The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 12.15.21
WINTER IS COMING
No kidding winter is coming. Try walking a husky dog in -25C weather and tell me about winter.
Live from Garland, TX
Yours are Excalibur, Taz and Tony Schiavone
AEW World title: Hangman Page v. Bryan Danielson
“Still has a festering resentment of Game of Thrones” notes the graphic for Page. I’ve never watched the show. COME AT ME, NERDS. Speaking of games, my daughter, wandering through the living room on the way to bed, asks who the cowboy is. “Hangman Page” I tell her. “Oh! I like playing Hangman too!” So I guess in her mind he’s a cowboy that enjoys playing word-guessing games. They fight over a lockup to start and Page takes him into the corner, where Bryan gets a cheapshot and runs away to be a dick. They trade hammerlocks and Page takes him down and works the arm, but Danielson uses his fancy-dan wrestling technique to flip out of that. Bryan has an amazing smirk on his face the whole time and does some jumping jacks to show his lack of concern, and probably physical fitness as well. Page gets frustrated with that whole situation and Danielson keeps hiding in the ropes with the stupid smirk on his face, so Page takes him down with a headlock and then just boots him in the chest. Bryan offers a hand in friendship and then hides in the ropes again, so Page has had it and slams him, which allows Bryan to take him down and tie up the legs. Bryan rakes the face and once again reminds that HE HAS UNTIL FIVE before taking Page into a Romero Special and sleeper. Bryan hits him with chops while Page gets madder and finally fires back with his own before slugging away in the corner. A sign in the crowd reads “Cult of meat with extra cheese”, and I think that’s a false idol we can all agree to worship. Mmm, Five Guys. Bryan takes him down again and beats on the leg. Page makes it to the ropes and tries the buckshot, but Bryan sends him to the floor and teases a dive. Page cuts that off and clotheslines him off the apron before hitting his own pescado. Back in, Page goes up and Bryan hits him with a nasty kick on the way down to take over. Bryan pounds him with kicks on the ropes and goes up with a flying knee to the back of the head, and that gets two.
We take a break and return with Page making a comeback, throwing chops in the corner until Bryan flips over him and tries the running knee. Page catches him with a fallaway slam and crotches him on the top rope, then follows with a lariat that puts Danielson on the floor and follows with the moonsault. Back in, Bryan tries a crucifix and Page reverses him into a death valley driver for two. They slug it out in the corner and fight to the top, but Bryan crotches him and they trade elbows until Bryan goes down. Hangman tries a moonsault and misses, allowing Bryan to get la majastral for two. Page rolls him up for two, but Bryan reverses to a crossface, and Page rolls him over again for two. Bryan cradles for two and then turns it into an anklelock, so Hangman does a handstand to escape and Bryan kicks him down. Bryan drops knees on him and gets serious now with chops in the corner to set up the running boots, but he walks into a powerbomb for two. The crowd is going NUTS as Page sets up the buckshot, but Danielson just calmly rolls out, so Page dropkicks him into the railing and sets up another moonsault. Bryan pushes him off and onto the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING, and then into the post, which is also pretty hard, I guess. Back in for some well-timed muscle poses from Danielson as Page is busted open. We take another break and return with Bryan continuing to kick ass, dropkicking him off the apron and then hitting a flying knee off the apron as well. Back in, after Bryan smashes the arm around the post a few times, he slugs away on the cut and once again reminds us HE HAS UNTIL FIVE. I had almost forgotten! Bryan chokes him out with a boot while we get an awesomely gory closeup shot of the blood pouring out of Page’s head. He goes to the arm again and Page fights back, but Bryan catches him with a german suplex for two and then hangs on with CATTLE MUTILATION. You don’t mess with people’s cattle in Texas, or so I’ve herd. They fight on the apron and Bryan throws kicks, but misses and hits the post, which allows Hangman to recover and run him into the other post and then wrap Bryan’s knee around a railing and beat on that. For some reason they have “Rampage” skirts underneath the AEW ones. Well life is mysterious.
Back in the ring, Page takes him down and gets a figure-four, but Bryan rolls into the ropes to escape and we take another break. Back with Bryan hitting an enzuigiri and they slug it out with elbows. Bryan gets a rana for two and tries for a cross armbreaker, but Hangman rolls into it, and Bryan turns that into a triangle and beats on him with elbows, forcing Page to roll into the ropes to survive. Bryan beats on the shoulder with headbutts, but Page hits a tombstone out of nowhere for two. They fight to the top and Page just beats on him with chops to set up a superplex, but Bryan fights him off again and comes down with a knee on the arm, into a capture suplex for two. Back to the top again and Danielson brings him down with a backdrop superplex for two. Bryan pounds him with elbows and tries an armbar, but Page is too close to the ropes. So they head to the apron while Danielson puts the badmouth on him, then teases a GOTCH PILEDRIVER on the apron, but Hangman reverses to a deadeye out there and Bryan retreats to the ringside table to recover. Page follows with an ill-advised flying splash and he goes through the table as we take another break. Back with Bryan wrapping him up in the ring, but Page escapes with a suplex and they fight to the top rope yet again. Page lands on his feet to escape a superplex, and then hits a MONSTER lariat and both guys are out. They slug it out and Danielson wins that with headbutts, but Page rolls him up for two and Bryan reverses for two. Page hits a rolling elbow and Bryan counters with a roundhouse kick to put Page down again with incredible timing. Another head kick gets two. Danielson decides it’s time to kick Page’s head in, and that sets up the knee, but Page catches him and hits the Deadeye for two. Time for the COWBOY COMEBACK as he kicks Bryan’s fucking head in, but with cowboy boots. Buckshot lariat is reversed to the WWE Intellectual Property Lock, but Page powers out and catapults him to the apron. Bryan skins the cat, but Page hits him with a lariat and sets up the Buckshot, which DESTROYS Bryan, but the bell rings at 60:00 for the meanest draw ever. Absolutely incredible, one of the best matches ever broadcast on free TV, which not only went a full hour but left you wanting to see them do it again. *****
Meanwhile, the Superkliq and Bobby Fish share some Christmas cheer and celebrate the destruction of the Best Friends. This sets up an 8 man tag for Rampage, where apparently they’re going to retire Sue. And next week, Adam Cole has the best Christmas present ever for the Young Bucks. I bet on the first day of Christmas, Adam Cole gave to me Kyle O’Reilly.
Wardlow v. Matt Sydal
Sydal tries to dive on Wardlow and gets powerbombed multiple times, so Shawn Spears tells him to just end it. The fans want more, so Wardlow does one more and pins him at 1:33. And then Shawn beats on Sydal with the chair and then stops to take a call from MJF, who sends Wardlow to pick up champagne for the post-match victory party.
Meanwhile, Tay Conti challenges Penelope Ford to a submission match on Rampage. Not into this feud, it’s a big step down for Conti.
Meanwhile, Malakai Black teaches us about his House of Black and inducts somebody by spitting black mist in their face.
Serena Deeb v. Hikaru Shida
They’re immediately at each other and they slug it out on the mat, and Shida takes her to the corner for a dropkick and follows with a crossbody. Deeb rolls through into a leglock and Shida has to make the ropes. She tries a running knee and hits the corner, allowing Deeb to take her down and get the ringpost figure-four as we take a break. Back with Shida coming back with an enzuigiri for two. Delayed suplex gets two. Shida goes up, but Deeb hangs her in the Tree of Woe and bars the knee, then hangs her in the corner and hits a neckbreaker on a turnbuckle. Ouch. Powerbomb gets two, and Deeb continues with a bridging cravat, as Shida has to make the ropes. Deeb with a pair of rolling neckbreakers, but Shida deadlifts her into a falcon arrow and they’re both out. Shida with an axe kick and a backslide, but Deeb rolls her into a sunset flip, which Shida reverses. Deeb hangs on with a half crab and then just bitchslaps Shida’s ears in vicious fashion before pulling off a turnbuckle pad. Shida blocks that and rolls her up for two, and Deeb goes for a figure-four, but Shida reverses her into the exposed turnbuckle and rolls her up for the pin at 12:09. This was also pretty awesome, although it’s hard for anything to follow the World title match. ***3/4
Meanwhile, the Varsity Blonds accuse Malakai Black of being a COWARD, although Brian Pillman thinks Griff should chill out a bit. Uh oh, I think someone’s under the influence of the House of Black.
Meanwhile, on Rampage, it’s time to SEND FOR THE HOOK.
Meanwhile, Eddie Kingston challenges 2point0 and Garcia to a 10 man tag on Rampage, with whoever they want as partners.
Dynamite Diamond Ring finals: MJF v. Dante Martin
Well Maxwell is right back to being booed after last week’s nuttiness. “Hey Texas, your daughter swallows!” Also he derides Punk’s promo skills and “Uh Uh your sports team sucks for 10 straight minutes”. Also Punk’s choice of opponents have made him the new Ryback. OH SHIT. Uncalled for! Also he can beat Dante with a headlock takeover because he doesn’t claim to be the best in the world, he just is. There’s no way this match can live up to MJF’s promo now. MJF immediately takes him down with a headlock for two and stomps him down. Dante comes back with a monkey flip and dropkick, then rolls into a 450 kneedrop for two, smashing MJF’s jaw in the process. So MJF bails and walks it off, suckering Dante into trying a moonsault and then sending him flying into the railing. MJF runs him into the railing and we take a break, and return with Dante hitting a missile dropkick and then flipping over MJF before chasing him to the floor for a dive with insane hangtime. MJF retreats to the other side of the ring, so Dante dives onto him over THERE as well, clearing the ringpost, and MJF runs into the ring and out to the floor again to escape. And Dante dives AGAIN, hitting him again, and MJF retreats to the ramp this time, so Dante flies onto him with a springboard shooting star, hitting MJF with his knee on the way down again. Back in for the moonsault, but MJF walks out of the way, so Dante slugs away in the corner and hits a leg lariat and an O’connor roll out of the corner for two. Rollup gets two. Small package gets two. MJF with the headlock again for two, but Dante gets the sunset flip for two and they trade near-falls off that before Dante gets his own headlock for two and they trade near-falls off that as well. MJF with a powerbomb for two out of that and Dante bails to the floor. Back in, Dante slingshots MJF back into the ring and hits the moonsault, but Ricky Starks appears and puts MJF’s foot on the ropes to save. Dante gets distracted, of course, and MJF takes him down with the armbar to regain his ring at 12:14. Dante Martin was completely out of his mind here and MJF gave him as much offense as humanly possible. But I think Dante was SO hyped that he overshot a few times and probably would have been better served taking it down a notch. Still a tremendous main event to once again show that MJF can do the wrestling in addition to the talking. But man, you have to feel bad for Darius Martin, who is gonna get Marty Jannetty’d SO HARD when he comes back. ***3/4 FTR comes out for the celebration, but the lights go out and Sting and Darby appear for the attack, only to fall victim to low blows. So this brings out CM Punk to save with a baseball bat and we have a six-man for next week.
Surprisingly, no sign of any notable third-generation wrestlers who are free from their contracts, but this was still a monster home run of a show, one of the best AEW shows ever top to bottom. I mean, holy crap, what else can you say about a show that was basically all four star matches for two hours?