AEW Dynamite Winter Is Coming was broadcast live on December 15, 2021 from The Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas. The matches announced in advance of the card were Matt Sydal v. Wardlow, Serena Deeb v. Hikaru Shida, Maxwell Jacob Friedman v. Dante Martin in the final for the Dynamite Diamond Ring, and “Hangman” Adam Page (c) v. Bryan Danielson for the AEW World Championship.
In addition to the stacked card AEW president Tony Khan had hinted at more surprises over the coming weeks of AEW programming, heightening the excitement for what was already considered appointment television this week.
AEW World Championship match: “Hangman” Adam Page v. Bryan Danielson – time-limit draw
The show opened with the AEW Championship match. The crowd was pay per view hot and the combatants were dressed the part. Danielson came out sporting white & burgundy trunks, kneepads and kickpads, Hangman in brown and white cow print.
They opened with some chain wrestling before switching up to the striking game. Danielson’s thirst for violence was on display early as he dodged a Hangman double axe-handle from the top with a counter-air gut kick before launching into some vicious chops, kicks and knees to the champion. Danielson was really leaning into his confident side, frequently taunting Hangman and doing jumping jacks in the ring while Page was dispatched to the outside. Hangman came back with a flurry of his own, hitting Danielson with a tope suicida followed by his faithful Orihara moonsault off the top turnbuckle to the floor.
The submission exchanges and attempts to finish each other ramped up at this point with Danielson attempting a LeBell Lock that Hangman was able to escape from, but not before Danielson got him right back into an ankle lock during which he delivered a nasty boot to the champion’s gut. Page fought back and was able to land some more offense before the challenger pushed him off the top rope to a sickening bump on the apron before landing on the floor. Danielson worked Hangman’s arm outside and brought him back into the ring for a brutal kick to the face in the corner. The tension rose when the Cattle Mutilation was locked in on Hangman, but he was able to get the rope break. Danielson began kicking Hangman on the apron, eventually missing a kick and striking the ring post. Page began working the injured leg inside the ring before both men ended up on the apron again.
This time it was Danielson attempting a Goch-style piledriver which was countered by the champion into his signature Deadeye. Hangman then attempted a diving clothesline from atop the ring post to Danielson on the floor, but the challenger stepped out of the way and Hangman came down hard on the table. The crowd was absolutely buzzing by this point. Danielson began brutalizing Page inside the ring until the champ turned him inside out with a beautiful discus lariat (a nod to the late Brodie Lee), instantly whipping up a massive “Cowboy Shit” chant from the crowd. Danielson was able to regain the momentum and take Page to the mat, where he grabbed him by the wrists and began to “kick his head in”. Danielson lined the champion up for the Busaiku Knee, which was caught by Page and countered with another Deadeye for a close two count.
Hangman tried to finish it with a Buckshot Lariat to no avail, as Danielson countered it into another LeBell lock. As the champion was locked up, Justin Roberts announced there was one minute remaining in the match.
Hangman fought off the LeBell lock and had his sights set on the Buckshot Lariat, which he hit, but was unable to make the cover before the time limit was reached and the bell rang to end the match.
This was everything you could expect from Page and Danielson and then some. Sixty full minutes of intense back-and-forth offense. This was a pay per view main event opening the card on cable television.
Segment: Adam Cole, Young Bucks and Bobby Fish
This segment was straight to the point. Cole recapped what took place between the Superkliq (plus Bobby Fish) and Best Friends & Orange Cassidy. This led to Matt Jackson challenging Best Friends, Orange Cassidy and Wheeler Yuta to a 8-man tag on Rampage against the Bucks, Cole & Fish. Cole ended the segment promising a Christmas present for Matt and Nick on next week’s Dynamite.
Wardlow v. Matt Sydal – Wardlow wins by pinfall
I was expecting this to be more about a post-match angle than anything else and was quickly proven right. Sydal tried with all his heart to take Wardlow down, but was snatched out of the air on a spinning heel kick and powerbombed before being picked right back up and powerbombed again.
Shawn Spears got on the mic during this and yelled for Wardlow to wrap it up and pin Sydal. The fans had other plans as they chanted for one more powerbomb, to which Wardlow obliged before mercifully pinning his opponent.
Spears took to the ring with the mic telling Wardlow “One and done next time” and that they aren’t being paid by the hour. He proceeded to beating Sydal with a chair before stopping to answer a phone call from MJF. Spears told Wardlow that he is to pick up champagne for MJF’s victory celebration following his match with Dante Martin in the main event.
Wardlow stormed off with Spears in tow.
Tay Conti video package
Tay challenged Penelope Ford to a submission match on this week’s Rampage, which Penelope accepted.
Malakai Black video segment
Malakai was talking about the materials which make a house strong, this time with a cloaked figure in a black mask appearing in some shots. He went on to say “Don’t fight it. Embrace it.” We then saw him walk outside the house and mist the masked man in the face, telling him “Now you’re so much more than a king.”
This led many online to quickly speculate as to who it could be, many assuming it to be Brody King. He and Black are PWG Tag Team Champions. Shortly after the segment Cassidy Haynes broke an exclusive story that Brody King has signed with AEW.
Serena Deeb v. Hikaru Shida – Hikaru Shida wins by pinfall
Two of All Elite Wrestling’s top women met in a rubber match to settle their recent grudge, which has seen both wrestlers take a win off the other. The dislike between the two could be felt immediately and they wasted no time tearing into one another with a flurry of strikes before Deeb got the upper hand and began working Shida’s leg, a callback to their earlier encounters.
This was Serena Deeb doing what she does best for a while – all the submissions you can think of. Shida eventually fought her way back and hit a big suplex. They exchanged more offense and while Shida was prone Deeb went to the corner and ripped the turnbuckle pad off. Multiple attempts were made by both wrestlers to send their opponent into the exposed corner.
Deeb was eventually sent face first into the missing turnbuckle after being kicked towards it while attempting to lock a figure four on Shida. As she stumbled out of the corner Shida rolled her up into a jack-knife style pin for the victory.
Varsity Blondes promo w/ Tony Schiavone
Tony was asking The Blondes for their thoughts on last week’s attack on Julia Hart, in which she was sprayed with Malakai Black’s black mist. She was not present for the interview. Griff Garrison was particularly fired up and challenged Malakai to a match.
Brian Pillman Jr. seemed against the idea but Griff was persistent, staring into the camera and threatening to break Malakai’s jaw.
We are blessed with a recap/hype package showing clips of Hook’s debut match on last week’s Rampage.
Eddie Kingston segment
Eddie announced a 10-man tag match for Rampage. It will be the team of Eddie Kingston, Santana & Ortiz and the Lucha Bros. v. Daniel Garcia, 2(point)0 and two unnamed partners of their choosing.
Dynamite Diamond Ring Finals Match: Maxwell Jacob Friedman v. Dante Martin – MJF wins by submission (Fujiwara armbar)
MJF came to the ring with a microphone and immediately ripped into the Texas crowd with a barrage of regional stereotypes and ridicule before switching to the topic of CM Punk. He criticized Punk’s promo from the week prior and referred to Punk as the new Ryback. He ended the promo by claiming he can beat Dante Martin with a headlock takeover.
Dante made his entrance and the match was underway. They traded headlock takeovers and eventually Dante knocked MJF to the ground, at which point he hit him with a rolling 450 splash. Dante couldn’t quite extend his legs out and came down with his knees pretty hard on Friedman, who instantly began selling his face. Dante went to the top rope but was pushed to the floor outside the ring where he crashed into the guard rail. They went to a commercial break at which point MJF worked Dante’s arm on the outside before climbing back inside to taunt. As soon as the commercial break ended the gravity switch was turned off and Dante Martin took to the air.
With MJF on the outside, Martin ran the apron, grabbed the turnbuckle and did a tope con hilo over the ring post onto his opponent standing on the floor. He followed this up by diving over the top rope onto MJF, ran back into the ring, then dove back to the outside with a springboard shooting star press (which he got more than enough air on). They brought the action back into the ring where the two wrestlers chained pinning combinations, ending in a sit-out powerbomb by MJF that got a near fall. Dante worked his way back into it and hit his double jump moonsault, but Ricky Starks appeared out of nowhere to put MJF’s foot on the bottom rope.
While Dante and the referee were distracted by Starks, MJF pulled Martin to the mat and locked in his Salt of the Earth submission hold (Fujiwara armbar) and his opponent tapped out, thus securing Friedman the Dynamite Diamond Ring for a third straight year.
FTR made their way to the ring to parade MJF around when the lights suddenly went out. When they came back on Sting and Darby Allin were standing in the ring and began brawling with the three Pinnacle members, who eventually overpowered them with the numbers advantage. Cult of Personality hit and CM Punk came charging to the ring with what appeared to be Sting’s black baseball bat. He chased away MJF and FTR, and grabbed a mic to declare that next week we will see CM Punk, Sting and Darby take on MJF and FTR in a trios match.
We saw Punk and Darby shake hands in the corner before the show goes off air.
Winter Is Coming was a perfect example of AEW’s 4 pay per view per year format giving them the breathing room needed to pull this kind of special episode card off on weekly TV. Danielson v. Page could have easily main evented on one of their PPV cards (and if I had to guess the rematch will do so down the road). One can’t help but watch and wonder what Tony Khan has up his sleeve with more holiday shows next week, a New Year’s special, Dynamite switching from TNT to TBS and a Saturday special called Battle of the Belts all coming up in the next few weeks.