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Dynamite TV report for 12/20/2023

Venue: Paycom Center, OKC, Oklahoma

*****

Swerve Strickland vs Rush

Backstory: Strickland has 9 points and needs to match Jay White’s score to go through; Rush can tie for second in certain scenarios

Either they have new screens, Swerve has a new graphic or I just haven’t noticed either of these things before.  What’s clear is how popular Strickland is and the lengths they’re going to make him babyface, Excalibur again called him the ‘people’s choice’ and they had the Embassy line the ramp almost like a guard of honor as he strolled through.

Be interesting to see if the company’s biggest up-and-coming babyface is allowed to be run over by Rush Jack Perry-style.  He needs to win and Mox win later.

Loud ‘Swerve’s House’ chant as the pair wrestled on the mat, go-behinds, waistlocks, trip attempts, headlock attempts, counters, to a stalemate, both back to their feet.  Rush’s hammy still wrapped.

Right to the chops, Swerve leapfrog, Rush somersaulted over, took a tejeiras, each got an armdrag, not-great-looking ‘hesitation’ sequence to end an otherwise very good start, slick and quick.

Guys still to be separated.  Swerve hit a kick, ducked a chop, one of his own, missed an attack in the corner, and again, Rush came back with a running forearm, Swerve spilled outside, Rush in pursuit via tope.  He had been moving well but began to limp after that landing.

A small but very vocal section had a dueling chant going.  As Rush stomped Swerve down in the corner, fake-out Bull’s Horns into his tranquilo pose, a pissed Swerve rushing him via flying armbar, Rush powered him over into a pin for two, snap powerslam for the same result.

Rush then had his injured leg captured, set against the buckle and dropkicked.  Writhing in pain, he rolled outside, tripping Swerve onto the apron – he took a gnarly bump right onto his injured shoulder.  Rush began his patented smash opponent round ringside until Swerve slipped behind to land a German; Rush popped up to nail a running dropkick against the barricade.

Ads.  Nice start.  Again very ‘liberal’ with the ten-count.

Back to a nasty Rush German right onto Swerve’s shoulder, Swerve hit back with one of his own, both tried big boots, both hit at the second attempt, both hit the deck.  Aubrey’s count at six as they pulled themselves up in the ropes.

Another awkward ‘hesitation’ sequence, Swerve aiming a kick obviously intended to miss.  Rush brought the chops out, flung Swerve to the buckle via overhead, Bull’s Horns coming, Rush’s leg gave out, Swerve went after it via stretch muffler, Rush hooked an inside cradle for two.

Rush rolling elbow, straightjacket piledriver for another close count.  Swerve in trouble, hovering under the bottom rope, to the apron, Rush dragged him back in then took him back out as a chop fight got going.  Just peppering e/o till a Strickland enziguri, Rush hit back with a wild overhead off the apron, didn’t look very controlled (not either guy’s fault, just a nasty landing).

Two back inside after an arrogant cover.  Rush is another guy who seems to be babyface but acts heel.

He headed upstairs, missed a senton splash, Strickland nailed a 450, Rush out at barely one, landing a flurry, Swerve nailed a rolling flatliner as Rush rebounded off the ropes, sweeping through into a suplex for a near fall.  Right into a house call, Swerve upstairs, fans wild as he braced beforehand, Stomp down, for the win.

For the first time in a very long time, that felt like AEW have a babyface the fans see as ‘on the way’, who they’re organically behind and really wanted to see advance here.

Mostly a very good match.  Few spots took me out of things a little so didn’t grab me like it could’ve.  But that’s a ‘me’ problem.

Rush is now done; if Jay White beats Mox we’ll have a three-way tie.

Winner: Swerve Strickland

They recapped the Blue League from Collision.

*****

Chris Jericho was backstage with a mic.  He talked about Kenny Omega’s diverticulitis and him being out ‘indefinitely’.  He said Omega’s health was the most important thing and ‘we’re all pullin’ for you’.  He told him to take as long as he needed, Jericho’ll be waiting for him, as will the ‘Golden Jets’.

He then did Kenny’s goodbye/goodnight line.

Jericho’s either just legitimately become totally disingenuous or is totally going heel on Kenny for ‘blowing their big chance’.  Figured they were going to pivot to another partner but doesn’t seem so.

Jay Lethal vs Mark Briscoe

Backstory: Both have 0 points and are out

And now, brought to you by Warner Bros. Discovery, AEW and Tony Khan, it’s the battle for least smelly turd!  How could you possibly change the channel?

They’re selling it as being about ‘pride’.  And picked a weird time for the camera to hover lovingly over the three belts.

Briscoe over as usual, chants of ‘Dem Boys’.  Though very quiet as they locked up.  Excalibur did a nice job explaining that this was basically Briscoe’s rookie year as a singles so he wasn’t taking these losses too hard.

They wrestled and shoulder-charged to a stalemate.  Lethal smacked him, Briscoe fired up and landed a pair of chops, a fight broke out, neither landing more than a pair before the other hit back.  Taz said, ‘They hurt like the Dickens… Dickens… it’s Christmas time’.

Lethal landed his hiptoss, cartwheel, dropkick combo.  Briscoe hit back via shotgun from the middle buckle.  Both fought to block suplexes for a long time until Lethal won out, handspring heel kick knocking Mark off the apron, tope against the barricade, strutting on the apron to the delight of no-one.

Second tope caught into a Briscoe suplex outside, Cactus elbow off the apron, ads.

Flair having failed, Macho Man did too as Briscoe caught Lethal upstairs looking for the elbow.  Lethal elbowed Briscoe down, he hit back via king fu and a dropkick through the ropes, set up a chair in the ring to spring off via dive.  Apparently that’s all fine cause he didn’t hit Lethal with it.  Crowd loved it.

Lethal ducked a wild swing to land a German, Briscoe popped up but took an enziguri.  Lethal put on a lame-looking backbreaker from a torture rack position, trying to Finlay-roll through, not the smoothest, Briscoe landed on his front.  Lethal went up top for the elbow, hit it, Briscoe kicked out.  Also to the surprise of no-one.

Amazingly, with a ppv just over a week away that they haven’t even mentioned yet, they paused to push the ppv after that one.

Briscoe avoided Lethal Injection, hit a uranage, lariat in the corner, fisherman buster, two.  TiA from the crowd.  Briscoe hit a DVD, rolling through smoothly, took ages on the Froggy Bow, Lethal got the knees up, Briscoe avoided another Lethal Injection but took a Jay Driller from Lethal, Briscoe kicked out.

Briscoe missed a lariat, blocked Lethal Injection again, burning hammer, Jay Driller for the win.

More good action with some nice back and forth, counters and false finishes.  Problem is most were hard to care about since Lethal was never winning.  Hopefully they at least establish Briscoe as solidly mid-card – he’s popular, likeable and good.

Winner: Mark Briscoe

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

He talked about the fact antisemitism still exists and wanted to make it known he’s Jewish and isn’t hiding.  They showed him walking out arm-in-arm with who I presume is his mum.  Usually his parents maintain a kayfabe disdain.  So either that’s to cement him as a babyface or to add to the ‘swerve’ when he’s the Devil.

Have absolutely no problem them showing this, what he talked about is obviously important.  It’s just very weird and a total non-sequitur when it’s the first thing we see and hear of the world champion after a brutal attack.

*****

Wardlow package.  He and Max has always been a battle between ‘good and evil’.  The clock is ticking, ‘we’re getting closer and closer to your world ending… soon, the world will see you broken.  The payment for your sins cannot be delayed any longer.’

‘And I’ll be the one to bring the devil to his knees’.

Really hope they’re able to make sense of all this.

*****

They replayed Hangman being powerbombed onto a windshield.  Excalibur said this proved the Devil isn’t Page.  Taz emphasized this.

Samoa Joe out, popular as ever.  He’s shaved his head.  And come seeking answers.  And was asking the right questions but to the wrong people.  Roderick Strong ‘may be the dimmest bulb on the Christmas tree but he brings up a good point’ – since it seems that every time the Devil attacks, we see the beating in full.

Except when it comes to Max.  Who was ‘conveniently left on the ground’.  So he demanded the champ come out.  The announcers said Joe wasn’t wrong.  MJF came out to a decent pop and seems to be moving better.  Crowd loudly chanted his name.  Great fans here in OKC.

Max wasn’t happy with the accusation.  Especially since Joe had vowed to protect him till their title match.  And hadn’t.  Crowd chanted ‘No-show Joe’.  Max made a fat joke.  Joe looked non-plussed.  MJF now turned the tables, saying the goons had surrounded the ring that same night and never put a finger on Joe.

MJF doesn’t like him and now doesn’t trust him.  So wondered why he’s waiting for the ppv when they can fight right now.  He peeled off his jacket, Joe smiled smugly.  Until being shoved.  They were about to fight when the crowd’s excitement turned to boos and groans as the goons in black hit the scene.  There were an endless stream this time.  And they were all dumped quickly.

Until more came through the crowd.  Seemingly the main four.  They surrounded the ring, the lights went out, the Devil appeared on the screen.  Text appeared: ‘Where can you go?  Who can you trust?’.  The message then challenged MJF to put the ROH Tag Titles on the line next week.  Before asking again, ‘Are you a hero?’.

For the second week in a row, all the Devil stuff flattened out a good heated angle the fans were into.  It takes some doing to calm this crowd.

And a mere minute after they were about to scrap because they hated and mistrusted one-another, MJF asked Joe to tag again since he’d promised Cole he’d defend the titles till he comes back.  A pissed Joe ignored him and yelled at the screen that they accept.

He told Max that next week they’d beat the goons’ asses.

Both got a nice response as they left.  MJF in particular very over.

*****

Renee with the Best Friends sans Chuck but plus Rocky Romero.  She asked the latter and Trent what 2024 would bring.  Romero said he wants gold.  Cassidy said he ‘gets it’ and he’d see him Friday.  If it sounds like I abbreviated that segment, I didn’t.

Totally baffled that they had Orange beat Moxley so he could defend the belt on the C & B shows against random undercard talent.

Toni Storm out on comms.  Taz said she’s his favorite colleague.  She said he’s her favorite landlord – she hears he’s called ‘the human duplex machine’.

Saraya vs Riho (Winner faces Toni Storm @ World’s End)

Backstory: Khan’s dart landed on ‘Saraya’

Saraya’s theme remains easily the best part of her act.  Ruby was watching from backstage for some reason.  Apparently she and Saraya are ‘falling out’.  And AEW continue to think the romance between she and Parker more interesting than so many things, including the women’s title.

We finally got back fullscreen to Saraya fleeing outside.  Then immediately missed a flying headscissors to cut to Toni Storm talking.  Riho hit a second which we did see.  And a third, Saraya stumbling around drunkenly then hiding behind a security guard.

Toni continued to insist she couldn’t remember injuring Riho along with Soho.

As Saraya decided she might never face anyone as light as Riho ever again and had always wanted to do the swing your opponent into the barricade bit.

Toni intro’d the break.

Back to Saraya getting two, we didn’t see what for.  Riho hit a headscissors, 619, just about hitting a cross body after slipping atop the buckle.  Could’ve been nasty.  Saraya caught her coming off the top with a kick to the waist.  ‘Speaking of tits, here we have Saraya, about to win,’ is not a line I ever thought I’d hear.

Riho got two via northern lights, Saraya almost landing on her head.  Back to Soho watching on cause god forbid we see the match.  Back in time for the match-winning meteora.

And right back to Soho afterward as she was shown to be smiling.  Please no, not her vs Saraya.  Please.

Excalibur said Riho’s now beaten two of the other Outcasts, only Toni’s left.

Luther carried Storm down to the ring, she pointed at Riho all the way.  She took opera glasses into the ring to ‘help her see’ Riho (she’s small).  Riho hit a flurry, drop toe hold, 619, Storm cowered in the ropes.

Mariah May nailed Riho from behind with the belt and tried to celebrate.  Storm ignored her and didn’t seem to know who she was.  Just as I’m not sure who I’m supposed to like.  May didn’t seem pleased.

Storm was asking front row fans ‘Who is she?’.

Winner: Riho

Tony Schiavone took the mic to read a prepared statement from Christian Cage.  He’s decided to take his prodigy Nick Wayne on vacay.  But will return Saturday on Collision to address Copeland’s challenge (which they just assumed you knew about, it happened on Collision).

Not once did they even say what the challenge is.

*****

Max and Joe were arguing backstage.  Max said Joe wasn’t a good protector and walked off.  There just happened to be a black mask on the floor.  Outside the Mogul Embassy’s locker room.  Nana answered, Max grabbed him, Swerve came out, Max let Nana go.

Swerve said it was nice to see Max ‘eye to eye’ (he’s surprisingly much taller), he feels he’s been ducking him since he got here.

Max mocked Strickland’s music – crowd laughed, it was funny but wasn’t he fuming about finding a mask of the dudes who keep attacking him like a minute ago?.  He called him ‘Shane Strickland’ and said they had history.  They used to ride together.  Max sarcastically put him over.

But said he hasn’t been ducking him, ‘there’s levels to this shit and you’re just not on mine’.  Then said his music isn’t on ‘so neither’s your star power’.  Swerve said he did remember those car rides, Max is the best chauffeur he ever had.  And remembers when Max ‘turned into the whiny little bitch champion we see today’ during that segment with William Regal – ‘yeah, there are levels to this – you do tryouts, I sign contracts.  And be careful how you talk to me, cause the last person that did, I hung ‘em outside the ring in front of 13,000 people.  By a chain.’

‘Solid monologue bro,’ said MJF (Dude seriously f*** off, I’m sick of this ‘I’m so cool’, insider shit).  He again mockingly said he was proud of him.  And since Swerve brought up Hangman it made him think – Swerve clearly hates him enough to set him up as the Devil.  And is always talking about being world champ so having his goons take out other top guys would clear the way.

Part of him hopes Swerve is the Devil.  Since Swerve’s ‘looking at the Big Bad Wolf of professional wrestling and if I feel like it, I’ll blow your house down.’  (That is so lame, especially contrasted with Swerve’s easy cool).

Swerve said if he kept waving the title in front of him, he’d be the one to bring him hell.

The Embassy came out just as Samoa Joe came back.  He said he and Max had business elsewhere, Swerve told him to go handle it.  Nana told Swerve he’d forgot to ‘put him on about Collision’ and they went back into their locker room (yeah so that’s referring to Keith Lee telling Nana he’s coming for Swerve.  Since the announcers didn’t bother explaining.  You watch everything right?).

Having Swerve interact with the world champ is a nice touch and good idea.  Of which Max seems to have few – everything’s funny, everyone’s fair game to be put down by insider terms (‘star power’)  and more often that not, he comes across as a complete dick.  So unless he is going to be the Devil, that’s a problem.

Swerve was awesome here – love how poised he is – he doesn’t shout or get angry, he stays calm and hits back with a better jab.  It’s part of what makes him so cool – he’s unflappable.

Roderick Strong vs Komander

Backstory: In a bold new twist, Strong interrupted a Komander interview Sat.

Someone had a sign with ‘Adam Elite Wrestling’ – laughed – far more interesting than this match.  Komander kept trying to fly, Strong kept grounding him until the babyface did a bunch of show-off flips which left him off balance and the heel nailed him with a running knee – not a jot of sympathy.

Flying headscissors, dropkick, armdrag off the top – nice flurry, Strong down but hitting back with a kick to the gut then a backbreaker.  He tried to tear the mask off but settled for a shot to the spine.  Komander fought back briefly but was downed via kitchen sink.

A very sloppy headscissors spot left Strong outside to bring the break (Komander was clearly supposed to spring into it but didn’t get it and Strong had to shove Komander over the ropes and basically tip himself outside).

Komander countered a backbreaker into a headscissors, ducked a rushing Strong and a hit a spinning heel kick.  Couple forearm strikes, another very sloppy something (he was trying to run up Strong’s chest and didn’t), trip into the ropes, springboard cross body for two.

Strong fired a chop and set Komander atop the buckle, Komander tried a sunset bomb, Strong held on, Komander swept the legs then hit a phoenix splash – he landed knees-first, had to suck for Strong.

The Kingdom pulled Strong to safety, Komander hit a rope-walk moonsault onto all three – there was a kid in the crowd with a very genuine hands-on-head ‘wow!’ face – but springboarded into a leaping knee counter from Strong and End of Heartache as Strong won.

The Kingdom taped signs saying ‘MJF is the Devil’ around ringside.

Short and pretty sloppy.  Shame cause I’d enjoyed Komander’s work lately.  Continue to be baffled by how much tv time Strong gets.  He’s fine as a plot device but outside of that…

Renee joined Strong in the ring.  Strong yelled that ‘SAMOAAA’ needed to listen.  It’s obvious Max is the Devil – Hangman suggests it and gets taken out.  She said if Joe was going to take his advice he’d have done so by now.  Strong said that was ridiculous, since Joe is his best friend by proxy.

Winner: Roderick Strong

They played the angle from Collision that saw Thunder Rosa return to fight off Julia Hart and Skye Blue.  Then pushed the Collision card.

Lotta time left for the main event.  JR replaced Schiavone on comms.  Glad to see he’s doing better.

Jon Moxley vs Switchblade Jay White

Backstory: Mox is 4-0; White 3-1 – he needs to win to go through since he lost to Swerve (if he and Swerve both win we’ll have a three-way tie along with Mox)

JR put this over as a main event anywhere.  Moxley was shown backstage, mean-mug set, storming past a bunch of Xmas decs – fun juxtaposition.

White took things to new levels, bailing before they’d even locked up.  Then storming back in talking trash and being snatched into a choke, right into H&A, Mox looking for a Death Rider, settling for a piledriver, for two.

Now to the Bulldog, White rolled out under the ropes to break it.

Then was pasted around ringside.  Until Mox was sent to the steps.  White aiming shoulders to the gut then stomping Mox down in the corner back inside.  Until being punched back outside, introduced to the timekeeper’s table then dragged up the ramp.  And backdropped on it.  Excalibur picked a very bad time to remind us there’s a ten count.  Since there so obviously isn’t.

Crowd quiet here.  Until counting along as Mox hit ten in the corner, biting the forehead but missing a boot, taking a chop block and being knocked off the apron.

They were selling that he might not be able to continue as the ads arrived.

He was stuck in a Muta Lock as we returned, dead center.  Mox raked the eyes to escape, White did it back, aimed a chop to the front, one to the back, another, Moxley firing up, ignoring forearms to stomp White down in the corner.  Slaps to the back and a back rake atop the buckle, another bite – this one to the nose, superplex following, White rolled away to avoid the cover, lariat sending him outside.

Mox aiming a tope, landing it but tweaking his knee.  Looking for a suplex onto the steps; White countered into a front one.  Then grabbed a pair of chairs.  The ref talked him out of using one, White flung it into the ring, the ref chased after it like a puppy, White used the other to go after Moxley’s knee.

We’re getting a three-way aren’t we.

Mox barely made it back in, right into a Bladerunner attempt, he countered into a Paradigm Shift but couldn’t get a solid pin so White kicked out at two.  Chop fight time, maybe not, Mox slipped behind into a sleeper after two, White slipped free, dragon screw, looking for a hold, Mox countered via inside cradle for two, avoided a charge in the corner, rolling White through into a knee strike (almost Omega-like), White out at two.

Fist fight in the middle, Mox cutter out of nowhere, White hit back via sleeper suplex, uranage, near fall.  Until a few minutes ago this felt slow; now it feels like it’s built well – slick, fast, in-and-out of moves, counters and near falls.

Kiwi crusher for another close count.  Bladerunner coming, Mox punched his way out but took another sleeper suplex, though popped up to hit a lariat, White again tried a Bladerunner, Mox captured the wrist into another lariat.

This feels dramatic and hard to predict.

Readying a stomp, landing it, White flipped out of a Death Rider, hit the Bladerunner for the win at the fifteen minute announcement.

Fantastic last five minutes or so.  Glad they’re at least keeping White in the mix among the big boys.  And mixing up the semis by having one be a three-way.  Though guessing that just means White’s taking the pin.  Kudos to Mox for losing cleanly too, could’ve easily tapped to a knee-hold to give him an out.

Swerve hit the ramp to survey the scene; White mockingly did the Nana dance – absolutely hilarious.  To cap a good show.

Wait, not done, White clipped Mox’s knee again as the show ended.  Of course the cameras missed it.  White’s mimicking to the ref that Mox’s knee just gave out was also hilarious.  Great heel work.

Winner: Jay White

_________________________________________________________________

Next Collision:

  • Acclaimed & Billy Gunn vs Top Flight & Action Andretti (Trios Titles)
  • Thunder Rosa & Abadon vs Julia Hart & Skye Blue
  • Bryan Danielson vs Claudio Castagnoli
  • Eddie Kingston vs Andrade El Idolo
  • Brody King vs Daniel Garcia
  • Christian Cage promo
  • Brian Cage vs Keith Lee

Next Dynamite:

  • Jon Moxley vs Swerve Strickland vs Jay White (Gold League Final)
  • TBA vs TBA (Blue League Final)
  • MJF & Samoa Joe vs Devil’s Goons (ROH Tag Titles – if we actually get the match this time)

Added to World’s End:

  • Toni Storm vs Riho (Women’s Title)
  • Swerve/Mox/White vs TBA (Tournament Final)

Thumbs Up/Down

  • They made the tourney situation as clear as it could be, matches were good too, particularly the main event
  • Easy watch – mix of angles and action
  • I don’t believe the Devil reveal will be satisfactory – but they did an excellent job creating suspects, ones who are top guys too
  • And an excellent job featuring Swerve, making it clear he’s to be seen as a top star
  • Oh yeah, awesome crowd

 *****

  • Is there a ppv next week or not?
  • They continue to miss big on little details – making sure we knew what Copeland’s challenge was, explaining Keith Lee’s – which reinforce angles & feuds
  • MJF’s character – is he serious? Funny? Heel? Babyface?

Thank you for reading.  Really appreciate it and hope you have a great Christmas/whatever you choose to celebrate.

 

Paul Hemming
Paul Hemminghttps://h00kedon.weebly.com/
Paul Hemming got into AEW during the pandemic, lives in Liverpool, England, and is a huge Liverpool fan, Playstation player and history lover.

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