What went right/wrong on the Dec. 13 AEW: Dynamite


Arlington, Texas played host to the “Winter is Coming” edition of AEW: Dynamite. With the promotion saving some of its big matches for the upcoming Worlds End pay-per-view, this year’s television special didn’t have the same gravitas as past versions, but that didn’t impact the workrate we saw.

Aside from the continued specter of “The Devil” whodunnit hovering over the broadcast, this episode of Dynamite also included Blue and Gold League matches from the ongoing Continental Classic Round Robin tournament and the in-ring return of the promotion’s ace: RIHO!

We also saw other weird things (and that’s putting it generously) that brought the show’s quality down.

So what went right on this week’s Dynamite? What went wrong? Let’s talk about it.

Right: RIHO beats Ruby Soho

After returning last week to confront AEW Women’s World Champion “Timeless” Toni Storm, RIHO took on The Outcasts’ Ruby Soho to kickstart her quest for a title shot. With Storm watching the proceedings as a guest commentator, the inaugural women’s champ looked as sharp as usual in her first AEW match since April.

Her offense looked crisp (credit to Soho for being a good dance partner, too), and her selling was on point in this outing. More encouragingly, the fans ate up everything she did, proving that she should have a bigger role on the show (as should the rest of the women’s division).

RIHO scored the clean pin after hitting Soho with a running Meteora, which is the right finish for where both women are going. Soho seems destined to feud with Saraya to complete the breakup of The Outcasts, and losses like this will heighten Saraya’s frustration with her pal. As for RIHO, these are the matches she needs to win if the plan is for her to challenge Storm for the world title.

As for Storm, she provided some good lines on commentary — like when she compared RIHO being champion to buildings having asbestos — without overshadowing the match.

Wrong: Chris Jericho/Kenny Omega/Ricky Starks/Big Bill promo

In theory, a segment where Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, and especially Ricky Starks (along with Big Bill) sell a PPV match on the microphone is a thumbs-up idea. Unfortunately, reality didn’t meet those expectations.

Instead of exciting fans for their impending AEW World Tag Team Championship clash with a heated promo exchange, the four men workshopped their insult material, which included several references to Bill’s old tag team with Enzo Amore in WWE and Jericho trying and failing to get several bad nicknames for Bill and Starks over with the crowd (though it did give the announcers an opening to advertise Billie Starkz vs. Athena for Final Battle).

These are the sort of misfires that critics of Jericho point to when they say he’s no longer a net positive for AEW. For him particularly, this felt more self-aggrandizing than productive. For sure, all four men can get this back on track, but it will take a couple of really hot angles to make fans forget about this blunder.

Right: The Continental Classic continues

We are nearing the home stretch of the Continental Classic, and this episode of Dynamite kept the momentum going with four more matches from both blocks.

First, Andrade El Idolo faced the House of Black’s Brody King in the night’s lone offering from the Blue League. We’ve heard plenty about Andrade’s contract status over the last few weeks, but that chatter certainly hasn’t affected his performances, and he once again shined in this match before getting the pinfall win. King also looked impressive as he continues to cement himself as one of the best big men in the sport.

We then returned to the Gold side with RUSH vs. Jay Lethal. AEW kept this one short, as it didn’t reach five minutes, but the finish at least sold RUSH being upset over his loss to Jon Moxley through him making Lethal tap to a similar chokehold to Moxley’s. Meanwhile, AEW continues telling the story of Lethal becoming too reliant on Jeff Jarrett and Sonjay Dutt and struggling when they aren’t at ringside.

Then, “Switchblade” Jay White beat Mark Briscoe in a very good match to keep his tournament hopes alive. And in the main event, Jon Moxley survived a gruff battle with the red-hot Swerve Strickland. It was the usual Moxley slugfest, and Strickland once again kept up with his opponent’s signature style. Yes, Strickland lost, but it took Mox hooking his tights to get the pin that wasn’t even a pin (Strickland’s shoulder was up), somewhat protecting Strickland.

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At some point, we will fully evaluate the Continental Classic, but these matches highlighted why fans have enjoyed the tournament so far.