Cody confirms that AEW and New Japan might be exploring a partnership, Laurie takes us through last night’s episode of NXT, and Luke recaps last night’s episode of AEW Dynamite!
Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk STACKED News, and STACKED Reviews! I am Chopper Pete Quinnell.
In a very successful two nights of WrestleKingdom 14 this past weekend, where we saw Tetsuya Naito become IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion at the same time, #Naito2Belts, Will Ospreay and Hiromu Takahashi literally take wrestling to another level, and Kota Ibushi get disappointed a lot, in two fairly high profile matches, AEW’s Jon Moxley captured the US Title off of Lance Archer, while AEW’s Chris Jericho defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi with the stipulation being that if Tanahashi wins, he would be gifted an AEW title shot.
While both AEW wrestlers were successful in their matches, some fans, mainly me, were hoping that Tanahashi would get the win over Jericho, mainly because we wanted to see where that stipulation would go, what an AEW title match with Hiroshi Tanahashi in it would look like, and if the fabled AEW and New Japan relationship would come to fruition, something that Tanahashi himself referred to as the Forbidden Door. AEW Forbidden Door confirmed.
Well if you ask Executive Vice President of AEW Cody Rhodes, the relationship between AEW and New Japan already exists. In an interview with the New York Post, Cody would say:
“I don’t know what a partnership would look like other than what you saw. Chris Jericho was part of one of the main events of Wrestle Kingdom, Jon Moxley as well. They both were successful. What did he call it? The forbidden door? It may be forbidden, but clearly the door is opening and closing and opening and closing. It’s public knowledge that some guys here, myself included, have exemptions to work New Japan Pro-Wrestling. But I know that New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s focus is New Japan and AEW’s focus is AEW.”
“So more likely what a partnership would look like is perhaps some sharing of talent, some shared creative…but I like how it’s referred to as the forbidden door. I don’t really think it’s forbidden at all. Like I said, many people have the exemption to work there…I think it’s something in the next year that we will hopefully all explore. We’ll explore on our end, they’ll explore on their end and we’ll see if it works.”
So the relationship already exists, but you’re going to explore it during the year and you’ll see if it works? Does it exist or doesn’t it? I NEED TO KNOW CODY. At the very least, it seems like the feelers are being sent out to determine the likelihood of the relationship forming, and this year might be the year where the relationship is fully formed with talent exchanges and all that goodness.
Once again, despite confirming and also, not confirming, the existence of the relationship, the fact remains that AEW has been mentioned on New Japan programming, and Chris Jericho came out at Wrestle Kingdom holding the AEW title. Cody has a point that if that’s not a relationship, then what is?
Perhaps in the future we’ll be able to see talent jump the other way, and we see talent such as Kota Ibushi, Will Ospreay, Takahashi, Tanahashi, Okada, Naito, and Jay White make their way to AEW for a few appearances every now and then. That would be nice.
I mean, hell, Jericho namedropped him and Moxley wrestling at WrestleKingdom 14 on AEW Dynamite this week. The seeds are already there, just let the tree grow and the branches of collaboration will…sprout? Just…work together already will you?
But then again, with New Japan’s complications surrounding their existing partnerships, specifically with Ring of Honor, and with New Japan’s owners, Bushiroad recently acquiring Stardom, perhaps the focus for them will be more on building Stardom with some potential New Japan crossover more so than the American crossover with AEW. Only time will tell, but man, it’s an interesting dynamic to look at.
But enough of that, over to Laurie for the NXT recap. Hot tag!
Before we fire into the NXT review though we quickly have to thank ‘The Rocket Dan Van Skye’ for their support on Patreon!
Toni Storm joins NXT ready salted flavour? The Dusty Classic kicks off big styley! And Keith Lee becomes number one contender… to the North American championship.
This week’s NXT had a stacked, *explosion noise*, card and I will say not everything delivered, but there was a lot to love about the show.
Newly-minted NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley opened the show with a promo talking about memories… but it is already too soon to be reminded of Cats… *shudder*…
Before she really gets cooking stirring up the hot crowd, the young miss Toni Storm appears to pour cold water on events, but actually this just works like a sauna and makes the crowd even hotter.
And they get hotter still as Kay Lee Ray, Io Shirai, Bianca Belair and Candice LeRae arrive to stake a claim on the championship.
This was a really exciting section that showed us how stacked *pyahh* the women’s division is and just how under siege the young champion is, it never outstayed its welcome and managed to be funny to boot.
It also lead us right into a six woman tag with the Aussie pixie squad taking on the heels, who had serious issues staying on the same page as Belair and Io Shirai kept bonking each other off the apron. Giving Rhea space to hit the riptide and win.
The blonde squad celebrate in the ring but not before everyone has a good old look at the title.
Next is the first of two awesome Tomasso Ciampa promo packages about losing goldie. Ciampa says the belt was his life, Adam Cole took it and he wants his life back. This is fantastic stuff.
The Dusty Classic kicked off after that with the Forgotten Sons taking on Imperium. It was an impressive display of athleticism all around but specifically by Aichner who despite having a broken nose was flinging dudes and himself around with gay abandon,
The Imperium boys picked up the win with a European bomb meaning they head into Sunday’s Takeover Blackpool 2 with some serious momentum.
Matt Riddle then hilariously explained why he and Pete Dunne are teaming in the Dusty Classic, the answer is, he’s high.
Austin Theory had a character building win against Joaquin Wilde next as it appears his showing against Roderick Strong over xmas has him earmarked for big things.
After that the Undisputed Era’s Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly took on NXT UK Tag Champs Gallus in a match that didn’t do a whole lot for me.
It was quite slow and stuck too closely to the Undisputed Era formula that we’ve seen of late – the guys get beaten down and then use the numbers advantage to cheat the win.
Johnny Gargano came in to cut a promo on Finn Balor saying that the Prince built NXT sure, but he also left as soon as he got the call, leaving Johnny to strap a rocket to NXT and fly it to space and Finn is just annoyed he got left behind. Which might explain the little hand tattoo Finn’s got… it’s a sad thing, just a lonely little spaceman…
Finn arrives says that if Johnny wants a fight he should talk to Regal and the pair can do it at Takeover Portland if he makes it that far. Yes flipping please.
It was then announced that Kushida will be teaming with former NJPW tag partner Alex Shelley for the Dusty Classic, the timesplitters are getting back together! And WWE thought they’d just announce that all casual like.
Mia Yim then took on Kayden Carter who did a load of lucha things but ultimately didn’t protect her neck, leaping right into one from Yim from the turnbuckle.
But before anyone can celebrate properly Chelsea Green attacks from behind, making her long-awaited NXT TV debut.
She is then revealed to be the first signee of the Robert Stone brand, run by former TNA star Robbie E. This segment fell flat as the recipient of a banzai drop, Green’s attack was too short, the announcement was underwhelming and it feels like a waste of Stone in this managerial role.
Thankfully everything picked up as the main event saw Keith Lee win out over Damian Priest, Dominic Dijakovic and Cameron Grimes to become the number one contender to Roderick Strong’s North American title.
This match was fast paced, full of insane sequences and gave everyone their time to shine – even Cameron Grimes hat got a cheer as he fired up and pointed to it. Fuck that hat.
This feels like NXT making good on the year the final stretch of 2019 that Keith Lee had and the impact he made across WWE as a whole. Here’s hoping they put the belt on him.
So much happened on NXT that I haven’t even mentioned that they announced a Women’s Battle Royal to decide the number one contender next week. I have now.
As I said in the intro the show was *stacked* and not everything worked as well as you would have hoped, and some announcements were underplayed massively, but Keith Lee’s win, the opening segment and the promo work throughout were all stellar.
So I’m giving this NXT a high three out of five.
Now over to Luke with the AEW review.
Thanks Laurie, but enough of your developmental nonsense, it’s time to get Elite, as I review the 8th of December 2020 edition of AEW Dynamite in about 4 minutes. Ring that bell!
The show opened with Private Party taking on Kenny Omega and Hangman Page, who has refused to pay $12 for a drink. Which is understandable that it is a ludicrous amount of money for a drink. This was a match that saw Omega and Page get back on the same page after a few weeks of issues, with Page even stopping himself from nearly hitting the Buckshot on Kenny. Private Party held their own and nearly got the win with Gin & Juice, but Omega and Page hit a Buckshot/V-Trigger combo for the win. Page didn’t look best pleased as they bumped heads during the match. Pac was then shown on the big screen attacking Michael Nakazawa, asking for his one-on-one rematch. Finally they paid off that angle from a few weeks ago. I know they did something on Dark, but that wasn’t shown on Dynamite so almost feels out of continuity.
Brandi Rhodes was out for commentary during Kris Statlander’s AEW Women’s Championship match against Riho, which was decent action ruined by Nightmare Collective nonsense. Awesome Kong and Mel came out for the distraction, which led to the debut of Japanese Death Match legend Luther… to no crowd response. Man, AEW really are not nailing these surprise debuts, are they? The crowd totally died despite Riho and Statlander’s best efforts to get them back into it with a series of nearfalls, but Kong tripped Kris to allow Riho to get the win. The Nightmare Collective attacked after the match, and Hikaru Shida and Big Swole ran out for the save – with Britt Baker deciding to stay in her seat. That was my favourite part of this overbooked schmoz, and they announced a tag match between Statlander & Shida vs. Nightmare Collective for Bash at the Beach next week.
We got a video package for Kip Sabian, and then Christopher Daniels took on Sammy Guevara in a decent little match, which saw CD get distracted by Pentagon Jr allowing Sammy to get the win. The Dark Order tried to recruit Daniels who turned them down, and SCU and the Young Bucks brawled with Grayson and The Creepers. I know people aren’t into the Dark Order, but this actually got some heat for a change.
The Rhodes Brothers had a really good match with Lucha Bros, it’s just a shame that most of it took place during the ad break. In hindsight, I wished they’d built to this match for a big PPV payoff. Dustin picked up the win with The Reckoning, and I hope The Rhodes pinning the #3 team in AEW affects the Power Rankings. Same for Page and Omega who’ve had some pretty big wins together as a team. Tony Schivone tried to get an answer from Cody about MJF, but Arn Anderson said they would let him know next week.
MJF came out for a promo, and was not happy about Cody’s lack of answer. Instead he got DDP who cut a fabulous promo putting over AEW – doing a better job than Jim Ross, who called them AWE on this show. DDP teased another match, and delivered a pair of Diamon Cutters to The Butcher & Blade who came down to support MJF. He was cut off by an MJF lowblow, which brought down Dustin and QT Marshall for the save. They announced a six-man tag for Bash at the Beach.
Speaking of six-man tags, and Jurassic Express took on Best Friends & Orange Cassidy in a fun comedy match. The crowd were super into all six men, particularly Marko Stunt and Cassidy, popping huge for both their spots. Jungle Boy got the pin with a Dragonrana, his first win in AEW. I liked this.
And the main event saw Chris Jericho get his answer on if JAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHN MOOOOOXLEY would join his Inner Circle. To the surprise of the fans, Mox said yes and revealed his Inner Circle t-shirt. They all celebrated with a bit of the bubbly to YOU SOLD OUT chants from the crowd, before Mox revealed he was just kidding and gave Le Champion and Sammy a couple of Paradigm Shifts. This was very predictable, but also a lot of fun. A solid end to a solid show.
So that was this week’s AEW Dynamite, vote in the poll above my head using the options on screen to let me know what you thought of the show. I used the world solid a moment ago, and that’s the best way to describe this week’s episode: solid. Outside of the Nightmare Collective, and you could make the argument for Dark Order, this was all solid advancing of various stories, with several plates spinning at once. This week’s AEW Dynamite was a high Middle of the Rhodes.
Is CM Punk making an in-ring return at the Royal Rumble? And what security botch happened on this week’s Raw? Click the videos on screen right now to check all that out. Thank you for watching and a special thank you to our Patreon Pledge Hammers, some of which you can see scrolling their way into my stomach. I’ve been Luke Owen and that was wrestling.