This week’s AEW Dynamite only had four matches, but one of which was for the AEW World Championship as “Hangman” Adam Page made his first title defence against “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson. Wardlow looked to continue his dominance against Matt Sydal, Hikaru Shida and Serena Deeb went to war once again, and MJF faced Dante Martin in the main event. We heard from Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and The Young Bucks, as well as Eddie Kingston. Malakai Black’s actions from last week spilled over to tonight, and some big matches were announced for the coming week.

Quick Results

Bryan Danielson and “Hangman” Adam Page ended in a draw. *****

Wardlow defeated Matt Sydal vis pinfall. *

Hikaru Shida defeated Serena Deeb via pinfall. ***

MJF defeated Dante Martin via submission. ***½

The Matches

AEW World Championship Match: Bryan Danielson vs “Hangman” Adam Page (C)

I can’t believe they started the evening with the title match. It was Hangman’s first title defence, and potentially one of his toughest matches to date in AEW. The fans have really turned on Danielson in the past month, but that goes to show what a great speaker he is. Regardless of his positioning with the fans, Danielson is a world-class performer and this match was exceptional. Danielson showed a complete lack of respect for Hangman, and his arrogance was off the charts. He was getting in the champs head, and Hangman was showing his frustrations. Despite Danielson’s best efforts, Hangman came back with some big chops in an effort to wear him down. Danielson put Hangman in a Romero Special and continued to work on Hangman’s ankles. Both guys got in some vicious kicks and forearm strikes, but it was Hangman’s big boots that knocked the wind out of Danielson. He went flying to the outside and knocked Danielson to the floor. Back in the ring, Danielson kicked Hangman in the stomach as he jumped off the turnbuckle, then continued to beat up the champion with plenty of chops and kicks to his chest. Danielson landed a diving knee from the top turnbuckle and locked in a grounded abdominal stretch. Every time Hangman found a second wind, Danielson knocked it out of him.

Hangman found the fire and hit a fallaway slam and followed up by hitting a lariat springboard. He hit a Tope Suicida and an Orihara Moonsault off the top turnbuckle to Danielson who had got to his feet outside the ring. Hangman hit a Death Valley Driver and almost got a three-count. Hangman missed a moonsault and Danielson tried to roll him up, only getting a two-count. Danielson booted Hangman in the stomach after locking in an ankle lock, then drove his knees into his side. Danielson hit two running knees into Hangman, but he countered the third with a pop-up powerbomb. Hangman went for the Buckshot Lariat, but Danielson escaped the ring. Hangman went for another Orihara Moonsault, but Danielson pushed him off and he landed hard on the apron. Danielson pulled Hangman’s arms as his face hit the ring post a couple of times, then taunted the crowd with a huge smile on his face. Hangman’s head was busted open and he looked dazed at ringside. Danielson just stayed in the ring and mocked the crowd by doing jumping jacks once again, and sticking his middle finger up at them. Hangman finally got to his feet, and Danielson hit a sliding dropkick and a jumping knee off the apron. Danielson hit another knee on Hangman’s head as he lay across the apron.

Danielson plunged his fist into the wound on Hangman’s head, then pushed his boot into the back of his skull. The champ was in a really bad way, but he fought back with everything he had left. Danielson hit a succession of knee strikes to Hangman on the apron until the champ moved and Danielson struck the ring post. Hangman wrapped Danielson’s knee on the exposed barricades, then booted it hard. Back in the ring, Hangman locked in a Figure Four, but Danielson grabbed the bottom rope. The champ whipped Danielson’s leg into the ring post multiple times. In the ring, Hangman landed a dragon screw off the top turnbuckle but almost got caught with an inside cradle. Both guys were worn down and beat up as they traded blows. Somehow, Hangman broke free from a triangle sleeper when it almost seemed finished. Hangman hit a tombstone piledriver, but Danielson kicked out at the last second. Danielson landed a shoulder capture suplex, but Hangman kicked out. Danielson landed some hammer and anvil elbow strikes after a top turnbuckle backdrop. Hangman was able to land Deadeye on the apron. He dove off the top turnbuckle to Danielson on the outside, but he moved and the champ went through the ring announcer table. Danielson removed the mat at ringside, exposing the concrete.

Danielson hit a DDT on the exposed concrete, then did the jumping jacks again. Danielson hit a diving headbutt after flipping the bird at the fans, but couldn’t get the three-count. Hangman hit a German suplex. Danielson hit some weak knee strikes, and Hangman hit some unaffecting lariats. After landing on his feet following a backdrop off the top turnbuckle, Hangman hit an in-ring Buckshot to send Danielson spinning. They traded blows in the centre of the ring with neither man gaining an advantage. Danielson hit a rolling knee to knock Hangman to his knees. He grabbed Hangman’s arms, then stomped the champ multiple times in the head. Hangman countered the Busaiku Knee with Deadeye, but Danielson kicked out. Hangman grabbed Danielson’s arms, then drove his boot down into his face a few times. Hangman went for the Buckshot Lariat, but Danielson countered with the LeBell Lock. Hangman got out and connected with the Buckshot Lariat, but the bell rang as the time limit expired, ending in a draw. This has to be one of the greatest matches AEW has ever had. For 60 minutes, these guys gave everything. I’m speechless. It’s such a shame Hangman didn’t have time to attempt a three-count to pick up a victory, but it’ll go down as one of the finest matches, not just in the company but in professional wrestling.

Matt Sydal vs Wardlow

I’m not sure how it’s possible to follow such a ground-breaking match, especially with how they’ve booked Wardlow in recent weeks. Spears grabbed a microphone and told Wardlow to finish the match after delivering yet another powerbomb. Wardlow pinned Sydal and Spears smashed him with the chair. MJF phoned Spears who told Wardlow to pick up champagne for when MJF wins tonight. How much more is Wardlow going to take before he explodes? It’s getting a bit boring now. Hopefully, it’s soon because I want to see him take on guys like Miro and Hobbs.

Serena Deeb vs Hikaru Shida

There’s a hell of a lot of bad blood between these two, and straight from the off, they pulled out all the stops. Deeb tried to hurt Shida’s knee further with a leg lock. Deeb slammed Shida’s knee into the steel steps, then locked in a Figure Four around the ring post. Back in the ring, Deeb continued to work on Shida’s knee, but she got to the ropes to break it up. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Shida suffer like this. Despite Deeb’s best efforts, Shida landed some huge strikes and a delayed vertical suplex. She climbed to the top turnbuckle, but Deeb knocked her off into the tree of woe and locked in a knee submission. Deeb hit a neckbreaker onto the second turnbuckle, then a powerbomb for a two-count. She hit two spinning neck breakers, but Shida hit a Falcon Arrow straight after. Shida hit an axe kick, but Deeb locked in a single leg crab in the centre of the ring. Deeb removed one of the turnbuckles to expose the steel. Shida sent Deeb face-first into it then pinned her for the win.

Dynamite Diamond Ring Match: MJF vs Dante Martin

As MJF came out, he said Dallas was a “goddamn dump.” He then said “Texas, your daughter swallows.” MJF really laid into Texas, then turned his attention to CM Punk. He mocked Punk’s attempt at slating the New York Islanders for 10 whole minutes on last week’s AEW Dynamite. MJF said he was the only young talent that matters, and Martin was in a lot of trouble. He said he didn’t claim to be the best in the world, he just was. Martin was very impressive in the early stages, but like always, MJF ran away before he could capitalise. Martin climbed the ropes and MJF pushed him off into the barricades. Back in the ring, MJF bit Martin’s little finger and gouged his eyes. He locked in an armbar as the fans chanted “needle d***.” MJF went for a powerbomb, but Martin reversed into a pin. Martin hit a huge dropkick off the top turnbuckle, then a huge crossbody over the top rope to the outside. He then landed a Tope Con Hilo over the turnbuckle. Yet again, Martin hit a flip over the top rope, then a shooting star press off the top rope to the outside, however, he barely connected. Martin hit ten strikes in the corner and a leg lariat. MJF almost got pinned on multiple occasions. They both reversed pin attempts until MJF hit a Liger Bomb. Martin hit his signature moonsault off the top rope and went for the pin, but Ricky Starks appeared and put MJF’s foot on the rope. MJF locked in Salt of the Earth to pick up the win. After the match, the lights went out where Sting and Darby Allin appeared behind FTR who had MJF on their shoulders. FTR and MJF stomped down Allin and Sting. CM Punk came out with a baseball bat and the ring cleared. CM Punk said he would team with Sting and Darby Allin to take on MJF and FTR.

The Promos

Adam Page, Bobby Fish, and The Young Bucks talked about beating up Best Friends time and time again. The Bucks talked about having an eight-man match on Rampage, and also ending Sue’s career as well. Poor Sue. Cole said that next week on AEW Dynamite, they would get the best Christmas present ever. Hmm, maybe the arrival of Kyle O’Reilly?

Tay Conti and Penelope Ford cut promos on each other in a video package, which led to Conti saying how she’d defeat her on AEW Rampage.

Malakai Black appeared in a superb vignette where he talked about how someone’s past isn’t a crutch, but an arrow. He talked about placing the house before everything else, and how it is bigger than everything, and it always wins. What was interesting is that there was someone in a black cloak as Black spat black mist in their face. Who could it be?

Tony Schiavone talked to Varsity Blonds backstage about the unprovoked attack by Malakai Black last week on Julia Hart. Griff Garrison was pretty annoyed, calling Black a coward. Brian Pillman Jr told Garrison to calm down. Garrison said that next week he would break Black’s jaw. Good luck with that.

Eddie Kingston talked about being tired of 2.0, and on AEW Rampage he would team with Santana & Ortiz and The Lucha Bros to take them on and whoever they choose. He told them not to be scared. Oh, boy. 2.0 are going to get slaughtered.

Everything Else

There was a look back to last Friday on AEW Rampage where Hook debuted and got his first win.

Match of the Night: Bryan Danielson vs “Hangman” Adam Page.

Best in Show: “Hangman” Adam Page

Overall Rating: ****

All images and videos courtesy of AEW – Very special thanks to Fite TV for the captures

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