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AEW Dynamite: New Year’s Smash Recap | 12/29/31 | From Jacksonville, FL

We say farewell to 2021 and the TNT Era of Dynamite with a look back at New Year’s Smash, featuring the second TBS Championship Semifinals and an undisputed reunion.

Previously on All Elite Wrestling…

12/22/21 Dynamite: Holiday Bash Results (Episode 116)

  • Adam Cole def. Orange Cassidy via pinfall (17:06) with the Boom running knee after Kyle O’Reilly made his AEW debut and attacked Orange. Post-match, Cole, O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish beat down the Best Friends and shared an awkward moment with the Young Bucks.
  • AEW World Champion “Hangman” Adam Page & Bryan Danielson talked about their rematch on the first Dynamite on TBS in two weeks, trashtalking one another in the process.
  • Wardlow def. Capt. Shawn Dean via pinfall (1:14) with a Powerbomb Symphony.
  • Dan Lambert & Men of the Year made fun of Cody Rhodes in a promo.
  • Ruby Soho def. Nyla Rose via pinfall (10:38) to advance to the TBS Championship Tournament Finals.
  • Malakai Black def. Griff Garrison via submission (3:15) with a single-leg crab. Post-match, Black took out Brian Pillman Jr. with the roundhouse kick.
  • CM Punk, Darby Allin, & Sting def. MJF & FTR via pinfall (24:57) with Punk pinning Dax Harwood after a GTS, Scorpion Death Drop, and a Coffin Drop. When Punk tagged in, MJF ran away on more than one occasion.

12/25/21 Rampage: Holiday Bash Results (Episode 21)

  • Jungle Boy def. Isaiah Kassidy via submission (8:56) with the Snare Trap.
  • From “purgatory”, Miro cut a video promo, promising he will return with no flaws and he will return as a champion.
  • Hook def. Bear Bronson via submission (3:07) with the Redrum/Katahajime.
  • Kris Statlander def. Leyla Hirsch via submission (6:24) with a Spider Crab.
  • Cody Rhodes def. Sammy Guevara (15:10) via pinfall to become the new TNT Champion after two Cross-Rhodes and a Tiger Driver. The fans did not like this one bit.

It’s Wednesday Night. And You Know What That Means.

From Daily’s Place, we’re greeted for the final Dynamite of 2021 by Excalibur & Tony Schiavone, who give a big introduction for the returning Jim Ross. Met by a massive reaction from the fans after his return from successfully beating skin cancer, JR offers us a hearty “It’s Wednesday night, and you know what that means,” before we go to our first match of the contest. 

Match 1: 10-Man Tag Match – Jurassic Express, Christian Cage, and the Lucha Brothers vs. FTR, Private Party, and Matt Hardy

True to his namesake, Rey Fenix takes flight as he preps to take down FTR in the opener (Credit: All Elite Wrestling)

The Story So Far
There’s a lot of moving parts leading up to this tag match, but the important ones involve Jurassic Express, who have made it clear that they want a shot at the Lucha Brothers and the AEW World Tag Titles. The HFO has also targeted Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus in the hopes of being next in line for the Tag Titles. The latest chapter happened on Saturday’s Christmas edition of Rampage, when Jungle Boy defeated Isaiah Kassidy in singles competition.

The Match

Christian and Cash starting off here in this ten-man tag match. Both men lock horns for a bit until Wheeler fights out of an early Killswitch attempt. Christian takes Cash to the corner and nails the ten-punch salute before tagging in Jungle Boy. Double hip toss by the mentor and his protege on Wheeler. Dax Harwood now in for the heel team.

J.B. and Dax fight back and forth in the corner until the action meets in the ring as Jungle Boy takes down Harwood with dropkicks. With Dax stuck in the babyface corner, they take turns battering him. Christian tags in and kicks Dax in the face before choking him on the middle rope with his feet. Slingshot neck snap against the top rope by Christian.

Jungle Boy tagged in once again and he’s got Dax in the Snare Trap, but his FTR partner manages to break it up. The Lucha Brothers are in this match now as they tee off on Isaiah Kassidy. J.B. leaps off of Fenix’s back to hit a dropkick on Marq Quen in the corner. As Jungle Boy is tagged in, he’s slammed by Isaiah, allowing for a tag to Marq. Thanks to a distraction from Isaiah, Quen is able to hit a modified frankensteiner that sends Jungle Boy right into a Side Effect from Matt Hardy.

“Big Money” Matt drags J.B. back to his team’s corner and smashes his head against the bottom turnbuckle, punctuating it with “Delete!” shouts for every smash. The heels proceed to work over Jungle Boy for a bit. J.B. manages to turn it around with a clothesline that flattens Matt Hardy. Hot tag to Penta El Zero M, who goes to town on Private Party. Tag to Rey Fenix and the brothers take down Dax Harwood with stereo sidekicks. The Lucha Bros. roll as Penta hits a leaping double DDT on FTR. Senton Atomico by Fenix on Marq Quen… 1… 2… NO!

Fenix lifts Marq up for a Musclebuster, but Isaiah pulls him out of harm’s way and assists Marq in hitting a brutal DDT on Fenix. Dax with the tag and a gourdbuster that nets a near fall. He sets up Fenix on the top turnbuckle, but he gets chopped down by Fenix. Cash gets himself into the ring to be by his partner’s side, but they both get taken down by Fenix’s moonsault press.

Here comes Luchasaurus for the hot tag as he cleans house on the heels, including a huge pop-up drop on Isaiah (who screams at the top of his lungs). Tail Whip takes out Cash and Luchasaurus goozles Dax for the chokeslam. Blind tag by Penta El Zero M. Backstabber gets the close kickout form DFax. Things begin to break down once again as we’ve got chaos all around with Rey Fenix leaping on to Private Party, while Jungle Boy takes out the rest of the HFO with a flying senton! 

Penta sets up Dax for the Package Piledriver, but Christian blind tags, which causes some friction. FTR takes advantage and pushes Christian into Penta, opening him up for a Big Rig and the 1, 2, 3.

FTR and The Hardy Family Office def. Christian Cage, The Lucha Brothers, and Jurassic Express via pinfall – Big Rig on Christian (12:33)

Match 2: 2point0 & Daniel Garcia vs. Eddie Kingston & Santana and Ortiz 

The Story So Far

2point0’s Jeff Parker gives Eddie Kingston a taste (Credit: All Elite Wrestling)

Stemming from an incident where 2point0 and their “son” Daniel Garcia antagonized Kingston by throwing coffee in their face, this rivalry has seen 2point0 getting the better of the veteran on several occasions, such as a surprise win against Kingston and the Lucha Brothers on an episode of Rampage a few weeks ago.

The Match

Matt Lee takes advantage of Eddie being distracted by Danny Garcia to start off. Scoop slam on Lee allows Eddie to attempt to go after Garcia. 2point0 cut him off at the pass and we have a bit of a breakdown here, with the two teams going at one another at ringside.

Jeff Parker’s the legal man as Kingston lays in on him before tagging in Ortiz. Momentary advantage for Parker is snuffed out by an Ortiz dropkick. Santana now in for the group formerly known as LAX, as he and Ortiz hit some tandem offense on Parker, who retreats to his corner to tag in Daniel Garcia. 

Ortiz dazes Garcia with an offensive flurry to back his opponent into his team’s corner. With Garcia trapped, Eddie Kingston literally takes a bite out of his hated foe’s forehead! While Garcia’s locked in an abdominal stretch, Matt Lee is able to make a blind tag, allowing for a double team on Ortiz. 2point0 go to work on Ortiz as we head to picture-in-picture.

Dynamite action resumes with Ortiz getting the hot tag for Eddie Kingston, who is a bull in a China Shop as he raises hell on 2point0. Danny Garcia eats machine-gun chops from Kingston, while Matt Lee is exploded with an exploder suplex. Santana tagged in now and he nails a running boot on Lee. Running senton is blocked by Lee’s knees, who then rolls up Santana with a handful of tights to get a taste of victory for 2point0. 

2point0 & Daniel Garcia def. Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz via pinfall – Roll-Up Pin (9:02)

Post-Match

2point0 proceeds to beat up on Santana, with Danny Garcia taking the ring bell. With Parker & Lee holding up Santana, Garcia bashes the ring bell over Santana’s head. Chris Jericho arrives a second too late and chases off the heels with his baseball bat. Kingston gets up and right into Jericho’s face, yelling that he didn’t need Le Champion’s help.

The Bidding War of 2024

We’re backstage with MJF, Wardlow, and Shawn Spears. Maxwell complains about the “unsafe” working conditions he faced last week when Sting threw him over the top rope and nearly injured him. He says that a more “professional” wrestling organization wouldn’t let that happen to him, but that’s a question to be answered closer to what he calls “The Great Bidding War of 2024”.

MJF says that he’s done with CM Punk for now, with his focus entirely on the AEW World Title. He tells Wardlow that he can start racking up victories to be in consideration for the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match, and when he wins a championship, it will be property of MJF, per the terms read out by lawyer “Smart” Mark Sterling.

The Challenge is Made

Penta El Zero M & Rey Fenix are being interviewed when Christian Cage shows up and chastises them for the miscommunication in the opening contest. Dropping all pretenses, he issues the challenge to the Lucha Brothers to face Jurassic Express for the AEW Tag Titles next week, to which the Tag Champs accept.

Match 3: Wardlow vs. Colin Delaney

The Powerbomb Symphony was in full effect at Daily’s Place (Credit: All Elite Wrestling)

The Story So Far

Another week, another body for Wardlow to introduce to the Powerbomb Symphony.

The Match

Essentially more of the same from Wardlow, who handily defeats Colin Delaney after four powerbombs. 

Wardlow def. Colin Delaney via pinfall – Powerbomb Symphony (1:20)

Post-Match

Shawn Spears lays out Delaney with a chairshot before he and Wardlow head to the back.

A United Front?

The Young Bucks, Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly are backstage. Cole boasts about how they’ll become the greatest faction in wrestling history as Matt Jackson tells him that O’Reilly hadn’t even said “hello” to them. KOR says that he wants to talk to Cole alone, as the Bucks make their exit. He tells Fish to leave as well. KOR talks about the sordid recent history he and Cole have had, but he knows that AEW is all about alliances, so when it comes time, Kyle wants to know if Cole will have his back in the main event.

More “Fun” With Dan Lambert and Friends

Dan Lambert is here with Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page and he says Dan Lambert things about Arn Anderson & Brandi Rhodes. All that trash-talking naturally brings out Brandi Rhodes herself, to a tepid reaction from the Daily’s Place crowd. Brandi likens Lambert to being a bootleg Paul Heyman – to which Lambert says that he’d rather be compared to Jim Cornette. She says she’ll beat Lambert’s ass for free. Lambert boasts about being a “black belt”, but Brandi says she’s a “black bitch” and she’ll beat him up. Brandi squares up to Lambert as Sky and Page get involved. Dustin Rhodes runs in for the save, but he’s ambushed by Page.

Match 4: TBS Championship Tournament Semifinals – Thunder Rosa vs. Jade Cargill

The Story So Far

Thunder Rosa makes her entrance, channeling her inner Wolverine (Credit: All Elite Wrestling)

Both Rosa & Cargill had first-round byes to start off in this tournament. Rosa defeated Jamie Hayter to advance to the Semifinals, while Cargill bested Red Velvet to get to this point. Winner of this match faces Ruby Soho for the right to be the inaugural TBS Champion.

The Match

Dressed for war, Thunder Rosa enters this match dressed in an amazing attire paying tribute to Laura Kinney as Wolverine. As things get underway, Rosa runs at Cargill and hits a dropkick on her massive opponent. Jade rolls out of the ring, and Rosa looks to go for a dive to continue the attack. However, “Smart” Mark Sterling gets in the way, and he gets dropped by Rosa’s cannonball senton. At ringside, Rosa & Jade start brawling around the crowd barricade area. Off the apron, Rosa leaps, but she’s caught by Jade, who drops her with a backbreaker.

Rosa targets Jade’s knee with a dropkick, then hooking the injured leg over the guardrail to cause more damage to it. Jade fights out of it and yeets Rosa into the barricade. Jade rolls into the ring and then back outside to throw Rosa into the ringpost. The action spills into the ring as we go to break on Jade hitting her pump kick.

Back to Dynamite and Rosa has the advantage on Cargill as she opens up a can of whoop ass on her in the corner, continuing to target her opponent’s hurt leg. Jade eventually fights back with a popup backbreaker, but her injured knee gives out on her. Thunder continues on the attack, getting the shinbreaker on the knee of Jade, following that up with a figure-four leglock… but Jade is able to escape the hold by reaching the ropes.

“Smart” Mark gets on the apron to cause a distraction while Jade shoves Rosa to the corner… but what’s this? A masked person appears from somewhere and hits Rosa with a glass object of some sort! With her opponent left stunned by the ambush, Jade seizes the opportunity and hits Jaded to punch her ticket to the TBS Championship Tournament finals.

Jade Cargill def. Thunder Rosa via pinfall – Jaded (10:55)

(Jade Cargill advances to the TBS Championship Finals)

Post-Match

Rosa goes on the attack against the victorious Jade, but the masked figure once again gets involved, with retaliation in mind. The figure unmasks to reveal that they’re actually Mercedes Martinez. She joins Jade in beating up Rosa until a steel pipe-wielding Ruby Soho makes the save.

CM Punk’s Town Hall

CM Punk had a lot on his mind in his first appearance inside Daily’s Place (Credit: All Elite Wrestling)

Making his first appearance inside Daily’s Place, here comes CM Punk to a massive reaction from the AEW faithful. As he enters the ring, he takes the mic and admits that he doesn’t know what the setup of Daily’s Place is like, asking where Jim Ross is. He says that it’s awesome to see JR back at the booth once more. Punk talks about how he’s all about giving people their flowers when they deserve it now and how his being here at the “Home of AEW” gets him thinking about the memory of Brodie Lee. And if there’s anybody out there out to minimize Brodie’s impact, it just means that they’ve never met him, according to Punk. He mentions how AEW’s tribute show to Brodie made him want to come to the company in the first place. So, that gets him thinking about someone not worth his time, someone like MJF.

Punk disses MJF for being an internet troll in the flesh, someone who hides behind a keyboard or FTR despite talking a big game. He’s heard that MJF has said that he’s done with Punk… which is perfectly fine by him. Punk explains that he got to teamup with Darby Allin and Sting, as well as beat FTR & MJF in a match last week. So, that’s just fine with him.

Punk now has his eyes set on bigger and better things… namely the AEW World Championship. He calls MJF a waste of his time and a bigger waste of Khan money than Tim Tebow. Punk concludes by saying that MJF found out the hard way that on this mic, in this ring, and even at commentary, nobody can touch him. And if MJF wants to climb that ladder and get Ws to challenge for gold, he’ll see Max sooner or later. But… it’d be a real shame if somebody ended up interfering with that quest for gold. 

“Marinate on That”

We get remarks from Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs. Starks says he’s happy to see JR back on commentary, as it frees up Taz to focus on training Hook. He’s got words for Dante Martin, saying that the last time Dante fought Powerhouse Hobbs, it didn’t end well for him. Hobbs asks if Dante really wants another go at him, asking him to “marinate on that”.

One More Time

Answering Serena Deeb’s challenge from last week, Hikaru Shida tells her rival to quit her whining and that she accepts Serena’s challenge for one more match.

Fading to Black

Malakai Black in his element, stalking Brian Pillman Jr. in the shadows (Credit: All Elite Wrestling)

Brian Pillman Jr. is in the ring for an interview. He talks about how the bell ringing repeatedly as Malakai Black tried to break Griff Garrison’s leg last week is a sound that will play over and over again in his mind. Brian Jr. says that he didn’t know much about his dad, but he knows that you only get one life, declaring that he won’t let Malakai take his life. Brian says that we’ll see a new Brian Pillman Jr. next week before the lights shut off. We see Malakai Black standing in the darkness and pointing at Brian’s direction. The lights black out again and once they return, we see that Malakai has vanished, leaving a very flustered BPJ in the ring.

Match 5: Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish vs. The Best Friends (Trent Beretta, Orange Cassidy, and Chuck Taylor)

The Story So Far

Orange Cassidy, meet reDRagon (Credit: All Elite Wrestling)

Stemming from a beef that Adam Cole and Bobby Fish had with the Best Friends, Cole has specifically targeted his ire towards Orange Cassidy. This has led to a bitter war where Cole, Fish, and the Superkliq have traded wins with Best Friends, as well as a match last week, where Cole defeated OC with the help of his “Christmas surprise”. Yes, Kyle O’Reilly is now All Elite, and he helped Cole get the win by attacking Orange.

The Match

KOR and Chuck kick things off for their respective teams. Loud “Undisputed” chants from the crowd. Knee lift from Kyle leads to Trent Beretta tagging in. The two mix it up for a bit until we get a double down, which leads to Trent tagging Orange Cassidy, while O’Reilly opts to just tag Bobby Fish instead of Adam Cole. Orange tosses his shades at Fish, ducking his offense before getting a chance to do the slow kicks on Fish. 

Nobody home for the slingshot senton as OC puts his hands in his pockets and gets dropped by a punch from Adam Cole  Here comes Trent and Chuck going to town on Cole with some splashes in the corner. O’Reilly and Fish step in to stop this and we have a pier six brawl breaking out!

The Best Friends’ big hug is broken up by the reDRagon duo and we go to commercial on Chuck getting tripped up by Fish and O’Reilly while Cole distracts the referee.

Returning to our main event, the announcers make note that TNT has given them the go-ahead to stay with this match until its conclusion. Ushigoroshi by Cole on Chuck, followed by a superkick to Orange on the apron. O’Reilly is tagged in, but he gets flattened by a Chuck Taylor big boot. Tag to Beretta, who gets the half-nelson suplex on Fish and a regular suplex on Kyle. Beretta with the tornado DDT on O’Reilly gets a close two-count.

Cheapshot by Adam Cole allows for reDRagon to hit Beretta with a double-team assault that gets a near-fall. Double stomp on Fish creates separation for Trent to tag in Orange Cassidy. He hits the suicide dive on Fish, followed by the Stundog Millionaire to Adam Cole. O’Reilly takes one for the team with a crossbody, as he and Fish soon recover and work in tandem once again. They go high & low for Total Elimination as Cole goes for the cover… but Chuck Taylor steps in to break it up!

The fight spills into the stage area as Taylor and Cole brawl it out right at the entrance area. Cole gets the advantage and looks to hit a Panama Sunrise on the ramp, but Chuck reverses that into a back body drop. He flies into Fish & O’Reilly with a cannonball senton, while Trent spears Cole before tossing him back into the ring. Orange with the top-rope DDT on Cole… 1, 2, NO!

The Best Friends rock Cole’s world with consecutive piledrivers before Orange hits the Beach Break on him. 1, 2…. O’Reilly & Fish make the save! Now it’s OC and KOR mixing it up, with O’Reilly getting the advantage. He sizes Orange up for a big boot, but ends up hitting Adam Cole instead! Bobby Fish enters and tastes some Sole Food, with added half-nelson suplex. Chuck and Trent do their group hug spot as Brandon Cutler runs into the ring. He gets punched out, but this allows the Young Bucks to step in and hit the Best Friends with superkicks. The reDRagon duo smell blood as they pick up Taylor for Chasing The Dragon and the victory, but not before some added help.

Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, & Bobby Fish def. The Best Friends via pinfall – Chasing The Dragon on Chuck Taylor (14:42)

Post-Match

The Bucks tend to Adam Cole and head up the ramp with him in toe, while they stare down Fish & O’Reilly to end the final Dynamite on TNT.

This Friday on Rampage: New Year’s Bash (12/31/21)

  • TNT Championship Match: Cody Rhodes vs. Ethan Page
  • Darby Allin vs. Anthony Bowens
  • Street Fight: TayJay (Tay Conti & Anna Jay) vs. Penelope Ford & The Bunny
  • Technique by Taz on Hook’s Redrum submission

Next Wednesday on Dynamite’s TBS Debut (1/5/22)

  • AEW World Championship: “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Bryan Danielson (Judges’ Decision after Time Limit)
  • TBS Championship Tournament Finals: Ruby Soho vs. Jade Cargill
  • Malakai Black vs. Brian Pillman Jr.
  • AEW World Tag Team Championships: The Lucha Brothers (Penta El Zero M & Rey Fenix) vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus)

After The Bell

The final Dynamite on TNT was largely used to set up future stories ahead of the big move to TBS, but the stories it did set up were full of intrigue.

The simmering tensions between the Young Bucks and recently-reunited reDRagon are clearly being stirred by the Elite duo, and it seems that Adam Cole finds himself caught in the middle. The post-match activities with the Bucks seemingly trying to plant the seeds of mistrust by preying on Cole accidentally getting kicked by Kyle O’Reilly does lead to interesting story opportunities to come in the new year.

The hot opening ten-man tag match accelerated Jurassic Express’s Tag Title ambitions tenfold, with the match against the Lucha Brothers taking place next week in Newark. Christian’s open hostility towards Penta & Fenix, as well as his actions that led to his team’s defeat seem to be cluing us in to something going down if Jurassic Express don’t win next week. The Lucha Bros. also encouraging Jungle Boy to stop seeking Christian’s advice is also something to keep an eye on.

With the TBS Championship Tournament wrapping up, we were treated to another top-notch contest, as Thunder Rosa and Jade Cargill excelled in their semifinal matchup. Clocking in at over 10 minutes, this was Jade’s longest match to date, and she did well in this spotlight, while Rosa was at the top of her game, as usual. Mercedes Martinez’s appearance made for one good final surprise in a year of many surprise debuts in AEW.

With Jade’s victory, this sets the stage for a TBS Championship Finals matchup where either winner would be good. Ruby Soho winning would provide a feel-good moment and allow for her to defend the title as a veteran babyface ready to take on all challengers. Meanwhile, Jade being the first TBS Champion could lead to a dominant run where the woman who eventually beats her will get an incredible rub for doing so. I’m looking forward to their matchup next week.

That being said, there’s an elephant in the room that does need addressing, and that’s the seemingly-endless use of sexist lines in promos for heat reasons.

A lot of the content surrounding Dan Lambert has honestly been groan-worthy, and the segment this week with Brandi Rhodes was no exception. It was plagued by a lot of the same problems that previous Lambert town halls have had with how he’s just saying nothing of substance, along with the use of calling Brandi a “stripper” to get some heat. That there’s an apparent need to book promos where wrestlers say sexist things for heat is something that doesn’t really belong in this era of wrestling. 

And this isn’t even the first time I’ve had to go full blast on AEW when it comes to this subject. As I mentioned before, the awful American Top Team/Inner Circle angle was drowning in this juvenile nonsense — largely focused on making fun of Paige VanZant. Then there was also that MJF promo from a few weeks back, where he accused CM Punk of wanting to sleep with Dr. Britt Baker.

As evidenced by the heel work of guys like The Elite or Bryan Danielson, who are able to get the crowd to hate them so easily, there are lots of ways to be a bad guy without having to go for the low-hanging fruit.

So, what am I trying to get at here? Women’s wrestling has evolved significantly over the past decade or so, but we can’t truly move on until the tired tropes of sexist content in wrestling promos are dead and buried for good.

Marc Quill is the editor of RingCrashers, GateCrashers’ home for all your All Elite Wrestling and indie wrestling needs. He’s also the web novelist behind Skye Emery: Bluebird, which you can read here. You can chat with him about wrestling, comics, and stuff in general on @MarcQuill on Twitter.

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