adam Cole sitting in that chair Saturday night, surrounded by Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, Wardlow, and Roderick Strong, with The Devil’s Mask tossed on the broken body of former AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman. After spending months tolerating Max’s behavior, helping him grow into a legitimately better version of himself, and seemingly driving a wedge into his relationship with Roderick Strong, why did Adam Cole put in all that effort to drive a knife between the shoulder blades of MJF? Has this been the plan since the Blind Eliminator Tournament over the summer? Since after ALL IN: LONDON? Or maybe after Cole got hurt at GRAND SLAM 2023 trying to help MJF in his first match with Samoa Joe?
It’s all speculation at the moment, but tonight on DYNAMITE, we expect to get some answers from Adam Cole about why he donned The Devil mask and betrayed Maxwell Jacob Friedman!
AEW INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH…
Orange Cassidy(c) vs. Top Flight’s Dante Martin
The last time Dante Martin challenged for a singles championship was on the June 3, 2022 edition of RAMPAGE when he challenged Scorpio Sky for the TNT Championship. Obviously that was not his night to claim a singles title, but it was one of many nights that proved with getting experience under his belt, Dante was destined for success with his brother, as well as on his own. Unfortunately a freak injury at SUPERCARD OF HONOR 2023 derailed Dante’s career for months on end, but in truth he’s fortunate the injury didn’t flat out end his wrestling journey.
But since returning from that injury with a November 29th Trios victory on DYNAMITE, Dante has looked superb both in AEW and ROH action. He’s racked up victories in five of the six matches he’s been involved in, the only loss coming to Daddy Ass and The Acclaimed in an AEW World Trios Championship bout, and seemingly hasn’t missed a step. Dante’s confidence is high, something that can often be lacking when returning from injury, and that helped boost his trio to a victory last Friday night on RAMPAGE over Roppongi Vice and AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy.
It may not have been a pinfall on Orange Cassidy, but it was still Dante scoring the pinfall win over his OC’s team, and as such the fighting International Champion is willing to give this half of Top Flight an opportunity to end the run! Can Dante begin the new year by marking the first title change of 2024? Or will “Freshly Squeezed” ground the man’s dream and move forward into the year with the title still in his backpack?
Mariah May vs. Queen Aminata
November 8th; that is the day All Elite Wrestling officially announced the signing of Mariah May. May, a standout from the Japanese promotion Stardom reigned as a Goddesses of Stardom Champion alongside Mina Shirakawa during her tenure with the company, with her primary motivation for touring there being to follow in the footsteps of Toni Storm. See “The Timeless One” called Stardom home from 2016 until 2019, and even reigned as the World of Stardom Champion for 258 days, so being thus inspired by the path of Toni Storm, it was an experience Mariah May had to take.
After wrapping up in Stardom on September 30th, May showed up in AEW with aspirations of meeting Toni Storm, becoming friends with Toni Storm, and just being in the proximity of the current AEW Women’s World Champion. Mariah’s even asked Toni to be at ringside for this debut match, but it seemed like “Timeless” couldn’t even be bothered to acknowledge the request being made by a woman whose name she couldn’t be bothered to remember.
Still, even if Toni Storm can’t remember her name, it’s clear from the reaction of the AEW faithful in the arenas, as well as those online, that they know who Mariah May is and have been patiently waiting for her in-ring debut. Well that day is finally upon us, so it’s all on Mariah to make it a memorable one and leave an impression on the AEW Women’s World Champion, otherwise it will be Queen Aminata who makes her mark by spoiling the AEW premiere of “The Glamour”!
Swerve Strickland vs. Daniel Garcia
The last several months in the careers of these two men could not be more different; since WRESTLEDREAM, Swerve Strickland has been on an absolute tear in All Elite Wrestling, winning nine of his last twelve bouts, including that unforgettable Texas Death Match with Hangman Page at FULL GEAR 2023, and had the best pinfall ratio in the Continental Classic. After scoring three straight victories in the Gold League, Swerve experienced his first pinfall loss at the hands of Jon Moxley. Still, with a victory in his final points match-up, Strickland managed to work his way into a Three Way League Final with Mox and Jay White, only to see Moxley pin White to advance to the overall Finals. But with Moxley losing to Eddie Kingston in the tournament finals, that means Swerve was the only man in the entire Continental Classic to only be pinned one time, and he capped off his year with a win over Dustin Rhodes in lieu of Keith Lee being unable to compete.
As for Daniel Garcia, he’s experienced just three victories in his last twelve matches with two of those coming over the course of the last week. It’s been a rough road for the man as of late, a frustrating one that’s often put him at odds with friend Matt Menard, but when he pinned Brody King in their final Blue League match, it felt like perhaps it had all been worth it. That feeling was further amplified at WORLDS END where, as part of the All-Star Eight-Man Tag, Garcia actually scored the winning pinfall for his team, a unit consisting of Blackpool Combat Club members Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli, as well as Mark Briscoe.
It was a triumphant way to end the year for both men, but DYNAMITE marks the beginning of a new one for All Elite Wrestling, and that means nose right back to the grindstone. Swerve stated in the WORLDS END Media Scrum that his mission of becoming World Champion began the day after the pay-per-view, and that means a fight with Daniel Garcia on his plate for Wednesday night! For both men this is the kind of fight that can shape the rest of the year, and neither wants to let 2024 start on a bad foot. This will be two men fighting with every thing they’ve got in their body and soul; may the best one win…
CHRISTIAN CAGE’S 2024 STATE OF THE UNION…
What on Earth just happened? That had to be the thought spiraling through the mind of Adam Copeland after seeing the TNT Championship ripped away just minutes after he pinned Christian Cage to claim it for himself. From the moment Paul Turner’s hand counted three to end Cage’s first TNT Championship run to the second it hit three to begin his second, just three minutes and thirty-two seconds had passed, officially making Copeland the shortest reigning champion in AEW history. It should have been a moment of triumph for Adam, putting to rest the toxic relationship with Christian Cage, but ever the opportunist, “The Patriarch” managed to take Killswitch’s moment and make it his own. Whatever Cage whispered to the former Luchasaurus was enough to make the monster surrender the TNT Championship match he’d earned earlier in the night into Christian’s hands after Killswitch had done all the dirty work to incapacitate Copeland.
So now Christian Cage walks into DYNAMITE as a 2-Time TNT Champion, and it looks like we will all have to suffer through him delivering a State of the Union-style address to the AEW faithful. It will undoubtedly be filled with heaping of self-praise, with little credit given to Killswitch for doing the actual work, and likely little acknowledgment of the fact Adam Copeland beat him in the middle of the ring at WORLDS END. The question Christian Cage should be asking himself as he prepares to deliver this speech is whether or not Adam Copeland will be watching, listening, waiting, for his opportunity to deliver much-deserved retribution?
A new era is upon us with 2023, the era of AEW World Champion Samoa Joe, and it begins when All Elite Wrestling returns to the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ for the first DYNAMITE of 2024! On tap is an AEW International Championship Match pitting Orange Cassidy against challenger Dante Martin, as well as the greatly anticipated in-ring debut of Mariah May, and so much more!
It all begins again 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 WORLDS END, as well last week’s episodes of DYNAMITE, RAMPAGE, and COLLISION, the newest CONTROL CENTER, and more!