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  • Connor Ewens

Let's Review: AEW World's End 2023

Happy New Years Eve! On the final day of the year I'm dropping my final review of the year for the final major wrestling show of the year. Lots of finals. It's a return to Tony Khan's madhouse for their inaugural Worlds End show, which honestly hasn't been as poorly built as other shows this year. It'll be AEW's first PPV foray into New York at the legendary Nassau Coliseum. The main focus recently has been on the Continental Classic, a G1-style tournament to crown the first ever AEW Continental champion. Eddie Kingston participated and announced his ROH and NJPW Strong titles would also be on the line, dubbing all three titles the Triple Crown. If you think that this almost guaranteed Kingston would appear in the finals, you're right as he defeated Bryan Danielson to top his group. The other group was won by Jon Moxley, a man we have already seen feud with Eddie and also a man who doesn't really need this. Jay White or Swerve Strickland were far better choices. Elsewhere, we have big title matches, big rivalries and most likely a big reveal. The identity of The Devil who has been tormenting MJF will most likely be revealed tonight. Who will it be? Will it be Tony Khan himself? Maybe Roderick Strong? Maybe it's the 1989 Denver Broncos? Let's find out. Let's review.


AEW: Worlds End - December 30th 2023, Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York


Zero-Hour


Willow Nightinggale vs Kris Statlander

This is a friendly rivalry between two competitors who are from the local area but in different counties. They simply want to prove who is better. This was for the most part solidly worked but very sloppy with a few botches. Both women worked hard. Willow put Kris away with the Doctor Bomb, Stokely Hathaway is disappointed that they're still friends.


Willow wins by pinfall

**


-teaser for a returning Serena Deeb, she is one of the best women's wrestlers AEW have so I'm glad to see her return


Battle Royal

The winner will earn a future TNT title shot. You have your usual crop of AEW and ROH midcarders. It starts with a mess on the outside, my only issue with it starting on the outside is why tf would anyone get in the ring so quickly? Action Andretti chugs a bottle of water in seconds and runs the ropes. Is that the best personality trait he has? Also drinking so much water and running around is surely not good. Lance Archer, Danhausen, Trent & Killswitch are left. Trent & Danhausen team up on Archer, they hug in the ring and Trent throws him out. Trent is eliminated and Killswitch wins.


A standard boring battle royal. Killswitch winning is a disappointment since he is a recent former champion and also his patriarch Christian Cage is the champion. I'm predicting an Adam Copeland win tonight then.


Killswitch wins last eliminating Trent

*


Hook (c) vs Wheeler Yuta, FTW Rules, FTW Championship

Wheeler is the only 3 time ROH Pure champion and believes he can beat Hook no matter what rules they wrestle under. This was a competitive back and forth fight. A bit of wrestling and a bit of hardcore wrestling, Hook retains in his own backyard with his Redrum finish. This was fun.


Hook retains by submission

**1/2


Main Card


Brody King, Jay Lethal, Rush & Jay White vs Claudio Castagoli, Bryan Danielson, Mark Briscoe & Danny Garcia

All of these competed in the Continental Classic, this match is dubbed an All-Star 8-man like they do in the NBA. Lethal is then only man to not score any points in the league and that is such a disservice to how good Lethal is as a wrestler. McGuinness absolutely rinses Bryan for crying about losing the CC finals, I'm sure we're getting a final Nigel match at this point down the line. The reaction to White vs Bryan was hot. Matt Meynard is on commentary supporting ally Garcia and comes face to face with Brody King. This was a good match that worked a fast paced. Everyone took their turns to get their offence in and they all looked good. The finish comes as Daniel Garcia reverses Jay Lethal's Lethal Injection with a roll-up pinfall to win. Lethal's losing streak continues which looks like they might turn into an arc. Garcia gets a big victory and earns some respect. Good stuff.


Team Garcia wins by pinfall

***


Andrade El Idolo w/CJ Perry vs Miro

Miro doesn't want CJ involved in wrestling, but CJ likes managing her first client has become Andrade. Miro takes this personally and wants Andrade to stay away. I think that's the jist. These two are good wrestlers, but this did not click at first. This was long and dull for the most part. The crowd weren't sure who is the established heel or face so they didn't fully support either guy. It's rumoured Andrade is going to be out of the company soon so maybe he didn't try as hard. The match got better in the final stages, I liked Andrade using the figure 4 and the figure 8 in respect to his wife and father in law. CJ then screwed over Andrade to break the figure four and helped Miro win though he didn;t seem to be happy about her involvement. This was okay, the CJ & Andrade angle feels rushed but I get it if he is leaving. This was solid, but disappointing.


Miro wins by submission

**1/2


Toni Storm (c) /Luther vs Riho, Women's Championship

Toni is the most interesting character in AEW's women's division and by far the most over with her awesome 'Timeless' gimmick. This was another match that did not click. Toni did some great in-ring work and character work but Riho was all over the place. Barely selling unless you count lying down motionless as selling, her offence was weak and botchy. Storm needs actually good wrestlers to work with for crying out loud. I used to like Riho but she ain't all that now.


Storm retains by pinfall

**


Swerve Strickland w/Prince Nana vs Dustin Rhodes

Fuck me. The Swerve vs Keith Lee feud is again postponed due to Lee's health issues. I feel bad for the guy, I hope he recovers soon. The feud has been going on for so long and we were so close to getting out pay off. Oh well. Could they really not find anyone else to fill in for Keith other than Dustin Rhodes? I respect the guy, but he is in the last tier of people I wanted to watch this evening. Swerve stomps on his ankle on a cinderblock and it should have just been called off there. Of course, against Doctors orders, Dustin wants to continue the match anyways. This was pretty lifeless and also annoying. A legend like Dustin should know better than this. He gets his ankle crushed with the cinder block but a few minutes later he is able to be hitting Canadian Destroyers and the likes effortlessly? This should have been a 5 minute strong win for Swerve, but no he was taken to the limit by a wrestling ghost on the verge of retirement. This made Swerve look so weak and Dustin overpowered. Swerve eventually wins.


Strickland wins by pinfall

*3/4


Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Sting & Darby Allin vs Konosuke Takeshita, Powerhouse Hobbs, Big Bill & Ricky Starks w/Don Callis

Omega & Jericho had a title match scheduled, but Omega has came down with Diverticulitis so it has been cancelled. I hope he is okay. I also hope Jericho has recovered from his Christmas Day meltdown on Twitter. He gets a quite a few boos here even though he is the face. Jericho was saved by a returning Sammy last week, though I thought they were done as allies but I guess they're not. This match was a fever dream. It was like I was watching 2015 WWE once again, the crowd booing what they don't want to see and chanting for CM Punk. I hope this show is a wake up call to do something else with Jericho, because the fans have turned on him hard. I had a quick search and read about the allegations made about Jericho and harassment towards Kylie Rae. Yikes. I probably would have not had him on PPV, but it's another bad call by Tony Khan. It was really hard to watch because the crowd response really threw the match off. Darby bumped like a pro, Sammy looked good and Sting did his stuff. Jericho didn't look good in there and the heels were cheered any time they attacked Jericho. This was a hot mess, but it's not fully the workers fault. I feel bad for them. Sammy hits a shooting star press to win, I guess they're planning on a Le Sex Gods title match which is a TERRIBLE IDEA. Tony, DO NOT book a man into a title match who is being publicly called out for sexual harrassment. Whether it's true or not, it's bad press. Ricky Starks flipping him off and tagging out when he enters was funny, I don't know if it was related but I like to think so.


Team Sammy wins by pinfall

*3/4


Julia Hart (c) vs Abadon, TBS Championship

Biting is allowed. Cool. I am not looking forward to this. Whilst I think Abadon looks cool and at least they are unique, but they are also not a good wrestler. Another boring, plodding match with sloppy offence. It didn't have a good story to even hide the shortcomings. Julia is too young and inexperienced to be carrying below average wrestlers. Skye Blue gets involved and helps Julia retain. This was pretty bad, pretty heatles and probably the worst thing on the show. I have already wrote up my end of year awards, but this is a bonus late nominee for worst match of the year.


Hart retains by pinfall

*1/4


Christian Cage (c) w/Nick Wayne & Mother Wayne vs Adam Copeland, No DQ, TNT Championship.

Former best friends and tag partners, now bitter rivals. Copeland arrived in AEW and immediately came to challenge the rising Patriarch. They've had a match already which Cage won in screwy fashion which was lame, hopefully this will not repeat the mistakes. We get a tables chant after a minute because wrestling fans are the worst. A TLC chant is far more appreciative. This is a fight, Adam attacks Christian on the ramp and the big brawl begins. You can rely on these two veterans to deliver the goods. After the early flurry, Christian dodges a spear and begins to dissect his ex-BFF. The chair-assisted Boston crab was cool. Adam dodges a pipe shot and begins to fight back. The pipe-assisted cross-face was a cool visual. Out comes the ladders, a bloodied Adam smiling away. Cage hits a big sunset flip powerbomb to Adam from the top of the ladder! Tables are set up by Nick Wayne, Adam prepares to hit a conchairto on Cage but Wayne stops it. Adam chairs him and spears him through a table. A pinfall is stoppped by Mother Wayne. Adam kicks out of a big killswitch. The set a table on fire! They botch the powerbomb trying to rush the spot but thats okay, it's a very dangerous spot. Adam hits the Unprettier, Cage's own finisher and pins him!


Boy, this weak ass card NEEDED a match like this. A fantastic war between tow foes who perfectly sell their hatred for each other and work a brutal match. Copeland winning was a bit predictable thanks to the Killswitch win earlier so I imagine we will see that match next week or something. Great match.


Copeland wins by pinfall

****1/2


-Killswitch attacks Copeland and prepares to cash in his match now. Christian convinces him to surrender to contract to him, Cage signs it and he beats Copeland in about 10 seconds to reclaim his title! Interesting. I liked the angle a lot, Killswitch looked reluctant but obedient. Copeland feels screwed again, this sets up one final match. I'd love to see a big match at Revolution, ladder match maybe?


Eddie Kingston (c) vs Jon Moxley, ROH Championship, NJPW Strong Championship & vacant Continental Championship (Triple Crown)

Former friends, then foes, then friends and now foes again. The tournament comes to an end here. Whilst the whole Triple Crown thing is a cool concept, it really made this feel predictable because it would be lame to see Eddie lose his titles in this way, but I am also glad Kingston is in this position to be high on the card. We get an even wrestling contest, then an exchange of strikes. A big dive by Eddie sees him crash head first into the barricade which looked brutal. The story throughout is how evenly matched they both are, matching each other for strikes and moves. Both men are also willing to do anything to win, Eddie biting out of holds and Mox raking the eyes to gain the upperhand. The chop-off was stiff as. We move into a submission off, Kingston gets to the ropes to prevent a choke-out. Eddie almost wins out of nowhere with a spinning backfist.


Firstly, it's really nice to watch a PPV Moxley match where he doesn't just bleed everywhere and use weapons. This was an even, stiffly-worked wrestling contest between two tough lads. Kingston going over was the right call, but good work by Moxley who wrestled a good match and sold well. Post match Moxley hugs him and Eddie soaks in the crowd love. A good moment.


Kingston wins by pinfall

****


MJF (c) w/Adam Cole vs Samoa Joe, AEW Championship

MJF is the longest reigning AEW champion of all time and maybe has been the greatest. He has been feuding with Samoa Joe, but they briefly formed an alliance as Joe offered his help to defend the ROH tag titles in exchange for a title shot. It was since revealed that Joe was using MJF and has been working alongside the Devil to get what he wants. MJF gets a great Long Island themed pre-entrance video because he is a local. MJF goes into this injured so Joe is on the offence a lot, being the big and dominant heel. MJF does an awesome job selling his arm injury throughout. The muscle buster on the apron is very dangerous, that looked like an awful bump to take. Cole sells his shock well. MJF uses any tactic he can to fight back, the heat-seeking missile gets a good near fall. They duel over submissions until a referee bump. MJF is happy and uses a low blow. Adam Cole is fired up and tries to help Max win but fumbles getting the ring out for him, Samoa captures him in the submission and MJF cannot answer the 3 count. We have a new world champion.


This was a very good match with a very well told story. The arm injury came into play throughout the match, MJF looked like a survivor but he could not outlast the dominance of Joe. He nearly had an avenue to cheat but the delay by Cole getting the ring ultimately cost him.


Samoa Joe wins by submission

***1/2


-Joe leaves, Cole consoles MJF as the minions of the Devil arrive. They grab both men, teasing who they're going to hit then the lights go out. They come up, and the minions are revealed to be Roderick Strong, Wardlow and the Kingdom, led by Adam Cole himself. MJF is beaten down as Cole laughs. They stand over MJF as the show closes.


-Predictable? Yes, but by far the best case scenario. Cole is far better as a heel. I read someone say "it's not about the reveal, it's about why and what follows" which I somewhat agree with. Cole should have a good explanation for what he did because his followers have history with MJF that already support their involvement. I'm glad to see Wardlow is back in the fold too. I can already see that MJF might have to do "The Trials of Adam Cole" to get a match with him, like MJF did to Cody and Jericho years back. The Devil shtick didn't flop, so we will see if it actually pays off.


Overall- 53.9%

This is easily AEW's worst show in their short history. It started off well enough but then we had 4 matches in a row which could be considered disappointing or bad. At least the final 3 matches lived up to expectations. Throw in the Keith Lee injury, the Kenny Omega injury, the Chris Jericho allegations, AEW were fighting an uphill battle I admit. But they could have done a lot of things differently to prevent this show being as bad in the middle as it was.


MOTN- Christian Cage vs Adam Copeland


Thanks for reading my final 2023 review, I hope you have a nice day and all the best heading into 2024. See ya!




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