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AEW Dynamite: Holiday Bash - December 20, 2023

by Doc Allen

AEW Holiday Bash

Live from Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. WrestleTix estimates attendance at 4,063. Our hosts are Tony Shiavone, Excalibur, and Taz.

Continental Classic - Gold League:
Swerve Strickland vs. Rush

The fans give Swerve a warm welcome. These two might murder each other. They start with some friendly grappling and reach a stalemate. Rush scores a soaring senton to outside, but starts selling his bandaged leg. Rush stops to pose, Swerve capitalizes with a low knee, but Rush regains his momentum. Strickland dropkicks the bad knee. Rush sells his knee like death, but still wrenches Strickland from the apron. Swerve responds with a German on the floor, Rush pops up for a dropkick into the rails. Yep, they're murdering each other. Back from commercials, they trade Germans in the ring and both go down after stereo big boots. Rush recovers first with an overhead belly to belly suplex into the buckles. Rush is too hurt to deliver the Bulls Horns, Swerve puts him into a half crab, then a stretch muffler. Rush escapes and hits a super messy straight jacket piledriver. They head to the apron, Rush hits a belly to belly that sends Swerve's head bouncing off the frame on his way to the floor. Rush misses a flying senton, Swerve nails a 450 splash for a 1 count! Brainbuster by Swerve gets 2. Swerve Stomp finishes it at 14:51! Wow, I thought I was joking about them murdering each other, but this was more brutal than I imagined it would be. Swerve pulls off the gutsy win in front of a hot crowd with a simple, clean finish, ****.
Winner: Swerve Strickland

Chris Jericho talks to the camera about the very serious real life situation involving Kenny Omega, who will be out of action indefinitely as he battles diverticulitis. Needless to say, The Golden Jets angle is put on hold.

Continental Classic - Gold League:
Mark Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal

This is a war between the two jobbiest jobbers in the entire Gold League. The winner gets to be the 2023 Washington Wizards, the loser will be the 2023 Detroit Pistons. The live feed drops momentarily and returns with them locking up. Lethal answers Mark's trash talk with a slap, and they proceed to light each other up. Hip toss/dropkick combo by Lethal, missile dropkick by Mark. Deadlift suplex by Lethal, followed by a tope into the rails. Lethal stops for the Jarrett Strut, but Mark reverses another tope into a suplex. Mark delivers the Cactus Jack elbow drop to send us to commercials. They return with both guys looking tired, and Jay scoring a Lethal Combination. Letha's superplex is foiled, Mark knocks him outside with Redneck Kung Fu. Dropkick through the ropes by Mark, followed by a Sabu-style senton from a chair. Lethal answers with a German, Mark lands on his head. Hail to the King by Lethal gets only 2. Exploder suplex by Mark, followed by a Fisherman Buster for another nearfall. Fans chant “This is awesome!” DVD by Mark, but Jay blocks the Froggy Elbow. Lethal Injection is blocked, so Lethal steals the J-Driller for a great nearfall. Mark blocks another Lethal Injection and nails a Burning Hammer! The J-Driller ends Lethal at 13:53! Impressive match, considering the tough spot these guys were in as the only two winless competitors in the Gold League. Mark did well playing the sentimental babyface role again, and made this unimportant match feel very important, ***¼.
Winner: Mark Briscoe

Highlights of MJF being inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Wardlow video promo. He's putting MJF on notice. Nothing earth shaking.

Samoa Joe comes to the ring with something to say. He says some stuff about wanting the AEW title, again, nothing earth shattering, but he's joined by AEW World Champion MJF for the rebuttal. He thinks Joe might be The Devil, also he needs a diet. Instead of waiting for World's End, maybe MJF should fight Joe right now. MJF shoves Joe, but they have to put their feud on hold when they're attacked by The Devil's masked men. They're surrounded when the lights go out. The Devil briefly appears on the jumbotron and dares them to defend the ROH Tag Team Championship next week. Joe accepts on MJF's behalf. The masked minions disappeared along the way, so Joe and MJF are safe... for now.

Renee Paquette is standing by with Best Friends, who have been enjoying a lot of success lately. Rocky Romero wants some gold, Orange Cassidy interprets this as a challenge, so they'll have an International Championship match on Rampage.

AEW Women's Champion Toni Storm (with Luther) joins commentary to scout her competition.

AEW Women's Championship #1 Contenders Match:
Saraya vs. Riho

Well, Riho is the one feuding with Toni, so I think this outcome is pretty clear cut. Saraya pounds on Riho's back. Riho bridges up and cartwheels her way to a drop toe hold. Saraya escapes a possible 619, but Riho finds her for a series of ranas outside. She tries one too many and Saraya swings her into the rails. Riho makes the regularly scheduled babyface comeback. She hits 619 and then a botchy high crossbody. Saraya escapes a headlock, and counters Riho's next crossbody with a thrust kick. Riho answers with a Northern Lights suplex. Riho hits a double stomp to the gut and the running knees to the face for the win at 7:40. Standard TV match hampered by some blown spots and getting eaten up by the commercial break, **.
Winner: Riho

Timeless Toni Storm

Luther carries Toni to the ring for a confrontation. Riho strikes first and blasts Toni with the 619 (better known as the "Tiger Fade Kick" by Excalibur). Mariah May sneaks in to wipe Riho out with Toni's championship.

Tony Shaivone reads a written statement by Christian Cage, which naturally starts with some abuse directed towards Shiavone and the OKC crowd. Basically, Christian is still the TNT champion, he owns Adam Copeland, and he's a father figure to us all.

MJF and Samoa Joe are caught arguing backstage. MJF walks away and finds a masked hood on the floor, right outside the Mogul Embassy locker room. He grabs Prince Nana and demands an explanation, but Swerve Strickland steps in to handle him. Swerve accuses MJF of ducking him. MJF patronizes Swerve for “growing up” since the days when they'd travel the indies together. Swerve admits that MJF was a good chauffeur that allowed him to get the best sleep of his life. Also, while MJF was getting rejected by WIlliam Regal and WWE, they were handing Swerve a contract. MJF accuses Swerve of being The Devil and threatens to blow His House down. Samoa Joe returns to lighten the mood and takes MJF away to handle their business. This was by far the most interesting verbal sparring match I've seen in weeks from AEW. Hell, I kind of hope Swerve IS The Devil now.

Roderick Strong (with The Kingdom) vs. Komander (with Alex Abrahantes)

Strong is bravely ready to compete, despite still sporting a neck brace. If you're reading this much later and don't understand the context, that was sarcasm, Strong has been pretending to be injured for months. Strong has a size advantage and flexes to let Komander know it. Komander hits a flurry of highflying offense designed to annoy your uncle, but Strong cuts him down with a kick. Deliberate backbreaker by Strong, who then tries to remove Komander's mask. Komander responds with a rana outside. Back from commercials, Strong misses a running knee, Komander reverses a backbreaker into another rana. Roundhouse kick by Komander and a pair of Superman punches. Springboard crossbody by Komander gets 2. Roderick blocks a sunset flip bomb, so Komander gives his legs the Tiger Fade Kick (see, I'm learning). The picture cuts while Komander hits a SSP or something for 2. Komander takes time to drop The Kingdom with a springboard moonsault. Komdander springboards into Strong's boot and eats a double knee gutbuster for the pinfall at 9:53. Lively match with lots of cool tricks from the luchador, but its never smart to attack the henchmen, ***.
Winner: Roderick Strong

Renee Paquette gets a word with Roderick Strong, who quickly puts his neck brace back on. He thinks it's obvious that MJF is The Devil and advises his best-friend-by-proxy, Samoa Joe, to wake up to this fact.

Recap of Thunder Rosa assisting Abadon against Skye Blue and Julia Hart on Collision.

Oklahoma's own Jim Ross joins commentary for the main event.

Continental Classic - Gold League:
Jay White vs. Jon Moxley

White stalls for time at the bell. Mox goes right for the bulldog choke, but settles for hammering elbows. Quick piledriver by Mox gets 2. Jay escapes the bulldog choke in the ropes, and throws Mox into the steps. Mox recovers with a back body drop on the ramp. Back from commercials, White is having a field day picking Mox apart. Mox finally has enough and stomps White into a mudhole. Superplex by Moxley, followed by a tope, but Mox seems to have reinjured his knee. White slams Mox knee-first onto the steps! White tries to accept a countout victory, but Mox beats the count and nails a DDT for a good nearfall. Mox is hobbled, but lands a knee strike for another good 2 count. A slugfest leads to a Moxley cutter, but Jay answers with a sleeper suplex and uranage, but Mox kicks out! Kiwi Krusher, but Mox kicks out again! Mox absorbs a suplex and fires off a lariat. Mox blocks Blade Runner and nails another lariat. Curb stomp by Moxley, Jay blocks Death Rider for Blade Runner and WINS at 15:10! Holy smokes, what an upset. This was an awesome bit of business, just a relentlessly aggressive match that suited the high stakes. White wins the Gold League in dramatic fashion, ****.
Winner: Jay White

Swerve Strickland arrives to survey the scene and put White on notice. White clips Moxley's knee to send a big message.

Final Thoughts: This episode of Dynamite makes me want to watch a lot more wrestling. That means it was awesome. Check this one out.

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