It’s Thursday, you know what that means. Welcome to the AEW Dynamite review here on TJRWrestling. It’s the second week of the AEW New Year’s Smash concept. I saw AEW CEO/President/GM/Booker Tony Khan talking about this like it’s a PPV lineup, but it really doesn’t look like that to me. Their PPVs are a lot better than this. I get wanting to try to hype up the product, though. This show was taped last Thursday, which means the roster gets about two weeks off. Must be nice.
JR started with “It’s Wednesday night and you know what that means” just like last week. Good stuff. The wrestlers were surrounding the ring as usual at Daily’s Place. It’s Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and Excalibur on commentary as usual.
There was a video package to set up the match between two of my favorites Pac and Eddie Kingston.
Eddie Kingston made his entrance with The Butcher, The Blade and The Bunny. A pre-tape video from Kingston said he’s going bust open Pac and send him back home. Pac made his entrance with his buddies Penta and Rey Fenix joining him.
Eddie Kingston (w/The Butcher, The Blade and The Bunny) vs. Pac (w/Rey Fenix and Penta)
Pac with a dropkick that sent Kingston out of the ring followed by Pac hitting a dive onto Kingston on the floor. Pac was in control in tehri ng with running pump kicks to the face. Pac went up top with a missile dropkick to send Kingston across the ring. Pac with a driving knee to the face. Kingston with a kick to the face followed by a knee drop to the back of the head. Pac rolled out of the ring where The Bunny gouged the eyes of Pac with the referee missing it. Kingston gave Pac an overhead suplex on the floor. Back in the ring, Kingston with a neckbreaker for a two count. Kingston and Pac exchanged chops/strikes, Pac with kicks to the body, Kingston ran the ropes and Pac hit a snap German Suplex for a two count. Pac worked over Kingston with hard kicks to the chest. Kingston with a jumping kick to the head and then a high angle belly to back suplex for two. Kingston with a hard chop to the chest, you can see Pac’s chest was red and when Kingston went up top, Pac kicked him in the face. Pac was up top and he delivered a superplex for two. Pac with a running uppercut, Pac ran the ropes and Kingston hit a clothesline for two. Kingston went for a DDT by the ropes, Pac held onto the rope and Pac hit a running dropkick. Pac went up top and Pac hit the Black Arrow splash for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Pac
Analysis: ***3/4 This was great. I liked how intense it was from the moment the bell rang. It felt like a fight with Kingston delivering a lot of hard chops while Pac doing a variety of offensive moves that looked painful. They didn’t need to go 20 minutes here and packed a lot in the 10 minutes they were given. It also helped that there was a story going into this rather than just being a random match. Big win for Pac. I’d like to see him going for a title soon. AEW needs more matches like this. I want matches that look like fights rather than gymnastics. Yes, Pac went to the air a few times, but he also looked like a badass that could fight. That’s what I want to see.
Post match, Pac slapped on the Brutalizer finisher on Kingston and then Kingston’s buddies got in the ring to stop that. Pac and friends were in the ring staring at Kingston with his crew. Lance Archer showed up with Jake Roberts, so Kingston and friends left the ring.
Chuck Taylor made his entrance with Orange Cassidy. Trent is out about four to six months with a torn pectoral muscle.
Miro “The Best Man” entered with his friend Kip Sabian and Kip’s fiancée Penelope Ford.
Miro (w/Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford) vs. Trent (w/Orange Cassidy)
Taylor was aggressive with a clothesline that sent Miro over the top to the floor. Taylor sent Miro into the barricade at ringside two times in a row. Taylor with a somersault dive over the top onto Miro on the floor. Miro charged at Taylor on the floor, Taylor moved and Miro hit the ring post. Taylor jumped onto Miro with a double foot stomp on the floor. Sabian knocked down Cassidy on the floor. Chuck with a kick to Miro, but then when Chuck ran the ropes, Miro met him with a Samoan Drop. Miro was in control with an overhead belly to belly suplex, a corner splash and a spinning heel kick. Miro with a superkick to the jaw. Miro yelled “Game Over” leading to his Game Over submission and Taylor tapped out after about four minutes.
Winner by submission: Miro
Analysis: *1/4 Easy win for Miro as it should be. Taylor got in some offense for a few minutes, but when Miro took over the match was over at that point.
The win by Miro means that Taylor has to be his butler or assistant or whatever you want to call it. That should lead to some “comedy” bits that won’t be that funny.
The trio of Matt Hardy and Private Party were interviewed by Dasha, who asked about how Private Party signed Matt as their manager. Isaiah Kassidy and Marq Quen talked about how great it was to sign with Matt. That led to Hardy telling them he takes 30% of their money. Hardy told them they’re going to be multi-millionaires. Quen thought Matt was a money grabbing carny. Hardy said that he’s the only one in AEW that cares about them. Matt said that nobody cares in AEW, so they should shut up and listen to him. Hardy told them to get out of there.
Analysis: I like this potential with Matt Hardy as a heelish figure doing a gimmick that worked well for him in ROH and Impact Wrestling in the past. Private Party are not booked in matches enough. I’d like to see them in the ring more.
Chris Jericho led out the Inner Circle group along with Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana, Ortiz, MJF and Wardlow in a suit. The crowd sang along with the “Judas” song.
Inner Circle’s New Year’s Resolutions
Chris Jericho said that it’s the first time the entire Inner Circle has been together in 2021 and it’ll be a huge year for them. They spoke about their resolutions. Hager: “Championships, yeah.” MJF said he wanted to strengthen the bonds with these people in the ring and getting rid of fat people. Ortiz spoke about perfecting some family recipes. MJF to the crowd: “You’re booing food?”
Jericho said that this is the year that Chris Jericho and MJF are going to win the AEW Tag Team Championships of the world. Santana spoke up saying that Chris handpicked them to be in the Inner Circle and be THE tag team in the Inner Circle. Sammy Guevara said that Jericho is a “Tag Team Slut!” That was funny. Sammy said that Jericho teams with MJF now, you teamed with Hager, you were Le Sex Gods with Sammy and Jericho was hanging with Snoop Dogg last week. MJF said that all Chris is trying to do is his job and Sammy told him to shut up.
Jericho said they’re top athletes and sexy hooligans. Jericho said that any of them could team up to win the Tag Team Titles. Jericho said that just like Wardlow and Big Jake had a match last week, he thinks they should do the same. Jericho suggested a three-way match to decide who is the official tag team of the Inner Circle. Jericho said it will be MJF and Jericho. Santana said it will be Santana and Ortiz. Sammy said that it’ll be him and Hager, so Hager said: “Championships, yeah.” Jericho: “Sammy Hager.” Sammy didn’t know why it was funny and Jericho said never mind. Google it, kids. It’s a music thing. MJF said that they are still the Inner Circle, they’re better than you and you know it. Santana wondered why MJF’s hand is darker than his face as they all put their middle fingers in the center to show they were together.
Analysis: There were some funny lines in there including the Sammy Hager bit since Sammy Hager (spelled Sammy Hagar actually) is a famous singer/songwriter. Anyway, they set up a triple threat tag team match to see who is going after the Tag Team Titles. I can remember Jericho doing promos months ago about how he was teaming with Hager to go after the titles. They racked up some wins, but then it was drop. That’s AEW sometimes where they forget their own plans. I hope it’s Santana/Ortiz that remains as the main team in AEW because they are very underused in AEW although in terms of star power, Jericho/MJF as a team makes the most sense to win that match.
The Dark Order stable was interviewed by Alex Marvez talking about how they paid tribute to their leader Brodie Lee two weeks ago. Evil Uno said that they have to be better people and everything they do will be in his name. Uno said that “Hangman” Adam Page teams with The Dark Order. John Silver did a promo saying he loved Page. Alex Reynolds wanted to know when Page will join the Dark Order. Silver said what about next week after the match? Page said he’ll let them know after the match. Silver: “He is in!” Page just watched them celebrating.
Analysis: That was fine. I think the group has to be more like faces going forward to pay tribute to Brodie Lee. I look forward to seeing how they are booked.
There was a video package setting up the Darby Allin match with Bryan Cage. They showed a clip from about eight months ago when Taz tried to talk to Darby Allin to give him tips, but Allin refused. That led to Taz managing Cage and Ricky Starks as well. Taz complained about Darby Allin getting everything he wants in AEW. Recently, Sting showed up to support Darby Allin because he reminded Sting of himself. Last week, Allin told Cage and friends that he’s dealt with this kind of shit his whole life.
Analysis: To AEW’s credit, they have built up this match for a long time. Good job by them.
There was a backstage promo with Kenny Omega standing by with The Young Bucks and Don Callis. They were excited about being in a tag team match together with Callis telling them to do their own entrance after Kenny.
The entrance of AEW World Champion Kenny Omega was shown with Justin Roberts doing the ridiculous introduction running over stats of Omega and introducing Kenny as the AEW World Champion. Omega entered along with the Cleaner girls with the brooms. Omega was joined by manager Don Callis.
Don Callis did a promo saying how the band was back together. Callis introduced “Your World Tag Team Champions” and “Kenny Omega’s two best friends in the world” while bringing out The Good Brothers duo of Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, who are the Impact Wrestling Tag Team Champions. They showed AEW boss Tony Khan watching on a TV with the Young Bucks and Dasha. They run the company, but they didn’t do anything to stop this. The Young Bucks just walked away.
Analysis: This means the AEW guys were duped into this and have no problem getting outsmarted by Impact Wrestling. That tells the fans that Tony and the Young Bucks are idiots, basically.
Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows (w/Don Callis) vs. Griff Garrison, Brian Pillman Jr. and Danny Limelight
Limelight got some offense against Omega with an armdrag and dropkick, but then Gallows knocked him down. Garrison and Pillman dropkicked Gallows out of the ring. Omega battled Limelight, who hit a kick to the ribs, Omega sent Limelight into the ropes, Gallows with a knee to the back and Omega hit a leg drop to the back of the head. Anderson tagged in with a hard whip into the turnbuckle.
Limelight hit a springboard hurricanrana and Omega avoided a kick to the head. Limelight landed on his feet after a suplex leading to a jumping kick to the head. Pillman tagged in with multiple clotheslines, Garrison tagged in, held up Anderson and Pillman jumped off the ropes for a double team blockbuster/spinebuster for a two count. Garrison missed a corner splash on Anderson, Omega knocked Pillman off the apron and the three heels attacked Garrison in succession. Neckbreaker on Garrison got two as his partners mad ethe save. Anderson hit a running kick to the face for a two count. Limelight tagged in with a boot to the face and he jumped off the ropes right into Anderson, who hit a huge spinebuster. G&A hit the Magic Killer double team move for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows
Analysis: **1/4 An easy win for Kenny and friends to put over the team that is headlining the next Impact Wrestling pay-per-view. I think the winners gave too much offense to the opponents, but I guess it’s a good thing for Limelight to be in there with Omega. I just think a more dominant win for Omega, Anderson and Gallows would have been better.
Post match, Jon Moxley’s music played as Moxley walked out to the ring to start a fight.
Moxley went into the ring against the three wrestlers as he pushed Omega into the turnbuckle. The three men attacked Moxley and stomped on him against the turnbuckle. Rey Fenix and Penta showed up for the save. Moxley and Omega were fighting in the ring while the other guys were fighting on the floor. A bunch of wrestlers and security guys went out to the ring to try to break it up. Moxley hit a guy with a DDT followed by a suicide dive on Omega on the floor. The Young Bucks ran out there with Moxley in the ring. Fenix and Penta went behind the Young Bucks and hit them with superkicks. Omega went to the back with Callis while other people went out to the ring to try to break up the fighting.
Analysis: This company loves booking wild brawling segments, so here is another one of those. It should lead to Moxley getting an AEW World Title rematch against Omega and probably set up a six-man tag team match at some point too. The Young Bucks getting attacked by Penta/Fenix could set up a tag team feud between them as well.
The Waiting Room Hosted by Britt Baker
Britt Baker hosted her talk show with Reba offering up a special introduction for everybody’s favorite dentist. They do this segment on Dark often, so it’s the first time they are doing it on Dynamite. Baker told the guests they got a huge surprise from her, but there was nothing under their seats. Baker laughed about it. Baker mentioned Cody Rhodes as the guest while plugging Go Big Show on TBS and it’s on some channel here in Canada. I’m not going to watch it. Baker said that Cody had to make a choice about who is his guy – Sting, Snoop or Shaq and make a good choice unlike the choice on your neck. Good tattoo joke.
Cody Rhodes made his entrance while the women held up sparklers for him. Baker said she knows that Cody’s kid is going to have an action figure way before she does. That was funny too! Baker said it’s a huge year for Cody with the Go Big Show, a baby on the way and Baker cut off Cody before he could say a word. Baker introduced Jade Cargill as the next guest.
Cargill said she’s a badass bitch that wears whatever she wants. Cargill said that nobody cares if Brandi is pregnant. Cargill said that she and Shaq are wondering when she is going to get an opponent. Cargill told Cody that whenever Brandi returns, Jane is going to beat that ass. Red Velvet showed up on the set, so Cargill shoved her, Velvet slapped her and Cargill slapped back. Cargill and Velvet got into brawl, so other women’s wrestlers in AEW tried to break it up. That led to the women being pulled apart and then then got into a fight again.
Analysis: That was wild with some funny likes by Baker. Cody was the guest, yet he didn’t actually say a word. I said in the previous segment that this company loves booking wild brawling segments and there was another one. I enjoyed Baker’s dialogue throughout the segment. As I’ve written in the past, Baker is the best female performer they have and I think she should be champion soon.
A replay aired of Britt Baker beating up Thunder Rosa in the past.
Thunder Rosa did a promo said that Baker and her big nose like to get in people’s business. Thunder said that a match between Thunder and Baker is a big deal, so they are getting a big stage. They will have a match on Dynamite on February 3 at Beach Break with Rosa saying she will beat Baker’s ass. Britt complained about that saying that it is not happening, but then a graphic showed up on the screen. Baker said Tony (Khan) told her she didn’t have to wrestle her. Baker ended her talk show.
Analysis: That Baker/Rosa story has been going on for a few weeks, so it makes sense to keep building to it.
Jurassic Express entered for a tag team match. FTR were the opponents with the announcers plugging AEW winning awards in Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine as if that is relevant in 2021. Good luck with that.
FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) w/Tully Blanchard vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt)
Stunt is really short and he issued this challenge. Stunt with a hard slap to the face of Harwood, so Harwood came back with repeated forearms to the face. Harwood with a suplex with Wheeler tagging in for a double team slam while grabbing Stunt’s hair. Wheeler chopped Stunt, who came back with a stunt of his own and Wheeler hit an uppercut that rocked Stunt. Stunt sent Wheeler into the ropes leading to a dropkick. Boy tagged in with atomic drops, then double up kicks and Stunt did a hurricanrana that sent Harwood out of the ring. Stunt jumped off Boy to knock Wheeler off the apron. Stunt with a suicide dive and then Boy jumped over the top onto FTR on the floor.
The FTR boys were in control with Wheeler hit a spinebuster. There was a double team elbow drop to the back of Stunt for repeated two counts. Wheeler with a Gory Special submission on the back and Stunt got a rollup for two. Boy got a hot tag against Harwood with some elbows, then a dropkick, a back elbow and a forearm. Boy with a big clothesline off the ropes and another clothesline. Boy with a backstabber on Harwood for a two count. Boy went up top and hit a hurricanrana on Harwood for a two count. Boy with a brainbuster on Wheeler, who wasn’t legal, Harwood with a rollup for two and Boy with a superkick. Stunt covered, Boy slammed him onto Harwood and then Harwood slammed down Stunt to block a move. Harwood with a clothesline on Stunt. While Harwood was attacking Stunt against the ropes, Stunt hit a low blow that the referee missed (and the announcers didn’t even mention) and Stunt hit a Sliced Bread neckbreaker on Harwood for two. Blanchard shoved Stunt into the ring post while the referee wasn’t looking. Wheeler clotheslined Boy and sent Boy into the barricade. FTR hit the Big Rig (new name for their double team finish that is now named after Brodie Lee) for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: FTR
Analysis: *3/4 This was below average for an AEW match of that length. This went too long. I don’t really get the Marko Stunt character. Luchasaurus is a guy that should be doing so much more, yet they put Stunt in a match and it’s just boring to watch. FTR cheating with Tully suggest they might do this again, which I don’t need to see. Jungle Boy did very well when he was in there. That’s no surprise because he’s really good in the ring. FTR hasn’t had much to do since they lost the Tag Team Titles and this rivalry has done nothing for them.
Tay Conti entered with Anna Jay along with members of the Dark Order. Conti wrestles in some short shorts. That’s not a complaint. Just an observation. Serena Deeb entered as the NWA Women’s Champion that is under AEW contract and is 6-2 in her AEW career.
NWA Women’s World Championship: Serena Deeb vs. Tay Conti (w/Anna Jay)
Serena was a WWE Performance Center coach while Conti trained there for a few years too, so I’m sure they knew eachother well. JR pointed that out on commentary as well. Serena hooked the arms leading into a two count. Conti went for a heel hook and then she pulled back on the leg. Conti with a takedown grabbing the shoulder. Serena slapped on an armbar, but Conti countered with a triangle choke, Serena got out of it and hit a running shoulder tackle for two. They each countered moves for two counts and then Conti hit an impressive pump kick that knocked Serena out of the ring.
Conti hit a full nelson into a Stunner type move for a two count. Serena lifted up Conti on her shoulders leading into a slam onto the top of her knee. Serena slapped on a submission move by the turnbuckle where she pulled on the back/arms of Conti. Conti jumped over Serena and hit a pump kick. Serena blocked a move, then a backslide and Serena hit move like a Styles Clash except pulling back on the arms, so it’s a flat bump onto the mat. Serena covered for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Serena Deeb
Analysis: *** This was a competitive match full of action and good counters during the match. Conti has really improved in the last couple of moves to where she is more than just a submission wrestler because she’s able to do some more strikes as well as some cooler looking moves. Serena is a tremendous worker that’s always going to have good matches. Cool looking finisher for Serena. I think Excalibur called it the “Deeptox” but I’m not sure.
Post match, Serena held her NWA Women’s Title while Anna Jay held Conti’s hand to show that she supports her. This division is lacking in storylines.
Next week on AEW Dynamite:
* Santana & Ortiz vs. MJF & Chris Jericho vs. Sammy Guevara & Jake Hager
* Matt Sydal & Top Flight vs. Matt Hardy & Private Party
* Hangman Page, John Silver, Colt Cabana & Alex Reynolds vs. The Hybrid 2 & Chaos Project (-1 Birthday Celebration Match)
* An update with Miro and his new butler Chuck Taylor
* Nyla Rose vs. Leyla Hirsch
* Jon Moxley in action
Analysis: That is not a strong lineup. I’m sure Tony Khan will say it’s a PPV lineup. That might be one of the worst lineups they’ve ever. A lot of great talent isn’t wrestling and those that are have little or no storylines going into their matches. It all seems so random.
Brian Cage entered with his buddies and meaningless FTW Title that is never defended.
Darby Allin entered as the TNT Champion and he got a pretty good ovation.
Taz is on commentary for this match with Taz saying they were only allowed two members of Team Taz at ringside so that is Ricky Starks and Hook (Taz’s son). The wrestlers waited in the ring for the championship introductions. Cage is 272 pounds, he was 13-1 in 2020 in singles matches and Allin is 170 pounds with a 14-5 singles record I 2020.
TNT Championship: Darby Allin vs. Bryan Cage (w/Ricky Starks and Hook)
Allin with a dropkick to send Cage out of the ring followed by a suicide dive into the barricade. Allin went for another dive on the floor, Cage caught him and hit a suplex on the floor. That was a cool spot. Back in the ring, Cage hit a clothesline. Cage with a press slam from inside the ring onto a table that was about 10 feet away from the ring. That was a big spot that sounded loud as Allin broke the table. Allin was bleeding from the top of his forehead. That’s a weird spot for a blade job, but that’s wrestling. Cage suplexed Allin into the ring along with a slam where Cage grabbed the jeans and dropped Allin to the mat. Cage with a release German Suplex. Cage tossed Allin all the way across the ring and into the turnbuckle. Cage with forearms as the show went to break.
The match continued with Cage hitting a slam off the shoulders for a one count. Ricky Starks, who is wearing a pearl necklace, was stunned by that. I’m stunned by that necklace choice. Cage hit three straight Powerbombs in a row. Allin gave Cage the middle finger. Cage gave Allin a Powerbomb over the top rope onto the stage area. JR: “Stop the damn match!” Taz agreed. The referee did not. Cage with a suplex while standing on the middle rope and bringing Allin back into the ring with the suplex. Page slid over the steel steps to the side of the ring. JR noted that Allin turned 28 years old last week. Allin with a dropkick to cage while on the apron and Cage fell off the apron onto the top of the steel steps. Allin hit a Coffin Drop off the turnbuckle onto Cage on the steps! That was crazy and also impressive. Back in the ring, Allin jumped off the ropes, Cage caught him, Allin bit him in the face and Allin hit a flipping stunner. Allin used his belt to tie the legs of Cage and punched Cage in the back. Cage launched Allin in the air and sent him to the mat. Allin hit the Code Red (flipping Powerbomb) for a two count. Allin with a dropkick into the corner, Cage powered him to the turnbuckle and Allin did a double foot stomp on Cage. Allin went up top, Starks tripped him up, the lights went out briefly and Sting appeared on the ramp by Starks. Sting jabbed Starks in the head and ribs with the baseball bat. Cage picked up Allin on the middle rope, Starks jumped backwards right into a crucifix pin and that was enough for Allin to beat Cage for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Darby Allin
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a pretty good match, but not great. The story they told was the obvious one with Cage using his power to dominate Allin for most of it and then Allin found a way to come back to win the match. Allin sells well, but I think they could have had some more nearfalls in the match to build up anticipation a bit more. Allin hitting that Coffin Drop off the turnbuckle onto Cage on the steel steps was a crazy spot, yet also fitting for Allin. The finish was creative and doesn’t hurt Cage too much. Sting being there for Allin made sense based on how this storyline has gone.
The show ended with Allin standing tall in the ring with the old guy Sting standing beside him. Team Taz retreated as they stood on the ramp. Allin stared up at Sting as the show ended there.
Let’s see what the boss thought of that main event.
We’d been building up @DarbyAllin vs. @MrGMSI_BCage to be a huge main event match for over 8 months, and tonight they delivered a classic for our great fans on #AEWDynamite on @tntdrama! Thank you to our great fans, thank you Brian Cage, + thank you & congratulations @DarbyAllin!
— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) January 14, 2021
Analysis: A classic match? No. I don’t think so. I get that the boss is going to overrate things, but this was just an average match to me.
Three Stars of the Show
- Eddie Kingston
- Darby Allin/Bryan Cage
This Week: 7 out of 10
Last Week: 7.5
2021 Average: 7.25
It was a good episode of Dynamite this week. I liked the Pac/Kingston match the most. That was shorter than most of the matches, yet it was the best because it felt and looked like a fight where they made the most of the time they were given. The main event with Darby Allin beating Brian Cage (thanks to Sting watching Darby’s back) was okay although not really a classic match like Tony Khan claimed on Twitter. That’s a big reach by him. Good job by the women in their one match (Serena beating Conti) as well as Britt Baker delivering some clever lines during her talk show segments.
The way they had Kenny Omega and Don Callis fool the boss as well as The Young Bucks made AEW’s guys look like fools. Jon Moxley going after Omega is nice to see because I assume that will lead to an AEW World Title rematch at the next PPV. I’m not a fan of Marko Stunt matches at all. Poor FTR guys have had nothing to do for months now while Miro keeps feuding with midcard losers. I want to see Miro doing something more than having Chuck Taylor as his butler.
They book a lot of segments or matches where people end up brawling. It loses its appeal when you see it in multiple parts of a show. Once in a while is better than doing it all the time. I still enjoyed Dynamite. I just think they need to slow down a bit.
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