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Ricky Starks creates some suspense en route to MJF’s feud with Bryan Danielson

One week after their microphone duel got the wrestling world talking, Maxwell Jacob Friedman & Ricky Starks continued to build anticipation for their main event on the Dec. 14 Winter is Coming edition of Dynamite with separate promos from backstage.

The two Young Pillars of AEW were as impressive as always on the stick. Their showdown shouldn’t have need any additional hype, seeing as MJF’s World title and his beloved Dynamite Diamond Ring were on the line in the match. But no one was giving Starks much of a chance to upset Friedman just weeks after he won the belt from Jon Moxley at Full Gear, so every little bit helped.

The champ continued to disrespect his challenger in the ring. When Ricky showed him why that was a mistake in the early going, MJF headed into the seats to regroup. When he returned, Max took control with an eye poke. He then strategically targeted Starks weak spots like his ribs, injured in en route to winning the tournament that earned him this title shot (his chance to win the ring came when he won the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal last Wednesday).

Absolute fought back of course, trading big shots with MJF. Neither man was able to get three, and along the way Starks suffered some damage to his left arm. A spear from Ricky left both men down, and allowed the challenger to make a cover, and Friedman to lock in a submission for the most dramatic moment of the match.

The champ couldn’t win fair and square of course. After another exchange, he used referee Paul Turner as a shield. Starks pulled up in time, but that left an opening for MJF to hit him with a low blow. Seconds later, this one ended as most of us figured it would.

Max’s next challenger cut his celebration short, as Bryan Danielson emerged to start his quest for revenge after MJF “hospitalized” Willam Regal. It was a cool moment, but one that served to further make Starks seem like the one-off he likely is for Friedman’s reigns.

A fun match that sets the stage for a Danielson/MJF program that could run all the way to Revolution. The question is whether or not AEW will capitalize on the strong work Starks has done the last few weeks.

Let us know what you think, Cagesiders. And get complete results and coverage of everything that happened on tonight’s “Winter is Coming” edition of Dynamite here.

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