AEW Dynamite New Year's Smash will feature the in-ring debut of Kyle O'Reilly.
O'Reilly will reunite with NXT Undisputed Era stablemates Adam Cole and Bobby Fish, teaming against Orange Cassidy, Trent and Chuck Taylor of Best Friends in a trios match tonight. O'Reilly debuted as a promised surprise on last week's episode, attacking Cassidy.
The TBS Championship tournament continues tonight with a semifinal matchup, as Thunder Rosa faces Jade Cargill. The winner will take on Ruby Soho next week in the tournament finals on the first TBS edition of Dynamite. Both Rosa and Cargill had first round byes in the tournament by virtue of their rankings. Cargill then defeated Red Velvet in the quarterfinals, while Rosa defeated Jamie Hayter.
Eddie Kingston, Santana and Ortiz will face Daniel Garcia, Matt Lee and Jeff Parker (2point0) in another trios match.
Jim Ross will return to the announce team on tonight's show after undergoing radiation treatments for skin cancer.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
We are live from Jacksonville for New Year’s Smash!
Excalibur and Tony Schiavone were already at the desk as the show started and they brought out Jim Ross to a standing ovation. “The band is back together!” Schiavone proclaimed. JR said, “It’s Wednesday night, and you know what that means!” What a great way to open the show.
Matt Hardy, Private Party & FTR (w/ Tully Blanchard, Jora Johl & The Blade) defeated Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, Christian Cage & AEW Tag Team Champions Lucha Brothers (w/ Alex Abrahantes) (12:33)
Wheeler and Cage started out for their teams. Wheeler avoided a Killswitch early, but got hit with a flapjack and Christian pounded on both members of FTR in a neutral corner. Tags were made to Jungle Boy and Harwood. Jungle Boy took Harwood down with an elbow and a dropkick. Cage got the tag and hit a slingshot uppercut to the floor on Harwood. Jungle Boy went for the snare trap on Harwood, who escaped and tagged in Isaiah Kassidy.
The Lucha Bros got the tag and hit a double-team splash on Kassidy, and Jungle Boy flew in with a dropkick to take out Marq Quen. Quen took Jungle Boy down off the ropes with a rana, and Jungle Boy flew right into a side effect from Matt Hardy in a great looking spot. This gave Hardy’s side the advantage, and the heels worked over Jungle Boy in their corner. Blanchard took some shots at Jungle Boy behind the referee Aubrey Edwards' back.
Jungle Boy hit the rebound lariat on Hardy and got the tag to Penta, who hit sling blades on both members of Private Party. The Lucha Bros and FTR paired off and Penta hit both members of FTR with a DDT. Fenix hit a senton atomico on Quen for a near fall. Fenix went for a muscle buster on Quen, but Quen and Kassidy turned the move into a DDT in another great spot. Harwood worked over Fenix while the crowd chanted for Luchasaurus.
Harwood hit a gourdbuster on Fenix for a near fall. Harwood set up Fenix for a superplex, but Fenix countered and hit a double jump moonsault on FTR, then got the hot tag to Luchasaurus. Luchasaurus destroyed everybody (except Hardy). Luchasaurus hit a clothesline on Harwood and the Tail Whip on Wheeler. Luchasaurus hit a chokeslam on Harwood and Penta got the blind tag, which Luchasaurus and Christian Cage weren’t happy about.
Penta hit a backstabber on Harwood and the match really started to break down. On the floor, Hardy sent Luchasaurus into the steel post. Penta set up the Fear Fator on Wheeler, but Cage got the blind tag. Penta didn’t like this, and got into a shoving match with Cage. FTR struck, knocking Penta out of the ring and hitting the Big Rig on Cage. Harwood got the pinfall on Cage. Great opener.
Daniel Garcia & 2point0 defeated Eddie Kingston, Santana & Ortiz (9:02)
Kingston started off with Matt Lee but soon went right after Garcia, and the match broke down. It settled in to Kingston and Jeff Parker in the ring. Parker ate a spinebuster and Ortiz got the tag. Ortiz and Santana double-teamed Parker with rapid fire strikes. Parker retreated and tagged in Garcia.
Santana hit Garcia with an enziguri and the rolling Three Amigos vertical suplexes. The crowd chanted “Eddie!” for that. Santana and Ortiz took Garcia down with a double team face buster for a near fall. Lee pulled Ortiz from the ring and Santana hit a Drive By on Ortiz, and the heels were able to take control as the show went to a split screen commercial break.
Back from break, Ortiz hit a shotgun dropkick on Garcia and got the tag to Kingston, who dominated Lee. Ortiz hit a DDT on Lee. Santana tried for a standing moonsault, but Lee got his knees up and then rolled up Santana with a handful of tights and got the out-of-nowhere pinfall in a very unpopular decision.
After the match, Parker and Lee double teamed Santana, and then Garcia hit Santana with the ring bell. Chris Jericho ran out with his baseball bat Floyd to chase off 2point0 and Garcia, a little late if you ask me. “Judas” played for Jericho while the fans sang. Kingston got into Jericho’s face for interfering in his affairs again.
-- MJF cut a promo backstage, flanked by Shawn Spears and Wardlow. He called Sting unprofessional for throwing him over the top rope (I hope that leads to an old-school "toss over the top rope is a dq" rule for MJF matches). MJF then turned his attention to CM Punk, who MJF claimed avoided him the entire match last week. MJF is now done with Punk, and wants to get his hands on some titles.
MJF told Wardlow it was time for him to start racking up wins so he could qualify for the “Face of the Revolution” ladder match, which Wardlow could then win and then relinquish the TNT title shot to MJF. Before Wardlow can object, Mark Sterling (remember, Sterling debuted last year as MJF's lawyer!) came in to read over the clause in Wardlow’s contract with MJF that forces Warldow to do this. MJF also promised to start racking up wins (so he could get closer to the World title), starting next week. Excellent promo and an interesting plot development.
-- Tony Schiavone interviewed Lucha Brothers, but Christian Cage interrupted to demand a Tag Team title match for Jurassic Express they have earned for next week on Dynamite. Alex Abrahantes insulted Cage’s age and for being a terrible tag team partner.
Wardlow (w/ Shawn Spears) defeated Colin Delaney (1:20)
A clothesline and four powerbombs, and it’s over for Delaney. Spears hit Delaney with a steel chair after the match.
-- There was a backstage promo with The Elite and the former Undisputed Era. The Young Bucks aren’t happy with Kyle O’Reilly. O’Reilly wanted to talk to Cole alone and they chased everyone else away. Except Brandon Cutler who taped the whole thing for us to watch. O’Reilly acknowledged the heat with Cole they’ve had in the past, and wanted to make sure that Cole has his back tonight.
-- Dan Lambert cut a promo in the ring and ran down Arn Anderson, Cody and Brandi Rhodes. Lambert doesn't know of anyone named Brandi who wasn't a stripper. And of course Lambert took a shot at the tattoo, which got applauded. Brandi came out and called Lambert a “less talented version of Paul Heyman,” although Lambert would rather be compared to Jim Cornette. “When was the last time you got beat up by a woman and didn’t have to pay for it?” Just as Brandi and Lambert were about to fight, Dustin Rhodes ran in to try and stop Brandi. Ethan Page attacked Dustin from behind. Cody didn't show up to defend his wife or brother. Weird segment.
Jade Cargill defeated Thunder Rosa (w/ Mark Sterling) in the TBS Championship Tournament semifinal (10:55)
Rosa did a Wolverine cosplay for this match. Rosa took down Sterling early on with a somersault senton on the floor. Rosa and Cargill brawled on the floor. Cargill caught Rosa going for a crosbody and hit a backbreaker. Still brawling on the floor, Rosa came back by attacking Cargill’s leg. Cargill sent Rosa headfirst into the ringpost, and finally after three minutes the match got into the ring.
Cargill missed a back elbow in the corner, and Rosa hit a dragon screw with Cargill’s legs in the ropes. Rosa slipped off the middle rope, but covered and hit a back elbow. Cargill hit a pumpkick, still selling her injured leg, and the show went to a split-screen commercial break.
Back from break, Cargill was selling a bad leg and Rosa was working over the injury. Rosa hit a pair of basement dropkicks on Cargill’s leg, and rolled her up for two. Cargill caught Rosa with a Samoan drop, but kipped up and kept selling the bad leg. Cargill went for nan over the shoulder backbreaker, but collapsed under the weight because of the bad leg. Rosa hit a knebreaker, and slapped on the figure four leglock. Cargill didn’t look like she knew how to sell that, but reached the ropes. Rosa went for the figure four again, but Cargill kicked her away. A hooded figure hit Rosa in the corner, and Cargill hit the Jaded slam for the pinfall. Absolutely the wrong finish.
After the match, Rosa jumped Cargill, and the hooded figure attacked Rosa, revealing herself to be recent NXT release Mercedes Martinez. Martinez and Cargill beat down Rosa. Ruby Soho ran in and made the save. This sets up Jade Cargill vs. Ruby Soho for the TBS Title final next week.
-- There was a recap of the Leyla Hirsch & Kris Statlander issue from Rampage last week.
-- There was a talking heads segment on the upcoming Riho/Britt Baker AEW Women's World Title match at Battle of the Belts.
CM Punk promo
Punk immediately went to thank JR and welcomed him back. Punk also talked about the Brodie Lee tribute show from last year (that came from Jacksonville) and how that tribute show made Punk want to come to AEW. Punk then moved onto MJF, who ran from him last week during the six-man main event. MJF thinks he’s done with Punk, and that’s fine with Punk, since he wants the World Title. He called MJF “a bigger waste of Khan money than Tim Tebow” and that got a huge pop from the crowd. Punk suggested that if MJF wants to be the World Champion, that Punk and MJF’s paths are going to cross again.
-- In a backstage promo, Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs laid out a challenge from Hobbs for Dante Martin.
There is a lot of talking for this show.
-- Sammy Guevara came out and the show went to a split-screen commercial break. During the split screen portion of the break, Guevara did the gimmick with the cards, and on the cards he challenged Cody to a rematch for the TNT title. Doing this during the break made it look like an afterthought.
-- There was another talking segment, this time from Hikaru Shida about her feud with Serena Deeb.
-- Schiavone interviewed Brian Pillman Jr. in the ring. Pillman cut a promo challenging Malakai Black for next week. As he finished, the lights went out. When they came back up, they were focused on the entrance and Black appeared, pointing at Pillman. The lights went out, and when they came back up again, the Black was gone.
For Rampage Friday:
- Cody Rhodes vs. Ethan Page for the TNT Title
- Darby Allin vs. Anthony Bowens. The Acclaimed and Sting & Darby Allin cut promos on each other ahead of that match.
- Penelope Ford & The Bunny vs. Anna Jay & Tay Conti in a street fight.
For Dynamite next Wednesday on TBS:
- Adam Page vs. Bryan Danielson for the World Title
- Lucha Bros vs. Jurassic Express for the Tag Titles
- Ruby Soho vs. Jade Cargill for the TBS Title
- Malakai Black vs. Brian Pillman Jr.
Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish defeated Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta (14:42)
O’Reilly & Fish came out to an entrance video referring to them as their old tag team name of reDRagon.
Orange Cassidy avoided a slingshot senton from Fish but Cole laid him out with a clothesline and Fish hit the move. Cole got caught in the wrong corner and hit with charging clotheslines from the Best Friends and a double elbow drop. O’Reilly caught Taylor with a dragon screw leg whip in the ropes, and Fish clipped Taylor’s leg on the floor.
Back from a commercial break, and Schiavone on commentary makes a big deal that TNT has given the show permission to run long. Beretta caught Fish with a half-and-half suplex. Beretta hit a spinning DDT on O’Reilly for a near fall. Cole caught Baretta with a kick, and the members of reDRagon took the fight to Baretta. They hit a decapitation knee drop on Beretta for a near fall. Cassidy got the tag and after a brief flurry, he feel victim to a double-team DDT from reDRagon for a near fall. Cole hit a superkick on Cassidy, and ReDragon hit the High-Low combination for a near fall.
The fight started to go all over ringside. Cole went for a Panama Sunrise on the stage, but Taylor countered the move with a backdrop. Beretta hit Cole with a spear, and threw him into the ring for Cassidy to hit a diving DDT for a near fall. Taylor and Beretta hit a pair of piledrivers on Cole, and Cassidy followed up with Beach Break.
O’Reilly went for a boot on Cassidy, but Cassidy ducked and O’Reilly hit Cole with the boot. Beretta and Taylor hit the Soul Food/Half and Half combo on Fish. Brandon Cutler ran in to distract the Best Friends, and this allowed the Young Bucks to sneak in and superkick the Best Friends. O’Reilly and Fish hit Chasing the Dragon, a brainbuster/enziguri combo, on Taylor to get the win.
After the match, reDRagon celebrated the win, but the Young Bucks and Cole were upset about O’Reilly’s errant boot knocking out Cole. It seems there is dissension in the ranks of the Elite.