By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 218)
Montreal, Quebec at Bell Centre
Aired live December 6, 2023 on TBS
[Hour One] The Dynamite opening aired and pyro shot off on the stage… Excalibur, Taz, and Tony Schiavone checked in on commentary and walked viewers through the leaderboard for the Continental Classic tournament leagues and then listed the lineup for this episode…
Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced Jon Moxley, who made his entrance through the crowd. Jose, Dralistico, and Preston Vance walked onto the stage and then Rush made his entrance while his sidekicks headed backstage…
1. Jon Moxley vs. Rush in a Continental Classic tournament Gold League match. Rush performed an early suplex. Moxley sold his shoulder. Taz did a good job of explaining how Moxley’s shoulder was damaged while a replay was shown.
Moxley and Rush fought into the crowd. The broadcast team said the referee was being lenient by not counting them out. Taz said he liked that the referee was letting them go. Back in the ring, Rush and Moxley threw chops at one another while a “Let’s Go Moxley” chant broke out.
Rush got Moxley in a seated position in the corner and then teased hitting his finisher while Moxley covered up. Rush struck his Tranquilo pose. Moxley stood up and flipped off Rush. They fought back to ringside where Rush suplexed Moxley into the barricade heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Late in the match, went for his Bull’s Horns finisher, but Moxley shot up and clotheslined him. Moxley hit the Death Rider on Rush and covered him for a near fall. Moxley immediately applied the Bulldog Choke. Rush scrambled to escape, but he eventually passed out.
Jon Moxley defeated Rush in 14:35 to gain three points in the Continental Classic tournament.
Excalibur explained that with Moxley picking up nine points, Mark Briscoe and Jay Lethal needed to win their matches or they would be eliminated…
Powell’s POV: The good, physical match that it appeared to be on paper. I like the way the show opened with the broadcast team discussing the standings, and that Excalibur immediately explained afterward that Moxley’s win meant that Briscoe and Lethal were in “must win” mode. Taz was very good during the match at describing what was happening and for praising the referee for letting them fight it out. One thing I would add to the tournament match is an online timer graphic given the 20-minute time limit.
A video package aired with brief comments from Jay White and Jay Lethal about their tournament match…
Renee Paquette stood on the stage and introduced Roderick Strong, Matt Taven, and Mike Bennett for an interview. Strong, who was rolled onto the stage in his wheelchair, said it was obvious that MJF would stick a dagger in Samoa Joe. Paquette asked what if MJF isn’t the guy that Strong thinks he is. Strong said she sounded crazy.
Strong stood up from his wheelchair and said he would no longer be held back by it. Taven and Bennett acted like it was a miracle. Strong shoved the chair off the stage and it rolled into the barricade. Strong said the wheelchair held him back for far too long… [C]
Hangman Page was interviewed by Paquette next to MJF’s locker room. Page said he could concede that Swerve Strickland beat him in the Texas Death Match, but he said he took something from Swerve and it’s not over.
MJF exited his locker room and spoke about how compelling it was to watch Page and Swerve battle it out to see who could get more STDs. MJF recalled beating Page, who he called a white trash hick, to keep his Dynamite Diamond Ring. MJF said he thinks Page is the masked devil. Page said MJF has been a manipulator as long as he’s known him and assumed that MJF was actually the devil.
Samoa Joe stepped between MJF and Page when it looked like things were about to get physical. Joe told Page that MJF is his responsibility now. “What’s wrong with you?” Joe asked MJF. Joe told MJF that they had other business tonight that didn’t involve Page…
Powell’s POV: MJF accusing Page of being the devil felt a little random, but I actually like the idea. Page is enough of a star that it would be a satisfying reveal. Plus, it would turn Page heel, which might be necessary if they intend to turn Swerve Strickland babyface. Given the nature of their feud, it’s not like Page can just forgive Swerve and be buddies with him.
Mark Briscoe made his entrance. Prince Nana and Brian Cage came out and then Swerve Strickland made his entrance before they headed backstage…
2. Swerve Strickland vs. Mark Briscoe in a Continental Classic tournament Gold League match. Swerve and Briscoe ended up fighting on the apron. Briscoe caught Swerve with an enzuigiri and then they both dropped to the floor. Swerve sent Briscoe over the barricade. Swerve climbed onto the barricade and then suplexed Briscoe onto the floor at ringside heading into a PIP break. [C]
Late in the match, Swerve went for a 450 splash, but Briscoe put his knees up and then hooked him into a pin for a near fall. Briscoe put Swerve down and tried to hit him with the Froggy Bow elbow drop, but Swerve put his knees up. Swerve hooked Briscoe into a pin for a near fall. It was announced that there were five minutes remaining in the time limit.
Swerve and Briscoe ended up on the apron where Swerve performed a Death Valley Driver. Back in the ring, Swerve hit the top rope double stomp and scored the pin…
Swerve Strickland defeated Mark Briscoe in 15:55 to gain three points in the Continental Classic tournament.
Powell’s POV: A hot match. Perhaps it’s just his usual style, but it felt like Briscoe’s character was leaving it all in the ring in a quest to stay alive in the tournament. By the way, the broadcast team is really putting over the Montreal fans and rightfully so.
Mariah May was interviewed by Paquette, who asked how her meeting with Tony Khan went. May said it went well and she signed with AEW. May said they planned her debut match. Paquette asked for details, but she said it was none of her business and then gushed over Toni Storm…
Samoa Joe made his entrance. Once he was in the ring, the lights flickered and eventually turned off. The devil’s masked men surrounded the ring. The lights turned out and then the masked men were gone once the lights were turned on. A shot aired on the big screen of the masked Devil, and then another shot showed MJF laid out with a broken bottle next to him. Joe ran backstage… [C]
Powell’s POV: I was wondering if we’d actually see the Devil’s henchmen work a match tonight. While it’s disappointing that they didn’t deliver the match, I think it’s for the best.
Jon Moxley delivered a backstage promo and said he’s humbled before God and his mother. He said he expected to be unbeaten and to win the tournament.
[Hour Two] Swerve Strickland and Prince Nana showed up. Swerve pointed out that they had the same record and said he would do whatever it takes to win then they meet. Moxley said good, then added that he would do the same. Swerve blew Moxley as kiss before walking away…
Excalibur announced Swerve vs. Moxley for next week’s Winter is Coming themed edition
Ben Mankiewicz of Turner Classic Movies spoke from his set. He mentioned some legendary acting figures and then put over Toni Storm. He included the lines “chin up” and “watch for the shoe” before introducing Storm…
Powell’s POV: I wonder if Ben passed or if AEW didn’t bother asking him to include the “tits out” line.
Toni Storm made her black and white entrance with Luther, and Mariah May was at ringside. Skye Blue’s entrance followed…
3. Toni Storm (w/Luther, Mariah May) vs. Skye Blue for the AEW Women’s Championship. The crowd was quiet to start. They applauded when Storm took Blue down, and then were nearly silent when Blue returned the favor. Storm had Blue down at ringside heading into a PIP break, [C]
Blue performed a hip attack on Storm, who was seated in the corner. Skye followed up with a running boot to the head. Blue hit her Code Blue finisher and covered Storm for a near fall. Blue went up top, but Storm cut her off and headbutted her. Storm joined Blue on the ropes and superplexed her.
Storm struck a pose and the screen went black and white while she performed her hip attack and then went right back to color. Blue set up for Storm Zero, but Blue countered into a pin, which Storm reversed and got the three count.
Toni Storm defeated Skye Blue in 9:20 to retain the AEW Women’s Championship.
The screen went back to black and white while Storm celebrated her win while Luther applauded from ringside. Excalibur said Mariah May was nowhere to be found.
Riho made her entrance and joined Storm inside the ring. Riho waved at Storm, who tried to clothesline her. Riho ducked it and then dropkicked Storm. Riho set up for a move, but Luther pulled Storm off the apron and carried her up the ramp… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s nice to see Riho again. Her last Dynamite appearance was back in April. There were some vocal Storm fans, not much support for Blue, and then cheers for Riho’s return.
Excalibur announced that AEW will return to Canada with shows in March, April, May, and one event in July…
A video package aired on Christian Cage and Adam Copeland…
Jay Lethal made his entrance. Excalibur questioned whether Lethal had become too reliant on his allies. Taz said he’s a pressure player and believed he would step up. Jay White’s entrance followed…
4. Jay White vs. Jay Lethal in a Continental Classic tournament Gold League match. Lethal played to the crowd and was booed, so he acted annoyed. A short time later, he did the strut and was booed again. The broadcast team put over the Montreal fans again as White was in offensive control heading into a PIP break. [C]
Lethal put White down with a Lethal Injection. Exclailbur worked in a plug for the Ric Flair energy drink while the logo was shown on a corner of the screen. Lethal hoisted up White in a Torture Rack and then performed a rolling senton. Lethal went up top and performed an elbow drop that led to a near fall.
White came back with a brainbuster for a near fall. A short time later, Lethal got a two count and then went for a Lethal Injection, but White clipped his leg while he was trying to spring into the ropes. White went for his finisher, but Lethal rolled him into a pin, but White rolled through and got the three count…
Jay White defeated Jay Lethal in 11:25 to gain three points in the Continental Classic tournament.
Powell’s POV: A wrestler has kicked out of a finisher or a major move in all four matches so far. I wish AEW would pull back on this and save it for key moments so that it packed more of a punch and didn’t feel so routine. The match was fine, but there was no reason to think Lethal would win.
Excalibur listed the following matches and segments for Friday’s AEW Rampage: Powerhouse Hobbs and Konosuke Takeshita vs. Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal, Abadon vs. Trish Adora, Orange Cassidy and Danhausen appear, Bryan Danielson vs. Daniel Garcia in a Continental Classic match.
Excalibur listed the following matches and segments for Saturday’s AEW Collision: Bryan Danielson vs. Andrade El Idolo in a Continental Classic match, Claudio Castagnoli vs. Eddie Kingston in a Continental Classic match, Willow Nightingale vs. Mercedes Martinez, and Kenny Omega vs. Ethan Page.
Excalibur listed the following matches and segments for next week’s Winter is Coming themed edition of AEW Dynamite: Swerve Strickland vs. Jon Moxley, Jay White vs. Mark Briscoe, and Rush vs. Jay Lethal in Continental Classic matches, Samoa Joe speaks, Kevin, Ross, and Marshall Von Erich appear, and Hangman Page vs. Roderick Strong…
Excalibur hyped the TNT Title match for after the break said it was forty years in the making… [C]
Justin Roberts announced that the TNT Title match was one fall or television time remaining. Adam Copeland and Christian Cage made their entrances and then Roberts delivered in-ring introductions for the title match…
5. Christian Cage vs. Adam Copeland for the TNT Title. Copeland dominated early on and the fans chanted, “Who’s your daddy?” Copeland worked over Cage at ringside and ran him into the ring post. Cage caught Copeland with a punch and then pulled him into the post heading into a PIP break. [C]
Copeland performed a Russian leg sweep from the middle rope. Cage went to the apron. Copeland jumped from the middle rope and clotheslined Cage to the floor. Copeland charged Cage, who tripped him into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Cage performed a top rope frog splash for a near fall.
Cage went for a spear, but Copeland stuffed it and put him down with a DDT for a near fall. Copeland went up top and was crotched by Cage. Both men fought on the ropes and Copeland eventually performed a running powerbomb for a near fall.
Cage went for a Killswitch, but Copeland avoided it and ended up hooking him into a pin for a near fall. Moments later, Copeland applied a crossface, but Cage reached the ropes to break it. Excalibur played up damage that Copeland had done to Cage’s right hand during the match and said that would make it difficult for him to perform his finisher.
Copeland went to his corner and set up for a spear, but Cage leaped over it and hit the Killswitch and covered Copeland for a good near fall. Cage waited for Copeland to get up and tried to spear him, but Copeland fell to the mat. The referee checked on Copeland and then Cage kicked the referee in the balls from behind.
[Overrun] Cage went to ringside and grabbed his TNT Title belt and tried to hit Copeland with it, but Copeland ducked it. They both ran the ropes and went for simultaneous spears that left both men and the referee down.
Shayna Wayne walked out and entered the ring. Shayna picked up the TNT Title belt and ended up slamming it over the head of Copeland. Shayna left the ring. Cage hit the Killswitch and then stood over Copeland while raising the TNT Title belt over his head. Cage put the belt under Copeland’s head and then stomped his head on it. Cage cleared the belt from the ring and covered Copeland while the referee recovered enough to count the pin.
Christian Cage defeated Adam Copeland in 18:00 to retain the TNT Title.
The trainer entered the ring to check on Copeland. Cage put his foot on Copeland and then posed with the title belt while Excalibur said Cage had sunk to a new low to close the show…
Powell’s POV: No make-out session?!? This didn’t feel like a new low for Cage given some of the things he’s said and done. That said, I’m all for Shayna joining Cage’s family. You had to know it was coming when Copeland saved her and then gave her son Nick a Conchairto right in front of her. Shayna’s acting with the belt was pretty rough. The broadcast team even said she was torn before she hit Copeland.
A good overall show. The tournament matches felt predictable, yet they were entertaining, and the main event angle was a little rough, but I like that they kept the feud going as opposed to moving the title to Copeland. I will be back later tonight with my weekly same night audio review of Dynamite for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.