As is the case every December, Christmas is fast approaching, and All Elite Wrestling commemorated the occasion with its "Holiday Bash" edition of Dynamite.
This week's episode, which broadcasted from the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, presented the last series of matches from the Gold League in the Continental Classic Tournament. We also learned who will challenge "Timeless" Toni Storm for the AEW Women's World Championship at the Worlds End pay-per-view. Plus, we got the latest chapter in the "Who is the Devil?" mystery.
As you can see, there was plenty from this show to talk about. Specifically, we're going to discuss what went right on this week's Dynamite and what went wrong.
Right: Riho becomes the number one contender to the AEW Women's World Championship
After beating Ruby Soho last week, Riho looked to continue her blitz through The Outcasts by taking on Saraya. In the fairly standard encounter, the inaugural AEW Women's World Champion handled her fellow former champion after running her over with a big knee strike. With the win, Riho has gotten her revenge on her former tormentors and now sets her sights on the last Outcast (or former Outcast) and her world title.
Given that Riho confronted Toni Storm a couple of weeks ago and that Saraya is currently on the path to feuding with Soho, the result of this match was a forgone conslusion. Still, it's good when promotions score on the layup booking decisions. Now, we get to see a potentially good match between two outstanding workers at the December PPV.
Wrong: "The Devil" mystery storyline
Aside from the great wrestling, this week's Dynamite also continued the angle with The Devil and his goons. We aren't any closer to learning who the person under the mask is, but we heard more accusations directed at the original owner of the Devil mask, AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman, which set up a Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship match between him, Samoa Joe (acting as a surrogate for Adam Cole), and two Devil goons.
The whodunnit story also gained a new suspect: Swerve Strickland. Friedman confronted the red hot Strickland in front of the latter's locker room, but that entertaining mini roast session was primarily on the show to tease a potential match between the two young stars.
That was a welcome development, but it's hard to say the same for the rest of this storyline. Yes, throwing out red herrings is a hallmark of whodunnits, but these aren't adding the suspense that they are supposed to. It feels like AEW is waiting for Adam Cole to get healthy enough for him to be revealed as The Devil, but it turns these segments into filler that bogs down these shows.
Right: The Continental Classic Gold League concludes
Wednesday's Dynamite wrapped up group play in the Gold League of the Continental Classic. We opened up with Swerve Strickland taking on RUSH, with the latter looking to play spoiler and keep Strickland out of the semifinals. Despite his best efforts, however, that didn't happen; Strickland withstood his heavy-handed adversary to pick up the needed three points.
Then, Jay Lethal took on Mark Briscoe in a match with little on the line besides pride. Indeed, the former ROH standouts fought this match honorably, and Briscoe got the win to avoid ending his tournament with a goose egg. He and Lethal shook hands after the match, giving us another sign that Lethal might break away from Jeff Jarrett and his crew sooner rather than later.
Finally, John Moxley battled "Switchblade" Jay White in the main event. The match had no repurcussions for Moxley, but White needed a win here to turn the Gold League semifinals into a triple threat, and that's what the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion did. White took advantage of Mox's injured knee and dropped AEW's ace with a Blade Runner to score the pin in a good match.
Once again, the Continental Classic gave fans a set of compelling matches with varying stakes. It shows that promoters don't need to overcomplicate pro wrestling; stories that are focused on wrestlers trying to prove who's the best while positioning themselves for title shots will always resonate with audiences.