Date: December 23, 2020
Location: Daily’s Place, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
It’s the holiday season and for once this show isn’t going head to head with NXT thanks to an NBA game. I’m not sure what to expect from this week’s show but the Young Bucks are defending the Tag Team Titles. Other than that it’s time to build towards the next two weeks of New Year’s Smash. Let’s get to it.
Chris Jericho/Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Top Flight
The fans sing Judas to make sure you know that Chris Jericho is the coolest thing in the world. Jericho and Darius trade shots to the face to start with Jericho getting the better of things without much effort. Darius gets in a shot of his own though and it’s Dante coming in for a double kick to the chest. It’s off to Friedman, who gets dropkicked to the floor, meaning it’s a double slugout to put the Inner Circle in trouble.
Friedman is knocked outside again but Jericho clotheslines Dante down to take over. Back in and Jericho knees Dante in the ribs and hits a belly to back suplex. There’s the double flapjack to Dante and a quick distraction lets MJF choke away. A catapult sends Dante throat first into the bottom rope and Jericho throws his feet on the ropes for two like a villain should. Jericho’s superplex attempt is broken up though and Dante hits a high crossbody for two.
The hot tag brings in Darius for a standing Spanish Fly on MJF and a suicide dive hits Jericho. Back in and a springboard missile dropkick gets two on MJF, followed by a DDT for the same. Jericho is back up with a spinebuster into the Lionsault for two but the Walls is countered into a rollup for the same. Darius grabs a sunset flip on Jericho and sends Dante flying over the top onto MJF with a dive (sweet) for a near fall at the same time. Jericho drops Dante onto the apron and it’s the Heatseeker to give MJF the pin at 11:40.
Rating: C+. Not too bad here as Top Flight is one of the smoothest teams that I’ve seen in a good while. They could use some polish (as could everyone) but for as young as they are, they’re a heck of a team. Jericho and MJF working well together is interesting and I’m curious to see where the whole Inner Circle deal goes.
Post match Jake Hager gets in the ring and says the team has been doing great in recent weeks, save for Wardlow that is. Wardlow has been gone dealing with his own stuff instead of worrying about Inner Circle business. It’s obvious that Wardlow is an asset but he’s also an a******, so next week it’s Hager vs. Wardlow. MJF tries to talk Hager out of it and Jericho is annoyed.
We get a music video from the Acclaimed talking about the Young Bucks, who suck up to Dave (just Dave) for star ratings and quit Twitter because they got upset.
Here’s what else is coming on the show.
Tony Schiavone brings out Sting for a chat in the ring. Sting knows that he has come full circle by coming back to TNT and he is glad to see that the jungle is still intact. Tony asks about Sting looking at Darby Allin but Sting says that’s kind of a complicated question to answer. Instead, Sting talks about watching the matches through the curtain with Dusty Rhodes, who decided to put some bright colors on his face and tights. Then Sting was going to face Ric Flair and get funky like a monkey.
Now Sting sees Cody Rhodes in the ring and it’s hard to fathom. He goes back to Darby but here’s Team Taz to interrupt. Taz says that the speech would bring a tear to a glass eye and Ricky Starks says this is the jungle. Team Taz comes to the ring so Sting grabs the bat, only to have Allin and the skateboard morph in next to him. That’s fine with Taz, who says they’ll wait until January 6 when Brian Cage can win the TNT Title. This showed me two things. 1. A skateboard is a pretty stupid looking weapon. 2. Allin is a rather small man, as Sting is hardly a giant.
MJF comes up to Santana and Ortiz and brings up Santana losing his stepfather recently. MJF knows what it’s like because he just lost his grandfather to cancer and it was the hardest thing he’s done. He’s here for Santana though, and Santana seems to accept the friendly gesture. They shake hands and Ortiz seems to buy it also, with MJF not even saying anything as they leave.
Dark Order/Colt Cabana vs. Jurassic Express
It’s 5/10 for the Order. Jungle Boy rolls up Five to start as Excalibur explains the numbers to JR. Cabana and Luchasaurus come in with Cabana being kicked out to the floor in a hurry. That means it’s time for 10, with Luchasaurus slamming Stung down onto him a few times. Boy comes back in and gets caught in a German suplex for two.
We take a break and come back with Luchasaurus getting to come in and clean house, including the standing moonsault to 5. Marko dives in off of Luchasaurus’ shoulders to take Cabana down but 5 runs him over. The frog splash gets two on Stunt as everything breaks down. Luchasaurus throws Stung over the top onto Cabana and 10, leaving 5 to be flipped into a sitout powerbomb from Boy for the pin at 10:35.
Rating: C+. I liked this more than the usual Jurassic Express match, which may be due to Stunt not being left on his own for too long (the lack of dancing helped too). Let Luchasaurus come in and wreck stuff while Boy does the bulk of the work. The Dark Order, especially this group of them, can lose over and over again so this was hardly some big waste of talent.
Post match Marko talks about how good it is to be back but Tully Blanchard and FTR cut them off, with Tully saying it’s time to let the trained professionals talk. The teams meet on January 6 and this is personal because FTR wants the titles back. Stunt better be careful too, because Tully might have a flashback to the 80s. Stunt to be held back, which makes me dread the idea of Stunt getting anything over on Tully. Good promo from Blanchard here, now that he is finally getting to talk.
Kenny Omega and Don Callis are arriving at the hotel, where Callis isn’t happy with Pac making Omega vs. Rey Fenix. When did wrestlers get to make matches around here? Omega is ready to destroy Fenix in a few weeks and once he’s done, Konnan can take him back to AAA. Fenix is the kind of guy who gets hurt, while Omega gets titles. This promo style is starting to work for them more and more.
Butcher vs. Pac
Butcher looks like he’s wearing Shinsuke Nakamura’s pants that shrunk in the wash. Eddie Kingston is on commentary and Tony has to shush him for talking while trying to promote a match. Pac slugs away to start and gets sent outside, which doesn’t cause him much trouble. Back in and Pac kicks away at Butcher as Eddie and Tony continue to bicker with some surprising chemistry.
Butcher is right back with some hard shots of his own though, even as Kingston tells Tony to stop putting himself over. Pac gets crushed in the corner a few times as Eddie isn’t happy with the referee. They head outside with Pac getting in a few shots and reversing a whip into the barricade. Butcher kicks him in the face and Eddie demands that commentary “put that over”.
We take a break and come back with Pac kicking away but the Blade’s distraction breaks up the Red Arrow. A big clothesline drops Pac again and a running layout powerbomb gets two on Pac. Butcher goes to do something and Eddie shouts to PICK HIM UP for a good while, only to have Lance Archer come out to go after Kingston. The distraction lets Pac hit a kick to the head and the Black Arrow is good for the pin at 11:53.
Rating: C+. That ending hurt this a bit as Butcher was standing around far too long until we got to the point. Archer going after Kingston is interesting, if nothing else due to how little Archer seems to need Lance Archer. Butcher looked good here and it was nice to see him get to showcase himself. Pac still needs to shake off the ring rust though.
Eddie isn’t happy, but does show respect to JR. Kingston: “Schiavone, up yours.”
Jade Cargill finds it interesting that Brandi got pregnant as soon as she showed up. Shaq wants Cody Rhodes and AEW better find her a better opponent, because she’s tired of this s***. I’m getting rather tired of them having to work s*** into every other promo.
Miro wants Tony Schiavone to get fired up but Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford need to announce their wedding date. They load up the video announcement but here are the Best Friends and Orange Cassidy to interrupt. Well at least their video, as we see Trent being loaded into an ambulance last week to get rid of him. Anyway, the wedding is going to be on the beach on February 3 (happy freaking birthday to me) and it is going to be the defining moment of this company’s history. JR: “This is a train wreck.”
Dustin Rhodes vs. Evil Uno
Lee Johnson and Stu Grayson are here too as Uno jumps Dustin to start. They fight on the floor with Uno hammering away, only to chop the post by mistake. Uno knocks him down again though and it’s a Swanton for two as commentary tells us about how great Dustin is. We take a break and come back with Dustin hitting the Flip Flop and Fly, only to charge into a boot. Not that it matters as Dustin is right back with the bulldog for the pin at 8:28.
Rating: C. Not too bad here and they were putting in some effort, even with the lack of time when you factor in the break. Uno got to showcase himself a bit here but it’s not like taking a loss to Dustin is that big of a problem. Dustin is in a bit of a weird place as he’s a veteran but doesn’t have much in the ways of storylines. Nice enough match though, as Dustin isn’t going to have many bad ones.
Post match Uno offers another chance for Dustin to join but Dustin kicks him away. Grayson comes in with the Knightfall so here’s QT Marshall for the save. Marshall gets taken down as well so Johnson hits a springboard dropkick to take the Order down.
Shawn Spears sits down with Schiavone and talks about how how no matter what company he is in, the glass ceiling is still there. It’s a management problem, and he really doesn’t like Tony suggesting that Spears himself is the problem.
Hikaru Shida’s interview about being attacked by Abadon is interrupted when she is attacked by Abadon.
Hikaru Shida vs. Alex Gracia
Non-title. Shida starts fast with a Falcon Arrow attempt but Alex is having none of it. After a quick trip tot he floor, Gracia gets two off a small package and nails a running boot in the corner for the same. Shida is annoyed at being hit in the face, setting up a delayed vertical suplex. The running kick to the face connects but hold on as here’s Abadon for a distraction. Shida beats her up in a hurry and heads back inside to counter Gracia’s headscissors into a backbreaker. The Falcon Arrow finishes Gracia at 3:32.
Rating: C-. This was more about the Abadon deal than anything else but I’m rather over the whole evil monster characters. AEW does those rather frequently and while Abadon is good at it, there have been so many characters of a similar nature that it loses its impact. Gracia was acceptable in the short bit of time that she had here.
Post match the brawl is on again with Abadon biting Shida’s neck to draw blood.
Here’s what’s coming over the next few weeks, including the return of Jon Moxley next week.
Tag Team Titles: Acclaimed vs. Young Bucks
The Bucks are defending and Max Castor raps his way to the ring again, this time about their winning streak. Matt works on Castor’s arm to start and shrugs off the comeback attempt. A dropkick into an armdrag has Castor in trouble and Nick comes in to stay on said arm. It’s off to Bowens but the Bucks sent them both to the floor to send Bowens into the barricade.
Nick spears Castor down and it’s time to head back inside. Matt gets taken down this time though and Castor gets in a few shows, only to have Nick get the semi hot tag without much effort. House is cleaned until Nick’s Swanton hits Bowens’ raised knees. We take a break and come back with the Bucks starting to fire off the kicks, including Nick hitting Castor with a kick from the apron.
Back in and Matt hits Locomotion into the Sharpshooter on Bowens. Castor strikes away but can’t break it up, allowing Nick to pull Castor outside for a Sharpshooter on the floor. Both are broken up and it’s Nick being shoved off the top. A suplex/high crossbody gets two on Nick with Matt making the save. An errant superkick takes the referee out and the boom box to the head gets two from another referee (that spot still makes no sense and never has). Matt powerbombs Bowens through a table at ringside and the BTE Trigger finishes Castor at 13:47.
Rating: C-. This really didn’t work as it was little more than an extended workout for the Bucks. It certainly didn’t help the Acclaimed, whose big move was hitting them with a boom box. The rapping entrance helps, but that’s all they had here and it showed badly. The Bucks didn’t give them much here, which made for a pretty long 13+ minutes.
Overall Rating: C+. This wasn’t their strongest effort, but again it feels like they’re setting up for the big shows over the next two weeks and that’s ok. I’d much rather step back a bit for a week to let things breathe than burn through stuff on a show that doesn’t matter. As usual: if this is their weak show, they’re in a pretty good place.
Chris Jericho/Maxwell Jacob Friedman b. Top Flight – Heatseeker to Dante
Jurassic Express b. Dark Order/Colt Cabana – Sitout powerbomb to 5
Pac b. Butcher – Black Arrow
Dustin Rhodes b. Evil Uno – Bulldog
Hikaru Shida b. Alex Gracia – Falcon Arrow
Young Bucks b. Acclaimed – BTE Trigger to Castor
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