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AEW Dynamite preview (Dec. 13, 2023): Swerve Strickland is now a top star

AEW Dynamite

Dynamite airs tonight (Dec. 13) with a live show from College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. This is the fourth episode of Dynamite during the six week build towards Worlds End, which takes place on December 30.

Swerve Strickland is now a top star in AEW

This year’s Winter is Coming episode of Dynamite is finally here, and it features a whopping four matches in the Continental Classic tournament.

The headlining match of the bunch is Jon Moxley vs. Swerve Strickland, who both sit atop the standings for the Gold League with 9 points each. They are currently the only wrestlers in the tournament with a 3-0 record, so this is essentially the biggest match left in the Continental Classic.

For Moxley, there’s nothing unusual about being in this spot. He’s been a top star in AEW since the day he entered the promotion over four years ago, and is a workhorse who has carried the company on his back during multiple critical stretches.

Swerve, on the other hand, is finally moving towards the top of the card in AEW coming off his incredible Texas Death match with Hangman Page at Full Gear. Live audiences have been popping for Swerve, who might have to turn babyface if this keep up. Out of all the wrestlers released by WWE over the last few years, Strickland’s inclusion on that list has always been a head-scratcher because of how obvious his talent, charisma, and potential star power is. Someone in WWE was a terrible talent evaluator on that one, and AEW is now reaping the rewards.

So, who is favored to win when Mox and Swerve go at it tonight?

First, it’s important to know that two men will advance from the round-robin portion of the Gold League to fight each other in the Gold League Finals on the Dec. 27 episode of Dynamite. That means we could be seeing Mox vs. Swerve again in just two weeks.

Based on the current standings, Jay White is the only other Gold Leaguer who has a decent chance to end up in that match besides Mox or Swerve. And wouldn’t you know it, Moxley vs. Jay White is still remaining on the schedule as each guy’s last match in the round-robin portion of the tournament. If Jay White can win tonight, then his match next week against Moxley will have maximum drama if Moxley either loses to Swerve or has a draw. In either one of those cases, White can bump Moxley out of the top two in the standings by beating him next week.

So, the tournament math suggests a loss is not in the cards for Swerve tonight. But the only way to find out for sure is to tune into Winter is Coming and see what happens when the two 3-0 Gold League wrestlers clash in the main event.

The rest of tonight’s lineup

In addition to Moxley vs. Swerve, the other Gold League matches booked for tonight include Rush (3 points) vs. Jay Lethal (0 points) and Jay White (6 points) vs. Mark Briscoe (0 points). As already explained, Jay White needs to win his match to reach 9 points and be in position to overtake the loser of Moxley vs. Swerve next week. Meanwhile, Rush is hanging on by a thread and will wrestle Swerve next week, so he’ll probably win here and keep Lethal winless.

Winter is Coming also gets a bonus tournament match from the Blue League. Brody King and Andrade El Idolo are the only wrestlers in the Continental Classic who have yet to compete three times, so they’ll make up for that deficit tonight when they go one-on-one. Like Mox and Swerve, they are the only undefeated wrestlers (each 2-0) in the Blue League, and the winner will take sole possession of the top spot in the league standings.

If you aren’t so interested in all the tournament hoopla, then AEW still has room for two more matches at Winter is Coming. First up is the in-ring return of Riho. The first-ever AEW Women’s World Champion is back in AEW to win that title from “Timeless” Toni Storm. Before that happens, though, Riho has a tune-up match tonight against Ruby Soho, who helped put her on the shelf many months ago.

The final match advertised for tonight is Hangman Page vs. Roderick Strong. Roddy ditched his wheelchair last week but still has that neck brace. Hangman would normally be favored here given he’s a former AEW world champion. But the cowboy did get into it with AEW World Champion MJF last week over the identity of The Devil, so maybe Page will become The Devil’s latest victim.

Speaking of MJF, we will hear tonight from his Worlds End challenger Samoa Joe. MJF was seemingly taken out by The Devil last week, so we’ll see what Joe has to say about how that all transpired.

We’ll also hear from The Golden Jets. Assuming this isn’t a pre-taped promo, it will be Chris Jericho’s first appearance on Dynamite since he was injured backstage at Full Gear by AEW World Tag Team Champions Ricky Starks and Big Bill. Will Chris and Kenny Omega set an official date for their upcoming title match against Ricky and Big?

Last but not least, the Von Erich family is scheduled for an appearance tonight, just in time for the release of The Iron Claw movie.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Will there be any fallout tonight following last week’s show-closing angle where Nick Wayne’s mom helped Christian Cage defeat Adam Copeland and retain the TNT championship? Is Copeland looking to get his hands on Christian again at Worlds End, perhaps with a gimmick that will prevent outside interference?

- Is it time yet for AEW World Trios Champions Daddy Ass & The Acclaimed to return and get revenge on The Devil’s masked goons?

- AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy needs a challenger for Worlds End. Which heel on the roster is willing to deal with a potential Danhausen curse in order to get their hands on Orange’s gold?

- ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta challenged FTW Champion HOOK to a fight under FTW rules. What exactly are those rules, and when will this fight take place?

- It looks like there will be some kind of weapons tag match coming up pitting Kris Statlander & Willow Nightingale vs. Mercedes Martinez & Diamante. Is this match going to end up on Friday’s ROH PPV, or will Tony Khan book it for an AEW event?

- Sammy Guevara should be on his way back to AEW (and the Don Callis Family) soon after missing time due to a concussion.

- TBS Champion Julia Hart and Abadon are about to have a very spooky feud for that belt.

- Sting made his AEW debut three years ago at the first-ever Winter is Coming. Surely the retiring legend will have to factor into tonight’s broadcast in some form, right?

- This is the first Winter is Coming event without an AEW world championship match.

- It sounds like Jack Perry is no longer suspended by AEW, so where the f*** is he?

What will you be looking for on Dynamite?

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