Wednesday’s edition of All Elite Wrestling (AEW): Dynamite was not only the last Dynamite of 2021 but also the last time the show airs on the TNT network, with the show moving to TBS next week. The promotion marked the occasion by returning to its home base at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Fla. for the final episode of the year.
As for the show itself…well, let’s just say that AEW has presented better episodes of its flagship program. Yes, there were still plenty of positives to take away from the telecast, but we’ve already gone through those positives, so let’s take a look at what made this Dynamite a tougher watch than usual.
These are the top two things that went wrong on the Dec. 29 episode of AEW Dynamite.
The Brandi Rhodes/Dan Lambert exchange
Enough is enough. I don’t care how much Tony Khan likes Dan Lambert. I don’t care how good of a promo some folks think Lambert is or how much those folks think he’s just “a good heel getting heat”. If the only material this guy has is Fox News-adjacent lines, sex worker shaming, or just general misogyny, then this needs to be his last appearance on anyone’s wrestling show, let alone AEW.
Brandi Rhodes’ rebuttal wasn’t any better. The second she came out with the exact same “Open Mic Night” line from her equally cringey promo towards Jade Cargill last year, it became clear that she (and AEW) learned nothing from the backlash they received from that very segment.
In fact, Rhodes repeating this contrived code-switching performance (and make no mistake, that’s exactly what this was: a performance) while calling herself a “Black B****” made this far worse than the exchange with Cargill; it was like watching someone re-enact a scene from Bamboozled without having any understanding of what that movie was about.
That combined with unrelenting stripper jabs made this easily the worst segment AEW has ever produced. If I never see this again, it will be too soon.
A lot of talking
Dynamite out hot with a pair of fun tag team matches — Christian Cage/Jurassic Express/Lucha Bros. vs. Matt Hardy/Private Party/FTR and Eddie Kingston/Santana/Ortiz vs. Daniel Garcia/2.0 — and another Wardlow squash match to build to his eventual babyface turn.
But following that Rhodes/Lambert trainwreck, we saw two in-ring promo segments from CM Punk (fine) and Brian Pillman Jr. (not as fine) as well as a bunch of video packages hyping up other feuds and upcoming matches fill up significant time been the TBS Tournament match and the main event.
None of these things were particularly bad — in fact, most of them served their purpose — but their placement on the show made this episode feel longer than it actually was. Given AEW’s recent track record, this is likely an end-of-the-year aberration, but they still should’ve spread these clips and segments throughout the show instead of clumping them together.