The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 12.22.21
Live from Greensboro, NC
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Excalibur & Taz
Adam Cole v. Orange Cassidy
Orange forcibly puts Cole’s hands into his pockets and then takes him down with a headlock and adds a kiss on the cheek, which has Cole a bit flummoxed. Cole reverses out and goes to a wristlock, but Orange gets his own and adds a crucifix for two. Tony: “Don’t you think that Adam Cole needs to wash his hair?” Hot take. Orange with a backslide for two, but Cole takes him down with a backstabber in the corner and whips him into the turnbuckles a couple of times. They fight to the top for a superplex, but Orange fights him off with a crossbody and comes back with the tornado DDT for two. This brings out the Young Bucks in full Christmas Douchebag gear, triggering a brawl with the Best Friends, and Orange hits them with a dive to finish chasing them off. Cole runs him into the stairs, however, and charges for the Boom and misses as we take a break. Back with them slugging it out, with Orange definitely taking the worst of it. But he manages to finally throw a full superkick, until Cole cuts him off with the brainbuster for two. Another one is reversed into the stunner, and Orange flips up to the top for a diving DDT that gets two. Cole gets an ushigoroshi and boots him down to set up the Panama Sunrise, but Orange slowly moves out of the way and then suckers him into a small package for two. Michinoku Driver gets two. Orange puts on the shades and goes up with his hands in his pockets, but that proves to be the fatal error as Cole hits him with the Panama Sunrise for two. This sets up the Boom, but Orange ducks it and hits the Beach Break for two. Cole bails to avoid the Orange Punch, but that brings out Bobby Fish to run interference, and KYLE O’REILLY appears from out of the crowd, in the place he belongs, and walloping Orange with kicks behind the ref’s back and allowing Cole to hit the Boom at 16:25. But before the Undisputed Era can finish their reunion, the Bucks interrupt and that’s pretty awkward all around. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF ADAM COLE? ***1/4
Meanwhile, we learn that the TBS era kicks off with the rematch between Hangman Page and Bryan Danielson. Still the TSN era here in Canada.
Hangman Page joins Tony in the ring, and he was disappointed not to be the winner last week, which brings out Bryan to call an “entitled millennial cowboy” who is getting his ass kicked again on January 5. And in fact he’s not gonna wrestle until that show. And if Hangman goes out and stalls for an hour like last time, they’re not gonna have a winner again. The solution: JUDGES. Page suggests that they can give “some old guys some paydays” but hopefully they’re paid in advance because no “old prick” is gonna tell him he’s a B Plus Player and hand over his title to Danielson. Hell of a babyface promo here and Danielson was a complete dick.
Meanwhile, MJF hangs out with his crew, and he was really disappointed in Wardlow’s champagne buying skills last week.
Wardlow v. Captain Shawn Dean
Wardlow immediately swats him down and powerbombs him not once, not twice, but THRICE and then one more for Santa to finish at 1:13.
Dan Lambert shows up in the balcony with the Men of the Year to interrupt the Sammy Guevara v. Cody Rhodes hype video, once again accusing Tony Khan of promoting his buddies and holding down his team. But now he’s got an impossible task: Making people cheer Cody Rhodes. Because Cody’s an even bigger dick than him! Now that was a funny line.
Meanwhile, Dr. Britt Baker DMD and her crew have their pre-Christmas celebration, but she’s pretty sure Riho is out of her league and is going to shoot her eye out.
Meanwhile, various AEW stars talk about what Owen Hart meant to them, and we get some cool New Japan footage. Very classy and awesome of them and hopefully they can get some matches from New Japan to feature on the shows.
TBS title semi-final: Nyla Rose v. Ruby Soho
Ruby gets caught up in her own jacket and Nyla beats her down and helps her out of it, then absorbs some strikes from Ruby before slamming her down. Ruby tries to take her down with a legsweep, but Nyla elbows her down and then puts her down with a clothesline. Nyla tosses her and beats on her outside, running her into the stairs as we take a break. Back with Ruby fighting back with kicks and a monkey flip, and they fight to the floor, as Nyla grabs a chair and Ruby dropkicks it back in her face. Back in, Nyla cuts her off again and hits the guillotine knee for two. Ruby fights back with one arm and locks in a dragon sleeper, but Vickie takes the ref and Nyla gets the powerbomb for two. Nyla goes up, but Ruby brings her down with the Riot Kick for the pin and the trip to the finals at 9:49. Clearly she’s getting murdered by Jade Cargill in the finals but that’s hardly a shock. Wasn’t feeling this one, as it was really awkward and seemed like a style clash. *1/2
Meanwhile, Serena Deeb accuses Shida of being a cheater and swears that the feud must continue.
Malakai Black v. Griff Garrison
Griff comes in hot and gets booted down, but tosses Black and hits him with a dive. Back in, Black takes him down and goes after the leg with a heel hook, but Griff fights out and clotheslines him on the middle rope before fighting back with an elbow for two. Black whacks him with a jumping knee strike and then takes out the knee again and finishes him with a half crab at 3:18. Pillman quickly rushes in to save, but takes Black Mass in the face as a reward and that’s it for the Blonds tonight. ** Hard-hitting but short match.
Meanwhile, Matt Hardy and Private Party are gonna be doing stuff to Jungle Boy’s ass on Rampage as Isiah Kassidy gets a singles match, but the Jurassic Express makes a rebuttal as Christian shills their new Christmas shirt. This was wacky.
Next week: The TNT era comes to an undisputed end with Cole and his new old best friends against the Best Friends.
MJF & FTR v. Sting & Darby Allin & CM Punk
Sting has some pretty awesome custom CM Punk makeup tonight, while Darby has Sting-themed paint, and even Punk has Sting’s paint from the Clash match and Sting-themed gear. That probably would have fooled Tony back in the day. MJF immediately runs away from Punk, so Sting comes in and gets double-teamed by FTR for a bit. Or maybe it was Punk, it’s so hard to tell! Over to Darby, but Cash puts him down with forearms and lets MJF come in. Over to Punk, but MJF runs away again and tags Cash back in. Punk works on Cash’s arm and it’s over to Sting, who beats on Cash’s arm and chases him to the floor as the heels regroup. Back in, MJF tries to chop Sting and that’s a fail, so Sting drags him to the corner and we almost get Punk, before MJF sprints through the crowd and exits the building with Punk in chase. Back to ringside as MJF dives into the ring and tags Dax before hiding behind FTR, at which point Darby hits them all with a dive with precision timing and we take a break. Back with Darby getting hurled into the railing and beat up on the floor and the heels take over. Back in for some legdrops from Dax and a chinlock from MJF. Dax gives Darby the patented CM Punk bodyslams, stealing his signature move, but Cash tries the same thing and Darby rolls him up for two and makes the tag to Sting. He cleans house on FTR and hits Cash with the Stinger splash, then lets Darby and Punk get their own corner splashes on them and adds another Stinger splash on Dax. Scorpion Deathlock follows, but MJF breaks it up and then runs away from Punk again. That gets two for Dax and we take another break. Back with Sting escaping from an abdominal stretch and fighting back with a slam on Dax, but MJF cuts off a hot tag. So Sting hits MJF with a facebuster to set up the old headbutt to the yambag region, and it’s hot tag Punk. Punk with the heel kicks on them both and the bulldog-clothesline combo, and he tosses Dax and follows with a tope. Back in, a flying bodypress gets two on Cash. Dax saves Cash from a GTS, but Punk gets a neckbreaker for two and goes to the top. Cash trips him up, however, and Dax brings him down for a slugfest, which he loses. FTR regroups with the POWERPLEX for two, however. Darby blows in and takes out Cash and Punk rolls up Dax for two, while we learn that MJF is hiding under the timekeeper’s table. That checks out. Punk and Dax slug it out from their knees, but Dax walks into a GTS before FTR reverses into a Big Rig for two. MJF finally returns to DDT Sting and celebrates that too early, but can’t run away this time because Sting hurls him over the top rope and onto FTR, nearly breaking the guy’s neck in the process. That was TERRIFYING. He landed right on his head on the concrete! Apparently he’s OK, though, because Sting hits them all with an equally terrifying dive off the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring, Punk sets up the finish on MJF, but Dax takes the bullet for his boss and all three babyfaces hit their finishes on Dax to finish at 26:00. And again, MJF is still healthy enough to stop by the desk and accuse Punk of running away from him all night like a cowardly punk. Now THIS was a party match! Just some old school 80s six-man action with an amazing storyline of Punk somehow still not able to get his hands on MJF, which makes that one even bigger when it finally happens. But the babyfaces still triump in the end. ****1/4
Strong start, strong finish, questionable stuff in the middle but this was a big thumbs up over and a super fun show to help wind down the TNT era.