AEW Dynamite Review — 12.14.2022 — Winter Is Coming
MJF Defends Against Ricky Starks, Ruby Soho Returns, Action Andretti Shocks The World
Coming off a series of great episodes of AEW Dynamite, and the last ROH PPV of the year, Final Battle 2022, All Elite Wrestling would once again return to television. Delivering the third Winter is Coming event, AEW would seek to deliver another big show, and that they did. This year’s show would feature MJF’s first AEW World Championship Defense against Ricky Starks, Tay Melo vs Ruby Soho in a Grudge Match, The Elite vs Death Triangle in Match 4 of the Best of Seven Series, Jungle Boy vs Brian Cage, and Action Andretti vs Chris Jericho! Would this week continue a strong, upward trend for AEW? Yes, yes it would. Let’s talk about the show!
So sit back, and enjoy this review of AEW Dynamite from December 14th, 2022! SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE OF AEW DYNAMITE AHEAD, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
The Elite vs Death Triangle, Best of Seven Series — Match 4
Kicking things off for Winter is Coming 2022, The Elite would take on Death Triangle in Match 4 of the Best of Seven Series for the AEW World Trios Championship! Even better, AEW Dynamite would open with Rollerback Rock playing over the card rundown for the night, and the live crowd would give a phenomenal reaction to The Elite, really adding to the hot feeling around the show tonight. Coming off their comeback win in the series, The Elite would enter this match still down 1–2.
As has been the case with the other matches in this series, this would be extremely fast-pace out of the gates, with The Elite wrestling much more aggressively as they would try to continue their hot streak coming off the last match. This would eventually play against the hand of Omega & The Bucks, as Nick Jackson would go down with a foot injury, requiring to send him to the back as Matt and Kenny would have to fight back from a 3–2 advantage. Omega would get the hot tag after the first commercial break, nailing PAC with the “You Can’t Escape” for a two count. Omega would unload Snap Dragon Suplexes on all of Death Triangle, doing his best to level the playing field, with the Dallas crowd fully behind the Best Bout Machine. Sending the Lucha Bros to the floor, Omega would attempt the Terminator Dive, though The Bastard would cut out his legs and nail a cutter as the two men would go at it, reliving their longtime rivalry in AEW.
PAC would attempt the Black Arrow, but Kenny Omega would roll out of the way at the last moment as Nick Jackson would hobble his way back to the ring, similar to Dax Harwood at Forbidden Door, as he would get the tag from Omega, coming in to take out the Lucha Bros with a series of clotheslines, catching Fenix off the ropes with a huge cutter! With Fenix catching Nick’s superkick, Penta would slide in and nail Nick’s injured foot with the hammer as Fenix would lock in a submission, forcing Nick Jackson to tap out! Death Triangle wins!
After the match… Kenny Omega would get on the mic to suggest that in Match 5, becomes a No Disqualification Match!
As expected, this match was ridiculously fun and yet again, the six men proved that they can wrestle different styles of matches. With The Elite fighting back, coming out and trying to wrestle as aggressively as possible, they would play straight-up babyfaces in Match #4. The fakeout injury with Nick Jackson helped add to the drama, and it actually felt shocking to see him come back in for the hot tag, only to lose the match. Adding a new stipulation to the Best of 7, with next match being a No DQ Match, definitely helps keep the interest alive as well. While this was not the best of the series, it was still a great opener for Winter is Coming tonight! Now for Death Triangle to blow a 3–1 lead!
MJF would cut a promo in the back against Ricky Starks, attempting to belittle Starks’ upbringing and his promo last week. Everyone hates Max’s guts, nobody is rooting for him and so he has nobody to let down, so he does not envy Starks’ position as everyone is rooting for him to win the big one. Tonight, we are going to find out what happens when pressure is applied to “The Pebble”.
The Acclaimed Speak
The Acclaimed would arrive, delivering a rap about Britney Griner and Elon Musk getting booed… only to be blindsided by Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh! I totally forgot that they’ve been setting this up, so this came as a surprise as Double J would lay out Caster with a guitar shot. Jeff would question if they have The Acclaimed’s attention and would tell Max to “scissor this, Slapnuts!”
The JAS would be interviewed backstage, now without any championship gold. Chris Jericho would suggest that Claudio needs to have his Giant Swing banned, and that he will eventually ask for a rematch, but for now, he’s going to beat up a jobber for a tune-up match. Garcia would be asked about losing the ROH Pure Championship to Yuta at Final Battle, but Jericho would cut him off saying it should never have happened, and that from now on, he is going to shadow Sammy Guevara. Sammy challenges Jon Moxley for AEW Rampage.
Jungle Boy vs Brian Cage
Following last week’s Dynamite Diamond Ring Battle Royale, Jungle Boy would take on Brian Cage in singles action tonight. While Jungle Boy would look to use his speed to win here, Brian Cage would use his power to gain control early on, just manhandling Jack Perry before flexing for the fans as commercial break would arrive.
Back from break, Jungle Boy would continue to try and evade Brian Cage, fighting back with elbow strikes and a pair of crossbodies before landing a big DDT on The Machine to get his first breath in the match. Cage would follow up with huge offense in the corner, an enzuigiri and a release German suplex, scoring a nearfall. Cage would call for the Drill Claw, but Jack would slide out into a roll-up for two, nailing Cage with a superkick, though Brian would level him with a discus lariat… out of nowhere, Jungle Boy would nail a huge Canadian Destroyer, before locking in the Snare Trap, causing Cage to tap while Prince Nana was causing a distraction! Cage would accidentally take out Nana, allowing Perry to roll him up for the win!
After the match, Jungle Boy would state that at Full Gear, he beat Luchasaurus. Tonight he beat Brian Cage. He wants the biggest bitch of them all; Big Bill! Stokely Hathaway would come out, calling Jack Perry a ho, threatening to slap him as Lee Moriarty and Big Bill would run out to beat down Jungle Boy. After a chokeslam from Bill, HOOK would arrive to a huge reaction from the Dallas crowd, coming to the aid of Jack Perry to seemingly set up a tag match!
This was not one of Cage’s best matches since coming back to action for AEW, as he looked a bit sluggish. Still, he managed to play a great hoss heel for Jungle Boy to play the underdog against. More importantly, it would continue the ongoing story of Jack being the giant slayer in AEW. Lee & Big Bill got to look great here as one of the new acts in AEW, and HOOK felt like one of the biggest stars on the show based off his reaction. Honestly, this was very unexpected, but I am more than down with this direction!
Jon Moxley would appear with Claudio & Yuta, saying that last week, he said they were going to make a serious statement, and at Final Battle, The BCC did as they took back their gold. In 2023, they are putting everyone on notice. Dynamite, Rampage, Dark, they will fight anyone, anywhere. Moxley says that Guevara is a gutsy kid, but he will stomp his face into a bloody mess and leave him for dead. As for Hangman Page, he knows where to find him… and he should bring his Dark Order buddies.
A vignette would air recapping Swerve In Our Glory’s issues at Final Battle, where Swerve would walk out on Keith Lee during their match against Shane Taylor Promotions. Swerve says that he has no friends, he has affiliates, and next week, they’ll have their meeting.
The House of Black vs The Factory
Making their first in-ring appearance since All Out, The House of Black would return to the ring with a great reception, debuting a brand new, sick entrance! They would be taking on The Factory in their return match. Nick Comorotto would smirk at Julia, throwing his toothpick at her as she would Black Mist him, with the House laying out The Factory! The entire faction would be laid out, leaving QT Marshall in the ring with Malakai, as he would walk into the spin kick, picking up a very decisive win as their war on AEW has begun.
Nothing much to say about the match, but I for one am very excited to see The House of Black back in AEW!
A video package hyping up Hikaru Shida vs Jamie Hayter would air, with Shida calling herself a history-maker. Next week on Dynamite, Jamie makes her first defense, saying that “Hayter Hits Hard”. Shida says she is going to teach her the true joshi style.
Britt Baker & Rebel would be interviewed afterwards, saying that Shida is only famous for breaking her nose. Skye Blue would slide into frame, saying that everyone knows Britt can talk, but can she wrestle? Skye Blue vs Britt Baker for Rampage!
Chris Jericho’s Tune-Up Match
Chris Jericho would wrestle here against a local talent, Action Andretti, with the crowd getting behind Andretti. Jericho would just bully him around the ring for a good portion, though a huge headscissors and a tornillo would be the big offensive spot on behalf of Andretti here. Death Valley Driver would land for Jericho, following up with the Codebreaker, though Andretti would kick out to an insane reaction!
Back from break, Andretti would have the entire arena on his feet as he would attempt a big springboard corner moonsault, though Jericho would evade. The Judas Effect would be avoided, as Action Andretti would score big with some high-flying moves to take out Jericho on the outside, as the crowd would chant “Holy Shit!”. Flying back into the ring, Jericho would catch him in the Walls, but he would get out, scoring with a running Shooting Star Press… ACTION ANDRETTI PINS CHRIS JERICHO!
OKAY, THIS WAS BONKERS! This was set-up as Chris Jericho’s tune-up match, with a literal jobber taking him to the limits and somehow beating him? The match was also very, very good, as Action Andretti would win his debut AEW match. I don’t even know what else to say, this was so much fun and they made a brand new star in one match here.
Ricky Starks would be shown backstage, cutting a promo about his history in the company, talking about how he thought his career was over when he broke his neck, but he grinded and paid his dues and now its his time tonight.
Ruby Soho vs Tay Melo
Following Tay Melo accidentally breaking Ruby Soho’s nose at All Out, Ruby would return to AEW last week on Dynamite, with the women facing off here in a so-called Grudge Math at Winter is Coming, 101 days in the making. Tay would boot Ruby during her entrance, as the two would brawl at ringside, with Melo getting slammed into the steel barricades at ringside, before Tay would return the favor a few times, eventually sending Ruby into the steel steps before sending her back into the ring for the start of the match.
With the bell finally ringing, Soho would send Tay for a ride with a trio of side suplexes for a two count, before mounting the Brazilian with punches. A back elbow would rock Ruby, but she would connect with the No Future as Tay rolled out of the ring to avoid the pin, attempting to walk out. Soho would follow her up the ramp, looking for the Destination Unknown, only to get dropped head first on the entrance ramp!
Back from the commercial break, Ruby would be unloading on Tay with fists and a big forearm with the crowd fully behind the punk girl. A running boot in the corner would be followed up with another, before she would send Tay face first into the turnbuckle, until she would have to be held back by the referee. Ruby would kick out of a big move from Tay, with the ladies trading hard chops to the chest, as Melo would get Ruby with a judo throw and Gotch Stlye Piledriver for a big nearfall! The Tay-KO would be looked for, but Soho would slide off, nailing Tay with a knee strike to the nose before dropping her with the Destination Unknown. Ruby Soho Wins!
After the match, Anna Jay would storm out to the ring, laying out Ruby from behind to come aid Tay Melo. Anna would drop Ruby with a Gorybomb Facebuster as the two JAS Women would stand tall over Soho.
I actually liked this match quite a bit! I didn’t have the highest hopes for this one, as I don’t think Tay Melo has been up to her normal standards this year and Ruby is often a mixed bag. These two delivered though, with them getting the crowd fully behind the match. For women’s wrestling fans, I would say go out of your way to watch this one!
Alex Marvez would be backstage for a condition from Hangman Page following last week, and Page says that in October, he was knocked out and left snoring. He got the questions correct that he was asked on his way to the hospital, except for getting his son’s name right. He’s been to hell, and he’s going to take Moxley’s ass back with him.
The Best Friends, Danhausen, & Dustin Rhodes would challenge Kip Sabian, Trent Seven, The Butcher, & The Blade to a match on Rampage.
AEW Rampage — December 16, 2022:
- Sammy Guevara vs Jon Moxley
- Skye Blue vs Britt Baker
- Wardlow In Action
- Orange Cassidy, Best Friends, & Dustin Rhodes vs Kip Sabian, Trent Seven, The Butcher, & The Blade
AEW Dynamite — December 21, 2022:
- Jamie Hayter vs Hikaru Shida — AEW Women’s Championship Match
- FTR vs The Gunns
- Death Triangle vs The Elite — Match 5, No DQ
MJF vs Ricky Starks — AEW World Championship, Dynamite Diamond Ring Winner Takes All Match
Main-eventing Winter is Coming 2022, Ricky Starks would seek to take the AEW World Championship and the Dynamite Diamond Ring off of MJF in Max’s first defense of the world championship. Out of the gates, MJF would look to maintain control, taunting Ricky Starks by hitting his signature pose, causing Starks to fire back, sending Max to the floor. Back in the ring, Ricky would have MJF cornered, with the ref having to break it up, allowing Max to thumb the eyes of Starks to take back control.
Back from commerical break, Ricky would deliver a running boot to the face of the champion, landing a diving back elbow in the corner and a huge lariat from Absolute Ricky Starks, before delivering a springboard DDT to MJF! Starks would deliver a Liger Bomb for a crazy nearfall, with Max kicking out at 2.9. MJF would manage to target the arm of Starks, landing a diving stomp to the wrist, with the two trading pin attempts for a nearfall. MJF would look to MURDER RICKY STARKS with a powerbomb to the knee, for another nearfall.
Starks and MJF would breakout into a hockey fight in the center of the ring, with the crowd lighting up with “This is Awesome” Chants, as Starks would manage to land The Spear out of nowhere, though he would continue selling the damage to his arm as both men stayed down. Starks would cover following the Spear, but with the delay, MJF would lure Ricky in, locking in The Salt of The Earth, with Max grabbing and pulling back on any limb he could to prevent the rope break… but Starks managed to get his foot to the rope! A roll-up would lead to another nearfall for Starks, with MJF getting a sidelock takedown, as the two would trade technical wrestling holds and pin attempts. Huge superkick from Starks, followed by the Rochambeau attempt… MJF gets out and drops Ricky with a low blow into a roll-up. MJF retains!
After the match… Bryan Danielson would make his return, chasing MJF into the crowd as MJF would high-tail it through the arena. Max’s next challenger seems to be clear now.
A great main event featuring two of AEW’s hot, young stars, MJF’s first AEW World Championship Defense would be a strong one as he would defeat Ricky Starks. These two got the hot, lively crowd fully invested and delivered a very entertaining main event with some truly great nearfalls for a match that 99.9% of fans expected MJF to win. Bryan Danielson’s return capped off the show, giving fans a peak at Max’s likely next challenger and a major feud for both men. While I personally expected this to main event AEW Revolution 2023, it feels like this might end up being the main event for AEW’s Seattle debut in the beginning of the year. I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but regardless, Danielson vs MJF should be money.
The rest of this show… was very solid! Since Full Gear, AEW has not missed on their weekly episodes of Dynamite, delivering great wrestling, some great storylines, an added focus on the women’s division, and just increased quality compared to the run-up and post-All Out. The storm seems to be clearing and tonight was another great episode of AEW Dynamite, with a great opening match, a great main event, a star-making performance for Action Andretti against Chris Jericho, and a very good match between Ruby Soho and Tay Melo!
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