AEW Dynamite (Jan. 6, 2021) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. Night 1 of New Year’s Smash featured Hikaru Shida slaying a zombie, Kenny Omega and Fenix with an instant classic, and the Bullet Club getting the band back together.
Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent live results and play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.
In the main event of the evening, Kenny Omega was set to defend the AEW World Championship against Fenix. The fight was close to 20 minutes and banged hard the entire time to produce an instant classic.
Fenix made me pop loudly three separate times. First was a cannonball suicide dive with tremendous velocity.
Second was Fenix flipping over Omega’s back directly into executing a German suplex.
Third was eating a V-Trigger only to bounce back up for a superkick.
Omega had sweet moves of his own with countering a rolling cutter for a snap dragon suplex on the floor and various V-Triggers.
Fenix earned momentum down the stretch after a Fire Thunder Driver. The luchador paid homage to Eddie Guerrero by wiggling his shoulders before attempting a frog splash. Too bad for Fenix that Omega got his knees up in time. Fenix rallied again for another flying attack. This time, Omega caught him for a Tiger Driver ‘98.
Another V-Trigger and One Winged Angel finally put Fenix down for the three count as Omega retained the world title. In my opinion, it looked like Fenix’s shoulder was up, but we’ll have to see if that was a mistake in timing or part of a future story for a rematch down the line.
That contest was a blitz from beginning to end. The activity level was off the charts. Omega showed his ring awareness and acumen by being prepared to break free or counter many of Fenix’s moves early on. The story for Fenix was if he had heart. He proved that his fighting spirit beats strong beyond a shadow of a doubt by kicking out of several sticky situations.
Bullet Club reunion
Business picked up after the main event. Don Callis urged Omega to end Fenix’s career with another One Winged Angel. Video showed the Kingston Family putting the boots to PAC and Pentagon. There was nobody left to save Fenix. That was until Jon Moxley appeared with a barbwire bat. He whacked the champ in the bread basket.
As Moxley was sizing Omega up for a second swipe, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows made a surprise run-in to save their Bullet Club buddy.
The numbers overwhelmed Moxley. The Good Brothers hit him with their Magic Killer finisher. Omega took the bat for six strokes to Mox’s back. Ringside wrestlers tried to break it up and were easily dispatched. Gallows powerbombed Fuego del Sol through a table.
Eventually, the Young Bucks came out to argue about the violence. Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr. grabbed Omega’s arms, so the Bucks superkicked them. Even though Omega was going crazy, it looked like the Bucks didn’t want anyone else to touch him.
The show closed with drama and intrigue as Omega lifted his fingers for a Bullet Club reunion. Anderson and Gallows joined Omega in being too sweet. The Jacksons reluctantly yet firmly added their hands to the circle, however, the looks on their faces seemed as if their hearts weren’t in the gesture.
Hikaru Shida faced her most difficult challenger to date in Abadon. That’s not to say Abadon is the most skilled, just that she’s an odd enigma to prepare for. What are you supposed to do when someone bites your neck? With the AEW Women’s Championship on the line, Shida once again rose to the occasion to retain gold.
Shida entered wearing a scarf to cover the previous bite wound. Abadon attacked on sight, so Shida whacked her in the head with a kendo stick. Abadon went down but promptly sat back up.
Abadon repeatedly tried to chomp on Shida. She did manage to nibble Shida’s thigh and even dragged Shida under the ring for undercover munching. When both ladies returned, Abadon’s mouth was dripping blood while Shida’s neck was a mess.
As for the wrestling, it was mostly a brawl. The champ dug deep to recover from the loss of plasma. Shida had the highlights with a jumping crossbody down to the floor and a superplex.
In the end, Shida escaped a Gory Special position for a roll-up in the ropes. Shida then pounced with her Tamashii running knee strike to win.
That fight was awesome. It was an over-the-top sports entertainment spectacle in a great way. The bloody craziness was probably executed as best as it could have been. There were thrills, chills, and spills. This should cement Shida on the list of wrestlers who can have a good match with anyone.
It will be interesting to see how Abadon evolves in AEW. She can’t continue to bite opponents as her main source of offense. I bet Vickie Guerrero and Nyla Rose wouldn’t mind locking the zombie up to unleash for their own personal gain.
Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.
Young Bucks & SCU defeated The Acclaimed & TH2. Max Caster dissed the Bucks and Snoop Dogg in a battle rap as TH2 danced in the back. The match was as flashy as you would expect. In the end, Jack Evans took a bunch of moves and succumbed to a Best Moonsault Ever Driver from Christopher Daniels and Matt Jackson.
Afterward, Frankie Kazarian reminded us about his deal with Christopher Daniels. The next tag team loss for SCU means that they will split up. Until that day comes, they’ve got their eyes on the tag team titles. They will have the Bucks’ backs, except for when competing against each other for the belts. The Bucks accepted that sporting reality without attitude.
Massive tag bouts in AEW have been a mixed bag. This contest fell on the positive side of the scale. There was good action with plenty of space for individuals to shine, rather than muddled madness. SCU had a solid babyface speech that will garner support when the big match eventually arrives. They handled the thin line between friendship and business the right way.
Wardlow defeated Jake Hager in a HOSS FIGHT! Inner Circle members observed from the stage. It was slow to start as the big men tested each other. Hager swung his meat hooks for early success. Wardlow fired back with a clothesline to knock both men out of the ring. A slugfest and a double clothesline flattened them on the floor. Wardlow gained control with corner ramming and suplex tosses.
Hager rebounded with corner jacking of his own and a hugging slam. Hager tried to finish with a Vader Bomb. Wardlow got his feet up, but Hager saw it coming and snatched a leg for an ankle lock. Wardlow up kicked his meaty hoof into Hager’s jaw.
Wardlow had momentum by cross-checking Hager off the apron and onto the guardrail. A couple of suplexes were followed by a senton atomico from Wardlow. 1, 2, Hager rolled over to trap Wardlow in a head and arm triangle choke. Wardlow was able to reach the ropes with his foot for the break. While battling on the turnbuckles, Hager caught Wardlow again with the choke. Wardlow wisely dropped down to cause Hager’s head to smash into the turnbuckle. Wardlow finished it with an F-10.
Hager was upset about the loss, but he accepted a fist bump from Wardlow. Respect was earned.
Hot damn, that was a satisfying hoss fight. They were duking it out hard, but the addition of strategy made it excellent. I loved the submission sequences. Good call for Wardlow to win. It helps legitimize his position in the big man pecking order. This might be looked back on as a passing of the hoss torch.
Later in the show, MJF gave Hager a pep-talk to build his confidence back up. Hager appreciated the concern. This was another step in MJF building trust within the Inner Circle.
TNT weigh-in. Brian Cage tipped the scales at 272 pounds. Darby Allin was 170 pounds while wearing his normal clothes. Allin assumed an ambush from Team Taz, so he wanted to fight right then. Lights out. Sting! Team Taz backed off. Sting and Allin looked at each other like a couple of weirdos. Commentary pushed the idea that a relationship is blossoming.
This segment fell flat for me. These encounters are getting on the repetitive side. Let’s get this train chugging. Good thing that their TNT title match is next week. And yes, it was still cool to see Sting. That novelty has yet to wear off.
Cody Rhodes defeated Matt Sydal. Snoop Dogg took over Arn Anderson’s coaching duties as a way to promote the Go-Big Show on TBS, of which Cody and Snoop are both judges. This was a competitive clash with big moves. Cody kicked out of Sydal’s finishing routine of a roundhouse kick and cradle slam. Cody avoided a jumping knee to counter for Cross Rhodes. A second Cross Rhodes did the deed.
This bout was a barn burner. Sydal was crafty enough to make me think he might win. That helped add drama to the finish.
During the match, Cody accidentally punched Serpentico when Sydal ducked. After the match, Serpentico and Luther immediately attacked. Cody and Sydal regained control and set up Serpentico to take a flying splash from Snoop for an amusing moment.
Notes: Chris Jericho was on commentary this week to provide plenty of silliness while playfully sassing his counterparts.
Jon Moxley returned to cut a promo about losing the AEW World Championship to Kenny Omega. Life isn’t fair. Complaining is a waste of time. When you are on the bad end of a deal, all you can do is endure. Stare down adversity, and don’t back down an inch. Since Moxley made it his mission to protect the integrity of the world title, he will not be attacking Omega before his bout. It wouldn’t be fair to Fenix. However, Moxley did close with a threat for Omega that he will get even in time.
Chuck Taylor, with Orange Cassidy by his side, provided an update on Trent’s injury. The man will be missing 4-5 months. Miro, with Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford by his side, interrupted. Chuck challenged Miro to a match. Miro upped the stakes to Taylor becoming his young boy upon defeat. Chuck stupidly agreed without thinking it over. Bad move on Chuck’s part.
Private Party brought gin but forgot the juice. Snoop Dogg was at the ready with a jug of juice. Matt Hardy came in with contracts for Private Party to sign. To be mentored by Hardy will cost 30%. Done deal. Hardy also clarified that all third party earnings were still theirs. That was a pleasant way to squeeze in Snoop for a fun pop.
A clip aired from Dark when Brodie Lee Jr. tried to fight Marko Stunt. That led to an interview with Jurassic Express. FTR interrupted to call Stunt a glorified mascot with no value to his team. Stunt mouthed off about replacing Luchasaurus in next week’s tag bout against FTR.
It was announced that Tay Conti will compete against Serena Deeb for the NWA Women’s Championship next week. Conti revealed that she won’t be alone. Anna Jay, John Silver, and Alex Reynolds will be by her side.
Stud of the Show: Jon Moxley’s A+ promo
Moxley’s little speech was badass. It provided life lessons, put over both Fenix and the value of the AEW World Championship, and also built anticipation for payback. Great job.
Dud of the Show: Picture-in-picture production
Wardlow served up a mini promo moments before the opening bell of the hoss fight. Unfortunately, the action kicked off while he was still talking. I was so focused on his interview that I missed the first touch and had to rewind to squint at the little box in the upper corner. It is a small detail, but it becomes annoying when it happens during a much-anticipated match. I was very eager to consume the hoss fight in all its glory, and I felt robbed of excitement by missing the initial engagement between the two behemoths.
Great matches and interesting stories with intrigue for what will come next. AEW started the new year on a high note.
Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show? Are you happy for the Bullet Club band to be back together?