TNT Champion Darby Allin at 'AEW: New Year's Smash - Night 2'
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AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2 had a tough act to follow. All Elite Wresting put on an awesome show with Night 1.

The AEW: Dynamite special episodes are typically PPV quality. And AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2 was no exception. Weeks-old rivalries were settled or expanded. With Brian Cage finally challenging Darby Allin for the TNT Championship and PAC taking on Eddie Kingston, the show was already predisposed to be good. Add to that the continuing storyline of Kenny Omega, the Young Bucks, and the Good Brothers. And the continuing drama surrounding Chris Jericho, MJF, and their Inner Circle compatriots only assured the fire was gonna get hotter.

Here’s our review of AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2.

PAC stretches Eddie Kingston

PAC Vs. Eddie Kingston

Oh, man, bring it. This feud is only, like, four weeks old, and the AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2 video package makes it feel like a WrestleMania main event. PAC comes out and immediately waffles Kingston with a dropkick, sending the Mad King into the corner. Kingston heads outside for a respite, but PAC follows him and hits a tope. PAC introduces Kingston’s skull to the barricade a couple of times. The Bunny teases involvement, but the Lucha Bros. chase her off. Back inside, PAC caves in Kingston’s face with a quartet of pump kicks in the corner.

With Kingston reeling, PAC heads to the top rope and hits a missile dropkick. Kingston gets up to his knees and eats another pump kick followed by a knee to the face. RIP Kingston’s orbital bone. Kingston gets back into things and his a knee drop to the back of PAC’s head. PAC falls to the outside, and the Bunny rakes his eyes while Kingston distracts the referee. The referee finally gets involved and admonishes Rey Fenix because referees be dumb. With the ref occupied, the family teams up on PAC before Kingston hits a suplex on the mat.

Back in the ring, Kingston hits a reverse neckbreaker for a one-count. Kingston leans on PAC’s neck before the referee forces a break. Now it’s chop city from Kingston. But it looks like it’s only making PAC mad. PAC fights back, and he and Kingston slug it out. After some back-and-forth, PAC hits a release German suplex. But he can’t make the cover. Both guys are down, but PAC is first back to his feet. With Kingston on his knees, PAC goes to town with boots to Kingston’s chest. Excalibur helpfully reminds us that PAC is one of the only guys with a pinfall win over Kenny Omega. Kingston kips up and hits a Pele kick followed by a spike backdrop suplex for two. This is an awesome opener for AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2.

Kingston gets PAC in the corner and charges, but PAC evades only to eat a back elbow and a kick to the face. Eddie heads up top, but PAC kicks him in the head. With Kingston loopy, PAC follows him up and hits a superplex for two. PAC just keeps kicking Kingston in the head, and Kingston is somehow still, you know, alive. He follows the kicks with a running uppercut in the corner, and Kingston just collapses face-first on the mat. PAC comes off the ropes, but Kingston comes back with a lariat for two. Kingston goes for a DDT, but PAC holds onto the rope and hits a running dropkick. He drags Kingston toward the corner and connects with the Black Arrow for the pin. Awesome.

After the match, PAC hooks in the Brutalizer. This draws the family and Death Triangle into the ring. They tease a Pier 6, but Lance Archer chases Eddie and the family off. Before he leaves, we get another staredown between Archer and PAC. Jake Roberts breaks it up, but not before Archer and PAC have words. Yes, please, give me that match and now.

Winner:  PAC

Match Rating:  ****

Miro defeated Chuck at 'AEW: New Year's Smash - Night 2'

Chuck Taylor Vs. Miro

AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2 rolls on with the battle for the Young Boy. Wait. The battle to see if Chuck will be Miro’s young boy. I mean – oh, man. Look, a young boy is a Japanese wrestler’s padawan, and it doesn’t translate well without constant reminders and context, so I really just wish we’d just stop using it.

Chuck jumps Miro off the bell and clotheslines him over the top. Miro tries to climb back in, but Chuck punches him off the apron before sending him into the barricade. Oh thank god, Excalibur is just saying “butler” now. Thank you, Excalibur. Chuck throws him back inside, but Miro slips back under the rope for a breather. But Chuck hits a tope before tossing him into the barricade a couple more times. Back inside, Chuck goes up top, but Kip Sabian tries to beat up Orange Cassidy to distract him. Back inside, Miro hits a Samoan drop. He traps Chuck in the corner and hits a few punches before nailing a belly-to-back. Miro charges Chuck in the corner before hitting a leg lariat.

A thrust kick puts Chuck down again, and Miro cinches in Game Over for the win. So look. I know he hasn’t had the best storylines, but Miro still isn’t showing me a whole lot in the ring. It’s like he forgot how to be a monster over the last few weeks. After the match, Miro taunts Orange Cassidy. Yeah, okay, that’s a feud I’d watch. Miro, Kip, and Penelope drag Chuck away. What is it with these “you’re my servant/butler” angles always ending with the heel literally carrying the loser away? Like, he’s your butler, you don’t get to keep him.

Winner:  Miro

Match Rating:  1/2 *

Backstage, Dasha catches up with Matt Hardy and Private Party. She reminds them that they just signed away 30 percent of their money. Oh, and it turns out there is something forbidding third-party platforms. Private Party is more than annoyed, but Matt uses his own injury from All Out to illustrate that the business won’t take care of him.

This whole thing was just a little too out-of-nowhere to resonate.

Inner Circle New Year’s Resolutions

The Inner Circle is out next, as the AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2 crowd sings along to “Judas.” It’s time for the Inner Circle to unveil their New Year’s resolutions. Hager wants, and I quote, “CHAMPIONSHIPS, YEAH!” MJF wants to get closer with the rest of the group and to rid the world of fat people. Ortiz wants to perfect some of his grandmother’s recipes (MJF: “I definitely know what that is.”). Then Jericho kinda kills the mood. He says this is the year that Jericho and MJF win the AEW Tag Team Championships.

Santana doesn’t care for that, considering he and Ortiz were handpicked for the Inner Circle. Sammy’s not too happy, because that kinda kills his team with Jericho. Then Sammy goes for the jugular: “You’re a little tag-team slut!” And immediately sparks a “TAG TEAM SLUT!” chant. Sammy’s gonna draw so much money as a babyface. Jericho tries to make peace by saying that any combination of the two of them could win the titles. Since Wardlow and Hager could work out their differences, Jericho suggests they do the same.

Next week on AEW: Dynamite, it’ll be Jericho & MJF vs. Sammy & Hager (“CHAMPIONSHIPS, YEAH!”) vs. Santana & Ortiz. Um. Wardlow? Remember him? The guy who won last week? Anyway. MJF calls for unity with a circle of middle fingers. Santana rightly asks, “Why is your hand darker than your face?”

Backstage at AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2, Alex Marvez catches up with the Dark Order. Evil Uno promises that the Order has to be better people to honor Brodie Lee’s memory. Next week, they’ll team with Hangman Page again. John Silver gets super nervous around Page. The Hangman promises he’ll give his answer about whether he’s joining the Dark Order next week.

The AEW World Champion Kenny Omega enters at 'AEW: New Year's Smash - Night 2'

Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers Vs. Danny Limelight & The Varsity Blonds

This was supposed to be the Elite, but Callis pulls a fast one on the Young Bucks and teams Omega with the Good Brothers at AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2. I mean, I’m all for more Gallows and Anderson on my TV. But if the goal is to make me want to watch Impact, it’s not working. It just makes me wish the Good Brothers had signed with AEW.

Backstage, the Bucks and Tony Khan watch Anderson and Gallows enter. The Bucks storm off in disgust.

Not-the-Bullet-Club rush the babyfaces, and Omega and Limelight start off in the ring. The Brothers dispatch with the Blonds on the outside. Omega goes ninja crazy town on Limelight with double axe handles and charges him in the corner. But Limelight evades and hits an armdrag into a standing dropkick. Gallows comes in and clotheslines Limelight’s head off, but the Blonds clothesline him over the top. Limelight gets to his feet and tags in Pillman. Pillman hits a chop before tagging in Garrison, who goes to work on Omega’s arm. Pillman tags back in, and they double team the AEW Champion. Limelight tags back in and goes for a suplex. But Omega blocks and makes with the punches.

Limelight puts the breaks on it, but Omega whips him into the ropes and into a kick to the back from Gallows. Omega hits a fame-asser and tags in Anderson, who pounds Limelight’s head in. Anderson whips Limelight into the corner and rakes the eyes. The heels work Limelight over in the corner as Gallows tags in and chucks him head-first into the turnbuckle before pounding ye olde mudhole. Omega tags back in and hits a Samoan backbreaker for two. The champ introduces Limelight’s head to the turnbuckle again and tags in Anderson. Anderson goes straight for a side headlock. He rakes Limelight’s eyes and tags Omega back in. Anderson hits a bodyslam, and all three guys pile on Limelight. The Blonds rush in, but Gallows runs them off.

Omega tackles Limelight into the corner before propping him on the top turnbuckle. He rushes Limelight, but the kid gets a foot up and hits a springboard hurricanrana off the middle rope. Limelight crawls to his corner, but Omega intercepts. Omega goes for a release German, but Limelight lands on his feet and hits an enziguri. He gets to the corner and tags in Pillman, who cleans house. Now Garrison is in, and the Blonds hit a Hart Attack for two. Garrison goes for a Stinger splash on Anderson in the corner, but Anderson dodges. The heels triple team Garrison in the corner before hitting a three-man neckbreaker. Limelight and Pillman rush the ring to break up the pin.

Garrison gets to his feet, but Anderson hits a running boot for two. Anderson goes for the Gun Stun, but Garrison evades and tags in Limelight who walks into a spinebuster. Gallows and Anderson hit the Magic Killer for the pin. This was a fine match at AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2 with plenty of action, but it didn’t cohere into much. Still, the young babyfaces got to show their stuff. After the match, Moxley heads to the ring. Because he’s an idiot, he rushes Omega and the Good Brothers. He holds his own for a little bit, but the heels are too much. The Lucha Bros run in for the save, and I’d guess we have our main event for next week’s AEW: Dynamite.

Referees and randos try to break it up, so Moxley DDTs them. The Bucks come out and try to calm Moxley down only to eat superkicks from the Young Bucks. So once again, we’re left with the Bucks’ allegiances and heel/face status unclear. I get that Tony Khan has this “AEW vs. Impact” thing cooking in his mind. But this is getting way too convoluted way too quickly.

Winners:  Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers

Match Rating:  **

The Waiting Room With Dr. Britt Baker

Cody Rhodes is the guest as The Waiting Room makes its Dynamite debut on AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2. And boy does this segment become a mess in a good and proper hurry. Dr. Baker pulls an Oprah and tells her studio audience to check under their seats. Where they find nothing. Oh, Britt. You jerk.

Britt mocks Cody’s neck tattoo while Reba does an Ed McMahon, laughing like a goof at all of the doctor’s jokes. Cody finally gets to come in, wearing probably the ugliest suit not owned by Vince McMahon. Apparently Cody’s gonna stick with the Snoop version of his theme. She asks Cody about the upcoming baby and Go-Big Show. But before Cody can get a word out, Britt brings in Jade Cargill. OH MY GOD, WHO CARES? Cargill snatches the mic out of Cody’s hand and says nobody cares about Brandi’s pregnancy.

She says Cody did her a favor by putting her out of action and demands Cody announce her first AEW opponent. Cargill shoves Cody, which brings in Red Velvet. OH MY GOD, WHO CARES? This is five minutes of my life I can never get back. Thanks, AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2.

Thunder Rosa interrupts the feed and reminds Britt she’s coming for her. This was apparently recorded in Thunder Rosa’s living room. She announces she’ll finally take on Dr. Baker on the February 3 AEW: Dynamite.

Jurassic Express make their way to the ring

Jungle Boy & Marko Stunt (W/ Luchasaurus) Vs. FTR (W/ Tully Blanchard)

Jungle Boy debuts “Tarzan Boy” as his theme music on AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2, and it’s beyond perfect. I don’t feel good about Marko’s chances in this one.

Marko and Wheeler start out, and it goes about how you’d expect. Wheeler carries him to the corner and Harwood tags in. They go for a double team, but Marko sneaks under them. Harwood and Marko lock up, and Marko shoves him off before slapping him in the face. And that makes Harwood very very angry. He snap suplexes Marko and tags in Wheeler, and they double team, picking him up by his hair and dropping him. Wheeler chops away at Marko. He taunts Jungle Boy, and Marko comes out with a chop only for Wheeler to uppercut his head off.

Stunt scores with a dropkick and tags in Jungle Boy who hits an atomic drop followed by an enziguri from Marko. Jurassic Express goes to double-team FTR, but they answer with stereo up kicks. Marko gets a standing rana on Harwood, sending him out of the ring before hitting a jumping dropkick on Wheeler. Marko hits a tope on FTR on the outside, followed by a middle rope rana from Jungle Boy. Okay, this is goofy, but it’s fun. But I’m never gonna buy Marko. It’s not just his size. But none of his offense looks remotely like it hurts. And most of it doesn’t even connect. Anyway.

Marko runs wild on FTR for a little bit before they start murdering him. Harwood hits a backdrop suplex before smashing his head into the corner. The mugging continues, as Jungle Boy begs for a tag, but Marko can’t get to him. Harwood drags him back toward the heels’ corner before locking in a grounded abdominal stretch. Wheeler tags in and hits a wicked spinebuster for two. Okay, this is going on entirely too long. Wheeler cinches in the gory special, but Marko wriggles free and rolls Wheeler up for two. Harwood tags in and goes for a powerbomb, but Marko escapes and tags in Jungle Boy.

JungleMania’s runnin’ wild, brother! He scores with a big lariat on both guys before hitting a backstabber on Harwood for two. Harwood heads to the top rope, but Jungle Boy connects with a huricanrana for two before Wheeler breaks up the count. Jungle Boy hits a brainbuster on Wheeler, but Harwood rolls him up from behind for two. Superkick from Jungle Boy puts Harwood down. Marko hits an assisted senton for two. Stung goes for sliced bread, but Harwood just chucks him off and hits a wicked clothesline. Marko sneaks in a low blow and hits a cutter for two. Harwood throws Marko to the outside on the kickout. Tully throws Marko head-first into the ringpost.

Jungle Boy tries to go after Tully, but Wheeler sneaks in a cheapshot. He throws Makro back inside, and they hit the Big Rig (formerly not-the-Shatter-Machine) for the win. Seriously, this was about five minutes too long, and it did nothing for anybody.

Winners:  FTR

Match Rating:  *

Tay Conti challenged Serena Deeb for the NWA women's title at 'AEW: New Year's Smash - Night 2'

NWA Women’s World Championship – Serena Deeb (C) Vs. Tay Conti

AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2 rolls on with the title AEW doesn’t own that gets more hype than their own women’s championship. Why does the NWA women’s title look like it’s made entirely of plastic? Anyway.

Deeb goes for an armbar to start. Conti reverses out of it and hooks an abdominal stretch. Deeb rolls out of it and armdrags Conti to the mat. She goes for a submission but has to settle for an awkward cover for two. Awkward as in making the best of what she had. Conti trips Deeb and locks in a heelhook. Deeb rolls over, but Conti doesn’t let go. The champ uses her leverage to reverse into a side headlock, but the challenger reverses with a headscissors takeover to escape. That was cool. I remember women’s wrestling.

They lock up for a test of strength, and Deeb hooks the wrist into a vertical wristlock. Conti kips up and goes for a triangle sleeper. Deeb gets out of it and hits a sliding lariat for two. The champion goes for a powerbomb, but Conti hits a backdrop into rolling counter-pins. Conti follows up with a big pump kick that sends Deeb falling out of the ring. Deeb gets Conti tied up in the ropes and goes after the leg, but Conti fights her off. The challenger misses a Yes Kick but connects on a kick to the back of Deeb’s head for two.

Conti hits a succession of armdrag takeovers followed by a kick to the chest for two. The challenger goes for another pin, and Deeb kicks out again. Conti rushes Deeb in the corner and gets another near-fall. Deeb goes for a full nelson, but Conti reverses into a stunner for two. Conti goes for a submission, but Deeb reverses into a stretch muffler.

The challenger makes the rope. Deeb goes for the Serenity Lock, but Conti escapes only to eat a gutbuster for two. The champ perches Conti on the top rope. They slug it out up top for a minute before Deeb cinches in a gory special, using the ropes for leverage. Nice. The referee breaks it up. Conti comes off the ropes. Deeb evades but walks into a pump kick. Conti goes for the Tay-KO, but her knee gives out, and Deeb hits the Deeb-Tox for the win to retain.

Seriously, why does AEW save the best women’s wrestling for NOT their championship? Still, a really solid women’s match on AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2. I’ll take it.

Winner (And STILL Champion):  Serena Deeb

Match Rating:  *** 1/4

Brian Cage suplexes Darby Allin at 'AEW: New Year's Smash - Night 2'

TNT Championship – Darby Allin (C) Vs. Brian Cage (W/ Team Taz)

You know, I like Team Taz. But I really miss Taz and Cage being not-Heyman and not-Lesnar. Anyway, let’s watch Darby Allin somehow not die on AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2.

Darby attacks straight out of the gate, dropkicking Cage out of the ring right off the bell. Cage rolls to the outside, and Darby chases with a tope before ramming the challenger’s head into the barricade a few times. Darby goes for another tope, but Cage catches him in mid-air and suplexes him onto the ground outside. Cage throws the champ back inside, but Darby slaps the challenger and gets a lariat as a reward. The challenger lifts Darby and throws him out of the ring and through the timekeeper’s table. Um. Wow.

Cage goes outside to keep up the attack. He picks Darby up off the ground and carries him vertically before dumping him in the ring. Darby’s busted open. Cage hits a running uppercut followed by a high kick on Darby in the corner before hitting a release German suplex. Then he picks Darby up and just chucks him into the corner. Cage pulls Darby up only to throw him into the other corner. The ref tries to check on the champion, but Cage rushes in and lays in some more punches to Darby’s head. Cage picks Darby up again, and the champion just falls limp onto the mat.

The challenger straddles Darby’s back and starts laying in forearms to the TNT Champion’s throat. Darby jumps on Cage’s back and tries to fight back with a flurry of punches, but Cage just shakes him off. Cage carries Darby around the ring and does a few reps before hitting an overhead slam. The challenger follows with a belly-to-belly. Cage tosses Darby into the corner and works him over for a bit. He rushes Darby in the corner, but the champ gets a foot up only to take an F5 for a one-count. Darby tries to pull himself up by the rope.

But Cage pulls him to the center and hits a trio of powerbombs. The referee asks if Darby wants to continue. So Darby flips Cage off and gets a powerbomb over the top rope onto the entrance ramp. Yeesh. That even got a “STOP THE DAMN MATCH!” out of JR. Cage drags Darby back toward the ring and suplexes him back inside from the second rope, but it only gets a one-count. The challenger gets desperate and drags the steel steps toward the apron. He pulls Darby up and teases an F10 onto the steps. Darby slips free and bites Cage, who falls backward onto the steps. The champion follows with a Coffin Drop, and now both guys are down on the outside.

Darby rolls into the ring. Cage narrowly beats the count, and Darby slaps Cage a couple times. He goes for a springboard, but Cage catches him. So Darby bites Cage’s head and hits the over-the-top stunner. Darby uses his belt to bind Cage’s legs, and he goes Ralphie-on-Scut Farkus on the challenger. Cage gets up to his knees and stops a charging Darby in his tracks. The challenger gets the belt off only to take a Code Red from Darby! It only gets two. Darby hits a shotgun dropkick for two. Cage throws Darby off on the kick-out, and Darby lands on the top turnbuckle.

Starks and Hook run interference. The lights go out, and when they come back on, IT’S STIIIIING! Sting takes out Starks. Cage preps Darby for a superplex, but Darby reverses into the crucifix bomb for the pin to retain. Darby Allin might be the best David to anybody’s Goliath in all of pro wrestling. After the match, Sting hovers over Darby as Team Taz looks on from the entrance ramp.

Winner (And STILL Champion):  Darby Allin

Match Rating:  *** 3/4

The Breakdown

AEW: New Year’s Smash – Night 2 was a solid enough show.

Bookended by two standout matches and some solid stuff in the semi-main spot. Omega and the Good Brothers was a decent match, and Conti vs. Deeb was a lot of fun. And I’m a sucker for watching Darby Allin get beaten to the point of not knowing the difference between purple and five and somehow surviving. At the end of the day, though, this show belongs to PAC vs. Kingston.

I like the unfolding intrigue of the Inner Circle drama. And it was nice to see Sting actually do something. But Cage needs a big win in a big match at some point. Still, two good matches, one great match, and an okay match is pretty good for two-hour television. But it feels like a bit of a step back considering AEW’s track record. Hopefully AEW: Dynamite gets back on track next week.

AEW: Dynamite airs Wednesday nights at 8 PM on TNT.

All images provided by All Elite Wrestling.

'AEW: New Year's Smash - Night 2'

7.2

In-Ring Action

6.8/10

Booking/Writing

7.2/10

Storytelling

7.5/10

Entertainment Value

7.1/10

Pros

  • PAC vs. Eddie Kingston was fantastic
  • Inner Circle intrigue!
  • More Good Brotheres is always a good thing
  • Deeb vs. Conti was a lot of fun

Cons

  • The Waiting Room sucks
  • It's early, and AEW already needs to clear up the Impact relationship
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