Date: December 15, 2021
Location: Curtis Culwell Center, Garland, Texas
Commentators: Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Taz
It’s Winter Is Coming and this time there is a huge main event, as Hangman Page defends the World Title against Bryan Danielson. Other than that, we have the Dynamite Diamond match between MJF and Dante Martin, which seems primed for some interference. Odds are we’re getting some debuts tonight as well so let’s get to it.
AEW World Title: Bryan Danielson vs. Hangman Page
Danielson is challenging as we’re starting fast. Feeling out process to start with Page not being able to get very far, allowing Danielson to snap off some jumping jacks. Page’s wristlock is broken up with a bunch of flips and Page is frustrated in the corner. Back up and Bryan avoids some chops, allowing more corner jumping jacks. The grappling doesn’t work so well but Page gets in a boot to the chest and NOW Danielson gets more serious. Page isn’t stupid enough to take a handshake so Danielson shoves him away and hides in the ropes.
A slam and a chop rock Danielson again but he picks the ankle and cranks on the legs instead. The surfboard with a dragon sleeper has Page in even more trouble but he manages to break out. They trade shots in the corner until Danielson goes right back to the leg. Danielson hammers at the champ’s face before sending him to the apron. The Buckshot Lariat attempt is broken up so Page settles for a shot to the face instead. There’s a clothesline to put Danielson on the floor, setting up a dive to drop him again.
Back in and Page goes up, only to dive into a kick to the ribs for the crash. Danielson ties Page’s arms in the ropes and kicks at the chest, setting up a top rope knee to the back of the head for two. We take a break and come back with Page making the comeback, including a fall away slam into the nip up. Danielson is knocked outside so there’s the suicide dive to drop him again. The moonsault to the floor keeps Danielson in trouble and Page’s Death Valley Driver gets two back inside.
Danielson crotches him on top though and a cradle gets two. The Deadeye is countered into a cradle as well so Danielson grabs the ankle lock. Page breaks that up so Danielson takes him into the corner for back to back running dropkicks. Danielson’s third attempt is countered into a sitout powerbomb for two and the fans are right back into this. The threat of the Buckshot Lariat sends Danielson back to the floor but he shoves Page off the top to break up another moonsault attempt.
Page seems to have hurt his shoulder so Danielson posts the arm a few times. Danielson is rather pleased as Page is busted open and we take a break. Back with Danielson kicking him into the barricade and hitting the running knee off the apron. Another running knee on the apron lets Danielson wrap the arm around the post as Page is in big trouble. A bridging German suplex gives Danielson two and the Cattle Mutilation goes on.
Page slips up to his knees though and rolls over to the ropes for the break. Danielson goes with the kicks but hits the post by mistake to give Page a breather. The bad leg is sent into the post and the Figure Four goes on. Danielson makes it over to the ropes though and we take a third break. Back again with both guys pulling themselves up for the slugout. Danielson reverses a powerbomb attempt into a hurricanrana for two, followed by an armbar.
The triangle choke makes it worse and Page can’t even powerbomb his way to freedom. Page rolls over to the ropes for the break and Danielson is favoring his knee. Back up and Page manages a Tombstone for two and they’re both slow to get up. A superplex is broken up and Danielson’s reverse fisherman’s suplex gets the next near fall. Danielson likes the suplexes so it’s a belly to back superplex for a delayed two.
Another armbar attempt is countered and they head to the apron, where Page hits a heck of a Deadeye. Danielson is down on the floor but Page misses the big dive and goes through the ringside table. We take another break and come back again with Page hitting a German suplex of his own. Apparently Danielson hit a DDT on the exposed concrete during the break, which isn’t something that should be taking place during a commercial. Page can’t follow up though and his clotheslines barely have any effect.
Danielson takes him up top for another belly to back superplex but Page lands on his feet, setting up the discus lariat for the double knockdown. They slug it out and trade rollups for two each until Danielson kicks him in the head. Danielson stomps away but the running knee is countered into the Deadeye for another near fall. The Buckshot Lariat is loaded up but Danielson reverses into the LeBell Lock. That’s escaped as well and Page blasts him with a clothesline, setting up the Buckshot Lariat…as time expires at 59:56 (close enough).
Rating: B+. Your mileage may vary here but it was a rather action packed match. They didn’t exactly hide that the time limit was going to expire though and the last half hour didn’t have a ton of drama as a result. It was very good, but there were stretches where it felt like they were just getting stuff in to cover time rather than building towards a finish.
Now that being said, there were some awesome big moves in here and these guys beat the fire out of each other. The ending leaves the door open for a rematch which absolutely should come, though I’m not sure what kind of a stipulation they can add. What we got here was rather great, but I wouldn’t put it up to a masterpiece. It isn’t even Danielson’s best time limit draw of the year.
The Superkliq and Bobby Fish are sick of the Best Friends. They suggest an eight man tag, after which they can beat up Trent’s mom. Adam Cole has a special Christmas present for the Young Bucks next week.
Wardlow vs. Matt Sydal
Sydal kicks away but gets powerbombed down in a hurry. Another powerbomb has Shawn Spears telling Wardlow to get the pin already, but Wardlow hits another one for the win at 1:23.
Post match, Spears beats on Sydal with the chair but has to answer the phone. It’s MJF, who wants Warlow to go pick up some champagne for the post match celebration.
Tay Conti is sick of Penelope Ford and promises to finish her.
Malakai Black talks about how evil humans are. He will appreciate the teachings the house has bestowed upon him because the house always wins. Black also mentions that someone is so much more than a king. Brody King would be the likely choice, but I believe Matt Taven wore a crown as well.
Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb
Shida throws her kendo stick at Deeb’s leg to start but Deeb takes control and goes after the leg. Said leg is fine enough for Shida to miss a charge into the corner though, allowing Deeb to send it into the steps. A leglock around the post has Shida rocked and we take a break. Back with Shida striking away and hitting a suplex for two but Deeb goes back to the knee.
Something like a Muta Lock stretches Shida’s neck, followed by some rolling neckbreakers. Shida shrugs them off though and grabs a Falcon Arrow for a breather. They both offer some counters until Deeb pulls her into a half crab. That’s broken up as well so they slug it out until a turnbuckle pad is pulled off. Deeb goes back for the leg but gets kicked into the exposed buckle. Shida grabs a rollup (with the bad leg in the air) for the pin at 12:13.
Rating: C+. This feud has lost a bit of steam since the start but hopefully this wraps things up. I don’t know if it will given its ending, but it isn’t a match that needs to go again. Both of them are talented and could be used elsewhere, so maybe they can find something else to do for a change.
The Varsity Blonds are mad at Malakai Black over what he did to Julia Hart last week. Griff Garrison wants a match next week, though Brian Pillman Jr. doesn’t seem as sure. Garrison promises to break Black’s jaw.
Video on Hook’s debut from Rampage.
Eddie Kingston is done with 2.0 and Daniel Garcia, so let’s have a ten man tag. He’ll bring the Lucha Bros and Santana/Ortiz, so go find yourselves some partners.
Dynamite Diamond Ring: Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Dante Martin
Before the match, MJF insults Texas a few times before moving on to CM Punk. Last week, all Punk could do was insult the local sports team. Then he wanted to move on to the World Title, but why should he get there after some forgettable matches? All that does is make Punk the next Ryback! MJF is already a top talent and he’s 25 years old, so get Martin out here so MJF can win the ring for the third time.
MJF grabs the headlock takeover for the early two but Martin hits him in the face. The Nose Dive is loaded up but MJF bails to the floor before things can go bad. Martin tries another dive but gets sent into the barricade as we take a break. Back with Martin reversing a powerbomb into a rollup for two but getting put on top. Martin saves himself from a superplex attempt and starts scoring with the dives, including one out to the floor.
A big running moonsault to the floor (dang) drops MJF again, setting up a springboard shooting star….which Martin overshoots and kicks MJF in the face. Back in and they trade rollups for two each, then trade several more rollups for two each. MJF grabs a sitout powerbomb for two but Martin knocks him down again. The Nose Dive connects this time but here is Ricky Starks to put the foot on the ropes. MJF is back up with the Salt of the Earth for the tap and the ring at 12:55.
Rating: B-. I’m not sure what to make of this one, as it was rather different than most MJF matches. Martin was flying all over the place and MJF wanted to avoid the dives (makes sense), but then they did a straight WWE ending with a distraction into the finish. MJF winning the ring for the third straight year isn’t exactly interesting, though Martin with a big diamond ring doesn’t really suit him either. Good, athletic match, but it wasn’t what you would expect.
Post match FTR comes in for the celebration but the lights go out….and we’ve got Sting and Darby Allin. FTR and MJF beat down Sting and Allin but here is CM Punk with a baseball bat for the save. Punk says next week, it’s a six man tag, which seems to be a match Tony Khan was expected to be announced. Uh, ok then. No Wyatt or Briscoes debut, but at least we get Sting wrestling in a city he hasn’t wrestled in since the 90s, complete with someone he has no connection with whatsoever.
Overall Rating: A. More than half of the show is spent on a great match so everything else was pure gravy. I wasn’t wild on the kind of a lackluster ending, but Wardlow crushing people and a fine main event made up for any problems this might have had. They built this up as a huge show and it felt like it, though the fans were very burned out by the end of the World Title match. Makes sense of course, but it did hurt some of the rest of the show.
Hangman Page vs. Bryan Danielson went to a time limit draw
Wardlow b. Matt Sydal – Powerbomb
Hikaru Shida b. Serena Deeb – Rollup
Maxwell Jacob Friedman b. Dante Martin – Salt of the Earth
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