AEW Dynamite (Dec. 21, 2022) emanated from Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, TX. The Holiday Bash special featured Jamie Hayter and Hikaru Shida rising to the occasion in the AEW Women’s World Championship main event, Ricky Starks getting an offer from Chris Jericho, Death Triangle versus the Elite in No DQ, and much more.
Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.
The Holiday Bash episode of Dynamite was a blast of fun with fresh faces, unique matchups, and wacky moments. Here are three great clips without context to illustrate the wildness of this show.
First is a fireball from the Wizard.
Second is W. Morrissey chokeslamming Jungle Boy into a dumpster.
Third is Swerve Strickland with a flying double stomp onto a cinder block on top of Keith Lee’s chest.
As delightful as all that chicanery was, the main event topped it in entertainment.
AEW Women’s World Championship
Jamie Hayter defended the women’s title against Hikaru Shida in a slugfest. Shida showed heart and fighting spirit. Hayter met her opponent on those levels to produce a dandy of a bout.
It was a very physical contest down to the end. Shida scored the first near fall of value after a blitz of offense for a knee strike, Meteora flying double knees, and Falcon Arrow slam. Hayer kicked out on the cover. The next instance came when Hayter missed a moonsault. Shida pounced for her Tamashii running knee finisher, but it couldn’t finish the job as Hayter kicked out again.
Shida unsheathed the Katana spinning strike, but Hayter collapsed before impact. It turned out to be a possum ploy for Hayter to slam Shida on a fireman’s carry. A sliding lariat from Hayter only earned a two-count. The match continued with Shida surprising Hayter for a release German suplex.
Dr. Britt Baker and Rebel were ringside, and they decided to interfere at that moment. Instead of turning it into a trash finish, Shida and Hayter elevated their game for an epic conclusion. Shida whopped Baker with her kendo stick. Shida and Hayter exchanged a rolling sequence with Hayter popping up for a vicious powerbomb. Hayter was spent and fell on top for the pinfall. 1, 2, Shida kicked out. Running lariat by Hayter. 1, 2, kick out by Shida. Ripcord lariat from Hayter, and that was finally enough punishment to keep Shida down. Hayter emerged victorious to retain the gold.
Afterward, Baker got payback on Shida. Toni Storm ran out for the save, but the numbers game got her. Saraya arrived last, and the mean girls scattered. Saraya did manage to put hands on Baker before the ring cleared.
That was an extremely entertaining finish for Hayter and Shida. The mood was set from the start with big-fight introductions. The action progressed for upward trajectory to crescendo to a thrilling climax. The rolling powerbomb sequence was absolutely awesome and popped me out of my seat with emotion. I love those raw displays of power.
Hayter and Shida went hard on each other, and both elevated their status with that performance. Hayter solidified her championship reign with a quality win. Baker and Rebel helped cheat, but there was enough at the end for Hayter to close on her own in emphatic fashion. Shida’s star power got bigger in defeat exemplifying the heart of a champion with the kick-outs at the end. That match left me wanting to see more from both Hayter and Shida on weekly AEW television.
Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.
Ricky Starks offer to join JAS. Starks opened the show rebounding from his defeat to MJF last week with the AEW world title on the line. At least, he lost like a man with his respect and dignity intact. The same can’t be said for MJF cheating to win. Despite MJF’s cheap tricks, Starks was so close to victory. Imagine what happens next time. Starks will work his way back up.
Enter Chris Jericho flanked by Sammy Guevara and Daniel Garcia. Jericho sees value in Starks. Le Champion doesn’t want Starks to be a flash in the pan, so he offered Starks mentorship in joining the Jericho Appreciation Society.
Starks quickly turned it down with snazzy trashtalk. He didn’t want Jericho to suck the life out of him, like the other JASholes. Jericho was disappointed in that answer, so Jake Hager thumped Starks from behind. Action Andretti ran in for the save to clean house.
#JerichoAppreciationSociety's @RealJakeHager, @GarciaWrestling and @sammyguevara waste no time in descending upon @starkmanjones, but newly #AllElite @ActionAndretti comes to for the save!#AEWDynamite: #HolidayBash is LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/TzTuEqy6KP— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 22, 2022
Later backstage, Tony Schiavone spoke with Andretti about his hot streak. Daddy Magic and Cool Hand distracted the rookie, so Jericho could throw a fireball. Fireball!
A big question coming in to tonight was how AEW would carry over the momentum of Starks and Andretti. AEW scored nicely by mixing the stories to keep hot talent on the burner. They popped a true surprise with Jericho offering Starks a spot in JAS. I certainly did not see that part of the story coming, and it carried over all night long for a fresh feeling. Starks versus Jericho is the type of matchup that has me salivating with anticipation. The selling point for me is to see where Starks shakes out in the pecking order. Andretti has the type of plucky underdog sass that meshes well with Starks’ style. It should also help Andretti maintain his popularity palling with Starks while he finds his footing as his own character. I don’t know what the plans are for this story long-term, but I could be enticed by a larger story of Starks leading fresh blood rising stars against JAS in Blood & Guts.
AEW World Trios Championship match 5 in best-of-7: The Elite defeated Death Triangle. Per stipulation, No DQ rules were in effect. Weapons included trashcans, chairs, tables, hammers, a barbed wire broom, and a fake Christmas tree. The high spot was the Young Bucks landing aerial attacks onto PAC and Pentagon crashing through tables, while Kenny Omega executed a Tiger Driver ‘98 on Fenix onto the barbed wire broom. That move actually backfired a little bit on Omega when the barbed wire pricked his rear end. Fenix kicked out on the cover, and the match continued.
When it became Hammer Time for Death Triangle, Fenix had no problems conking Omega on the head since the hammer was legal in No DQ rules. In the end, the Bucks turned the tide by pulling out PAC and Penta to focus on hitting Fenix with an Indie Taker onto a chair. for victory.
#TheELITE have taken Match 5 to bring themselves closer to evening the score with #DeathTriangle in this #BestOf7Series, but #DeathTriangle are not taking this loss laying down!#AEWDynamite: #HolidayBash is LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/26ZIsu7A0i— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 22, 2022
The score is now 3-2 in favor of Death Triangle. Afterward, the sore losers attacked to make sure the Elite would feel pain for match 6 next week. Fenix’s sportsmanship tried to corral his partners to close the scene.
We are done with match 5 in this series, and the action is still pop and fresh. The No DQ stipulation added an extra level of excitement beyond flippy athleticism. The creativity in setting up spots remained strong. They did a good job mixing comedy into serious story points, such as using Omega’s broom and Death Triangle bringing triple hammers. There were a couple riveting false finishes to get lost in the moment of an exciting match and forget that the Elite were clearly going to win on this evening. The amount of punishment being dished out by both sides is turning the series into a true war of attrition to see who can stand by the time the inevitable match 7 rolls around.
Bryan Danielson feud with MJF added a dash of Ethan Page. In footage from last week after MJF beat Starks, MJF was peeved about Danielson ruining his moment to celebrate the win.
Renee Paquette conducted an interview with Danielson in the ring. He doesn’t expect the Blackpool Combat Club members to forgive William Regal for his treachery, however, he has a different kind of relationship with Regal. Danielson looks at Regal as having molded him into the person he is today. Danielson is going to teach MJF that actions have consequences. Ethan Page interrupted to accuse Danielson of skipping the line. All Ego challenged the American Dragon to a match next week. The intention was unofficial dibs to call next on MJF. Cameras showed MJF watching a monitor backstage smiling at Page as a hurdle for Danielson.
Overall, this segment felt like it would be tons of fun for the live crowd, but not so hot for the TV viewer. The Danielson promo in itself didn’t do much for me in terms of entertainment. He basically rehashed the story we already knew and laid it on a bit thick about crying in the hospital at the idea of Regal not surviving the brass knuckles punch from MJF. Page stormed in to inject intrigue and trade banter. I love his passion on the mic. That was another unexpected story wrinkle on this evening. Even though Page is acting as a barrier to MJF, it makes sense in the quest to prove himself as the best for a layered story on Page’s behalf.
Hook defeated Exodus Prime. Quick win with suplexes setting up the Redrum submission. Afterward, the Firm was shown beating up Jungle Boy backstage. W. Morrissey chokeslammed JB into a dumpster.
Simple showcase for Hook in the ring, and story advancement to assist Jungle Boy in the future against the Firm. The dumpster chokeslam stole that scene as wacky entertainment.
Jon Moxley defeated Darius Martin. Ruggedness versus athleticism. Martin took a beating, but he dished out enough agile offense to make the match interesting. In the end, Martin landed a flying crossbody. Moxley rolled it over upon impact to stomp Martin’s head. Elbows led to a choke, and that led to a Death Rider for victory.
Moxley took care of business. Martin showed his status on the rise by hanging with Mox, but Moxley showed there are levels to greatness by bulldozing Martin at the end. The match held my interest in seeing how Martin handled wrestling a main event star.
Gunns defeated FTR. The Gunn sons used shiftiness to isolate Cash Wheeler. Hot tag to Dax Harwood, but he was still ailing from a massive butt bruise served in the Double Dog Collar defeat to the Briscoes at ROH Final Battle. That injury hindered Harwood’s base for piledrivers. Austin Gunn reversed a roll-up and grabbed Colten Gunn’s hands for leverage to steal the win.
I didn’t anticipate Top Gunns over Top Guys coming, but the Ass Boys proved their value by sneaking the win. The Gunn sons’ legacy begins. Despite the important victory, I still think the Gunns are lacking on the offensive end. Part of that is their characters as connivers. Over the long haul, they need more impactful oomph in their arsenal to evolve into Ass Men.
Swerve Strickland ambushed Keith Lee. Rick Ross oversaw the face-to-face meeting between Lee and Swerve. Strickland was fashionably late. It was for a reason to set up an attack from Parker Boudreaux and another burly fellow I don’t believe I’ve ever seen before. Lee held his own until Boudreaux whacked a chair across the back. They set up Lee on the ring steps, so Swerve could land a flying double stomp onto a cinder block. Oh my!
Swerve has arrived. It is now clear that he is his own man out of Lee’s shadow, and I love it. I don’t love so much the addition of Boudreaux, but it can have a good purpose as hoss fights for Lee to smash. Lee running roughshod is always entertaining. Shout out to Rick Ross as Swerve’s hype man. Ross’ active presence elevated the scene on the entertainment scale.
Notes: Moxley questioned Hangman Page’s intentions in these bouts of fisticuffs. Are they ever going to have another match? What’s there to settle? Hangman got knocked out last time they wrestled. Mox doesn’t expect the next result to be any different. No matter. He’ll be waiting for Hangman on Rampage if the cowboy wants to throw punches again.
Samoa Joe wished the world a merry holidays as the universally known One True King of Television. He’ll give Wardlow more than he asked for in their TNT title fight next week. That was funny seeing Joe act cordial in front of a Christmas tree before issuing threats of violence.
Will Hobbs was beaten, robbed, and stabbed as a child. Monsters created a monster. He plans to spill everyone’s blood in the Book of Hobbs.
Sonjay Dutt rapped some licks about the Acclaimed as Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, and Satnam Singh grooved. Jarrett & Lethal versus Anthony Bowens & Bully Gunn is set for Rampage.
Chuck Taylor wants to win the $300,000 trios battle royal on Rampage, so he can buy his mother a chainsaw. Hangman appeared intent on answering Moxley, who is also in the battle royal.
Stud of the Show: Swerve Strickland
That was a heck of a party announcing Swerve as a big-time player in AEW. Not only that, but his flying double stomp was delivered with precision onto the cinder block. Of all the happenings on Dynamite, I think Swerve captivated my imagination most to see what he does next.
Match of the Night: Jamie Hayter vs. Hikaru Shida
The AEW women’s division has to make the most of opportunities, and this was the type of awesome performance that should give them more chances for Dynamite main events. Applause to Hayter and Shida for stepping up strong to benefit the whole division.
Very entertaining show all night long. I appreciate the freshness of new matchups brewing on the scene. It feels like AEW is taking some chances in an effort to build new stars, and I’m interested in seeing how it pans out in the coming weeks. Not to mention the women’s main event bout was badass.
Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?