Date: December 8, 2021
Location: UBS Arena, New York City, New York
Commentators: Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Taz
We’re in New York again and this time around it’s the homecoming of MJF, which should be interesting. Other than that we have the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal as the company has some traditions going for it already. I’m not sure what to expect here, but Bryan Danielson kicking John Silver’s head in should be good. Let’s get to it.
Here is MJF…..’s music to start, but CM Punk comes out instead. The fans aren’t pleased, so Punk asks if that’s all they’ve got. Punk: “I’ve figured out why the Islanders have yet to win a game in this building.” Punk says the fans don’t disappoint, unlike their guy, MJF. It’s getting hot in here so he takes off his hoodie, revealing the AEW pillars, including Britt Baker. After explaining that he can respect Baker without trying to get in her pants, Punk says MJF was talking about being better than Roddy Piper in Portland. He’s not even better than Roddy Piper in Hell Comes To Frogtown!
The fans chant something at him but he can’t understand them, just like how the Islanders can’t understand how to put a puck in a net. Hey they beat the Ottawa Senators, which is like Punk beating QT Marshall. Punk remembers hating Dennis Rodman as a kid, because he played for the Detroit Pistons. Then Rodman came to the Chicago Bulls, and then he was Punk’s Rodman. It’s like MJF being Long Island’s guy, just because they’re stuck with him. Punk is looking at next week’s AEW World Title match and he wants next.
MJF is going to be looking at the same thing, and it’s going to be one of them going after the title. Punk knows that it looks like two people arguing and no one knows who the bigger idiot is (unless you’re from Chicago). This is between the two of them, with MJF even bringing in Punk’s dog Larry, who is neutered and still has more balls than MJF.
Punk gets it though, because MJF is the kind of guy this town would have since the Islanders haven’t won anything since 1984. He wants MJF to fight like they do in Chicago, but if MJF is the guy in Long Island, they’re all chickens***. Punk did exactly what he should have here and he was reveling in it.
We get a narrated video of MJF arriving in a rather nice car and talking about how he is a hero to the people around here. As he walks across his high school football field, we hear about some of his accomplishments, including football, acapella singing and keg standing. This man might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but around here, he is the salt of the earth.
Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal
Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Matt Hardy, Wardlow, Jay Lethal, Matt Sydal, Powerhouse Hobbs, Lio Rush, Dante Martin, Lee Moriarty, Ricky Starks, Frankie Kazarian, Lee Johnson
I think that’s everyone. The last two standing advance to next week for a singles match for the diamond ring. MJF, in his varsity football jacket, gets a hero’s welcome and even greets fans on the way to the ring. Lethal almost tosses MJF out in a hurry but he saves himself in a hurry. Another elimination attempt is broken up by Shawn Spears (on the floor) and Wardlow tosses out Moriarty.
Sydal is out as well as the Bunny slips Hardy the brass knuckles to knock Lethal silly. Hardy poses too long though and gets dumped by Sydal, setting up the showdown with Rush. That’s broken up so we get Warlow vs. Hobbs instead. They collide a few times but Hobbs saves himself on the apron, only to have Rush kick him out. Rush has to save himself from Starks and we take a break.
Back with MJF getting a cheap shot on Martin and running to the top to pose. A brawl breaks out near the ropes and MJF tosses Johnson, Rush…and Wardlow, which might not have been the best idea. Kazarian misses a charge and eliminates himself, leaving us with Starks/Martin vs. MJF. Martin doesn’t waste time in throwing Starks out, leaving MJF and Martin as the winners at 8:45.
Rating: C-. I can go for a short battle royal, especially when it’s something to set up next week instead of having a winner here. MJF had to be one of the winners here so it was about who else was going to get into the match next week. This worked out fine enough, and they kept things moving as a bonus.
Post match Martin rips off the Team Taz armband and shakes MJF’s hand. MJF actually leaves without incident but Starks runs back in to jump Martin. After thinking about it for a bit, MJF runs back to the ring for a shove off with Starks and then double teams Martin as he should. CM Punk runs in, sending MJF running off. Starks and Punk have the showdown but Marin enziguris Starks into the GTS.
Varsity Blonds/Jurassic Express vs. Acclaimed/2.0
Julia Hart and Daniel Garcia are here too. Since that’s a lot of teams, this is Brian Pillman Jr./Griff Garrison/Jungle Boy/Luchasaurus vs. Anthony Bowens/Max Caster/Matt Lee/Jeff Parker. Jungle Boy clears the ring to start and Garrison hits a heck of a dive over the top to the floor. Back in and the Blonds take out Bowens, setting up the right hands in the corner. Bowens shoves Pillman outside though and the crash allows the villains to stomp on Pillman in the corner.
Parker comes in for a chinlock but Pillman gets away, only to get cut off by Caster. Pillman can’t even armdrag his way out of trouble and it’s Bowens kicking him in the face. A double suplex is broken up with some knees to the head though and the hot tag brings in Luchasaurus to clean house.
Everything breaks down and Luchasaurus crushes all four villains in a pair of corners. Luchasaurus chokeslams Bowens onto Caster and it’s off to Jungle to blast Parker with a clothesline. Bowens punches Garrison down but Pillman hits a fisherman’s driver. Caster high crossbodies Pillman but Jungle DDTs Caster into the Snare Trap. Cue Eddie Kingston to take out Garcia but Jungle lets Caster go. Caster misses the Mic Drop though and it’s the Snare Trap for the tap at 8:57.
Rating: C+. It was a fun match but there were a lot of people running around at the same time. I like Jungle Boy getting a win as the Express is on their way to a Tag Team Title match but it might have been better to have two teams instead of eight people plus two more at ringside. They got the ending right though and that makes up for a good bit of the problems.
Post match Kingston steals a cameraman and goes backstage to find Ortiz. Kingston goes into a speech….that we can’t hear as he seems to not have a microphone on. 2.0 and Garcia show up to beat down Kingston and Ortiz.
Tully Blanchard talks about how FTR has defeated the Lucha Bros more than once, even in Mexico. It’s time to put this to bed and now they are finishing the Bros on Rampage by winning the Tag Team Titles.
Young Bucks vs. Chuck Taylor/Rocky Romero
Brandon Cutler, Adam Cole and Orange Cassidy are here too. Romero dropkicks Nick down to start and hits an Eddie Guerrero dance for a bonus. An armdrag into an armbar has Nick in more trouble so it’s off to Chuck. Everything breaks down and the Bucks kick Chuck off the apron. Romero comes back in and hangs in the ropes, allowing him to low bridge Nick to the floor.
A dive takes Nick out again and Matt hits a dropkick through the ropes to take Romero down as well. Back in and Romero gets sent into the corner but a quick roll allows the tag off to Chuck. House is cleaned but Chuck is kicked outside so the Bucks can tease a dive but kiss Cole on the cheek instead. There’s a flip dive to take Chuck out again and it’s time to mock Cassidy. Back in and Chuck gets draped across the ropes for the top rope flip dive and we take a break.
We come back with Nick missing a kick to the face to Cassidy, allowing Taylor to get in a few shots of his own. Romero is back up with the forever clotheslines, setting up a double hurricanrana. Everything breaks down again and Chuck hits Nick with Soul Food on the floor. That leaves Matt to roll the northern lights suplexes on Romero, who counters the third into a DDT.
Cole comes in so Cassidy cuts him off with the lazy kicks, earning himself a kick to the face from Nick. The referee gets shoved down in the melee and it’s Cutler cold spraying Matt by mistake. A piledriver into a jackknife cover gets two with Nick making the save, leaving Rocky to send the Bucks together. Romero backslides Matt for two but it’s the Meltzer Driver to give Nick the pin at 15:41.
Rating: B-. Oh yeah the Bucks are back and this was a very Bucks style match. They did their flips and dives and big saves before shrugging off things at the end and finishing with one of their big moves. It was an entertaining match, but I wasn’t exactly missing the Bucks and this didn’t change that feeling. They shouldn’t be losing to the Best Friends, but it would be nice to see them mix things up a bit from their usual formula.
Post match the beatdown is on until Wheeler Yuta runs in for the save. That’s broken up as well and Cole plants Cassidy with the Panama Sunrise. Cue the Best Friends’ music and here’s Sue with the van, containing the returning (hometown boy) Trent Beretta. The real save is made and the 918 members of the Best Friends have a big hug.
Ruby Soho’s interview is cut off by the Bunny and Penelope Ford. They mock Soho for not having fans and here are Nyla Rose and Vickie Guerrero for the beatdown. Tay Conti and Anna Jay make the save with chairs.
Sammy Guevara is cut off on the stage by Cody Rhodes, who is getting the TNT Title shot on Rampage on Christmas Day. Cody makes sure to say it’s from one god guy to another before teasing going down the heel ramp. Hold on though as the Men of the Year pop up in the balcony to say they should get their title shot. Maybe they should be Executive Vice Presidents and then they’ll get a chance. Dan Lambert has gotten them a chance and he’s coming back! Guevara lays the title down and says bring it.
Video on Thunder Rosa vs. Jade Cargill.
Jamie Hayter vs. Riho
Britt Baker and Rebel are here with Hayter. They start fast with Hayter slamming her down for two before sending Riho into the corner for some choking. Baker adds some choking of her own but Riho runs Hayter over and hits a top rope dive for two. Hayter heads outside, where Riho’s top rope dive bounces off of her, leaving Hayter to pick her up for a posting. The chinlock goes on back inside and we take a break.
Back with Riho slugging away and rolling Hayter down to set up a double stomp. Riho avoids a charge in the corner, setting up a dragon suplex for two. Hayter is back up with a brainbuster for two, setting up a chokebreaker for the same. The half crab stays on Riho’s back but she fights up and hits a Code Red for two of her own. Riho’s top rope double stomp gets two more on Hayter so she goes up top for a super crucifix bomb. The running knees finishes Hayter at 13:13.
Rating: B. These two beat the fire out of each other and I was wondering how it was going to go, even if the ending was fairly obvious. Above all else, it was nice to have a match that was about the two women (with some occasional interference) rather than having everyone running all over the place. Riho is on a roll head into her title shot and it should feel big, though I’m not sure how much drama there is to the thing.
Post match Baker puts Riho in the Lockjaw to leave her laying.
We run down the Rampage card, including the in-ring debut of HOOK.
Video on Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb.
Malakai Black interrupts (this is getting annoying) a Varsity Blonds interview and mists Julia Hart.
John Silver vs. Bryan Danielson
Danielson tries to take him down to start but Silver runs him over. Some kicks put Danielson down against the ropes but he pulls Silver to the apron for the running knee to the head. We take a break and come back with Danielson getting kicked down but Silver can’t follow up. Silver is back up with some strikes into a kneebar of his own, with Danielson’s kicks to the head having no effect.
Danielson escapes and goes outside, where Silver is back up with a Cannonball off the apron. Back in and more kicks to the face set up a German suplex, but Danielson lands on his feet. A kick to the head rocks Silver but he’s back with another of his own, setting up a German suplex for two. The Spin Doctor is countered with a rake to Silver’s eyes and Danielson drives in elbows to the head. The Gotch style piledriver knocks Silver silly and a choke finishes for Danielson at 10:44.
Rating: C+. Silver got in more offense than the rest of the Dark Order has, but ultimately he was only going to be able to take it so far. Danielson running through the team has been a good enough way to get us to the title match, and if it means some of the Dark Order goes away for a bit, that makes things even better. This was a hard hitting fight and Silver was game as always, but there was no way this should have had any other ending.
Post match Danielson brags about taking out the Dark Order and then starts kicking Silver’s head in. Cue Hangman Page for the save and Danielson bails to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. The wrestling was good but this show had way, way, way too much going on at times. Between the first three matches being a battle royal, an eight man tag (with interference) and a six man tag (with interference followed by three people getting involved after the match), there was too much stuff going on for too long. AEW has long since had trouble allowing its shows to breathe and that was the case here. It felt like one thing was immediately following another and almost nothing had the chance to sink in.
Now at the same time, this was a rather good show with some solid matches and stories being advanced to get us to the next big slate of shows. Next week should be a heck of a showdown with the World Title match plus probably one of the other big matches being added to the card. AEW is doing some very good things at the moment and if they would slow down and let them have more of an impact, we could be in a really great place.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman and Dante Martin won the Dynamite Diamond battle royal last eliminating Ricky Starks
Jurassic Express/Varsity Blonds b. 2.0/Acclaimed – Snare Trap to Caster
Young Bucks b. Chuck Taylor/Rocky Romero – Meltzer Driver to Romero
Riho b. Jamie Hayter – Running knees
Bryan Danielson b. John Silver – Choke
AEW, 2021, CM Punk, MJF, Ricky Starks, Dante Martin, Dynamite, Jurassic Express, Varsity Blonds, 2.0, Eddie Kingston, Acclaimed, Young Bucks, Chuck Taylor, Rocky Romero, Riho, Jamie Hayter, Bryan Danielson, John Silver, Hangman Page, Tully Blanchard, FTR, Sammy Guevara
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