COMMENTATORS: Jim Ross, Excalibur, & Taz (?!?)
All Elite Wrestling rings in the new year with a special “Homecoming” episode live from their home base in Jacksonville, FL, and they’re bringing the big guns. We’ve got a Fyter Fest rematch as Cody takes on Darby Allin, we’ve got a four-way Women’s Championship match, we’ve got The Elite vs. PAC & The Lucha Bros, and we’ve even got some storyline stuff! Stacks on stacks, Bon Iver would be proud. Now let’s see if it flows.
- AEW WORLD CHAMPION: Chris Jericho
- AEW WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPION: Riho
- AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: SCU (Frankie Kazarian, & Scorpio Sky)
- Cody vs. Darby Allin (****1/4)
- Riho [c] vs. Nyla Rose vs. Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida for the AEW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (****)
- Jon Moxley vs. Trent (***3/4)
- Dustin Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara (***)
- Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks vs. PAC & The Lucha Bros (***3/4)
-OPENING VIDEO: The Elite did not have an elite year. Are The Elite still The Elite?
-Pyro and ballyhoo as AEW come at you live from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. Taz is subbing for Tony Schiavone tonight, which is WEIRD. The trio break down the card for tonight which has a lot going on. The Elite vs. PAC & The Lucha Bros will be in the main event.
-B&W VIDEO: Darby Allin skates around wearing a Cody mask, burns it, and picks up the smoldering ashes with his hand.
“The American Nightmare” Cody [w/ “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson] vs. Darby Allin
Cody and Allin’s first match at Fyter Fest back in June ended in a draw and featured one of the most painful spots I’ve ever seen, a Coffin Drop on the apron. Anderson is making his debut as Cody’s new manager/head coach of The Nightmare Family. How Dustin Rhodes is letting this fly after what happened to him in 1994 I’ll never know. THE VIEW NEVER CHANGES CODY, WATCH YOUR BACK.
Cody and Allin trade wristlocks to start, Cody drops Allin with repeated shoulderblocks but can’t even get a one-count. Anderson has papers with him; is it a game plan or a run sheet? We will never know! Eh we might know, I can’t tell the future. Allin rolls through a wristlock and turns it into a hammerlock. Cody escapes, Allin uses his speed to grab a top wristlock. Both men trade quick pin attempts and rollups and reset once again, Allin collapsing in the corner. Anderson holds the paper over his mouth so he can give advice to Cody. Very NFL of him. Both block each other’s finishers, Allin flips out of a slam attempt so Cody belts him with a forearm. Cody tosses Allin out to the floor. Cody moves to the apron, Allin trips him up and the American Nightmare lands shoulder-first on the HARDEST PART OF THE RIIIIING. Back in the ring Allin hits a springboard Coffin Drop that sends Cody to the floor, then immediately follows up with a tope suicida directly to the shoulder. Nice. Allin tosses Cody in, Cody drops him back to the floor with a springboard kick. Allin rams Cody’s shoulder into the top rope and sends him arm-first into the corner but only gets a one-count off a lateral press. Cody trips Allin and locks in a Figure Four out of nowhere, Allin reverses it, Cody reverses back and Allin gets the tips of his finger on the bottom rope to force a break.
Cody goes for another, Allin escapes and dropkicks him into the corner for the 1…2…Cody kicks out and Allin floats over into a Fujiwara Armbar. Cody tries to grab the ropes, Allin grabs it and turns it into a double armbar but Cody gets his feet to the rope to break. Allin removes a top turnbuckle pad, exposing the steel and angering the crowd. Cody reverses an Irish whip, Cody shoves him to the ramp and lands on his feet. Allin comes back flying with a crossbody, Cody rolls through for the 1…2…Allin kicks out. Allin tries to use his speed, Cody counters it with a snap powerslam. Cody belts Allin with a bicycle kick and count-a-long rights in the corner. Cody follows up with a Cody Cutter and throws his weight belt into the crowd. Cody seats Allin on a top buckle and connects with an avalanche inverted superplex for the 1…2…Allin kicks out as we go to picture-in-picture commercial. F*ck this is going to test my ability to focus, sorry if I miss anything. Cody argues with referee Aubrey Edwards then goes back to the Figure Four, Allin swiping at him trying to break it before grabbing the ropes. Cody slams Allin on the ramp, tosses him back in and tries a leglock but Allin punches him off. Cody crotches Allin on another top buckles. Allin fights Cody off and hits an Avalanche CODE RED for the 1…2…Cody kicks out!
Back to full screen as Allin gets to his feet first, connecting with a stunner. Allin heads to the top, Cody rolls to the apron and Allin HITS THE COFFIN DROP ON THE APRON. HE ACTUALLY HIT THE MOVE! Allin rolls Cody in, Cody belts him with a knee. Allin fights him off and counters the Cody Cutter. Allin tries another stunner, Cody hits a Cross Rhodes which Allin takes ON THE TOP OF HIS DAMN HEAD for the 1…2…ALLIN KICKS OUT AGAIN. Allin sends Cody into the exposed buckle and tries another Coffin Drop, Cody counters with a pair of knees (thanks to Anderson’s coaching) and rolls Allin up for the 1…2…3!
Cody defeated Darby Allin via pinfall (17:18)
- I loved this match so much. Darby Allin is unreal, this guy needs to be World Champion in the future. Great callback to the original Coffin Drop spot, with Allin getting to hit the move for real. Anderson proved himself a solid coach in getting Cody the win but it’ll be hard to trust him given his past. Even if it’s not presented that way I’ve got 20+ years of watching him turn on folks and do dastardly heel sh*t, hard to not think he wouldn’t do the same here. (****1/4)
-Backstage Interviewer is with Tag Team Champions SCU (Frankie Kazarian, & Scorpio Sky) along with leader Christopher Daniels. Sky says no one likes when spooky perverts ruin a finish. Their jaw jacking are interrupted by Sammy Guevara. Guevara makes fun of Daniels for being old, Daniels wants to prove he’s still got it next week and smudges Guevara’s phone. I thought SCU were using Freebird rules? To be honest I was just assuming.
Riho [c] vs. Nyla Rose vs. Dr. Britt Baker, DMD vs. Hikaru Shida for the AEW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
This was originally slated to be Riho/Kris Statlander, but Statlander had a prior booking and couldn’t make this show so she will meet the winner of this one next week. Yes that’s for real. Props to AEW for letting wrestlers honor their bookings, shame on AEW for not having the foresight to plan around it.
Rose attacks Riho and Baker with the Women’s Championship, Shida attacks Rose with her kendo stick and finally a bell rings. Shida belts Rose with a running knee strike, Rose kicks out of the lateral press and rolls to the floor. Shida blocks an armdrag from Riho, Riho cartwheels out of an armdrag attempt and connects with a dropkick. Baker runs in and gets sent into the corner, Shida whips Riho into her for a forearm then Shida sends the champ to the mat with an armdrag. Rose pulls Shida out of the ring and sets up a table. Riho splashes Shida, Rose places Riho on the table but Baker attacks her from behind and pulls the champ, and her friend I guess, out of harm’s way as we go to picture-in-picture. Back in the ring Rose beats both Riho and Baker down like the hoss she is. Rose brings Riho to the mat with a snapmare, Baker charges and eats a Samoan drop. Rose then POWER BOMBS Riho on top of Baker, but the ref doesn’t make the count for the champ even though he probably should.
Back to full screen and in comes Shida to attack Rose. Rose tries a powerbomb, Shida powers her up with a backdrop to counter. Shida tries a suplex, Rose counters and drops her across the top rope, following up with a flying knee from the top. GODDAMN MISSILE THAT WAS. Rose places Shida on the table and puts her through it with a senton from the apron! OH DANG. Rose goes to roll in, Riho catches her on the apron with a diving foot stomp to the spine. Baker takes advantage and brings Rose in with a DDT for the 1…2…Rose kicks out and Baker goes for the Lockjaw. Rose elbows her way out, Baker transitions into a triangle choke. Rose picks her up like nothing and breaks it with a powerbomb for the 1…2…Riho breaks it up. Riho victory rolls Rose and connects with a double stomp, then heads to the top for a flying double stomp for the 1…2…Baker superkicks her to break it up. Baker with a swinging neckbreaker for the 1…2…Riho gets her shoulder up in the nick of time. Shida wakes up and superplexes Baker back into the ring from the apron. Shida dodges a splash and sweeps the legs of Rose, then suplexes Riho into her. Shida with a fireman’s carry into a backbreaker for the 1…2…Rose breaks it up with a German suplex. Rose slams Riho and piles her on top of Shida. Rose heads to the top but MISSES THE SWANTON. Goddamn! Rose dodges a shining wizard, Riho connects with double knees for the 1…2…Shida breaks it up with a kick and hits a Falcon Arrow on Rose for the 1…2…ROSE KICKS OUT. Shida charges, Baker connects with a superkick and hits a side Russian Legsweep into a Lockjaw attempt but Shida rolls her up for the 1…2…Baker kicks out and Riho rolls up Baker for the 1…2…3!
Riho [c] defeated Nyla Rose, Britt Baker, & Hikaru Shida via pinfall to retain the AEW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (9:47)
- Tremendous match with Riho pulling out the victory to once again retain the championship. Great spots, Nyla Rose and Britt Baker looked as good as they ever have in AEW, and goddamn HIKARU SHIDA AND THAT CESARO FREAKSTRENGTH. I loved it. This show is slapping. (****)
Rose attacks Riho and puts her through a table with a splash from the middle buckle. Well I guess the champion is dead, Kris Statlander wins next week by forfeit.
–Alex Marvez is standing by backstage with “The Bad Boy” Joey Janela. He’s quickly cut short by a low-blow from Penelope Ford. Ford leaves with her man Kip Sabian.
-DARK ORDER VIDEO: Clip of The Dark Order beating everyone down two weeks ago on Dynamite. Evil Uno says they will soon see the true reach of The Dark Order and mention an “exalted one”. Right on. Evil Uno is not a scary name though.
Jon Moxley vs. Trent [w/ Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy]
Moxley starts things off with a side headlock takeover. Back to a vertical base, Moxley transitions into a wristlock and brings him back to the mat. Trent with a side headlock takeover of his own. They run into each other, making a nice slap sound but neither man moving. Trent slaps Moxley, Moxley chops him repeatedly in response. Trent ducks a clothesline and hits some hard chops of his own. Trent rides Moxley down with a pair of knees and kicks him right in the spine. Trent with more chops, Moxley catches him with a forearm shiver that sends him to the ramp. Moxley hangs Trent out to dry and we go to another picture-in-picture commercial. Moxley connects with a sliding clothesline for a two-count then applies a half-Crab, driving his knee into Trent’s spine for extra oomph. Trent forces a rope break, Moxley stomps him to make him pay for it. Moxley connects with a middle buckle superplex for the 1…2…Trent kicks out, Moxley immediately transitions into an STF. Oop now we’ve gone to full screen for the commercial break, fair enough.
Back live and Trent is writhing on the floor. Moxley whips him into the guardrail, Trent rebounds into a spear. Trent lights Moxley up with chops, Moxley reverses an Irish whip and turns Trent inside out in the corner. Trent recovers enough to belt Moxley with a half & half suplex and Mox bails to the floor. Trent follows up with a rope-assisted senton and rolls Mox in, crowd oddly going quiet. Back in the ring Trent spikes Moxley with a tornado DDT for the 1…2…Mox kicks out. Moxley drives Trent face-first into the mat for the 1…2…Trent kicks out. Mox measures Trent, Trent escapes a powerbomb and goes for a piledriver. Both men exchange roll-ups and nearfalls, Mox belts Trent with a lariat. Trent escapes a suplex and hits a lariat of his own and falls on top for the 1…2…Mox gets his shoulder up. Orange Cassidy distracts Mox by putting his hands in his pockets. Trent hits a running knee followed by a piledriver for the 1…2…MOX KICKS OUT. Moxley rolls to the ramp, Trent flies at him but he catches him with a kick and hits a Paradigm Shift! Moxley rolls Trent in and hits a double underhook impaler DDT for the 1…2…3.
Jon Moxley defeated Trent via pinfall (10:16 shown)
- AEW is 3 for 3 tonight, damn good match. Best match of Trent’s AEW run for sure and he looked good in defeat after taking the #1 contender to the limit. Moxley continues to look like a killer heading into his eventual World Title match. (***3/4)
Moxley’s celebration is interrupted by Sammy Guevara in the crowd. Guevara steals drinks and food from the crowd as he walks towards the ring, Moxley brings a chair into the ring in case it’s an ambush. Guevara says he’s not here to fight; the Inner Circle have a big surprise for him since it’s 2020 (putting on goofy novelty glasses to boot). Guevara takes it to the jumbo tron, where World Champ Chris Jericho is standing by. Jericho calls Mox the most premier star in pro wrestling and wants him in the Inner Circle. Jericho says he wants Mox to lead the Inner Circle with him, an equal partner, and offers him 49% of the LLC plus the position of Executive VP. Jericho sweetens the deal further, offering Mox a Ford GT with a “Mox” vanity plate! Jericho wants Mox to join him in beating and humiliating The Elite. The world can be theirs, all Mox has to do is say yes. Jericho wishes Moxley a happy new year and drives off in the GT.
Moxley gets on the mic and says he has always considered Jericho a friend and a mentor, and will give him his answer in person…on next week’s show. Guevara does the Love Actually thing during the picture-in-picture commercial break, recapping things and hitting on Victoria Justice’s sister. He also hypes his upcoming match against Dustin Rhodes which I assume is going to be next? EYYY IT IS!
“The Natural” Dustin Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara
Rhodes sneaks through the crowd and attacks Guevara from behind. Corner throw followed by a lariat by The Natural. Inner Circle, Jake Hager specifically, broke Dustin’s arm a few months back and this is his big return so he’s out for revenge. Rhodes spanks Guevara and clotheslines him out to the floor. Rhodes moves to the apron and it’s cannonball time! Rhodes climbs the buckles but gets distracted with Jake Hager as Guevara rolls to the floor. Guevara tries to take advantage but gets powerslammed on the floor for his troubles. Rhodes rolls Guevara in and turns to face Hager, distracted long enough to get dropped with a baseball slide. Guevara poses like he just won the Super Bowl as we go to picture-in-picture. Guevara distracts the ref and Hager gets his licks in. Guevara chokes Rhodes with his shirt and rolls him back in to continue the offense. Rhodes dodges a corner splash and tosses Guevara shoulder-first into the post, wrapping his arm around the steel to weaken it further. Rhodes grabs a steel chair from under the ring but referee Bryce Remsburg stops him just as we go to full screen ads.
Guevara has Rhodes with a bridging chinlock as we return live. Rhodes dodges a dropkick and rolls up Guevara for the 1…2…Sammy kicks out and kicks the taste out of Rhodes’ mouth for the 1…2…Dustin kicks out. Guevara rolls through a failed shooting star but gets caught with a snap powerslam. Rhodes goes on a comeback string, drop-down right, inverted atomic drops, you name it. Guevara charges, Rhodes hits a spinebuster for the 1…2…not yet. Guevara escapes the Final Reckoning and hits a running shooting star press for the 1…2…Rhodes kicks out and rolls to the apron. They fight for a minute, Rhodes drills Guevara with a Canadian Destroyer. F*CK. Rhodes rolls Guevara in for the 1…Hager climbs the apron and Rhodes knocks him off with a right. Guevara charges, Rhodes backdrops him onto Hager. Rhodes rolls Guevara in and spanks him again en route to setting up the Unnatural Kick. He goes for it but the ref gets in the way to stop him. Hager runs in and low-blows Rhodes, Guevara covers for the 1…2…3! SAMMY WON?!?
Sammy Guevara defeated Dustin Rhodes via pinfall (10:07 shown)
- SAMMY GUEVARA WON A MATCH, HOLY SH*T. Good match, build to Dustin/Hager continues. (***)
-Backstage Interviewer (I keep not getting her damn name!) is with Private Party in a bar. It’s interrupted by “Hangman” Adam Page who is helping himself to a drink. Private Party are worried about Page, Page says they should be worried because he could kick both their asses. Page walks off, offended…but comes back for his drink.
Out comes MJF and his big boi buddy Wardlow. MJF kisses a female fan and throws the hat of a male fan. He gets in the face of the fan in the red shirt who has been overreacting to everything tonight. He also lets a fan kiss his very expensive ring and gets a kiss from a fan’s girlfriend/wife. MJF has some teeny tiny stipulations for a match with Cody. They are as follows:
- Has to happen at AEW Revolution, the next PPV; if Cody touches MJF before then, the match will NEVER happen EVER.
- If Cody wants the match, he would need to beat Wardlow one-on-one. MJF decides that they want to up the ante though: the match will be in a STEEL CAGE.
- MJF gets to whip Cody TEN TIMES with his leather belt.
MJF concludes by saying he’s better than us and we know it.
- Good segment, interesting stipulations Cody has to agree to in order to get the match. Would this be AEW’s first cage match? If so you think Cody is flying off of it?
-TWO WEEKS AGO: Jungle Boy goes the full ten minutes against Chris Jericho.
-Jenn Decker (EYYY FINALLY GOT HER NAME) is with The Jurassic Express. Jungle Boy says he did what he said he would do, and what no one thought he could do: go the distance with Chris Jericho. Their promo is played off by the Dynamite thing. RUDE.
–“Hangman” Adam Page has joined the commentary team. Next week’s show will be a tribute to the Legends of Memphis Wrestling…except for the BIGGEST ONE because he’s a commentator on RAW.
-Alex Marvez is standing by with Riho and Michael Nakazawa. Britt Baker quickly interrupts, saying she’s always here while Riho just comes in to steal wins and leave once again. Nakazawa translates for her, saying she is not happy.
-NEXT WEEK: Hangman & Kenny Omega vs. Private Party. Page is surprised to find this out, guess no one told him beforehand.
The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson) vs. “The Bastard” PAC & The Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr. & Rey Fenix)
Pentagon throws his glove, Omega catches it and slaps him with it. Pentagon rips at Omega’s face, Omega responds with a series of chops. CERO MIEDO. Omega side steps Pentagon, PAC attacks him from behind and distracts him so Pentagon can catch him with a kick. Fenix tags in, Omega takes out both Lucha Bros. Fenix escapes the One-Winged Angel, Nick Jackson tags in. Nick drops Fenix with a leaping shoulderblock and uses the ropes for a sunset flip; Fenix rolls through, Nick with a cazadora. Fenix bounces off the ropes, Nick sends him to the floor with a dropkick. Fenix with a rolling dropkick that sends Nick to the floor. Fenix slides out and Nick connects with a right hand. Back in the ring they catch each other’s kicks and drop each other with roundhouses, then nip right up. Picture-in-picture time and a bunch of fast sh*t happens that I can’t adequately recap. Pentagon tags Omega with a kick, Omega with a fireman’s carry into a rolling senton and a lungblower on Fenix. Double stomp by one Buck, elbowdrop by the other Buck on Pentagon. Hot damn. Pentagon rolls to the floor, Matt Jackson tags in, Fenix sends him into Omega and Nick to prevent an Indietaker. Fenix launches off the ropes and hits Nick with a hurricanrana. Pentagon gets sent to the floor, Omega spikes Fenix with a hurricanrana.
Back to full screen and PAC pulls Omega out to the floor, following up with a twisting splash. PAC has had enough of everybody’s spotfest bullsh*t. Love it. Omega tries to roll out of the corner to make a tag, PAC grabs him to prevent it. Omega flips out of a suplex attempt, Nick gets the hot tag and peppers PAC with a whole lot of kicks and a bulldog. Matt tags in and rolls Nick through into a Canadian Destroyer on PAC. Double Canadian Destroyers on The Lucha Bros. Omega and PAC tag in and trade forearms. PAC charges right into a chop, Omega charges into a bicycle kick and a snap German suplex. Omega ducks an enzuigiri and connects with a knee to the back of the head followed by a snap Dragon Suplex. Sit-out powerbomb for the 1…2…Pentagon breaks it up with a kick to the head. Sling blades to the Bucks, backstabber to Omega by Pentagon. Fenix tags in and they go for their finish, but Omega escapes and the Bucks hit Pentagon with double superkicks. Fenix with a double rolling cutter on the Bucks. V-Trigger to Fenix, Fenix with a roll through cutter. PAC gets the tag and hits the Black Arrow for the 1…2…Bucks break it up! PAC locks in the Brutalizer, Matt Jackson breaks it up with a kick. Superkicks to Pentagon, Fenix gets the tag and spins right into a V-Trigger. Omega follows up with the One-Winged Angel for the 1…2…3!
The Elite defeated PAC & The Lucha Bros via pinfall (12:23)
- Absolutely no room for a breather in this one. Exciting main event that felt flat to me emotionally but I did like all the superkicks and flippy-dos so I enjoyed the sh*t out of it anyway. I also like PAC countering The Elite’s showy offense with simple stuff to shove it in their stupid faces, while also tossing in a Black Arrow for flavor. PAC rules so much. Moxley/PAC is going to be a PPV main event I end up paying for in the future. (***3/4)
Cody comes in to celebrate with his Elite friends. They want Hangman Page to join them, but Page says he didn’t do anything so it’s all good he’s not going to hang out. Elite celebrate to close the show.
FINAL THOUGHTS: AEW really came out swinging with the first Dynamite of 2020. Not a bad match on the show, the pace cut was tremendous, and they’re finally sprinkling in more storyline stuff between the matches (they could have been doing this for awhile but it’s the first full episode I’ve watched since October). With NXT running a Best Of show tonight, it was smart of AEW to stack the deck and at least in my case they won me over. Helluva start to 2020, y’all.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Cody vs. Darby Allin
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Sammy Guevara hits on Victoria Justice’s sister via cue cards