SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
DECEMBER 6, 2023
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA AT BELLE CENTER
AIRED ON TBS
Commentators: Excalibur, Taz, Tony Schiavone
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-The Dynamite opening aired. They cut to a wide shot of the arena stage with the Ric Flair energy drink logo. Excalibur introduced the show and hyped the Continental Classic Tournament matches including Jon Moxley vs. Rush, Jay White vs. Jay Lethal, and Swerve Strickland vs. Mark Briscoe, plus Christian Cage defending the TNT Title against Adam Copeland.
(1) JON MOXLEY (6) vs. RUSH (3) – AEW Continental Classic Tournament match (Gold League)
Excalibur noted that if Moxley wins, he’ll end up with 9 points, which would automatically eliminate some competitors from being able to win. The bell rang 5 minutes into the hour. They began by exchanging chops. Rush tossed Mox to the mat with a belly-to-belly. Mox sold his shoulder being hurt and rolled to the floor. Rush pursued him and threw him over the barricade into the crowd and chopped away ta him. They brawled to a lone chair in an open area behind the floor seats vacated by a security guard. Rush put Mox on the chair and kicked him. Well past the point they’d be counted out, Taz said it’s a good call by the ref to just let them fight it out because, well, they’re in Canada and the Canadiens like to fight. (That should be a designated exception in the AEW Match Rulebook.)
By 4:00 they were back in the ring fighting, with Rush stomping away at Mox in the corner. Rush struck a casual mid-ring pose. Mox stood and gestured at him with two middle fingers. At 7:00, Rush threw Mox into the ringside barricade and then they cut to a double-box break. [c/db]
(Keller’s Analysis: I haven’t harped on this pet peeve in a while, but the only way to justify the way Excalibur – among many others – refer to the double-box break is if they’re saying “picture ‘n’ picture,” as in “picture and picture,” or “two pictures side by side.” Excalibur stressed his enunciation more than usual this time as “picture IN picture.” That’s an entirely different thing going back to the 1980s when TVs with two-tuners would have something on the full screen and then another small picture from a different channel/source literally overlaid and inside the borders of the full screen, most often in a lower corner, thus literally picture IN picture. This is a double-box picture or “picture AND picture,” but not picture-IN-picture. So you can’t say it’s PIP for short; it actually has to be abbreviated as PAP, and nobody wants that, although P&P works fine. I can’t help pointing out this truly egregious error periodically. Sony explains this well here with images.)
Rush dominated during the break. Rush came back with a traditional piledriver and then a casual cover for a near fall. Mox made a comeback and dove through the ropes and tackled Rush. Both were down and slow to get up. They both beat the count (which the ref was arbitrarily enforcing this time). Schiavone said they’re not worried about or thinking about the time limit. Rush took control again, but Mox gave him a middle finger gesture, then hit King Kong Lariat and Death Rider for a dramatic, convincing near fall. He then applied a Bulldog choke. Rush faded and the ref called for the bell.
When the bell rang, Rush popped up and grabbed at the ref’s leg and complained. Excalibur explained that Lethal and Briscoe each need to win or face elimination.
WINNER: Moxley in 15:00 to earn three points.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really intense battle. I was anticipating a draw here, actually, to prevent anyone from potentially being eliminated tonight. Rush plays to the camera and the crowd too much for my tastes in his matches. There’s too often no sense of urgency to try to win and thus it undercuts the notion that the stakes are high or it makes him seem undisciplined. It’s like a 1980s house show mid-card match style and it feels out of date.)
-Excalibur threw to a video package on White vs. Lethal. White said when he was getting started in ROH, he looked up to Lethal. Lethal said his back is against the corner and that’s when he’s at his best.
-Excalibur plugged Christian vs. Copeland again.
-Renee Paquette stood on the ramp and introduced Roderick Strong and The Kingdom. Strong said tonight Samoa Joe is going to put his hand on a hot stove and it’s going to burn. He said he is in a wheelchair because of decisions he made and “this is my life every single day,” so decisions have consequences. He then stood out of the chair and added that he will no longer suffer consequences for his decisions and be held back. He tossed the chair off the ramp. He said the wheelchair has held him back for far too long. [c]
-Renee was shown standing outside of MJF’s locker room when “Hangman” Adam Page walked up to her. She asked where he’s been and how he’s been. He said he couldn’t fly for a few weeks because he was hit with a cinder block and knocked unconscious. He said Swerve broke into his home and went into his son’s room. He said it took Prince Nana and Brian Cage, but Swerve beat him in a Texas Death match. He said he can concede he lost, but he took something from Swerve that night that Swerve cannot get back. He said they are now bound by something bigger than either of them and it’s not over. He said he knows what Swerve wants more than anything in life, and he will make sure he never has it because of what he’s done to him.
MJF came out of the locker room and congratulated Hangman for his match against Swerve. “It was so impressive seeing two guys battle it out to see who could get more STDs.” Hangman said he doesn’t have time to deal with him talking like he normally does, he can have his interview time. He walked off. MJF said the reason he has to talk for 30 minutes is to wake up the crowd after Hangman put everyone to sleep like that. Hangman returned and confronted him. MJF asked if the last time they wrestle, he verbally bent him over in front of Bret Hart. Hangman said it ended when he gave him a Buckshot Lariat and threw him over the top rope.
MJF and Hangman continued to go back and forth for a while. MJF touted his AEW World Title is longer than Hangman’s. Hangman said he can be proud when he’s 70 years old at home alone telling his ninth cat about his title reign. MJF said if they want to get honest, out of everybody in the locker room he think he’s the Devil. Hangman laughed at the notion that MJF thinks he’s running around in “a Party City mask.” Hangman said MJF is a manipulator and it’s probably him. “Just be honest with me,” he said. Samoa Joe walked in and stepped between them and said MJF is his. He told Hangman to take it easy. Joe turned and told MJF that they have other issues that don’t involve Hangman.
(Keller’s Analysis: It instantly struck me watching the beginning of MJF talk that he’s so much better as a prick playing a full-fledged heel than a pandering babyface going for ironic crowd chants. Hangman’s promo was good here. Samoa Joe barging in fits his situation and his desire to protect MJF before he gets his title match. I’m glad they had Hangman address why he disappeared after the Texas Death match last month. I wish they had addressed it earlier, even if it was a “remote” interview with Hangman or promoting his return this week.)
(2) MARK BRISCOE vs. SWERVE STRICKLAND – AEW Continental Classic Tournament match (Gold League)
The bell rang 35 minutes into the hour. Excalibur noted that the Continental Classic will be back next year, and even if a wrestler doesn’t win this year, a strong showing could help them get in it again next year. (Did AEW ever explain what the criteria was for this year’s field?) They fought back and forth for five minutes. Briscoe took control at ringside. He played to the crowd and paid the price, as when he got around to charging at Swerve, Swerve backdropped him over the barricade into the crowd. Swerve then suplexed Briscoe back into the ringside area from the top of the barricade. They cut to a double-box break. [c/db]
Swerve settled into a chinlock during the break. Back from the break, Briscoe made a comeback and landed a fisherman’s buster for a near fall at 11:00. Strickland landed a roundkick to the side of a kneeling Briscoe’s head for a near fall himself. Briscoe flung himself over the top rope and propelled himself onto Swerve at ringside. Back in the ring he hit a lariat for a near fall at 13:00. Briscoe set up the Jay Driller, but Swerve escaped and hit the House Call kick. He followed up with a top rope 450, but Briscoe lifted his knees and then cradled Swerve for a convincing near fall. Briscoe landed a rolling Death Valley Driver followed by his top rope elbow, but Swerve lifted his knees and then scored a near fall. Fans applauded as both men recovered.
A 15 minute announcement was then made by Justin Roberts. Fans chanted “This is awesome!” Briscoe set up a Jay Driller on the ring apron, but Swerve countered into a Death Valley Driver. Swerve landed the Swerve Stomp off the top rope next for the clean three count.
WINNER: Swerve in 16:00 to get to 9 points.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match with especially good near falls. The fact that Briscoe would be eliminated from being able to win added extra drama including increasing the sense of a time limit draw being a stronger possibility.)
-Renee interviewed Mariah May and asked about her meeting with Tony Khan. She said they both love Japanese wrestling and hit it off and set up her debut. When Renee asked when she’s going to debut, May said it’s none of her business. May said she’d be studying Toni Storm’s match tonight.
-Samoa Joe came out first for the scheduled tag team match with MJF. Then the lights went dark. The Devil’s masked men the surrounded Joe on all four sides of the ring. Schiavone said MJF better get out to there fast. The lights went dark again. “What is going on here?” asked Excalibur. Fans booed. When the lights came back on, Joe was standing alone and the masked men were gone. The big screen then showed MJF was knocked out in the back with a broken beer bottle around him and the AEW World Title belt lying by his side. [c]
-They announcers replayed the angle before the break and then they showed them on camera reacting.
-Backstage, Jon Moxley was hanging out with his back to the camera. He turned around and stretched his arms and said he’s humble before God and his mother. He said he knows who he is and he expected to be 3-0 and he expects to win “because I’m the ace of the world.” Swerve walked up and said he’ll do whatever it takes to win no matter who is in his way. Mox said good. Swerve said, “See you in Texas.” Prince Nana chuckled in the background. Swerve blew Mox a kiss and left.
-Excalibur plugged Swerve vs. Mox on Dynamite next week.
-They went to Ben Mankiewicz, host of Turner Classic Movies. He said every now and then someone comes along who redefines what it means to be human. He mentioned Groucho and Brando, and then said Toni Storm has redefined what it means to be a woman in pro wrestling. He said tonight’s performance might be her best.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a nice touch.)
(3) “TIMELESS” TONI STORM (w/Luther) vs. SKYE BLUE – AEW Women’s Title match
The bell rang 3 minutes into the hour. Excalibur talked about Storm getting in “a lot of reps this year” as a very active competitor. Luther put Storm on his shoulders at ringside. Storm then grabbed Skye’s hair and yanked her to the floor. The screen went briefly black and white as Storm was delighted. Storm took it to Skye at ringside as the ref half-heartedly insisted they return to the ring. Storm rammed Skye into the announce table and then delivered a hip attack. They cut to a double-box break, which Excalibur again called “picture-IN-picture” with more of an emphasis on “IN!” than ever for some reason. [c/db]
Back from the break, Storm endured an attack by Skye until making a comeback and landing a superplex. She then hit another hip attack. Skye countered out of the corner with a leverage two count, but Storm then countered with a leverage pin for a three count. Storm celebrated in black and white.
WINNER: Storm in 8:00 to retain the AEW Women’s Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Unfortunately, Skye’s shoulders were on Storm’s thighs and not anywhere near the mat during the three count. Storm is so good in this role and the black and white effect is used effectively.)
-As Storm celebrated, Riho skipped to the ring and confronted Storm. Riho dropkicked Storm. Luther picked up Storm and carried her to safety before Riho could leap at her. [c]
-Back from the break, Excalibur plugged AEW’s dates in Canada next year in April, May, and June.
-A video package aired on Christian and Copeland. They showed childhood pictures of them together. Christian called Copeland a hanger on. “I’m here to be the best and everyone else is expendable,” he said. Copeland said Montreal has seen some fights over the years but they might not have seen anything like this.
(4) JAY LETHAL vs. JAY WHITE – AEW Continental Classic Tournament match (Gold League)
The bell rang 21 minutes into the hour. Excalibur talked about the three belts that the winner of the tournament will receive. At 4;00, after fast-paced back and forth action, they cut to a double-box break. [c/db]
More rapid-fire back and forth action after the break. White hit a sleeper suplex at 12:00. Lethal ducked a charging White and went for a Lethal Injection, but White avoided it. Lethal rolled up White, but White kicked out and then clipped Lethal’s knee. White went for a Blade Runner, but Lethal rolled White up. White reversed leverage and scored a three count. Excalibur called it a heartbreaking loss for Lethal.
WINNER: White in 9:00 to get to 6 points.
(Keller’s Analysis: Another good tournament match with the overdone roll-up reversal finish.)
-Excalibur plugged Rampage: Trish Adora vs. Abadon, Powerhouse Hobbs & Konosuke Takeshita vs. Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal, Orange Cassidy & Hook appear, plus Bryan Danielson vs. Daniel Garcia. Collision features Danielson vs. Andrade El Idolo and Claudi Castagnoli vs. Eddie Kingston, Mercedez Martinez vs. Willow Nightingale, and Ethan Page vs. Kenny Omega. Dynamite’s “Winter is Coming” features Swerve vs. Mox, White vs. Briscoe, and Rush vs. Lethal in tournament matches, plus Samoa Joe will speak, Roderick Strong vs. “Hangman” Page, and the Von Erich family appears. They showed Kevin Von Erich and the Von Erich sons. [c]
(5) CHRISTIAN CAGE vs. ADAM COPELAND – TNT Title match
Taz talked about the meaning of this happening in Canada given the history of these two. Taz talked about them being an amazing tag team, but also having amazing runs individually too. Excalibur noted both thought their careers were over and now they’re headlining a Dynamite. Fans cheered Copeland and booed Christian during ring introductions. The bell rang 44 minutes into the hour. Copeland went after Christian aggressively at the start including a beatdown at ringside. Christian made a comeback and yanked Edge into the ringpost and then threw him over the ringside barricade. They cut to a double-box break at 4:00. [c/db]
Christian was in control through the break. Copeland made a comeback and snapped Christian over the top rope. Schiavone plugged Wembley Stadium ticket sales so far, touting over $4 million in ticket sales so far. Christian rammed Copeland into the ringside steps with a drop toe hold. Back in the ring he landed a frog splash for a near fall. Copeland countered a Christian spear attempt with an Impaler for a near fall.
Copeland landed a running sitout powerbomb at 12:00 for a near fall. Both were down and slow to get up. Copeland countered a Killswitch and scored a near fall. He followed up with a crossface. Christian’s boot reached the bottom rope. Fans chanted ‘This is awesome!” Copeland set up a spear, but Christian leapfrogged it and then hit the Killswitch for a near fall. Christian set up a spear of his own, but Copeland side-stepped it. Copeland bumped into the ref. Christian then kicked the ref between his legs from behind. Christian then went to ringside and grabbed the TNT Title belt. Christian swung the belt at Copeland, but Copeland ducked and they both speared each other at the same time mid-ring.
With both wrestles down, Shayna Wayne walked out and entered the ring. She picked up the TNT Title belt. Fans were quiet as they watched. Excalibur said she appeared “torn.” She then hit Copeland with the belt. “What the hell did she just do?!” exclaimed Schiavone. Shayna left the ring. Christian hit the Killswitch and then put the TNT Title belt under Copeland’s head and stomped on his head, then cleared the belt from the ring and the ref came to and counted to three. Excalibur said Christian sunk to a new low.
WINNER: Christian in 18:00 to