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AEW Dynamite: January 5, 2021

by Doc Allen

Bryan Danielson

Live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. This is the premiere episode of Dynamite on TBS, ending a 21 year wrestling drought on the network. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Shiavone, and Excalibur.

AEW World Championship:
Hangman Adam Page © vs. American Dragon Bryan Danielson

Justin Roberts introduces our special judges, Mark Henry, Jerry Lynn, and Paul Wight, who will decide the winner if there's another 60 minute draw. Bell rings and Page looks for a quick lariat, Bryan hightails it. Hangman gets a lockup but Bryan sneaks a chop and stalls some more. Hangman reverses a wristlock, Bryan ducks a lariat and does some jump n' jacks. Hangman surprises with a tope suicida, but misses the moonsault. Hangman recovers for a popup powerbomb onto the apron! Bryan sells a back injury, but swats away Hangman's second tope into the barricade! Bryan goes to work on the arm to prevent any future Buckshots. Hangman hits a fallaway slam, and has trouble hitting a springboard clothesline and then a plancha. Flying clothesline by Hangman gets 2. Hangman reverses Danielson's dive into an overhead suplex. Bryan hits a drop toe hold into the steps. Page is busted open and Bryan targets the wound to send us to commercials.

They return with Bryan headbutting Hangman's open wound. Dragon ruthlessly applies an armbreaker and continuously pummels the forehead. Page surprises with a DVD to buy some time. Hangman blocks a German and hits one of his own for 2. They both go for suplexes and tumble to outside, where Bryan thrusts Hangman into the ring post. Fans chant "This is awesome!" Page repeatedly pulls Bryan's face into the post! Hangman hits several headbutts and mocks Bryan's jump n' jacks. Bryan is bleeding too, and it's time for more commercials.

They're back with a bloody top rope battle. Page hits an avalanche fallaway slam for a great nearfall! Bryan counters a springboard move, but Hangman recovers with Dead Eye on the floor! Bryan collapses to dodge a Buckshot. Danielson tries an inside cradle and then rakes the face while applying the LeBell Lock! Page escapes with a catapult, and lands the moonsault to outside. Bryan ducks the Buckshot and nails the running knee, but HANGMAN KICKS OUT! Fans chant "Fight Forever" while they exchange headbutts. Gotch Piledriver by Dragon gets another good nearfall. Bryan smiles at the judges, then traps Hangman's wrists to stomp his face. Hangman counters with a desperation powerbomb, but Bryan pulls him into a triangle sleeper. Bryan transitions to a leg lock, but Page punches free. Hangman hits a brutal back suplex, Dragon lands right on his head! Page nails the Buckshot and WINS at 29:06! WHAT A MATCH! Hangman silences his biggest critic and slays the dragon. This was every bit as good as their first match, but in half the time, with the volume turned way up, *****.
Winner and still AEW World Champion: Hangman Adam Page

The Acclaimed rap to the camera. They had Darby Allin beat, but Sting got into their business like a typical Boomer. They're going to handle their business like a proper generation should, which means they're filming a music video. This should be good.

MJF vs. Captain Shawn Dean

Looks like MJF's neck is in better shape than I'd feared, as he's back in action. Or maybe not, before they can lock up, CM Punk runs in and chases MJF out. Dean is upset, so Punk hits him with a GTS for the DQ at 0:45. Well, Dean is undefeated in 2022.
Winner via DQ: Shawn Dean

The crowd boos Punk for attacking Dean, but are back on his side when he makes fun of MJF for losing. MJF accuses Punk of being fake and boring. MJF thinks Punk needs him to have any sort of edge or be relevant. MJF thinks Punk sold Tony Khan a fake bill of goods, he isn't what he used to be. He thinks it's funny that PG-Punk got offended by his Roddy Piper comparison, and wonders if Punk wishes he was Piper because he was actually talented enough to main event Wrestlemania. MJF better start getting his proper respect because otherwise he might main event ‘Mania too. Punk chuckles and says that he just wants to kick MJF's @ss. If MJF thinks the grass is greener on the other side, he should go main event night 4 of a buy 1 get 1 free extravaganza, and get released faster than he lasts in the sack, and Punk will still be waiting to give him that @ss-beating. Oh boy, this segment is going to ruffle some feathers. MJF is upset enough to give Punk a match next week… against Wardlow. Punk says men like him and Piper would fight anyone at anytime, so he'll happily fight Wardlow because MJF will eventually run out of people to hide behind. This was all very entertaining, but I hope MJF's neck is okay.

Hype video for Cody Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara at Battle of the Belts.

Chris Jericho comes to the ring to talk. Jericho puts over Dynamite's move to TBS, which earns the first ever "TBS" chant in wrestling history. This is Jericho's first appearance on TBS since he lost to Booker T on WCW Thunder in 1999 ("I think he cheated"). He calls 2point0 dipsh!ts, which lures them out for a rebuttal. Jericho calls them "Terrence and Philip" and cannot hear them because he's distracted by Matt Lee's square head and Jeff Parker's pin head. Jericho grabs Floyd, but Daniel Garcia runs in through the crowd. Santana, Ortiz, and Eddie Kingston rush in for the timely rescue.

Recap of Jake Atlas making an impressive debut on Dark and getting signed.

Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly, and Bobby Fish talk to the camera. Cole thought last week was awesome, partly because he knows that Kyle didn't mean to kick him in the face. Cole thinks they are unstoppable, and will prove it by facing Jake Atlas on Rampage. Cole will send Atlas packing back to Orlando.

Wardlow (with Shawn Spears) vs. Antonio Zambrano

Spears hits Zambrano with C4 on the floor before the bell. Wardlow didn't see it but puts 2 and 2 together and isn't happy. He still hits a Powerbomb Symphony anyway and wins at 1:22. Spears isn't happy to see Wardlow still not following orders, but he'll accept it for now. Another good squash for Wardlow.
Winner: Wardlow

Recap of Leyla Hirsch being a bad partner on Dark.

TBS Championship Tournament - Finals:
Jade Cargill (with Mark Sterling) vs. Ruby Soho

Jade is cosplaying as old school X-Men Storm and I'm such a sucker for these comic book references, I should be ashamed. But I'm not, just to be clear. Bell rings, Jade hits an armdrag. Ruby hits some tight shots and spills Jade outside for a penalty kick and missile dropkick. Ruby seems to tweak her own back, allowing Jade to take over with hard kicks. Ruby hits a second rope armdrag to buy some time. Mercedes Martinez arrives but Thunder Rosa runs in to prevent shenanigans. Back from commercials, Ruby is making a scrappy comeback. Jade cuts her off with a mean shoulder breaker. Pump kick by Jade gets 2. Ruby manages an elbow strike and then a Saito Suplex for only 2! Sterling hops onto the apron and gets ejected. Ruby blocks Jaded and hits No Future but Jade kicks out! Ruby looks for a top rope armdrag, but Jade reverses into an avalanche Jaded! Jade wins the title at 11:17! This was a bit rough around the edges, they didn't exactly have great chemistry together, but the nearfalls were interesting and that finish was excellent, **½.
Winner and first ever TBS Champion: Jade Cargill

Jade's daughter looks on with tears in her eyes.

Jim Ross sits down to interview Serena Deeb about her intentions. Serena intended to have respectful matches, but Shida didn't play along, so now it's time to hurt her. J.R. can't help but notice how personal this has gotten and wants to know what's really going on. Deeb says she's called "The Professor" because she has a Ph.D in this sh!t and she's sick of paying dues for other people to get ahead. Deeb wants another match with Shida and won't let her walk away.

Malakai Black vs. Brian Pillman Jr. (with Julia Hart)

Julia is sporting an eye patch from the black mist. How cool would it be if she later reveals that under the patch is black paint like Malakai and she's a House of Black member? I'm doing my best to fantasy book this angle into existence. Black and Pillman lock up, Pillman pats the chest on a clean break and nearly takes Black Mass. Pillman hits a dropkick, ducks a moonsault, and hits a baseball slide dropkick to send us to commercials. They return with a slugfest. Black lands a roundhouse kick, but Pillman comes back with running attacks. Jackhammer slam by Pillman gets 2. Pillman botches a springboard move, and Black hits a low thrust kick to win at 6:02. Not much to this one, they totally lacked chemistry, and the finish was screwed up, *.
Winner: Malakai Black

Lucha Bros. come out early to confront Black, but he uses the Lights Out gimmick to escape.

Tony Shiavone interviews Ruby Soho about her loss, but Britt Baker interrupts right away. Ruby is tired of Britt's constant interruptions and orders her to focus on Riho and leave her alone. Britt and Jamie Hayter attack Ruby, but Riho rushes in to break them up.

QT Marshall and Aaron Solo talk to the camera. QT reminds us that he trained Hook, and all that guy did was take it easy and leave early. Solo will beat Hook on Rampage.

AEW Tag Team Championship:
Lucha Bros. © (Rey Fenix and Penta El Zero Miedo, with Alex Abrahantes) vs. Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy, with Christian Cage)

Jungle Boy locks up with Fenix, and they show off what they can do while locking knuckles. Fenix hits an enziguri, JB avoids a tandem attack. Penta and Luchasaurus make tags and wipe out each other's partners with kicks. Penta's glove comes off and his overhead chops have little effect. Luchasaurus chops Penta down. Match breaks down with all four guys holding hands for a crazy springboard armdrag. Luchasaurus recovers to boot Lucha Bros. down. Luchasaurus hits Penta with a German for 2. Jungle Boy tags and outmaneuvers Lucha Bros. to hit a head scissors/arm drag combo. Fenix does a tight rope walk to kick Jungle Boy's head. Back from commercials, JB escapes from Lucha Bros' corner with a lariat. Luchasaurus cleans house with his usual power moves. Lucha Bros. cut him off when Penta powerbombs Fenix onto him. Luchasaurus spikes Fenix, Jungle Boy helps with a flying Destroyer! Luchasaurus slams Penta for a hot nearfall. Fenix answers with a springboard Destroyer of his own, Penta hits JB with Made in Japan for a great nearfall! The lights go out, but nothing comes of it. Penta hits Fear Factor on the apron, while Fenix flies over them with a corkscrew press. Lucha Bros. hit their combination Fear Factor, but JUNGLE BOY KICKS OUT! Alex sets up a ringside table, but Christian chases him away. They battle on the apron until Luchasaurus chokeslams Fenix through the table (breaking Rey's arm to pieces in the process, ugh). JB and Penta trade counters until JB wins via rollup at 14:35. Most fans are unaware of what happened to Fenix, so there's a big celebration. This was a crazy good spot-filled war until Fenix' injury brought everything down, ***½.
Winners and new AEW Tag Team Champions: Jurassic Express

The stage fills with tag teams. Meanwhile, Chris Jericho and Malakai Black are spotted sitting in the stands.

Final Thoughts: I don't think this title change was planned, but I could be wrong, based on the show ending angle with tag teams filling the stage. This started with a five star match, which makes for an instant recommendation, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel totally deflated by Rey Fenix breaking his arm. Also, Jade Cargill winning the TBS Championship was certainly the right move, even if the match itself didn't live up to the standards of the tournament, and I hope to see her making Miro-like defenses most weeks.

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