AEW Dynamite Recap & Review — 12.28.2022 — AEW New Year’s Smash 2022
Coming off of last week’s memorable Holiday Bash edition of AEW Dynamite, the show would be back once more with the final edition of AEW Dynamite for 2022! Helping to end things on a high note, AEW would present New Year’s Smash, featuring a number of big matches including Bryan Danielson vs Ethan Page, Tay Melo & Anna Jay vs Willow Nightingale & Ruby Soho, The Elite vs Death Triangle, and Wardlow vs Samoa Joe for the AEW TNT Championship! Did AEW Dynamite New Year’s Smash 2022 end 2022 on a high note for All Elite Wrestling? Let’s talk about the show!
So sit back, and enjoy this review of AEW Dynamite from December 28th, 2022! SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE OF AEW DYNAMITE AHEAD, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Bryan Danielson vs Ethan Page
Coming off of last week’s episode of AEW Dynamite, Bryan Danielson would be booked for a match against the current leader of The Firm, Ethan Page, as both men look to claim the next AEW World Championship shot against MJF. Danielson would come out to a fairly monster reaction, with MJF interrupting the opening of the match, as he would appear in a box with a hot goth lady, his arm candy for the night as he would disparage the women of Denver before brushing off Ethan Page. Danielson would fire up, landing a flying leg to Page, before laying into the Canadian with chops in the corner, though Page would fire off his own to take down Bryan. The match would turn into a strike fest, with The American Dragon beating down Ethan Page with kicks, leg attacks, and chops to keep the leader of The Firm reeling.
Thankfully, this match would be paced well without any commercials out of the gate, which greatly helped my investment into it. Bryan and Stokely would get into it, with Danielson taking Stokely’s trucker hat off his head, revealing the baldness as the two would get into it at ringside, allowing Ethan to nail Danielson with a boot off the apron. Following this, the picture-in-picture break would arrive as Ethan took control.
Back from break, Danielson would break free of Page’s control, scoring with a big high-angle German suplex as both men would fight back to their feet, Danielson going for uppercuts and Page laying in with elbows, with Bryan getting the advantage as he would go back to destroying Page with chops and kicks in the corner, before going high and sending Ethan off the top rope with a hurricanrana. The “Yes” Kicks would be delivered, with Ethan dodging the final one before spilling to the outside as Bryan would score with a dropkick through the ropes, then flying off the apron with a knee though Stokely would push Page out of the way, allowing All Ego to level Danielson with a powerslam on the floor, following up with a cutter through the ropes for a nearfall.
Kicks to the back of the head connect from Page, as Danielson comes back with a strong kick to the side of the head for a nearfall of his own, transitioning to the Lebel Lock in the center of the ring, but Page managed to make it to the ropes! Bryan would tease a flying headbutt, though Ethan would crotch him on the top rope, allowing him to deliver an Avalanche Powerslam for another nearfall! The Ego’s Edge would be set-up, though Bryan would get out, landing the Busaiku Knee before kicking Page’s head in, and then locking in a submission. Bryan Danielson wins! BANGER.
This was a nearly 20-minute match and it was freaking awesome. Ethan Page is genuinely one of the most underrated members of the AEW roster, and he got the chance to show that this year during the AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament, and he would show that off once again here. Great chemistry was on display between Page & Danielson here, with both guys’ intensity selling the importance of wanting the AEW World Championship. This was fantastic, and hopefully both guys have a strong 2023 ahead of them!
10 Huge Matches We Need To See From AEW In 2023
As 2022 draws to a close, fans of All Elite Wrestling can look back fondly on a number of major, marquee matches that…
Wardlow would be interviewed backstage about his TNT Championship Match against Samoa Joe tonight, with Joe attacking his former partner, laying him out with a steel pipe shot to the leg!
Backstage, Hangman Page would be interviewed with Renee Paquette, with him questioning her motives due to her marriage with Moxley. As soon as Renee asked about him watching Moxley’s match up next, he would get fired up and have to be restrained by Dark Order as the doctor checking him would tell him that he is trending in the right direction for recovery, but that if he keeps going after Moxley, something bad could happen again. This sends us into…
Claudio Castagnoli & Jon Moxley vs Top Flight
Coming off of the insanely-named $300,000 Trios Battle Royale from AEW Rampage, Top Flight would get a match against Claudio and Moxley. This would break down quickly, with Top Flight looking to fly early, only to be out-powered by the Blackpool Combat Club, with Moxley sending Darius into a barricade and Claudio catching Dante, tossing him away at ringside before the two BCC members began working over Darius back in the ring. Dante would eventually get the hot tag, flying in and taking out Claudio before taking down Moxley with strikes, a big dropkick, and a standing Shooting Star Press for a two count! After a brief break, Top Flight would come back with control over Moxley, before he would fight out with a suplex to Darius, making the hot tag to Claudio, who would come in with a fire lit under him as he would take it to Dante Martin with repeated Corner Uppercuts for a fun spot, really waking up the crowd who had been muted for a good portion of this.
The Giant Swing would be called for from the fans, with Darius breaking it up, before getting caught with it instead! In an impressive feat, Dante Martin would jump over his brother being swung twice, scoring a roll-up on Claudio for a two count, as the brothers would take Moxley off the apron and score another close fall over Castagnoli. Taking Claudio down, Top Flight would score a third very close call, though Moxley would get in at the last moment to break up the pin as the crowd would once again come back to life with “This is Awesome” chants. Superkick from Dante, uppercut from claudio, pop-up uppercut looked for from Claudio, though Dante and Darius would evade, allowing Dante to score with a tope suicida to Moxley on the floor! Standing Spanish Fly from Darius to Claudio for another nearfall, as Top Flight continues to get close. Another uppercut gets looked for, but Darius gets out, only to eat a Neutralizer… BUT DARIUS KICKS OUT! With Castagnoli fully angered, the Swissman would scream in the ear of Darius before unloading with violent Hammer & Anvil Elbows, as Moxley would take Dante out with a King Kong Lariat and a huge Paradigm Shift on the floor. Darius would remain limp from Claudio’s onslaught, firing off one last slap before letting leveled with a nasty final uppercut, serving as a killing blow.
This started a bit slow, with a crowd less than fully receptive, but it wounded up being rather insane. Top Flight played the underdog babyfaces perfectly, Moxley sold his leg injury great, and Claudio Castagnoli got to show a violent side that he has not shown since arriving in AEW, with him feeling much more like Danielson, Yuta, & Moxley in this match. If we get this Claudio more often, his 2023 in AEW should be very, very exciting to see. I don’t exactly know where The Blackpool Combat Club goes from here, but I will gladly watch.
Backstage, Kip Sabian would speak in weird riddles while talking about the Casino Battle Royale, as he challenges Orange Cassidy for the All-Atlantic Championship. Trent brings up that he eliminated Sabian immediately after Kip took out Orange Cassidy, with Orange suggesting that Trent gets a shot before Kip. Both Kip and Trent accept, as Trent vs Orange Cassidy for the AEW All-Atlantic Championship is set!
HOOK vs Baylum Lynx
Spoiler: HOOK murdered this guy. The Firm would arrive after the match, with Jungle Boy and Lee Moriarty getting into it on the ramp while HOOK and Big Bill would have a staredown. Bill would look for a Chokeslam, as HOOK teased a suplex on the big-man, with the height difference really showing how insane that would be. Jungle Boy would slide in and nail Bill with a 2x4 to run off the heels, setting up this tag match once more.
Chris Jericho would appear backstage, saying that Ricky Starks turned down the chance of a lifetime by refusing to join the Jericho Appreciation Society. Ricky is foolish and small-minded, a flash in the pan. He has the arrogance of a superstar, but he lacks the tools, that Chris could have given him. On January 4th, Jericho will school Starks. Chris says that Action Andretti should never come back to AEW, or else. In Seattle, Jericho puts an end to the Starks experiment.
Renee Paquette would appear once more, interviewing Swerve Strickland and calling his actions last week disgusting. Swerve would introduce Parker and his other partner, who he says fans will get to know soon enough. Wheeler Yuta arrives and steps to Strickland, saying that if he wants to get violent, he can meet him Friday on AEW Rampage.
Death Triangle vs The Elite — Best of Seven Series, Match Six — Falls Count Anywhere
Coming directly out of the interview with Swerve & Yuta, the camera would cut to the trios brawling in the backstage area of the arena, with all six guys just slamming one another into equipment. PAC would deliver a brutal brainbuster on a stack of wooden pallets, before climbing up a set of risers, soaring with a moonsault to take out the Young Bucks. Nick Jackson would fly off his own pair of risers, landing badly on his elbow as a few of the men would make their way out into the arena, with The Bucks, PAC, and Penta making it out onto the stage as they would brawl. Rey Fenix would be shown climbing the right side of the stage set-up, with the Young Bucks superkicking PAC & Penta, only to walk into a huge Tornillo off the entrance tunnel! OUT OF NOWHERE, KENNY OMEGA WOULD SPRINT OUT OF THE HEEL TUNNEL WITH A MASSIVE V TRIGGER TO FENIX!
Omega would look for the Tiger Driver, as he and PAC would trade attempts, only to eat a nasty German Suplex on the top of the stage for a nearfall. PAC and Matt would brawl for a bit, before Matt Jackson would drag PAC to the ringside area by nailing repeated Northern Lights Suplexes down the ramp, with NICK FLYING OVER HIM TO TAKE OUT PENTA AS MATT FINISHED WITH A DOUBLE NORTHERN LIGHTS ON PAC AND FENIX. Just, a nuts, nuts sequence.
Back from commercial break, Penta & PAC would double-team Omega in the ring, with Fenix grabbing a trash can from under the ring, with it being placed onto Omega as the Trios Champs would deliver triple dropkicks to Kenny for a two count. This would break down, with everyone nailing loads of fast, big moves, as Kenny Omega would end a sequence seeing all six guys unloading offense, as he would take out PAC and then nail him in the skull with the trash can. V Trigger from Kenny with the can on PAC, as he then would deliver a Doctor Bomb on the can for a big nearfall! One Winged Angel gets looked for, buy PAC escapes, as the Lucha Bros nail the Fear Factor for a nearfall on Omega at ringside. Fenix takes out both Bucks with crazy moves, then speeding through the ropes with an insane tope suicida to Omega!
The Fear Factor gets looked for on the apron, but the Jacksons evade, nailing the Meltzer Driver on the floor, but PAC BREAKS IT UP AT THE LAST SECOND! Pump Kick in the corner from PAC, as he goes for the Black Arrow, but Matt rolls out of the way, as Nick pegs a steel chair as The Bastard and Penta. BTE Trigger lands, BUT ONCE AGAIN PAC BREAKS IT UP! PAC would lock in The Brutalizer on Matt Jackson, while Kenny would deliver a huge One Winged Angel off of something through a pair of tables, pinning Fenix before Matt could tap out! MATCH NUMBER SEVEN IS A GO!
Once again, and I feel like I have said it for each of these matches, but there are few Trios teams that could pull this off. These six matches have all felt wildly different from one another and it is a testament to how great The Young Bucks, Lucha Bros, Kenny Omega, & PAC are. This was wild, it was messy, and it was a ton of fun, featuring some truly insane spots. Once they got out of the backstage area, this reached an insane level, with some of the craziest spots of the year and just some really good nearfalls. PAC was a true MVP in this, breaking up pins left and right, and delivering some great offense. Omega and The Bucks were on fire here, and my goodness, Fenix is just a god. This was nuts, and probably was the best match of the series, outside maybe the first one. In two weeks, this all ends with a Ladder Match.
The Acclaimed and Daddy Ass deliver a rap dedicated towards Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal, questioning why he is in AEW, making reference to Slapnuts, TNA, the King of the Mountain Match, Kurt Angle’s wife, Double J’s lack of drawing power, and more, before aiming at Jay Lethal for being the worst ROH Champion, losing to old-man Ric Flair, and his Macho Man character. It was honestly a catchy rap.
The Acclaimed Tag Team Is Tony Khan's Finest Original Creation IN AEW
Anthony Bowens and Max Caster as The Acclaimed are the most popular act in AEW, but the pairing is all thanks to Tony…
Ruby Soho & Willow Nightingale vs Tay Melo & Anna Jay
The ladies would have their work cut out for them, though thankfully all four are over with the crowd. Willow would mockingly twerk at Tay Melo before Ruby would force a tag, wanting to get her hands on Tay after All Out, which of course meant that Melo would tag out to Anna Jay as Ruby would take down The Queenslayer, laying into the blonde with fists before tagging Willow back in as the two would take control of Anna in the corner. Willow & Ruby would nail some tandem offense, just working over Anna, getting a two count off of a running crossbody. As Willow looked for another tag, Tay would yank Ruby off the apron, allowing Anna to chop block Nightingale as the women of the JAS would take control here.
Anna & Tay would takeover, making quick tags to try and keep Willow grounded in the corner, though Willow would briefly fight out, only to get leveled by Tay once more. Back from a break, Tay and Anna would continue their assault on Willow, repeatedly nailing attacks in the corner, though they would fail to keep Willow down! Fighting back to her feet, the babyface girl would nail a huge lariat to Anna in order to open the door for a hot tag to Ruby Soho, who would finally get her hands on Tay Melo, unloading on the Brazilian with strikes to the face and chest!
Soho would drive Tay face first into one of the turnbuckle pads, chasing Anna around the ring before dropping her with an STO, following up with the No Future to Tay, though she would kick out. Big forearm from Anna, only for Willow to deliver another lariat, as Tay would drill Nightingale with a huge pump kick as all four women would go down! Knee strike from Ruby, Enzuigiri from Willow, backdrop suplex lands for a two count as Anna saves the day before sending Willow back outside. The Hook kick connects from Anna, as Tay murders Ruby with a DDT, though Willow just throws herself and Anna onto Tay & Ruby to break up the pin before suplexing Anna on the floor! Back in the ring, Ruby & Tay would go to war with strikes and headbutts to one another as Ruby would fall onto Tay for a big nearfall! On the floor, Anna would fling Willow shoulder first into a ring post before grabbing a chair, looking to nail Willow with it as Anna would grab it away, allowing Tay to get her own, throwing it to Ruby as she would deliver a Pump Kick to Soho, following up with the TayKO! Somehow, Tay and Anna manage to steal the win!
This was not nearly as good as the AEW Women’s World Championship Match between Hikaru Shida and Jamie Hayter last week, but these four actually had quite a good match. Anna still feels like she has regressed, but Tay had a very good showing here, as did Ruby & Willow. The ladies also got quite a lot of time here, or at least it felt like it, but in a good way. This wasn’t over super quick and it felt like a match with intensity behind it. After having a mixed bag year, I hope Tay & Anna can return to form in the new year. Ruby only just came back, but if she ends up sticking around in AEW, then I hope she can put things together and find some success. Willow Nightingale on the other hand has only just broken out this year, and delivers every match she gets. I don’t know if she’ll win gold in 2023, but Willow looks like she’s only going to become a bigger star in the coming weeks, months, and years. In short, I’m sure some people are going to be overly-critical of the match because of who’s in it (Ruby, Tay, & Anna seem to garner polarizing reactions), but I quite enjoyed it!
Before the main event, we would get an updated run-down of upcoming shows for AEW, including the next episodes of AEW Dynamite and Rampage. It should also be noted that next week, the January 4th episode of AEW Dynamite will see the company undergo a visual overhaul, with a new look, new graphics, and who knows what else…
AEW Rampage — December 30th, 2022:
- Orange Cassidy vs Trent — AEW All-Atlantic Championship Match
- Wheeler Yuta vs Swerve Strickland
- Jade Cargill vs Kiera Hogan — AEW TBS Women’s Championship
- We’ll Hear from Jon Moxley & Jamie Hayter
AEW Dynamite — January 4th, 2022:
- Ricky Starks vs Chris Jericho — First Time Ever Match
- More Matches Announced On AEW Rampage
AEW Dynamite — January 11th, 2022:
- Britt Baker & AEW Women’s World Champion Jamie Hayter vs Saraya & a Mystery Partner
- The Elite vs Death Triangle — Best of Seven Series, Match Seven — Ladder Match
Samoa Joe vs Wardlow — AEW TNT Championship Match
After attacking Wardlow at the beginning of the show, Samoa Joe would make his entrance. Wardlow’s theme song would play, but he would not appear, as Joe would get on the mic to address the fans as the “One True King of Television”, stating that Wardlow is suffering from a bit of stage fright. Joe would degrade the Denver Broncos as Wardlow would storm out to the ring, pushing past security as the two hosses would meet in the ring for a brawl. Wardlow would manage to land a Spinebuster on Joe early on, opting to mount Joe with punches instead of pinning him, even just slapping the champion across the face.
This offensive run would not last all that long, as Joe would spike Wardlow with a uranage, chopping WarDaddy, only for the challenger to level him with a huge lariat. Big Kneebreaker lands from Joe, as the King of TV targets the injured ligament of Wardlow, sending the match into break.
Samoa Joe's AEW Run In 2022 Shows That WWE Made A Big Mistake Releasing Him
Injuries and bad booking made for a lackluster run in WWE, but in AEW, Samoa Joe has thrived and become a champion…
Back from the break, Wardlow would be reeling at ringside, making it back into the ring at an eight count, just walking into Joe who would continue dismantling Wardlow’s leg. Fighting to the top rope, Joe would tease a Superplex, though Wardlow would get out of it, coming off the top with a big-time Swanton Dive, failing to capitalize, but managing to fight off Joe for some time. Wardlow would deliver repeated German Suplexes, hobbling on his leg, but determined to regain the TNT Championship, as he would nail a huge Whisper In The Wind (or something like it) out of the corner, a totally nuts move for a guy his size. The crowd would come to life, getting behind the former TNT Champion as he would attempt to hit his wind-up lariat, nailing a headbutt before delivering the move for a nearfall over Joe.
Samoa Joe would sweep the legs out of Wardlow, leveling him once again and smirking for the camera. From there, the TNT Champ would kick at the ribs of Wardlow, bringing him up to the top again, though Wardlow would slide out, dropping Joe with a big powerbomb out of the corner! He would try to deliver a second powerbomb, but his leg would give out, allowing Joe to land a chop block to the back, locking in The Coquina Clutch in the center of the ring… WARDLOW FADES, SAMOA JOE RETAINS!
After the match, Joe would lay out Wardlow with the championship, heading under the ring to grab a tool box, grabbing a pair of scissors. Paul Turner would try to get the scissors away from him, but SAMOA JOE WOULD JUST HEADBUTT THE REFEREE! The King of Television would cut the hair of Wardlow, cutting off a good chunk before being confronted by Darby Allin!
Firstly, I love Wardlow and I never got off the support train for the guy, BUT, I love Samoa Joe more and his reign as TNT Champion & ROH TV Champion has been a true career resurgence for a guy who got royally screwed over during his WWE run due to injuries and two releases. Since becoming champ in AEW, Joe has delivered some of his best work in years, and this was just another memorable bout for Samoa Joe. The post-match would see Wardlow humiliated, getting his hair cut… before Darby Allin would make the save, setting up the next challenger for Samoa Joe. Their first match was incredible, so I for one, am overjoyed that we are getting a sequel!
As for the rest of the show… I thought it was pretty off the charts! Bryan Danielson and Ethan Page delivered an incredible opening match to the night, just going to war in a great match, Willow Nightingale & Ruby Soho vs Tay Melo & Anna Jay was very enjoyable, The Blackpool Combat Club vs Top Flight ruled, and the Elite vs Death Triangle in a Falls Count Anywhere Match topped their previous matches in the Best of 7 Series, to culminate in an insanely great final episode of AEW Dynamite for 2022. Some will nitpick, others will hate without watching, but this was legitimately a fantastic show from top to bottom. New Year’s Smash, was a smash!
I write about Film & Television, Comic Books, Wrestling, and Pop Culture as a whole!
I write about Film & Television, Comic Books, Wrestling, and Pop Culture as a whole! If you're reading this, and you…
If you want to stay connected to me outside of Medium, you can follow me on Twitter where I talk about Movies, Comics, Wrestling, and Pop Culture as a whole! My Letterboxd is also linked below, for those that want to see what else I am watching when not reviewing movies on here.
- Twitter — https://twitter.com/NVProfoundFilm
- Letterboxd — https://letterboxd.com/NVPFilm/
- I’m also part of a Pro-Wrestling Podcast, The Deep Six Wrestling Podcast, so if that is something you share the interest in with me, check out our links here — https://linktr.ee/deepsixwrestlingpod
If you made it to the end and want to check out another one of my articles, check out my profile and consider following me on Medium, or check out my review of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery!