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AEW Dynamite: Holiday Bash
by Samoa Rowe
December 23, 2020
"Live" after 10 pm, preempted by Celtics vs. Bucks. NBA fans stuck around long enough to make fun of Jericho's physique on Twitter, and Dynamite still managed to outdraw NXT despite the latter running unopposed.
The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho and MJF, with Jake Hager) vs. Top Flight (Dante and Darius Martin)
I don't think Jericho looks "fat" at all, but I guess if you were seeing him for the first time since 2010, the effects of Father TIme could be jarring. Top Flight are definitely swimming over their heads but rise to the occasion and use their considerable speed advantages to hold their own early on. Top Flight hit stereo dropkicks to clear the ring. Inner Circle lure Top Flight into traps at ringside and take control. Jericho and MJF relish being d!cks and step over Dante often. Dante eventually counters with a flapjack off the buckles, and Darius goes supernova on a hot tag. Darius kicks off Jericho's chest to hit MJF with a tornado DDT. Top Flight hit the WGTT draping senton to the back of MJF. Dante eats an MJF powerbomb and Jericho helps with a Lionsault for 2. Dante reverses an inside cradle for a good nearfall on Jericho, and then Darius catapults them both, sending Dante flipping onto MJF at ringside! Inner Circle try to double team Darius, who counters with a double DDT. Hager pulls Darius onto the apron, allowing MJF to hit the Heatseeker for the win at 11:48. Great showing by Top Flight, who looked more like TV-ready stars and less like indie-riffic rooks, ***½.
Winners: The Inner Circle
Jake Hager congratulates Jericho and MJF for their win, which proves that the Inner Circle are on the same page, but can't help but complain about Wardlow, who always seems to be missing. Hager challenges Wardlow to a match next week, which sends shockwaves through MJF.
The Acclaimed music video! You know, they are actually pretty good at this, in case you're confused by their sudden push.
Tony Shiavone interviews THE MAN CALLED STING in the ring. Tony wants to know what Sting's plans are, especially regarding Darby Allin, who is once again watching from the balcony. Sting deflects the question to tell a story about Dusty Rhodes getting him ready to be a star. He's interrupted by Team Taz, who are irritated that Sting keeps getting involved in their business. They are ready to kick Sting's ass, but the lights go out and Darby Allin appears in the ring with skateboard in hand. Taz says they'll wait to fight another day, like January 6th, when Brian Cage gets a shot at Darby's TNT title. Sting and Darby are left alone for another staredown.
MJF interrupts Ortiz and Santana's card game for a heart to heart talk. MJF consoles Santana for a recent family loss and reminisces about his late grandfather. Santana embraces MJF, and Ortiz offers a tentative handshake.
The Dark Order (5, 10, and Colt Cabana) vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, and Marko Stunt)
Colt patronizes Stunt, who makes him pay with a flying head scissors takedown. 5 tags, but double teamed by Jungle Boy and Stunt. JB's dropkick gets 2. Stunt tags and JB flapjacks him while hitting an elbow drop on 5. Cabana loses his temper going after Stunt and gets chopped down by Luchasaurus. 10 tags, but Luchasaurus slams Stunt onto him, followed by Jungle Boy hitting a crossbody off his dinosaur's shoulders. Colt's interference allows 10 to hit a catapult German suplex, and Dark Order takes over in time for a commercial. Back from break, 5 dropkicks JB into 10's fallaway slam. Hot tag to Luchasaurus, who threatens to make the Dark Order go extinct. Stunt leaps off his shoulders for a high crossbody on Cabana, but then 5 blocks his dive. Cabana knocks Luchasaurus into the ring post, which leaves Stunt alone for a Dark Order swarm, but JB saves the match. JB gets a hot tag and clears Dark Order from the ring, and Luchasaurus throws Stunt onto 10 and Colt at ringside. JB finishes 5 with a sitout powerbomb at 10:29. Average match, elevated by some subtle character work, like Cabana coming across like a bully against Stunt, **½.
Winners: Jurassic Express
Tony Shiavone tries to interview Jurassic Express, but they're interrupted by Tully Blanchard and FTR on the big screen. Tully pumps up his guys as the Tag Team of the Year, and puts Jurassic Express on notice, because they'll be facing FTR on January 6th. If Stunt sticks his little nose in the match, Tully might have a flashback to the 80's. This was gold.
Alex Marvez tries to interview AEW World Champion Kenny Omega and Don Callis in their hotel lobby. Callis doesn't like being interrupted in their private time, but unloads about how AEW talent always seem to be calling the shots. Omega dismisses Rey Fenix' challenge, because he has repeatedly choked in all his big matches in AEW.
The Butcher (with The Blade, The Bunny, and Eddie Kingston) vs. Pac (with Penta El Zero M)
Butcher and Pac go straight into a brawl. Pac backs off to gain some high ground and kick the chest and head. Butcher answers with a crossbody block. Butcher methodically picks apart Pac's back with hard Irish whips. Butcher absorbs a whip into the rails and explodes into a big boot. Cue the commercial! As per usual, they return from commercial just as Pac makes a superhuman comeback. Blade and Bunny's distraction lets Butcher hit brutal lariats and a powerbomb for 2. Eddie leaves commentary but Lance Archer cuts him off. Pac manages to hit the Black Arrow for the win at 11:44. This felt like it could have been a very good brawl, but instead was a slow and one-sided assault by Butcher, **¼.
Jade Cargill congratulates Brandi Rhodes for her pregnancy, although she can't help but notice this happened right after she appeared in AEW. Jade demands a worthy opponent.
Tony Shiavone hosts Miro, Kip Sabian, and Penelope Ford on the stage for their big wedding announcement. They want their wedding to be on TNT but are unable to reveal the date, when it seems that the Best Friends' video cuts them off. Turns out it was a hoax on Miro's end, and we see footage of Trent being loaded into an ambulance with a heavily bandaged chest. Miro and Sabian reveal the wedding for February 3rd, which will be a special Beach Break edition of Dynamite.
Dustin Rhodes (with Lee Johnson) vs. Evil Uno (with Stu Grayson)
Uno slaps Dustin right in the face before the bell. Dustin fires back with clotheslines and mounted punches in the buckles. Uno accidentally chops the ring post, and Dustin wrenches the bad hand again and again. Dustin risks a DQ by stomping Uno into the corner without pause. Big boot by Uno and Swanton Bomb for 2. Uno targets the hand to send us to a commercial. They return with Uno hitting a piledriver for 2. Replays reveal that Dustin hit Code Red during the commercial. Dustin wins a striking contest, but Uno hits a spin heel kick. Bulldog by Dustin gets the pinfall at 8:52. Good action, this was more like the brawl I wanted Butcher/Pac to be, just a shame that the commercial ate up so much of it, **¾.
Winner: Dustin Rhodes
Dustin refuses a handshake, so Grayson jumps him from behind. Lee Johnson and QT Marshall both try to make a save, and Lee finally clears the ring with a double missile dropkick.
Tony Shiavone interviews Shawn Spears backstage at Spear's request. Spears complains that he's hitting the glass ceiling again, despite having more talent than most of the roster. He throws away his loaded glove and complains that he's heading down the same path from his old company. Tony suggests that Shawn's shortcomings are his own fault. Shawn calls him a POS and says he can wrestle anywhere in the world he wants, so he'll come back to AEW if he feels like it. That sounded like code for "I'm going to Impact."
Abadon assaults Hikaru Shida during a backstage interview. Shida escapes, but she still has a match.
Alex Gracia vs. AEW Women's Champion Hikaru Shida
Shida is still smarting from Abadon's attack and tries to win quickly, but Gracia blocks her Falcon Arrow. Shida absorbs a running dropkick and answers with her own to the head. Gracia reverses an inside cradle and then connects a running boot. Shida regains enough composure to hit a delayed vertical suplex. Shida hits a running knee lift, but takes time to attack Abadon in the front row. Shida avoids a count out and finishes Gracia with a backbreaker and Falcon Arrow at 3:31. This was fine, but more of an angle than anything, *½.
Winner: Hikaru Shida
Shida fetches her kendo stick and pokes a lifeless Abadon, who springs to her feet for a mean brawl. Abadon bites a chunk of flesh out of Shida's neck, which might seem over-the-top, except we all just watched Randy Orton set the Fiend on fire a few days ago.
AEW Tag Team Championship:
The Young Bucks © (Nick and Matt Jackson) vs. The Acclaimed (Max Caster and Anthony Bowens)
Caster locks up with Matt, who wrenches him by the arm and smashes his shoulder. Nick continues the assault on the arm, sending Caster fleeing for a tag. Bucks continue dominating and suplex Caster onto Bowens. Bucks hit stereo baseball slide dropkicks. Caster sends Nick over the rails, but Matt spears him, and they hit him with Risky Business on the floor! Bucks catapult Bowens to set up a draping double stomp. Caster trips Matt to stop the Bucks' dominance, and the Acclaimed hit stereo kicks to the head. Nick refuses to let the Acclaimed get their heat and goes supernova, hitting a moonsault to ringside for the exclamation mark. Bowen's blocks Nick's Swanton Bomb, and Caster power slams him onto the apron! NOW, the Acclaimed are able to cut the ring in half, just in time for the commercial. Back from break, Nick rolls through double clotheslines to make the hot tag. Matt fakes a superkick and hits double DDTs. Matt hits rolling Northern Lights on Bowens and then a sharpshooter, and refuses to let go when Caster punches his face. Nick pulls Caster to ringside for a second sharpshooter! Bucks then catch Bowens with a springboard doomsday device! Caster saves his partner and hits Nick with a superplex, followed by Bowen's crossbody assist for a great nearfall (broken by Matt). Everyone is desperate and the match breaks down. Nick misses a superkick and knocks out the ref. Caster low blows Nick, and Bowens smashes a boombox over his head for a great nearfall. Nick superkicks Bowens to send him into Matt's powerbomb through a table! The BTE Trigger finishes Caster at 14:47! Awesome title defense for the Bucks, who are starting to hit their strides as champions, and the Acclaimed really stepped up too, ****.
Winners and still AEW Tag Team Champions: The Young Bucks
Final Thoughts: This was a maintenance episode that ended up being more eventful than you might have guessed. A great main event makes this an easy Thumbs Up.
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