We’re at the point where I’m getting used to writing “2021”, which is great for when I pick back up at my day job as a teacher. Welcome back to your AEW coverage on Snap Mayors! Last time we were here, the AEW/Impact crossover took another giant leap, as we closed out Night 1 of New Year’s Smash with the reformation of the Bullet Club! (Except for legal reasons, we can’t call them the Bullet Club). Nevertheless, seeing Omega, The Bucks, Gallows & Anderson all throwing up the REDACTED hand gesture was one hell of a moment to see. Also, the Omega vs. Fenix match that preceded this moment was phenomenal.
We’re here for Night 2. Another loaded card headlined by Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage for the TNT Championship, Omega teaming with The Elite, a NWA Women’s Championship match, and much more!
Let’s do this!
We waste little time getting to action, as commentary intro the Pac vs. Eddie Kingston match, complete with a video package.
Match 1: Pac vs. Eddie Kingston
Pac starts with incredible intensity, befitting the tone of this feud. He blasts Kingston with a dropkick, followed by a flawless Fosbury Flop where he lands on his feet. Schiavone says that Pac may be the best athlete AEW has… and he might have a point there. Back in the ring, Pac cracks Kingston with pump kicks. Kingston eventually stops the momentum with an elbow, followed by a knee drop to the back of the neck.
The Bunny gets involved at ringside, raking at Pac’s eyes. A lot of bodies at ringside, with Butcher, Blade and the Lucha Bros hanging around as well. Kingston cements the advantage with an exploder suplex on the floor. The first near fall of the match comes after a Kingston neckbreaker. Kingston blisters Pac with chops- literally. Pac fights back with some swift kicks and a snap German suplex. Kingston comes back with a high angle back suplex for a 2 count. Hard hitting action here.
Kingston goes up top but Pac cracks him with a leaping kick. Pac connects with a superplex for a long 2 count. Pac runs the ropes, right into a Kingston clothesline for a near fall. Kingston goes for a DDT, but Pac grabs the ropes, and Eddie cracks the back of his head on the mat. Running dropkick follows, as does the Black Arrow, and it’s another win for The Bastard!
Winner: Pac (at 9:30)
Star Rating: ***1/2. It was a little shorter than I was expecting given the build, but maybe they’re looking to raise the stakes down the road. It seemed like a very definitive victory for Pac though. Excellent action, really felt like a fight with the intensity on both sides.
Post-match, Pac applies the Brutalizer. Hey, he never said he was a nice guy. In the camera shot, you can see Dr Samson in the background casually taking a sip of water without a care in the world, which I found hilarious. Butcher, Blade and the Lucha Bros join the fray, and then we get an appearance from Lance Archer, with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts in tow. I tell you what, I’m in the middle of watching “The Resurrection Of Jake The Snake” on Prime- great doco- and it’s great to see Jake in this spot after all the struggles shown in that. Archer clears the ring, then gets in Pac’s face, telling him to “get on the same page”.
Match 2: Chuck Taylor (w/ Orange Cassidy) vs. Miro (w/ Kip Sabian & Penelope Ford)
Miro’s hair is dark again. I swear he’s switching every week now! Chuck gets an aggressive start and knocks The Best Man to the outside with a clothesline, followed shortly after by a flip dive. Chuck is fired up! Miro charges at Chuck but smacks the ring post.
Back in the ring, Miro regains the advantage following a distraction by Kip with a Samoan Drop. An overhead belly to belly follows, then a running leg lariat. Power AND speed by the big man. The Game Over submission is up next, and that’s exactly what it was for Chuck!
Winner: Miro (at 3:30)
Star Rating: **. Basically a squash after Chuck started with the tiniest bit of hope. Excalibur said that Chuck must now be Miro’s “butler”, veering away from the term “young boy” that was used last week. Probably a good idea to avoid the connotations of that. I know about Japanese wrestling culture, but it still felt a little weird.
Backstage, Dasha Gonzalez is with Private Party and Matt Hardy. Kassidy goes to speak, but Hardy cuts him off briefly, before letting him speak a moment later to gush about Matt’s mentorship. Quen tries to follow suit, but ends up questioning the 30% cut. This angers Matt, who says that Private Party were nothing before he came along. He says the fans don’t care about them. There it is. The full fledged heel turn of Matt Hardy.
The Inner Circle make their entrance to Chris Jericho’s music. The Circle have their own great theme, but I guess people won’t sing along to it like “Judas”, so here we are. Jericho invites each member of the Inner Circle to share their New Year’s resolutions. Hager just yells, “CHAMPIONSHIPS!” Along the same lines, Jericho says that he and MJF will win the tag team championships in 2021. Santana and Ortiz take issue with this, since they were meant to be the tag team in the IC. Sammy accuses Jericho of being a “tag team slut” (oof), teaming with everyone. They continue to bicker, MJF eventually plays peacemaker and settles everyone down- although he gives a quick sly smirk towards the camera. They agree to face each other to blow off steam next week, ala the Wardlow vs. Hager match last week. Jericho/MJF vs. Santana/Ortiz vs. Sammy/Hager. Jericho gets a kick out of “Sammy Hager”. Sammy doesn’t get it. They give the middle fingers in a show of unity to end the segment. Intriguing development here. Sammy seems to be kinda positioned in a babyface role, MJF is a smarmy snake, and the rest seem a little conflicted about how they feel about the new team dynamic.
Backstage, Alex Marvez is with the Dark Order. He asks them what’s next after paying tribute to their former leader, Brodie Lee, who tragically passed away a couple of weeks ago. Evil Uno says they have to be better people. That starts with Hangman Page teaming with the Dark Order next week. Page is standing by. Silver babbles “I love you so much” to Hangman as the rest try to play it cool. Page promises to give them an answer next week as to whether he’ll join the Dark Order.
We get a video package on the Darby vs. Cage feud. It starts all the way back when Taz was trying to recruit Darby and got rejected, leading to the formation of Team Taz. In that sense, it really puts into perspective how long this feud has been going on- it can be traced all the way back to Double Or Nothing last year, with detours in between.
Backstage, Dasha is with Kenny Omega, Don Callis and The Young Bucks. Callis tells the Bucks to do their own entrance, because he loves their music. Stevie Wonder can see where this is going…
Match 3: Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers vs. Danny Limelight & The Varsity Blondes
Callis gets on the mic and introduces Gallows & Anderson, not The Bucks, as Kenny’s partners. That seemed obvious since Callis referred to “the tag team champions” last week, and the graphics vaguely referred to “The Elite”, without actually showing Kenny and Young Bucks in the graphic.
Omega and the Brothers brawl with the “already in the ring” team. The Blondes, who have had some recent Dynamite exposure, are taken to the outside, leaving Limelight in the ring. Omega, Gallows & Anderson hit a triple stacked splash, which somehow rivals Snoop in the “bowling shoe ugly” category. I haven’t seen this Danny Limelight before, but he actually gets a lot of shine here, doing an awesome double springboard hurricanrana. He goes for another big springboard move, but Anderson catches him with a spinebuster. Good Brothers with the Magic Killer, and it’s all over.
Winners: Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers (at 9:00)
Star Rating: ***. Fun dose of action, along with the storyline advancement. It gives hype to Impact’s Hard To Kill PPV this coming weekend, where Omega & The Brothers will team. Commentary make a point of inferring that Tony Khan is getting screwed in this crossover deal, and I feel like that wasn’t by accident. Limelight is a wrestler I’m keen to see much more of.
After the match, the music of Jon Moxley hits. The former AEW Champion storms the ring, but “The Elite” beat him down. The Lucha Bros run out. The Bucks try to reason with Mox. Lucha Bros crack The Bucks with superkicks. Referees, agents and lower card wrestlers break apart this chaotic scene. I like that Fenix & Penta stuck up for AEW, but haven’t forgot their title aspirations at the same time.
It’s time for The Waiting Room talk show segment with Britt Baker. Rebel/Reba gives the big over the top introduction. They’ve actually got a proper talk show set rather than just doing it in the ring or on the stage. Nice touch. Baker sets up an introduction of her guest, Cody Rhodes, throwing a few insults his way in the process. She questions who Cody is aligned with- Sting? Shaq? Snoop? Britt tells Cody to make a good choice- unlike his neck tattoo. Ooh.
Baker and Rebel hold sparklers at the doorway- Cody’s “contractually obligated pyro”. Okay, that was genuinely funny. Before long, Baker introduces a “surprise” second guest- Jade Cargill. Holy crap, I never realised how big she was! She’s about as tall as Cody and absolutely jacked. Jade asks for an opponent with Brandi gone, which prompts the arrival of Red Velvet. They tussle and the women’s roster breaks the two up. Cargill looks like a million bucks, but can she wrestle? Looks like we’ll find out shortly.
Back to the talk show, and Baker plays a clip of beating down Thunder Rosa and washing away her facepaint. A selfie promo interrupts from Rosa, announcing that Rosa vs. Baker will happen on Feb 3rd, at AEW Beach Break. Baker freaks out and says she’s not doing it, before wrapping up the segment.
Match 4: Jurassic Express vs. FTR (w/ Tully Blanchard)
The combination of Marko Stunt & Jungle Boy are representing Jurassic Express in this match. Jungle Boy has new music, which feels like it will definitely catch on for sing alongs with the Daily’s Place crowd.
Dax bullies Marko in the early going. Marko slaps Dax, which of course leads to a beatdown. Harwood and Wheeler lift Marko by the hair and slam him to the mat. Marko comes back with a big chop on Wheeler, who returns fire with a hard European uppercut. Marko scores with a crazy tilt-a-whirl, followed by a dropkick, and makes the tag to Jungle Boy. Double team shenanigans ensue. Marko hits FTR with a suicide dive, and JB follows with an Asai moonsault!
Back from commercial break, FTR are in control. We’ve had a few instances on this show of JR throwing to “picture in picture”, but we actually cut to break on FITE. One of the best things about FITE usually is that we don’t miss any action. Harwood gets a near fall following a drop toe hold/elbow drop double team. Fundamentals. Wheeler back in and he applies the Gory Special on Stunt.
Marko eventually escapes and makes the hot tag to Jungle Boy. JB takes out FTR, showing great fire. Backstabber gets a near fall. Moments later, Jungle Jack scores with a frankensteiner but Wheeler breaks up the pin. JB takes out Wheeler with a brainbuster, and Harwood almost gets a 3 count with a roll up that involved a little tights grabbing. Tag made to Marko. The 5 foot wonder flies around, but Harwood levels him with a lariat. Stunt evens the odds a moment later with an undetected low blow, followed by the Dudley Dog for a near fall. Tully gets involved and shoves Marko into the ring post. I’m not SUPPOSED to pop for that, am I? Wheeler takes out Jungle Boy, and FTR hit Big Rig (the new name for Goodnight Express/Shatter Machine) on Stunt for the win.
Winners: FTR (at 12:15)
Star Rating: ***1/4. Look, I can’t stand Marko Stunt. I don’t think he’ll ever be my cup of tea. But this was a really well done match. FTR played the bullies to perfection, Marko and Jungle Boy had their moments of hope at just the right times, it was fun to watch.
Match 5: NWA Women’s Championship- Serena Deeb (c) vs. Tay Conti (w/ Dark Order)
They tie up and Deeb starts to work the arm. The champ whips down the challenger with a couple of arm drags as Ross notes that Serena had a hand in training Conti in her early days (at the WWE PC). Chickenwing pin by Serena gets the first near fall of the contest. They exchange holds on the mat, then Tay launches Serena with a judo throw once they get vertical. The more inexperienced Conti holding her own against the veteran here.
Conti attempts a flying triangle choke but Deeb fights out and hits a sliding clothesline for a 2 count. Conti wipes Deeb out of the ring with a pump kick. JR tells us it’s picture in picture, and once again we lose the feed on FITE. After a few minutes, we come back to Tay hitting Serena with a full nelson throw into a stunner for a near fall. Very unique. Deeb locks Conti in the Stretch Muffler but the challenger makes the ropes. Deeb goes for the Serenity Lock but Conti rolls her up for another close call. Gutbuster by Serena and this time Tay is forced to kick out.
Deeb puts Conti in the Gory Special using the ropes for assistance. That’s a couple of moves in this match that I’ve never seen before. Moments later, Serena hits the Deeb-Tox for the win!
Winner: Serena Deeb (at 9:28)
Star Rating: ***1/4. Tough to rate considering we lost such a big chunk of the match to commercials, but what I saw was really good. Serena is always good value, but Conti gave perhaps her most impressive showing to date.
Taz joins commentary for the main event championship match. He complains that Tony Khan limited Team Taz, not allowing Powerhouse Hobbs to be at ringside.
Match 6: TNT Championship- Darby Allin (c) vs. Brian Cage (w/ Ricky Starks & Hook)
Allin immediately dropkicks Cage out of the ring, hits him with a wild dive and rams him head-first into the barricade all within about 10 seconds. Darby goes for another tope but Cage catches him in mid-air and suplexes him on the floor. Back in the ring, Cage levels him with a clothesline. Cage picks Darby up in a military press and hurls him out of the ring through the timekeeper’s table! Holy shit!
Darby comes up bloodied from going through the table. Cage picks him up out of the wreckage in a suplex position, marches him up the stairs, onto the ramp, and throws him back in the ring. I know Darby is a small guy, but still, that’s insane strength by Cage! Cage continues to launch Allin around the ring with the greatest of ease.
Cage charges at Darby in the corner but takes a boot to the face. Cage catches a leaping Darby out of the air and hits him with a F-5, but the kickout comes at 1! Triple powerbomb by Cage. Darby weakly gives him the middle finger. Powerbomb out of the ring onto the ramp! Darby flips the bird again. Superplex from the ramp into the ring, and Allin kicks out at 1 again! A frustrated Cage grabs the steel stairs. Darby dropkicks him then bites the hand holding the ropes, forcing The Machine to fall onto the stairs with a sickening thud. Darby seizes the opportunity and hits Cage with a Coffin Drop on the stairs!
They make it back into the ring before the 10 count. Darby takes off his belt and uses it to help him hit a flipping stunner. He then ties Cage’s legs up and rains down shots to the back of the head. Darby connects with Code Red for a good near fall. Darby goes up top, Hook causes a distraction, and Starks crotches Darby on the turnbuckle. Immediately, the lights go out, and STIIIIIIING appears! He hits Ricky with the bat. Cage goes up and grabs Darby in a fireman’s carry, but Allin counters with a top rope crucifix bomb for the 3 count!
Winner: Darby Allin (at 13:45)
Star Rating: ****. That was an absolute blast. Only thing is, they’ve set a dangerous precedent, because how do you beat Darby after that, showing him be THAT resilient? Whoever beats him is going to need a missile launcher or something. Still, really fun to watch. A David vs. Goliath battle on steroids. Well… anyway… very entertaining, and it was nice to see Sting in a physical capacity for the first time in AEW.
Sting joins Darby in the ring. On the stage, Team Taz are besides themselves as snow rains down on them. Schiavone signs us off, “see you next week, we’re definitely out of time!” By all accounts, TNT are very happy with Dynamite, I’m sure they could have an overrun if they really wanted to.
A strong show. Not quite as loaded or newsworthy as Night 1, but well worth a watch. The Waiting Room segment was a bit messy, I think they tried to cram too much in there, and Cody may as well have been a cardboard cutout with how limited his involvement was. Otherwise though, the action in every match was good, they advanced the AEW/Impact story with the Good Brothers involvement, as predictable as it was. And AEW definitely saved the best for last here. Darby vs. Cage was a complete stunt show, but it absolutely fit the feud and characters to have that level of carnage.
Sting getting physical was a big moment, and needed to advance the story to some degree after weeks of the same rinse-repeat segment from him. I have mixed feelings about Sting actually working a match- on one hand, he’s 61 and his last match ended in horrible fashion over 5 years ago. On the other hand, I feel like AEW can and will protect him in an actual match- whether he teams with Darby, where Darby takes all the bumps. Or he wrestles Darby, where Darby takes all the bumps. Or maybe they save a Sting match for a big marquee program- where someone like Cody or Jericho would fit the bill, two of the safest hands in AEW. I think Sting is looking for that proper closure to his career, and what happened with Seth Rollins wasn’t it.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Until next time, take care.