By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 117)
Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Aired live December 29, 2021 on TNT
[Hour One] Excalibur and Tony Schiavone started the New Year’s Smash show on commentary, and welcomed the returning Jim Ross, who recently reported himself as cancer-free. The action started with Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy making their entrances, followed by Christian Cage. Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix joined them shortly thereafter. Their opponents made their entrances next. FTR, Private Party, and Matt Hardy all entered to FTR’s music. The rest of the HFO was in tow behind them, including The Blade…
1. FTR, Private Party, and Matt Hardy vs. Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, Christian, Rey Fenix, and Penta El Zero Miedo: Christian and Cash Wheeler started the match for their respective squads. They traded some quick reversals, and Christian landed the dreaded ten punches in the corner. Jungle Boy tagged in, and Cash dove into his corner to tag Dax Harwood. They tied up, and Harwood landed a hard shot in the corner. Jungle Boy reversed and landed some chops, and then both men traded blows.
Jungle Boy took down Harwood with a lariat, and then a back elbow. Harwood walked into the wrong corner and got pummeled, and then Christian tagged back in. Harwood landed an uppercut, but Christian quickly turned the tables and choked him on the second rope. He then leapt to the outside and landed a slap from the floor. Jungle Boy tagged back in and attempted a snare trap, but Wheeler broke it up. Isaiah Kassidy tagged in for the heels, and was quickly met by some double team offense from the Lucha Bros.
Penta remained in control of Kassidy, and then tagged in Jungle Boy. Hardy tagged in and landed a Side Effect a moment later for a near fall on Jungle Boy. The heels then used distractions to allow for an interference beat down of Jungle Boy in the corner. Hardy continued on offense, but got caught with a lariat, which allowed Penta to tag in and clean house. He then tagged Fenix, and they landed some double team kicks on Dax Harwood, and then Cash Wheeler. Fenix then gave Penta an assist into a double DDT onto both men. Fenix then landed a somersault senton from the top on Mark Quen for a close near fall.
With some help from Kassidy, Mark Quen landed an assisted somersault DDT on Fenix. The heels then took over and began working over Fenix. Harwood landed a series of elbow drops and a brainbuster for a near fall. Fenix recovered and landed a moonsault press on both FTR members. He tagged in Luchasaurus, who pummeled FTR with strikes. He then splashed all four members of FTR and Private Party in the corners. He cleared Private Party from the ring, followed by a lariat on Dax and a tail whip for Cash.
Penta tagged in blind, which upset Luchasaurus. He landed a backstabber on Harwood for a near fall. Things broke down even more than usual and things spilled to ringside. Luchasaurus was taken out by The Blade and other members of the HFO. Jungle Boy and Fenix took out most of the heels with dives on the floor. Penta setup for a package piledriver, but Christian tagged himself in, which caused some conflict. FTR capitalized with a Big Rig on Christian for the win.
FTR, Private Party, and Matt Hardy defeated Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, Christian Cage, Penta El Zero Miedo, and Rey Fenix at 12:52
After the match, the heels celebrated. A trios match is up next…[c]
My Take: While the action was solid, it’s hard for me to get too excited about the repeated 6 man, 8 man, and 10 man tags on AEW television. It keeps a lot of these programs on TV efficiently, which I assume is the goal, but it’s also far less interesting than an angle or a promo battle that further develops a story in an individualized way.
2point0 and Daniel Garcia were already in the ring for the next match. Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz charged to the ring to Kingston’s music. Footage was shown of the feud during the entrance…
2. Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz vs. Daniel Garcia and “2point0” Matt Lee and Jeff Parker: Eddie Kingston started the match with Matt Lee. The action spilled outside and everybody got involved in a brawl that was quickly separated. Jeff Parker tagged in, and Kingston dragged him over to his corner so he could tag in Ortiz. Parker gained an advantage with some strikes, but Ortiz flipped things around with a dropkick. He then tagged in Santana and they landed a series of double team strikes. Kingston pointed at Garcia, who tagged into the match.
Ortiz landed a back elbow in the corner, followed by a three amigos set of suplexes. Santana then landed a hard chop, which prompted Kingston to grab him and bite him on the side of the head from the apron. Ortiz tagged back in and bit the ear of Garcia, before applying an abdominal stretch. Matt Lee made a blind tag from the middle of the ring? He and Garcia then double up on Ortiz on the floor. Garcia landed a dropkick, and then Lee tossed him back in the ring. He tagged Parker, and they landed a double team trip into an elbow drop…[c]
Garcia dominated Ortiz during the break, and Kingston made a hot tag when the show returned. He cleared Parker and Garcia from the ring, and landed a backdrop suplex onto Matt Lee. Santana tagged in and continued the offense on Matt Lee. Santana attempted a running senton, but Lee got the knees up. He rolled up Santana with the tights to steal the win.
Daniel Garcia and “2point0” Matt Lee and Jeff Parker defeated Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz at 8:33
After the match, Santana was held down and beaten by the heel trio. Garcia grabbed the ring bell and lined up to strike him. Kingston tried to intervene, but couldn’t. Garcia blasted Santana with the ring bell, which prompted Chris Jericho to run out and clear the heels from the ring with his baseball bat Floyd. Eventually, Santana started to move. Kingston demanded they cut the music. He looked Jericho in the eye and demanded to know what he was doing there, and that he didn’t need his help.
Jericho refused to back down and threw down the baseball bat. Ortiz stood between them to prevent any further violence…
MJF cut a promo backstage and called himself a ratings draw. He said he was recklessly thrown over the top rope, and questioned who trained Sting. MJF said if he worked for a more professional organization, that wouldn’t have happened, but that would have to wait until the great bidding war of 2024.
MJF then addressed Wardlow, and told him to collect some W’s so he could win the Face of the Revolution ladder match for a shot at the TNT Title, which he would then have to relinquish to him. Mark Sterling walked in and confirmed that was required by his contract with The Pinnacle. MJF then said he would be ranking up so he could win both the TNT Title and the World Title…[c]
My Take: Santana and Ortiz need some W’s. They are one of the best Tag Teams in the world, and they are being used in yet another secondary feud so that Kingston and Jericho can eventually come together. This was a good match, but the feud hasn’t grabbed me yet.
Backstage, Christian demanded Jurassic Express get their tag title shot next week. Penta and Fenix accepted, but told Jungle Boy it was time for him to cut the dead weight, referring to Christian…
Colin Delaney was in the ring. Wardlow then made his entrance…
3. Colin Delaney vs. Wardlow (w/Shawn Spears): Delaney squared up, but got clotheslined out of his shoes. He then landed a powerbomb, The crowd chanted for another one, and he obliged. Wardlow landed a third and fourth, and then stepped on his chest for the win.
Wardlow defeated Colin Delaney at 1:23
Delaney tried to leave the ring, and Spears cracked him with his chair. Wardlow got out of the ring and walked to the back as the ref scolded Spears and sent him away…
Backstage, Adam Cole was shown with the Young Bucks, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish. Cole wanted them to be one happy family, but Matt said Kyle hadn’t even said hello to them. O’Reilly said hello sarcastically, and then asked to speak to Cole alone. O’Reilly told Cole that he knows they have heat, but his is AEW and it’s survival of the fittest. He knows Fish has his back, but later tonight he’d find out if Cole does too…
Dan Lambert was in the ring with Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky and spoke about Cody’s entourage. He said Arn Anderson used to be a Horsemen, but now he’s just a guy who sucks up to a guy that sucks up to THE guy. He called him a whore, and said that’s a perfect transition to Brandi. He said he never knew a Brandi that wasn’t a stripper. Ethan Page clarified that he meant wasn’t “currently” a stripper. He then addressed Cody, and said he struck a deal with Tony Khan to make him his pet project to be given opportunities over more deserving talent.
Brandi Rhodes walked out and dressed down Lambert, and called him a less talented version of Paul Heyman. She asked him if he had ever had a woman beat him up without paying for it. He called her Bambi, and said he gets his stripper names confused. He then said everyone watching wants to beat her up, and said he gets to be the one, so be it because he’s a black belt. She said if he’s a black belt, she’s a black bitch, and started taking off her shoes. Dustin Rhodes ran down to intervene, and then got blasted by a cheap shot from Ethan Page. Brandi tended to Dustin as the heels laughed their way back up towards the stage…[c]
My Take: The reaction to this should be interesting to follow on Social Media. Lambert being moved into the Codyverse is perfect, because these two acts absolutely deserve each other.
We got a video package for Bryan Danielson and Hangman Page about their upcoming match, and the potential for it to go to a Judge’s decision…
Jade Cargill made her entrance in the arena, with Mark Sterling. Thunder Rosa made her entrance dressed as X-23 from the X-Men films for reasons I am not fully aware of…
4. Thunder Rosa vs. Jade Cargill (w/Mark Sterling) in a TBS Title tournament semifinal match: Rosa charged at Cargill and landed a low dropkick, and she rolled to the floor. Rosa set up for a dive, but Sterling got in the way, and she dove on him instead.
[Hour Two] Cargill landed some strikes on the outside. Rosa shoved Cargill into the ring apron, and rolled in to break the count. Cargill caught Rosa jumping off the apron, and delivered a backbreaker. Rosa went back to the knee with another dropkick, and then attacked the knee and hamstring with strikes.
The action stayed on the outside, with Rosa breaking the count. Cargill reversed an Irish whip and sent Rosa into the ring post. Cargill had to hobble back into the ring. Jade missed a splash in the corner, and got caught with a dragon screw on her bad leg. Rosa went up top, but slipped and landed a forearm shiver from a standing position. Cargill fired back with a huge pump kick…[c]
Cargill slowed the pace during the break. She attempted a suplex, but Rosa blocked it at first. She attempted a second time, but Rosa reversed into a cross body press for a two count. Rosa fired up and landed more strikes to the injured leg. She then landed two running dropkicks and some elbows, both on the bad lag. Jade landed a Samoan Drop and kipped up. She grabbed her leg on the kip up. She then put Rosa into an Argentine Backbreaker, and dropped to her knees.
Rosa turned the tables and applied a Figure Four. Cargill eventually dragged herself to reach the ropes. Mark Sterling distracted the referee. Cargill shoved Rosa into the corner, where a masked person smashed her over the head with a foreign object. Cargill then hit Jaded and got the win.
Jade Cargill defeated Thunder Rosa at 11:00 to advance to the finals of the TBS Title tournament
After the match, Rosa tried to fight Jade Cargill after the bell, but the masked woman returned and they delivered a two one one beating. The woman unmasked herself to reveal Mercedes Martinez. Ruby Soho then ran down to make the save, and the heels cleared the ring. Ruby will face Jade Cargill next week to crown the first TBS Champion…
We got some footage of history between Kris Statlander and Leyla Hirsch. CM Punk up next. Orange Cassidy and the Best Friends take on Fish, O’Reilly, and Cole in the main event…[c]
My Take: A decent match, but limited by Cargill’s inexperience. She’s improving every time she’s out there. Martinez is a great pick up, but I would have preferred to see someone from Britt Baker’s crew to get involved there so we can get back to that feud. I have to believe Jade Cargill is the inaugural TBS Champion. Her marketability is undeniable.
A video package aired for Riho vs. Britt Baker…
CM Punk then made his entrance in the arena. Punk opened and addressed Jim Ross. He said it was awesome to see him back in the booth, and called him the best to ever do it. Punk said he’s all about giving people their flowers when they deserve it now. He called Daily’s Place a home for AEW, and even though he’s never been here, it made him think about Brodie Lee. He said the tribute to Brodie made him want to come to AEW, and said anybody who minimized his contributions never met him.
Punk turned to address MJF, who we called a Twitter troll in the flesh. He said he hides behind FTR or Wardlow, just like trolls hide behind their keyboards. Punk recalled MJF saying he was done with him, and he said he’s fine with that. He’s looking onto bigger and better things. Punk said MJF is talking about the gold, and everyone has heard Jim Ross say that if you don’t want the title then you shouldn’t be there. Punk said he wants gold too, and called MJF a waste of his time, and a bigger waste of Khan money than Tim Tebow.
Punk said he never wanted any beef with MJF, but he found out that on the mic, in the ring, and on commentary, there’s nobody on his level. He then said that it would be a real shame, if somebody interfered with MJF’s quest for gold. ..
Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs were shown in a warehouse or something. Starks welcomed back Jim Ross and put over Hook. He then addressed Dante Martin, and told him his career has stalled out since he joined with Lio Rush. Starks then reminded him of how his last encounter with Powerhouse Hobbs ended, and asked if he really wanted to do that again…
Back in the arena, Sammy Guevara walked out with his signage. Guevara showed off his cards picture in picture, and showed off his title defenses as TNT Champion…[c]
My Take: That promo was just ok for me. I don’t know why Punk would go from chasing MJF around the building last week to just being ok with the idea that MJF is done with him this week. They are teasing some confrontation at some indeterminate point in the future, but what is Punk doing in the meantime?
A Hikaru Shida video was shown, where she promised to put down Serena Deeb one more time…
In the ring, Brian Pillman Jr was interviewed by Tony Schiavone. He recalled the match between Black and Griff Garrison last week, and how Black took a cheap shot on him after the match. He fired up about how he’s a second generation wrestler and he got his start right here in Jacksonville. Brian said he didn’t know his father or what kind of man he was, but if he learned one thing from Dad’s life it’s that you only get one of them. He then said he wasn’t going to give his to Malakai Black, and promised we’d see a new Brian Pillman Jr next week. The lights went out, and then Black appeared on the stage, but then he disappeared just as quickly…
Anthony Bowens laid out a challenge in a backstage segment for Darby Allin. He then responded and said they were on for Rampage. We then got a video package for The Bunny and Penelope Ford vs. Anna Jay and Tay Conti in a street fight for Friday as well. The main event is next…[c]
My Take: Pillman seemed more confident on the microphone than he did in his previous live TV attempts. The lights came back on a little too quickly for Malakai Black, who was seen casually strolling to the back.
Fish and O’Reilly made their entrance as ReDRagon. They were followed by Adam Cole. Orange Cassidy and Best Friends made their entrance to finish the entrances for the main event.
5. Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly vs. Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, and Trent Barreta: O’Reilly and Barreta began the match, with both men trading heavy strikes. They both landed boots to the face and knocked each other down. Fish and Cassidy tagged in, and Cassidy tossed his glasses at Fish. He ducked some strikes from Fish and then landed light strikes to mock him.
Fish fired back, but Cassidy avoided a springboard senton and put his hands in his pockets. Cole entered and landed a hard right hand. The Best Friends squad tripled up on Cole and landed some splashes in the corner. That brought in Fish and O’Reilly, and things broke down for a moment. Cole and Taylor ended up the legal men. Cole distracted the referee so Fish and O’Reilly could take down Taylor with a dragon screw and a leg sweep on the apron…[c]
The heels isolated Chuck during the break. Cole landed a shoulder breaker on Taylor and then superkicked Orange Cassidy off the apron. Trent tagged in and landed a half and half suplex on Fish. He then did the same for O’Reilly. He then landed a Tornado DDT on Kyle for a near fall. Cole entered again and took down Baretta, which prompted Cassidy to enter and land a Stundog Millionaire on Cole. Who is legal at this point is anybody’s guess.
Fish tagged into the match, and Cole kicked Cassidy in the head. Fish and O’Reilly landed a high-low, and Chuck broke it up. The action spilled outside, where Taylor took out Fish and O’Reilly with a dive. Trent speared Cole on the ramp and tossed him back into the ring. Cassidy landed a diving DDT for a close near fall.
A moment later, Cassidy landed a Beach Break, but Fish and O’Reilly broke up the pin. After some back and forth with Cassidy, O’Reilly accidentally kicked Cole in the face. Trent and Chuck landed a Sole Food/Half and Half combo on fish. Cutler ran down, along with The Young Bucks. After the Bucks kicked Trent and Cassidy, ReDragon landed Enter the Dragon on Chuck Taylor for the win.
Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly defeated Orange Cassidy, Trent, and Chuck Taylor at 14:50
After the match, The Elite and ReDRagon argued about O’Reilly kicking Cole in the face to close the show.
My Take: The thing with having several multi-man tags on a single show is that the chaos isn’t novel by the time the second and third one roll around. I think the finish might have had more impact if kicking Cole in the face actually cost them the match. The way it stood, the heels can make major mistakes and still win because of all the distractions. I guess this begins the tug of war for Adam Cole between ReDRagon and The Elite. By the way, can it not just be Red Dragon? Was that one hard to figure out at the trademark office?