January 12th, 2022
Raleigh, North Carolina
Commentators: Excalibur, Jim Ross, & Tony Schiavone
The show opens with Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly, & Bobby Fish making their way to the ring. Cole says 2021 was a good year for he and the boys, but 2022 will be even bigger. He reminds everyone that he is undefeated in AEW and that the boys are here. Cole says this is a new era in AEW. The Young Bucks come out and remind O’Reilly & Fish that this is their company and they’re the longest reigning tag team champions in company history and their 2022 resolution? To get the belts back. O’Reilly says he & Fish have the same resolution. Cole breaks this up before it gets too intense and says he’s all for some friendly competition and that’s what makes them the best “stable” in AEW unlike a group like the Best Friends who—- CUE BEST FRIENDS. LETS GO BABY. CHUCKIE ORANGE GREG AND YUTA!!!! Cole asks Orange what is one thing he has to say that means anything and ORANGE SPEARS DOWN COLE AND A BRAWL BREAKS OUT YES!! Yes!!! This rules. The SuperKliq/UE crew lays everyone out. Kris Statlander shows up and goes face to face with Cole AND OUT COMES BRITT BAKER!!! BRITT CURBSTOMPS KRIS AND KISSES HER REAL LIFE BOYFRIEND ADAM COLE. Beautiful, just beautiful. Been waiting on Cole & Britt to finally be together on screen. At points, I wondered if it would even happen, well, it has and it’s just as perfect as I anticipated. This Best Friends/Superkliq feud seems to have regained a fire it didn’t have coming off that terrible trios match to close out the last Dynamite of 2021.
1) CM Punk vs. Wardlow (w/ MJF)
Okay, this really ruled. We are getting a lot of tension built between both Punk & MJF and Wardlow & MJF. They work a good big man/smaller man formula early. Punk has always been awesome working big guys and this was no different. Wardlow is much better than a say.. Ryback, so it was nice to watch Punk not have to make up for a bunch of botches and unnecessarily stiff shit. Shit does get stiff, though, as we get to the final few minutes where Wardlow begins hitting powerbombs on Punk and MJF tells him not to stop. Wardlow shows reluctance and MJF yells at him "THIS IS YOUR JOB" thus furthering their tension even more. Good, good shit. MJF makes Wardlow powerbomb Punk through a table outside. Referee Aubrey Edwards starts the count and it's a nice false finish, but Punk makes it back in just in time. MJF yells for Wardlow to keep powerbombing him. Wardlow hesitates and Punk rolls him up for the three count.
Match rating - ***1/4
After the match, MJF chews out Wardlow and Wardlow grabs his hand!!! ARE WE GETTING THE TURN?!!? nOPE, not yet. Shawn Spears runs down to calm shit down. Wardlow storms off.
2) Powerhouse Hobbs (w/ Ricky Starks) vs. Dante Martin
I wasn’t even gonna mention how lame the finish to the first match was, but this match had a sucky one, too so I have to because it’s like.. two great matches to start the show, but both with sucky finishes. But lest not harp on that. Dante bumps like crazy for Hobbs and Hobbs looks like an absolute hoss. I really think it’s time to shift Hobbs towards an AEW World Title. He just has the look and can work, throw him against Page and see what happens! Anyways, yeah, this played to both guys’ strengths and was really developing into something fun until Jay Lethal gets involved. He stops Ricky Starks from interfering which allows Dante Martin to sneak the big victory. Ugh, keep Lethal AWAY from our king Dante Martin. And jeez, man, why does he need another loose affiliation with someone? First Sydal then Lio then the Team Taz thing, now this :/ meh.
Match rating - ***
Adam Cole, The Young Bucks, Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish are backstage. Brandon Cutler is filming and fucking up as usual. Cole says this feud with the Best Friends is getting silly. Britt Baker walks up and she & Adam challenge Kris Statlander & Orange Cassidy to a mixed tag team match next week on Dynamite! Hell yeah!! Then they all yell at Brandon to stop filming, lmao.
AEW World Champion Hangman Adam Page is here and he’s wearing a Pledge to Help Smokey shirt. What a woke cowboy king. Page talks about how much blood he spilled fighting for the title on his shoulder in the past four weeks. Page says now that he has beaten Danielson, now is the time for a new challenger. Out comes .. Dan Lambert. Actually a semi decent promo from Lambert here. He insinuated that Page isn’t a real cowboy. Page has some good lines in response and tells Lambert to come to the ring and get his boot in his ass and see who the cowboy is. LANCE ARCHER shows up out of nowhere. First time we’ve seen him in forever. He goes after Lambert then nails Page with a huge lariat. He then hits his finisher on Page through a chair. This is gonna be a fun little filler feud until Page’s next big one. I’m sure the match itself will be a blast. Nice way to re-introduce Archer, too.
Lee Johnson, Brock Anderson & Arn Anderson are backstage. FTR walks up and challenges Brock & Lee to a tag match. They accept.
3) Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb
This is basically just to advance some storylines. The story has been sort of dead despite them trying really hard, but I’ve enjoyed it and I like how they worked this. Deeb attacked Shida during her entrance which leads to a quick finish and some post match kendo stick shots. I’m guessing we get a stipulation match between these two soon to end the rivalry.
Match rating - **1/4
4) Matt Hardy (w/ Private Party) vs. Penta El Zero Miedo (w/ Alex Abrahantes)
It’s North Carolina so you naturally have to have Matt Hardy on the show. This honestly felt like I was watching a WrestleCon show. This was all about schtick. They spend the early moments throwing taunts before getting into the match. They do stuff and it’s fine and definitely good for 2022 Matt Hardy. They tease an apron package piledriver from Penta, but Hardy hits a Side Effect instead. Back in the ring, Hardy goes for a moonsault and misses. This allows Penta hit the aforementioned piledriver for the victory.
Match rating - **1/2
Post match, the moment many have been waiting for arrived. Penta calls out Malakai Black. Black shows up and we get an awesome exchange which made me want a singles match between the two. Black gets the advantage and out comes the Varsity Blondes for some revenge. Lights go out and BRODY KING is here. He looks fucking great, too. He & Black clean everyone out and pose in the ring together. THE PWG WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS, KINGS OF THE BLACK THRONE, ARE HERE BROTHER. Very excited to see what these guys can do in the tag team division. Two big intimidating fellas. Gonna rule.
Backstage, Tony Schiavone is with Kris Statlander, Leyla Hirsch, & Red Velvet. Kris says she accepts Britt Baker’s challenge for next week. Leyla gets mad because they have a trios match this Friday. Kris tells her to let her make her own decisions and if she didn’t think she could handle it, she wouldn’t have accepted. Velvet calms them down and says they need to focus on their trios match on Rampage this Friday.
5) The Acclaimed vs. Bear Country
This is a solid little cool down match. Bear Country gives the #1 ranked tag team a run for their money and I honestly thought they might pull the upset for a second. But they didn’t. Acclaimed wins.
Match rating - **
After the match, Sting & Darby Allin show up and take out the Acclaimed and get revenge for the rap that The Acclaimed did on them last week.
They announce some matches for Rampage and Dynamite next week and there’s some COOL ones in here. Cole/Trent and Shawn Spears vs. the debuting Andrew Everett on Rampage plus the aforementioned women’s trios match with Nyla Rose, Penelope Ford, & The Bunny being the heel unit. Super cool to see Andrew Everett thrown on here since they’re in North Carolina. And for Dynamite next week, it’s Spears/Punk, the mixed tag match and Skye Blue vs. Serena Deeb!
Matt Hardy is backstage after the commercial. He says something has to change. Andrade El Idolo walks up and wants to talk to him and “strike a deal” with him.
A PAC vignette airs. Awesome promo from him even if the story of him being blind is kind of dumb, he’s pulling it off, though and I’m sure the blowoff will rule.
6) Sammy Guevara (c) vs. Daniel Garcia - Interim TNT Championship Match
Man, these two really came to play. Stiff slaps and kicks to start and really set the tone for this as more of a fight than a match. These boys are MAD, bud. I enjoyed this more than Dustin/Sammy and Cody/Sammy. Daniel Garcia just keeps getting better & better and although I knew he wasn’t winning here, I wanted it so bad. Sooo, I bit on some of the near falls. But yeah. Good match and awesome effort from both guys with Garcia shining the most to me due to the little things he does, but Guevara did just fine hitting his spots & stuff, plus the way he stepped up to the plate working sort of toward Garcia’s style is admirable. After some interference attempts are thwarted, Guevara retains with the GTH.
Match rating - ***
Post-match, Chris Jericho & Eddie Kingston unintentionally clean house. Eddie gets mad because Jericho made it all about him. Crowd chants for Eddie as he & Jericho have a shoving match / staredown. I love that. Strong show closer I’d say, I’m ready to see Eddie tear into Jericho.