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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Jan. 5, 2022): Hangman retains

AEW Dynamite (Jan. 5, 2022) emanated from the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The show featured Hangman Page conquering Bryan Danielson to retain the world title, Jade Cargill becoming the inaugural TBS champion, and Jurassic Express winning gold to be crowned tag team kings.

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

Hangman retains

AEW kicked off their move to TBS for the new year with one of the biggest matches in company history. Hangman Page wrestled Bryan Danielson in the World Championship rematch for the opener. Their previous bout went the distance to a 60-minute time limit draw. To ensure a winner, three judges to score the contest were Mark Henry, Jerry Lynn, and Paul Wight. They took notes for nothing, because this fight didn’t last 60. Hangman showed confidence in his choice of pants with a design of gold underwear under black chaps. That gold proved to be foreshadowing as he retained the title in roughly 30 minutes.

Hangman started with aggression and urgency at the opening bell, but Danielson rolled out of the ring to stall and play mind games. Hangman’s strategy was to blitz offense and attempt more frequent pinfalls. Danielson worked more in line for a tactical marathon by targeting Hangman’s arm and earning points to sway the judges.

Hangman connected on the first high impact move with a suicide dive. He followed for a moonsault, but Danielson moved out of the way. Danielson jumped for a headscissors, however, Hangman countered for a powerbomb on the apron. Hangman crouched for a buckshot lariat early. Danielson sensed it and rolled out of the ring before the cowboy could leap.

Hangman kept on the pressure with another suicide dive. Danielson blocked this one and shoved Hangman to collide with the guardrail. The champ’s buckshot arm took the brunt of the impact. Danielson seized to ram Hangman’s arm into the ring post. All that pain didn’t stop Hangman from connecting on a flying clothesline for the first pinfall attempt.

The next big moment saw Danielson use a drop toehold to send Hangman crashing into the ring steps. That opened a gusher on the cowboy’s head. Danielson had a long stretch of domination after that. Hangman rallied with a DVD and a bridging German suplex. He was able to return the favor smashing Danielson into the ring post three times to cause blood.

Hangman was like a shark smelling blood in the water. He hit a flipping slam off the top turnbuckle, countered Danielson for a deadeye piledriver on the floor, and took flight for the buckshot lariat. Danielson lucked out by collapsing to duck Hangman’s finisher. It may have been a ploy though, because Danielson lulled the cowboy into a false sense of security to pounce for the LeBell Lock. Hangman withstood tremendous pain to power out.

The match erupted into big moves down the stretch. Hangman landed a moonsault to the outside. Danielson ducked a buckshot lariat to counter with his running knee finisher.

Hangman kicked out on the cover. That led to back and forth fisticuffs with Danielson gaining the upper hand on a Gotch piledriver. Danielson repeatedly stomped on Hangman’s head. The challenger measured for the running knee, but Hangman caught him for a pop-up powerbomb. On the cover, Danielson trapped Hangman for a triangle choke then transitioned to a leg lock. Hangman used his free leg to boot Danielson several times in the face. The champ took advantage for a back drop driver then finally hit the target on the buckshot lariat. 1, 2, 3, and still world champ, Hangman Page.

The rematch between Hangman and Danielson was a doozy. Warrior spirit was strong between the two. They went toe to toe bloodied, battered, and bruised. Hangman channeled cowboy shit in the end for a definitive win. I think this victory was strong enough to close the feud for a while. No round three anytime soon.

In comparison to the draw, I enjoyed the rematch more. It was half the time with double the drama. There were a few close calls that could have believably closed the contest. The buckshot lariat was built up in such a way with so many misses that it was a cool surprise when finally cracking Danielson.

Part of enjoying the rematch were the callbacks to the draw. That showed the importance of the first match to elevate the story on this evening. Credit to commentary for pointing them out often to enhance the viewing experience. My favorite instance was the ringside doctor checking on Danielson. Doc Sampson did the same to Hangman in the draw. The difference for Danielson is that he shooed the doctor away to waste no time back in engagement. That was an amusing FU to Hangman. Little things like that were part of the larger chess match at play.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

MJF loses. MJF lost to Shawn Dean, but the result was not what it seemed. CM Punk ran out at the start, so MJF ran away. Punk turned to hit Dean with a GTS for the intentional disqualification. Dean won, and MJF lost.

Punk stated that he will continue to interfere forcing losses on MJF’s record until he agrees to fight. MJF mocked Punk’s lack of main-eventing Wrestlemania. He teased heading to WWE if he doesn’t start receiving respect in AEW. MJF decided he would entertain Punk’s request for a match. As MJF pointed to himself to be the opponent, he said, “Versus Wardlow.” Punk accepted. Eventually, MJF will run out of people to hide behind, and that’s when Punk will put him to sleep.

That was a nifty way to progress the story. It was unpredictable and smart comedy. As amusing as it was, I have two issues. First, referee Aubrey Edwards was far too lenient in her allowance of Punk in the ring. The fact that Punk confessed to screwing MJF on purpose should be grounds to legally overturn the result. MJF has Mark Sterling on his payroll for reasons such as this. Second, Dean should be livid. He should borrow Blade’s brass knuckles to serve a knuckle sandwich to Punk backstage. It would be nice to see follow-up for Dean, so he doesn’t look like a punk.

Wardlow defeated Antonio Zambrano. The underdog exited the ring to mess with Wardlow’s timing, so Spears planted Zambrano with a DVD on the floor. Wardlow was annoyed at first but happily finished the job with five powerbombs. He once again ignored Spears’ advice to cover after only one powerbomb.

The tension still simmers between Wardlow and the Pinnacle. One day it will explode. As for the near future, all these powerbombs make me want to see Punk go for a ride on numerous powerbombs from Wardlow.

TBS Championship: Jade Cargill defeated Ruby Soho. Mercedes Martinez made an early appearance. Thunder Rosa immediately sprinted out as they brawled to the back. Down the stretch, Mark Sterling hopped on the apron as a distraction, so referee Aubrey Edwards ejected him. That bought enough time for Jade to pounce for her Jaded finisher, but Soho countered for a roll-up. Soho then connected on the No Future kick. 1, 2, Jade kicked out of Soho’s finisher. As the two battled on the turnbuckles, Jade turned the tide to execute an avalanche Jaded maneuver for victory. By winning the tournament final, Jade becomes the inaugural TBS champion.

Solid match. Jade excelled with power, and Soho showed scrappiness as the smaller competitor. I was impressed by Soho’s Saito suplex. I was also impressed by Jade kicking out of the No Future finisher. That was a smart way to elevate her to championship material. Combine that with the avalanche Jaded to show she will be tough to dethrone. I am optimistic about this title reign.

Malakai Black defeated Brian Pillman Jr. Julia Hart was ringside wearing an eye patch and sweatpants. This was a fairly competitive medium length bout. Pillman was strong early until he went for a springboard and Black kicked him in the head. Pillman rallied with a pumphandle slam and a vicious suplex. Pillman had momentum but took a tumble off the ropes when trying for his springboard clothesline finisher. Black swiftly pummeled Pillman with a high kick for the easy pin.

Afterward, Black set his focus on Hart. The Lucha Bros were on stage for the save. Lights out. Lights on. Black was on the stage, and the Lucha Bros were in the ring. I don’t understand how that happened, but I trust in Black’s magical teleportation abilities.

Man, that finish was whack. I felt Pillman was having possibly the best match of his AEW career to date, and then he goes out like a jamoke. It was as if Pillman might be turning the corner to the next stage of success, then he crashed and burned. I assume that was a planned botch, because Black didn’t miss a beat to win. Pillman had promised a new side coming into this match. I don’t know if he was referring to improved performance or just putting his mullet into a ponytail.

New tag champs! Jurassic Express won the belts from the Lucha Bros in the main event. The bout was a mishmash of quickness and chaos leading to a wild finish. Badass moments involved a pair of high-flying attacks. Jungle Boy leaped over Luchasaurus to hit a destroyer on Fenix.

Later, Fenix leaped over Pentagon for a corkscrew onto Luchasaurus.

Catastrophe struck when Luchasaurus chokeslammed Fenix through a table. It looked like Fenix broke his arm badly. Don’t watch the clip if you get queasy. Jungle Boy prevailed in the end by rolling up Pentagon out of a pumphandle driver for the three-count.

Christian Cage celebrated with his young boys, and rudo tag teams emptied the locker room to lineup as potential challengers.

Exciting match. The leaping destroyers, table chokeslam (minus the injury), and teamwork maneuvers were aces. They worked hard to put over Jungle Boy. Seeing him kick out of the Lucha Bros finisher and also pick up the winning pin are more building blocks on his road to superstardom. The only thing I didn’t like about the match was a ‘lights out’ spot when the Lucha Bros were setting up their finisher. It served as a distraction courtesy of Malakai Black, and it cheapened the win a little. If AEW wanted a title change, then go all in with it.

Notes: The Acclaimed blamed Sting for Anthony Bowens’ loss to Darby Allin. They are not done with those hooligans. The Acclaimed will release a music video next week to show the modern era of trash-talking.

Hype for Cody Rhodes versus Sammy Guevara for the TNT Championship at Battle of the Belts on January 8 was tied into promoting the Go-Big Show airing this week.

Chris Jericho returned to TBS for the first time since losing to Booker T on WCW Thunder on April 7, 1999. 2point0 interrupted. Jericho grabbed his bat, then Daniel Garcia ran in for the numbers game. Santana, Ortiz, and Eddie Kingston ran in to chase away the bad guys. It should be pointed out that Jericho showed no animosity toward Kingston, unlike how Kingston treated Le Champion.

Highlights of Jake Atlas winning on Elevation to become All Elite transitioned to a promo from Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly. Cole felt O’Reilly kicking him last week was an accident, however, it was no accident that the Young Bucks were there to help with victory. Cole believed they would all be stronger as a super group. Cole then proposed a match against Atlas for Rampage. I appreciate Cole’s level-headed thinking. It feels more realistic to assess the situation that way.

Leyla Hirsch was spicy toward Kris Statlander as trios teammates in victory on Dark. The alien wasn’t pleased with the disrespect.

Serena Deeb shared fiery words in a strong promo about her rivalry with Hikaru Shida. Deeb viewed her losses to Shida as flukes, and she will not accept that. Deeb will wrestle Shida again next week.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD interrupted Ruby Soho to rub in losing another big match. Soho shot back about Baker never beating Riho. Fisticuffs ensued. Baker & Jamie Hayter versus Riho & Soho was made for Rampage.

Hook is booked to wrestle Aaron Solo on Rampage. Coach QT Marshall trashed Hook for showing up late, leaving early, eating chips, and stretching people at his school. One person Hook never stretched is Solo.

Stud of the Show: Hangman Page

Great outing from the cowboy. He took the best Bryan Danielson had to offer and proved cowboy shit is more than a mantra.

Match of the Night: Hangman vs. Danielson

Expectations were high, and they delivered.

Grade: A

Three satisfying title matches, creative storytelling to set up future contests, and anticipation for what is to come. Dynamite left me excited and eager for more.

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

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