It’s unusually chilly in Jacksonville tonight, which is appropriate for the special “Winter is Coming” episode of AEW Dynamite. Surprising that a certain HBO series never trademarked that phrase, but the card tonight is worthy of a theme considering it’s capped by a title match between Jon Moxley, who has ruled the roost for almost an entire year, and Kenny Omega, who is being built up to be the top wrestler in the world again. That alone is reason for excitement, so to TNT we go, never mind the chill, for what could be a memorable Dynamite.
Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal
Unlike most battle royals, there are two winners for this one, and they will do battle next week to actually claim the diamond ring. However, like any good match of this kind, some wrestlers decide to bide their time before entering the fray — in this case, Shawn Spears and Scorpio Sky. Their beef continues as Spears returns to the apron with his loaded glove and takes a shot at Sky. Hangman Adam Page finds some helping hands to catch him the first time he looks like he is going out, and they belong to the Dark Order. He is eliminated soon afterward anyway, and the numbers dwindle until we’re left with just Miro, Jungle Boy, and the Inner Circle trio of MJF, Wardlow, and Sammy Guevara. The fans get the big man battle they want as Wardlow and Miro square off, but Inner Circle teamwork leads to Jungle Boy alone against the odds. MJF eliminates both Jungle Boy and Guevara (accidentally, wink, wink), but I completely forgot that Orange Cassidy was out on the floor after being thrown under the ropes. There’s some teasing of a Wardlow turn, but instead, Cassidy survives and will face MJF next week. Best Friends come out to congratulate their buddy, with an enraged Miro and Kip Sabian needing to be restrained on the stage. Nice work keeping all those storylines going.
Winners: MJF and Orange Cassidy
Frankie Kazarian vs. “Demo God” Chris Jericho
Every Kazarian singles match is a chance for the announcers to remind us how underrated he is, how he has been in the ring with everyone, and so on. It’s cool for people who don’t watch regularly, but for those of us who tune in every week, it’s a bit much. Jim Ross name drops Kazuchika Okada as one wrestler Kazarian has beaten, and the timing for that reference is … interesting. Or maybe coincidental, we shall see. There are Inner Circle shenanigans as well, with MJF looking like he’s going to throw in the towel for Jericho. Naturally, he makes it look like Guevara was going to do it, and Jericho gets the win regardless.
Winner: Chris Jericho by pinfall
Guevara shoves MJF and starts an intramural Inner Circle brawl. A livid Jericho tells the group that they have seven days to decide if they’re all going to work together, because it not, he says the faction will break up for good.
Alex Marvez talks to the Young Bucks about facing TH2 next week. Magnanimous types, the Bucks say they will give TH2 a title shot if they win a non-title match first. The Acclaimed announces their arrival with a rap making fun of the champs, leading Matt Jackson to muse that someone has already done that gimmick.
Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. (w/ Rebel) vs. “Legit” Leyla Hirsch
Baker mocks Thunder Rosa in a video prior to the match, saying she doesn’t belong in AEW. With all due respect to Hirsch, who looks like a tiny powerhouse, the bout is just a precursor to Rosa attacking Baker after the bell A number of officials breaks up the melee. Also Jerry Lynn.
Winner: Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. by submission
Darby Allin and Cody (w/ Arn Anderson) vs. Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs (w/ Taz and Brian Cage)
It’s easy to poke fun at AEW’s fascination with stats and records considering, you know, they don’t mean anything in a scripted endeavor, but they are amusing at times. To wit: Starks is 15-2 since arriving in AEW, with his only two losses coming to … Allin and Cody. The faces triumph here, but Hobbs tries to press the issue after the three count, which in turn brings Anderson in firing with both hands. Those shots don’t have the same effect now as they did in his Enforcer days, so Dustin Rhodes hits the ring as well. Alas, Team Taz still has Cage in reserve. The lights go out, and then something happens that is so surprising I have to put in the next section …
Winners: Darby Allin and Cody by pinfall
The lights go out on Team Taz, and an unfamiliar entrance video plays with a winter theme and … OMG IT’S STING! Even my son, who isn’t old enough to remember him from his prime, is marking out. As he is wont to do, Sting says nothing but exchanges looks with Arn, Cody, and a long “both guys getting the measure of the other” staredown with Allin. Good stuff.
Did someone ask Hikaru Shida if she is afraid of Abadon? The champ says she isn’t scared of someone doing “zombie cosplay,” but all it takes is a loud noise from off-camera to get her to cut the interview short. Let’s just say having Shida mow through the women’s division and then be frightened of someone because of their gimmick is weak sauce.
Moxley does his obligatory pre-main event video segment, talking about how it feels like there is something extra in the air tonight. They also got Don Callis back to help out on commentary, which is always welcome. There are bumpers at the bottom of the screen saying entrances are coming up next, so you can’t say AEW isn’t pulling out all the stops to make this feel like a huge deal.
Kenny Omega (challenger) vs. Jon Moxley (champion) – AEW World Championship Match
No broom girls tonight for Omega, though the rest of his recent entrance is intact. Moxley makes an extra special long, winding walk out as well. These two met once before in AEW, but Mox was not yet the champ at the time and Omega was arguably not fully himself at the time. Aside from the title at stake, this meeting just feels more like two performers at the top of their game. Both men focus their offense on specific parts of their opponents’ bodies: Omega targeting the torso and one chest, Moxley focusing on the head and neck. Twitter reminds me that someone has been helping Omega out behind the scenes for several weeks, and there are lots of hopeful guesses about who that person might be and whether they will show up before this ends. In the meantime, steel chairs end up in the ring, but not as weapons — Moxley and Omega sit in them across from each other and trade shots until Kenny leaves his to deliver a wicked V-Trigger. Moxley hits a big clothesline and follows with his second Paradigm Shift, but a slow cover allows Omega to kick out. It’s all Mox can do to avoid the One-Winged Angel twice in quick succession, with the announcers selling it as a sure match-ender. Moxley suplexes Omega into one of the ringside heaters (remember, it’s cold out tonight), and the ref motions for the ringside doctor. Callis leaves the announce table to check on Omega along with a squad of referees. Any chances of it being a work get thrown out the window as Moxley throws the refs away and drags Kenny back into the ring, raining down right hands. Callis is on the apron with a microphone, but gets dropped by a right hand. The microphone ends up in Kenny’s hand, and he uses it to bust Mox open while the referee is tending to Callis. Four V-Triggers in succession leave the champ woozy, and the One-Winged Angel seals the deal for Omega.
Winner … and new AEW World Champion: Kenny Omega by pinfall
With Omega and Callis hustling to leave the arena, Marvez wants a word. Callis says he and Kenny will give their explanation on Tuesday night, and when Marvez points out Dynamite is on Wednesday, Callis confirms he meant what he said: on Impact Wrestling on AXS TV. Do I even get AXS TV? Is a multi-promotion screw job wrestling’s version of four-dimensional chess? Guess we’ll all find out next week!
Eddie Kingston makes a quick stop by the announce table to mock Mox, then presumably heads to the ring as the show fades out. See you in seven! Or six, maybe!
AEW Dynamite 12/2/20
Daily's Place, Jacksonville, Florida
While this wasn’t an all-time classic edition of free wrestling TV, it was certainly very, very good. The main event got the time it deserved, but the swerve at the end actually made it feel like it didn’t give away a PPV main event. The Impact crossover is certainly intriguing, and Sting’s arrival was surprising and fun. You’d imagine someone who doesn’t watch Dynamite regularly would want to see more after tonight, and that’s really the idea when it’s all said and done.