It's Night 1 of New Year's Smash on AEW Dynamite and even though 2021 is only a few days old, Wednesday night's main event of "The Cleaner" Kenny Omega defending his AEW World Championship against Rey Fenix could already prove to be a Match of the Year contender.
You can catch AEW Dynamite's New Year's Smash Night 1 on Wednesday at 8pm et/5pm pt on TSN2, the TSN app, streaming on TSN Direct and on TSN.ca.
AEW World Championship match: "The Cleaner" Kenny Omega (c) (w/ Don Callis) vs. Rey Fenix - If you've never seen Kenny Omega in a ring with Rey Fenix before, you're in for a treat. The impetus for Wednesday night's match is very simple: During the World Championship Eliminator Tournament in the fall to determine the No. 1 contendership that was ultimately won by Omega, Fenix defeated his brother, Penta El Zero M, in the first round to set up a date with Omega in the semi-finals. But Fenix picked up an injury during the match against Penta and was forced to exit the tournament. The match was retroactively ruled a forfeit and Penta took his brother's spot in the semis and subsequently fell to Omega. Wednesday night sees Fenix get the shot at Omega that he had earned, even if the champion and his advisor Don Callis aren't too happy about it. Omega and Fenix have met on a number of occasions over the years, but only twice in singles competition and never one-on-one in AEW. Their two prior singles meetings were nothing short of spectacular. In 2018, Fenix took Omega to the limit, but couldn't get the better of "The Best Bout Machine," falling to Omega at a Northeast Wrestling event in Poughkeepsie, NY. Then, memorably in the fall of 2019, Omega defeated Fenix to capture the AAA Mega Title - a belt he still holds - at Heroes Immortales XIII in Veracruz, Mexico. Both of their singles bouts were given 4.5 stars by the Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer. Will the third time prove to be the charm for Fenix on Dynamite or will Omega's mastery of the Lucha Brother continue?
AEW Women's World Championship match: Hikaru Shida (c) vs. "The Living Dead Girl" Abadon - Hikaru Shida makes her sixth title defence since capturing the AEW Women's World Championship from Nyla Rose last May when she takes on the unconventional Abadon. "The Living Dead Girl" has been a constant thorn in the side of the champion in recent weeks, making her presence known during Shida's matches or even skulking in the shadows during backstage interviews. While Shida seemed intimidated at first, her resolve has grown as of late and heads into Wednesday night's match full of confidence. The pair have met once before with Shida picking up the victory in an AEW Dark match last spring, but this is not the same Abadon she faced then. Abadon is undefeated since her match with Shida and is looking to prove that her in-ring tactics are just as potent as her psychological warfare. Can Shida retain her crown yet again or will the AEW Women's World Championship reside around the waist of Abadon?
Eight-man tag-team match: AEW World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson and Matt Jackson) and SoCal Uncensored ("The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) vs. The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) and The Hybrid 2 (Angelico and Jack Evans) - It's safe to say that there's not a ton of love lost among between these two teams with all eight men having become well acquainted with one another in recent weeks. The Jacksons' last two tag matches have come against their four opponents on Wednesday night. On the Dec. 9 edition of Dynamite, the Young Bucks took out TH2 with the BTE Trigger before getting jumped by The Acclaimed after the match with SCU making the save. Bowens and Caster then got a shot at the Jacksons' titles in the main event of the Dec. 23 edition of Dynamite. Just like with Angelico and Evans, The Acclaimed fell victim to a BTE Trigger and the Bucks retained. While they couldn't defeat the champions, Caster and Bowens do hold a victory over SCU from earlier last month. With a number of combustible elements in play, how will this match play out and what ramifications might it have for the AEW tag-team division going forward?
"The American Nightmare" Cody Rhodes (w/ Arn Anderson) vs. Matt Sydal - It will be a contrast in styles when the former TNT Champion takes on the high-flying Sydal in singles action. Sydal comes into the match on a roll. Since losing to Brian Cage on the Nov. 11 edition of Dynamite, Sydal has reeled off six straight wins, including a victory over Baron Black on Tuesday night's AEW Dark. The match will mark the first time Sydal and Rhodes have shared a ring in nearly a decade and the first-ever singles match between the two. Rhodes has had his hands full on a couple of fronts in recent weeks. As he and the current TNT Champion Darby Allin remained embroiled in a feud with Team Taz, Rhodes has yet to parse out what exactly Sting's intentions are since his arrival in AEW. Can Rhodes manage to keep his focus on Sydal in the ring tonight?
Jake Hager vs. Wardlow - Well, this had to happen sooner or later. The two behemoths of the Inner Circle have been quite literally eyeing one another for weeks. Just when it appeared that harmony within the faction had been achieved, Hager threw down the gauntlet and challenged Wardlow on the Dec. 23rd Dynamite. On top of the clear enmity between the two men, one lengthy undefeated streak will come to an end on Wednesday night. Wardlow's lone AEW loss in singles competition came against Cody Rhodes in a cage match last February. Since then, the hulking Baltimore native is 7-0 in one-on-one matches. Meanwhile, Hager has only suffered two losses (to Rhodes and Jon Moxley) and hasn't tasted defeat since July 1. With bragging rights and pride on the line, who will emerge victorious and what will it mean for the Inner Circle moving forward?
- Jon Moxley returns to Dynamite for the first time since his losing his AEW World Championship to Kenny Omega
- TNT Champion Darby Allin and his challenger "The Machine" Brian Cage weigh in ahead of their title match on Night 2 of New Year's Smash next week
- Hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg appears
- "Le Champion" Chris Jericho sits in on commentary