AEW Dynamite recap and reactions (December 22, 2021): CM Stinger
AEW Dynamite (December 22, 2021) was from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC. The show featured CM Punk teaming up with Sting and Darby Allin to get their hands on MJF and FTR, Kyle O’Reilly’s surprise debut, and the TBS Championship tournament semi-final between Ruby Soho and Nyla Rose.
Be aware of all Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play of Claire Elizabeth.
CM Punk, Sting and Darby Allin teamed up for the first time. In a show of solidarity, the three men wore personalized face paint. Allin added a pop of color, Sting had Punk’s taped fists logo on his forehead, and Punk donned the classic Stinger war paint with scorpion trunks.
The main story was about CM Punk and MJF engaging in punches. This never happened, as MJF avoided Punk at all costs. When they were in the ring together as legal men, MJF immediately stood out. He sometimes had to be creative to achieve this. In one case, MJF ran up the stadium stairs with Punk in pursuit. MJF walked a few rows to come back down to the ring and officially retire.
The match was competitive with MJFTR using isolation tactics to gain an advantage. This set up several hot spots for Punk, Allin, and Sting to pop the crowd. Sting did better with a spinebuster at MJF and Stinger at FTR.
Close calls began to pile up with FTR countering Punk in a Big Rig finisher. Sting made the save for the game to continue. MJF brutalized Sting with DDT. The Icon didn’t sell him to hip-throw MJF on the ropes until FTR. Sting followed with an outward flying crossbody on MJFTR.
Tag to Punk sizing MJF for a GTS. Dax Harwood sacrificed himself to keep MJF safe. Dax ate a GTS from Punk, a Scorpion Death Drop from Sting, and a Coffin Drop from Allin. Punk picked up the easy pin for the win.
The main event was a lot of fun. Punk, Sting, and Allin all had times to shine with hot spots. MJF and FTR played their gooey rascals well, and they toughened up when it was time to get serious. Best of all, I love how AEW preserved the novelty of Punk vs. MJF. MJF did his best to avoid contact, and he was successful. Subsequently, in the comments, MJF extended it by claiming that Punk ran like a coward. All of this creates huge anticipation for their next singles match. No date has been mentioned, but it is only a matter of time.
Kyle O’Reilly’s surprise debut
Adam Cole teased a Christmas surprise last week, and it looks like the gift was the arrival of Kyle O’Reilly. Cole and O’Reilly were part of the Undisputed Era faction, along with Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong, in NXT. I say appear, because there was a whole lot of confusion from Cole and the Young Bucks.
Cole kicked off the program by attending a game against Orange Cassidy. When OC gained momentum, the Young Bucks and Brandon Cutler came down for a closer look. Cassidy took out Cutler on a flying crossbody and Best Friends beat the Bucks in the back.
As the match progressed, Cassidy was cocky wearing her sunglasses for a lazy jump from the turnbuckles. Cole saw it coming and countered with a porridge superkick.
Cole followed up with a Panama Sunrise. Mr. BayBay himself was too arrogant using an Al Bundy pin with his hands in his trunks. OC was easily kicked out due to Cole’s lack of influence.
Cassidy returned by dodging a running knee to counter a Beach Break. Cole was kicked out. As OC measured a punch from Superman, Bobby Fish ran to distract the referee. Kyle O’Reilly made his presence known by viciously denigrating Cassidy. Cole cleaned it up with a running knee to win.
O’Reilly continued his assault on Cassidy after the bell. Cole had to pull it off. The Bucks returned to the ring and clearly weren’t interested in teaming up with O’Reilly. Cole took Fish and O’Reilly with him, leaving the Bucks in the ring.
Well done for the surprise. Surprises are always nice, even if this one didn’t particularly resonate with me. I don’t watch NXT so it was just a random dude. Fortunately, O’Reilly had his own name on his t-shirt, which made it easy to identify. I’m sure those knees deep in the Elite lore loved the surprise.
Where I see a problem was in the puzzling reaction to O’Reilly. I had no idea what was going on. It seemed at odds with the Elite story being told at this point. Cole seemed upset with the post-game brutality, and I don’t know why. Cole doesn’t care about Cassidy’s well-being. The Bucks weren’t happy at the sight of O’Reilly, and again I’m not sure why. Guess I guess the bad blood remains between the Bucks and reDRagon, however, they accepted Fish into the fold. Why not O’Reilly too? Cole making little effort to call for peace also puzzled me. If the Bucks end up being babyface, then they really need to do something important to get me to trust them again.
Let’s take a shot through the rest of Dynamite.
Rematch for the world title. The second round between Hangman Page and Bryan Danielson takes place for the TBS debut on January 5. Hangman explained that he didn’t feel like a champion after the 60-minute draw. Danielson interrupted to claim he should be the rightful champion after kicking the cowboy’s ass. To avoid a similar fate in the event of a second draw, Danielson suggested that the judges determine a winner. Hangman agreed, because he won’t need all the time to win.
I’m lukewarm to the judges, but much prefer it so that Hangman and Danielson can face off in a regular wrestling match. This allows the hanged man to prove that he is better. If he won a ladder match or a cage match, then Danielson would still have the talking point of being the best wrestler.
Wardlow defeated Shawn Dean. Four powerbombs in a squash victory. Shawn Spears then hit Dean with a chair for good measure.
There’s not much to take from this other than that Wardlow is a powerhouse. It’s pretty obvious just looking at the man.
TBS Championship Semi-Final: Ruby Soho defeated Nyla Rose. The game got off to a bad start when Nyla attacked for a hockey fight, and Soho’s jacket caught on her wrists refusing to be taken off. The crowd cheered once Ruby was able to remove her coat. The flow was the power of Nyla and the counter-gatherings of Soho. Ruby scored a sweet DDT slingshot. When Nyla picked up a chair, Soho kicked her in the face. Vickie Guerrero paid dividends as a manager by pushing Soho on the turnbuckles and also creating a distraction during a dragon sleeper. Soho knocked Vickie out of the equation with a kick to the head. Nyla jumped for a powerbomb, but Soho kicked the cover. Nyla took a high risk of climbing the turnbuckles. Soho pounced for the No Future kick at corner Nyla for the win.
The Soho finisher has been clumsy since joining AEW, however, it worked out well for this game. It was a nice surprise and seemed effective removing Nyla from the turnbuckles for extra strength. I’m not sure if it can be used consistently in the same way. Otherwise, it might make things cooler when she finds the right circumstances for a win. Soho was the right choice to move forward. Her presence in the tournament final adds a more unpredictable element than Nyla would add.
Malakai Black defeated Griff Garrison. Griff rushed over to eat a head butt. When Black focused on Brian Pillman Jr., Garrison attacked with a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Black outclassed his opponent in the hitting game. Garrison showed heart to land a rolling elbow, then Black flattened him with a bouncing knee. A one-legged crab earned Black the victory by submission. Afterward, Black maintained his hold, so Pillman rushed forward to break the hold. Pillman looked away from Black and paid the price in the form of a head butt.
It was an entertaining squash with both men increasing their stock. Black’s skill level was so high and entrenched him as the dominant force in AEW. Garrison had the courage to land the small attack he committed. This is the kind of fighting spirit that catches my attention. I guess Pillman would be next for Black. Or maybe that would be a good place to start Black’s sidekick to earn a quality tag team win over the Varsity Blonds.
Remarks: MJF and FTR delivered a promo on their main event contest. MJF questioned Wardlow’s dedication.
Hype package for Sammy Guevara defending TNT Championship against Cody Rhodes in special Christmas Saturday night Carnage.
Dan Lambert lamented the unfair treatment of Tony Khan. TK’s pals have opportunities to shine, while men like Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page are on the back burner. For example, Cody is in the next TNT title game. Lambert also pointed out the impossible task given to him. There’s no way Lambert could get fans to cheer on Cody when Cody is a bigger cock than Lambert. Lambert’s only concern is that one of his men becomes TNT’s next challenger. I didn’t take any new angles from Lambert’s promo.
Christmas party with the team of Dr Britt Baker and Tony Schiavone. Tony tried to slip mistletoe over Baker’s head, but Jamie Hayter pushed him back. Baker was not concerned with Riho as a threat to take the women’s belt. Baker is AEW’s pulse for 2021 and will continue to be so in 2022. This segment was disappointing considering it wasn’t really a Christmas party as advertised. It was a crazy mini-interview.
The Owen Hart Cup tournament was promoted with classic images of Owen.
Serena Deeb has said her feud with Hikaru Shida is far from over. Deeb plans to beat Shida so badly that she begs Tony Khan to keep Deeb out for good.
Jungle Boy vs. Isiah Kassidy was booked for Carnage. Matt Hardy explained that the plan was for Kassidy to injure Jungle Boy and then take Jurassic Express No.1 status. Jungle Boy’s response to Kassidy’s ass-pounding threats was a threat to push smut up Kassidy’s ass. I am amused that so much chatter is allowed on cable TV. It sounds like a conversation requiring input from Billy and the Ass Boys.
Show stud: Sting
Sting continues to shine in limited use. He develops a reputation for producing something wild every time he steps into the ring for an official match. This occasion saw the crossbody flying on the outside. Add in moments of emphatic no-sell and heightened attack with signature maneuvers to have Sting steal the show every time.
Match of the Night: CM Punk, Sting and Darby Allin vs. MJFTR
Scrambling action, fun subplot, and Sting!
The main event was an explosion. The women’s match had high stakes. AEW surprised with the arrival of Kyle O’Reilly. The opener was a mixed bag depending on your penchant for Orange Cassidy. Several promotions seemed to be time fillers without much progress. Overall the show ended above average.
Share your thoughts on Dynamite. How would you rate it? Who stole the show?