AEW Winter is Coming 2022 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
"Absolute" Ricky Starks sought to continue his momentous run in All Elite Wrestling Wednesday night on TBS when he challenged MJF for the Dynamite Diamond Ring and the AEW World Championship.
The battle between two of the company's pillars of the future headlined a special Winter Is Coming edition of the show, which also saw The Elite square off with Death Triangle in the fourth match in their Best of Seven Series.
What else went down and how did it shape the immediate future of AEW as 2022 draws to a close?
Find out with this recap of the December 14 broadcast.
- AEW World Championship and Dynamite Diamond Ring match: "Absolute" Ricky Starks vs. MJF (c)
- Best of Seven Series for the AEW World Trios Championship: The Elite vs. Death Triangle (c)
- Ruby Soho vs. Tay Melo
- House of Black vs. The Factory
- Chris Jericho vs. Action Andretti
The Elite vs. Death Triangle (Match 4, Best of Seven Series)
In the event that a week was too long of a break for you, The Elite and Death Triangle clashed again Wednesday night, this time in match No. 4 of a Best of Seven Series for the AEW World Trios Championship.
Full of the same nonstop action as its predecessors, this leaned a little more on an injury angle as Nick Jackson was forced to exit the ringside area by medical officials, leaving his brother Matt and Kenny Omega to battle PAC, Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix on their own.
They fared well enough, fending off defeat until the injured Jackson limped to the ring, tagged into the match and proceeded to...tap out to a kneebar by Fenix after Penta smashed the injured limb with the timekeeper's hammer.
Fan of the style or not, it felt obvious that this match was nowhere near as good as the first two, with inconsistent selling on the part of Jackson and a sense of "been here, done this" hanging over it like a dark cloud.
The post-match promo from Omega that saw him issue a challenge for a No Disqualification match will hopefully freshen this thing up but assuming it goes the distance, it's going to be very difficult to keep things interesting.
The opposite of that?
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"Tonight we are going to find out what happens when pressure is applied to the pebble. Will he turn into the diamond everyone claims him to be? Or will he simply turn into dust?" <a href="https://twitter.com/The_MJF?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@The_MJF</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/starkmanjones?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@starkmanjones</a><br><br>Tune in to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEWDynamite?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEWDynamite</a>: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WinterIsComing?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WinterIsComing</a> LIVE on TBS! <a href="https://t.co/lCrfy7sFOG">pic.twitter.com/lCrfy7sFOG</a>
MJF's backstage promo was compelling and full of venom. He ran down Ricky Starks ahead of the night's main event, which surely infuriated some fans and intensified their desire to see a new world champion.
Death Triangle defeated The Elite to go up 3-1 in the series
B- for the match, A+ for MJF's promo
- Nick Jackson wiped out the field with a twisting plancha to the floor but came up limping and clearly nursing his right ankle. He left the ringside area during the commercial break.
- PAC missed Black Arrow, allowing Omega to stay in the fight.
- Nick limped to the ring to the delight of the fans and received the hot tag.
Jeff Jarrett and Co. Attack The Acclaimed; 'Jungle Boy' Jack Perry vs. Brian Cage
AEW world tag team champions The Acclaimed entered to a thunderous ovation but were immediately attacked by Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal and Satnam Singh as the creative powers-that-be appear determined to end Anthony Bowens and Max Caster's heat with that feud.
Moments later, "The Machine" Brian Cage hit the ring for a match with Jack Perry, the result of last week's Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal and Jungle Boy's elimination of the big man.
Despite an attempt at interference from Prince Nana, Perry was able to score the come-from-behind victory.
After the match, he called out Big Bill and caught a beatdown courtesy of him and fellow Firm teammate Lee Moriarty. Hook made the save to a massive pop, and the heels retreated.
The match was fine, if rather nondescript, and the right guy went over. The teased partnership between Perry and Hook is interesting but at least makes sense given the FTW champion's issues with Moriarty.
Perry defeated Cage
- "At Full Gear, I beat Luchasaurus and tonight I beat Brian Cage. Now, I want the biggest b---h of them all, so Big Bill...get you're ass out here!" Perry demanded.
- Backstage, Chris Jericho cut a promo in which he told Daniel Garcia he needs mentorship and ordered him to follow and take orders from Sammy Guevara starting Friday night on Rampage.
The House of Black vs. The Factory
Malakai Black, Buddy Matthews and Brody King returned to the squared circle for the first time since All Out on September 4, battling The Factory's QT Marshall, Cole Karter and Aaron Solow in a six-man tag team match.
Black mist sprayed in Nick Comoroto's eyes by a smirking Julia Hart took him out of the equation while Matthews and King obliterated the competition. Black put an exclamation point on things with Black Mass, laying Marshall out for the pin.
This was a phenomenal reintroduction to The House of Black, which looked like the unstoppable force they should have been from the beginning. Black patiently observing the destruction caused by his teammates and then delivering the final blow was easily the best part of the entire ordeal.
Reminiscent of Raven in his WCW days with The Flock, even. And that is, by no means, a bad thing.
Backstage, Skye Blue interrupted a promo by Britt Baker and issued a challenge for a match at Rampage Friday night.
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.<a href="https://twitter.com/Skyebyee?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Skyebyee</a> is challenging Dr. <a href="https://twitter.com/RealBrittBaker?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RealBrittBaker</a>, D.M.D. on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEWRampage?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEWRampage</a> THIS FRIDAY!<br><br>It's <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEWDynamite?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEWDynamite</a>: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WinterIsComing?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WinterIsComing</a> LIVE on TBS! <a href="https://t.co/vWyrNycq8q">pic.twitter.com/vWyrNycq8q</a>
The more reps the 23-year-old gets against top contenders, the better the chances are that she develops into the breakout star AEW officials clearly see her as.
The House of Black def. The Factory
- Hart's smirk just before blinding Comoroto was a great bit of character work and hopefully something she has the opportunity to continue developing.
- Blue suggested Baker is a better talker than wrestler, which is just ridiculous given the fact that the dentist is a former women's world champ and has beaten just about every other woman on the roster.
Action Andretti vs. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho's loss to Claudio Castagnoli may well have brought about a downfall that only intensified Wednesday night on Dynamite with a loss to a competitor he referred to as a "jobber" prior to their match, Maryland Championship Wrestling standout Action Andretti.
Right around the point that he kicked out of the Codebreaker heading into the commercial break, it became clear Andretti was not going to go the way of The Factory in the previous contest. He was tough, resilient and able to absorb everything even a legend like The Ocho could throw at him.
Late, with his energy seemingly boundless, he caught Jericho with an ugly tornado DDT and finished him with a running Shooting Star Press, earning the biggest win of his young career.
Overconfidence and hubris appear to have gotten the best of Jericho lately, costing him both the Ring of Honor World Championship and one of the most humiliating defeats of his career.
It is an interesting character development, compounded by him insisting Daniel Garcia learns under Sammy Guevara. Might the veteran be taking some much-needed time off soon? One hopes so after being overexposed over the last six months.
If this was the start of a vacation, it was an entertaining one. Kudos to Andretti for keeping up with one of the most influential stars of his generation.
Andretti def. Jericho
- Andretti kicking out of the Codebreaker was the tide-turner and the moment an upset looked possible.
- Backstage, Jericho threw a temper tantrum, infuriated by the loss.
- A video package featured a promo from FTR on The Gunn Club as that feud continues.
Ruby Soho vs. Tay Melo
At All Out: Zero Hour, Tay Melo shattered Ruby Soho's nose, which required reconstructive surgery that put her out of action for three months.
After a surprise return a week ago, Soho battled Melo one-on-one Wednesday night, looking to settle their differences once and for all.
Melo controlled the pace of the match throughout the break and appeared to be en route to a victory, but Soho escaped an attempted Tay-KO and rocked her opponent with her own knee to the nose. No Future followed as Soho scored a hard-fought victory.
This was an intense, physical battle elevated by an above-average effort by the commentary team to put over the history between them and the injury that sidelined Soho.
Unlike other, seemingly reasonless matches that take place within the women's division on any given week, this one had a clear story and two performers able to carry out their roles in it.
Melo is a great heel but—perhaps because we spend so much time being annoyed by her and Sammy Guevara's relationship—the wrestling world tends to underrate that part of her performance. She is fantastic and does the little things, be it body language or facial expressions, to really elevate her performance.
Soho, on the other hand, ranks right alongside FTR as one of the worst-booked acts in AEW. Hopefully, this return gives her a second chance at being the star she should be.
Soho defeated Melo
- Melo used Soho's aggression against her, turning the tide and sending her into the steel steps at ringside.
- The Brazilian drove Soho face-first into the ramp with a DDT heading into the break.
- Anna Jay attacked Soho after the match, laying her out and assisting Melo to the back, a clear tease that the program is far from over.
AEW World Championship and Dynamite Diamond Ring Match: Ricky Starks vs. MJF
One of the most anticipated matches in recent AEW history capped off this Winter Is Coming episode of Dynamite, as MJF defended both the AEW World Championship and his Dynamite Diamond ring against Ricky Starks.
MJF recalled the rib injury that had plagued the challenger in recent weeks, working the midsection of his opponent. Starks fought through the pain and appeared poised to mount a comeback midway through the bout.
The heel cut him off, targeting the left arm of his opponent and seeking the Salt of the Earth armbar. He finally did apply it but Absolute fought out. He sought Rochambeau on a few different occasions but was never able to fully execute the move. MJF finally slithered out and used the referee as a shield.
Moments later, he rocked the babyface with a low blow and scored the tainted win.
The finish was great, even if the execution getting there left a bit to be desired.
It played back to last week's promo, which MJF ended with a similar low blow. When all else fails, The Devil finds a cheap shot to get himself out of trouble.
Establishing that and building MJF's reign on the idea that he is essentially 1987 Honky Tonk Man, repeatedly finding screwy ways to hold onto the title despite coming close to losing on multiple occasions, is not the worst way to book a heel champion.
However, The Salt of the Earth is an infinitely better wrestler, talker and overall talent, so a few clean wins would be nice to emphasize that.
Fans should not expect that against Bryan Danielson, though. The American Dragon chased the champion out of the arena to close the show and set up their eventual showdown.
That match should be even better than what we saw here.
MJF defeated Starks
- MJF sported a "Pebble Skipper" elbow pad in reference to his cheap shot about Starks being a "Dollar-Store Dwayne" a week ago.
- Starks manipulated his body, contorting it to break MJF's Salt of the Earth armbar.
- Things became rushed late, leading to some ugly transitions down the line.