All Continental Classic 2023 reviews linked here.

Having watched a large number of Jon Moxley’s matches across multiple stages of his career, I continue to be impressed by how his game has expanded since leaving the WWE. Many have rightfully pointed the obvious physical changes–he gets to hit harder, he slimmed down since coming back from rehab, he gets to bleed however he wants. But the subtler mental shifts are what often leave me so fulfilled watching his matches.

Here, for example, we see Moxley applying himself to a familiar standard in the wrestling landscape: a leg match. Credit where it’s due, Jay Lethal puts in one of his better performances of the year here, probably second only to the Jay Briscoe tribute match against Mark. He’s laser-focused on the leg, and everything he does looks good and fits sensibly into the narrative they’re working with. 

But it’s Mox that really makes the whole thing sing. I’m a fan of the leg injury coming off a freak accident by landing wrong on his tope–a trope that can’t help but recall similar narrative choices from BCC friend and former BITW-powers-holder Bryan Danielson. Then there’s the standard leg selling through the match, keeping it a mindful reminder for the crowd and viewers that it’s a nagging injury. But the real stunner for me was him baiting Lethal in with the leg then pulling away to get back on offense. Great spot, wonderful way to shift the momentum and display Mox’s strategic shift as the match went on.

If the crowd bought a little more into Lethal, or perhaps in a more intimate setting and given more time, this might have even been great. As is though, it’s more just a solid match that demonstrates Moxley’s greatness instead.

Rating: ***1/2


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