AEW Dynamite Recap & Review — 12.21.2022 — AEW Holiday Bash 2022
Jamie Hayter Defends Against Hikaru Shida, The Elite vs Death Triangle V, + Mogul Affiliates Arrive with Rick Ross!
Last week AEW delivered once again, with Winter is Coming, a special edition of AEW Dynamite that featured MJF’s first defense of the AEW World Championship, where he would defeat Ricky Starks. This week, Dynamite would serve as the Christmas Special for AEW, with Jamie Hayter defending her AEW Women’s World Championship for the first time since winning the belt at AEW Full Gear, against Hikaru Shida, Match 5 in the Best of 7 Series between The Elite & Death Triangle, a confrontation between Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee, promos from Bryan Danielson and Ricky Starks, and a grudge match between FTR & The Gunns. Did Holiday Bash 2022 continue a hot streak for All Elite Wrestling? Let’s talk about the show!
So sit back, and enjoy this review of AEW Dynamite from December 21th, 2022! SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE OF AEW DYNAMITE AHEAD, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Ricky Starks Speaks…
Following last week’s thrilling main event match between Ricky Starks and MJF, Starks would open AEW Dynamite this week, once again in Texas. Speaking for the first time since Max cheated to beat him, Ricky would suggest that MJF won, but was a coward, and that the next time they meet, Starks won’t lose. If he needs to work his way back to a title shot, then everyone can line up and fall to the Stroke Daddy. Getting cut off, Chris Jericho would make his entrance alongside Ricky Starks & Daniel Garcia while we got treated to a replay of Action Andretti upsetting Jericho last week.
Jericho states that Starks is a million dollar talent and that he doesn’t want him to be a flash in the pan. He suggests that Ricky considers joining the Jericho Appreciation Society, as he could use a bit of influence from Y2J. Ricky says that while the offer is flattering, he refuses to join the JAS because they dress badly, Jericho’s got his faction on a leash, that Jericho’s stock as dropped since losing to Action Andretti, and that the “J” in JAS stands for Jobber! He then refers to Sammy & Garcia as JASSholes, which gets a chant, before belittling Sammy & Daniel’s work. Ricky goes a bit crazy, saying that they won’t suck the life out of him, but if they want something to suck on… before teasing unbuttoning his pants! Starks challenges Jericho to a match on January 4th when AEW makes their debut in Seattle. Jake Hager blindsides Ricky from behind, allowing the rest of the JAS to beat him down before ACTION ANDRETTI ARRIVES! Andretti and Starks send the Appreciation Society reeling as the babyfaces stand tall!
I was very curious how AEW planned on following up two stories last week, with Ricky Starks losing to MJF and Action Andretti upsetting Chris Jericho. Well, I would get my answer to both of these in the opening segment! Ricky Starks and Chris Jericho now seem to be on a collision course for January 4, and Action Andretti got to make a big babyface save for Starks. This was a surprising start to the show, but a very fun one! Nothing mindblowing, aside from Starks suggesting for Jericho & company to suck him off, but that’s besides the point. Excited to see Starks vs Jericho, as it’s a fresh match, and also happy to see Andretti make it onto Dynamite in a meaningful way tonight!
The Elite vs Death Triangle — Best of Seven Series, Match 5, No DQ
Following a brutal loss last week, The Elite would make a change to the Best of Seven Series, suggesting that this fifth match becomes a No DQ Match, and so it would be! The Elite would look for a trio of powerbombs to start, only to eat three superkicks from Death Triangle before the Trios Champions would soar over the ropes. This would end up being a totally different match out of the gates, as it would be wrestled similar to a tornado tag out of the gate. Michael Nakazawa would assist The Elite with a splash to Fenix in the corner, with Brandon Cutler looking to get in, only to be cut off by Alex Aberhantes, who would catch the cold spray from Cutler, who proceeded to DAB before getting superkicked. Omega ate a hard trash can shot from Penta as Death Triangle would look to just murder The Elite while the Texas crowd chanted for tables.
Back from commercial, Penta would set up a Christmas tree in the corner, as Matt Jackson would be sent back first into the tree, only for Nick to fly over the tree with a huge crossbody onto all of Death Triangle. Nick would proceed to run through the champions before accidentally kicking a steel chair, as he would begin selling the ankle injury from last week, with PAC attempting to crush it before having a trash can pegged at his head! Matt Jackson would take flight, with a moonsault to the Lucha Bros on the floor, with Omega delivering the “You Can’t Escape” with a trash can in hand to PAC for a nearfall! A few tables would be set up at the ringside area, with Kenny revealing the barbed-wire broom from years ago, nailing Fenix with it repeatedly, before dropping him with the Kotaru Crusher on the barbed wire.
The Bucks & Lucha Bros would end up on the outside, with PAC & Penta being laid out on the tables… both would go throught the tables, as Kenny would deliver a Tiger Driver 98' to Fenix on the barbed wire for yet another nearfall! Despite interference from Aberhantes, Omega would deliver a hard V Trigger to Fenix, setting up for the One Winged Angel, BUT FENIX WOULD ESCAPE! A hammer would get slid to Fenix, with him nailing Omega across the skull, but The Cleaner kicked out! PAC would lock in The Brutalizer, using tinsel to choke out Kenny as Penta & Fenix would get in to try and submit the Bucks, but Matt Jackson evaded and would lay into PAC to break up the submission. All three members of Death Triangle would get hammers in hand, looking to lay out Kenny, but PAC & Penta would get pulled out of the ring, allowing Omega to drop Fenix with a Snap Dragon! The Bucks would deliver a Meltzer Driver onto a steel chair, and that would seal it. The Elite win, taking the series to 2–3!
Following the bell, Death Triangle would lay into The Elite during a post-match attack as all of the challengers would be busted open and bloodied by the Trios Champions! Match #6 is set to be a Falls Count Anywhere Match.
Once again, these six men would prove to be more than capable of delivering consistently great matches while being totally different. This was as bonkers as one would expect, and offered high spots, false finishes, and Christmas fun. Not the best of the series, but still very, very fun! The post-match beatdown also helped sell the anger from Death Triangle as they could have ended the series tonight had they won, but they didn’t, so obviously they’d be angry. Rolling on, we head towards Match #6, which is the Falls Count Anywhere Match!
Footage of MJF would be shown from after his AEW World Championship Defense from last week, as he calls Bryan Danielson a gutless coward, a shitty little hipster, and a scumbag. Everyone wants to ride his wave and eat off his plate, and so Bryan will eat more than he desires and less than he deserves.
Action Andretti would cut a promo backstage, saying that last week, his life changed forever after he defeated Chris Jericho. He thanks the fans for the support he’s gotten since last week. Daddy Magic & Cool Hand would slide into frame, saying that he’s on a hot streak as Chris Jericho would blow a fireball into the face of Andretti before the trio would wish him a Merry Christmas.
Bryan Danielson Speaks!
Following his chase down of MJF last week, Renee Paquette would call for Bryan Danielson to come out for an interview, and a sort-of Talking Smack reunion, as the American Dragon would come on out. Renee asks him where MJF’s attack on Regal leaves the Blackpool Combat Club, and Danieslon says that while he doesn’t expect the group to forgive Regal for what he did, but Regal was the man that turned him into the wrestler and the person that he is today. He understands that Mox, Claudio, and Yuta don’t have that relationship, but Regal made his life better and his career better, and so, he loved having him in AEW. Regal told him that actions have consequences, and so MJF needs to learn that there are going to be consequences for him attacking the one person he loves as much as his family. As he calls MJF out, Stokely Hathaway and Ethan Page arrive.
Page questions why he made it to the finals of the AEW World Eliminator and was one of the finalists in the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal, but for some reason “VEGETABLE MAN” can jump the front of the line to get a World Championship shot. Stokely suggests that Bryan goes home to spend time with his family, and that he goes to Trader Joes to get gluten-free glizzys. Bryan belittles Stokely’s bald head and questions the Vegetable Man insult, as Stokely calls him a raggedy bitch, a truly hysterical interaction. Ethan threatens to turn Bryan into a literal vegetable, which Danielson welcomes. Ethan says that next week they can fight, as MJF is shown backstage smiling.
This was pretty strong stuff. We got an explanation for Danielson trying to avenge Regal, though it was stuff most people know, but it was good to hear on-air. We got another fresh match set-up with Ethan Page and Bryan Danielson facing off next week, seemingly with World Championship Implications. We also got the great interaction between Stokely and Danielson. It felt a bit weird that Bryan called out MJF, only for Ethan Page to come out, a man that turned on MJF, but once they got into the meat of Ethan & Stokely’s promo, it made sense as they explained he just wanted the next shot at MJF.
Jon Moxley cuts a promo backstage, saying that he’ll be at Rampage for the Casino Battle Royale, saying that once again, Hangman Page will know where he is. He asks if they are going to settle this in the ring or not, and belittles Page for seeking sympathy for getting knocked out. Mox isn’t the bad guy, and he tells Hangman to not become a play wrestler. Moxley then runs down Darius Martin for being injury prone, saying that he has to teach Darius a hard lesson tonight.
Back from commercial break, Samoa Joe would appear to wish everyone a happy holidays from the reigning ROH World Television Champion, The AEW TNT Champion, and the Undisputed King of Television. On December 28th, he is going to take from Wardlow and all the Holiday cheer ends.
HOOK vs Exodus Prime
HOOK killed this guy. After the match, Stokely Hathaway would appear backstage alongside Lee Moriarty and Big Bill, as The Firm laid out Jungle Boy, with Bill chokeslaming him into a dumpster.
Jon Moxley vs Darius Martin
As HOOK exited, Jon Moxley would make his entrance, walking through the crowd and signing autographs during the picture-in-picture break. Darius would step to Moxley, pushing him off in the corner. Darius would attempt to use his speed and agility on Mox, scoring big with a dropkick to send Moxley to the floor for a breather. Mox would level Darius with a forearm while the young star was on the top turnbuckle, sending him down for a rough landing on the apron and down to the floor.
Moxley would taunt him by holding the ropes open for him to climb back in, though Darius would opt to roll under the ropes instead, eating a suplex throw from the former AEW World Champion. The Hammer & Anvil Elbows would come out from Mox, with Darius firing off with a chop and forearms, doing his best to stand up to Moxley. Mox would kick out the knee to lay him out, tearing at the knee brace of Martin only to eat a kick to the face. A corner Pele Kick would catch Moxley on the back of the head for a two count, catching Mox with a springboard Flatliner for another close count. Death Rider from Moxley would end things.
This was a pretty cold match, with there not being much of a reason aside from wanting Mox to wrestle and giving a bit of a spotlight to Darius. The two worked hard and stiff, but it just felt like it was lacking something, maybe a sense of immediacy. They eventually got the crowd back into it slightly at the end, but this suffered from just randomly being tacked onto the show.
The Next Chapter of The Book of Hobbs aired, with Will sharing one of his first memories from his youth was seeing a relative overdose in front of him, and stating that as a child, he was beaten, robbed, stabbed, and shot at, questioning what kind of people would do that to a kid. Those people were monsters, and they created a new monster in him.
FTR vs The Gunns
At ROH Final Battle, FTR would lose the ROH World Tag Team Championship to The Briscoes, with The Gunns assaulting them after the match. This would set things up for a match several months in the making to take place tonight, with the story being that FTR are still not fully healed. Cash Wheeler would take it to Austin and Colten out of the gate, dropping Austin with repeated Atomic Drops before evading a drop kick from Colten. Cash would continue the onslaught, just out-wrestling The Gunns as he & Dax would send them both to the floor, with them bringing it to Billy Gunn’s sons all around the ringside area.
Back from the commercial break, The Gunns would be working over Cash, keeping him from tagging in, though he would quickly break free of the offense in order to make the Hot Tag to Harwood. Dax would come in, laying into the Gunns with fast and loud chops before dropping Colten with a short-armed lariat. A Manhattan Drop would level Austin, as Dax would tease a Sharpshooter before being pulled to the outside in order for The Gunns to tease a Spike Piledriver… only for Cash to fly through the ropes with a diving elbow to Colten! Dax would get slammed first into the steel steps as Austin would Tune Up the Band, teasing a superkick before doing the “Suck It” crotch chop and locking in his owen Sharpshooter. Cash would nail Austin with a Body Block, sending Colten to the outside before diving and missing, landing head first on the ringside barricade. Austin would attempt the Famouser, with Dax evading and going for a Piledriver, though his back would give out. Roll-Up from Dax, but Austin rolls through and has his brother hold his hand through the ropes as The Gunns steal a win!
I don’t hate The Gunns like some do, and I thought they delivered here in the roles against FTR. It is certainly going to be interesting to see how FTR’s story plays out in AEW over the next few months as there is already speculation that they could leave the promotion in 2023. Only time will tell, but at the very least, they had an incredible 2022 and put over Swerve in Our Glory, The Acclaimed, The Briscoes, and The Gunns in their last matches. With the Gunns cheating, this could end up having a follow-up match.
A Pre-Taped Music Video from Sonjay Dutt would air, as he would rap terribly with autotune to call out The Acclaimed and Grand Daddy Ass. This was an insane visual and Sonjay was so bad, but perfectly cast in the role. Loved this.
Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee’s Face-To-Face… Hosted By Rick Ross!
Rick Ross would take things over here, introducing Keith Lee as he would put him over before calling out “The Young Legend”, Swerve Strickland. Swerve would delay, saying that he is doing things on his time now instead of Keith’s, referring to Keith as a “BIG MOTHERFUCKER”, fully uncensored. Swerve said that he won’t deal with accusations. Swerve says that he nees to keep the eyes in the back of his head. Parker Boudreaux would attack Keith from behind, but Keith would throw him off before another big man covered in tattoos would appear to lay him out. Rick Ross would commentate this, as he appeared to announce that he is also a part of this faction, known as Mogul Affiliates. Swerve would hit the Swerve Stomp off the top rope with a cinderblock onto Keith’s Chest.
OKAY LOL. So this was certainly a segment. The timing felt off with a lot of this, and Rick Ross talking over Swerve briefly did not help. Parker being a part of the Trust Busters briefly also did not help his return here, but that can be forgiven as he is being repackaged with Swerve now. We got no answer about who the other guy was, which is fine, as commentary sold it like a mystery. The beatdown itself was good, with the Cinderblock Swerve Stomp on the Steel Steps looking brutal. Rick Ross joining a faction here also marks a pretty big moment where AEW now offically seems to have a celebrity within a faction. It remains to be seen if he will wrestle, but it seems like he & Swerve will be the mouthpieces for the group. The jury remains out on Mogul Affiliates, but it could wind up being great.
AEW Rampage — December 23, 2022:
- $300,000 Three Kings Christmas Casino Trios Battle Royale — Tony Nese, Josh Woods, & Ari Daivari, The Spanish Announce Project, LFI, Top Flight & AR Fox, Kip Sabian & The Butcher & The Blade, Best Friends & Orange Cassidy, Dark Order, & The Blackpool Combat Club
- Jade Cargill vs Vertivixen
- Wardlow Speaks
- Anthony Bowens & Daddy Ass vs Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett
- Eddie Kingston & Ortiz Speak
AEW Dynamite — December 28, 2022:
- Bryan Danielson vs Ethan Page
- Samoa Joe vs Wardlow — AEW TNT Championship Match
- The Elite vs Death Triangle — Best Of Seven Series, Match #6: Falls Count Anywhere
MAIN EVENT: Jamie Hayter vs Hikaru Shida — AEW Women’s World Championship Match
In her first defense of the AEW Women’s World Championship, Jamie Hayter would main event against former champion, Hikaru Shida. Off the bat, I was just thrilled that these two got to main event. Very, very much deserved. Secondly, it is truly a testament to how popular Jamie Hayter has gotten that Shida of all people got a mixed reaction. Out of the gate, these two would take it to one another with hard strikes against the ropes, specifically with Shida dropping Hayter with a hard knee to the gut against the ropes before keeping her downed in the corner. Jamie would attempt to come back with bludgeoning blows across the back of Shida, but the former champion would level her with a scoop slam before mounting her with punches. The crowd would thankfully NOT be dead for this, with dueling chants for “Let’s Go Shida” and “Let’s Go Hayter” as Shida would control the early goings, nailing Jamie with a big knee strike on the apron.
Back from break, the crowd would still be split as Shida & Hayter would continue bludgeoning one another in the ring with stiff shots. Jamie would score a nearfall with a nice twisting suplex out of the corner, just laying into Shida with forearms again before the two would collide with lariats. Shida would catch Jamie’s fist, unloading on the champion before nailing a big dropkick and mounting her in the corner for the 10 blows to the head, flying off the middle rope with a missile dropkick.
Out to the apron, Shida would look to suplex Jamie back into the ring, but Hayter would get out of it, pulling Shida down onto the apron with a snapmare that looked not-so-fun to take. Hayter would get sent head first into the turnbuckle, eating a knee on the apron before Shida suplexed her to the floor into another commercial break!
Back from break, Jamie Hayter would miss with a Moonsault, with Shida nailing a running knee for a two count as the crowd would come to life. Shida teased hitting the Kitana, but Jamie went limp, allowing her to score with a DVD Neckbreaker, following up with a sliding lariat for a huge two count. “This is Awesome” Chants would come out as Hayter would destroy Shida with a backbreaker for yet another two count. Jamie would look for the Hayterade, but Shida would get out with a series of kicks and an attempted Kitana, Jamie would evade, as Shida would score with a big suplex. Britt Baker would attempt to interfere, but Shida would fly off the ropes with a kick and would take Britt would with the kendo stick. Up to the top rope, Shida would get caught with a brutal powerbomb from Jamie for an insane kickout that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Off the ropes, Jamie would score with a running Lariat for another huge kickout as San Antonio would go bonkers. Hayterade! Jamie Hayter wins.
After the match, Baker, Jamie, & Rebel would continue the beatdown on Shida, which would prompt Toni Storm to run out, making her return after Full Gear! Saraya would also arrive, evening the odds for the babyfaces to cap off the night.
Somehow, Jamie Hayter did it again. After delivering a show-stealing match at AEW Full Gear against Toni Storm, she would deliver yet another show-stealing match tonight with her first title defense against Hikaru Shida. These two went to war in one of, if not the best AEW women’s match of all time, laying into each other with stiff shots and delivering some incredible false finishes. This was the right choice to main event and was easily the best match on the show. Seriously, go out of your way to watch this match!
As for the rest of the show… Danielson & Starks’ promos were both very strong and built towards big future matches, with Danielson vs Ethan Page set for next week, and Danielson vs MJF as the next big main event program, while Ricky Starks vs Chris Jericho has also now been set up. Jon Moxley and Darius Martin had a good match that lacked any real heat, Swerve, Keith, and Rick Ross had one of the strangest segments of the year, though it established Strickland’s new heel persona and a new group called Mogul Affiliates within AEW. The execution was not great, but given time, Swerve could make this work greatly. FTR & The Gunns delivered a very strong match in my opinion, with FTR continuing to put over every team around them, while The Elite vs Death Triangle continue to dazzle in their Best of Seven Series.
While not the greatest episode of Dynamite, especially compared to some of the latest editions of the show, this was a very memorable one and was paced incredibly well, with it flying by. It also featured one of the best women’s matches in the company’s history.
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!