Wrestling Review: AEW New Year’s Smash (2021) (Night 2)

The second show of 2021 for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) will be the second night of action from their 20201 event, New Year’s Smash. In the main event, Darby Allin will defend his TNT Championship against the muscle bound monster, Brian Cage, of Team Taz, while the NWA Women’s Champion, Serena Deeb, will defend her title against up and comer, and former student, Tay Conti. After injuring Trent Beretta, “The Best Man” Miro will face off with Beretta’s partner, Chuck Taylor with a unique stipulation: if Miro wins, then Taylor must be the butler for the upcoming wedding Miro’s best friend, Kip Sabian to Penelope Ford, while PAC and Eddie Kingston will finally get their hands on each other after months of “family” betrayals. Also on the show, Kenny Omega and Don Callis have promised that the Elite will be in action for the first time in months, and Marko Stunt has challenged the team of FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood), and now Stunt will team with Jungle Boy to face the pair. But how will the Jurassic Express team fare without Luchasaurus to back them up?

+ Darby Allin (c) vs Brian Cage (TNT Championship): this was great. Darby is a fantastic underdog, and his willingness to get thrown around makes almost every match he is in compelling for uncomfortable reasons. Cage is a monster in the ring, and his overwhelming power against the significantly smaller champion made for a thrilling styles clash. I don’t imagine Darby will be able to put on many more matches like this, but for what it was, it was a perfect championship main event match
+ Serena Deeb (c) vs Tay Conti (w/ Anna Jay) (NWA Women’s Championship): I won’t say this was great, or even really good, but it was good and a perfectly adequate stepping stone for Tay Conti. Serena Deeb is of course a really great wrestler, and in fact was at the WWE Performance Centre when Conti was in NXT, so the two have certainly had some time to build chemistry. If, two years from now, these two wrestle again, this match may be seen as some sort of “where I started” piece
+ Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Marko Stunt) vs FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood) (w/ Tully Blanchard): overall, this was really good. I was surprised at how much Marko was allowed to do against the former tag champs, but the FTR twosome are so damn good they made everything look great. I am a Luchasaurus fan, so of course I prefer to see him, but Jungle Boy playing the big man while teaming with Marko can only be good experience. Jungle Boy is still on track to be a megastar in the wrestling business
+ The Inner Circle’s New Year’s Resolutions: gosh I loved this. Between Hager’s screaming, the surprisingly wholesome Santana and Ortiz duo or MJF just being suck a dick, this had it all. And best of all, it leads to something coming up. What else could you ask for
+ Chuck Taylor (w/ Orange Cassidy) vs Miro (w/ Kip Sabian & Penelope Ford) (If Miro wins, Chuck Taylor must be Miro’s butler): I like both guys, but these sort of stories never end well. I have some faith in that AEW has not had a story like this before, but I’m less enthusiastic than I may be for a different story. The match was fine, and Miro finally looks like the Bulgarian Brute he was in his early WWE run, which is a good thing to me
+ PAC vs Eddie Kingston: I liked this a lot. I really missed PAC In his time off, and in that time Eddie Kingston really cemented himself as a top guy to pay attention to. PAC is a better in-ring worker than Kingston, but considering each of them are so good at talking and so good at wrestling (thought each with a different better skill) this was a match to see. And after the bell there was more build up for lots of upcoming matches, so this was a success all around

The Waiting Room with Dr. Britt Baker: this was a waste of time with far too much going on for the limited payoff. This was the first time the Waiting Room show has appeared on Dynamite, and I hope this is the last time it appears on Dynamite
The Elite in action for the first time in months: Kenny Omega is still one of the best in the world, but this match and segment and aftermath did very little for me. I enjoy this new Don Callis/Kenny Omega stuff overall, but this was not what I wanted to see and I don’t think it helped anybody

Should you watch this event: Overall this was a fine show, but by no means was it as good as last week. Darby getting ragdolled by Brian Cage brought back some memories of Brodie Lee destroying Cody for the same championship, and the Inner Circle were as funny as ever. Despite how good this was, it was a different kind of good compared to night one; that show was an “event”, this was just a “good regular show”

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