AEW Winter Is Coming Recap

Welcome to the Weekly AEW recap! You missed me last week, as I was dealing with some personal issues, but I’m back now and in time for Winter Is Coming, the special episode of Dynamite that will change the landscape of professional wrestling forever—- wait, I’ve heard this before.

Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale (4 stars)

As announced by the Dapper Yapper, the last two men left in this battle royal will be declared the winners and face off for the Dynamite Diamond Ring next week. As you may recall, MJF and Hangman Page finished last, and MJF defeated Page for the ring, so in theory, MJF is defending the ring against all these other guys.

The action starts with all rolling into the ring and us getting a spot on Scorpio Sky and Shawn Spears, continuing their feud with a little story at the beginning. Then we cut to a pre-recorded video of MJF saying that he and Sammy are gonna be the last two in the ring, and it’s not because it’s his ring; it’s because it’s our ring. Silver & Reynolds start picking things up on the inside of the ring, with Hangman finishing off their work on Serpentico and subtly taking out Luther. Spears and Sky get a moment of working each other, but Matt Sydal breaks it up with some quick strikes, but Sydal gets thrown out by Spears over the rope on the ramp.

Sky eliminates Spears shortly after. Spears loads up his glove and punches Sky, with Wardlow eliminating him. JR plugs Pat Patterson fighting in the Cow Palace, may he rest in peace. From this point in the match, things escalate and gel. Silver gets thrown into Reynolds on the outside and knocks his partner out accidentally while Matt Hardy and Marq Quen get Silver out immediately after. Miro and Kip are laying in blows on Orange Cassidy. Hardy eliminates Hangman.

Orange Cassidy eliminates Kip, and Kip pulls Cassidy under the ropes, thus not eliminating him. Miro slides out and throws Cassidy around on the outside and then gets back in with pure fury and strength, unloading on Joey Janela, Lee Johnson, and others. Miro and Hardy then face-off, but Matt is not enough, nor is a Marq Quen feature. Miro eliminates Quen trying to nail a Silly String off of Matt’s back. Miro then eliminates Matt Hardy and Joey Janela immediately. The last five men in the ring are Miro, Jungle Boy, Sammy Guevara, MJF, and Wardlow. The Inner Circle eliminates Miro. Jungle Boy stands up finally, getting in a lot of good work on the apron with Sammy Guevara. They eventually get on the top rope, and MJF pushes off Jungle Boy, but the momentum also eliminates Sammy, who is UPSET.

At this point, Wardlow realizes before MJF does that Orange Cassidy hasn’t been eliminated. Wardlow saves MJF from being eliminated after colliding. Orange Cassidy eliminates Wardlow right after, and the Best Friends run down to the ring to celebrate. Next week, MJF vs. Orange Cassidy for the Dynamite Diamond Ring. GOT TO GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT. Miro comes down with officials keeping him at bay and Penelope and Kip in tow behind.

This was, by far, the best battle royal they have booked. From start to finish, this had few slow spots, good pacing with the big moments of the match, and kept all of the stories spread throughout – Hangman and the Dark Order, Sky/Spears, etc.

Frankie Kazarian vs. Chris Jericho (3 ½ stars)

Kazarian comes out before the break, and Jericho gets brought in with support from the “Jacksonville Children’s Choir” and their stirring rendition of Judas. To be spoiled with the idea of a Kazarian/Jericho match is enough, but these guys clearly know they are not going to burn the house down here. Even though Kazarian might need anger management, he shows he has the pacing to know when to use all of it properly. Jericho really used a ton of great heel moves to keep this match going forward. There were slow spots that kept this match going next level, but it was enough to keep things interesting without being boring. Kazarian lands many big moves, including a top rope Flux Capacitor (modified Spanish Fly) for a near fall. At the end of the match, Kazarian got in a Boston crab and almost got a towel-wielding MJF to throw it in. Sammy stops him, Jericho gets the rope. Nails the Judas effect. Jericho barely gets a win here. During the celebration, Sammy pushes at MJF, and Jericho eventually gets a mic.

He is upset and disappointed. Next week, there will be an ultimatum – either the Inner Circle gets together and teams up, or they break up. Seven days.

The Young Bucks are backstage with the belts on their shoulder. They mention they have a tag match against the Hybrid2 next week, and if they beat them, they can get a title shot. The Acclaimed show up and interrupt their bit. One of them raps about how bad their book is. It is fun, but also really awkward. Hybrid2 shows up and starts beating up the Bucks. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian ward them all off.

Leyla Hirsch vs. Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. (3 ¾stars)

JR and Schiavone both call Britt Baker a bitch on television. Hirsch and Baker both have a very impressive back-and-forth technical match, Hirsch nailing a ton of excellent amateur wrestling moves early and keeping Baker confused and flustered. This was a quick, slow, methodical match that let both women really showcase some of their best work. The armbar to Lockjaw to armbar transition sequence was definitely impressive. The match itself didn’t have all the high spots and big moments, but it did have exactly what it needed to to be a good, almost great match. Baker wins with the Lockjaw, but Thunder Rosa comes out of nowhere.

Darby Allin & Cody Rhodes vs. Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs (2 ½ stars)

Upon initial viewing, this tag match was actually the only low note of the show. Was it bad? No. Was it great? No. Was it really that good? Not really. Things fire off right away, action going before the bell. Cody and Darby isolate Ricky out the gate, doing as much as possible to keep Hobbs from getting in. Starks finally gets Hobbs in some work outside, and JR and Excalibur go back and forth on Hobbs’ athleticism as a football player and in-general strength. This match’s real winner is Powerhouse Hobbs, really getting a full Dynamite showcase against someone of real importance and just decimating Darby for most of the match. Cody nails a Cody Cutter on Starks and dives on the outside on Hobbs; Darby barely gets the tag in the middle of the Cutter and nails the Coffin Drop and gets the pin on Starks.

After the bell, Hobbs attacks, and Arn Anderson gets in, with Starks and Hobbs beating down Anderson. Dustin Rhodes runs down and tries breaking all of it up. Brian Cage comes in and renders Dustin useless. Starks and Cage hold up Cody as they are about to lay him out with the FTW belt. Lights go out. Snow falls from the sky as a video plays on the screen.

IT’S STIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING! STING IS BACK ON TNT FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2001. Tony Schiavone calling this was the best thing I’ve heard in AGES. Sting gets in the ring and looks at Arn Anderson. Then he looks at Dustin. Cody. But then he turns to the TNT champion. Darby stands to meet Sting eye-to-eye. Sting eyes him up. He then does his scream to the fans and leaves. Everyone at the commentary desk is emotional. Sting. Is. Back. “This is the biggest episode of Dynamite ever, and we haven’t even got to the main event,” Excalibur mentions, with all of the seriousness implied.

AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida is backstage with Alex Marvez. Shida says she’s not afraid and says Abadon is doing “zombie cosplay” and then continues for a moment until a metal clang occurs, and she gets spooked. Asks for another go, but they are live. So she leaves.

Moxley gets a word in before his title defense against the Cleaner. “Two years ago, this was just an idea. Me – the whole world wanted to write me off. Burn out. Washed up. So what I did was I took my hand, I reared back, and I bitchslapped the entire wrestling world right across the mouth.” He and Omega are destined to be rivals. The two best wrestlers in the world. The stakes couldn’t be higher. One thing left to do – go out there and make them absolutely go banana. Just one.

Don Callis is at commentary again, reprising his role from Full Gear.

AEW World Championship – Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley (c) (5 stars)

The build to this match is perfect. The story behind the match is perfect. The entrances are perfect. The start of the match is perfect. The continuation of this match was perfect. For a weekly show main event, this was everything you could ask for and then some. Kenny Omega, the Best Bout Machine, the Cleaner… Jon Moxley – the Paradigm Shift of Pro Wrestling. Both have been called the best. Both have worn it on their sleeves. Both have done everything they could do to make themselves ready for this match. And at no point throughout did they ever disappoint.

And yet, something is missing. Omega and Moxley go nearly 40 minutes using every card they have in the deck, pushing every single draw to the fullest extent. But nothing would prepare me for the finality and the true impact of this match until nearly fifteen minutes left in the show. Omega goes for a second springboard dropkick, but Mox counters with the Paradigm Shift. Instead of pinning, Mox goes on the outside. This was the first indication I knew something was really up here. Mox sets up both chairs and invites Kenny to sit. They brutalize each other with Japanese strong-style strikes, sitting in steel chairs. Omega stands with a final blow, but Mox rocks back. Kenny immediately fires off a V-Trigger into multiple snap dragon suplexes. But Mox is not dead, avoiding multiple attempts of the V-Trigger with a massive release German suplex and a massive inside-out lariat. He then lands a second Paradigm Shift.

But somehow, Kenny kicks out. “Pure instinct,” Callis mentions. Mox sees a tired Omega roll out of the ring, so he goes for a dive, but Omega lands a V-Trigger in mid-air. Missile dropkick from the top rope from Omega into a V-Trigger in the corner. Tiger Driver ‘98. Not enough. Moxley gets a shoulder off the mat. After another V-Trigger, Mox slides out of the One-Winged Angel, and Omega slides out of the Paradigm Shift. Bouncing off the ropes, Omega lands a dropkick and throws up the Rainmaker pose. Ripcord V-Trigger. Croyt’s Wrath shows up for the first time in years from Omega’s arsenal. But no, Mox gets out at 2 again. Omega goes for a Phoenix Splash but gets out of the way of Mox pushing him off.

Mox lands a Paradigm Shift on the outside into the heaters; Omega is hurt. The doctor is looking at Omega, and Moxley is being kept back by referee Paul Turner. Don Callis goes down to check on Kenny. Paul Turner points to Omega’s eye. Mox comes in and pushes all the officials out of the way. Mox mounts Omega and lays into Omega. Callis pleads with the referee; Callis has a mic and says “he’s hurt” to end it possibly.

And this was what was missing. Mox hits him, and Omega has a mic in his hand. Slapping Mox with the mic in the head, Omega has finally done it. He has finally turned on the integrity of the wrestling match and wants nothing but the win. He pulls his knee pad and annihilates Mox with four consecutive V-Triggers. Four. One after the other. After the other. After the other.

One Winged Angel. 1-2-3.

Kenny Omega is your NEW AEW World Champion.

Callis grabs the title and celebrates with the new champ. They run off into the night, avoiding Tony Khan, the entire locker room, and the AEW universe. JR uses the word screw job. Tony thinks it’s “bullshit.” Alex Marvez somehow runs down Callis and Omega before they hop into a vehicle. Callis says you’ll find out more on Tuesday, to which Marvez reminds him Dynamite is on Wednesday. Callis looks at him and says, “This Tuesday, Impact Wrestling on AXS TV. Me and Kenny – we’ll tell you all about it.”

It’s 40 degrees in Florida in an outdoor venue in the middle of a pandemic, and pro wrestling has changed forever.

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