AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
They’ve been saying for weeks now that Winter is Coming, but today’s the day that Winter has come, and it’s here to kick some serious butt! We’ve got Jon Moxley Vs. Kenny Omega in the main event for the AEW World Championship which has been bubbling in the background for MONTHS now, and on top of that they’ve got the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale to try and make this the biggest show of the year! Does this live up to all the potential (and the expectations) that AEW has worked to build up, or has AEW squandered all the hype for their biggest match of the year on a show that just doesn’t come together? Let’s find out!!
Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale
MJF, Wardlow, Sammy Guevara, Miro, Kip Sabian, Orange Cassidy, John Silver, Alex Reynolds, Isiah Kassidy, Marq Quen, Matt Hardy, Shawn Spears, Scorpio Sky, Matt Sydal, Serpentico, Luther, Joey Janela, Jungle Boy, Lee Johnson, and Hangman Adam Page
So just like last year’s match there are actually TWO winners here as the last two in the ring will have a match next week, and ALSO just like last year I had no idea this was the case while watching it. I mean they go to the trouble of having Justin Roberts SAY as much before the match begins, but I usually don’t expect pertenant information I don’t already know from the guy and it’s very rare that you see a Battle Royael where there’s more than one winner. Heck, the one time it happened to John Cena and Batista at the Royal Rumble was such a botch that it broke both of Vince McMahon’s legs! In any case, the point of this match is less about who makes it to the end than it is about keeping the pot boiling on all of their various subplots throughout the company.
First Elimination – Isaiah Kassidy is trying to throw Silver over the ropes, but Matt Hardy comes from behind and tries to toss them both. Silver manages to hold on, but Kassidy is eliminated.
See, right off the bat we’ve got Private Party’s supposed mentor tossing one of them out of the ring! Perhaps this new Matt Hardy persona we’ve been seeing recently (Huckster Matt as I like to call him) is no longer interested in helping these boys succeed!
Second Elimination – Silver and Reynolds do that AWESOME Stunner/German Suplex combination on Serpentico, and while the man/serpent is trying to recover, the Hangman comes in and Buckshot lariats his out of ring.
Third Elimination – Luther is on the ropes and Silver and Reynolds encourage Hangman to knock him off. He hits him once but Luther is still holding on, so he takes another shot and Luther falls to the ground.
Silver and Page’s match last week was a DEFINITE highlight of the show and I’m glad that we’re seeing that story advance here as The Dark Order continues to try and woo him to their side; something we’ll see even more of as the match continues.
Fourth Elimination – After hemming and hawing about getting in the ring, Shawn Spears finally jumps in and tosses Matt Sydal over the ropes onto the ramp. I didn’t realize the ramp counted, but I guess it does and Sydal is eliminated.
Fifth Elimination – Scorpio Sky comes up from behind to grab Spears and tosses him over the ropes to the ACTUAL ground and not the ramp.
Sixth Elimination – Not to take such offense lightly, Spears gets the metal slug from Tully Blanchard and jumps on the apron to bash Sky on the back with it. In immense pain after taking that hit, Sky is prompted eliminated when Wardlow tosses him over the ropes.
Seventh Elimination – Once again, we’ve got a member of Private Party (This time Marq Quen) trying to take out a member of the Dark Order (This time Alex Reynolds) when Matt Hardy comes from behind and tries to dump them both. BOTH of them manage to hold on this time though, but Matt Hardy tosses Silver into Reynolds which knocks him out of the ring.
Eighth Elimination – Silver tries to get revenge for Reynolds and Gorilla Presses Marq Quen to try and throw him over the ropes, but, but Quen wriggles out and manages to push Silver forward who then falls over the ropes that Matt Hardy is pulling down.
Again, we see Matt Hardy being a huge jerk to his boys, but somehow Quen hasn’t caught on yet and hasn’t tried to eliminate Hardy himself. I hope there are some serious consequences for all this soon, but we’ll have to wait and see. Sadly The Dark Order will not be taking home the Dynamite Diamond Ring this year, but perhaps they’ll walk away with an even bigger prize!
Ninth Elimination – Hangman Adam Page goes after Marq Quen and Matt Hardy and ends up tossed onto the apron by Hardy before being getting knocked off by a big kick from Quen. He’s NOT eliminated however as the Dark Order is waiting and they catch him before tossing him back into the ring! With renewed vigor, he lands a BIG Buckshot Lariat onto Marq Quen… before being tossed out of the ring by Matt Hardy.
I mean granted he didn’t go all the way, but Hangman definitely got further with the help of The Dark Order than without their help. I’m all for him joining the group to be honest. He’s great and all, but he doesn’t have much of a story right now and could use some time elsewhere to start building himself back up. I’m sure he’ll be challenging for the title at SOME point in the future, but until then this would be a fun way to keep him in the fold.
Tenth Elimination – Kip Sabian is fighting off Jungle Boy when Cassidy scoops him up and tosses him over the turnbuckle.
No Best Friends in this match, but Cassidy is on hand to continue the feud and as soon as Kip is out of the match, him and Miro drag Cassidy to the outside (under the ropes which means he’s not eliminated) and beat the crap out of him. Not quite satisfied yet however, Miro is pumped up and ready to start tossing some mo-fos over those ropes!
Eleventh Elimination – Lee Johnson is tossed over the ropes by Miro.
Twelfth and Thirteenth Eliminations – Matt Hardy tries to take on Miro and ends up on the apron. Quen tries to make the save but ends up on Hardy’s back in the position him and Kassidy are in when they do the Silly String. Before they can pull it off though, Miro bashes Quen to the floor and then bashes Hardy right after.
Fourteenth Elimination – Joey tried to halt Miro’s momentum with a cross body off the top rope, but it barely fazed him and he tosses Joey over the ropes soon after.
At this point we’re down to our final “five” which is where things get interesting. Miro has his sights on Jungle Boy who’s down in the corner, when the Inner Circle crew who have done NOTHING up to this point aside from avoid violence and protect MJF, start to pound on Miro to try and toss him over the ring. In probably my favorite spot of the whole match, Miro does that Strong Man thing where he jumps up and goes RAAAAHHHHH which sends ALL the people pounding him flying. Yeah, it’s a cliché and all that, but it’s the kind of goofy fun I’m here for! It then comes down to Wardlow and Miro who start pounding on each other while everyone else is content to chill in the corners, but then…
Fifteenth Elimination – After putting up a valiant fight against Wardlow, Sammy and MJF come in to hold Miro down while Wardlow gets the job done. He fights back and manages to shake off his two captors, but Wardlow lays him out with a HUGE clothesline and the three Inner Circle members work together to dump him over the ropes.
It’s basically down to Jungle Boy who’s all alone to fend off three heels, and for his effort he has a very impressive Hope Spot here. He kicks MJf and Drop Kicks Wardlow which takes them out of commission and basically leaves him to face off with Sammy. They have some fun acrobatic action on the apron and on the turnbuckle, but eventually…
Sixteenth and Seventeenth Eliminations – While struggling on the top rope, MJF comes out of nowhere and pushes BOTH of them off the turnbuckle and to the ground.
Clearly Sammy is VERY upset about all this, but MJF did in fact leave just himself and Wardlow in the ring so this is a victory for The Inner Circle, right? Well… not quite as it may APPEAR that they are the only two in the ring, but Orange Cassidy still hasn’t been officially eliminated and is still on the floor outside the ring trying to recover from the beat down from Miro and Sabian. Wardlow tosses him back in the ring and gets to work while MJF gloats to the audience. However…
Final Elimination – Cassidy wriggles out of Wardlow’s hold and throws him into MJF who goes over the ropes and is BARELY hanging on for dear life. Wardlow takes him time to bring MJF back into the ring which gives Cassidy enough time to land an Orange Punch on MJF and TWO Orange Punches on Wardlow. Wardlow is draped over the ropes after taking these savage hits, and Cassidy manages to lift him up and over to eliminate him.
And so our two winners are MJF and Orange Cassidy who will be facing each other next week to determine who will walk away with the Dynamite Diamond Ring! The match itself was good and there were a lot of things that happened throughout it, but if I’m honest there wasn’t a lot of SPECTACULAR in ring action to make it more than a nexus for a bunch of disparate storylines to advance a bit. It did pick up considerably when it was down to the final “five” and I’m glad that Orange Cassidy will be facing MJF, but even that felt a bit underwhelming to me. If it were up to me (which it most certainly isn’t), I’d do SOMETHING to eliminate the rule where if you go under the ropes than you can hang outside the ring for like ten straight minutes with no repercussions. Heck, even if you didn’t want to do a straight up Ten Count, give them one minute tops to get back in the ring to at least put a bit of tension into those moments instead of just assuming that if someone goes under the ropes than they’re just waiting until the very end to go back in. A fun opener to be sure, but it was definitely spread a bit thin and could have used some more bite to it.
Chris Jericho Vs. Frankie Kazarian
Jericho is accompanied to the ring by Jake Hager & Oritz
Kazarian has certainly had a long and illustrious career, but he’s a guy so good that he always deserves more and never seems to quite get the appreciation he deserves. On top of that, guys like Christopher Daniels are starting to show their age and even Jericho isn’t as spry as he once was, but Kazarian? Dude doesn’t look a day over thirty. Maybe he doesn’t have as much left in the tank as he lets on, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a title run in the near future because the guy definitely deserves it! As for the match itself, it starts rather slow and methodical at first; a bit TOO much for my taste. Kazarian gest to show off some REALLY nice flips early on, but it takes a bit more time for Jericho to really get going as he spends the first few minutes rebuffing Kazarian, poking him in the eye, and showboating for the crowd. Once Hager and Ortiz try to interfere, things start to pick up Kazarian is able to fend them off but it gives Jericho an opening to land a Code Breaker. Jericho gets the heat throughout the commercial break and the tide doesn’t turn until Jericho goes for a Lion Sault from the middle rope which gets blocked by Kazarian who then follows up with his own middle rope and gets a two count on Jericho. Looking to put this away, Kazarian lands a Superplex onto Jericho but still only gets a two count, so his next attempt is to put Jericho in a Boston Crab and hold on for dear life; even if Ortiz and Hager are yelling at him from the apron! Then MJF comes out with a towel and it looks like he’s going to throw it in to save Jericho, but Sammy comes running out and yanks it out of his hand just as Jericho makes it to the bottom rope. I’m curious what the rules are as to WHO can throw in a towel on someone’s behalf, but Sammy is VERY incensed by MJF either way. Kazarian tries to take advantage of the confusion and goes for a few roll ups on Jericho, but he only manages to get a few two counts before running into a Judas Effect and getting pinned himself. Christopher Daniels comes in the most dad clothes imaginable before he and Kazarian disappear from the ring entirely to leave The Inner Circle to start fighting amongst themselves. It gets so heated that Jericho has to grab the mic to tell them to cut the nonsense and that he is GROUNDING The Inner Circle! He is giving them all seven days to think on their actions. Next week, he will ask them if The Inner Circle will come together as a team or if they will break up. They better think long and hard about how they want to behave if they want to stay in Jericho’s good graces, but is MJF too much of a weaselly little punk for this group to hold itself together? It was a fine match and once again shows just how much of a professional Kazarian is, but it didn’t exactly WOW me and the turmoil with The Inner Circle is honestly getting a bit long in the tooth. There looks to be a definite conclusion to all this infighting next week however, so hopefully we won’t have to deal with the bickering after that.
We cut to the back where The Bucks are being interviewed by Alex Marvez, and despite them ostensibly being Faces at this point, they still come off as cocky heels as they make fun of Alex Marvez as well as FTR before announcing that they are facing The Hybrid Two next week for a non-title match. Then out of nowhere, two guys barge in who I don’t recognize. They are Bowens and Castor, known as The Acclaimed, and they are here to laugh at The Bucks about their book and Max does a rap about The Young Bucks… looking at each other’s dicks? This is all a distraction though as TH2 come from behind to attack them, and then Max just starts shouting World Star, which… is that even a thing anymore? The four of them get chased off by Daniels (still in his dad clothes) and Kazarian which thankfully puts an end to this VERY odd segment. Now these two have had matches on Dark (which I haven’t seen) so I guess they’re being brought up for TV, but it feels a bit too soon to be introducing yet another tag team when Top Flight has only been around for two weeks, and I wouldn’t say this was the BEST introduction for them. Sure, they come off as heels, but they come off more annoying than threatening; though I will admit that Max’s rhymes were pretty good. I’d like to see them cut a promo in the ring and I DEFINITELY want to see them have a match, but this just ended up being a rather lackluster segment for me.
Britt Baker Vs. Layla Hirsch
Baker is accompanied to the ring by Rebel
I never thought of Britt Baker as particularly tall, but she is a GIANT when next to Layla Hirsh so now I’m curious how small she looks next to Kris Statlander! The match is very match a classic Heel Underestimates Face story as Baker takes Hirsch lightly to her own detriment several times and ends up fighting from underneath for most of this match. Hirsch keeps dragging Baker to the ground and works her limbs over with old school wrestling moves that threaten to cause Baker to tap out and it’s not until Baker jabs her fingers in Layla’s mouth that she manages to break free just long enough to land a kick and start taking control of the match. Layla tries to fight back and ends forcing Baker to leave the ring after a devastating German Suplex, but when she tries to follow up with a Suicide Dive, Rebel gets in the way and SHE takes the hit which gives Baker the chance to land a Sling Blade from out of nowhere. The match goes on for a bit after that, and Layla does manages to fight her way out of the Lockjaw before Baker can stick her hand in her mouth, but not long after that Baker lands a Twisting Neckbreaker and locks in the Lockjaw which forces Hirsch to tap out. IMMEDIATELY after the bell rings, Thunder Rosa runs in from the crowd and starts pounding on Britt Baker which I guess makes her the Babyface in this feud because SHE waited until AFTER the end of the match! The refs start to break the two up and Rebel gets a bit bold here as she starts going after Thunder Rosa as well, but this proves to be a bad idea because Hirsch grabs her from behind and gives her a German Suplex. This was a good match and I liked the post-match brawl because they didn’t just let Layla Hirsch disappear as soon as she lost he match, but I’m still not feeling the Thunder Rosa/Baker feud. Last week it looked like TH2 would become her muscle, and I think that would be a great idea to boost her Heel bonafides. Sure, Rebel has done her part from time to time, but she’s too goofy for her interference to feel like a legitimately unfair advantage for Baker, does it help that Baker’s interference from a few weeks ago didn’t lead to the finish of the Thunder Rosa match so the heat feels half-baked at best. If she’s going to be the top heel in the division, she REALLY needs to turn up the juice on her wickedness.
Cody Rhodes & Darby Allin Vs. Will Hobbs & Ricky Starks
Cody is accompanied to the ring by Arn Anderson while Hobbs & Starks are accompanied by Taz
Everyone involved in this feud has been doing a good job of building heat, but I’m just not seeing an endgame here and it kind of holds the match back. Didn’t they JUST have a match two weeks ago? Did it solve anything? It certainly doesn’t look like it, and frankly it’s getting in the way of the TNT Title. Darby has had the belt for about a month now and feels almost secondary in this feud despite it taking up all his time and he hasn’t defended it ONCE since he got it! Is this a good match? Yeah, it’s good. With these many talented people in the ring, there’s almost no way it could be bad, but I’m having trouble caring when the match doesn’t have much in terms of stakes. Things go back and forth for a while and at one point Starks runs out of the ring with Darby close behind. Hobbs has a good moment here where he runs Darby Allin over like a truck and the gets the heat on him for several minutes which is… fine I guess. I mean you’ve GOT to have the heels isolate the Babyface for a while, but it’s never been my favorite part of these kinds of match and I was already having trouble finding a reason to stay enthralled. I DID like the part where Hobbs was literally rag-dolling Darby Allin which was a move I don’t think I’ve seen in wrestling before but definitely fits with Hobb’s new POWERHOUSE persona. As much as I still want him to be a Babyface, he DOES know how to play a good Heel! Darby FINALLY gets to the corner by flipping out of a few Suplexes, and Cody starts running wild. He Missile Drop Kicks Will Hobbs, he shows Starks the Big Boot, and he lands a Powerslam before shouting at the crowd and tossing away his weight belt. Starks manages to rake the eyes, but even THAT isn’t enough to stop Cody who follows up with a Disaster Kick to Hobbs and that Kitty Cat Uppercut thing he does before Darby tags himself in. With Cody keeping Hobbs busy on the outside, Darby lands a Coffin Drop and Starks and manages to get the pin to win the match! Hobbs tries to attack Darby after the bell rings which forces Arn Anderson of all people to try and come in and stop the assault which goes VERY badly for him, but then Dustin Rhodes and Brian Cage rush in to make the save for their collective teams which leaves the ring in utter chaos and filled with lots of bodies!
Okay, so remember a moment ago where I said this match didn’t have any real stakes? I think someone at AEW agreed with me, because as soon as this match ends… everything changes. The lights go out, and someone’s music hits. We don’t know who it is and the titantron plays some nature footage for quite a while before we see the name of this new arrival.
Wait for it…
THAT’S RIGHT! In full crow makeup, with the leather jacket and the baseball bat, Sting comes walking out of that tunnel as fake snow falls all around the stage! What does he do? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, NOR DOES HE NEED TO! If he wants to grab a folding chair and read a newspaper every week, it would STILL be worth every single penny that AEW is paying him to be here, because he is THAT big of a legend and THAT big of a coup for them! Okay, he doesn’t do NOTHING per se, he does go to every last mo-fo in the ring, and stares them in the face before heading to the back, and trust me; we see EVERY second of this! Slowly walks to Arn and stares him in the face. Slowly walks to Dustin and stares him in the face. Slowly walks to Cody, and you guessed it, stares him in the face. He ends his tour of stares with Darby Allin who he spends an EXTRA long time staring at before turning to the crowd and whooping to their utter delight before heading to the back and leaving everyone befuddled and utterly ecstatic! Now no one should get any ideas of him wrestling a match. I respect him for having the longevity that he’s had, but the dude is over SIXTY at this point and we don’t need him cracking his head open or tearing a muscle in the ring. Just have him be a manager like Taz, Arn, and Tully, and all the fans will enjoy every second of it! THAT SAID, if he has a cinematic match with Broken Matt Hardy, I wouldn’t be opposed. It would be a war for the title of Greatest Jacket, and I’m honestly not sure who I’d want to win!
Now we can’t just jump into the Main Event after blowing all the fans’ minds with Sting showing up, so we’ve got a few interviews as a buffer between the two. We start with Hikaru Shida being interviewed by Marvez in the back about her upcoming match with Abadon. She makes it clear that she’s NOT AFRAID and even makes fun of her for doing zombie cosplay, but some bells start to ring during the interview which spooks her for whatever reason, and she just kinda runs off. This would sell a lot more if we had a REASON for her to be afraid, but Abadon has had what, one match on Dynamite and that was months ago? If she came out of nowhere and took out someone REALLY tough in an unexpected manner and Shida was there to watch, then maybe I’d buy this a bit more. Still, we’ve got some time before their match which hasn’t been scheduled yet, so Abadon is going to have a chance to make the case for herself.
After that we get a final promo from Jon Moxley before heading into the match. He talks about what a strange and prosperous road he’s been on since AEW shook the entire industry up, and how this match against Kenny Omega for the title was straight up fated to happen. You can’t have two superstars this dominant without them facing each other eventually, and that this is the night that wrestling history is made over the raucous cheers of a crowd going completely bananas! Let’s not waste any more time and just get to it already!
Jon Moxley Vs. Kenny Omega – AEW World Title Match
Don Callis (Executive Vice President of Impact Wrestling) joins the commentary team
So then! A match two years in the making, if not longer than that! IS IT WORTH ALL THE HYPE!? I’d say… yes but only because they found a way to give us something we didn’t expect. I feel like if it was just the two of them having a fantastic match and one of them coming out on top it would have felt like a bit of a letdown; simply because the moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally come and now its gone. What they do at the end though opens us up to new stories for us to get excited for all over again, though I’m curious if some who really did just want THE GREATEST MATCH OF ALL TIME will be disappointed that it ended the way it did. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though and talk about the match itself. It starts off a bit slow with a lot of holds, but the key factor is that Moxley is fighting this like the Terminator; taking whatever Kenny dishes out without getting fazed and trying to intimidate Kenny. It’s definitely Kenny’s match to lose here and he knows it as he fights VERY cautiously throughout most of the match as any chance to be bold is usually met with some devastating punches or lariats from Moxley. Now I’m not going to sit here and go over every move throughout this half hour long match, but some of the highlights include an extended brawl on the outside which leaves Kenny Omega sandwiched between the two rows of seats, Moxley turning an attempted V-Trigger into a hellacious clothesline, and a whole lot of suplexes from Moxley that’s just wearing away at Omega’s stamina. Now one of the things that Kenny wanted to make sure of and referenced multiple times in this promo is that he wants Moxley to keep it clean. No cheap shots, no weapons, and nothing that would besmirch the good name of this industry. Despite having no reason to listen to Kenny who’s been in total douchebag mode, he seems intent to honor this request, so when he goes to get chairs from under the ring what he’s ACTUALLY doing is just setting them up for him and Kenny to take a breather and start taking shots at each other from a much more relaxed seated position. Moxley ends up winning the exchange, but he follows up with a V-Trigger that sends Moxley rolling backwards in his chair and gives Omega the momentum he needs to FINALLY take control of this match! Oh wait, Moxley lands another clothesline and follows up with a Paradigm Shift that… does NOT lead to the pin! Omega kicks out at two and immediately rolls out of the ring to recover which Moxley tries to take advantage of with a Suicide Dive, but Omega manages to plant a knee RIGHT into Moxley’s face as he’s flying through the air which once again gives Omega a chance to take control of the match. V-Triggers, Snap Dragon Suplexes, and even a Tiger Driver 98 manage to soften Moxley up a bit, but he’s still kicking out at two which means Omega HAS to find a way to land the One Winged Angel if he hopes to finally put Moxley down. He goes for it once, but Moxley gets out of it. He goes for it AGAIN, but Moxley is still able to get out of it. Omega has to inflict some more pain on Moxley to wear him down enough to land the move, but when he goes to the top rope for a Phoenix Splash Moxley rushes to the corner and knocks him over the side. This is the turning point of the match as Moxley goes to the outside and lands a Paradigm Shift on Omega that sends him into a heater that’s set up outside the ring. The ref immediately calls for the doctors to make sure Kenny is fit to continue, but it doesn’t look good as Kenny barely seems able to move. Jon Moxley, either regretting that he went too far and the match will end in a Doctor Stoppage or is perhaps going full heel here, takes Kenny Omega and throws him back into the ring to pin him once and for all. Don Callis rushes to the ring with a mic in hand, but before he has a chance to say anything to Moxley, he punches him in the face and he goes down like a ton of bricks. The mic goes flying into the ring, and while the ref goes to check on Don, Kenny picks it up and smashes Moxley over the face with it. He tosses the mic, the ref is back to paying attention, and sure enough Kenny Omega gets a few V-Triggers and a One Winged Angel on Moxley to get the pin and he wins the AEW World Championship. That’s right! Kenny Omega is the new champ and he had to “cheat” to get there, but more on that in a minute. Don Callis rushes to the ring and he and Kenny just BOLT with the AEW World Champion belt in tow. Marvez tries to catch up with them, but all Don Callis will say is to watch Impact Wrestling this Tuesday on Access TV. I have no idea if I even have that channel, and I’m probably not going to watch it anyway, but I will be there for next week’s Dynamite to see the fallout from all this!
Perhaps some of the matches could have had a bit more going for them to really make this an all-time classic episode, but AEW definitely put in the effort where it was needed and we got some very memorable moments here. The Dynamite Battle Royale, Sting showing up, and a darn good title match to end the show on! I was very happy with the match by the way and I do love the idea that Kenny didn’t win cleanly and is simply running away with the belt rather than take on the jeers from the crowd. Personally though, I don’t see what he did as PARTICULARLY egregious; certainly no more so than any of Moxley’s other competitors. To me, the moment Jon Moxley put Kenny through the heater (especially considering it was almost enough to end the match) is when all bets were off, so Kenny bashing Moxley over the head with a mic didn’t feel like outright cheating or even a betrayal of his word since Moxley broke the unspoken rule first. Sure, it was underhanded, but Kenny’s been on the top of his game for months now and it’s going to take some SERIOUS effort for anyone to take him off his throne; even if he’s forced to fight completely clean from now on!