AEW Winter Is Coming Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
Winter is coming, All Elite Wrestling declared ahead of Wednesday's Dynamite, a show featuring Jon Moxley's defense of Kenny Omega for the world championship.
That encounter headlined a broadcast that featured the latest chapter in intensely personal rivalries, several stars seeking much-needed wins and a potentially career-altering Battle Royal.
Who emerged from the evening's landmark broadcast with gold, diamonds and riding a wave of momentum as 2020 draws to a close? Find out now with this recap of the December 2 presentation.
Already announced for the evening's blockbuster broadcast are:
- AEW World Championship Match: Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega
- Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin vs. Will Hobbs and Ricky Starks
- Frankie Kazarian vs. Chris Jericho
- Dr. Britt Baker vs. Leyla Hirsch
- Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal
Coverage of the biggest episode of Dynamite ever begins at 8 p.m. ET.
Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal
The Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal kicked off this week's show, the two remaining competitors to fight on next week's show for the Dynamite Diamond Ring.
Competitors included: Miro, Hangman Page, John Silver, Scorpio Sky, Shawn Spears, Marq Quen, Isiah Kassidy, Kip Sabian, Matt Sydal, Serpentico, Jungle Boy, Luther, Alex Reynolds, Orange Cassidy, Matt Hardy, Sammy Guevara, Joey Janela, Lee Johnson, MJF and Wardlow.
Spears earned a measure of revenge from the Casino Battle Royal, eliminating Sydal in a nice callback of sorts. Sky eliminated Spears to continue their rivalry, much to the dismay of Tully Blanchard. Hardy eliminated Kassidy, unbeknownst to Quen.
Spears, already eliminated, blasted Sky with a cheap shot courtesy of a steel slug and led to his rival's departure.
Hardy and Quen worked together to eliminate Silver and Reynolds. In a cool spot that plays up Evil Uno's invitation to Page from last week, Dark Order saved the Anxious Millennial Cowboy. Hardy dumped Page moments later, though.
Cassidy eliminated Sabian and paid immediately as Miro attacked him on the floor, sending him into the steel post, though neither man had been eliminated.
The eliminations of Hardy and Quen brought the fight to The Inner Circle's MJF, Wardlow and Guevara, Miro and Jungle Boy.
The united front of the Inner Circle dumped the previously unstoppable Bulgarian Brute before setting their sights on Jungle Boy. The Spanish God battled with young Jack Perry until MJF conveniently shoved them to the arena floor.
Wardlow warned MJF that Cassidy was never actually eliminated. The heels brought Freshly Squeezed back into the match and Cassidy rocked both men with Orange Punches before dumping Wardlow. The final two combatants in the match, Cassidy and MJF will meet on next week's show for the $50,000 Dynamite Diamond ring.
MJF and Cassidy were co-winners
Battle Royals are what they are: a mass of bodies kicking and punching their way to elimination. This was above average in that it furthered several on-going storylines and highlighted Miro in a way he had not been to this point.
The artist formerly known as Rusev tore the match up, scoring elimination after elimination and looking as dominant as he has in either WWE or AEW in years. He absolutely should be put in a position to build on the momentum of his performance.
Hardy's heel turn manifested itself in the sneaky elimination of Isiah Kassidy, MJF's cerebral manipulation of his fellow Inner Circle member Sammy Guevara continued and Wardlow appears ready to snap his charge in half at any given moment.
Those stories helped prop this one up and elevate it beyond the standard fare.
Frankie Kazarian vs. Chris Jericho
For the first time in their storied careers, SCU's Frankie Kazarian and "Le Champion" Chris Jericho battled in singles competition, the heel greeted upon his arrival by the masses serenading him with "Judas."
The quicker, confident Kazarian took the fight to Jericho early, dropping a leg across his chest on the ring apron. The veteran babyface blasted Ortiz, but Jake Hager provided just enough of a distraction to allow The Demo God to deliver a Codebreaker.
Jericho dominated throughout the break, working over the torso of his opponents while Ortiz taunted Kazarian from the floor. Back from the timeout, Kazarian got his knees up to block the lionsault and delivered another leg drop for two.
Kazarian broke out the Flux Capacitor for a near-fall, both frustrating and firing the babyface up. He applied Jericho's own Walls of Jericho against him, which Ortiz attempted to break up. Hager ordered him back as The Inner Circle continued to exhibit disarray.
MJF and Wardlow arrived on the scene, the former threatening to throw in the towel. Sammy Guevara prevented it, Jericho saw him holding the towel and nearly fell prey to consecutive rollups from Kazarian. A last-second Judas Effect allowed Le Champion to emerge with a hard-fought victory.
After the match, Guevara and MJF nearly came to blows. A pissed-off Jericho laid down the ultimatum: the group had seven days to decide whether they would stay together or break up forever.
Jericho defeated Kazarian
Kazarian was working at a whole different speed than Jericho, and while there was nothing inherently wrong with the match, the difference in paces was abundantly clear the longer the match went on.
Why the match went as long as it did when it was mostly just the background for the latest drama within The Inner Circle is another question entirely, but this did what it set out to accomplish: set up the ultimatum for next week's show.
The tension between Guevara and MJF is real, and it would not be surprising whatsoever if The Spanish God figures into MJF's match with Orange Cassidy. Regardless, it feels as though Guevara could be on the outside looking in at a faction he was once such a key member of.
Britt Baker vs. Leyla Hirsch
Dr. Britt Baker returned to the squared circle this week as she battled 24-year-old Leyla Hirsch.
Hirsch downed Baker early, outwrestling her. The good doctor turned the tide in her favor, though, and dominated throughout the break.
Back from the commercial, Hirsch wiped Rebel out at ringside after Baker pulled her "bestie" in the way. Baker delivered a Sling Blade on the floor, survived an armbar and looked for the Lockjaw.
Hirsch escaped that submission attempt and looked for the armbar again. Baker fought out but ate a pump knee to the face. Hirsch scaled the ropes after momentarily selling her back.
Rebel hopped up on the apron, provided a momentary distraction and allowed Baker to drive her opponent into the middle turnbuckle. A fisherman neckbreaker gave way to the Lockjaw, and Baker scored the win.
Thunder Rosa hit the ring, attacking Baker. A brawl broke out, the budding rivals unloading on each other until coaches and AEW officials finally restored some semblance of order.
Baker defeated Hirsch
Again, a large portion of the women's match was conducted during the commercial break.
With that said, Hirsch and Baker worked well together, and the reversals and counters late were a nice touch. The finish was a bit disjointed, with the delay by Hirsch and Rebel hopping on the ring apron for no apparent reason, but it led to the right competitor going over.
The post-match brawl was fantastic and creates instant buzz for a Baker-Thunder Rosa match. That match is exactly the type of secondary rivalry this division should have been built on from the beginning.
Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin vs. Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs
The monthslong rivalry between Darby Allin and Team Taz wrote its latest chapter Wednesday as the TNT Champion teamed with Cody Rhodes to battle Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks.
Rhodes and Allin isolated Starks, working him over and cutting the ring off from the dominant Hobbs. The babyfaces controlled throughout the commercial timeout and continued to wear down Absolute after. A blind chase by Allin led him right into a massive lariat clothesline by Hobbs.
The big man sent the champ into the guardrail, then teed off on the much smaller competitor as he tagged into the match for the first time.
Hobbs and Starks worked over the core of Allin, looking to drive the fight out of him.
Allin finally made the hot tag to Rhodes, who exploded into the match, taking the fight to both opponents. The American Nightmare launched himself off the top rope with the Cody Cutter to Starks, but not before Allin tagged himself into the match.
Rhodes delivered a tope suicida to Hobbs, and Allin finished Starks with the Coffin Drop for the win.
After the match, Hobbs attacked Allin, then Arn Anderson. Dustin Rhodes made the save until Brian Cage attacked. Team Taz stood tall having beaten down the babyfaces. They teased hitting Rhodes with the FTW Championship until Sting made his AEW debut, slowly stalking toward the squared circle and coming face-to-face with Anderson.
After a nod of approval to Allin and the Rhodes brothers, he headed back up the ramp amid falling snow.
Rhodes and Allin defeated Team Taz
There is something about Tony Schiavone exclaiming, "It's STING!" that warms the soul and takes the viewer back to their childhood.
Sting arriving as snow fell, making the save for Cody, Dustin and Darby, was a great way to welcome him to the AEW family, and the staredown with Anderson was a great touch of nostalgia.
The question is whether Team Taz gained anything whatsoever from this ordeal.
Hobbs and Starks are two major cogs of AEW's bright future. Ditto Cage. Team Taz lost the match, then bailed out of the ring when Sting arrived, despite a distinct numbers advantage. It was curious use of them, but if they get to share the screen with someone of Sting's stature, it will benefit them in the long run.
At least theoretically.
Still, special appearances by Sting will never not be cool. The key will be for AEW to ensure those appearances remain special and the legend does not become overexposed at the expense of the foundation of the company's future.
AEW World Championship Match: Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega
Don Callis joined Jim Ross, Excalibur and Tony Schiavone ahead of the night's hotly anticipated main event pitting AEW world champion Jon Moxley against Kenny Omega. A big-fight feel encompassed the festivities, complete with the reveal that, should the match go past 10 p.m., TNT would stick with the show until a winner was determined.
Chain wrestling early gave way to strikes from Omega and a hurricanrana that sent the champion to the floor. It was on the floor that Moxley gained his first real advantage of the match, brawling with the top contender through the commercial break.
Coming out of the timeout, Omega delivered a dragon screw leg whip in the ropes, then dropped the champion knee-first into the guardrail. The Cleaner worked the ankle and knee of his opponent, despite attempts by Moxley to break his grip.
Omega cerebrally picked his opponent apart for several minutes before a German suplex slowed his roll. Moxley built momentum through another commercial break, laying into Omega with knife-edge chops that reddened the challenger's chest and drove the air out of him.
Omega dodged a blind charge and wiped the champion out with a plancha. Back in the ring, though, Moxley caught his opponent with the Paradigm Shift from out of nowhere. Rather than covering, though, he headed outside the ring and grabbed a pair of steel chairs.
Mox set up the chairs, inviting Omega to sit. They came face-to-face, the champion daring the challenger to hit him. They exchanged slaps, the jabs, until the champion rocked Omega. The challenger answered with a V-Trigger, then the snapdragon suplex. A second snapdragon followed. Moxley dodged a V-Trigger and delivered a release German suplex.
A King Kong lariat and second Paradigm Shift earned the champion a close near-fall. Moxley looked to follow up with a tope, but Omega caught him with a V-Trigger in midflight.
Back in the ring, Omega delivered the Tiger Driver '98 for a two-count of his own.
The combatants teased finishers, each escaping the other's trademark stuff. Omega delivered a ripcord V-Trigger, but Moxley kicked out.
On the floor, Moxley delivered a Paradigm Shift into the ringside heaters, prompting the referee to call for the doctor. Referees and Callis made their way to ringside, but Moxley tossed Omega into the ring and fired off a flurry of right hands.
Callis hoped up on the apron and caught a big right hand from Mox. The microphone he had found its way into Omega's hands. The challenger blasted Moxley with it, busting him open. Omega obliterated Moxley with a barrage of V-Triggers as Schiavone asked what happened to the gentlemen's agreement Omega was so adamant about in the build to the match.
Omega delivered the One-Winged Angel to earn the win, then absconded with the title. As Alex Marvez caught up with Omega and Callis in the parking lot, the latter revealed the world would hear from them Tuesday on Impact Wrestling.
Omega defeated Moxley to win the title
The match was fantastic up until the overbooked finish, which could have been accomplished without the fake injury spot. It slowed the momentum the performers had built to that point, and while it gave reason for Callis to be at ringside, that could have been accomplished through any number of ways, the least of which being the moment Moxley introduced the chairs to the mix in violation of the "gentlemen's agreement."
Speaking of which, it was a brilliant way to establish Omega as a heel by having him spit in the face of his own stipulation. The guy who was so worried about outwrestling his opponent was the one who sneakily resorted to using weaponry and cheating his way to a victory.
It makes him wholly unlikable and will only help him as he looks to emerge as the most hated man in AEW.
Which brings us to the biggest development on this show: an apparent working relationship between AEW and Impact Wrestling.
Callis revealing Omega will appear Tuesday on Impact is a game-changer, the type of development that could breed cross-promotional storytelling. It's not particularly surprising because Impact has shown a willingness to work with other promotions before, and the star power of an Omega only serves to boost their viewership and awareness.
It remains to be seen how this benefits AEW, but there is no denying the buzz of the screwjob finish will help attract viewers to the show in the coming weeks as they look forward to the latest developments in these massive stories.