Arena: Freeman Coliseum
City: San Antonio, Tx
Last Week’s Rating: 950,000 overall; 0.33 in 18-49 demo
So this’ll be my last post. My FanTime’s really blowing up and Colin laid down the law.
It’s Wednesday night, it’s Dynamite. Let’s go.
We opened with footage of MJF cheating to hold onto his title last week. Then being chased by Bryan Danielson (including replaying the part where Danielson had to pretend he couldn’t catch him). Bringing Ricky Starks to the ring to speak his mind.
Chants of ‘Ricky’ as Starks composed himself. Losing last week is on him because ‘I shoulda known better. Max won like a coward.’ Starks still has his dignity. And there will be a next time. This is just the start for him, if he has to start all over again, he will. At some point, he’ll be the man around here.
Cue the crowd singing the heel to the ring as Jericho interrupted, along with Sammy and Danny. They cut to footage of Jericho losing last week to Action Andretti. The heels politely waited so the crowd could finish singing before they began.
‘I’ve been watchin’ you for a long time Ricky Starks’. Jericho did admit that Starks came close to winning the title last week. And he’s no knock-off, he’s a million-dollar version of himself. He’s just not ready quite yet. The three of them feel he can be a big star, he just needs ‘a little Chris Jericho’. A ‘Sammy sucks’ chant kicked up.
The Ocho invited Starks to join the JAS. Starks reciprocated the respect, saying that Jericho constantly reinvents himself and he likes that. For example, a few months ago he looked like an air fryer. And now he dresses like a single father on his fifth divorce. Ouch.
Starks said ‘HELL NO’ to joining ‘your little boy band.’ Because Jericho’s stock has kinda dropped, the ‘J in JAS stands for Jobbers’. He called Sammy and Danny ‘JASholes’. 1 and 2. Before asking what Jericho had done for either of them. Starks then offered them a chance to blow him. Before challenging Jericho for January 4th.
‘Was that ever the wrong answer.’
Hager struck from behind and the four began the beatdown. Well, three, Jericho just observed, preparing Floyd, bringing Action Andretti out to clear the ring – springboard and a big clothesline to Sammy. Then hit a split leg to Jericho to add the exclamation point.
Whatever I feel about the singing/heels etc. This was excellent follow-up to two of last weeks big stories. More importantly, it highlighted two young, emerging talents.
The Elite vs Death Triangle, Match 5 of 7 (No DQ), Trios Titles
Backstory: It’s win or go home for the Elite – Death Triangle lead 3-1 after again using the hammer, causing Omega to challenge them to no-DQ
The usual mixed reaction for the Elite: boos to start then singing (though as we just saw, singing your song certainly doesn’t necessarily make you a good guy). Definitely more boos than usual for the Death Triangle boys as they came out.
Announcers highlighted the hole Elite were in, referencing the Cavs’ comeback in 2016.
Death Triangle struck quickly with stereo dives to the outside, then brought Nick back in to work over the injured member of the Elite. Nakazawa and Cutler got involve since its no-dq (Cutler, in an elf costume, did a bunch of BS comedy – is this a do-or-die, down 3-1 match, or a goofy Christmas outing?).
After a brief Omega flurry, Penta landed a trash can shot then the other two held Omega, Penta came off the top, dropkicking the can into Omega’s genitals. DT well on top, only Nick left standing as the crowd chanted for tables. Nick did his comeback – springboard-facebuster, moonsault off the apron etc. – until being hit with a Penta slingblade on the outside, bringing the break.
The usual fast start with the underdogs in trouble.
A Christmas tree had made its way in as we returned, Matt Jackson being hurled into it in the corner. Nick came off the top with a cross body to all three, step up knee strike in the corner, Fenix was hit, kipped up but superkicked back down. Pac then caught Nick’s injured ankle with a chair, preparing to ‘Pillman-ise’ it.
A desperate Omega flung a trash can at Pac to prevent it. Matt hit a moonsault to the outside, leaving Kenny and Pac alone. You Can’t Escape was next, the second part while holding the trash can. Crowd liked that one.
Omega then grabbed a barbed wire broom from under the ring. Didn’t get near the reaction you might have expected despite a brief, quiet ‘cleaner’ chant. He whacked Rey a couple times then drove his face into it. Matt sent Penta outside, he and Pac were placed on tables in the aisle. The Bucks climbed the buckles, Matt hit an elbow, Nick a senton. Omega Tiger Driver 98 onto the barbed wire broom to Fenix. Kickout at 2.
This is awesome chant as the six caught their breath. Rey being readied for the BTE Trigger until Abrahantes interrupted. Omega avoided a cutter from Fenix, hit a V Trigger, OWA setup, Fenix turned it into a hurracanrana for 2.999999. Hell of a spot.
Then blasted Kenny with the hammer, right in the head, Omega kicked out. Pac immediately locked in the Brutalizer. Nick was trapped in a leg scissor trying to break it. Matt finally broke free of Penta to loosen both holds. But the Elite were still in trouble, Penta and Pac both preparing hammer shots. Each Buck grabbed the legs and dragged them outside, Kenny hit a nasty Snapdragon to Rey, Meltzer Driver setup, onto a chair. 3-2.
They won, but they didn’t look the victors, DT beat them down immediately after the bell had rung, leaving Nick bloody.
Death Triangle now very clearly supposed to be the heels.
I realize I recommend these every week, but this was my second favorite of the series (can’t remember if it was 2 or 3 I liked best).
WINNER: the Elite
Footage of MJF after last week, cutting a promo on Danielson for taking away his moment. Called him gutless and a nobody. Everybody wants to ride his wave, eat off his plate. ‘When it comes to the reign of the terror, you will eat less than you desire and more than you deserve.’
As MJF promos go, this was a dud. Nothing to do with the delivery; just don’t get what he was all that angry about. And am already very over the Reign of Terror bullcrap.
Schiavone backstage with Action Andretti. The youngster put across what a big deal it was to win last week, his life hasn’t been the same since. But he’s not stupid, he knew the JAS would be looking to take their embarrassment out on someone, so he was there to have Ricky’s back.
Shouty and Switchblade interrupted, allowing Jericho to throw a fireball at Andretti. Was really liking this ‘til then. Jericho spent most of the year making a joke out of ‘I’ll set you on fire’ and calling himself a wizard. The youngster’s possible blindness was such a big deal that we immediately left to join Renee in the ring, the announcers didn’t blink.
Renee welcomed Bryan Danielson, putting across MJF’s brutal attack on Regal. Where does this leave the BCC?
Danielson admitted that Regal had done bad things and he didn’t expect the BCC to forgive that. The Dragon talked about his first ever match being in San Antonio, trained by Rudy Gonzales and Shawn – sparking an HBK chant. But the man who made him the wrestler and person he is today is William Regal.
(Nice tying together of the story with the locale.)
Danielson implied that he thought Regal might die after the attack and it made him cry. He loved having Regal in AEW – polite applause, nothing more – and what Regal really taught him was that there are consequences to your actions.
He then looked right in the camera – he’d heard everything Max said. Repeating that there’d be consequences as he fired up– ‘MJF get your ass out here RIGHT NOW’.
Ethan Page and Stokely came out instead. Essentially, he complained about Danielson skipping the queue. As the crowd chanted STFU – more of a request than a heel reaction.
Danielson interrupted to say that the glare off Hathaway’s head was putting him off. Page cut him off by threatening to turn him into a vegetable. Danielson asked why didn’t he try to do that right here, right now.
Page ducked the fight, postponing it for next week. MJF was shown watching backstage, laughing. How ‘over’ Ethan Page is aside, this was a very good segment. Danielson was great here, really getting the crowd behind him.
Footage aired of Hangman and Moxley trying to get to each other last Friday. Cut to Moxley who said he’d be in the battle royal (yes, another) on Friday, so Page knew where he’d be.
Moxley wondered when they’d fight but then wondered why they should. He’d left Page laying, what’d he think Moxley was trying to do with that clothesline? It’s not his fault Page has a glass jaw. Challenged Hangman not to become one of ‘those’ wrestlers.
He also faces Darius Martin later. Mox basically called him injury prone and had no sympathy for this. He’s a teacher and he’d teach him a lesson.
It’s hard to tell since Moxley always skirts the line but this seemed like the early days of a heel turn. He even flat-out said ‘I’m not the bad guy’ in reference to what happened to Page.
Samoa Joe, suited and booted, hair combed, cut a very insincere promo as the ‘King of Television’. Though he wishes Wardlow well in the spirit of the season, Wardlow won’t be getting what he wants come December 28th. Because then, ‘all the holiday cheer ends’.
Joe’s phenomenal. Going with a preppy look as the king of television is a refreshing twist on his character. The guy can do it all, at a very high level too.
More continuity of stories and characters. Nice.
Hook vs Exodus Prime
Taz was asked if he knew why Hook helped Jungle Boy last week. The answer: ‘I felt like it’.
Judo throw, lean-in lariat nearly decapitating Prime, crossface shots from above, straight into the Redrum.
Cut to backstage where Big Bill and Lee Moriarty were beating up JB, finally depositing him in a trashcan.
Jon Moxley vs Darius Martin
Hook hadn’t even exited as Moxley’s music struck heading into the break. Darius did get his full entrance, they waited through the break for it. Another big improvement. No music = nobody.
Mox had Claudio with him; Darius brought his bro.
Aggressive lockup, right to the corner, Mox baited the youngster then hit a snapmare and spinal shot in the middle. Reset, side headlock, Darius switched it, tried to shoulder block Mox twice, no dice. Standing switches in the middle, Mox hit the ropes and ate a dropkick to the face, afterwards taking a break on the outside.
More aggressive as he returned, he flung the youngster outside then flung him into the guardrail, then dragged him into the crowd before treating him to a snap suplex. Darius threw hands, Mox shook it off and hurled him back inside after several times jawing with Dante, allowing Darius to strike through the ropes via tope.
Darius went up top, Mox cut him off and sent him crashing back outside. Returning to the ring, Mox began manipulating joints, targeting the arm, then took him to the corner to fire stiff chops. Before depositing him atop the buckle for a back rake and a superplex.
Mox has absolutely dominated so far.
Hammer and anvils as Dante urged his brother on. Darius slipped out of a suplex and threw forearms and uppercuts, doing some damage but not enough as Mox targeted the knee – the formerly injured knee – with a kick.
A Pele/flip kick out of the corner surprised Moxley, a leaping clothesline and splash in the corner continued the attack. A leaping flatliner from the apron through the ropes bought two. Take a drink at home – Moxley’s bleeding.
Darius leapt off the top, Moxley rolled through, brutalizing the youngster with stomps and h&a elbows. Darius briefly tried to mount a comeback but ate a Deathrider and a pinfall.
A very good match not appreciated by the crowd. Mox is definitely going heel. Which was the plan before he went into rehab last year. He’s having belter after belter at the moment.
Darius didn’t get much offense but he did keep fighting back despite the beating he took.
WINNER: Jon Moxley
Shida/Hayter video package. Looking forward to this.
Will Hobbs talked about being beaten, stabbed, shot as a child. What sort of people do that to a child? Monsters. And they made a monster out of him.
FTR vs the Gunns
Backstory: the Ass Boys have been irritating FTR for seemingly months and attacked them at the ROH ppv
Dax, still beaten up from the ppv, quickly tagged in Cash who ran through the Gunns, squashing both against each other in the corner, culminating with FTR stereo clotheslining the Ass Boys over the ropes to crash down at ringside.
Cash was in trouble as we returned, desperate for a tag; Colten cut him off but was dropped against the buckle, finally allowing the tag to Dax who came in hot. Chops and strikes; turned Colten inside out with a lariat, Manhattan Drop, Sharpshooter readied until Dax was dragged outside by the other Assboy. Cash came flying with a tope into an elbow strike to break up a piledriver on the outside.
Back in the ring, Austin feigned Sweet Chin Music, did the crotchchop/suck it then locked in a sharpshooter of his own. Cash broke it up. Dax setup a piledriver/powerbomb but couldn’t execute due to his back. An O’Connor role was reversed as Austin bagged the win by holding his brother’s hands for leverage.
I was worried about this. The crowd were clearly surprised though it was more of a ‘seriously?’ than a ‘woah’. Very short match so Dax clearly still isn’t right as the commentators talked about the bad run FTR were on. Hope this doesn’t mean they’re leaving.
WINNER: the Gunns
Sonjay Dutt and co. did a spoof music video. Sonjay makes me want to turn the tv off even more than Jarrett. Sucked. They challenged the Acclaimed for Friday.
Keith Lee & Swerve Face-to-Face
Bawse. Rick Ross will mediate though was very clearly partial to Swerve during his last appearance.
Schiavone in the ring with Ross. First introduced Lee. Ross asked the crowd to make noise for the ‘big homie’ Lee. Then introduced the ‘young legend’ Strickland, stopping to call Lee a ‘big mother******’. Eeep.
Strickland took his time to emerge. He wasn’t aware they were doing everything Keith Lee’s way. He’d really tried with Lee, they should’ve had the whole world but he can’t handle the accusations – ‘false accusations’, Ross repeated.
‘You need to keep your eyes in the back of your head from now on,’ warned Swerve. Despite the warning, Lee didn’t turn around and a good thirty seconds later Parker Boudreaux struck from behind, to absolute silence from an admittedly fairly quiet crowd. Thankfully, Lee easily dispatched the youngster despite being blindsided.
Heading after Swerve, some other dude attacked. I don’t know who he was; the announcers didn’t tell us. Boudreaux then struck from behind with a chair. All the while Ross kept calling Strickland a legend.
The two then held Lee over the ringsteps while Strickland came off the top with a Stomp to break a cinderblock on Lee’s chest. No doubt he’ll be back next week.
The one thing they couldn’t do here was make Lee look stupid. And yet they did. Between what Swerve did to him, what he did to Swerve, how clearly partisan Ross was last time, he should have been more than wary of an attack but got dropped anyway. Don’t have much sympathy.
The crowd were painfully quiet for all of this except for a brief holy S chant after the cinderblock break.
Hikaru Shida vs Jamie Hayter, AEW Women’s Title
Backstory: Hayter challenged the winner of last Friday’s women’s match, which Shida won
Big reaction for Jamie, whose music used to seem really obnoxious but sets a nice energy and kind of suits her. Britt and Rebel accompanied her, Schiavone referred to them as ‘Trouble. Trouble for Shida’.
Starting fast, straight to fists, Shida was dropped with a shoulder but blasted Hayter with a forearm. Hard strikes with the other against the ropes, they kept switching who was on top until a Shida knee to the gut dropped the champ. Proceeding to choke Hayter in the corner, Shida landed a hard bodyslam then fired shots to the face from the mount.
A ‘holy Shida’ chant broke out before the former champ deposited Hayter into the corner with a snap suplex. Then perched her half-hanging off the apron to launch a lifting knee strike, well on top to bring the break.
Great start. Crisp and hard-hitting.
Things had changed during the break. Hayter in command with Shida down. The two slugged it out again in the middle, Shida being rocked but coming back with a flurry until being sent back into the corner. A twisting suplex into a powerslam bagged two for the champ.
Both thinking lariat, the two collided in the middle and hit the deck.
Back to their feet, they exchanged more forearm shots, Shida blocked a final one, sent Hayter into the ropes, hit a dropkick, the champ reeling back into the corner where she was hit with ten punches.
On the outside, Britt was shown panicking.
A missile dropkick completed the assault as Hayter tried to bail but was caught on the apron where Shida tried to drag her back in via suplex. Instead, Hayter dropped her back-first off the top onto the apron. Then thought German suplex. Shida hit a knee strike then a suplex to the floor. Looked like it hurt both just as much.
Hayter perched atop the ropes, she missed with a moonsault and was blasted with a shining wizard from which she barely kicked out. Katana ready, Hayter feigned being out cold, allowing her to drop Shida, hit a sliding lariat then bag a two count.
A backbreaker out of a chokeslam got another close count as the champ looked desperate. Shida hit a flurry of kicks but missed the Katana, though did manage to slip behind for a German. Bringing Baker in after Rebel took the ref.
Shida blasted Britt with the crutch, threw herself at Hayter in the corner, who countered and had a powerbomb setup, the two rolled through a series of counters before finally Hayter landed the powerbomb. Shida kicked out at 2 (Crowd went wild). Hayter followed up with a big lariat. Another kickout; another big pop. Finally, Hayter went to the Hayterade to bag the win.
A fantastic, brutal slugfest which by the end woke a crowd who’d been silent for most of the second hour. Post match, the trio set to beating up Shida until Toni Storm returned. Though her flurry was brief, the heels targeting Storm’s broken nose, bringing Saraya out to whack Britt with a stiff kick and clear the ring as the good girls stood strong. Seems we might have a six-woman? Also two possible partners for the former Paige.
WINNER: Jamie Hayter
- $300,000 Three Kings Christmas Casino Trios Royal – Moxley, Best Friends, Dark Order (they asked Hangman not to get involved, he said he wouldn’t but then said he had a flight to book)
- Wardlow speaks
- Acclaimed vs Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal (Wonder if it’s too late to ask Santa for something else?)
- There was more but it was right in the thick of the main event which I didn’t want to miss
- Ethan Page vs Bryan Danielson
- Death Triangle vs the Elite, Match 6 of 7
- Wardlow vs Samoa Joe, TNT Title
Throughout 2022, following-up may have been the company’s biggest weakness. Something’d happen and then three weeks later they might remember and do something on tv. Wardlow, Bandido, there are countless examples.
But tonight, if there was a prior storyline we were made aware of it and the two biggest events of last week were capitalized upon. I may not have liked the fireball angle but they followed up what happened last week, made it seem important and used Jericho to give some rub to Ricky Starks in the process.
On the subject, he too had follow-up. Which made Ricky Starks seem important which makes us, the fans, care about Ricky Starks with the belief that this is all going somewhere, that there’s a plan.
Throw in a night full of excellent in-ring action and – the Swerve segment aside – you’ve got yourself one hell of a show.
I know they’ve hired a new tv guy who’s well thought of – not sure if he’s wholly responsible but in addition to the above, everything seemed cleaner, smoother.
- Death Triangle vs the Elite
- Moxley vs Darius
- Shida vs Hayter
For those of you not joining us for Rampage, have a fantastic Christmas or whatever it is you choose to celebrate. Really appreciate you reading my ramblings over the past year.