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  • Writer's pictureAEW Staff

AEW Dynamite Preview for December 20, 2023



For the first time in AEW history, All Elite Wrestling heads to Oklahoma and the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City! With WORLDS END just ten days away, the last bouts of the Continental Classic Gold League will go down Wednesday night, setting up the Finals in Orlando next Wednesday on DYNAMITE!


Jon Moxley versus Jay White, Swerve Strickland versus RUSH, and Jay Lethal versus Mark Briscoe are all on tap for this Wednesday with the potential for some intriguing results to be explored shortly. Suffice to say, Jon Moxley may not be as comfortable as his twelve points would make it seem. In addition, Roderick Strong goes one-on-one with Komander, Saraya faces Riho for the right to challenge Toni Storm on the line, and we will hear from both AEW World Champion MJF and his WORLDS END challenger Samoa Joe!



DYNAMITE gets underway at 8pm ET/7pm CT live on TBS, as well as at AEWPlus.com for international fans, so be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel, as well as AEW's various social media platforms, to catch highlights from last week's episodes of DYNAMITE, RAMPAGE, and COLLISION, as well as the newest CONTROL CENTER, and don't forget to check out one of the best professional wrestling events of the year FINAL BATTLE 2023 over at ROH Honor Club!


CONTINENTAL CLASSIC: GOLD LEAGUE

Standings

Jon Moxley (12)

Swerve Strickland (9)

Jay White (9)

RUSH (6)

Mark Briscoe (0)

Jay Lethal (0)




Jon Moxley(12) vs. Jay White(9)



For the last week, Moxley has been on top of the Continental Classic's Gold League with 12 points, but as soon as the night begins on Wednesday, there's the possibility that he will not get any higher and could even end up sharing the top spot depending on how RUSH/Swerve plays out. It's a sure thing that Jon Moxley will end up in the Finals of the Gold League next week in Orlando, it's just a matter of what things will look like once the former 3-TIME AEW World Champion gets there. The man who could stop Moxley from being the undisputed points king of the Gold League is none other than “Switchblade” Jay White!



Now White has managed, on his own merit and without BULLET CLUB GOLD involvement, to bounce back from his loss to Swerve Strickland and win his last two tournament bouts to net a total of nine points. Those wins have put him on the precipice of tying up the top spot with Moxley at twelve points, all “Switchblade” has to do is repeat the performance he had against Moxley in their 2019 G1 Climax bout for New Japan. That night, in the first and last singles match between the two prior to this Wednesday, it was White who took home the victory en route to his loss in the tournament finals against Kota Ibushi, and helped stifle Moxley's strong push towards winning the B Block that year. 


Will this Wednesday be a repeat of that outcome with a “Switchblade” Jay White victory? Or will we see Moxley run the table, net 15 points, and head to Orlando to meet one of the several possibilities that await him in the Gold League Finals? What are those possibilities? Read on to see how this half of the Continental Classic could play out...


Swerve Strickland(9) vs. RUSH(6)



Undaunted; that is what Swerve Strickland appears to be following his loss to Jon Moxley last week, a loss that kept him from claiming the position as points leader in the Gold League, at least for the time being. Strickland seems to garner motivation from losses such as that one, loses he can learn from to become a better competitor, loses that push him to improve and come back stronger. When that loss comes against one of the best in the game, well there is a great deal to take away form it but it all comes down to if a competitor is capable of seeing their flaws and getting better, or if they're only capable of placing blame elsewhere. In this instance, Swerve seems completely capable of seeing where he went wrong to insure he doesn't make the same mistake when he and Moxley meet again, and the possibility is very real they could fight against next week in the Gold League Finals.



The match of it breaks down like this: Moxley is at the top of the field with 12 points but both Jay White and Swerve Strickland could move up to into a tie with the former 3-Time AEW World Champion, and “Switchblade” would be doing so at the expense of Moxley. Should Moxley lose to Jay White, and Swerve beat RUSH, then we have ourselves a three-way tie at the top with each man sporting 12 points. Should Moxley win, he is the undisputed points winner of the Gold League and it's just a matter of whether Swerve or RUSH wins this fight. See RUSH saved himself last week with that victory over Jay Lethal, staying alive for another week, but entirely dependent on how others perform in these last matches to make it to the second spot in the finals, and even then he won't be alone.


As stated, a Moxley win nets 15 and makes him the king of the Gold League in terms of points, whereas a “Switchblade” victory ties them up at 12. Should Swerve win to get 12, he's either tied with Jay White at 12 or there's a three way tie at 12, but if RUSH wins to bump to 9 points, then both he and Swerve sit at 9 with the potential that Jay White could also end up at 9, creating a three way tie for the second spot in the Gold League Finals. Either that or, worst case scenario for the two men in this match, White wins and RUSH wins, tying “Switchblade” up with Moxley at 12 points, and insuring a rematch between the two in the Finals. That's just scratching the surface of what could happen without looking at the possibility of draws in either match!


There are a multitude of ways this could go down, but nothing will be for sure until the final bell rings on the last Continental Classic match of the night! The only thing we know for certain at this moment is that neither of the men involved in the third Continental Classic bout of the night will be a factor in the Gold League Finals...


Mark Briscoe(0) vs. Jay Lethal(0)



Here we have two men with, on paper, nothing left to fight for in the Continental Classic. They both lost their previous four matches, have scored zero points despite their best efforts, and yet in the face of what could be a depressing, heartbreaking situation leading either man to throw in the towel, Jay Lethal and Mark Briscoe have found something to fight for: honor.


The history of these two men dates back twenty years to the formative days of each man's career, and even saw The Briscoes face the Special K duo of Lethal (then Hydro) and Deranged as part of a Gauntlet Match for the ROH Tag Team Titles at GLORY BY HONOR II in 2003. The two would have their first singles match of record at GATEWAY TO HONOR 2011, a Proving Ground match during Lethal's 1st ROH World TV Title reign, and would go one-on-one several more times in ROH, with Lethal getting the victory in all but one situation, and only because that one time ended in a No Contest.


In AEW they've had one match, back on the January 25th edition of DYNAMITE, a bout to honor the late Jay Briscoe, and one of the most emotional matches ever presented on AEW television. Mark finally got a victory over Jay Lethal on that night, and as sweet as that may have been, ultimately the fight was about honoring the memory of our fallen brother more than about who actually won the contest.


Though they've had their issues, primarily stemming from Lethal's choice to associate with The Jarretts, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh, Jay Lethal and Mark Briscoe are still bonded, through shared history, through the fights they've had together, and through their experiences with Ring of Honor. There's something unique to those men and women who came through the ROH ranks during the first twenty years, especially those who were there in 2002 when The Murphy Rec Center in Philly was the home of honor. Mark and Jay are two such competitors, and it seems they found their reason to fight this Wednesday night by looking back to that history, focusing on those letters, and putting Honor before everything else.


ONE-ON-ONE...

Roderick Strong vs. Komander



Roderick Strong is clearly just picking fights now that he's decided to get back into active competition; he did it with Action Andretti and now he's doing it with Komander, a man who did nothing more than have the audacity to show up and show out at both FINAL BATTLE 2023 (www.watchroh.com) and on last week's RAMPAGE. Komander may not have been on the winning end of either Survival of the Fittest 2023 or that epic Trios Match, but he absolutely showed he's got the tools to be a top tier player in AEW or ROH, as well as add more titles to a mantle already holding the AAA World Cruiserweight Championship.


So it will be this Wednesday night on DYNAMITE that Roderick Strong and Komander go head-to-head in their first meeting, and there's little doubt that The Kingdom will be close at hand. Wherever Roderick goes, so too do Matt Taven and Mike Bennett, and Komander might want to bring some back-up of his own to even the odds lest he fall victim to a piledriver and a...groin...punch from Bennett to soften him up for Roddy!


WORLDS END OR BUST...

Riho vs. Saraya

***WINNER FACES AEW WOMEN'S WORLD CHAMPION TONI STORM AT WORLDS END***



When Riho last stepped onto the AEW stage back in April, it was with the dual purpose of fighting for the AEW Women's World Championship held at the time by Jamie Hayter and in defense of the AEW Women's locker room in the face of The Outcasts. Unfortunately the former AEW Women's World Champion failed in both missions, losing to Hayter on the April 5th edition of DYNAMITE, and being decimated by The Outcasts one week later following a tag match loss to Ruby and Toni Storm.


So it came as no surprise that, upon her return to the fold, Riho's first order of business was last week's match with Ruby Soho, a match that ended in Riho's favor, and now this week it continues with a bout against Saraya. Not only is it a fight with the Outcast member, but it is also one upon which the future of the AEW Women's World Championship hangs!


See to the winner of this contest on Wednesday night go the spoils of fighting “Timeless” Toni Storm at WORLDS END with the AEW Women's World Championship at stake! So there is still the possibility for Riho to achieve one of the goals she first set for herself last Spring; as for the other one, well The Outcasts did a grand job of imploding all by themselves, starting with Toni Storm being blackballed from their stage, and continuing with this separation of Saraya and Soho:



So that will be the question this Wednesday won't it? Can Saraya pull off this all-important victory by herself, without Ruby Soho in her corner, or has she pulled Anna Jay into her corner based on their mutual issues with the entire Cool Hand Ang/Ruby situation? After all, Anna was Saraya's side a week ago when she interrupted Parker and Menard's words before their tag match in Montreal...


THE CHAMP AND THE CHALLENGER...



When last we saw AEW World & ROH World Tag Champion MJF, he was face down on the concrete after apparently being struck in the head with a beer bottle. The conclusion was made by Samoa Joe that the presence of the beer bottle meant Hangman Page was responsible, and the confrontation earlier in the night between the former AEW World Champion and the current further reinforced Joe's beliefs.


Well the last time we saw Samoa Joe, he was standing face-to-face with that former World Champion and telling Page straight up that he knows Hangman was responsible for the attack on Max and thus, presumably, was also the man behind the devil's mask that'd been stolen from MJF's bags weeks ago. 


At the end of the night last Wednesday, fans all witnessed Hangman end up another victim of The Devil's masked men, this time in the parking lot outside the arena, and essentially eradicating any notion that Page was still a suspect. After all, if it's possible to believe Hangman staged his own assault, than one must accept the possibility that MJF staged his own, or Jay White staged his, or that even The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn stage theirs. Occam's Razor would suggest removing any victim of The Devil or his ilk from suspicion, and looking elsewhere for suspects.


So perhaps this Wednesday night, when we hear from both champion and challenger, we will all get fresh illumination on the subject. Perhaps MJF saw something or heard something during his attack that points a finger in the right direction, any clue would help unravel this tangled web, and perhaps allow MJF to focus solely on this impeding fight with Samoa Joe.



DYNAMITE debuts in Oklahoma City, OK this Wednesday night Paycom Center and we've got the three final bouts in Continental Classic: Gold League on tap! Jay White and Jon Moxley, the winless Mark Briscoe versus the winless Jay Lethal, and RUSH fighting Swerve! Plus former ROH Women's World Champion Riho battles Saraya for the right to move on to a WORLDS END championship fight with Toni Storm, Roderick Strong will be in action against Komander, and we will hear from both AEW World/ROH World Tag Champion MJF and Samoa Joe!


The bouts begin at 8pm ET/7pm CT live on TBS, as well as at AEWPlus.com for international fans, just be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel for all the highlights from recent episodes of DYNAMITE, RAMPAGE, and COLLISION, as well as this week's CONTROL CENTER!



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