AEW Dynamite Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 18
For All Elite Wrestling, 2019 came to a close Wednesday night on TNT with an episode of Dynamite. A tag team championship match that saw SCU defend against The Young Bucks headlined the show, while world champion Chris Jericho looked to prove Jungle Boy could not hang with him for a full 10 minutes.
Cody and Darby Allin formed a united front in a battle with The Butcher and The Blade, Awesome Kong made her first in-ring appearance since Double or Nothing and Kris Statlander squared off with Britt Baker in a No. 1 contender's match.
Who emerged from the night's action-packed broadcast with their arms raised in victory? Find out with this recap of the December 18 episode.
Hangman Page and Kenny Omega vs. Lucha Bros
The final episode of Dynamite in 2019 kicked off with Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix, known collectively as The Lucha Bros, battling The Elite's "Hangman" Adam Page and Kenny Omega.
Omega and Page set the tone early, controlling the opening minutes of the match and keeping the more experienced tag team reeling. That ceased with a big double-team maneuver that downed Hangman and allowed the heels to isolate him.
A lariat clothesline created separation and allowed Page to tag Omega into the match. The Cleaner rolled until a failed moonsault attempt that saw him crash into the knees of Pentagon. With Page neutralized, The Lucha Bros worked over Omega, helping to knock off the No. 2-ranked singles competitor.
Just as Omega reached out to tag Page, Pentagon blasted Hangman, knocking him off the apron. Omega finally fought out of the oppressive grasp of his opponents and made the tag. Hangman exploded into the match, wiping out the competition to the delight of the fans.
Pentagon and Fenix again wrested control of the match back, working over Page and never really allowing the babyfaces to gain a sustained advantage. Omega did not right the proverbial ship, either. The Cleaner fell prey to a package piledriver/double stomp combo as Pentagon and Fenix picked up the win.
After the match, Page and Omega argued about the outcome, neither terribly happy with the other. "The Bastard" Pac appeared on the video screen and reminded Omega that he had yet to receive his rematch. He entered the locker room of Michael Nakazawa, sending an ominous message to Omega.
The Lucha Bros defeated Omega and Page
The match was an action-packed way to kick off the show, featuring some of the most talented wrestlers on the planet, but it suffered from the one thing that plagues far too many of AEW's matches: It was unnecessarily long, and it showed. Down the stretch, it kind of fell apart but had the best possible outcome.
Pentagon and Fenix needed a signature win after putting over so many of the other teams of late and got it against two of the more high-profile wrestlers on the roster. Furthermore, it continued to tease dissension among Omega and Page, something the writing team can revisit as it pleases.
For now, it appears as though Omega has unfinished business with Pac that will culminate in a rubber match of sorts soon.
Darby Allin and Cody vs. The Butcher and The Blade
Darby Allin pledged his allegiance to Cody on last week's show, promising to be his tag team partner if The American Nightmare granted him a rematch from their Fyter Fest draw. This week, they aligned to battle The Butcher and The Blade, who were accompanied to the ring by The Bunny.
The enigmatic heels controlled early, working over Cody as Allin watched from across the squared circle.
Cody finally created some separation and made the tag to Allin. The face-painted competitor fired off on The Blade, but a blind tag to The Butcher led to a big backbreaker. Cody re-entered the match and dropped The Blade with Cross Rhodes, but The Bunny provided a distraction that prevented the pin.
Allin joined Cody in stereo tope sucidas and then delivered a Coffin Drop to The Butcher. Back inside the squared circle, The American Nightmare delivered a Cody Cutter to score the win for the babyfaces.
Cody and Allin defeated The Butcher and The Blade
Why debut The Butcher, Blade and Bunny in such a high-profile angle, only to have Cody beat them two weeks in? The outcome of this match killed the trio's aura, especially as it came at the hands of first-time tag team partners. The heels with the unique look and presence are now essentially just another team in an already-bloated tag division.
As for Cody and Allin, all this did was set up a rematch from Fyter Fest. Could that not have been accomplished with a loss?
The wonky booking of the entire two-week feud between Cody and the newcomers ultimately dragged down the overall effectiveness of the program, even if Wednesday night's match was a fun little tag team sprint.
Awesome Kong in Action
The Nightmare Collective's Awesome Kong returned to the squared circle for a showdown with Miranda Alize, accompanied to the squared circle by Brandi Rhodes and Melanie Cruise.
The match, as expected, was short-lived, as Kong bulldozed Alize and scored the win off a double chicken wing facebuster.
Kong defeated Alize
Kong is an unstoppable force. We know this.
This did nothing to further The Nightmare Collective story. Instead, it was an excuse to trot the trio out to the ring on the same night prospective teammate Kris Statlander was scheduled to compete against Britt Baker.
Given that match was already announced, could their appearance not have been saved for it?
Jungle Boy vs. Chris Jericho
Wasting little time as he sought to replicate his success from a week ago, Jungle Boy aggressively took the fight to Chris Jericho. He downed him with a springboard arm drag and scored a quick roll-up on the AEW world champion. The leader of The Inner Circle slowed his opponent's momentum, though, and methodically picked apart the young competitor.
Jericho deposited Jungle Boy to the floor, where Jake Hager interfered and slammed the babyface into the guardrail. Referee Aubrey Edwards barred Hager, Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt from ringside, creating a one-on-one scenario.
Jungle Boy recovered and uncorked consecutive topes and finished with a big plancha. Moments later, a backstabber earned him a near-fall as Jericho reeled. The champion recovered, delivered a big powerbomb and then applied the Walls of Jericho, sitting on the lower back of his opponent.
As the clock ticked down and desperation set in, Jericho screamed, looking for the tapout that would prove him right—that Jungle Boy could not hang with him for 10 minutes. But young Jack Perry did, sending Jericho over the top. Le Champion demanded five more minutes with Jungle Boy.
The babyface scored a pair of near-falls before Jericho retreated, grabbed his AEW world title and headed to the back.
Jungle Boy survived 10 minutes
This was some great, star-making stuff from Jericho and Jungle Boy. The latter was tested as he has never been tested before and showcased the type of intensity and toughness necessary to achieve greatness at the next level of competition. He undoubtedly won over new fans, who appreciated the way he was able to not only hang with Jericho but also steal a few near-falls in the process.
Jericho is such an expert storyteller that what he lacks in speed and agility at this point in his career, he makes up for with his ability to keep fans invested in his matches. It was his work that held everything together and helped elevate the star of his opponent.
The post-match interview by Jericho, in which he reiterated his invite to Jon Moxley for inclusion in The Inner Circle, kept that storyline thread fresh in the minds of fans.
No. 1 Contender's Match: Britt Baker vs. Kris Statlander
Dr. Britt Baker looked for her Lockjaw finisher early and often in her No. 1 contender's match with Kris Statlander this week. Though she was unable to apply it, she still managed to ground the relative newcomer and work on her neck and jaw throughout the commercial break.
Statlander's power advantage allowed her to fight back into the match and deliver a big running knee to the face. She continued to use her strength and size advantage to control the bout until a superkick from Baker stunned her. Baker dropped her down into position for the Lockjaw, but Statlander powered out.
She dropped Baker with a package tombstone for the impressive pinfall victory.
Riho watched from ringside as Statlander celebrated her victory.
After the match, Tony Schiavone attempted to interview Statlander, but Brandi Rhodes interrupted. She dispatched Schiavone. She blasted Statlander in the eye with a high-heel shoe as Melanie Cruise and Awesome Kong looked on.
Sadie Gibbs checked on the enigmatic Statlander as The Nightmare Collective made its way backstage.
Statlander defeated Baker
This felt like a match that had more to it but may have been limited by television time constraints.
Statlander continued to impress and looks like the type of talent a division can be built around. Baker, on the other hand, continues to improve but appears to have lost considerable momentum in comparison to her place in title contention a month ago.
Statlander's ongoing feud with The Nightmare Collective essentially telegraphs the conclusion of her January 1 match with Riho, as it appears likely Rhodes, Kong and Cruise will make their presences felt.
The real question is where Hikaru Shida is in all of this. Two weeks ago, she was the top-ranked competitor in the women's division and somehow fell out of contention in the time since. Manipulating the rankings to get the matches management wants or the stories it desires hurts the credibility of the process.
Of course, Statlander beat both her and Baker, so creative certainly dodged a bullet in this scenario.
AEW Tag Team Championship Match: The Young Bucks vs. SCU
Matt and Nick Jackson were hellbent on backing up their claim to the "best tag team on the planet" label as The Young Bucks challenged SCU's Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky for the AEW tag titles in the main event of this week's broadcast.
Nick stunned Sky with a top-rope headscissors, and Matt followed up with a big elbow drop for two. Nick followed with an escalera onto SCU on the arena floor, seizing control of the bout heading into the break.
The Bucks maintained control until Kazarian and Sky soared over the top rope and turned the tide in their favor. Some quality tandem offense by the champions earned them a near-fall on Matt, who repeatedly sold the effects of last week's Street Fight on his right arm.
Kazarian obliterated Matt with a release German suplex and followed with a tornado DDT on Nick on the ring apron. Back inside, Kazarian and Sky put away Matt with SCU Later to retain their titles.
After the match, the teams showed each other respect before the creepers of The Dark Order surrounded the squared circle. Evil Uno and Stu Grayson appeared on the stage. They deemed Wednesday night an initiation, and the creepers hit the ring for a beatdown of the babyfaces.
Alex Reynolds and John Silver were revealed as two new recruits, joining several other creepers in a massive drubbing of the Bucks, SCU, Kenny Omega, Cody and Dustin Rhodes. The commentary team mentioned the lack of assistance from Hangman Page as the attack gave way to some posing from the heels to close out the show.
SCU defeated The Young Bucks
Dark Order was inarguably the least over act in AEW this side of The Librarians, yet now it is firmly entrenched in the main event scene as one of the most prominent teams in the company. Welp, you can't say AEW management is not persistent in its desire to push the duo, all haters be damned.
The match that followed the show-closing match was more of a paint-by-numbers contest that the Bucks and SCU could probably have in their sleep. It lacked the molten heat one would expect from a contest of that magnitude and, in hindsight, felt like it was merely a setup for the Dark Order beatdown.
The question now is whether Dark Order will be relegated to the tag team division, where it will feud with the Bucks and SCU, or if there's is a bigger, more overarching storyline that will incorporate the rest of The Elite into it.
On this night, it certainly did.
And what of Hangman Page, whose absence was called out by Jim Ross on commentary? Will it be addressed going forward, or will it be dropped, like Pac's apparent kidnapping of Michael Nakazawa earlier in the night?