Welcome back to AEW Dynamite and perhaps one of its biggest episodes yet. The company had been hyping up the Winter is Coming episode and it was certainly stacked to the nines with matches, moments, and some absolute shockers. Would we see Kenny Omega become a Kingslayer as he battled Jon Moxley for the AEW World Title? Would the foes now friends team of Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin be able to best the Mountains of Team Taz? Would Leyla Hirsch be able to best Dr. Britt Baker DMD and last but not least, who would be left standing among the Feast for Crows that would be the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal? Let’s get into the action as AEW rode the Winds of Winter.

Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal: Orange Cassidy & MJF defeated Isiah Cassidy, Serpentico, Dr. Luther, Matt Sydal, Shawn Spears, Scorpio Sky, Alex Reynolds, John Silver (w/Dark Order help), Adam Page, Kip Sabian, Lee Johnson, Marq Quen, Matt Hardy, Joey Janela, Miro, Sammy Guevara, Jungle Boy & Wardlow via Orange Punch-out on Wardlow

The show opened with a ring surrounded by AEW wrestlers for the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal. The rules were simple enough, standard battle royal rules until two men remain. Those two would then duke it out next week for the Dynamite Diamond. We had a whole host of AEW regulars ready to go to war for the extravagant ring. Shawn Spears decided not to get in the ring instantly and Matt Hardy got the first elimination on someone who he supposedly trusted, Isiah Cassidy. Adam Page and the Dark Order teamed up to eliminate Serpentico and Luther as MJF helped save Sammy Guevara from doom. Shawn Spears finally got in the ring to ambush Scorpio Sky and to throw Matt Sydal out of the match. MJF used Wardlow as a block to give him and Guevara a breather in the corner and watched as the action continued to spill everywhere. Scorpio Sky eliminated Shawn Spears but was quickly eliminated by Spears hitting him in the head with a loaded glove and Wardlow tossing him to the outside. The eliminations continued to come thick and fast whilst the Inner Circle tried to remain as uninvolved as possible. Quen and Hardy went on an elimination spree but the Dark Order saved Page from his demise and Hardy threw him out a second time. Orange Cassidy eliminated Kip Sabian but Sabian didn’t take the loss well and he dragged Cassidy out for a brawl.

Miro rampaged everyone in sight and eliminated Lee Johnson, Marq Quen, Matt Hardy, and Joey Janela. The Inner Circle tried to jump him but he shrugged off MJF and Guevara then slugged it out with Wardlow. Eventually, the numbers caught up and The Inner Circle eliminated Miro after a thunderous clothesline from Wardlow. MJF sacrificed Sammy Guevara to eliminate Jungle Boy after the pair had a high-flying apron fight and celebrated prematurely. Wardlow remembered that Orange Cassidy was still alive and dragged him inside. Cassidy threw him at MJF, who nearly got eliminated but Wardlow caught him. Orange Cassidy threw around some Orange Punches and eliminated Wardlow. MJF and Orange Cassidy are your winners and will battle it out for that Dynamite Diamond next week. This was a very fun opener with a lot of little intrigues or feud-building moments. Adam Page buddying up with the Dark Order is certainly an odd, if interesting, premise I’d love to see more of and it’s nice to see Miro being treated like the monster he is.

 

Chris Jericho (w/Jake Hager & Ortiz) defeated Frankie Kazarian via Judas Effect

After the opening madness, it was time for something a bit more traditional. Frankie Kazarian of SCU would take on Le (former) Champion in their first-ever singles meeting. The numbers were against him but could the veteran savvy of Kazarian see him to a win? Kazarian started hot and after dealing with Jericho stalling and throwing a belt at him, showcased his speed and technical ability in and outside of the ring. Jericho found the great equaliser with a thumb in the eye but Kazarian kept pace with him and avoided a springboard to hit a slingshot leg drop. Hager and Ortiz swarmed Kazarian, allowing Jericho to hit a codebreaker in the ropes. From there Kazarian was broken down by Jericho and his Inner Circle goons with belt shots, guardrail throws, and a whole manner of nasty things. He tried to fight back but more Hager shenanigans stopped that. Kazarian got his shot back into the match by winding Jericho off a diving axe handle but a slug-fest saw him get suplexed.

The pair continued to scratch and claw at each other until Kazarian got Jericho to the top rope for the Flux Capacitor that got 2.9. He tried for a Killswitch but Jericho pushed him into the turnbuckle. Kazarian reversed a Codebreaker into the Walls of Jericho, much to the Inner Circle goon’s hatred. MJF and Wardlow rushed down with a towel to throw in but Guevara came back to stop him, snatching the towel off him. Jericho made the ropes and chided Sammy for bringing out a towel. He narrowly escaped a duo of Kazarian roll-ups and nailed the Judas Effect for the win. Le Champion claimed another win but he nearly lost on several occasions. The Inner Circle is definitely showing cracks as MJF’s influence is poisoning it from the inside. Jericho was sick of the BS and gave the Inner Circle an ultimatum, learn to work together fully in 7 days or the Inner Circle breaks up for good.

 

The Young Bucks gave a brief interview about being the number one tag-team in wrestling. They claimed TH2 didn’t quite have the record for a tag title shot but if they could beat them next week, then they’d have a title shot. Their interview was then hijacked by the Acclaimed, Max Caster and Anthony Bowens who gave the Bucks a nasty serenade then let TH2 ambush them. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian scared them off but the damage had already been done.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD (W/Rebel) defeated Leyla Hirsch via Lockjaw

The show refused to slow down as we went into our next match. Dr. Britt Baker DMD was trying to maintain her face of the women’s division status and was set to send any riff-raff packing from the company. This time that meant, dealing with “Legit” Leyla Hirsch. Baker tried to mock Hirsch’s height so Hirsch put her in an armbar. She tried to match Hirsch’s technical ability but kept getting caught out and ended up in a Cross-Armbreaker. Baker broke the hold by going to Hirsch’s jaw and kicked Hirsch in the teeth. Baker continued to hammer away at Hirsch’s head with a DDT and cravat knee strikes. The lackadaisical side came back as Baker posed after slamming Hirsch and threw her into the ropes. Hirsch tried to chop the soul out of Baker but Baker slapped her back down and tried to break her shoulder around the ring-post. Baker went back to her head and neck with a Cobra Clutch and Leg-scissor choke.

Hirsch tried to strike back but Baker cut her off with a neckbreaker. Baker went back to the trash talk and this earned her a slew of forearms into a German from Hirsch. Baker bailed and dragged Rebel into the path of a Hirsh suicide dive. Hirsch laid into Rebel, allowing Baker to surprise her with a Sling Blade. The action returned to the ring where the pair fought over submission attempts and Hirsch KO’ed Baker with a punt knee. Hirsch climbed to the top but Rebel distracted her and Baker threw her into the middle turnbuckle with a flatliner. A violent swinging neckbreaker opened the door to Lockjaw and the match was won. Baker couldn’t celebrate though as Thunder Rosa rushed her and beat the hell out of her. The ref team tried to hold the pair back but the chaos ensued. Something tells me things are only just beginning between those two. It’s always nice to see Hirsch get more TV time. She brought the fight to Baker but once again, the numbers cost someone a win tonight.

 

Cody Rhodes & Darby Allin (w/Arn Anderson) defeated Team Taz (Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs) via Coffin Drop to Starks

It was time for something much more personal. Team Taz and Cody Rhodes have been at each other’s throats for a long time now and this would be another car crash in that feud. Powerhouse Hobbs has since joined Team Taz and made it an even more terrifying faction. With the FTW title languishing, Taz has made it his mission to kill the TNT titleholders who rob it of its time. Thus, Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin having to join forces against this onslaught. Both teams went right after each other and Team TNT took the advantage by booting out Hobbs and singling out Starks. They kept making quick tags and targeted the shoulder of Starks. This onslaught continued for a large part of the match, with Cody posing a lot and winding up Hobbs. The tables finally turned when Starks lured Allin to the outside where Hobbs took his head off with a lariat. He tossed Allin around the outside and finally tagged into the match.

Team Taz started giving Allin the same treatment that he’d given Starks. They continue to tag quickly to slam or crush Allin and Hobbs made sure to give Cody the same wind-up treatment he’d dished out. An accidental meeting of the minds occurred in the corner and both Allin and Starks were downed. Starks made the tag first and Hobbs rushed to pin Allin down again under his boot. He deadlifted Allin, then ragged him around in a crippling bearhug. He tossed Allin overhead by his ears then tried for some double-team with Starks but Allin flipped over both of them and tagged in Cody. He came in hot and floored Hobbs with a springboard missile dropkick and took out Starks with a powerslam. Taz and Anderson both got up on the apron/stage, allowing Starks to rake Cody’s eyes. Cody shook this off, ran Starks into the turnbuckle, and took out Hobbs with a Disaster Kick. He tried for Crossroads but Starks fought out of it. He hit Starks with the drop-down uppercut and tagged Allin off a step-up cutter. He dived onto Hobbs and Allin finished Starks with the Coffin Drop.

 

This was a pretty traditional match but it offered plenty of fun spots and another chance for Hobbs to showcase his strength. I doubt this feud is over and Hobbs is not a good loser as he attacked Allin after the bell. Arn Anderson tried to make the save but failed so Dustin Rhodes came to the ring to make the save. Brian Cage took him out and Team Taz ran rampant.

Just as the carnage was reaching fever pitch, the lights went out, snow began to fall and a new entrance video began to play. As the highlights of winter, ice, and a solitary crow began to play, a familiar name blazed onto the screen… Sting. The Vigilante Sting walked out, through the snow and made his first steps back into TNT after an 18-year absence. He pulled out his bat and walked to the ring. He strolled to the ring and locked eyes with every member of the Rhodes crew before sharing a long stare-down with Darby Allin. He gave the crowd a couple of WOOs and left, throwing one more glance at Darby. He had his own entrance and shirt, so AEW means business with Sting and I am honestly intrigued to see what they do with him. It’s a huge get but one that leaves me with a lot of questions. That entrance though, absolutely ruled.

Before the title match, we saw interviews with AEW Women’s World Champion Hikaru Shida about Abadon challenging her. She originally tried to claim she wasn’t scared and that Abadon was just a girl doing zombie cosplay but a sound off-screen scared rocked her calm and she quickly ran off.

AEW World Title Match: Kenny Omega defeated Jon Moxley via One-Winged Angel

It was time to get down to title business. For the longest time, Jon Moxley has reigned supreme. He’s taken on some of AEW’s best and brightest and has even beaten Kenny Omega once before under much more extreme circumstances. Now it was time for Omega to cash in his Eliminator tournament prize and take his title shot. These two had come to blows several times along the way and now they had a massive main event match to take all that stress, tension, and violence out on each other. Don Callis was once again on commentary and everyone was on the edge of their seat as tonight could change the landscape of AEW forever. Moxley wasted no time, instantly trying to lock a sleeper hold on Omega. The pair went into another technical exchange and Omega locked in a rear chin-lock. Moley won a knockdown exchange and put Omega back on the ground with a side-headlock. The intensity picked up as Omega started throwing punches and chopped Moxley in the corner to very little effect. Moxley crushed Omega with a corner clothesline but got sent outside by a snap Rana. Omega tried for Rise of the Machines but Moxley ran back in and planted him with a black hole slam.

The fight spilled outside where the pair brawled and Moxley got sent into the railing. He avoided a trip to the rails and tried for the railing moonsault but Moxley dragged him down and suplexed him on the floor. The ref tried to get the match back into the ring but Moxley ignored him and sent Omega into the railings. They fought up into the stands and Moxley launched Omega into several rows of seats. Moxley dragged Omega back towards the ring and tanked a series of chops and an apron charge to slingshot Omega into the ring-post. The action finally returned to the ring but Moxley decided to do a bit of posing on the outside and Omega made him pay with a dropkick and Dragon Screw in the ropes. Omega dragged him back outside and slammed his knee off the railing. With both men in the ring, things began to pick up. Omega blasted Moxley with the Kotaro Crusher and continued to work the leg with vicious efficiency. Moxley fired back with a lariat but Omega played possum and caught him in a kneebar. Moxley made the ropes and fought out of You Can’t Escape to dump Omega into the mat with a duo of Germans. He continued with an Exploder and an X-Plex. Every time he dropped Omega, he rushed for a pinfall but couldn’t keep Omega down. A slugfest broke out and Moxley locked in an STF. After a pinfall exchange, Moxley went back to chops and Omega booted Moxley outside for Rise of the Machines.

Back in-ring, Moxley kicked Omega out of the air into a Paradigm Shift but didn’t go for the pin. The plunder came out as Moxley grabbed a pair of chairs and set up a barfight, in the middle of an AEW ring. The pair battered each other until Moxley sent Omega reeling. He remained seated and Omega took him out with a V-Trigger. A duo of snap Dragons followed with Omega going for another V-Trigger but Moxley reversed into a German. Omega stayed standing and fired another V-Trigger but Moxley used the last of his energy to take Omega down with him with a lariat. He hit a second Paradigm Shift but Omega somehow kicked out. Omega bailed and took Moxley out of a dive with another V-Trigger. He hit a missile dropkick to Moxley’s back and blasted Moxley with a corner V-Trigger and the Jay Driller. The pair traded finisher attempts and Omega gave everyone a throwback with the Rain-Trigger. He tried for the One-Winged Angel but couldn’t keep Moxley still and hit Croyt’s Wrath instead. Moxley dodged a Phoenix Splash and took the fight outside again, throwing Omega into a heater with a Paradigm Shift. The ref called for a doctor and Callis went to check on Omega. Moxley punched down Omega again as Callis argued with the ref. Moxley hit Callis and Omega cracked him in the head with a microphone. He finished off Moxley with a series of bare-knee V-Triggers and the One-Winged Angel for the win.

We had a new champion as Omega did what no one else could do, beat Jon Moxley in a singles match. It wasn’t entirely clear as Don Callis and a microphone led to a bloody, title-less Moxley. Omega is the new champion and he ran off with Don Callis away from Dally’s Place. Callis told people that if they want to know what happens next to tune into Impact on Tuesday. He has ransacked AEW of their champion and just teased something between AEW and Impact Wrestling. This was PPV main event level quality wrestling from Moxley and Omega and one hell of a way to end a special edition of Dynamite. If you weren’t interested before, the company just entered a very new and very interesting direction here. This has been the Baron of Blood and Guts, John Dinsdale, bringing you an essay on AEW Dynamite, Winter is Coming.

All images courtesy of AEW, Cody Twitter, Darby Allin Twitter