After more than a month of round robin matches, AEW’s inaugural Continental Classic tournament was down to five men. On the Dec. 27 Dynamite, Jon Moxley, Jay White & Swerve Strickland faced off to determine who would represent the Gold League in the final at Saturday’s Worlds End PPV, while Bryan Danielson & Eddie Kingston battled to see who would advance from the Blue League.
The Triple Threat led off the episode, and we were quickly reminded that tonight’s matches wouldn’t be contested under the same rules as the ones that led to it. The announce team also informed us tonight’s semi-finals would have no time limit, as we had to have winners. And since Triple Threats are no disqualification, Mox, Swerve and Switchblade were hardly in the ring at all in the early going of this one... not that referees have been strictly enforcing countouts at any point during the C2.
There MUST be a winner tonight, the rules are out the window!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 28, 2023
It’s the #AEWContinentalClassic LEAGUE FINALS on #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS!@SwerveConfident | @JayWhiteNZ | @JonMoxley pic.twitter.com/myurXrL3Fb
White took advantage of the looser rules to again target the leg injury Moxley’s dealt with for weeks. That allowed Strickland to focus his attention on Switchblade for much of the middle portion of the match. Mox got back into things (after the first commercial break, natch), and tried to use some plunder — but Switchblade beat him to it.
That chair ended up costing Switchblade when he was sent headfirst into one he set up in the ropes. He recovered to shove Strickland to the floor before he could put Moxley away with a Stomp, but when he went for Blade Runner Mox countered it and hit a Death Rider. Swerve couldn’t break up the pin, and the Blackpool Combat Club secured a spot in Dec. 30’s Triple Crown championship match.
The Blue League final came at the top of the hour, and it looked like Danielson’s domination of Kingston would continue in the early going. The American Dragon did a little too much trash talking however, and the crowd’s support combined with Eddie’s fighting spirit brought him back into the match.
A back-and-forth sequence took them to the top rope, where Kingston managed to land on Bryan’s injured eye on a throw.
That slowed but didn’t stop the Dragon, who also survived a lariat/Northern Lights Bomb combo to hit his Busaiku Knee for a nearfall. Even after hammer-and-anvil elbows and getting his f’n head kicked in, Eddie wouldn’t stay down. He survived to hit a pair of Uraken backfists, then stacked Danielson up after a powerbomb to keep his defense of the Ring of Honor World & NJPW Strong Openweight championships (2/3 of the Triple Crown, with the new AEW Continental belt).
With Bryan still writhing on the mat, his BCC teammate Mox came to check on his... and to say a little something to his long-time friend and occasional rival. The Gold League winner said that all he’s ever asked of Eddie is 100%. Moxley pointed out how Kingston’s fans love him, so he better give his all — but he knows that Eddie doesn’t believe he can win.
The self-proclaimed King of the Bums fired back, telling Mox not to treat him like one of his young boy b****es. He promised to bring his fighting spirit on Saturday, and said Mox better bring his because he’s gonna bust him open and he’s gonna enjoy it.
Like a true baller, the Mad King then called for his own music to end the segment.
Anyone betting against the underdog this weekend?
Get complete results and coverage of everything on tonight’s New Year’s Smash edition of Dynamite here.