30/12/23 – Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, NY
The usual pairing of Renee Paquette and RJ City opened the show, I was happy to see Jeff Jarrett join the team to give some insight on Samoa Joe among other feuds.
Commentary – Nigel McGuiness, Excalibur, Taz
Stokley Hathaway joins commentary for the opening match.
Willow Nightingale vs Kris Statlander.
This match came about in odd circumstances with Stokley Hathaway interrupting these two women to insist they should face each other instead of tagging and he made it official.
I still don’t understand why or how he has the power to do that being the ROH general manager or what connection he has with these two women but atlas we have this match.
This match was a friendly affair with Statlander and Willow being up to this point being nice and respectful. This was a competitive match with 0 heat, no one is a heel, both baby faces, both hometown girls and the crowd seemed polite but didn’t seem to care either way and why would they? There has been nothing here to really get behind.
Statlander showed an impressive feat of strength having Willow on her shoulders, flap jacking her to the mat, Willow is a big girl, Statlander is easily the strongest woman on the roster.
Willow slammed Statlander on the hard part of the outside apron. Why does AEW do this regularly on every show? from what I’ve heard this is one of the worst parts to take a bump and it’s a regular occurrence.
Very clunky finish between these two, botching what they were trying to go for, with Statlander landing awkwardly from Willow’s gut wrench powerbomb, Willow tried it again and this time hit with a sit down powerbomb to win the match, Willow’s biggest win to date defeating the former TBS champion.
Winner – Willow Nightingale
A package was next hyping the return of Serena Deeb, she was in a straitjacket which she escaped from, this was shot very well, a good little vignette, but I ask the question? could you not shave a minute or so off a long match on Dynamite and have this instead of on a pre-show that not everyone watches.
20 Man Battle Royal
A battle royal featuring a lot of talent that appears sparingly on AEW programming or on the undercard.
Finally we get to see the returning Killswitch (formerly Luchasaurus) who is the red hot favourite going into this match.
I only noticed Johnny TV (formerly John Morrison) later in the match who got eliminated by Danhausen, quite possibly next to Jake Hager as the most underutilized talent on the roster.
Silly little spot in the match where Action Andretti in front of Lance Archer did his water bottle trick he has started doing, I’m glad he is still doing this as it’s something to remember him by.
Lance Archer and Killswitch eliminated a lot of bodies until Danhausen and Trent Beretta double teamed Archer and threw him out of the match. Beretta then double crossed his friend and threw Danhausen out of the ring from behind.
It was now down to Trent Baretta and Killswitch with Killswitch coming out on top, after the match it was said he now receives a TNT title show for winning the battle royal, something that wasn’t explained before the match.
Winner – Killswitch
FTW Championship match
Wheeler Yuta vs Hook (c)
Wheeler Yuta comes out with a mic in hand and begins to trash Long Island and the sports teams to get cheap heat but gets cut off as Hook comes out.
I always find Hook super awkward in the ring, he has a very unorthodox style. These guys brawled around the ring and the outside, it became more like a street fight with trash cans and stop signs which benefitted Hook.
Wheeler Yuta received a nasty gash to his eye which looked like it would require a few stitches, Hook belted him with a hockey stick and locked the rear naked choke hold to tap Yuta out and retain the FTW Championship, a title which doesn’t really mean anything and is more of a prop for Hook.
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Brody King, Jay White, Rush and Jay Lethal vs Claudio Castagnoli, Bryan Danielson, Marc Briscoe and Daniel Garcia
Matt Menard joins the commentary team for this one.
All the leftovers who were eliminated from the Continental Classic Tournement were thrown together for this eight man tag that seems to be just that, a thrown together match at the last minute to get all these guys on the card.
I guess this is what happens when you put on a tournament with no plan for those involved afterwards. Jay White was in the main event of the last PPV in a lengthly program with MJF now he just seems like an afterthought.
Garcia tried to get smart doing his dance in front of Brody King which didn’t go well with King laying some serious punishment on him on the inside and out.
This lead to Rush and Jay White tagging in and out beating Garcia with hard chops.
Finally Garcia made the hot tag to Marc Briscoe who cleaned house.
Bodies started to fly everywhere as everyone started battling inside and outside the ring.
All men started to hit their moves in the ring on one another with men coming in and out until it was down to Garcia and Jay Lethal, with Garcia getting a sneaky pin to surprise Lethal and win the match.
Winners – Daniel Garcia, Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli and Marc Briscoe.
Miro vs Andrade El Idolo
The story of this match started off pretty well with Miro’s wife CJ Perry becoming Andrade’s manager, CJ asks Miro to not touch her client but in the past couple of weeks we haven’t seen much in the form of interaction between Miro and Andrade, I would of like to seen Miro push Andrades buttons without touching him before this matchup or even some sexual tension between CJ and Andrade to really heat this feud up but we didn’t get any interaction between the two.
Miro jumped Andrade as soon as the ring bell rang, throwing him around the ring like he was nothing.
Every time Andrade tried to get back in the match Miro would beat him down.
Miro tried to back suppex Andrade through the announce table with Andrade reversing and pushing Miro over the table with Miro nearly landing on his neck.
Andrade threw Miro into the steps and started to gain some momentum.
Both man battled it out on the outside with Adrade throwing Miro back in, diving off the top ropes and nailing his double backflip with Miro kicking at two.
Miro had enough and fired up to put Andrade in the Camel Clutch with Andrade scraping to the ropes.
Adrade locked in the Figure 8 leg lock with Miro struggling, CJ Perry reached in and broke the hold seemingly turning on her client, Miro locked in the Camel Clutch again and tapped Andrade out.
Winner – Miro
I found it a little quick that they have already broke off CJ with Andrade, but I since learnt that Andrade is leaving to go back to the WWE apparently, so I guess she is back with Miro now.
AEW Womens World Title Match
Toni Storm (c) (with Luther) vs Riho
Haven’t really been into this feud at all, Storm is an over the top character driven performer and Riho is the complete opposite being Japanese and having no dialogue, I feel like you need someone to match Storm’s character to really get the most out of her.
Storm dominated this contest throwing the tiny Riho around the ring like she was nothing. Storm had Riho in the Boston Crab, Riho struggled but got to the rope which Luther grabbed and moved away from her, the ref had enough and ejected him to the back.
Riho made her comeback and had the champ almost beat on several occasion’s but it wasn’t enough as Storm hit a modified form of a hip toss DDT to win the match.
Winner – Toni Storm
Backstage Dante Martin has an interaction with Orange Cassidy and just like that they have a title match on Dyanmite.
Swerve Strickland (with Prince Nana) vs Dustin Rhodes
Swerve Strickland was suppose to face Keith Lee in this match but with a late injury Lee was out and had been replaced with Dustin Rhodes. Swerve Strickland is red hot at the moment so there was no way he was losing this one to the veteran Dustin Rhodes.
Rhodes still looks in great shape in his 50’s and hasn’t missed a step, still as sharp as he has always been.
Swerve jumped Rhodes from the get go and ended up jumping on a cinder block on Dustin’s foot, injuring him. Rhodes was getting carried out but he was too proud and hobbled his way back to the ring.
Soon as the bell rang Swerve jumped Rhodes again and was in complete control looking in the camera, sending a message to Keith Lee.
Swerve had Dustin on the top rope looking for a superplex which proved to be a mistake with Dustin laying punches to knock him off to mat.
Dustin nailed a Canadian destroyer followed by perhaps the best snap power slam in the business. Dustin almost had the win with his version of the Cross Rhodes with Swerve narrowly kicking out.
Swerve had Rhodes on his knees, Dustin flipped him the two birds with Swerve knocking him to the ground. Swerve hit his Swerve stomp to finally put Dustin away in perhaps Swerves best straight up match I’ve seen him in.
Winner – Swerve Strickland
Good story telling in this match and it just came across different than anything else on the card and in general, great performance.
It was actually a blessing that Keith Lee couldn’t make it, no disrespect to Lee but the crispness and experience of Dustin Rhodes was a great opponent for Swerve Strickland.
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Sting, Darby Allin vs Ricky Starks, Big Bill, Will Hobbs and Konosuke Takeshita (with Don Callis)
Tony Schiavone is now on commentary.
Another match were injuries changed up the original match, with Kenny Omega out and Sammy Guevera in his place which actually worked out to be a good fit to the story.
Jericho found himself in the ring with Hobbs for the first time since Hobbs dismantled him in a one on one encounter. Hobbs didn’t have it all his own way this time with Jericho getting more offense.
Darby became the one to receive a beating with the heels tagging in and out to get a piece of him.
Hobbs and Big Bill grabbed Darby and swung him from one side of the ring to the other.
Finally Darby made the hot tag to Sting, the fans were chanting “We want Sting” and popped loud when he finally came in.
Sting cleaned house until the two biggest men Big Bill and Hobbs got their team back in control with their size and strength.
While Big Bill and Chris Jericho was in the ring, Jericho seemed to be getting booed by the crowd in relation to sexual misconduct allegations. It’s amazing how people can turn on you and treat you as guilty in this day and age without any evidence.
Takeshita hit a monster back suplex on Darby Allin that looked like he landed on his head. Takeshita back suplexed Darby and Sammy Guevera at the same time too but got halted with Sting putting him in the Scorpion death lock with Jericho having Hobbs in the walls of Jericho.
The men scrambled out of the ring with the finish coming with the returning Sammy Guevara hitting his shooting star press on Ricky Starks to pick up the win for his team.
Winner – Sting, Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara and Darby Allin
TBS Women’s Championship Match
Julia Hart vs Abadon
Kind of an odd way this match came about with the champion in Hart seeking out Abadon, usually it’s the champion that has a target on their back.
These two battled it out for what felt like a long match, Skye Blue interfered behind the refs back pushing Abadon off the top ropes. Abadon went for Blue, the assist from Blue allowed Julia Hart to jump Abadon, getting her in the ring to hit a backflip landing with her knees from the top rope to pin Abadon and retain her title.
Winner – Julia Hart
No DQ TNT Title Championship match
Adam Copeland vs Christian Cage (c) with (Nick Wayne and Shayna Wayne)
This feud didn’t have the build in the last two weeks it should have with Copeland not being on programming, never the less there has been great stuff involving these two for this match.
Adam Copeland didn’t waste anytime and ran up the ramp to attack Christian, throwing him around the outside and choking him with his shirt.
Copeland tried to kick Christian’s head against the outside steps but Christian escaped and ran out into the crowd with Copeland in hot pursuit. The two former best friends went right up to the top of the stands with Copeland diving off onto Christian from above.
Back in the ring Copeland went for the spear with Christian ducking out the way for Copeland to hit his shoulder into the ring post.
Christian now had control and stomped on Copeland’s neck on the ring steps.
Copeland had a nasty gash on his head with Christian grabbing a kendo stick to inflict more punishment, choking Copeland with the ropes and the stick.
Christian put a chair on Copeland’s neck and locked in a Boston crab, Copeland tried to fight out but got kicked back down by Christian.
Copeland got back in the match striking Christian with the kendo stick really letting him have it with hard shots.
Copeland got a ladder out from under the ring which the crowd cheering, prehaps reminiscing of those epic TLC matches. Copeland used the ladders to smash Christian face but the kendo stick saved him as he struck Copeland in the Abdomen.
A great sunset flip power bomb off the ladder from Christian almost got the win but Copeland kicked out at the last second.
Christian got some tables out from under the ring which got another great response from the crowd.
Copeland got back in control and put Christian head on a chair and was going to smash it but Nick Wayne came in to save the day and distract Copeland hitting a low blow with the chair, Christian went for a spear but was avoided by Copeland who ended up spearing Christian through a table in the corner that Christian had set up previously.
Copeland went for the win but Shayna Wayne pulled Copeland’s legs out of the ring, Nick Wayne hit Copeland from behind with the TNT title, back in the ring Christian hit his Killswitch finisher with Copeland kicking out.
Christian set up a table on the outside and started to pour lighter fluid on it with Nick Wayne helping. Nick Wayne lit the table on fire. Christian got hit by a spear by Copeland.
Copeland went out to put more lighter fluid on the table and powerbombed Nick Wayne through it with him hitting the back of his head on the concrete.
Back in the ring Christian went to hit Copeland with the TNT title but got stopped when Copeland kicked him in the balls and hit Christian with his own finisher “The Killswitch” to win the match.
Winner – Adam Copeland
After the match, Killswitch (formerly Luchasaurus) attacked Copeland from behind and laid him out in the middle of the ring.
Killswitch was going to use his contract for a TNT title which he won in the Battle Royal earlier to beat Copeland right now. Christian signaled to give the contract to him which he reluctantly gave up.
Christian signed the contract and hit a spear to pin Copeland to win his TNT championship back. Interesting swerve.
Copeland is seen being helped backstage as he went through an absolute war.
Great match, great story and a nice little twist at the end, if AEW can do more of this with every feud the show would benefit greatly.
Continental Classic Tournement Final
Jon Moxley vs Eddie Kingston
Bryan Danielson joins commentary for this one.
Winner takes all three titles including the new title, the last thing AEW needs is another title, there is already too many where it feels everyone has one.
I’m glad this tournament is now going to be finished after this match as it’s felt like a long drawn out process and I feel it made the shows less interesting.
These two are the worst offenders for the “you hit me and then I hit you” spot. As they seemed to do this for an eternity. Back and forth strikes to I guess prove how tough they are. Lots of no selling.
The finish came after both men slapped each other until Eddie hit a spinning back fist and pinned Moxley.
I didn’t dig this match at all, some of the AEW diehards love this kind of match but it’s just not for me.
After the match Kingston was presented with the new belt with Moxley giving him a hug.
AEW World Heavweight Title Match
Samoa Joe vs MJF (c)
Before MJF got to the ring, a package played of Long Island locals putting over MJF as “thief scumbag” even with one women uses expletives that she “f****d MJF in the back of truck.
MJF came out to the ring, I thought he would have jumped Samoa Joe after what happened on Dynamite with Joe aligning with The mystery masked devil man. Instead he was just his normal cocky self.
Adam Cole’s music hit as he came down the aisle in crutches to cheer on his best friend MJF.
Samoa Joe dominated the early goings of this match working on MJF’s injured arm, he nailed multiple straight jacket back suplexes with MJF narrowly escaping by putting his leg on the rope.
Joe hit his muscle buster on the hard part of the ring apron that looked devastating, Adam Cole was seen in shock.
Joe tried the muscle buster again in the ring but this time MJF reversed out and began to claw his way back in the match even biting Joes head in the corner.
MJF hit his Heatseaker finisher with Joe narrowly kicking out, MJF tried it again but it was reversed as Joe attempted an Alabama slam which was countered into an arm bar with Joe reversing that into his own arm bar.
Joe locked in his chokehold/sleeper with MJF pushing back into Joe crushing the referee in the corner, knocking him out. MJF low blowed Joe and got him up for his version of the F5.
MJF looked for Adam Cole to give him a ring to punch Joe. He took too long with Joe locking in his rear naked choke hold and which had MJF unconscious as the referee came good as Joe won and become the new AEW champion.
After the match The Devils henchman came out to seemingly attack MJF and Cole, they had Cole and MJF held to hit them with steel chairs, MJF begged them to hit him and not his best friend Adam Cole.
The lights went off and on and now Cole was sitting on the chair and it turns out he has been The Devil this whole time. The rest of the goons unmask and it turns out to be The Kingdom, Roderick Strong and Wardlow as the show goes off the air.
Kevs thoughts –
I’m going to reserve judgement on this reveal until I see how it plays out over the coming weeks. Is it a shock? No but it’s what they do from here on out that I will judge them on.
I thought Christian and Edge stole the show but a close second to Swerve and Dustin Rhodes who had a great match. The Miro and Andrade feud could have been really good but the storytelling let it down for me.
Once again I felt the show is too long and if they could extenuate the good in the show and cut out a lot of the fat, it would much more enjoyable as it does get a bit tiring being this long.