The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 10.23.21
Live from Orlando, FL. However, I’m just back from James Bond, so naturally tonight I’m residing in London, baby! I always wondered why we had to take English in school if we were never going to go to England, but now I’m glad I did!
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Excalibur & Jim Ross
AEW World title Eliminator tournament: Dustin Rhodes v. Bryan Danielson
Dustin goes for a hammerlock to start and puts Bryan down with a shoulderblock, but Danielson comes back with a hiptoss to send Dustin into the corner to regroup. Bryan takes him down and wraps him up in a Guardian Deathlock, but Dustin makes the ropes. Dustin slugs back, but Bryan puts him on the floor and follows with a tope, but Dustin sends him into the railing on the landing, and back in the ring that gets two. Bryan goes for the arm and dropkicks the knee to put Dustin down, but he tries a back suplex and Dustin blocks him and reverses to a german. They trade chops in the corner and Bryan takes him down with a cross armbreaker and then does some SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION. They fight to the top and Dustin brings him down with a superplex for two as we learn that hot free agent Tony Nese is watching at ringside. Now there’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d hear on a wrestling show. They slug it out and Dustin catches him with a powerslam and the Final Cut or Final Curtain or whatever his reverse DDT is called, for two. Dustin slugs away in the corner, but Bryan redirects the bulldog and dropkicks Dustin in the corner. And he goes to work with the kicks and chops as the crowd violates all kinds of WWE intellectual property rights, but Dustin comes back with a flying clothesline for two. Bryan reverses out of the pin and into the WWE Intellectual Property Lock, but Dustin gets to the ropes. So Bryan goes to work on him with the kicks again, but Dustin is FIRED UP and returns fire…and then Bryan suckers him into a backslide for two. Bryan puts him down with an enzuigiri and gives him the curb stomps, but he tries the running knee and Dustin catches him with a lariat, and a piledriver for two. That was awesome, with Dustin playing the wily veteran Terry Funk role and outsmarting Danielson. Dustin tries a brainbuster, but Danielson fights out with more kicks and jumps into a guillotine, which puts the lights out at 14:28. This Bryan Danielson guy, he’s pretty good. ****1/4
Meanwhile, Kenny Omega and the Elite accuse Hangman Page of not actually being a cowboy. And in fact, if people knew what a coward he was, they wouldn’t chant “Cowboy shit”, they’d chant “Coward Shit”. I think the proper payoff line there was “chicken shit”. They’d be chanting “chicken shit”.
Meanwhile, FTR continue celebrating their AAA tag team title win, but Penta and Alex promise that they’re gonna play dirty and get revenge. But FTR aren’t buying their “wolf tickets”.
Sting joins us to update Darby’s condition. But before he can, MJF interrupts to his usual nuclear heat. Despite the crowd telling him to shut the fuck up, he accuses Sting of covering up Darby’s retirement by snowing the people “with his leftover stash from the 80s”. And because of Sting’s negligence, Darby’s in the same place as Sting’s pal Lex Luger…in a wheelchair. You what was great about that one? MJF said “Lex Luger” and the crowd immediately booed him because they knew where the payoff was going, and it got all the heat needed, but then MJF went ahead and finished the punchline anyway, just to be even more of a dick. This prompts an attack from Sting, but the Pinnacle lays out Sting and Spears beats him down with a chair, and then MJF does a monster heel promo over Sting’s dead body calling out Darby, who of course isn’t there to answer. MJF is just next level with this stuff. And Sting won’t stay down, so MJF lays him out with the diamond ring to put an exclamation point on it.
Meanwhile, Dr. Britt Baker DMD learns from Tony that she’s defending against Tay Conti at Full Gear. Britt notes that Tay has only shown people her ass since she got here. Not sure what her point is. Is…is that supposed to be a bad thing?
TBS tournament round one: Penelope Ford v. Ruby Soho
Ford attacks at the bell and stomps Ruby down, then puts the boots to her in the corner. Ford with a handspring into the corner, but Ruby comes back with a superkick for two. They fight to the apron and the Bunny joins us, but that allows Ford to boot Ruby into the post as we take a break. But not here in Jolly Ol’ England, as Ford goes to a chinlock and puts her down with a knee for two. This match is pretty rough. Ford chokes her out on the ropes and dropkicks her to the floor, which allows Bunny to get some abuse out there. Ruby beats the count, but Ford beats her down again until Ruby comes back with a backdrop driver out of the corner. Ruby makes a comeback with kicks and a sliding clothesline for two. She misses a charge and they do an extremely awkward sequence with Ruby trying to do a slam of some sort, which Ford reverses into a cutter for two. Ruby with a small package for two. Ruby goes up and misses, and Ford superkicks her into a lungblower for two. Bunny tries to throw the brass knuckles in, but Ruby gets the rollup for the pin to advance to the second round at 8:40. The heels try for the beatdown, but Red Velvet makes the save, also setting up the epic team of RUBY RED. As noted, the match was pretty rough, as they stumbled around trying to get in place a lot. *1/2 I don’t know what Ruby’s deal is, like maybe she’s having trouble shaking the WWE machine or something, but she’s just not having good matches. Maybe she needs to hang out on Dark or something for a while.
Meanwhile, Wardlow wants to know why MJF shoved him into Sting’s path last week. MJF dodges the question and assigns Shawn Spears to be Wardlow’s “accountabilabuddy” and then ducks out.
Bobby Fish v. Anthony Greene
Greene dresses like the Young Bucks’ homeless groupie, and Fish quickly beats on him with kicks and then slingshots onto him with a senton for two. Bobby pounds him with knees and then beats on the legs with hard kicks, and then throws him into the ropes with an exploder and kicks his damn head in to finish at 1:50. Hopefully they can rescue Kool Kyle from the dumpster fire on Tuesdays and reunite them soon. Fish just fits this style perfectly. And then he legsweeps poor Greene after the loss and beats on him to make a point, until CM Punk makes the save to set up the next thing there. Oh that’s gonna be a good one!
Meanwhile, the new team of Lio Rush and Dante Martin debate the merits of Matt Sydal, but Lio has faith in Dante, and so they have a match with the Sydals on Rampage.
AEW World title Eliminator tournament round one: Lance Archer v. Eddie Kingston
Kingston attacks before Lance can even finish his entrance, to a MONSTER pop, and they fight to ringside where Archer grabs a “fan” and tosses him into the ring before chokeslamming him onto Kingston. Eddie tries to fight back as we start the match officially in the ring, but Archer hits him with corner clotheslines and then beats on him with chops. Archer tries for the Blackout early, but Kingston wriggles out of it and into a submission attempt, and Archer fights out of that. Lance pounces him and dropkicks him to the floor as you non-regal types take a break, but they keep brawling on the floor for us here across the pond. Back in, Eddie tries the chops and that’s not terribly successful, as Archer rakes the eyes and chokes him out on the ropes. Archer slams him and beats on the back with forearms, and a pump splash gets two. They slug it out and Archer boots him down and chokes him out on the ropes. Archer goes up and tries a moonsault, and THAT goes really badly as he lands on his damn head, nowhere near Kingston. The doctor checks him out and he’s out of it, so Eddie rolls him up for the pin at 7:38 to advance and get out of there. Well that fell apart in a scary way. **
Dan Lambert and the Men of the Year join us, trying out to outdo MJF’s heat. Ethan Page gets the honors this time, and he’s got some pretty good burns on Jericho, noting that he was hitting on Paige Van Zant last week but the only celebrity he was kissing was Masvidal’s knee. This brings out Sammy Guevara, who notes that no one gives a shit about Page except for himself. So Lambert lays out his stips after accusing Sammy of “sucking on the stick backstage”. So the deal is that the Inner Circle can have their match with ATT at Full Gear, in exchange for Ethan Page getting a TNT title shot on Dynamite next week, and if he loses he leaves the Inner Circle. Page and Sky decide to press the issue and attack Sammy, but the Inner Circle saves and Lambert’s guys run away immediately.
Meanwhile, Jon Moxley is keeping it real with y’all and talks about his daughter and how he doesn’t give a crap about the tournament or the ratings or THE DEMO but other people gotta get hurt so he can go home to her. Now that’s a refreshingly unique motivation.
Meanwhile, the Dark Order is back on the same page, and Hangman offers some advice for dealing with the Elite on Halloween and suggests costumes. John Silver calls Bambi.
Jungle Boy v. Associate Stooge Brandon Cutler
Apparently Cutler got a promotion, so good for him. Jungle Boy immediately dumps Cutler and follows with a tope. Back in, Cutler tries to do a Panama Sunrise and fails, and JB powerbombs him and taps him out at 1:02. You know, Cutler could change the color of his tracksuit to green and have a pretty boss Squid Game costume for Halloween. I was trying to find one on Amazon but they’re impossible to get at the moment, at least ones that will ship before Halloween. Jungle Boy is ready for another challenge and wants Adam Cole to come try him, so he puts Cutler back in the Snare Trap until Adam answers. But of course that allows the Young Bucks to attack from behind and give him the BTE Trigger at the entrance. And that’s not enough, so they toss him off the stage and through a table.
Next week: The Dark Order v. The Elite! Sammy v. Ethan Page! Serena Deeb v. Hikaru Shida! Moxley v. 10! Bobby Fish v. CM Punk!
Next Rampage: Bryan Danielson v. Eddie Kingston! The Sydals v. Rush & Martin!
Man there’s a lot of moving parts on this show. I don’t know TK has time in between all his shitposting.
Meanwhile, Miro is still looking to regain his TNT title so he can return to his hot wife, and wonders why his god has forsaken him. I’m still putting my money on Miro in that fight.
Malakai Black v. Cody Rhodes
You’ll be happy to know Cody is back to being booed out of the building again. Cody immediately takes him down and tries the figure-four, but Black kicks out of it and they trade headlock takedowns. They slug it out and the crowd reminds Cody that he sucks, and Black SWEEPS THE LEG and throws kicks before rolling into a kneebar. Cody stomps out of it, but Black puts him down with a back elbow for two. Cody snaps off a powerslam for two, should I say for BOO, and tries the figure-four. Black rakes the eyes to escape that and he bails and retrieves a chair, which brings Brock Anderson and Lee Johnson out to help Cody and make it a 4-on-1 advantage for the babyface. Cody takes him down and gets his figure-four, but Black makes the ropes as Cody’s goons leave. Black again SWEEPS THE LEG and boots Cody down for two and then sets up a table at ringside. They fight on the apron and trade kicks out there, but Cody takes him down with a Crossroads through the table and he takes the worst of his own move. That was basically Cody putting himself through the table. Black runs him into the post while Arn goes into the ring and the crowd chants “Get the glock” at him. Both guys are busted open because I guess it’s been a few weeks since we’ve had a bloodbath on this show and we’re due again. Both guys are taking forever to get in the ring and now Andrade wanders down while Arn hits Jose the Assistant with a spinebuster, and Pac comes out to brawl with Andrade. In the ring, Black hits Cody with a quebrada, but Cody no-sells it and hits the Crossroads for two, with the crowd loudly cheering the kickout. Cody gets fired up and the crowd is having NONE OF IT from him. Black kicks him from the apron and goes up with a diving stomp and a german suplex for two. Black goes to finish and hits the Black Mass, but Cody falls into the ropes like a COWARD. So Black dumps him to the floor, but Cody recovers with a tope and back in for the Cody Cutter and another Crossroads. And then he finishes with a Tiger Driver 98 at 11:48 and gets further booed out of the building. The match was really good but the booking of Cody is just so tone deaf right now and completely at odds with what the crowd wants to see. People are not buying into the heroic redemption of the reality TV star with an impossibly hot wife, and it’s just not the right story to tell. Cody is not Dusty and people don’t think of him that way. ***1/2
Aside from Archer nearly dying and then finishing the match because they didn’t want to book a ref stoppage, this was a hell of a show for a Saturday, I thought. Lots of stuff set up for the PPV and for next week and the week after that, and it flew by as usual.