During the Full Gear PPV broadcast, Ring of Honor World and New Japan Strong Openweight champion Eddie Kingston announced that he’d be putting his belts on the line in upcoming Continental Classic tournament. He also revealed the winner of the 12 man round robin would receive a new AEW Continental title.
It left fans with some questions, which Tony Khan attempted to clear up later at the Full Gear media scrum after the show. The AEW & ROH owner explained he has NJPW’s permission to merge what’s been the top prize for their United States-based roster with the two from his brands:
“New Japan has cleared this — Eddie is their champion, and New Japan is aware. The winner of the AEW Continental Classic will be the New Japan Strong Openweight champion, they’ll be the Ring of Honor World champion, and they will be the AEW Continental champion. So we are unifying all three titles. It will be a Triple Crown, and forming a Triple Crown of three titles, it’ll be the Ring of Honor World title, the New Japan Strong Openweight title, and this tournament.”
So we guess the new championship will show up in all three promotions? New Japan still has Strong Tag and Women’s titles... will the Triple Crown title be the main belt for them in the U.S. (especially as the IWGP U.S. title is going away at Wrestle Kingdom on Jan. 4, too)? Does it become the top title for ROH, or will that now be the TV championship? Does this mean no World title match on Ring of Honor’s upcoming Final Battle PPV? Will we get one of Kingston’s tournament matches there instead?
Whatever the answers to those questions, TK dismissed the notion he’s creating another title. Instead, he’s consolidating them (including one he’s creating).
Less confusing were the other rules Khan revealed at the presser this weekend. Scoring will follow soccer’s lead rather than most wrestling round robins: 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, no points for a loss. No one is allowed at ringside with the competitors. That’s to cut down on interference, which will presumably be handled under standard disqualification rules if it does occur and result in a loss for the wrestler it benefits.
So far, there are four men announced for the Continental Classic: Bryan Danielson, Andrade El Ídolo, Mark Briscoe & Kingston. It starts on Dynamite this Wednesday (Nov. 22). The finals take place on Dec. 30 at Worlds End. UPDATE: Per TK, the rest of the field will be introduced on a livestream before this week’s Dynamite:
This Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, AEW Continental Classic Selection Special, all 12 fighters announced, interviews + more!— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) November 21, 2023
The Selection Special streams this Wednesday + that same night, celebrate Thanksgiving Eve with Continental Classic matches this Wednesday on #AEWDynamite! pic.twitter.com/6rOW22LaWA
Excited, even if you still have questions too?