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AEW Dynamite New Year's Smash - December 28, 2022
by Doc Allen
Live from the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado. WrestleTix estimated just under 4,000 tickets sold as of this afternoon. Our hosts are Tony Shiavone, Excalibur, and Taz.
Bryan Danielson vs. Ethan Page (with Stokely Hathaway)
Bryan must have really hurt Stokey's feelings when he picked on his bald head, because Stokely is sporting an AEW hat. AEW World Champion MJF (with the only hot chick in all of Colorado) is in a box seat with a microphone and he distracts “Brain Dead Bryan” at the bell. Page capitalizes with an ambush, but he does seem annoyed by MJF's presence. Danielson fights back with a running elbow strike, and the fans chant along with his YES kicks and chops. Ethan returns fire, but Danielson pummels him into a running knee lift. Bryan can't get the Romero Special, so he stomps Ethan's knees into the mat. He hyperextends Ethan's toes to stomp at his Achilles. Ethan slows things down with a scoop slam. Danielson blocks a superplex and then nails a missile dropkick. Crowd loves him. Stokely hops onto the apron, Danielson knocks his hat off. Bryan then connects a tope onto Ethan. Bryan turns to menace Stokely and doesn't see Ethan's pump kick coming. Back from commercials, a wounded Bryan mounts a desperate comeback. Danielson hits a SUPER RANA! YES kicks by Bryan, then a baseball slide dropkick! Bryan hits a glancing flying knee (which was intended to be a complete miss) and Ethan power slams him onto the floor. Slingshot cutter by Ethan gets a 2 count. They trade counters until Bryan hits a tornado DDT and KO kick for 2. Ethan escapes the LeBell Lock in the ropes. Ethan teases an Avalanche Ego's Edge yet again, but Bryan counters with elbows, so Ethan settles for an avalanche power slam for only 2! Bryan blocks the Ego's Edge and nails the BuSaiKu Knee. Bryan stomps the face and then finishes with the LeBell Lock at 16:24! They got creative after the commercials, elevating this above just being another spin of Bryan's Greatest Hits, ***½.
Winner: Bryan Danielson
Video package hyping up tonight's Samoa Joe vs. Wardlow main event. Joe feels like he has the upper hand because he studied Wardlow while they were working together. They cut to a backstage interview with Wardlow, and Joe ambushes with a steel pipe, presumably putting their match in jeopardy.
Renee Paquette wants a health update from Hangman Page in the middle of his check-up. Page snaps at her but immediately walks it back, he's agitated from not having wrestled in over two months. The doctor thinks Hangman could be ready to go again in 2 weeks, but if he risks permanent injury if he continues chasing Moxley.
The Blackpool Combat Club (Jon Moxley and ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli) vs. Top Flight (Darius and Dante Martin)
This match is happening because Top Flight eliminated The BCC to win the $300,000 Battle Royal on Rampage. Top Flight attempt sneaky flying attacks before the bell, but both get caught and thrown into the rails. The BCC unemotionally haul Darius into their corner for quick tags. Darius absorbs a beating but manages to missile dropkick Moxley. Dante gets a babyface ovation for his hot tag and series of quick attacks on Mox. Overhead throw by Moxley sets up hammer and anvil elbow shots on Dante. Darius spears the back of Moxley's knee, giving Top Flight control in time for commercials. They return with Moxley escaping an ankle lock, only for Darius to kick him out from under his bad knee. Moxley hits power slam anyway and Claudio returns with a hot tag and launches Dante all over the place for running uppercuts. Darius tries to help but gets put into the Giant Swing. Dante leaps over his swinging brother to make the save. Top Flight swarm Claudio while Moxley sells his knee outside. Claudio hits a reverse double suplex! Top Flight resume their swarming attack, but Moxley tackles Dante into Darius! Top Flight superkick Moxley out of the ring, counter Claudio with superkicks, and Dante dives onto Mox while Darius hits Claudio with a standing Spanish Fly for only 2! Darius reverses Claudio's uppercut, but Claudio hits the Neutralizer BUT DARIUS KICKS OUT! Claudio argues with the ref while fans chant “Holy sh!t!” Dante tries to help again but runs into Moxley's King Kong Lariat. Claudio pummels Darius with hammer and anvil elbows while Moxley gives Dante the Paradigm Shift outside. Darius looks dead but slaps Claudio anyway, so Claudio uppercuts him as hard as possible and pins him at 13:25! This was AWESOME. They laid out a compelling narrative beginning with the BCC underestimating Top Flight, but then having Top Flight keep coming back to confuse, irritate, and at times show up the vets. This type of match should elevate Top Flight's status in AEW (assuming they don't disappear for the next 3 months), ****¼.
Winners: Claudio Castagnoli and Jon Moxley
Renee Paquette is backstage with Best Friends and Kip Sabian (with Penelope Ford) and everyone is mad about how they lost the $300,000 Battle Royal on Rampage. Sabian thinks he should get a shot at Orange Cassidy's All-Atlantic Championship for having eliminated him. Trent questions Kip's logic and talks himself into getting the next shot on the next Rampage.
FTW Champion Hook vs. Baylum Lynx
Hook gets a quick takedown and pummels Lynx into the buckles. Overhead belly to belly suplex by Hook gets the crowd' approval. Red Rum finishes at 1:00. This was just right.
Stokely Hathaway (with Lee Moriarty and Big Bill) interrupt Hook's celebration and compares him to Southwest Airlines in unflattering fashion. Jungle Boy arrives to fight Lee on the ramp while Big Bill steps up to Hook. Big Bill blocks a T-Bone suplex and prepares a chokeslam, but Jungle Boy takes him out with a 2x4.
Video package highlighting Chris Jericho's eventful last few weeks. This cuts to Jericho talking to the camera about "small-minded, flash in the pan" Ricky Starks. Jericho is going to take Starks to school in Seattle, because he's a WIZARD! He threatens to end the "Starks Experiment.""
Renee Paquette interviews Swerve and his new henchmen backstage. Swerve explains that Keith Lee didn't share his vision, so he found new people who do. Wheeler Yuta interrupts to voice his disapproval of Swerve's actions. Is this an insta-setup for Rampage? Why yes, it is.
AEW World Trios Championship Best of Seven Series (Match 6 - Falls Count Anywhere):
Death Triangle © (Pac, Penta El Zero Miedo, and Rey Fenix, with Alex Abrahantes) vs. The Elite (Kenny Omega, Nick Jackson, and Matt Jackson, with Don Callis, Brandon Cutler, and MT Nakazawa)
The cameras catch them brawling backstage, so the bell rings. Death Triangle start swinging weapons and Pac hits a suplex onto a pile of pallets. Pac follows with a moonsault off some shelves. Matt counters to back drop Fenix through a table. Matt drapes Pac onto a travel case and wheels him into Nick's superkick! Nick leaps off the shelves to put Penta through a table with a somersault leg drop. The Bucks haul Penta and Pac onto the stage. Fenix reappears on top of the stage and hits a tornado senton onto the Bucks! Kenny Omega rushes in from the heel tunnel and drops Fenix with a V-Trigger! Pac gives Omega a dead lift German suplex on the stage, but Matt breaks the pin. Matt gives Pac rolling Northern Lights down the ramp. Nick leaps over them to plant Penta, while Nick suplexes both Fenix and Pac! Back from commercials, the action has finally hit the ring. Death Triangle seemingly have Omega right where they want him. Omega survives long enough for Nick to offer some help, but Penta takes him down with Sling Blade. Matt charges in for a Destroyer on Penta, resulting in a wild series of drive-by attacks culminating with Omega's snap dragon! Fans give them a standing ovation. Omega wraps Pac in a trash can for a V-Trigger, then hits a Doctor Bomb onto the can, but PAC KICKS OUT! Lucha Bros block the One Winged Angel, and give Omega a Fear Factor outside. Fenix fends off the Bucks and hits a wild tope onto Omega and Nakazawa! Nick reverses Penta's Fear Factor on the apron, and the Bucks hit a Meltzer Driver onto the floor! Pac interrupts the pin! Fans chant “Fight Forever!” Nick interrupts the Black Arrow, the Bucks hit the BTE Trigger, but Pac saves the match again. Matt misfires a superkick onto Nick, Pac puts him into the Brutalizer! Meanwhile, Omega gives Fenix a One Winged Angel off the stage and through a table to win at 17:00, robbing Pac of a submission win. Once again these six guys delivered something completely different from previous matches in this series, this time in the form of an Attitude Era-style stunt show, ****½.
Winners: The Elite
The Acclaimed drop a new music video, correctly asking why Jeff Jarrett is in AEW when he hasn't been relevant since 2004 (and that's kind of a stretch). They fool around on a playground and chase around a Jarrett cosplayer.
The JAS (Anna Jay and Tay Melo) vs. Willow Nightingale and Ruby Soho
Taz forgets he's not calling Dark and sings along to Ruby's music. Tay is in a goofy mood and gets caught dancing by Willow. Ruby makes a blind tag, which seems to irritate Willow. Ruby is too busy gunning for Anna to notice. Willow and Ruby resume working together and hit a tandem wheelbarrow splash onto Anna. Pump kick by Willow, then a low crossbody gets 2. Tay pulls Ruby off the apron while Anna kicks Willow off her feet. Back from commercials, Willow blasts Anna with a lariat. Ruby gets the hot tag and runs wild just as she should. Ruby hunts Anna down for an STO and then hits Tay with No Future for only 2. Willow helps with a lariat, but Anna hits her with a pump kick. They take a breather to no ovation (insert sad face). Willow and Ruby swarm Tay, but Anna returns to throw Willow into the ring post. Tay gives Ruby a DDT, but Willow tackles Anna onto them to break the pin. Willow gives Anna a snap suplex outside, while Ruby and Tay trade stiff shots. Ruby collapses onto Tay for a fun 2 count. Anna tries to use a chair, but referee Aubrey Edwards disarms her. Meanwhile, Tay kicks another chair into Ruby's face and hits a sloppy Tay-KO to win at 12:00! They worked really hard and pulled the crowd into it, **¾.
Winners: Tay Melo and Anna Jay
Lexi Nair wants to know why the Gunn Club are leaving early. I want to know why they're here in the first place. They've got reservations and don't have time to talk about FTR.
Renee Paquette interviews Ricky Starks about next week's match with Chris Jericho. Ricky is looking for revenge on behalf of Action Andretti, who took a fireball to the face from The Ocho. Ricky threatens Jericho with a Master Class whupping, because he can.
Samoa Joe © vs. Wardlow
No sign of Wardlow during introductions, so Samoa Joe smugly asks to fight the Denver Broncos instead. Wardlow fights past security and limps into the ring to attack Joe with shoulder thrusts. Wardlow hits a shoulder block, but his knee slows him down. Joe runs into a spinebuster! Wardlow loses his composure and Joe makes him pay with his Uranage. Wardlow answers with a clothesline, but Joe reverses into a neat kneebreaker. Back from commercials, Wardlow beats a countout, but Joe is ready to attack his bad knee. Wardlow blocks a superplex and nails a SWANTON BOMB! The bad knee prevents a cover! Wardlow limps to his feet for a pair of German suplexes! Wardlow guts out a springboard crossbody, sells his knee, and then makes a late cover for 2! Wardlow blocks the Rear Naked Choke, and nails a headbutt and lariat for 2. Joe hits a surprising leg sweep, but Wardlow reverses a superplex into a big time powerbomb! The fans stand up in support, but Wardlow is too hurt for a Powerbomb Symphony. Joe chop blocks the bad knee and applies the Rear Naked Choke. Wardlow passes out and Joe retains to BOOS at 12:12! Call me crazy, but this would have been a great time to recrown Wardlow and get his push back on track with a fresh title reign. Instead, Joe looks monstrous in victory, ***.
Winner and still TNT Champion: Samoa Joe
Wardlow regains consciousness and realizes he lost. Joe teases a show of respect before blasting Wardlow with the TNT title. Joe retrieves some scissors, knocks out referee Paul Turner, and cuts off Wardlow's man bun. I'm sorry, that made me giggle. Joe poses with the man bun and TNT title, but Darby Allin arrives to smash his skateboard against Joe's back. Looks like we have a pretty cool Joe/Darby match to look forward to.
Final Thoughts: This was the most unexpectedly great episode of Dynamite in a long while. They gave us a slew of PPV-worthy matches while retaining the tight and focused booking of the past month or so. Way to end 2022 on a hot note.
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