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AEW Dynamite preview (Dec. 28, 2022): Wardlow doesn’t have it anymore

All Elite Wrestling

Dynamite airs tonight (Dec. 28) with a live show from 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado. This episode is part of AEW’s New Year’s Smash television shows for the week.

Wardlow doesn’t have it anymore

Tonight’s episode features Samoa Joe defending the TNT championship against Wardlow. This match has been brewing ever since Joe turned his back on Wardlow in early November. Joe later won the TNT title from Wardlow by putting Powerhouse Hobbs to sleep in a three way match at Full Gear. Wardlow is now trying to reclaim the title that he was never beaten for.

Wardlow has had a rather forgettable last six months in AEW. He had all the momentum in the world back in May when he was feuding with MJF. Wardlow was seemingly invincible at the time, easily manhandling top stars like CM Punk and MJF in the ring. It looked like he was on a path towards becoming a main event star in AEW.

Since then, however, Wardlow has lost most of that momentum and has yet to get it back. His win over MJF at Double or Nothing was quickly overshadowed by the backstage drama surrounding MJF. Wardlow did win the TNT title from Scorpio Sky in July, but outside of Orange Cassidy, most his title defenses came against jabronis like Ryan Nemeth, Tony Nese, Brian Cage, Matt Taven, and Ari Daivari. AEW couldn’t find an interesting story or opponent for Wardlow to sink his teeth into. He was paired up as allies with Samoa Joe during part of this time, because everyone in AEW needs to be in a group of some kind. This led to tag matches against more low carders like The Factory, Gates of Agony, and Varsity Athletes.

Wardlow’s lack of focus has continued after losing the TNT title last month. He’s only wrestled one match since dropping the belt, and it was against a jobber. It doesn’t help that the “Wardlow’s World” catchphrase has always been kind of lame.

Meanwhile, Joe has been on a roll ever since he broke off from Wardlow. Joe is a double champion and the one true king of television. Unlike Wardlow’s easy slate of opponents, Joe defeated Juice Robinson earlier this month at Final Battle and damn near killed Darby Allin in a TNT title defense on Dynamite. Joe’s talking on the mic also puts Wardlow to shame. Samoa is the guy who looks like the big star right now, not Wardlow.

Will AEW try to heat Wardlow back up by putting the TNT title back on him tonight with a win over Joe? Or will Wardlow’s current lack of momentum continue on with a rare defeat in a singles match? You’ll have to tune in to Dynamite tonight to see which direction AEW chooses.

The rest of tonight’s lineup

Death Triangle and The Elite are still battling it out for the AEW world trios titles in a best-of-seven series. PAC and the Lucha Bros have a 3-2 advantage heading into the sixth match of the series tonight, and this one is contested under Falls Count Anywhere rules. Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks were the obvious winners heading into last week’s match, and given that AEW likely wants to run a do-or-die Game 7 ladder match on Jan. 11 in Los Angeles, The Elite are the favorites here too. You never know when there might be a late swerve in pro wrestling though, so PAC’s squad has a slightly better chance of winning tonight than they did last week.

Bryan Danielson goes one-on-one against Ethan Page tonight. This match came about after Page and Stokely Hathaway interrupted Danielson last week, insulted him with phrases like “vegetable man” and “raggedy bitch,” and told him to go home and be a family man. Bryan has bigger fish to fry in the form of AEW World Champion MJF, so it would be a shock if he lost against Page. MJF was absent from last week’s show, so he should make an appearance tonight, perhaps in an ambush attack on Bryan.

Blackpool Combat Club (Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli) are booked in a tag team match tonight against Top Flight (Dante & Darius Martin). Moxley beat Darius in a singles match last week. Top Flight got a measure of revenge when they eliminated Moxley and Claudio in a $300,000 Three Kings Christmas Casino Trios Royale on Rampage and won the whole shebang. It’s worth noting that the Martin brothers had their hands full dealing with Claudio all by himself at the end of that match, so Moxley’s presence makes Top Flight the obvious underdogs. But you never know when Hangman Page will show up again to try ruining Moxley’s night.

AEW is also advertising a women’s tag team match pitting Ruby Soho & Willow Nightingale against Tay Melo & Anna Jay. Soho clearly needs some backup to deal with the Jericho Appreciation society, so we’ll see how her new partnership with Willow fares. Tay Melo will have to be pulled from a booking at AAA Night of Champions in order to compete in this match, so hopefully it won’t be an afterthought on the broadcast.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Chris Jericho couldn’t handle losing to a jobber named Action Andretti two weeks ago, so he threw a fireball in the guy’s face last week. Ricky Starks rejected Jericho’s offer to join the Jericho Appreciation Society earlier in the night, setting up a feud between JAS and Starks/Andretti.

- Speaking of new partnerships, it looks like Jungle Boy and FTW Champion HOOK will be standing side-by-side in a battle against The Firm’s Big Bill and Lee Moriarty.

- Jeff Jarrett actually won a main event match in AEW last week. There is a Battle of the Belts show coming up in the first week of January, so maybe that’s when Jarrett and Jay Lethal will get a shot at AEW World Tag Team Champions The Acclaimed.

- Saraya and Toni Storm both ran in at the end of last week’s show to fight off Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter. Does this mean Storm is a good candidate to be Saraya’s mystery partner on Jan. 11 in Los Angeles?

- Daniel Garcia is once again unhappy with how things are going in the Jericho Appreciation Society. More specifically, he doesn’t want to deal with shadowing Sammy Guevara. I can’t say I blame him.

- House of Black is trying to break up the friendship of Eddie Kingston and Ortiz, because why not?

- Now that her feud with Nyla Rose is over, undefeated TBS Champion Jade Cargill once again has no competition in AEW.

- AEW All-Atlantic Champion Orange Cassidy has found himself allied with Dustin Rhodes lately against the likes of Kip Sabian, Trent Seven, The Butcher, and The Blade.

- RUSH had a notable standoff with Claudio Castagnoli in the battle royal on Rampage. Does that mean RUSH is coming for Claudio’s ROH world championship?

- Konosuke Takeshita and Bandido are two ridiculously talented wrestlers who Tony Khan needs to find a way to feature more on AEW television.

- With help from Rick Ross, Swerve Strickland laid a trap for Keith Lee last week and created a new faction called Mogul Affiliates. His stablemates include the very inexperienced Parker Boudreaux and a minor league baseball player, so it’s not exactly the most formidable group around in AEW, despite their brutal cinder block attack on Lee.

- Powerhouse Hobbs beat up a random jabroni backstage on Rampage. Is this what he’ll be doing for the foreseeable future until he finds a more important wrestler to target?

- Where the f*** is Miro?

What will you be looking for on Dynamite?

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