AEW Dynamite Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 29

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2021

AEW Dynamite Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 29

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    For the last time, AEW Dynamite hit the TNT airwaves Wednesday with a special New Year's Bash episode headlined by a blockbuster six-man tag team match pitting the reunited Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish against Orange Cassidy and Best Friends.

    The show also determined the second participant in the finals of the TBS Championship as the undefeated Jade Cargill battled Thunder Rosa.

    Who emerged from those top-tier encounters, what else went down on the broadcast and what did all of it mean for AEW as it prepares for another year of pro wrestling excellence?

    Find out with this recap of the December 29 show.

Match Card

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    • Orange Cassidy and Best Friends vs. Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish
    • TBS Championship Semifinal: Thunder Rosa vs. Jade Cargill
    • Jurassic Express, Christian Cage and Lucha Bros vs. FTR, Private Party and Matt Hardy
    • Eddie Kingston, Santana and Ortiz vs. Daniel Garcia and 2.0
    • CM Punk appears in Daily's Place for the first time

10-Man Tag Team Match

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Christian Cage, Jurassic Express and AEW tag team champions Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix battled Matt Hardy, Private Party and FTR in a huge 10-man tag team match to kick off the final Dynamite of 2021.

    A hot start by the babyface team came to a screeching halt following a headscissors from Marq Quen into a Side Effect by Hardy on Jungle Boy. Lucha Bros exploded into the match off a hot tag but a tandem DDT by Quen and Isiah Kassidy flattened Fenix and allowed the heels to regain control of the bout. 

    Fenix tagged Luchasaurus into the match and the big man took the fight to the opposition, even thwarting a cohesive tag team assault from Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler. A tag team to Harwood gave way to a forced tag from Penta.

    The action broke down as the commentary team teased dissension between the babyfaces. Hardy sent Luchasaurus into the ring post while Fenix and Jungle Boy wiped out competition at ringside. Cage tagged himself in, creating further dissension between the babyfaces. A disagreement allowed FTR to deliver the Big Rig to Captain Charisma for the hard-fought victory.



    FTR, Private Party and Hardy defeated Lucha Bros, Jurassic Express and Cage






    This had action in spades, highlighting a tag team division that is among the best in all of wrestling.

    Beyond the quality of the match, though, was the storyline development that occurred during it.

    Jurassic Express and Christian Cage have made their intentions to challenge for the AEW tag titles abundantly clear. Lucha Bros are the reigning champions so it made sense from a narrative standpoint that there would be tension that, ultimately, manifested itself in ego and frustration late.

    The developments in the match suggest that feud for the titles is going to happen sooner, rather than later, but FTR's victory certainly keeps them involved in the title picture.

    With the potential arrival of Ring of Honor stalwarts The Briscoe Brothers, and the reunited Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish, there is a ton of potential for this division to get even better moving forward.

Eddie Kingston, Santana and Ortiz vs. Daniel Garcia and 2.0

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Vengeance fueled Eddie Kingston as he partnered with longtime friends Santana and Ortiz to battle 2.0 (Matt Lee and Jeff Parker) and Daniel Garcia in a six-man tag team match. 

    After Kingston and Co. controlled the action early, the heels isolated Ortiz. They beat him down through the commercial break but a hot tag to Kingston sparked a comeback. 

    A tag to Santana and Ortiz appeared to have the match in hand for the babyfaces but Garcia clipped Kingston's knee out from underneath him. Back in the ring, Lee scored the win with a rollup on Santana.

    After the match, the heels beatdown their rivals until Chris Jericho made his return. Le Champion chased 2.0 and Garcia off with a baseball bat before checking on the wellbeing of Santana, who had been hit with the ring bell.

    An untrusting Kingston asked what Jericho was doing there, insisting Ortiz and Santana are his friends. Ortiz tried to play peacemaker, preventing a brawl between the fan favorites.



    Lee, Parker and Garcia defeated Santana, Ortiz and Kingston






    The match itself was fine for what it was but felt a bit rushed in comparison to the opener.

    Maybe that is because of the post-match activities, which saw Jericho return and tease a program with Kingston.

    Jericho has unfinished business with 2.0 and Garcia after they beat him down backstage and put him out of action for a month, but suddenly finds himself in Mad King's dog house. A match between those two veteran competitors would likely result in a hell of a promo battle, and some pretty solid matches, too.

    Most importantly, it is a fresh match-up that we have not seen before, making it that much more appealing to a wrestling fan base eager for new. 

Wardlow vs. Colin Delaney

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Backstage, a confrontation between Jurassic Express, Christian Cage and Lucha Bros ended with an AEW tag team title match being made official for next week's show.

    In the arena, moments after finding out any championship opportunity he ever receives would have to be relinquished to MJF, Wardlow hit the ring for a match with Colin Delaney.

    The big man obliterated Delaney with four powerbombs en route to an uncontested victory. After the match, Shawn Spears rocked Delaney with a cheap chair shot, stealing the spotlight from his unstoppable associate.



    Wardlow defeated Delaney






    Anyone questioning whether the Wardlow experience is working must look no further than the escalating reaction that greeted every one of the powerbombs dealt by the big man.

    By the time he turns on MJF, the crowd is going to go wild.

    That we finally have an explanation surrounding any potential title opportunities accrued by Wardlow, and the fact that he has to turn them over to MJF, only enhances what is low-key one of the best stories in AEW.

TBS Championship Tournament Semifinal: Thunder Rosa vs. Jade Cargill

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    In the ring, an exchange of insults by Dan Lambert and Brandi Rhodes gave way to Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky delivering a cheap shot to Dustin Rhodes as the war between Men of the Year, TNT champion Cody Rhodes and The Nightmare Family wrote its latest chapter.

    After a video package hyping the January 5 match between Bryan Danielson and AEW world champion Hangman Page, Jade Cargill battled Thunder Rosa to determine which competitor would battle Ruby Soho in the finals of the TBS Championship Tournament.

    Rosa started hot, dropkicking the knee of her opponent and wiping "Smart" Mark Sterling out at ringside with a plancha. The veteran competitor repeatedly targeted the leg of her opponent, cutting the taller competitor down to size.

    Cargill took Rosa down with a Samoan Drop, then kipped up, all while still selling the injured knee. As Rosa regained the advantage with a figure four, Sterling distracted the official, allowing an unknown assailant to blast Rosa and Cargill deliver Jaded for the win.

    After the match, Mercedes Martinez revealed herself to be the attacker. A beatdown of Rosa ensued before Ruby Soho hit the ring and cleared the heels.



    Cargill defeated Rosa






    The promo that preceded the match was as bad a segment as AEW has ever produced. It was tone-deaf, continues a feud no one really wants to see between Cody Rhodes and Dan Lambert, and featured the same, tired trademarks of bad wrestling promos of the last 20 years. It wasn't good, it helped no one and missed the mark. Badly.

    Cargill wrestled her longest singles match to date and it showed. She is still largely inexperienced between the ropes and Rosa had worked overtime to hit the marks and make it a coherent match. With that said, there is no denying the presence Cargill has.

    She looks like a star, carries herself as one and shows the proper character and intensity between the ropes. She is going to be champion, perhaps as soon as next week when she battles Soho for the title, because of the sheer potential.

    Martinez debuting was a great move and instantly enhances what is a women's division trending upward. Hopefully, she can thrive as Cargill's associate and muscle because she has a ton of experience to offer a young, hungry roster.

CM Punk's First Appearance in Daily's Place

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    CM Punk made his first appearance in Jacksonville's Daily's Place and wasted little time putting over the importance of the venue to AEW's history. He ran down Twitter trolls, touted the legacy of Brodie Lee and turned his attention to MJF.

    He said he never wanted anything to do with MJF and apparently, the scarf-wearing loudmouth didn't want any of him, either. Last week, Punk laced his wrestling boots while MJF laced his running shoes, avoiding him at all turns.

    Punk called back his famous Pipebomb promo, reminding MJF that on the mic, in the ring and even on commentary, no one can touch him. He teased interfering in MJF's quest for championship gold before exiting to a thunderous ovation.






    This felt almost like a creative pivot of sorts. Is AEW moving away from an imminent Punk-MJF match in an attempt to elongate the feud, leaving the impending match for either Double or Nothing in May or All Out in August?

    It is very possible, especially given the heat the feud was able to build in just a month. Stretching things out, making the fans wait and building anticipation is a great booking decision. Fans already want to see Punk kick MJF's ass. Why not hold off, bring things to a fever pitch and let the two wage war in a match with greater stakes?

    There will be some who argue that the company should strike while the iron is hot but if there is more money to be made from it, and a desire to see the match, holding it off will only intensify that desire.

Orange Cassidy and Best Friends vs. Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    An impassioned promo from Brian Pillman Jr. led to a challenge for a match against Malakai Black on next week's show, to which the enigmatic leader of The House of Black accepted.

    The undisputed reunion of Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly continued in the night's main event as the trio brought about a new era to AEW, battling Orange Cassidy and Best Friends in a blockbuster six-man tag.

    A fast start by the babyfaces ended as Cole interrupted a group hug and the heels worked the left knee of Chuck Taylor. As the faction formerly known as Undisputed Era elsewhere rolled, Cole rocked an unsuspecting Cassidy with a superkick.

    A hot tag to Trent sparked a comeback that included a big tornado DDT to O'Reilly for two. He soon found himself nursing his surgically repaired neck and in need of a tag to Cassidy. Freshly Squeezed exploded into the match, taking down Cole but quickly finding himself downed by O'Reilly and Fish.

    The action broke down, with superkicks reigning supreme, before a Taylor denied a Panama Sunrise attempt, back body dropping Cole on the entrance ramp. Trent added a spear to Cole and Cassidy followed with a diving DDT for two.

    Consecutive piledrivers by Best Friends to Cole and Beach Break from Cassidy could not put the heels away as Fish and O'Reilly made the save. 

    Best Friends rolled late but interference from Brandon Cutler and The Young Bucks allowed the heels to score the win. After the match, the Bucks checked on Cole as Fish and O'Reilly celebrated their victory.



    Cole, Fish and O'Reilly defeated Best Friends and Cassidy






    This was a fantastic match and the perfect wrap-up to AEW's TNT run.

    The crowd was into everything both teams did, creating a red-hot atmosphere. The fans hung on every near-fall, bit on every false finish and erupted for Trent and Taylor's first hug in what felt like an eternity.

    The involvement of Cutler and the Bucks made perfect sense given the story at play of their growing jealousy of O'Reilly and Fish's reunion with their former NXT associate. Matt and Nick Jackson were very openly jawing with Red Dragon following the match, making it very clear they were the ones who really cared about their friend.

    It is only a matter of time before Kenny Omega returns and when he does, the war between The Elite and the artists formerly known as Undisputed Era will captivate fans, forcing them to pick sides and pledge allegiances.

    Until then, electric multi-man tag matches like this are welcome and appreciated.