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AEW Dynamite (Episode 68: New Year’s Smash Night 1) Recap & Review

AEW Dynamite
Episode 68
New Year’s Smash: Night 1
#AEWDynamite

Original Air Date: January 6, 2021
Event Date: January 6, 2021
(aired live on TNT & the FITE app)

City: Jacksonville, FL
Venue: Daily’s Place

Commentary: Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Chris Jericho
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts

 

Show/Hide Match Previews

 

Match 1
Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian & The Young Bucks (AEW Tag Champs) vs The Hybrid2 & The Acclaimed
(referee: Paul Turner)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Christopher Daniels pins Jack Evans after The Best Meltzer Ever (a combo of Christopher Daniels’ Best Moonsault Ever and a tombstone from Matt Jackson)
Time: 9:58

Match Thoughts
Very good match. It was fast and chaotic right from the opening bell, and they managed to pack a whole lot of action into just under ten minutes. As the match went on, it started to become abundantly clear that the Young Bucks and SCU were working together as a team way better than The Acclaimed and The Hybrid2 were. SCU and YB were pulling of multiple tandem moves and sequences with each other while The Acclaimed and The Hybrid2 were just trying to stay out of each other’s way. That led to an unsurprising yet still very fun finish to the match.

 

Ring Area
After the match, Kazarian gets on the mic and says the next time he and Daniels lose as a tag time, they will stop tagging forever. Daniels tells the Young Bucks that he and Kazarian have the Bucks’ backs whenever they need them, except for on the night when the Bucks defend the titles against SCU. SCU and the Bucks shake hands in something of a gentleman’s agreement.

Ring Area
Jon Moxley heads to the ring. Moxley says people might expect him to rage about losing the AEW World Title, but bad things happen in wrestling. What you have to do it grit your teeth, move forward, and not back down an inch. The appropriate response tonight might be to beat Don Callis and Kenny Omega to a bloody pulp with a crowbar, but the AEW World Title is on the line tonight. Moxley has pledged to maintain the integrity of the title, and Rey Fenix deserves his chance to win it. However, Moxley will never stop chasing Omega. One day, Omega will pay for what he has done.

Backstage
Dasha Gonzalez welcomes Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy. As Chuck informs us that Trent has a torn pec and will be out of action for four to five months, Miro, Kip Sabian, and Penelope Ford interrupt him. Miro says that sucks for Trent, but it also sucks for Chuck since he can’t wrestle without his best friend. But Chuck can be Miro’s best friend. Chuck can hang out with Miro and fold his clothes and wash his cars. Chuck Taylor won’t be Miro’s “young boy,” but he just might beat Miro in the center of the ring next week. Miro wants to make their match more interesting: if Chuck loses then he becomes Miro’s young boy until after Sabian and Ford’s wedding. Chuck quickly agrees to the stipulation just so Miro will go away.

 

Match 2
Jake Hager vs “Mr. Mayhem” Wardlow
(referee: Mike Posey; watching from the stage: Sammy Guevara, Santana, MJF, Ortiz)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Wardlow wins via pinfall after the F-10
Time: 10:23

Match Thoughts
Good match. This was a nice big-man fight with lots of heavy moves and some moments of surprising agility. It felt like Hager might have gotten drawn too much into Wardlow’s style though, because Hager wasn’t able to use his grappling as much as he probably would have liked. Wardlow did a bit of flying though, and that seemed to make the difference in the end. Did anything get settled between these two? Probably not, and I kind of hope not because I like seeing them be passive-aggressive towards each other, but this was still a fun match.

 

Ring Area
After the match, the Inner Circle (minus Jericho) enter the ring. Hager is visibly frustrated, but he returns Wardlow’s fist bump when Wardlow holds out his hand. All seems well within the Inner Circle.

Backstage
Private Party talk to each other about starting 2021 right. Isiah Kassidy provides some gin, but Marq Quen doesn’t have the juice. Fortunately for them, Snoop Dogg walks up and slams a jug of juice down in front of them. Matt Hardy walks up, and he’s brought contracts to the party. Snoop Dogg watches as Private Party signs contracts making Matt Hardy their manager (with a 30% cut of their money).

Ring Area
Brian Cage heads to the ring with Team Taz (Taz, Ricky Starks, Powerhouse Hobbs, and Hook). After a commercial break, Tony Schiavone is in the ring as well, and he announces Darby Allin who heads to the ring next. Allin is carrying a skateboard and the new, black-strap TNT Title belt, and he’s here for the weigh in for his title defense against Brian Cage next week.

Schiavone asks Cage to get on the scale, but Taz has a problem with Schiavone telling Cage to go first. Regardless, with some banter from Taz, Cage gets weighed: 272 lbs. Allin gets on the scale next: 170 lbs.

Taz laughs at Allin’s weight and insinuates that he’s even padding his pounds with all the clothing and metal Allin is wearing. Schiavone starts to respond, but Allin takes his mic. Allin tells Taz that this rivalry isn’t nine months in the making, it’s 27 years because Allin has been dealing with sh*t from people like Taz all his life. Allin knows how tonight’s gathering is going to end, so he grabs his skateboard and gets ready for a fight. Taz laughs and tells Schiavone to get out of the ring. As Team Taz prepares to attack, the lights go out in the venue.

Snow is falling as the lights come back on, and Team Taz is already fleeing from the ring. Sting enters the ring and stands with Darby Allin as Team Taz walks to the stage. Taz is sick of Sting, and he tells Allin that a new TNT Champion will be crowned next week. Team Taz leaves, and Sting and Allin head their separate ways without saying a word.

Backstage
MJF tries to calm Jake Hager down as he rages about losing to Wardlow. Hager does calm down, and he ends up thanking MJF for checking on him.

Backstage
Alex Marvez welcomes Jurassic Express. Marko Stunt says that Jurassic Express is on a quest for the AEW Tag Titles, but FTR and Tully Blanchard interrupt him. Cash Wheeler wonders why Marko is talking about “we” when he doesn’t do anything for the team. Dax Harwood thinks Marko might be a loser. Marko takes offense, and he says that he’ll take Luchasaurus’s place teaming with Jungle Boy next week just so he can get his hands on FTR. FTR, obviously, think that’s a great idea.

 

Match 3
Matt Sydal vs “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes w/ Snoop Dogg
(referee: Paul Turner)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Cody Rhodes wins via pinfall after two Cross Rhodes
Time: 10:05

Match Thoughts
Very good match. With Sydal looking very good and moving around the ring a lot tonight, Cody seemed to be a bit more agile than usual as well. Cody used the ropes quite a lot throughout the match to try to counter Sydal’s attacks, and that made for a fun back and forth match. I never really thought Sydal was going to beat Cody, especially with Snoop Dogg hanging out and acting as his coach for the night, but Sydal did help make this a very fun spotlight for Cody.

 

Ring Area
After the match, Chaos Project (Luther & Serpentico) slide into the ring and attack Cody. Sydal helps Cody fight them off, and they end up setting Serpentico up near a corner of the ring. Snoop Dogg then climbs to the top rope and hits Serpentico with a diving splash. Snoop covers Serpentico as Cody counts to three. Snoop Dogg then takes a victory lap as he greets the commentators and celebrates.

 

Match 4
AEW Women’s World Title Match
Abadon vs Hikaru Shida (AEW Women’s Champ)
(referee: Bryce Remsburg)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Hikaru Shida wins via pinfall after Tamashii and retains the AEW Women’s World Title in her sixth defense
Time: 8:27

Match Thoughts
Good match. AEW has done well to build up Abadon as a scary monster, and this match was definitely different than many of Shida’s title defenses. Abadon attacked Shida before the bell which prompted Shida to hit Abadon in the head with her kendo stick. Then the match started, and the action felt more wild than many of the previous AEW Women’s Title matches. Abadon was always on the attack, and it felt a lot like Shida was just trying to end the match so she could get away from the bloody monster across the ring from her. I never felt like Abadon would really beat Shida, but this was still a pretty fun match. I think it was a good step for Abadon, so we’ll see where she goes from here.

 

Backstage
With Anna Jay beside her and John Silver and Alex Reynolds behind her, Tay Conti says she respects Serena Deeb, but Conti is coming to take the NWA Women’s Title away from her next week.

 

Match 5
AEW World Title Match
Rey Fenix vs Kenny Omega (AEW World Champ) w/ Don Callis
(referee: Aubrey Edwards)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Kenny Omega wins via pinfall after the One-Winged Angel and retains the title in his first defense
Time: 17:01

Match Thoughts
Great match! This was everything I hoped it would be. Hard-hitting, innovative, high-flying, and very dramatic. Both men regularly do things I’ve never seen before, and they both brought new things into this match multiple times. With this being Omega’s first defense of the AEW World Title, before the match I didn’t really think he would lose, but Rey Fenix had me completely believing that he could win as the match went on. This match will definitely be in contention for the best match of 2021 for me and probably a whole lot of other people.

 

Ring Area
After the match, Don Callis gets in the ring with Kenny Omega. It seems like Callis is about to have Omega attack Rey Fenix, but Callis and Omega turn to the video screen instead. On the screen we see Eddie Kingston, The Butcher, The Blade, and The Bunny standing over Penta El Zero M and Pac after having attacked two-thirds of Death Triangle. Callis gloats as he sends Omega to attack Fenix.

As Omage is picking Fenix up, Jon Moxley comes out to the ring and hit Omega with a barbed-wire bat. Callis escapes to ringside as Moxley prepares to attack Omega again. Before Moxley can strike, the Good Brothers, Impact Tag Champs Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson, slide into the ring and attack Moxley. After beating Moxley down, Omega uses the barbed-wire bat on Moxley.

The Varsity Blondes jump the barricade from where they were watching at ringside, but their attempt to help Moxley ends quickly at the hands of the Good Brothers. More wrestlers from ringside swarm the ring, but they’re all taken down. Finally, the Young Bucks run to the ring. It’s unclear where Nick and Matt’s loyalties lie at first, but they quickly defend Omega when the Varsity Blondes attempt to hold Omega back. Omega, Gallows, and Anderson all hold up “too sweets,” and as the show comes to an end, the Young Bucks join in the too sweet salute.

 

Show Impressions
This was a very good show, and a lot of that had to do with the main event and its post-match shenanigans. The rest of the show was good, but the final quarter of tonight’s episode was great. AEW continues to pull the wrestling world together with some exciting matches and story lines that cross promotions and eras, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Match of the Night
Rey Fenix vs Kenny Omega
This is easily the AEW match to beat for 2021.

 

 

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