By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 65)
Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Aired live December 23, 2020 on TNT
[Hour One] The show began at 9:04pm after the NBA game. We got the Dynamite intro video package to start the show, and Chris Jericho’s music hit to start the show. He made his ring entrance with MJF and Jake Hager for the opening tag match. Fans and wrestlers sang along to Judas. They were followed by Top Flight, Darius and Dante Martin. Footage was shown of Top Flight attacking Jericho last week in their 12 man tag. The broadcast team was Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, and Excalibur.
1. “Top Flight” Darius Martin and Dante Martin vs. Chris Jericho and MJF (w/Jake Hager): Darius Martin and Jericho started the match. Darius landed some quick punches, but Jericho came roaring back with chops. Jericho got a boot up as Martin charged him in the corner, but Darius responded with an enziguri. Dante tagged in and Top Flight landed a double team kick. A cover was made, but the ref counted two. MJF tagged into the match and talked trash before he tied up with Dante. MJF tossed Dante off the ropes, but after a couple of leapfrogs, Dante landed a dropkick that sent MJF to the outside.
All four wrestlers ended up in the ring and traded blows. Top Flight lined up MJF and Jericho in opposite corners, and rained down punches. They then landed double dropkicks after some theatrics. The theatrics were a bit disjointed, but it was an effort. MJF and Jericho retreated to the floor to recover. MJF suckered Dante on the floor, and led him into a right hand from Jericho. The heel team then jumped Dante on the outside, before MJF tossed him back in the ring.
Jericho tagged in and made an arrogant cover for a two count. Dante punched his way to his feet, but Jericho cut him down again with a knee lift. He then landed a back suplex. MJF tagged in and continued to work on Dante. Jericho catapulted him into the bottom rope, and then MJF and Hager took shots at him behind the refs back. Jericho tried a pin with a foot on the ropes, but Dante kicked out anyway.
Jericho climbed to the top with Dante and tried for a Superplex, but Dante shoved him down and landed a high cross body for a two count. Darius made a hot tag, and Jericho made a dash to tag MJF. Darius took out MJF with a kick and then dove on Jericho on the floor. He landed a top rope shotgun dropkick on MJF for a close near fall. Darius landed a kick and then used Jericho to kick off a tornado DDT on MJF.
Dante tagged in both Top Flight members worked a double team splash onto the lower back of MJF for a two count. MJF landed a powerbomb and made a quick tag to Jericho. He landed a lionsault and attempted a Walls of Jericho, but it got pulled into a pin for a two count. There was another close near fall near the ropes from Dante after Darius splashed MJF on the floor. Darius tagged back in, and Dante landed a double DDT on Jericho and MJF.
Hager got involved and smashed Dante on the apron. MJF then landed the Heatseeker on Darius for the win.
Chris Jericho and MJF defeated “Top Flight” Darius Martin and Dante Martin at 13:44
After the match, Jericho and MJF celebrated. Hager had a microphone, and said he had something to get off his chest. He commented that the Inner Circle has won ever since they decided to work as a unit a few weeks ago, except one. He called out Warlow, who is apparently out on family business. He took issue with Wardlow choosing when to show up. Hager called him an asset, but also an asshole, and said they don’t see eye to eye. He then said Tony Khan had granted him a match with Wardlow next week, and said he better show up. MJF was upset, but Jericho shrugged and said they had to settle it in the ring.
The Acclaimed had a music video that aired called “Buck Hunt”. The jist of it was that they would turn the Young Bucks into Young Boys. It’s definitely a unique approach to promos. Kip and Miro will announce their wedding date later, and Jurrasic Express will take on the Dark Order. Dustin will take on Evil Uno, and Pac vs. The Butcher was announced. Next, Tony Schiavone will interview Sting.
My Take: They packed a lot of content into the first 23 minutes of the show. The match was pretty entertaining, but Jericho really struggled when he was in the match for more than a few minutes, and was pretty exhausted by the end. As a result, there were a few spots where people were waiting for him to get into position. Otherwise, Top Flight and MJF looked good here. If anything, I think they could have trimmed up the match a little bit and it might have come across even better.
Tony Schiavone was in the ring, and made a ring introduction for Sting. He came out to his Winter is Coming theme. Schiavone asked Sting how it felt to be back on TNT, and in AEW. Sting said he was back in the jungle, and he was part of building the original jungle, and he was happy to be a part of it. Schiavone asked him why he was there. Darby Allin was in the audience again, and Tony pointed him out.
Sting mentioned Dusty Rhodes and recalled when he watched matches with him backstage while he waited for his first break. He did a Dusty impression, and explained how Dusty told him they were going to color his face and tights, have him work with Ric Flair, and get funky like a monkey if you will. He then said when he saw Cody Rhodes leading the charge in AEW, he wanted to be a part of it. He started to address Darby Allin, but was cut off by Taz.
Taz said what he was saying would bring a tear to a glass eye. He then said he’s known Sting for years, and he knows that Sting is all about Sting. He was tired of Tony building him up. Ricky Starks said that Sting was going to get hurt playing in the jungle, because they don’t care about his business with Cody and Darby. Taz started again and said they would just kick Sting’s ass right now, but as they headed to the ring, the lights went out. When the came on, Darby was with Sting and had his skateboard.
Taz said they would take the high road and fight another day, and then Sting and Darby shared a look in the ring…[c]
My Take: That was a fun promo from Sting, but we’re no closer to hearing him explain his motivation. I get why they want to drag that out a bit, but I hope it doesn’t follow the pattern of some of the other programs where they sit on it too long and it runs out of gas.
Backstage, MJF was shown outside of a room marked “Dining” that contained Santana and Ortiz. He said he heard what happened to Santana, and that he lost someone close to him. MJF revealed that he recently lost his Grandfather to Cancer. He said he knows how hard it is, and he’s there for him. Santana told him to keep his head up, and they shared a bro hug. Ortiz then shook his hand.
Dark Order walked out to the ring. Colt Cabana, V and X will take on Jurassic Express. They then made their ring entrance.
2. Dark Order’s Colt Cabana, 5, and 10 vs. “Jurassic Express” Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, and Marko Stunt: Stunt started the match with Colt Cabana. That quickly changed to Alan “V” Angels and Jungle Boy. Jungle Boy took down Angels and tagged in Stunt. They landed a ripcord leg drop combo. Angels tagged in Cabana, who took Stunt into the Order corner and hammered away.
X tagged into the match, and Stunt escaped to tag in Luchasaurus. He used Stunt as a missile to take down X and then suplexed Stunt on top of him. Jungle Boy tagged in, and Colt Cabana gave a ref distraction that allowed Angels to tip the match in the favor of Dark Order. They then took turns isolating Jungle Boy in the heel corner…[c]
Jungle Boy continued to be isolated by the heel team until he avoided a lariat, and land one of his own onto X. V tagged in, but Jungle Boy was able to make the hot tag to Luchasaurus. He cleaned out and landed a standing moonsault on V for a near fall. Marko Stunt was tagged in, and Dark Order pounced on the chance to take advantage of the mismatch. V landed a big lariat and covered, and Jungle Boy broke up the pinfall.
Jungle Boy tagged in, and Luchasaurus entered to toss Mark Stunt onto X and Colt Cabana on the outside. They then landed an assisted powerbomb combo on V for the win.
“Jurassic Express” Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, and Marko Stunt defeated Dark Order’s Colt Cabana, 5, and 10 at 11:09
Tony Schiavone interviewed Marko Stunt, but he was cut off almost immediately by FTR. Tully called them Jurassic Park, and said he understood why they wanted to make a name for themselves, but they had two weeks to prepare for the beating they had coming. He said they were on a quest to regain their championships, and they weren’t going to allow dinosaurs to slow them down one bit. He then addressed Marko, and said he’d have to have a flashback to the 80s if he got involved in the match….[c]
My Take: This was a good promo from Tully. He came across competently and heelish. The line about having a flashback to the 80s popped the crowd a bit, so they’l have to be careful with that. Tully is the best promo in FTR at this point, or at least for the promos they’ve cut on Dynamite. Jurassic Express looked good against Dark Order B-Squad, but there wasn’t much suspense about the match outcome.
Alex Marvez caught up to Kenny Omega and Don Callis at the hotel. Callis complained about Pac making matches for Kenny Omega, and demanded Tony Khan take control of his own promotion. Omega then addressed Fenix, and recalled that he’s choked in all of his recent title opportunities in AAA and AEW. He asked if he couldn’t win those matches, why did he think he could beat Omega in a title match?
He then called Fenix injury prone, and asked Callis if they’d take him back in Impact after he was done with him. Callis said he was too fragile, but Konnan might take him back in AAA. Kenny closed by saying that he gets titles, and Fenix collects injuries. In the arena, Butcher made his entrance with The Blade and The Bunny.
[Hour Two] Pac made his entrance and was joined by Penta El Zero Miedo.
3. Pac (w/Penta El Zero Miedo) vs. The Butcher (w/The Blade, The Bunny): Pac tired to cut down Butcher with kicks, and Butcher tossed him over the top to show off his power. Pac used speed to move quickly in and out of the ring. He then landed a series of kicks, and then a dropkick on the side of the head. Butcher replied with a diving crossbody, followed by some stomps. Pac sold his neck as Butcher continued to use his power and toss him around the ring. He made a cover after a hard right hand for a two count.
Butcher moved things to the outside. Pac tossed him into the barricade, but he landed a big boot that immediately shutdown the comeback…[c]
Pac assaulted the legs of Butcher, which dropped him to his knees. Pac then landed a series of kicks to the chest and one to the head. Pac went up top and landed a shotgun dropkick A distraction from the Blade allowed Butcher to land a huge lariat, followed by a falling powerbomb for a near fall.
Eddie Kingston screamed at Butcher to pick up Pac and “Do It”, as he held him for a neck snap. Lance Archer walked out to keep Kingston in his lane at the announce booth. Pac fired back with a roundhouse kick, and then landed the Black Arrow for the win.
Pac defeated The Butcher at 11:35
After the match, Penta checked on Pac in the ring, and then Archer walked down to have a staredown with Pac. Eddie stole Schiavone’s headset and said these two can’t get along, and they’re going to miss when they come at the King.
Elsewhere, Jade Cargill congratulated Brandi Rhodes. She said the women’s division would be taken care of 110% now that she’s gone. She said Shaq had called out Cody, and she had called out Brandi, so what’s next? She demanded AEW find her a suitable opponent.
Back in the ring, Miro, Kip and Penelope were with Tony Schiavone. Kip said their wedding was going to be a huge deal for everyone. Now only himself and Penelope, or Miro, or all of AEW, but the fans at home as well. He claimed to receive fan mail about their wedding being the most important event in their lives. Miro was set to reveal their wedding date, but the video was cut off by the entrance of Best Friends. Kip and Miro looked ready for a fight, but it was a practical joke. Video was then shown of Trent being loaded into an ambulance.
Orange Cassidy and Chuck got into the ambulance to go with him. Miro and Kip said it was too bad they couldn’t be there. They then announced their wedding date for Beach Break on Wednesday, February 3rd. Penelope and Kip then shared a kiss. JR said it was a train wreck…[c]
My Take: I’m not sure if JR was talking about the chaos of that segment being a train wreck, or Kip and Miro’s AEW careers. Another nigh unwatchable promo segment from both of them. Pac and Butcher had a hard hitting match, and the commentary team mentioned Butcher trimming down and getting in better shape. Jade Cargill is a solution in search of a problem at this point.
Evil Uno was already in the ring. Dustin Rhodes made his entrance with Lee Johnson.
4. Evil Uno vs. Dustin Rhodes (w/Lee Johnson): Uno slapped Dustin immediately across the face, and sent him reeling. Once the bell rang, Dustin quickly collected himself and landed some strikes. He then landed mounted punches in the corner, and a knee lift. Uno stomped on Dustin’s left hand and fingers, which sent Dustin to the outside to recover.
Uno landed a cross top to the throat on the floor. Dustin ducked a chop to the chest, and Uno hit the ring post. Dustin then slammed Uno’s arm into the post a second time, and then Dustin focused on that hand once the match entered the ring again. Uno took Dustin down with a lariat, and then landed a Senton Atomico from the top for a two count…[c]
Uno landed a piledriver and covered for a close near fall. Footage was shown of Dustin landing a crossbody from the top, and a Code Red during the break. Dustin did a flip, flop and fly, and followed up with a lariat. Uno countered with a hook kick. Dustin recovered and landed a Bulldog and got the win.
Dustin Rhodes defeated Evil Uno at 8:46
After the match, Dustin visually rejected the number seven. Uno begged off in the ring, and made another attempt to recruit Dustin. He stuck his hand out, but it was to give Uno the finger. Dustin then kicked Uno away. Stu Grayson showed up and attacked both Lee Johnson and Dustin. QT Marshall showed up for another save. Uno and Grayson got the advantage again, and Lee Johnson recovered enough to clear them from the ring.
Backstage, Tony Schiavone spoke to Shawn Spears. He asked Tony why he left wrestling 20 years ago, and Schiavone said he was burnt out. Spears said when he left New York, he was looking for an opportunity that never came. He said he moved companies, but the glass ceiling is still the same. He claimed that he’s better than 95% of the wrestlers on this roster or anywhere else, and he’s just as good as anyone in the ring, in the gym, and on the microphone.
Tony asked him if ever considered that the problem was him, if he’s getting the same results in multiple companies. Spears said he had thought about it, but he didn’t need to take that kind of crap from Schiavone, and left.
Dasha interviewed Hikaru Shida backstage. She asked her about Abadon, and then Abadon immediately showed up and assaulted Shida. Officials broke them up, and Shida was forced to make her ring entrance right afterward. Alex Gracia was already in the ring.
5. AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida vs. Alex Gracia in a non-title match: Shida went for the Falcon Arrow immediate, but Gracia avoided it. Shida landed some hard strikes in the corner, and followed up with a basement dropkick. The action spilled outside, where Shida landed a forearm strike. She rolled Gracia back in the ring and covered for a two count.
Gracia played dead, and then pulled Shida in for an inside cradle for a two count. She then landed a running boot in the corner, and covered for two. Both women traded strikes, and then Shida landed a vertical suplex. Shida then pulled Gracia out over the apron, and landed a knee strike from the floor.
Abandon then made her presence felt on the outside, and Shida pulled her over the barricade. She then landed strikes and threw her into the barricade. Shida barely beat the 10 count, and then got rolled up for a near fall. Shida then hit a backbreaker, and a Falcon Arrow for the win.
AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida defeated Alex Gracia at 3:32 in a non-title match
After the match, Shida went back to the outside with her Kendo Stick. Abandon was motionless until she poked her with the stick, and then Abadon woke up to brawl again. Abandon got the best of the struggle, and then bit Shida on the neck. Shida then broke a blood capsule on her neck, and had blood all over her neck and shoulder…[c]
My Take: Not a fan of the worked shoot direction for Spears. Nobody cares about the company holding anybody back, especially people that haven’t done anything interesting with the chances they have gotten. Abandon biting a chunk out of Shida didn’t do anything for me. It’s the least interesting direction they can take for the character.
We got ring entrances for the main event. First out was The Acclaimed, who rapped about how they had arrived, and if Bucks didn’t have any balls, they could play with theirs. The Young Bucks then made their ring entrance.
6. “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. “The Acclaimed” Anthony Bowens and Max Caster for the AEW Tag Titles: Max Castor started the match with Matt Jackson. We got some counter wrestling to start, with no one having an advantage. Matt landed an arm drag, and then pulled Castor to his corner to tag in Nick. Castor escaped and ran to tag Bowens, who was quickly taken down with kicks. Matt and Nick then suplexed Castor onto Bowens, who had to retreat to the floor. The Bucks then followed with baseball slides to the floor. Matt tossed Bowens into the barricade. He then landed a spear on Castor. Nick then landed a springboard splash using the barricade onto Castor.
Back in the ring, The Bucks landed a catapult into a kick in the corner on Bowens. Nick then came off the top with a double stomp for a near fall. Matt tagged in, and was tripped up as he reached the ropes by Castor. Bowens pounced and pulled Matt to his corner. After a few strikes, he tossed Matt into the ropes, but Nick made a blind tag. Nick took out Bowens with a springboard clothesline.
Castor got involved and slammed Nick onto the apron. Bowens then pulled him into the ring and covered for two…[c]
The Acclaimed continued to isolate Nick in their corner. He was able to break free for a tag, but Bowens pulled Matt off the apron at the last moment. Castor pulled Nick back to the heel corner, and tagged Bowens, He landed a slam and covered for two. The heels had a misfire and Castor ran into Bowens in the corner. This allowed Matt to make the tag. He entered and landed a double DDT on both Castor and Bowens. Nick blasted Castor with a kick on the apron. Matt applied a sharpshooter after locomotion suplexes.
Castor tried to break it up, but Matt refused to break after a slap to the face. Nick pulled Castor to the floor and applied a Sharpshooter of his own out there. Bowens eventually reached the ropes to break the hold. The Bucks landed a creative Doomsday Device and covered for a near fall. They both climbed to the top as Bowens was laid out, but Castor broke up the situation.
Bowens sent Matt over the barricade on the floor, and then The Acclaimed landed a superplex and splash combo. Matt made it back over the railing to break up the pin. We got a series of superkicks from the Bucks. In the confusion, Rick Knox took a superkick and was down. Bowens took the opportunity to blast Nick with a boombox, and a new ref ran down to count a near fall.
Nick Jackson tried to land a sunset bomb over the ropes on Bowens, and with the help of Matt, he was able to powerbomb him through the timekeeper’s table. They then landed BTE Trigger on Castor for the win.
The Young Bucks defeated The Acclaimed at 15:34 to retain the AEW Tag Titles
After the match, the Young Bucks celebrated their win.
My Take: That was a very good match, but I am still unconvinced of the wisdom that it had to happen right now. The Acclaimed are a hot team that is has a unique hook in comparison to the rest of the division, and now they’ve already had their first title loss after just a couple of appearances on Dynamite. I enjoyed this show, but it wasn’t AEW hottest show, and maybe it shouldn’t have been considering the time slot. There was solid action and they moved a few stories forward, but this wasn’t what I’d call a particularly newsworthy show. It sounds like next couple of weeks will offer some title matches and some more star power, so this functioned more as a setup show, and in that sense it worked.