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Sunday, January 22, 2023

2022 Ongoing MOTY List: AEW 8 Man Tornado

16. The Hardys/Sting/Darby Allin vs. Private Party/The Butcher and the Blade AEW Dynamite 3/23

ER: Man this rocked. Jeff Hardy debuted the previous week in a big way against Private Party, and I love how he kept the chaos going. At the same time, this continued the improbably, amazing run of Sting, somehow putting in his greatest work of the century in his early 60s. Tony Schiavone has been so good on commentary during Sting matches, and I loved the brotherhood in his voice when Sting flew too too far with an early match plancha onto everyone. Tony is totally beside himself, talking about how he told Sting to "not do crazy things like that anymore", but laughing to himself at the same time. 

The action splits up and goes all over the arena, and really the only bad thing about the entire match is that we couldn't possibly see everything happening. Every pairing looked like it was worth seeing, at least based off what we were able to see. Everybody played into their role and did it well. Jeff had this crazy clothesline over the barricade (silly me thinking that would be the most reckless thing Jeff would attempt), Blade bumps all over for him, Darby falls down stairs and gets ragdolled by Butcher, and the action flowed really well from ring to ringside to crowd to backstage. 

Jeff did a crazy swanton off a concourse window ledge, never denying his yarder's heart. Teenage backyarders have that skateboarder mentality of looking for things to do a move off of, and here's a broken Jeff still looking for ledges that would be cool to stunt dive from. A majorly underrated part of the spot was Sting holding Butcher and the Blade onto the tables during Jeff's climb and then bailing out at the last possible moment. That kind of attention to detail is the perfect encapsulation of Sting's veteran knowledge and how the smallest things can make a match great. Matt Hardy looked awesome during the finishing stretch, like he and Private Party had been feuding for years. Private Party have come a long way in the past couple years, and they're getting so much better at feeding for offense and moving into position. I thought the finish was spectacular, as at this point I fully believe that Sting is as crazy as Terry Funk ever was and would be foolishly willing to take a frankensteiner into a cutter. Sting hopping off the middle buckle and blocking the cutter, dropping into a dragon sleeper and fighting up to his feet for the Scorpion Death Drop was such an awesome moment, timed expertly with a Twist of Fate. This is the most hyped I've ever been for Sting, a man still gaining new fans into his AARP membership. 


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