REVIEW: AEW Winter Is Coming II (2021)

A TV Special from All Elite Wrestling on TNT

Free “Pay-Per-View quality” wrestling shows are always something I enjoy, in fact that’s how I got into wrestling when I was a kid – watching Saturday Night’s Main Event. Shows like this don’t happen as often as they should in modern times, and when they do, I love how AEW does them – great matches big surprises, and other solid content to pop a rating and make the crowd crazy. WWE, on the other hand, largely does terrible shows like Legends Night or random anniversaries that may have a different coat of paint, but play out like an even-worse RAW episode. Last year, at the first Winter is Coming, we saw Kenny Omega steal the belt from Jon Moxley and the debut of Sting, so this show has some big shoes to fill!

If you missed this show, it can be watched on the TNT website itself HERE, and “by other means” if you know where to look. Highlights can be found HERE if you just want to see that.

The Card:

  • 1 “Hangman” Adam Page (c) and Bryan Danielson wrestled to a time limit draw Singles match for the AEW World Championship 1:00:00
  • 2 Wardlow (with Shawn Spears) defeated Matt Sydal by pinfall Singles match 1:43
  • 3 Hikaru Shida defeated Serena Deeb by pinfall Singles match 12:46
  • 4 MJF defeated Dante Martin by submission Singles match for the AEW Dynamite Diamond Ring 12:25

My Thoughts:

As I’ve stated before, my methodology for this is to avoid giving arbitrary star ratings or anything. I usually go through the show and pull a half-dozen or so things that I thought were significant or that I liked. You might think some of my choices are dumb and that’s okay – we all like different things!

One Hell of a Match:

Sometimes when watching a match, one can just tell it’s an instant classic – that’s exactly how I felt watching Hangman Page VS. Bryan Danielson. Not gonna lie, prior to his “fall from grace”, I wasn’t too hot on Mr. Page, but my god has he redeemed himself in my eyes. This was an hour long clinic on how to hold a crowd. Most hour long matches are insanely boring for me, especially Iron Man matches. I think the problem is that they are usually like 75% rest holds and wasting time with all the action packed into the last five minutes. This match was definitely nothing like that – it was basically two separate matches rolled into one telling an amazing story of Hangman’s perseverance in not being a “one hit wonder” like Danielson is insisting he is. with the match ending in a draw, some fans were not happy, but I’m sure we are going to get an equally great match the next go-round with a “guarantee” to have a winner. I can’t wait.

What’s in the box?!:

I have been adamant for a while that Adam Cole is about to turn on The Elite and become the dominant faction in AEW. Tired of The Young Bucks acting silly and losing constantly, Cole has seemed to be biding his time until his former teammates over at WWE land get released from their contracts. I have a feeling “the gift” next week is a certain friend of Cole’s and a beatdown is coming.

House of Black +1:

Assuming this new member of The House of Black is Brody King, I absolutely cannot wait to see both tear the tag-team division up pretty soon. ROH’s closure may have been sad, but the influx of talent into other promotions will be awesome!

Wardlow’s about to Snap:

The moment Wardlow finally goes off and attacks either Spears or MJF is going to be a glorious time. Treated like garbage for the better part of the year, Wardlow has all the makings of the huge babyface muscle guy AEW has been sorely lacking. I’m not sure when it’s going down, but the audience is going to absolutely go nuts when it goes down.

Another Hell of a Match!:

Yet another solid match from Deeb and Shida, cementing their rivalry as one of the better ones of the year so far. While nothing akin to the one our clinic the show started with, this was still a great match and is hopefully not the end of the feud.

Three Time Champ:

I know a lot of folks don’t want MJF to keep winning the Dynamite Diamond Ring, but let’s face it – it’s a gimmick created for him to cheat and lord over people without holding a belt. In this role NJF is great and causes amazing heat. Eventually using the ring is going to backfire and somebody like Wardlow is going to capitalize, but for right now they are still building it up.

Conclusion:

This was absolutely a pay-per-view quality show on free TV, and not just any lousy PPV, but a solid one. In the near future, with AEW Dynamite moving to TBS, I hope TNT does occasional specials like this on weekends with no PPV on the cards, as they could easily help build their fanbase and perhaps get more PPV buys in the long run. With the exception of the “squash match” between Wardlow and Sydall, every match on here was very good and could be towards the top of many “best of” lists. AEW has really built this show as an annual event where just about anything can happen, and have delivered two year’s running. While this year’s edition didn’t have the shock of multiple debuts and a surprise title change, the opening match was simply amazing for a TV match. Next up we have AEW New Years Smash and AEW Battle of the Belts to look forward to in the lead up to AEW Revolution, I’m sure both will also be very good!

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