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AEW Dynamite: Holiday Bash Recap

AEW Holiday Bash

The penultimate episode of Dynamite in 2021 aired from the legendary Greensboro Coliseum with a stacked main event, a not-so-shocking debut, and solid matches throughout. If you told me in 2017 that I’d see CM Punk and Sting in the same match, you know the rest . . .

Hits

  • While I wasn’t big on the match it followed, I loved the Kyle O’Reilly debut. It didn’t come across on television like people went banana but the crowd felt quiet for this show. Having just feuded, Cole and O’Reilly stared each other down but proceeded to beat the Best Friends up. As they stood facing the hard cam, as if they were about to throw up the old gang sign, the Young Bucks came to the ring and basically said “What’s all this, then?” before Cole left with his former UE teammates. 
  • The segment with Bryan Danielson and Adam Page was great. It was another reason why the promo interruptions shouldn’t happen five times every week, this one would’ve meant more if they didn’t. Both guys were really good here, especially Danielson. They agreed to have judges for the rematch on January 5 on TBS. I liked this segment. 
  • We had the whole Pinnacle together backstage and MJF cut a promo on CM Punk. He actually acknowledged the camera crew, which gets huge brownie points from me, Dax Harwood cut a promo on Punk as well. This was great. 
  • Wardlow beat Shawn Dean with just four powerbombs. This was all it needed to be until Shawn Spears murked Dean with chairs. I love Spears, they just need to figure out a better role for him than whatever he’s doing now, wearing suits without a shirt and a beanie. 
  • We got a Britt Baker promo with her drinking wine with Rebel and Jamie Hayter which was good as Baker always is. Following this was a video package featuring multiple talking heads. This was super good, the Owen tournament should be really special. 
  • Ruby Soho beat Nyla Rose to advance to the finals of the TBS Championship tournament. There was a fair amount of interference from Vickie Guerrero in this one, but these two worked hard. I think this was the right result, but I also worry that Rose might have been a little too nerfed at this point, I can’t remember the last big win she had before this tournament. 
  • After a VTR for the Hikaru Shida-Serena Deeb promo, Malakai Black made quick work of Griff Garrison. After the match, Black canceled Brian Pillman Jr. with the roundhouse kick. This was a fine segment, no real follow-up to the Brody King tease from last week, though. 
  • Christmas came early with this main event. MJF and FTR teamed up to wrestle CM Punk (with surfer Sting facepaint and tights), Darby Allin (with half his face painted like Sting), and Sting himself (with CM Punk logo-clad facepaint and a Punk t-shirt). The big story of the match was MJF running from Punk, and the two never touched. This felt like a house show main event in the best way. You had the biggest star, the best tag team, the top heel, the top younger babyface, and a Hall of Famer all in the one match. It had everything: MJF landing on his head, FTR doing the power-plex, Sting doing classic stuff, the Darby tope, Punk being Punk. I loved this, it was the best trios tag I’ve seen in AEW in 2021. This is how you do it. 

Misses

  • This show opened with a singles match where Adam Cole beat Orange Cassidy. The work, when Cassidy actually wrestled, was good. Both guys came to the ring on their own so you knew that their respective stablemates would run in at some point, and they did. The Young Bucks and Brandon Cutler came down only to fight off again with the rest of the Best Friends’ Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor. I don’t even know what these teams are feuding over. I think the world of Cole, but the Panama Sunrise is just too cooperative a move to be a finisher. 
  • After a VTR for the Cody Rhodes vs Sammy Guevara TNT title match, Dan Lambert cut somewhat of a meta (as much as meta can be in wrestling) promo about the TNT Championship picture. He had a line about trying to get Cody cheered, even though Cody is a bigger dick than Lambert which was funny. I just feel nothing for Lambert, Scorpio Sky, and Ethan Page. I don’t know why they aren’t going for the tag titles. 
  • There was a promo from Matt Hardy and Private Party, which was another one where I just felt nothing. It was followed by a Jurassic Express promo with Christian Cage, this was slightly better but this feud just isn’t doing it for me.

This was a solid show, but very much felt like a December show. They could’ve devoted a little more time to the Danielson-Page program throughout the show, maybe with a recap or two, later on, to get that over more.

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