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AEW DYNAMITE TV REPORT
DECEMBER 23, 2020
JACKSONVILLE, FLA. AT DAILY’S PLACE
AIRED LIVE ON TNT
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, PWTORCH EDITOR
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
(1) CHRIS JERICHO & MJF (w/Jake Hager) vs. TOP FLIGHT (Darius & Dante Martin)
The crowd sang Jericho’s theme song lyrics after the music stopped playing. Ross said he has hats older than the Martin brothers. (It sounds like a self-aware bit at this point.) After some offense by Top Flight in the ring, Jericho and MJF thwarted it at ringside. MJF and Jericho then isolated Darius in the ring. Excalibur plugged the Young Bucks vs. Acclaimed match. Ross mentioned Sting. (I’m surprised they didn’t make a bigger deal out of Sting at the very start of the show to capture some lapsed WCW fans who were watching the NBA game.) Darius made a comeback and set up a springboard on the ring apron at MJF, but Hager yanked him off the ring apron. MJF then gave him a Heat Seeker for the win. As that was going on, Dante and Jericho were fight over the ringside barricade.
WINNERS: MJF & Jericho in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Largely good action. Jericho seemed a little sluggish and just doesn’t appear to be in prime shape.)
-After the match, Hager called Jericho and MJF into the ring. He said since they decided to stick together as a team, everyone has been carrying their weight except Wardlow. He called Wardlow out, but then noted that he’s away tending to family business. He said that’s no excuse to skip work. “Like everyone knows, every week on AEW Dynamite everyone in Inner Circle are shining stars,” Hager told MJF. “We’re always there. We don’t want rest, we don’t need it.” He said he understands Wardlow is an asset, “but he’s also an asshole.” Hager said he got Tony Khan to approve a match between him and Wardlow next week. He looked at the camera and said, “Wardlow, you better show up!” MJF had a tense talk with Jericho as Hager returned to the back.
-They went to the announcers at ringside. Ross hyped The Acclaimed vs. The Young Bucks.
-A video aired with The Acclaimed signing about the Bucks. They were playing in the snow and rapping about the Bucks. They teased dropping their book in a toilet. They said it was Buck season and they’re out hunting. “Who kissed Dave’s ass for a star rating?” he sang. “Every time I shoot, you better duck son. Say goodbye to your loved ones.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Good stuff there. Well done.)
-The announcers plugged other matches and segments scheduled on the show.
-Schiavone introduced Sting. Sting made his full entrance with snow falling for him. Sting said it feels like he’s gone full circle. He said he’s back in the jungle on TNT. He said he was an integral part of building the original jungle, and he’s glad to see it’s still in tact and thriving and alive and he gets to be a part of it. “I love it, Tony!” Schiavone said people want to know why he’s there. He noted that Sting said he wasn’t there for Cody. Schiavone pointed up in the stands where TNT Champion Darby Allin was standing. He said Sting has pointed toward Darby.
Sting said he can’t answer why he’s there. He said it’s a pretty deep question. He said he has to go way back in time. He said he was looking for a big break when he started out, and he got that chance because of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. A “Dusty!” chant broke out. He said Dusty looked at him and said they’re going to put color on his face and trunks and then put him in the ring with Ric Flair. He said it wasn’t long afterward that he was wrestling Ric Flair in main event matches. He said now fast-forward all these years later, he sees Cody in the ring and he can’t describe the feeling. He said he needed to be part of AEW when he saw that. “Welcome home!” chanted the crowd. Sting said it’s good to be home.
As Sting was about to talk about Darby, Taz interrupted and walked onto the stage with his crew of Ricky Starks, Brian Cage, Powerhouse Hobbs, and his son. Taz said everyone who has ever known Sting knows it’s always about Sting. He said he’s sick of Tony hyping him so much. Starks said they don’t care about his business with Darby or Cody, but they do care he sticks his nose in their business. He said Sting is going to get hurt playing in their jungle. Taz said he’s standing there with four hungry tigers who are about to bite his damn head off. He directed them to head to the ring. The lights went out. When they came back on, Darby was suddenly in the ring with his skateboard. (Magic!) Taz said that’s cool, no problem, they’ll take the high road and live to fight another day. Taz said Darby will defend his TNT Title on Jan. 6 against Cage. He predicted Cage will rip his head off. Cage said he might not want to wait. Sting and Darby held their ground as Taz’s crew talked Cage to the back.
(Keller’s Analysis: Sting’s strength was never extended time to talk as his voice and inflection didn’t live up to his natural charisma, look, and overall demeanor, which was always top shelf. This was on the higher end of his longer promos. He didn’t lose his train of thought or seem disconnected from the words. He was believable in talking about feeling this has come full circle. This really is a bonus chapter in his career, and now in his 60s as an elder statesman of the business, he carries himself with an appreciation for his fame and achievements. Good hype for the Jan. 6 show, too.) [c]
-MJF addressed a cameraman. He asked him to follow him into the dining room as he’d do “the right thing.” He interrupted Inner Circle playing cards. He bonded with them over a recent death in the family. Santana stood up and told him to keep his head up. They hugged. Ortiz paused, then shook his hand. They left. MJF wiped away apparent tears.
(2) DARK ORDER (Colt Cabana & “5” & “10”) vs. JURASSIC EXPRESS (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus & Marko Stunt)
The announcers reacted to MJF. Excalibur said it’s a more serious tone than they’re used to from MJF and he sent his sympathies for his recent loss. Ross asked what the numbers signify in Dark Order members’ names. Excalibur said it is the order in which they joined Dark Order. Colt Cabana interfered from the ring apron, giving “5” a chance to take over against Jungle Boy. They cut to a break early in the match on split-screen. [c]
Back live, Jungle Boy teased a comeback, but “5” and “10” double-teamed him to retain control. Luchasaurus finally tagged in and went to work against “5.” He fended off “10” and Colt, then hit a chokeslam and a standing moonsault for a near fall, broken up by “10.” Marko launched off of Luchasaurus’s shoulders and landed a crossbody on Cabana. Dark Order took over on Marko as the ref was preoccupied getting Luchasaurus out of the ring. Colt shoved Luchasaurus into the ringpost. “5” landed a frogsplash for a near fall, with Jungle Boy making the save. Marko tagged in Jungle Boy and knocked Colt and “10” off the ring apron, then dropkicked “5.” Luchasaurus pressed and tossed Marko onto Colt and “10” at ringside, then Jungle Boy landed an assisted powerbomb with Luchasaurus on “5” and got the pin.
WINNERS: Jurassic Express in 11:00.
-Schiavone entered the ring and interviewed Jurassic Express after the match. Marko said it feels so good to be back on Dynamite. Tully Blanchard and FTR interrupted from the big screen. Tully said they are the 2020 Tag Team of the Year. He said he understands Jurassic Express want to take them down to make a name for themselves. He said they have two weeks to prepare to face them. He said they’re chomping at the bit because it’s now become personal. He said they’re on a quest to take the tag titles back, and they “won’t let dinosaurs take us down one notch at all.” He threatened Marko and said if he tries to get involved, he might have a flashback to the ’80s. JB and Luchasaurus held him back as he tried to charge out of the ring. [c]
-Alex Marvez caught up with Don Callis and Kenny Omega at the hotel. Callis took off his COVID mask and addressed Marvez, who was wearing a mask. Callis addressed the camera and said he doesn’t understand how Tony Khan can let Pac dictate to management. He said Omega is the AEW World Champion and they won’t get dictated to by anyone. Omega took off his mask and brought up how Rey Fenix choked over and over since Dynamite started. He asked what will happen when he faces someone “who doesn’t love you or even like you, like his brother.” He said: “I won’t just hurt you, I might even put you out for good.” Callis said maybe AAA will take them back when they’re done with them. He said Fenix gets hurt, whereas he gets titles. Callis called an end to the interview.
(Keller’s Analysis: The energy Omega and Callis exude playing off of each other is perfect. They seem like two people who would hang out together, and they pick up right where the other leaves off seamlessly, like a married couple or best friends who can finish each other’s sentences. Kenny’s jacket was money, too.) [c]
(3) PAC (w/Penta) vs. BUTCHER (w/Blade, Bunny, Eddie Kingston)
Eddie Kingston joined the announcers on commentary. Schiavone said Fenix isn’t there because he’s training for his match next week against Omega. Butcher tossed Pac over the top rope seconds into the match. Pac returned quickly. Eddie thanked Ross for noticing that Butcher has new ring gear. Pac threw roundkicks to the chest of Butcher as he kneeled in the ring. Butcher took over with a crossbody off the ropes. They cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split-screen. [c/ss]
Pac began a comeback after the break. Pac climbed to the top rope. Penta and Blade got into it at ringside, which distracted Pac. Blade then caught Pac with a hard clothesline. He delivered a running powerbomb for a near fall. Blade yelled at the ref as Butcher and Bunny complained. Kingston yelled at Butcher to have a sense of urgency. Butcher didn’t respond. He just held Pac and seemed confused. Kingston walked to the ring, but Lance Archer came out to block him. Pac caught a distracted Butcher with a kick to the head, then landed his Black Arrow for the win.
WINNER: Pac in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Butcher got quite a bit of offense in the match. The final couple minutes were convoluted and not particularly well-timed.)
-Afterward, Archer joined Pac in the ring and talked with him about their common enemy. Kingston returned to the announce desk and ranted and raved.
-Backstage, Jade Cargill congratulated Brandi Rhodes on her pregnancy. She said motherhood is a beautiful thing. She said it’s rather suspicious that when she showed up, Brandi ended up pregnant. She said she’ll take care of her CBO duties and the women’s division in her absence. She said Shaq has called out Cody, so what’s next. She said she’s “tired of this shit” and wanted a worthy opponent.
(Keller’s Analysis: This is the clunkiest of all ongoing storylines in AEW. Shaq isn’t worth it.)
-Schiavone stood on the ramp with Miro, Kip Sabian, and Penelope Ford. Kip said he knows how much their marriage means to the people watching who have no lives. He was about to reveal the date when the Best Friends’ music played. No one came out. Kip, Ford, and Miro laughed and said they got them. The screen then showed Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor watching as Trent was loaded into an ambulance. Miro then announced the wedding date: Feb. 3. Miro said it’ll be a beach wedding. Sabian said it’ll take place at “Beach Break” and it’ll be a defining moment in the company’s history. Kip and Ford kissed as Miro mugged for the camera behind them.
(4) DUSTIN RHODES (w/Lee Johnson) vs. EVIL UNO (w/Stu Grayson)
Uno was in the ring after the break. Uno slapped Dustin as soon as he entered the ring. Schiavone talked about Dustin’s bad experience with the wrestling character “Seven.” They cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split-screen. [c/ss]
They showed that during the break, Dustin landed a Code Break and a crossbody for a two count. Live, Uno was in control, but selling an injured hand. Dustin ate a boot as he charged. Uno sidekicked him in the face, then charged at him in the corner. Dustin moved and hit a sudden running bulldog for a three count.
WINNER: Dustin in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Eh. Not great. The beatdown by Uno was rudimentary and plodding. The finish kind of came out nowhere, which can be a good thing, but the final two minutes just had no flow.)
-Afterward, Uno kneeled and begged Dustin to join Dark Order. Dustin kicked him. Stu Grayson ran in and attacked Dustin. Lee Johnson ran in for the save, but Grayson caught him with a flying knee. Grayson then gave Dustin an awkward backbreaker. Q.T. Marshall ran out and tried to help, but Uno and Grayson easily fended him off. Johnson then springboarded at Grayson and Uno. Grayson wasn’t in position, but nicely stepped a few feet to the side to be in the right spot. Nothing here felt particularly natural.
-Shawn Spears had a talk with Schiavone. Spears asked him why he left wrestling for 15 years. Schiavone said he was burned out. Spears said he’s the perfect person to talk to. He said he’s better than 95 percent of anyone in AEW. He said his confidence is highly in tact. He said he walked into AEW red-hot, but had to dig himself out of a hole that “Tony’s EVP Cody” knocked him into. He said he’s not going to go down the same path again. Schiavone asked if it’s possible the problem in all of this is him. “You’re the common denominator,” he said. Spears said it has crossed his mind, but he’s a real piece of shit for saying that. He said it isn’t his fault, and he has the talent to work anywhere in the world. He said he’s leaving and will come back only if he wants to.
-Dasha interviewed Hikaru Shida backstage. Abadon jumped her. They were separated quickly. Michael Nakazawa helped Shida head to the entrance stage right away.
(5) HIKARU SHIDA vs. ALEX GRACIA
Shida’s record was listed at 22-1. Gracia was already in the ring. Shida dominated early. Ross said Gracia’s father is battling cancer and is her inspiration. Gracia avoided a charging Shida and controlled the action for a while. Shida came back with a kick and a delayed vertical suplex. Shida saw Abadon at ringside lurking behind a barricade. Shida dragged her over the barricade and attacked her. Shida ran back into the ring, but Gracia rolled her up for a two count. Shida gave her a backbreaker and falcon arrow for the win.
WINNER: Shida in 4:00.
-After the match, Abadon popped up and went after Shida. Abadon got the better of Shida. Ross noted Shida just went through a match. Abadon climbed Shida and then bit her shoulder. “Good god!” said Schiavone. Shida had to grab her neck area and sell that she lost a chunk of flesh. There were blood smears under her hand. [c]
-The announcers hyped Kenny Omega vs. Rey Fenix. Ross said it could be the match of the year. Schiavone announced Jon Moxley would return to Dynamite. Plus, Shida vs. Abadon and Wardlow vs. Jake Hager. In two weeks, Darby will defend against Brian Cage plus Cody Rhodes vs. Matt Sydal.
(6) THE YOUNG BUCKS (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. THE ACCLAIMED (Anthony Bowens & Max Caster) – AEW Tag Team Title match
Max rapped his way to the ring. He bragged about eight straight wins and bragged about going up in the rankings. He said the Bucks don’t have balls, but they can play with theirs. He closed, “If they really want to know, we’re coming hard.” Bowens then announced, “AEW, The Acclaimed have arrived.” The Bucks came out second. Excalibur said The Acclaimed have had a meteoric rise in AEW. Ross noted Caster’s dad was a former NFL player. The Bucks took control a minute in and dropkicked Bowens and Caster to ringside. Then they slidekicked them. Matt whipped Bowens into the barricade. Nick and Caster battled at ringside. Matt speared Caster. Nick then springboarded off the barricade and they landed a tandem Risky Business. Back in the ring, Matt catapulted Bowens into a Nick kick to the head. Nick landed double foot stomps. The Bucks continued to isolate Bowens in their corner until Caster tripped Matt running the ropes. Bowens tagged in Caster. They did frequent tags and worked over Matt. Some chaos followed with all four. Nick hit a nice sequence against both Bowens and Caster. He followed with a top rope senton, but Bowens lifted his knees. Bowens took over on Nick as they cut to a break. [c/ss]
The Bucks took over after the break. Nick climbed to the top rope, but Caster knocked him off balance. Caster threw Matt over the barricade at ringside, then superplexed Nick in the ring. They landed a Midnight Rockers’ style top rope crossbody/suplex combo. Bowens grabbed his left arm in pain after landing. Nick tagged in Matt, who went to work on Caster. Caster gouged Matt’s eyes. Matt fired back with a superkick. Bowens entered. Nick entered. Nick mistakenly superkicked the referee. Caster low kicked Nick. Bowens then hit him with a boom box. Caster made the cover. A second ref came out and made the count, but Nick kicked out. Nick shoved Caster into Bowens. Matt then powerbombed Bowens through a table at ringside. The Bucks then finished Caster with a BTE Trigger for the win.
WINNERS: The Young Bucks in 15:00 to retain the AEW Tag Team Titles.
(Keller’s Analysis: A good match, best of the night. The Acclaimed looked like they belonged in there with the Bucks at this level.)