By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 167)
Cedar Park, Texas at HEB Center
Aired live December 7, 2022 on TBS
[Hour One] Excalibur, Taz and Tony Schiavone opened the show at the commentary desk. He aired video of MJF’s attack on William Regal from last week, and then Ricky Starks made his entrance for the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal. He was followed by “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry and Dustin Rhodes. There were a number of other competitors at ringside, and then bell run to start the match.
1. AEW Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal: Several brawls took place on the outside while other competitors brawled in the ring. W. Morrissey stood on the outside and did not initially get in the ring. Orange Cassidy and Kip Sabian continued to brawl on the floor. Dalton Castle appeared to bite Matt Hardy on the stomach, but Ethan Page intervened to put a stop to it. Lee Moriarty and Ethan Page worked together, and Page ordered Hardy to join in on the beating of Castle.
Sabian tried to eliminate Cassidy, but he was able to hold into the ropes. The Blade approached from the outside and pulled him to the floor, and Orange Cassidy was the first elimination. Dustin Rhodes landed a Canadian Destroyer on Dalton Castle, which popped the crowd.. The Butcher tossed Dustin to the apron, and then eliminated him. Brian Cage battered Dalton Castle and attempted to throw him out multiple times, but The Boys intervened and caught him before he hit the floor.
Cage eventually picked up Castle and threw him over the top, and The Boys weren’t able to save him this time. Jack Perry landed a double knee driver from the top rope onto Cage on the apron, and he was eliminated a moment later…[c]
Matt Hardy was nearly eliminated by Ricky Starks during the break. The Butcher and Sean Dean battled near the ropes, and the crowd fired up for Starks when he got involved. Starks took a run off the ropes and collided with the Butcher, eliminating him. Jack Perry eliminated Moriarty and then spilled onto the apron. W. Morrissey, who was at ringside and wasn’t actually entered in the match, walked up and eliminated Perry with a big boot. He then gave Perry a nasty looking chokeslam onto the ring apron.
In the ring, Ethan Page ordered Matt Hardy around and celebrated his victory a bit too early. Sean Dean, Matt Hardy, Ethan Page, and Ricky Starks were the Final Four. W. Morrissey was just an observer, and remained on the floor with Stokely Hathaway. Sean Dean landed a DDT on Ricky Starks and attempted an elimination. Matt Hardy broke it up and landed a Twist of Fate on Dean. Page then ordered Hardy to toss him out, but he wouldn’t. Page tossed Dean to the floor.
Page ordered Hardy to attack Starks, and this time he did. Page taunted the crowd, and Ricky tossed Hardy out behind his back. Starks landed a DDT, but Page quickly got to his feet and kicked him. He then picked up Starks for a running slam, but Starks grabbed the top rope and pulled Page to the floor.
Ricky Starks won the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal at 15:09
After the match, MJF walked to the ring and told Starks he would be with him in one second. He then addressed Bryan Danielson and said he heard he didn’t want to show up tonight, and MJF thought it’s because he was terrified of him. MJF said that if he were Danielson he’d be terrified too, and said he would retain both his AEW Championship and the Dynamite Diamond next week.
MJF said this crowd seemed to like him, and he was really talented, but the truth is in comparison to him he’s the absolute drizzling shits. He then called him a “roody poo candy ass”, since he’s stolen everything else from that guy, and followed up by calling him “Dollar Store Dwayne” and said his new name should be “Pebble”. MJF then next week, he would put Starks in his pocket, get into his band new Porsche Taycan, and send him back to Billy Corgan’s NWA so he can wrestle on Youtube where he belongs. MJF then said he doesn’t care if Starks is absolute, because he’s a generational talent and his reign of terror has just begun.
Ricky then brushed by MJF and grabbed a microphone. He asked Max if he had any more shtick because the low hanging fruit was running dry. He then said he smells like paint thinner and ass, his shoes are ugly, and his shirt was too small. Ricky said he reeks of cheap clothes, cheap shoes, and cheap heat, and said he has the balls to say he’s better than him.
Ricky said MJF went to Greece for three months because he got out-politicked by someone smarter than him. Starks said MJF avoids responsibility because everything has been handed to him. Starks recalled living in his car, and pointed to a woman in the crowd and told him he’s responsible for keeping her in a car and putting a roof over her head. He continued and said he’s been to Youtube and earned his way into AEW, and he didn’t need a name to beat his ass. Starks claimed he would smack the mole off MJF’s neck and stomp an asshole in him so he could take the responsibility of being AEW Champion off of his plate.
When Starks finished his promo, MJF kicked him in the balls. He then lined up for a punch with the Dynamite Diamond, but Starks avoided it and tossed MJF from the ring after a spear.
After the promo, we got a video promo for Darby Allin vs. Samoa Joe that’s happening later tonight. John Moxley is up next…[c]
My Take: A very strong promo from MJF and Starks. I wish they could have stretched out this program a little longer, because there was a lot of material crammed into this promo that could have been crafted into a couple of really good segments to build up some real anticipation for the match. The Battle Royal wasn’t anything special. It is a bit confusing that MJF is apparently defending his Dynamite Diamond rather than being forced to participate into the Battle Royal.
Backstage, Jon Moxley asked if the audience thought last week got out of hand. Moxley said he didn’t, and he appreciated that Hangman got right back on the horse and spoke with his fists. He said there is no Blackpool Microphone Club, this is combat and the sport of kings. He said this weekend the BCC would put the Jericho Appreciation Society in the rear view mirror for good, and if Hangman wanted another piece he knew where to find him.
In the arena, Darby Allin made his ring entrance for a TNT Title Match. Samoa Joe followed afterward.
2. Samoa Joe vs. Darby Allin for the TNT Championship: Darby used his speed early on to gain an advantage. He took Joe off his feet with a dropkick. Joe retreated to the floor, and Darby attempted a full speed suicide dive. Joe moved out of the way, and Darby landed hard on the concrete. He then picked up Darby and swung him into the ring and the barricade on the floor. Joe smiled and picked up the apron on the floor. He toyed with Darby a bit, and then Darby ran right into a powerslam on the concrete…[c]
Joe tossed Darby off the ring post and sent him crashing off the apron onto the floor near the timekeeper’s table. Joe smiled and Darby seemed out of it, but he made it into the ring at a nine count. Darby clawed back into the match and landed a hard slap to Joe. He then sent Joe to the floor and then into the ring steps. Darby climbed to the top and landed a Coffin Drop from the top to the floor.
Back in the ring, Darby landed a Stunner and a Code Red for a close near fall. Joe got back into the match with a high impact uranage. Joe set Darby on the top and followed him up there. He wanted an Avalanche Muscle Buster, but Darby bit him in the face. He then attempted another Coffin Drop, but Joe caught him in position for a rear naked choke. Darby eventually passed out.
Samoa Joe defeated Darby Allin at 11:11 to retain the TNT Championship
Darby got up after the match and told Joe he was still standing. Joe walked up to him and gave him a headbutt that put him down. Joe then picked up Darby’s Skateboard and put it on the mat. He then delivered a Muscle Buster and dropped Darby right onto the trucks of the skateboard. Joe then put him to sleep again. Wardlow then hit the ring, and Joe cleared from the ring and ran away…
Backstage, Tony Schiavone was with Kip Sabian and Orange Cassidy. Tony asked Orange what this was about, and Orange said Kip didn’t need to waste anymore time, if he wanted an All-Atlantic Title Match he could have one on Rampage. Sabian said Orange waited for him to be attacked by Dustin Rhodes so he wouldn’t be at his best. Orange said if he didn’t want to fight him, then he should find somebody who will. Sabian agreed and walked away…[c]
My Take: Really hard hitting stuff from Joe and Darby. This is another match that could have used a much longer build, because they could have gotten more out of it than they did.
A video package aired that hyped the Chris Jericho and Claudio Castagnoli match for Final Battle this weekend. Jake Hager and Daniel Garcia vs. Claudio and Wheeler Yuta are up next. Claudio and Wheeler made their ring entrance along with Jon Moxley. Jake Hager and Daniel Garcia were out next accompanied by Sammy Guevara.
3. Jake Hager and Daniel Garcia (w/Sammy Guevara) vs. Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta (w/Jon Moxley): Hager pulled a purple hat out of his pocket and tossed it to Claudio. He teased putting it on, but then kicked it into the crowd. Yuta and Hager began in the ring, and Hager dominated early with his power offense. Garcia tagged in and delivered some boots to Yuta in the heel corner. Both men then traded chops and strikes, and Yuta got the better of it. He then landed a scoop slam and covered for a two count.
Claudio tagged in and they delivered tandem big boots to Garcia. Hager then tagged in, and “We the People” chants started while Hager and Claudio were in the ring. Claudio landed a hip toss and covered for a two count. He then tagged in Yuta, who came in with a double sledge from the top to Hager’s elbow. Yuta followed up with a missile dropkick. He then tossed Hager and Garcia to the floor, and dove on them both.
[Hour Two] Sammy Guevara distracted the ref so Garcia could push Yuta off the top rope. Hager then cough him and delivered a slam and a Hager Bomb for a near fall. Garcia entered the match and continued the punishment with strikes in the corner. They continued to isolate Yuta in the heel corner…[c]
Yuta escaped the corner and landed a German Suplex on Garcia. Both men were down, and crawled to their respective corners. Claudio and Hager got back in the match, and Claudio went on offense with a huge series of uppercuts. Claudio then placed him in the top rope huracanrana, but Hager landed awkwardly on his shoulder. He then set up for the Giant Swing, but Garcia jumped on his back with a sleeper. Claudio tossed him off, and Yuta splashed Wheeler from the top.
Claudio picked up Hager for a Giant Swing, followed by a lariat for a near fall. He then went for a Springboard, but Guevara jumped on the apron. Moxley pulled him down and decked him with a forearm. Hager then applied an Ankle Lock, while Garcia had the Dragon Tamer on Yuta. Claudio escaped and sent Hager into Garcia. He then landed a big pop up Lariat and got the win.
Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta defeated Jake Hager and Daniel Garcia at 12:36
After the match, Tony Schiavone aired an interview he previously taped with William Regal. It was an explanation for his absence. Regal said he gave MJF what he wanted because he knows that everyone in the company will now be chasing him, and he wanted to teach him to always be careful of what you wish for. As for the Blackpool Combat Club, he had to teach them a final lesson, and that was to always have eyes in the back of their heads. Regal said it’s been emotional, and he would be Blackpool Combat Club until he dies.
Moxley then gave a response in the ring. He said all he knows is that the three people in the ring would give their lives for Professional Wrestling. He said he would make a statement on Rampage by challenging any wrestler in the world to find out where they fit on the food chain. Moxley then said that Yuta and Claudio would make a statement at Final Battle and put an end to the Jericho Appreciation Society and Sports Entertainment. He concluded by saying that Professional Wrestling was about to make a major statement…
A video package aired for Blackpool Combat Club. They said a lot of words but the gist of it is they are going to keep beating people up…[c]
My Take: The match struggled to hold my interest. It wasn’t bad, I’m just not invested in these characters or their stories right now.
Tony Schiavone sat down for a pre-tape interview with Jamie Hayter. She took issue with not having one of these interviews before. Schiavone mentioned there would be a match between Hikaru Shida and The Bunny on Rampage. Hayter said she would fulfill her duty and be a fighting Champion, and said the winner of that match would get a title shot. Tony reiterated that Hayter would be a fighting champion…
Jade Cargill made her entrance with Leila Gray and Red Velvet. Their opponents Sky Blue, Keira Hogan, and Madison Rayne made their entrance next.
4. Jade Cargill, Leila Grey, and Red Velvet vs. Skye Blue, Madison Rayne, and Kiera Hogan: Blue and Hogan traded reversals early on, and then traded pinfall combinations for some one and two counts. Velvet then pulled Skye’s hair and made a tag out to Leila Grey. Blue managed to catch Grey with an enzuigiri and tagged out to Madison Rayne. They made some quick tags and Velvet and Blue were quickly back into the match. Blue landed a thrust kick and Velvet rolled out to the floor. Blue tried to dive on her, but Velvet pulled her into the apron and landed some punches…[c]
There was an awkward botch between Velvet and Blue where it seemed like Blue forgot what they were doing. That led to a double superkick where Blue and Velvet were both down. Jade and Hogan tagged into the match. Hogan landed a shotgun dropkick on Cargill and then tossed Grey and Velvet out of the ring. Jade delivered a chokeslam to Hogan, who made a quick tag to Madison Rayne. Jade landed a back elbow to reverse out of a ripcord lariat, and then landed Jaded to get the win.
Jade Cargill, Leila Gray, and Red Velvet defeated Skye Blue, Madison Rayne, and Kiera Hogan at 8:33
Backstage, Tony Schiavone interviewed Saraya. Britt Baker walked up immediately and congratulated Saraya on her big win and said it would never happen again. She then handed Saraya a pair of tickets for Dynamite on January 11th at the Kia Forum in LA. She said he could watch Baker be a star from the front row, or she could get in the ring. Saraya said she’d love to beat her again, but Baker clarified that it would be a tag match with Jamie Hayter so she’d have to find a partner…
Excalibur did his auctioneer bit to run through the Rampage and Final Battle Card, along with Dynamite next week. FTR vs. The Acclaimed for the AEW Tag Titles is up next…[c]
My Take: Not much to get excited about in the six-woman tag match. Jade Cargill is a star, but they can’t seem to keep top competition built up for her. I assume Keira Hogan may be next up for a singles match.
FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) made their entrances, followed by The Acclaimed (Max Caster and Anthony Bowens). Max Caster said FTR were Top Guys but they were about to be the bottoms. He then said they were about to lose like Herschel Walker. Bowens then did his scissor me bit with Billy Gunn.
5. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens (w/Billy Gunn) vs. “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler for the AEW World Tag Team Championship: Harwood and Bowens started the match. The “Scissor me Daddy” chants rang out as FTR didn’t appear bothered. Jeff Jarrett and crew were shown backstage watching on the monitors. Wheeler tagged into the match, and traded hip tosses and pinfall attempts with Bowens. Caster then tagged in along with Harwood. They ran the ropes and Caster landed an arm drag and pulled Harwood into arm hold.
Bowens tagged in and he and Harwood traded heavy chops. They twirled around the ring attempting to hip toss each other, and then all four men were suddenly in the ring and traded punches. Caster sent Cash to the floor, where he came up holding his nose. Caster and Bowens then capitalized and landed a double team leg drop on Harwood. After a bit of back and forth, we had dueling sharpshooters from Caster and Bowens on both members of FTR.
The action spilled to the floor where Cash sent Bowens into the barricade. Both Wheeler and Harwood then performed a catapult at sent Caster into the frame of the ring…[c]
Caster was dominated during the break. He managed to break free of Cash, but Harwood quickly tagged in to stop him. Caster landed a back body drop on Hardwood and made the hot tag to Bowens. He entered and landed a Rocker Dropper on Wheeler. He then landed a big knee strike on Harwood for a near fall. Harwood fired back with a series of German Suplexes. Bowens was able to stop a third suplex and roll up Harwood for another two count. He then landed what looked like an Ushigoroshi attempt for a near fall.
Harwood managed to make a blind tag to Wheeler when Bowens attempted a suplex. They then delivered a spike piledriver to Bowens for a close near fall. They set up for a double team vertical suplex, but Caster broke it up with a spear. Bowens rolled up Harwood for a close near fall. Caster and Bowens then landed a double team casadora into a cutter for a near fall. After a series of finisher reversals, FTR landed a Big Rig on Bowens, but Caster broke it up. FTR then set up for a PowerPlex, but Bowens broke it up.
Caster set up for a Mic Drop Elbow, but Wheeler got out of the way. He then landed a series of lariats and then a powerbomb. Caster reversed the pinfall attempt on the powerbomb and stole the win.
The Acclaimed defeated FTR at 17:01 to retain the AEW World Tag Team Championship
After the match, the Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn appeared on the screen and laid out a challenge for FTR at Final Battle from The Briscoes, who will challenge FTR in a Double Dog Collar match (presumably for the ROH World Tag Team Championship).
My Take: A very enjoyable tag match, but the outcome never really seemed in doubt to me personally. This does continue the trend of matches that I wish could have had a bit more time to develop before taking place on TV. I think this easily could have been the next PPV feud, and maybe it still will be, but it’ll be a lot less special than if they had held off before putting them in the ring together. Jason Powell will be by later tonight with his weekly same night AEW Dynamite audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).