7 Ups & 2 Downs From AEW Dynamite (December 20 - Results & Review)

Mark Briscoe is a delight on a show with a great plot development wasted...

Swerve Strickland MJF

After a putrid stretch of television in the build towards Full Gear, the Continental Classic has done much to restore faith in AEW's creative process.

Where for much of 2023, fans seemed happy to accept Daniel Garcia's comedy prelim role as a thrusting meme, his C2 arc - of the wrestler within surfacing more with every loss, each more narrow than the last - has raised his stock immeasurably. Several wrestlers have won three consecutive matches in AEW this year - but because his wins were framed to really matter, and awarded with points, Andrade el Idolo has never felt more like a concern in the promotion. His brute force and motivated performance levels have helped too; the great thing about a round robin tournament is that it is a competition within a competition. The characters want to win it; the wrestlers want to steal it.

Bryan Danielson sold an entire arena on a worked injury and has flitted seamlessly between sadist bully and undying underdog. Claudio Castagnoli has been on fire too, displaying his mutant strength and, against Eddie Kingston, panicked urgency. Even in taking two losses, the awesome Brody King feels like an otherworldly horror.

You'll notice that every name mentioned above is part of the Blue League.

Did the Dynamite-exclusive Gold League finally have a night worthy of stealing Collision's buzz...?


Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champions Kenny Omega and MJF, and current Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!