Special Feature: AEW Continental Classic – A look at the field of 12’s specific fighting styles and internal storylines for each participant


Well, the field of 12 is now set for the first annual AEW Continental Classic. The Blue League is comprised of Bryan Danielson, Andrade El Idolo, Claudio Castagnoli, Brody King, Eddie Kingston, and Daniel Garcia while the Gold League features Jon Moxley, Swerve Strickland, Rush, Mark Briscoe, Jay Lethal, and Jay White.

On its face, that’s a pretty solid ground. If you, like our esteemed editor-in-chief, are disappointed by some of this lineup you probably had some unrealistic expectations.

For instance, Darby Allin couldn’t be involved in this tourney because he’s currently training to climb Mount Everest. Samoa Joe is, for all intents and purposes, the number one contender for the AEW World Title. Kenny Omega will be challenging with Chris Jericho for the AEW World Tag Team titles.

Perhaps the more shocking omissions from the tournament are Takeshita, Powerhouse Hobbs, Kyle Fletcher, and Orange Cassidy.

Looking at the field as it stands, the best part is that it’s nearly impossible to pick a winner. With the exception of Rush, Brody, Lethal, and Briscoe, there’s a reasonable case to made for any one of these gentlemen to win the whole thing or at minimum make it to the finals. Let’s break down this field and take a look at the first three matches for Gold League.


Bryan Danielson

2023 Record: 13-2

Fighting Style: Technical/Strong Style

What to Look For: Arguably the most accomplished, decorated, and talented entry in this tournament, Danielson comes into the C2 as a man facing the approaching end of his full time in-ring career. He’s also coming off an orbital bone injury which itself came on the heels of his return from a broken arm suffered in June. Those injuries mar a 2023 that’s seen Danielson defeat Okada and Zack Sabre Jr. as well as participate in arguably the greatest strap and Iron Man matches of all time. Expect Danielson to go full tilt in every match he’s in and be a very tough out for his opponent. The question is will he be focused solely on the C2 or will his mind wander to his upcoming rematch with Okada at WrestleKingdom in January.

Andrade El Idolo

2023 Record: 6-2

Fighting Style: Lucha/Technical

What to Look For: Andrade spent nearly a year out of action before returning to AEW on the debut of Collision back in June. Since his return, he’s done nothing but have great matches most Saturday nights. Now under the managerial representation of C.J. Perry, Andrade has been given a prime opportunity to establish himself as a top talent in AEW and a threat to the AEW World Championship.

Claudio Castagnoli

2023 Record: 10-3

Fighting Style: Technical/Strong Style

What to Look For: Pound for pound the strongest entrant in this entire tourney, Claudio spent most of the year as Ring of Honor World Champion before losing the title to Eddie Kingston at Grand Slam. He comes into the tournament off of a hard fought win over Buddy Matthews on the Full Gear Zero Hour. Opponents facing him would do well to beware of his uppercuts. They can come from anywhere at any time and turn the lights out.

Eddie Kingston

2023 Record: 9-2

Fighting Style: Unorthodox Brawling

What to Look For: A sentimental favorite in the C2, Eddie Kingston has had an emotional year. He captured both the NJPW Strong Never Openweight Title and the Ring of Honor World Title. Now both of those championships will be unified into the Triple Crown and awarded to the winner of this tournament. That makes every match that much more important for Eddie and he’s personally taking on the extra stress of making his Japanese wrestling heroes proud. That said, his unorthodox style could pose a problem against more technically sound competitors.

Brody King

2023 Record: 2-2

Fighting Style: Unorthodox Brawling

What to Look For: A dark horse for sure, Brody King enters this tournament having had a total of four singles matches in all of 2023. He’s predominantly competed in tag and trios matches. It remains to be seen how that lack of experience in singles matches will affect him in this grueling tourney. His 6-5, 285 lb. frame certainly makes up for some of that and will give his opponents something difficult to overcome. Julia Hart has been the breakout member of the House of Black. This is Brody’s opportunity.

Daniel Garcia

2023 Record: 6-11

Fighting Style: Technical

What to Look For: Daniel Garcia enters the C2 the most upside down in terms of his record but that means he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Of late Garcia has to been trying to find himself. He went toe-to-toe with the AEW World Champion, battled Andrade, and faced down Miro coming up short in all of those matches. This is Garcia’s chance to break out, redefine himself as an elite (no pun intended) pro wrestler, and elevate his stature beyond guy who does an entertaining dance.

Gold League

Jon Moxley

2023 Record: 12-5

Fighting Style: Unorthodox Brawling

What to Look For: Second only to fellow BCC member Danielson in terms of accomplishments, Moxley enters the C2 at something of a crossroads. He’s only returned from a several week absence due to a concussion. He failed in his bid to regain the International Title even though it took six Orange Punches and a Beach Break to do it. Still, Mox is not someone to be underestimated and will be a tough out for all of his opponents.

Swerve Strickland

2023 Record: 12-5

Fighting Style: Lucha/Technical

What to Look For: Swerve has had an incredible year. He’s had an even more incredible last three months. He’s defeated “Hangman” Adam Page twice including in last weekend’s bloody, brutal Texas Deathmatch. He enters the C2 with the most momentum of anyone but also as the most physically beat up entrant. How that affects him going forward remains to be seen. One thing is for sure: Swerve has proven that he is a sadist, willing to do anything it takes to win.

Jay White

2023 Record: 12-1

Fighting Style: Strong Style/ Technical

What to Look For: Switchblade enters this tournament with the best record but he’s also coming off a tough loss to MJF. A win in this tournament would get him back on track. Because of the rules of the tournament, the Gunns won’t be at ringside to provide immoral support. This will give Jay an opportunity to remind the world just how great a wrestler he is and that he doesn’t need the Gunns to win.


2023 Record: 3-3-1

Fighting Style: Strong Style

What to Look For: Coming into the C2 at .500 for the year, El Toro Blanco has something to prove. Arguably the hardest hitter in this entire field, all of his opponents will know they’ve been in a match with Rush the next day. Much like Jay White, he’s used to the presence of Jose the Assistant at the very least so it will be interesting to see how going it alone affects him.

Mark Briscoe

2023 Record:

Fighting Style: Unorthodox Brawling

What to Look For: The master of Redneck Kung Fu, Mark Briscoe has had a rough 2023. He lost his brother and tag team partner Jay in a tragic car accident in January. He spent several months this year on the shelf with a knee injury. With all the turmoil he’s faced, he has to be another sentimental favorite. The question is will his particular brand of unorthodox hold up against more technically refined opponents or will the Sussex County Chicken find himself out wrestled?

Jay Lethal

2023 Record:4-6

Fighting Style: Technical

What to Look For: Despite being an accomplished veteran, Jay Lethal is arguably the least deserving entrant in the C2. He’s spent the last year cavorting around with the clown known as Team TNA. It’s his past successes that landed him in this tournament but it’s unlikely they will carry him to much success.

Blue League Opening Round Preview

Daniel Garcia vs. Claudio Castagnoli: A battle of technicians, this match could come down to Claudio’s strength which gives him an advantage, and his application of strong style. On paper this feels like a three point win for Claudio but don’t count out Garcia who will be motivated to open the Blue League with an upset.

Brody King vs. Eddie Kingston: This one is going to be wild. Both of the guys favor an unorthodox brawling style so they’re evenly matched in that regard. Eddie clearly has the biggest heart but Brody is just plain bigger. Eddie will put up a fight, but I think Brody proves to be too much and puts Eddie behind the 8-ball to start the tourney.

RECOMMENDED NEXT: AEW DYNAMITE RESULTS (11/22): Ajani’s alt-perspective report on Swerve vs. Lethal, Moxley vs. Briscoe, Lethal vs. Rush, Christian rechristens Luchasaurus, MJF-Joe, Toni acceptance speech

OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: Powell’s AEW Dynamite Hit List: Jon Moxley vs. Mark Briscoe, Rush vs. Jay White, and Swerve Strickland vs. Jay Lethal in Continental Classic tournament matches, Samoa Joe and MJF

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