SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•Top Flight vs. Chris Jericho & MJF – HIT
Another good match showcasing Top Flight. They looked far more crisp and confident in this match which seems to be a constant when younger talents are facing Chris Jericho. Jericho isn’t in peak physical condition which led to some clunky spots. MJF hit the Heat Seeker in the end to pick up the win. Following the match, Jake Hager called out Wardlow. Hager demanded a match with him for next week. MJF tried talking Jericho out of it as it threatens his standing in the Inner Circle. I’m enjoying this type of interplay with the group over the pre-taped comedy segments. It forwards their story while also giving a rub to younger talent.
•Sting Promo – HIT
For someone who has never been known for their promo ability, Sting has improved in his older years and it’s now one of his most effective tools. While still beating around the bush of his actual intent, Sting did allude to his reason for being in AEW to do with Darby Allin and the feeling of coming full circle being on TNT. After mentioning Dusty Rhodes, he broke into a Dusty Rhode impression which would have felt stark in past iterations of Sting, but now feels fitting given his status. Team Taz came out to interrupt Sting and call him out for getting in their business. Allin appeared in the ring after the light flickered. Taz said Cage will face Allin for the title on January 6th, but Cage wanted to fight now. They’re taking their time to make a match announcement with Sting if that even is their plan.
•Jurassic Express vs. Dark Order – HIT
After not being a priority for the better part of 2020, Jurassic Express feels refreshed going into the new year. They had a good match against Dark Order which is still missing nor do they mention Mr. Brodie Lee. In the post-match, Tony Schiavone interviewed Marko Stunt who expressed how good it felt to be back on Dynamite. FTR interrupted the promo on the big screen and challenged them to a match in a few weeks. FTR said one their quest to recapture the tag gold they won’t let a dinosaur get in their way. Personality wise it’s an awkward match-up, but a good match to get Jurassic Express back in the spotlight against an experienced and talented team.
•Pac vs. The Butcher – MISS
A weird match-up stylistically. It made sense for Pac to go up against one of Eddie Kingston’s cohorts, but the match didn’t work despite each wrestler’s talents. Much of the focus was on those at ringside and Eddie Kingston on commentary. Lance Archer came out as well to assist Pac while also not being on the friendliest of terms.
•Dustin Rhodes vs. Evil Uno – MISS
Dustin Rhodes has been excellent in the ring and having solid matches at his advanced age. This match with Evil Uno was not one of those. A clunky match in an awkward storyline of trying to recruit Dustin to the Dark Order. After the match, Uno again asked Dustin to join before Stu Grayson attacked. Lee Johnson and QT Marshall came out for the save. It’s a spot for Dustin on the card, but this match and story could have easily been cut.
•Hikaru Shida vs. Alex Garcia – HIT
Solid quick win for Hikaru Shida. She continues to dominate and get over her signature moves. In the post match, Abandon attacked Shida and bit her shoulder. Shida sold the injury, but I’m never a fan of biting because it’s not possible to leave permanent marks. Either way, AEW has been committed to the build-up of this match and it’s helped Abadon in the process.
•The Young Bucks vs. The Acclaimed – HIT
Before the match, a pre-taped music video of The Acclaimed bashing The Young Bucks aired. It was well produced, but the rap lines continue to be cheesy or in poor taste. However, their match with The Young Bucks was very good. The Acclaimed absolutely have the in-ring talent to be players in AEW. Their characters just feel unnatural and feels like something a team of writers would create. As they get more comfortable being on TV and making adjustments along the way, they have big potential down the road.