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Worker of the Week 50

We're coming into the home stretch of 2023 and we get one of the most uunexpectidely awesome weeks of pro wrestling so far this year. AEW's Continental Classic ramped up even more, with some of the best matches of the tournament happening in the past seven days. ROH Final Battle continued the great tradition of brilliant Tony Khan PPVs, even if the card looked a little rocky a week out from the show. DPW also had their 2nd anniversary show which saw some shocking results and incredible matches.


RevPro had their big "Uprising" event the 16th, unfortunately couldn't watch it, but the buzzworthy matches will still be reflected in the honourable mentions seciton.


 

Honourable Mentions:


- Jon Moxley (Jon Moxley vs Swerve Strickland & BCC vs Dem Top Boys, AEW & ROH, 13/12 & 15/12)

- Ethan Page (Ethan Page vs Tony Nese, ROH, 13/12)

- Dante & Darius Martin (Martin Bros & Action vs Penta, Komander, & Vikingo, AEW, 15/12)

- Andrew Everett (Andrew Everett vs BK Westbrook, DPW, 16/12)

- Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (Motor City Machine Guns vs Workhorsemen, DPW, 16/12)

- Miyuki Takase (Emi Sakura vs Miyuki Takase, DPW, 16/12)

- Willow Nightingale & Kris Statlander (Willow & Kris vs Martinez & Diamante, AEW, 16/12)

- Andrade El Idolo (Andrade El Idolo vs Claudio Castagnoli, AEW, 16/12)

- Tomohiro Ishii vs Luke Jacobs (RevPro, 16/12)

- Will Ospreay vs Gabe Kidd (RevPro, 16/12)


 


 

#10 - Black Taurus



Black Taurus sneaks onto the list in the final week with an impressive ROH debut against El Hijo del Vikingo for the AAA Mega Championship at Final Battle.


This was one of Taurus' first big showcases on a stage the size of ROH and he definitely made the most of it. In fact when you think about it, why hasn't he been lauded even more than he already is? He excels against highflyers (for obvious reasons), being a brilliant base for Vikingo in this bout, both making the champ look great, but also using his power to catch Vikingo multiple time's throughout the match and threw him around the ring with ease. This, complemented by his, quite frankly, godly presentation and gimmick, makes him one of the most under-rated wrestlers in the world today, in my opinion.


And on top of all this Taurus himself is great at dives and "flippy shit", busting out a Whirling Candy through the ropes to the outside. Sure there were a few botches in the match, but thats what you get when you go full Lucha, and is sometimes part of the charm. Taurus looked great though, and I hope he becomes a reguar in ROH and AEW now that his deal with AAA is done.


 

#8 & 9 - Mike Bailey & Jake Something



Heading over to DPW now, and the unusual team of Mike Bailey and Jake Something tagged up against DPW National Champion Bryan Keith and the debuting Titus Alexander.


This was a wonderful little exhibition match with a bunch of defined and unique characters going at it. Bailey as the fast paced striker, Something as the monster that comes in when you least expected it and just tosses someone across the ring, Keith being the calculated beatdown guy, and finally Alexander as the scumbag heel attacking people from behind and trying any little dirty trick to get the advantage. It made for an exciting match that put everyone over, in some way or another, in the process.


Bailey and Something had really great chemisty because of how diametrically opposed they are, similar to Monster Sauce and ELP & Hikuleo. They don't do too many double team moves, but rather set each other up for moves or help out at exactly the right time.


There's nothing new to say about Bailey's performance in particular this time, but that just goes to show how consistantly amazing he is in the ring. the kicks are always on point, the flips executed perfectly, and the way he gets the audience into the match is superb. One of my favourite parts of the match was when Speedball and Keith rekindled their chop battle from the four way National Title match back at DPW 3, but this time with a lot more intensity than the more lighthearted exchange the two had with VIF.


Jake Something really stood out to me in this match too. There was a lot more intensity and roughness to him that I haven't seen much of before, at least not to this degree. The Deadlock boys seem to be very high on him too, so I'm ready to see more of this on DPW shows in the future!


 

#7 - Daniel Garcia



Continental Classic action up next, as the winless Daniel Garcia faced off with Eddie Kingston on AEW Collision this week. This was a big match for both of them as a loss would mean they would be elimiated from the tournament, and this significance was definitely expressed in the match.


The story of Garcia in this tournament has been one of the best things about it. His struggle in each match becoming more and more as he improves, but still fails at the last hurdle every time. I talked about it months ago when Garcia faced off with Shibata for the ROH Pure title, and it still applies today. Danny's fighting spirit is "the dance", "the dance" isn't his sports entertainer side coming out, its his guts, his determination, his will to win. This was perfectly portrayed when he was getting chopped to shit by Eddie in the corner, who needed the win too, and went against the ref's count to land as many shots in has he could on Garcia, but he just wouldn't stop dancing.


The rest of the match was just amazing, with Danny on the recieving end for the most part, but getting in some passionate comebacks on Eddie who was fighting just as hard to stay in the tournament. Which brings me to my next point. Daniel didn't really fuck up at any point in this match. Normally he would get caught out of the Dragon Slayer or dance at the wrong time, but this time he was just out matched by Eddie's fighting spirit as he was on the verge of losing both his titles and the chance to become the first American Triple Crown holder.


A great match in the Blue League and another step on Garcia's road to redemption.


 

#6 - Bryan Keith



Bryan Keith had one of his most high profile weeks of his entire career this week, wrestling in DPW, ROH, and AEW, all in one week. He had the tag team match in DPW that I talked about earlier, but also had two matches at ROH Final Battle, qualifying for and wrestling in the Survival of the Fittest match for the ROH World TV title. He then challenged Orange Cassidy for the AEW International title on Collision the next night!


I've already talked about the DPW match so I'll get straight into his match on the Final Battle Zero Hour against Jack Cartwheel. It was a really fun sprint of a match that saw Jack get the vast majority of the offence, with a variaty of cartwheel based moves that really impressed the crowd and got them hot for a great night of action ahead. Keith was on the backfoot for most of the match, only really getting in some big offence in at the end, stopping Jack's momentum with some nasty knees to the head that always look brutal.


The survival of the fittest match itself was amazing, particularly down the stretch where it was nice to see Bryan Keith staying until the final three. With six people in the match it's always hard to stand out unless you make it to the final two, but Keith showed out and had the Texas crowd behind him in this one as he landed a lot of his signature offence like the Tiger Driver and the knockout knee. He got the pin on Moriarty, but was eliminated by Fletcher a few minutes later.


His final match of the week was against Orange Cassidy for the International belt and it was a lot better at showcasing him to a wider audience. Not only showing his amazing in ring ability, but also how his character handled the antics of the King of Sloth Style. It was a good hard-hitting bout that made Keith look really strong, especially when he hit the knee on OC as he falling to the mat, a move that looks so real compared to a lot of other knee strikes in the business.


Overall a standout week for the "Bounty Hunter" and one that made the idea of Keith in AEW/ROH much more plassiable than ever before. Especially with that Still Tippin' theme being licenced!


 

#5 - Kyle Fletcher



Speaking of the Survival of the Fittest match for the ROH TV title, the winner, Kyle Fletcher, is #5 this week! He was part of the match along with Keith, Komander, Dalton Castle, Lee Moriarty, and Lee Johnson, making it all the way to the end and picking up his first (non-hardcore 24/7 rule) singles title in his career!


Fletcher came out with a completely different look and music on Friday, red veins painted all over the right side of his body and "Heavy Lies the Head" written on his shoulder blade. This new look carried over to his in-ring style too, which seems to have gotten even more brutal, especially during the latter portions of the match. At the beginning, however, Kyle and Castle had a fun little game of how many times can I throw Dalton out of the ring, which turned out to be quite a lot. This was a fun mini story within a long match, and it helped juxtapose how ferocious Kyle got towards the end where he and Komander had one of the best endings to a match all year.


Fletcher's intensity mixed with Komander's relativly calmer and calculated reversals and high-flying offence made for an exhilerating set of sequences that had some amazing nearfalls, one that pops to mind being the Generico-esque BRAINBUSTAAAA on the top turnbuckle from Fletcher, which looked insane. The best match of Fletcher's AEW/ROH career so far!


 

#4 - Athena



Athena defended her ROH Women's title against her former "minion in training" Billie Starkz, in the main event of ROH Final Battle this week, capping of the first chapter in their company defining rivalry, and it didn't dissapoint!


This was a really long match, going almost 30 minutes, but if you'd told me that right after the match then I would have said you were lying. These two women got me so invested that I didn't even look at the clock once. Every part of the match felt important and Athena made up for Billie's lack of experience in big main event epics like this, and it truly was an epic.


Athena targeted the arm of Billie right off the bat, stretching it over the ropes, and just controlling Billie for the first few minutes, making Starkz writhe on the mat as she does so. Billie eventually makes here comeback and the two have some great exchanges throughout the match, filled with big moves like the middle rope Croyt's Wrath and the reverse Slingblade off the barricade, not to mention the German Suplex from Billie off the announer's table!


There was so much to love in this match and Athena bumped her ass off to make Starkz look like a threat dispite her colourful personality and the fact that she's only 19 years old! Billie did her part well too, there were a few hicups and sloppy moments, but they were negligible when compaired to the wonderful story they've told over the past six or so months. A crowning achievement for both women, but Athena is still your forever champ, so she takes the points this week!


 

#3 - Mark Briscoe



Mark Briscoe is #3 this week as he faced Jay White in a Continental Classic match, but more importantly, competed in the tribute to Jay Briscoe six-man tag team match at Final Battle where he teamed up with FTR to face Claudio, Danielson, and Moxley.


After losing to Swerve Stickland the previous week it was clear that the slow and steady approch to his singles matches weren't working out for him, and since he was already eliminated from the tournament, so Mark just went all out from the bell to try and overwhelm White in this one. It worked for a while as he got in loads of Redneck Kung-Fu, but throwing all that offence at one of the greatest counter wrestlers in the world was always going to end up blowing up in Mark's face. White used all the tactics in the book, and some new ones too, to help get back in the match. The most creative one being tangling himself in the camera cords on the outside so Mark couldn't roll him back in the ring, buying Jay some time to recover. This was when Jay took control and dominated Mark for the rest of the match, ultimatly getting the win with the Blade Runner and moving up to 9 points!


The six-man tribute to Jay Briscoe match saw the complete opposite of the C2 match as Mark was in his element. BCC would always find a way to control and single out one of the FTR members, who were only helped when Mark made his way into the match. Chicken fended off all the members of the BCC at multiple times throughout the match, clearly showing us why he's one of the best tag team wrestlers in the world. After 18 minutes of a great, but basic, six-man all the members of the match spilled to the outside, taking the intensity to the next level only for them to be counted out! Mark was not happy about this and called for a Fight Without Honor and the match was restarted!


This next match was a lot like the double dog collar match that FTR and the Briscoes had last year, but with a lot less blood than before (which is saying something, because it was still pretty bloody!), but Mark treated it the same and went all out to finish the match, even taking a senton onto a barbed wire ladder from the top rope to the outside!


In the post-show scrum, after FTR were done yapping, Mark talked about how hard it is transitioning from a tag team wrestler to a singles guy, and this was evident when you watch his matches in the C2 compared to this six-man. Brilliant storytelling that came from a soul shattering loss.


RIP Jay <3


 

#2 - Bryan Danielson



Bryan's contribution to the ROH six-man was relatively small, but an important one, taking the pin from Mark to get Jay his win over Danielson in spirit. The main reason he's on this list, however, is for his match against Brody King in the C2 on Collision, which was the best match of the tournament by far. An impressive feat given how good the tournament has been already.


Bryan made King look like the most dangerous man in the world as he relentlessly attacked the broken orbital bone of Danielson basically the whole match. This took the damage Andrade did to it to the next level, as Brody threw his entire body at Dragon's head in an attempt to secure three more points, and that was only one way he tried to blind Bryan!


Danielson selling was on point and its always the best bits about his matches in my opinion. He sells the damage to the eye while also gassing himself up each time he's hit. He knows he's the best and he knows he can win any match TK puts him in, so his eye isn't a hinderence to him the way it would be for guys like Garcia, for example, it's just something that forces him to work harder and hit harder. He built the match perfectly, using King's weight against him to set up his big moves like the Busaiku Knee as the crowd got hotter and hotter waiting for Danielson to make his comeback, which was brief, but very impactful.


Danielson's end of year run has been one of the best things in wrestling this year and I think he deserves to be called wrestler of the year, even if guys like Ospreay, Bailey, and Mox have been working a lot more. The American Dragon's passion is UNMATCHED.

 

#1 - Brody King



This week's #1 is Brody King because of two awesome matches in the C2 this week. One on Dynamite against Andrade, and the match I just covered against Danielson.


Lets talk about the Andrade match to round us off this week then. This was another hard hitting match that showcased King's raw and unleashed power, something this tournament has allowed him to show much more than in the House of Black six-man matches. Andrade tried to match this power at the beginning, taking the chops to King, and they were loud chops at that, but King's were just as powerful and Brody could eat up Andrade's for breakfast. This forced Andrade to get more cerebral with his offence, which I imagine is hard to do when Brody King is lariating your head off every other minute, but he managed to get the win by DDTing King onto the exposed turnbuckle rod on the top rope, following it up with a Hammerlock DDT to secure the win and the six points (he'd end up with nine by the end of the week).


Brody getting dominant wins in his first two matches really made the rest of his losses to be a lot more meaningful, and in turn made him more of a star than ever before. Because of this and his brilliant offence throughout the tournament he's really grown into a wrestler the fans react to and see as a big deal. Yet another reason why the Conintental Classic has been the best thing to happen for AEW since All In, and Brody has be a massive part of it in my opinion.


 

Going into the final weeks of 2023 the #1 position is firmly in the hands of Bryan Danielson, but with Omega out for the rest of the year Mike Bailey could tie him with 86 point if he pulls out a late MOTYC.



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