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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Dec. 16, 2020): Unfinished business

AEW Dynamite (Dec. 16, 2020) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The show featured Brandi Rhodes announcing her pregnancy, Sting saving Cody Rhodes, and Kenny Omega handling Joey Janela only to find more unfinished business.

Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent live results and play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.

Unfinished business

Kenny Omega had unfinished business as AEW World Champion. He wanted to quiet naysayers questioning the legitimacy of Omega’s tournament win after Joey Janela had to be pulled. Omega came out to make a statement and even tipped the scaled in Janela’s favor for no DQ.

It would be remiss not to show Omega’s glorious entrance, especially since Janela bashed him with a trashcan.

Don Callis tried to kick Tony Schiavone off commentary to take his place. Schiavone replied with, “Kiss my ass!” Callis took matters into his own hands to do live play-by-play with a ring mic. Omega quickly took control with a Kotaro Krusher onto an open chair. He also hit a tope con hilo onto a seated Janela and a trashcan moonsault. The champ even provided play-by-play for his own moves.

Omega tried to finish it early, but Janela countered a One Winged Angel into a reverse rana. Sonny Kiss set up a table so Janela could crash onto Omega with a flying leg drop.

Janela’s downfall was a missed moonsault. Omega promptly put Janela away with two V-Trggers and a One Winged Angel.

This was an appropriate bout for the level of wrestlers involved. Omega outclassed Janela, but Janela had enough heart to make a go of it. Entertainment was high with Callis and Omega on the mic. That was a unique twist to cement their status as pricks.

After the match, PAC informed Omega that there was still unfinished business to attend to. He wasn’t talking about himself. PAC pointed to Fenix, who also had to be pulled from the tournament. AEW booked Omega versus Fenix for the AEW World Championship on December 30.

This was a great example of a layered story. The deal with Janela made logical sense, but it becomes even better now knowing it was used as a setup to advance in a different direction. Janela was a speed bump toward justifying a title shot for Fenix. That will be a heck of a match to close out the year.

Cody and... Sting!

The paths of Cody Rhodes and Sting crossed yet again. This time, it involved a pregnancy announcement, Angelico, and Team Taz.

Cody’s evening on Dynamite began with a very special announcement. A holiday vignette played from the Rhodes’ household with their new puppy, Yeti Pinkerton. A gift was left on their doorstep. The Gucci box contained little baby shoes with an ornament revealing that Brandi is expecting a baby in 2021. The camera zoomed out to show Pharaoh as baby security.

That was a pleasant surprise and a creative way to declare the news. It does make me wonder what will happen with all of Brandi’s storylines. She won’t be taking any bumps for quite awhile, so a match with Jade Cargill is off the table. Who will be Cargill’s new target?

Next up was Cody getting back in the ring to wrestle Angelico. The chess match featured chain wrestling and submission work. Cody was frustrated at Angelico’s unique set of skills. At one point, Cody was wrapped up in pain and had to put his chompers on the bottom rope for a break.

Angelico kept the momentum with a leg whip to counter Cody’s disaster kick. Angelico locked in the Navarro Death Roll. Cody howled in agony, but he eventually crawled to the ropes for a separation. Cody rallied back to explode with a springboard cutter for sudden victory.

Cody and Angelico put on an enjoyable technical showcase with a splash of flash. Both men benefit from the outing. Cody is back on the winning track, and Angelico received exposure of the national stage. Arn Anderson shoving Jack Evans to the floor was a nice bonus treat.

After the contest, Team Taz entered the scene to sarcastically congratulate Cody on being a daddy. Taz also sent a message that Brian Cage is going to wreck “Turtle Boy” Darby Allin and take the TNT title. Team Taz turned their focus back to Cody with threats of an attack. Light out. Lights on. It’s Stiiiing!

Sting leveled the playing field with his trusty black bat. Will Hobbs was not afraid, but the rest of Team Taz prevented a potential skirmish. Cody had a goofy look of bewilderment on his face. Cody and Sting locked eyes, then Stinger winked. Allin observed it all from the cheap seats high above.

Slowly the wheel turns. Seeing Sting is still cool after three weeks. That excitement has yet to fade, although, I do hope we learn some of Sting’s motives before the end of the year. AEW has a tendency to slow play their stories. This one in particular may run the risk of cooling down if progress does not occur soon.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Matt Hardy & Private Party defeated Hangman Page, Alex Reynolds, & John Silver. The winners disposed of their competitors one by one. Hardy used a Twist of Fate off the apron to disable Silver. Isiah Kassidy dropkicked Hangman over the barricade. Private Party pounced on Reynolds for Gin & Juice. Hardy tagged himself in to steal the glory of the winning pin.

Good action to kick off the show, but this bout was more about character work for both teams. Private Party was visibly annoyed that Hardy was a glory hog. Hangman was agitated early by the Dark Order’s clowning around. They grew on Hangman though, and he even contributed to the rapid-fire kicks and slams sequence of Reynolds and Silver.

I don’t see either relationship lasting long-term. While Hangman may be charmed by the Dark Order, he still wants to win above all else. Private Party needs to dump Hardy as soon as possible. Hardy hasn’t brought anything to the table yet that benefits them. If it leads to a future tag team showdown, I’m curious who Hardy will choose as a cohort.

PAC returns again. Eddie Kingston came to the ring to address his enemies. First was God. Second was PAC. Kingston claimed that PAC’s career was over and he was back in England after the neck damage from the hands of Kingston. Third was Lance Archer.

Archer immediately interrupted to fight. Blade, Butcher, and Bunny came out to assist Kingston. The Lucha Bros appeared, but they weren’t alone. PAC was with them. Both Archer and PAC put hands on Kingston. Archer goozled the loudmouth, then PAC ran in with a big boot. Archer was a little angry that PAC got in the way. The two men argued while Kingston escaped.

This was a neat little segment. It had confrontations, physicality, surprise, and a story twist. No contact took place between Archer and PAC, but it is clear that they will have to fight each other in order to have Kingston alone. Sign me up to see that one.

Inner Circle defeated Best Friends, Top Flight, & Varsity Blondes. Wardlow was pulled earlier in the day due to a family situation. Brandon Cutler was also pulled to even the sides. Three moments in particular stood out in this 12-man tag.

First, Brian Pillman Jr. started the bout by sharing the ring with Chris Jericho. It was a cool moment for fans of Pillman’s journey.

Second, Darius Martin failed in his effort to apply a crucifix pin correctly on Sammy Guevara, so he quickly improvised to kick Sammy instead. I like seeing that type of savvy instinct from a youngster to salvage the moment.

Third, a donnybrook erupted after Best Friends and Santana & Ortiz reignited their hatred. Commentary pointed out it was their first time in the ring together since the epic parking lot fight. That was a perfect spark to ignite the dynamite.

In the end, Jericho hit Griff Garrison with a bat. Jake Hager followed with an F-10, then he tagged in MJF to secure the pin. Afterward, Top Flight stood tall in the ring by taking out Jericho and MJF.

The Inner Circle appears to be on the same page. MJF always seems like he is up to no good, but he played ball as a team member tonight. He begged for the tag to take the winning pin, however, the progress is that he asked. MJF could have tried a blind tag like Matt Hardy earlier. In this case, Hager willingly gave MJF the honor. Baby steps for MJF.

The Acclaimed defeated SCU. Max Caster spit a diss rap, then Frankie Kazarian fired right back. I’d give the edge to Kaz on that exchange.

The Acclaimed stole the win by using a boombox to clobber Christopher Daniels. Anthony Bowens finished it with a side slam. Afterward, The Acclaimed busted more rhymes in a tag title challenge to the Young Bucks. The Jacksons eagerly accepted for next week.

That was a questionable call to build The Acclaimed with a cheap win. On one hand, cheating like that did nothing to make me believe they have a chance to beat the Young Bucks. On the other hand, cheating like that makes them jerky enough to actually cheer for the Bucks. For a short feud, I suppose it does the trick for quick heat.

Big Swole & Serena Deeb defeated Ivelisse & Diamante. Swole had the hot tag to run wild and lock in a Texas Cloverleaf submission on Diamante. Deeb smartly tackled Ivelisse to prevent a breakup. Diamante could not escape and tapped out. After the match, Nyla Rosa and Vickie Guerrero attacked. Red Velvet ran in with a chair to hit Nyla in the back.

The women had my favorite contest on Dynamite. In an evening with so many hectic matches, this tag bout kept it simple and worked to a fiery babyface finish.

One thing from commentary I found odd was Jim Ross saying that nobody on the AEW women’s roster is more talented than Deeb. What about Hikaru Shida? Why put the NWA champ over AEW’s own women’s champ? I shouldn’t read much into it, but there’s no fun in that.

Notes: The funniest promo of the night goes to the Inner Circle. MJF was honored by The New York Times for “Le Dinner Debonair” singing session. MJF put on a cloak of indignation about Chris Jericho not receiving his share of the credit, but Jericho saw through the charade. Also, #SexyHooligans.

Miro was fined $75,000 by AEW for sending three people to the hospital last week. His problem with Orange Cassidy is that the juicy one doesn’t care. Miro considers the fines to be OC’s fault. Miro will announce the wedding date next week for Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford.

Dasha Gonzalez interviewed Dustin Rhodes about Evil Uno’s proposal to join the Dark Order. 7 was a bad idea years ago, and 7 was a bad idea last week. Dustin confirmed his quest of kicking Dark Order ass one at a time. 10 was first and Uno is next.

Thunder Rosa addressed the situation with Dr. Britt Baker DMD. Thunder blamed her loss to Serena Deeb on Baker sticking in her big nose. Reba confronted Thunder, so Baker could attack from the back. The role model trapped Thunder in a scissored armbar and made a mess of her face paint.

After SCU lost, Kaz was heated at Daniels. The discussion occurred not directly on camera. It was tough for me to tell if seeds were being planted for a breakup or if it was just a wink to Kaz’s Being the Elite bit about needing anger management.

Top Flight challenged Jericho & MJF to a match next week.

Best Friend hinted that they plan to sabotage Miro’s announcement, or, even worse, the actual wedding between Kip and Penelope.

FTR was angry that they were passed over for AEW to play a highlight clip of Jurassic Express. The jungle trio are in FTR’s crosshairs.

Stud of the Show: Fenix

Fenix’s corkscrew slingshot amazed me with the amount of rotations.

Dud of the Show: Cody Rhodes’ lack of leg pain

Cody was trapped tight in a leg lock from Angelico. The pain was palpable.

All of a sudden, Cody was up bouncing on the ropes as if that submission had no effect.

Sloppy storytelling from the Codemeister. The Navarro Death Roll is one of the cooler submissions in AEW. Too bad Cody took some shine off it.

Grade: B-

This episode did a good job of keeping various feuds fresh on the mind. AEW also was strong in setting up next week’s show. One thing missing was magnetism. I wasn’t feeling hooked to anything that transpired. That’s not to say it was boring. The show had plenty of nifty moments. It’s just that I was never truly captured in the moment.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?

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