This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Jamie Hayter facing Hikaru Shida for the AEW Women’s Title in the main event, plus the Best Of 7 Series between Death Triangle and The Elite continued.
This will be a condensed review. That means I’m not going to be doing detailed recaps of the matches and promos. It’s the holiday week. I want to ease the workload a bit, so I’ll write a lot less this week. Next week might be the same. I don’t know yet. We’ll see how it goes.
This was AEW Dynamite episode #168 at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas. Check out the AEW PPV listing archive only on TJRWrestling as well. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
It’s Wednesday and you know what that means. Excalibur welcomed us to the show along with Taz and Tony Schiavone.
Let’s Hear from Ricky Starks
Ricky Starks talked about how he wishes he was the AEW World Champion, at least he has dignity, unlike MJF. Starks said there will be a next time when he gets to face MJF again. Starks said if he had to work his way to a title shot, he’ll knock them down. Starks said he’ll be the man around here because he’s “Absolute” Ricky Starks. Chris Jericho made his entrance with Sammy Guevara and Danny Garcia of the Jericho Appreciation Society joining him. They showed replays of Action Andretti beating Jericho last week as Jericho waited for the singalong to end.
Chris Jericho said he guarantees that Starks will be a World Champion some day, but he’s not quite ready yet. Jericho thinks that he can help Starks reach the top in AEW, so he wants Starks to join the Jericho Appreciation Society. Starks praised Jericho for constantly evolving, he said Jericho looked like an air fryer and he mocked Jericho for looking like a single father on his fifth divorce. Starks said “Hell no” he doesn’t want to join the JAS. Starks ripped Jericho for losing to Action Andretti and said the “J” in JAS should stand for “Jobber” so the fans chanted that. Starks suggested a match against Jericho on January 4th. Jake Hager, the man that loves his purple hat, attacked Starks from behind. Jericho wanted to do a bat attack, but Action Andretti made the save. Action and Starks cleared the ring of Jericho’s allies leading to Action hitting a split-legged moonsault on Jericho. Starks and Andretti celebrated in the ring.
Analysis: It’s a new rivalry for Starks and it’s fresh for Jericho. Starks is a great talker, so I like seeing him getting more opportunities for promos. It was a good segment overall while continuing to put Andretti in a featured role.
The Elite were up in the first match as they entered to “Carry On Wayward Son” with the fans singing along with it.
Best Of 7 Series No Disqualification Match: Death Triangle – 3 (Rey Fenix, Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix) vs. The Elite – 1 (Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson & Kenny Omega)
No Disqualification rules also means no countout in most cases. Death Triangle leads the Best of 7 Series 3-1. The first team to win four matches will win the series to be the Undisputed AEW Trios Tag Team Champions. Don Callis was on commentary.
Death Triangle worked together leading to a missile dropkick onto a trash can that hit Omega in the groin. Nick had a flurry of offense, but he was favoring his injured foot so Penta hit him with a Slingblade neckbreaker on the floor. They went to a break there.
There was a fake Christmas Tree set up against the turnbuckle. Omega and Nick were sent into the fake tree and they had to sell back injuries. Matt was sent into the tree as well. Pac was working over Nick’s injured right ankle. Omega did a spot where he hit a moonsault with a trash can on Pac for a two count. Omega brought out a barbed wire broom (since he’s The Cleaner”) from under the ring. Matt and Nick each hit dives off the top to put Pac and Penta through the tables on the floor. Omega wanted the One Winged Angel, Fenix got out of it and got a pin attempt for a two count. Fenix hit Omega with the dreaded HAMMER OF DOOM~! to the head, but Omega kicked out. Pac and Fenix had submission moves on, but Matt made the save. Young Bucks pulled two of their opponents out of the ring and into the barricade. Omega hit a Snapdragon Suplex. Nick jumped off the top while Matt was holding Fenix and they did a spike piledriver on the steel chair for the pinfall win. It went about 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Young Bucks
Analysis: ***3/4 The usual great match between these teams. Since it was No DQ, they didn’t have to ignore tag team rules, so it was all about the action. It was obvious that The Young Bucks would win, so that hurt the match in terms of drama although the hammer spot for a two count was smart. The finish was a devastating double team move, so it was a good way to end it.
Death Triangle’s lead is 3-2 now. The next match in the series will be Falls Count Anywhere next week.
Post match, Death Triangle attacked The Elite while using weapons to attack. Nick Jackson was a bloody mess. I’ll take The Elite to win next week too.
There was a promo from MJF that was after his title match win last week. MJF complained about Bryan Danielson sticking his “hipster nose” in MJF’s business. MJF said that when it comes to the Reign of Terror, Bryan will eat less than he desires and more than he deserves. They went to break there.
Action Andretti was interviewed by Tony Schiavone talking about the “upset of the decade” beating Chris Jericho last week. Matt Menard and Angelo Parker got in Andretti’s face to mock him, so Chris Jericho threw a fireball in Andretti’s face. That was mean.
Let’s Hear from Bryan Danielson
Bryan Danielson did an in-ring interview with Renee Paquette. It’s like a 2016 Talking Smack reunion. Bryan said he doesn’t expect the Blackpool Combat Club because he did some bad things. Bryan talked about how he trained to wrestle in San Antonio (at Shawn Michaels’ school) with Bryan mentioning Rudy Boy Gonzalez and Shawn Michaels, which led to “HBK” chants. Bryan said that the man that turned him into the wrestler he is today is William Regal. Bryan said Regal made him the person he is today. Bryan said he cried when Regal was in the hospital because he made everything better. Bryan shouted about how there are consequences for MJF’s actions and words calling Bryan a coward.
It was an interruption by “All Ego” Ethan Page with Stokely Hathaway. Ethan trashed “Vegetable Man” Bryan thinking he should jump ahead of Ethan for a title shot. Hathaway trashed Bryan, so Bryan made fun of Hathaway’s bald head while questioning the “Vegetable Man” and Hathaway called him a “raggedy bitch.” Ethan threatened Bryan, which led to Bryan challenging him to a fight right now. Ethan suggested that they do it next week. MJF was watching on a TV backstage. It ended with Bryan celebrating in the ring.
Analysis: That should be a good match between Bryan and Ethan, who has been underutilized for most of the year. Bryan isn’t going to beat MJF for the AEW World TItle, but he’s a credible challenger for the title.
Jon Moxley did a promo about his rivalry with “Hangman” Adam Page with Moxley saying Hangman has a glass jaw. Moxley talked about teaching Darius Martin a hard lesson because he’s got him in a match later.
Samoa Joe did a promo with his two titles wishing us a happy holiday. Joe talked about beating Wardlow in their match on December 28th. He wished Wardlow a happy holiday season, but on the 28th, the holiday cheer ends.
Hook vs. Exodus Prime
Easy win for Hook after some strikes to the body. Hook hit an overhead suplex and hit a lariat. Hook applied the Red Rum submission for the tapout win after one minute.
Winner by submission: Hook
Analysis: 1/2* Easy win for Hook as usual.
They showed Big Bill and Lee Moriarty beating up “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry while Stokely Hathaway was talking. Big Bill gave Perry a Chokeslam into the dumpster. Hook saved Jack from an attack last week, so it was a way to continue that.
Jon Moxley vs. Darius Martin
Martin is a tag team wrestler that’s part of the Top Flight tag team. Martin got some offense early on with a dropkick leading to Moxley regrouping a bit. They left the ring to fight out there, but there was no count from the referee until after about 30 seconds. It’s AEW. That’s how they are. This time when Martin was out of the ring, the referee counted. So why not do it before? Because it’s AEW. They are not consistent. Moxley got some offense going after a superplex. Martin got a nearfall after a jumping kick to the head. Moxley caught Martin after a cross body block attempt and Moxley stomped on Martin. Moxley hit the Death Rider for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jon Moxley
Analysis: **1/2 An average match to put over Moxley. No build or story. No drama for Martin getting nearfalls because you know he was losing. Just a random guy for Moxley to beat. I like Top Flight as a team and hope they have a good year in 2023.
A video aired hyping up the AEW Women’s Title match between champion Jamie Hayter and Hikaru Shida in the main event.
There was a video about Powerhouse Hobbs talking about his tough upbringing saying he was beaten, stabbed and shot as a child while watching his uncle die of an overdose. Hobbs said they were monsters, but now they have created a monster themselves. He is focused on turning to the next chapter of the Book of Hobbs.
FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) vs. The Gunns (Austin & Colten Gunn)
Wheeler whipped Colten into Austin against the turnbuckle a bunch of times. FTR knocked both Gunns out of the ring with clotheslines. FTR was beating up The Gunns on the floor as the show went to break.
The action returned with Wheeler avoiding a corner splash by Colten and Harwood got the tag with hard strikes for Austin. The Gunns set up for a double team spot on the floor, but Wheeler hit a suicide dive with an elbow. Austin shoved Harwood back first into the steel steps. Austin put Harwood in a Sharpshooter, but Wheeler made the save. Colten sent Wheeler into the barricade. Harwood couldn’t lift Austin for a piledriver due to a hip injury. Austin reversed a pin attempt by Harwood and held Colten’s hand (the referee never saw it) leading to Austin pinning Harwood to win after nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Gunns (Austin & Colten Gunn)
Analysis: **1/2 It was okay with a surprising result. A cheap finish to put over the heels. FTR were heels for many years, but apparently as babyfaces they are vulnerable to being outsmarted by The Gunns. The announcers kept telling the story that FTR was banged up from the Double Dog Collar Match nearly two weeks ago.
There was a video featuring Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, Satnam Singh and Jeff Jarrett with Sonjay doing a bad rap.
Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland Talk With Rick Ross
It was interview time with Tony Schiavone introducing hip-hop mogul Rick Ross, who was in the ring. Keith Lee was out first with Rick Ross saying “you’re a big motherf**er” um…I don’t know if that word is allowed to be said although AEW does swear a lot. Ross said that they had history to make.
Swerve Strickland made their entrance for this promo segment saying he’ll do things his own way. Swerve warned Lee to keep his eyes in the back of his head from now on. Parker Boudreaux attacked Lee from behind, but Lee dispatched him with a clothesline. A heavily tattoed guy attacked Lee from behind as well. Rick Ross said it was Mogul Affiliates, so that’s the group name. Swerve jumped off the top with a double foot stomp on a cinderblock that was on Lee.
Analysis: This was strange. Calling it bad would be fair, but I think when you involve somebody that’s not in wrestling like Rick Ross it’s going to lead to awkward moments. Ross was doing his own thing with his promo, but they got the point across by having Swerve lead a new group. AEW has a lot of groups, so now Swerve gets to lead his own group with some big guys backing him up. The new guy is a former baseball player named Granden Goetzman, who trained at Jay Lethal’s wrestling school. We have a news story about him up here on TJRWrestling. Anyway, I like Swerve as a heel and Lee will hopefully get pushed in singles soon.
They promoted this week’s AEW Rampage. I don’t think I’ll be watching or reviewing Rampage this week. I just don’t have time.
AEW Women’s Championship: Jamie Hayter (w/Britt Baker & Rebel) vs. Hikaru Shida
It’s rare for an AEW women’s match to main event any of their TV shows. The crowd was more behind Hayter even though she’s a heel in theory, but the fans like her. Shida is a face too and was cheered by most of the crowd. Shida was in control in the first few minutes including a running knee lift while on the apron. They went to a picture-in-picture break there.
The action picked up with both women getting in a lot of forearms. Shida took control with a dropkick and another dropkick off the middle rope. They were battling on the apron with Shida sending Hayter into the turnbuckle followed by a suplex/brainbuster onto the floor. Big spot there.
They came back with about six minutes left as Hayter missed a moonsault off the top. I guess I can pick up with some play-by-play from here. Shida hit a running knee for a two count. Hayter with a fireman’s carry onto the knee followed by a sliding lariat for two. Hayter with a backbreaker onto the knee for a two count. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” for them. Shida hit a German Suplex, Baker was on the apron with the kendo stick and referee Paul Turner was distracted by Rebel. Shida with a jumping kick off the middle rope. Shida hit Baker in the ribs with a kendo stick. I guess the referee is also deaf and can’t hear that. Anyway, Hayter caught Shida and rolled through a move into a Powerbomb for a two count. Hayter with a lariat for a two count. Hayter hit a ripcord lariat for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jamie Hayter
Analysis: ***3/4 It was an exciting title match. The last few minutes were great, so it bumped the match up from being pretty average to a highly entertaining match with some hard shots by both women. That suplex spot off the apron onto the floor was really good going into the second break. Since Hayter got the distraction assist from Baker and Rebel, it allowed her to come back for the win. The multiple nearfalls towards the finish helped build the excitement. The announcers really tried to push this as some all-time classic match. I wouldn’t go that far. It was better than most AEW women’s TV matches because a lot of them get about half the time as this match did.
After the match, Hayter, Baker and Rebel stomped on Shida a bit. Toni Storm made the save, but she was beaten up easily. Saraya made the save with barely any time left in the show. Saraya clotheslined Rebel, then Saraya superkicked Baker and Baker rolled out of the ring. Saraya stood tall with Storm & Shida in the ring.
Analysis: We know Saraya is facing Baker & Hayter in a tag team match in a few weeks, so she could team with Storm perhaps or somebody else as a surprise depending on what rumors you want to believe.
Three Stars of the Show
- Jamie Hayter
- The Elite
- Ricky Starks
This Week: 7.5 out of 10
Last Week: 8
It was a very good show for the most part. The Hayter-Shida Women’s Title match main event was great. It’s rare to see any AEW women’s match get more than ten minutes on TV and in the main event too, so that’s cool to see. Hopefully they start getting more opportunities. The rise of Hayter has been fun to watch.
That tag team match with The Elite beating Death Triangle was very good. I think it was the result that most of us expected with The Elite getting a win to go down 3 to 2 in the series. Other matches were just okay. That Swerve-Lee segment with Rick Ross was unique and a way to introduce Swerve’s new stable. Rick Ross using colorful language was funny too.
I wasn’t as detailed in the review, but that was by design on my part. I wrote about half of what I usually do for a Dynamite review. I hope it’s okay. Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas to you.
Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. You can contact me using any of the methods below.