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AEW Dynamite: Winter is Coming - December 13, 2023
by Doc Allen
Live from College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. WrestleTix estimates attendance at 3,399. Our hosts are Excalibur, Tony Shiavone, and Taz.
Cold open with Samoa Joe marching to the ring. He talks about wanting to keep MJF healthy long enough to properly dismantle him at World’s End, and blames Hangman Page for the bottle attack on MJF. Page comes out and claims to not care about all the drama surrounding MJF and The Devil. Roderick Strong (with The Kingdom) join them to stir the pot. Hangman clocks Strong off his feet. Joe casually exits, allowing Roderick to ambush Hangman to start their match.
Hangman Adam Page vs. Roderick Strong (with The Kingdom)
Strong enjoys a hot start, but Page regains his composure and hits a fallaway slam. Running SSP by Page gets 2. They exchange beatdowns until Page builds steam with a springboard dropkick. Page climbs the ropes, but The Kingdom’s distraction allows Strong to hit a backbreaker onto the turnbuckles! Back from commercials, Hangman escapes from a wristlock. They slug it out until going down after double forearms. Hangman regains his bearings first and stomps a mudhole into poor Roddy. DVD by Page gets 2. Strong dodges a standing moonsault but Hangman nails a sitout powerbomb for 2. Strong responds with a flapjack power slam. Tiger Driver by Strong leads to the Strong Hold. Rope break, Page prepares a Buckshot, but The Kingdom’s interference requires a standing moonsault. Strong is ready to block the Buckshot, Hangman reverses into a pinning predicament. Deadeye finishes at 14:47! I love, love, love it when a secondary finisher ends a TV match. Solid babyface-overcoming-the-odds performance by Hangman, ***.
Winner: Hangman Adam Page
Continental Classic - Blue League
Brody King vs. Andrade El Idolo (with CJ Perry)
They treat this like a hoss fight and aggressively lock up. King absorbs a shoulder tackle and knocks Andrade off his feet. They light each other up with chops. King tries a sleeper, Andrade snaps his neck on the ropes. High crossbody by Andrade gets 1, so he hits an outside moonsault. King comes back with clubbing offense and it’s time for commercials. They return with Andrade escaping a chinlock. They exchange chops, Andrade dropkicks the knee to send King stumbling into the buckles. Andrade serves a pair of Dragonscrews and hits a running elbow. Body slam and split legged moonsault by Andrade gets a nearfall. Faint "This is awesome" chant. Andrade misses a head of steam, allowing King to decapitate him with a lariat. Cannonball senton by King gets 2. More chops are exchanged, Andrade nails a tight back elbow. Andrade hits a DDT onto an exposed turnbuckle and finishes with a hammerlock DDT at 14:45. Good match that got over with the live crowd, but one I felt oddly disconnected to, ***.
Winner: Andrade El Idolo
Renee Paquette interviews the Von Erichs backstage. They’re joined by Orange Cassidy, who is looking for some partners on Rampage, because apparently Trent and Danhausen aren’t good enough. All is well in Texas.
The Golden Jets (Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho) hit the ring for some mic time. They enjoy some crowd adoration before calling out AEW Tag Team Champions Ricky Starks and Big Bill. The champs arrive, Starks ponders why Omega should trust someone like Jericho. Omega happily admits that he doesn’t trust Jericho, and mocks Big Bill for his SAWFT resume. Starks says their team is so good, they don’t need a name. Jericho proclaims them "The Rick and the D!ck" and "Big Billy Starks." Not Jericho’s best jokes and the crowd lets him know it. They set up a title match for World’s End. This segment had potential but deteriorated into a total groaner.
AEW Women’s Champion Toni Storm (with Mariah May) frolics around the ring before joining commentary.
Ruby Soho vs. Riho
A helpful video replay reminds us that The Outcasts beat up Riho back in April. Seeing Riho back in AEW warms my heart, 2019 nostalgia is now a thing. Ruby gets a ruthless hot start and nails a scoop slam for 2. Riho bridges up and hits a dropkick. Running knee by Riho and Fisherman suplex for 2. Riho rolls into a double stomp to the stomach. Riho blocks a super German and nails a vicious Tree of Woe double stomp. Back from commercials, Riho stills has the upper hand and nails a high crossbody. They exchange pin attempts until Ruby nails a Saito suplex for 2. Riho answers with a Crucifix Bomb for another nearfall. Surprising No Future by Ruby gets 2. Riho counters a guillotine headlock into a suplex. Dragon suplex by Riho, then running knees to the face gets 3 at 8:30. Good showcase for Riho, who never came across like an underdog, **½.
Wardlow video package. He’s been busy hitting the gym and preparing for war. He’s got AEW World Champion MJF on his sights.
Continental Classic - Gold League
Rush (with La Faccion Ingobernable) vs. Jay Lethal
Lethal has no hope of winning the tournament but still has his pride on the line. They start with a fast paced exchange until Lethal hits a low dropkick. Lethal does the Jarrett strut, which allows Rush to hit a snap German suplex. Rush smashes Lethal around ringside and pummels him into the buckles. Rush taunts with some resting and lures Lethal into a powerslam. Lethal misses Hail to the King but manages a Lethal Combination. Rush counters a Figure Four, Lethal counters the discus elbow. Rush hits a belly to belly into the buckles, Lethal blocks the Bull’s Horns. Rush reverses the Lethal Injection into a sleeper for the win at 4:33! Absolutely digestible TV match, **½.
Jon Moxley vs. Swerve Strickland hype package. They are battling for the top spot in the Gold League later on.
Continental Classic - Gold League
Jay White vs. Mark Briscoe
Mark has been mathematically eliminated from the tournament but he can still play spoiler against White. Mark is aggressive at the bell and nails a big boot. DVD by Mark and Froggy Elbow. White retreats to ringside, but Mark continues the assault. White throws Mark over the ropes for a rough landing. Mark blocks Blade Runner, but Jay dropkicks his knee to set up a DDT. Back from commercials, Mark stops Jay’s momentum with a sloppy back body drop. Mark unleashes some Redneck Kung Fu and chops. Mark hits the Cactus Jack elbow drop to ringside. They trade more stiff blows, Mark nails a Razor’s Edge from the buckles for 2. You’d think Jay would be in trouble, but he answers with a pair of Dragonscrews. White hits a pair of sleeper suplexes, Mark reverses Blade Runner into a suplex. Jay blocks the Froggy Elbow with his knees and finishes with Blade Runner at 11:19. Another depressing tournament loss for Mark. This was lively, but not many of the big spots mattered all that much because the guy on the receiving end kept no selling to deliver the next big spot. In other words, this was kind of indie-riffic, **¾.
Winner: Jay White
Bryan Danielson and Wheeler Yuta issue a challenge to FTR "in honor of Jay Briscoe."
Continental Classic - Gold League
Swerve Strickland (with Prince Nana) vs. Jon Moxley
Fans chant "holy sh!t" at the bell. They let the moment breathe before locking up. Mox backs Swerve into the corner and kisses him on the cheek. Swerve wins the next exchange Mox takes a timeout to pout. They exchange snug forearm shots, Mox throws some chops. Swerve traps Mox on the ropes and nails a devastating DDT. Fans chant "Swerve’s house" while he’s in control, but Mox comes back with clubbing offense. Mox crotches Swerve in the apron skirt and tosses him into the steps. Back from commercials, Mox bites the hand in an armbar. Swerve mounts a comeback with quick attacks. Swerve rolls into Mox’s surprise cutter for 2. Pieldriver by Mox gets an unexpectedly cold nearfall. Fans give them a dueling chant while they trade headbutts. Swerve manages to hit his rolling Flatliner and running boot for a much better nearfall. Fans muster a "this is awesome" chant" while Swerve pummels Mox with BCC-style blows. Mox shoves Strickland from the top rope and pauses to gloat. Swerve beats the countout, but Mox curb stomps him for a great nearfall. Mox works a cross armbreaker until a rope break. Mox fetches a chair, but Swerve blindsides him with a dive. Swerve double stomps Mox into the standing chair! Swerve whiffs on a flying double stomp, Mox kicks out at 2. Mox pulls the tights for a rollup and wins at 16:22! Man, I was hoping for a great match, the fans tried to will this into a great match, but it fell short at merely "pretty good." That finish was less than satisfying as well, I still don’t approve of Moxley working heel, ***¼.
Winner: Jon Moxley
Backstage, The Devil oversees an assault on Hangman Page by his masked goons. They slam Page onto the hood of a car.
This was a show full of good ***-ish matches, but was somehow less than the sum of its parts. For any nerds reading, this was like in Extreme Warfare Revenge when you’d have "one of those shows" where the overall rating for each segment was less than the match quality and heat. For those of you unfamiliar with that game, this was a show where the matches were good but the episode felt really flat. Maybe it was that dreadful Jericho promo, but I think it was something more. I’ll ponder this mystery as the week goes by. Otherwise, if you skipped this one, that’s probably okay.
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