The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 01.05.22
Live on TBS from Newark, NJ. Except in Canada where it’s still on TSN.
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone & Excalibur
AEW World title: Hangman Page v. Bryan Danielson
Your ringside judges: Mark Henry, Jerry Lynn and Paul Wight. According to Page’s graphic, he hasn’t won a match this year! Huge if true. Bryan immediately runs away and does some jumping jacks to influence the judges, and into the ring for some shots in the corner before running away again. Back in, Hangman grabs a headlock and Bryan runs away again, so Page follows with a dive this time and then powerbombs on the apron, the HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Back in, Bryan runs away from the buckshot lariat, but then suckers him into another dive and sends him into the railing. Bryan adds a shot to the post as he goes to work on the arm and takes him down into a hammerlock in the ring. Page catches him with the fallaway slam and Bryan bails to the apron, so Hangman clobbers him off the apron and sends him back in for a flying clothesline that gets two. Bryan backdrops him over the top and follows with a dive, but Hangman catches him and TOSSES him with a suplex, nearly launching him into the stairs. But then he charges and hits the stairs himself and we got blood. We take a break and return with Bryan beating on him with headbutts and hitting a facelock into a suplex before going to an armbar on the mat. He just beats on the cut, getting them both all good and bloody, but Page catches him with a death valley driver and both guys are down. Page is up first and they trade chops in the corner, but Page hits a corner clothesline and bridging german suplex for two. They trade suplexes and land on the floor in the process, and poor Hangman gets another trip to the post. So now Page is all pissed off and he yanks Bryan into the post to make it fair, and we got double juice to kick off the TBS era. We take another break and return with them slugging it out on the top rope as they trade headbutts and Page brings him down with a top rope fallaway slam for two. Page tries a springboard and Danielson shoves him onto the apron for a back bump, but he dives and Hangman catches him with a Deadeye on the floor. Back in, Bryan evades the buckshot by collapsing, and then catches him with a small package for two. Bryan with the WWE Intellectual Property Lock out of that and Page is nowhere near the ropes, but he powers out and catapults him over the top, then follows with the quebrada. Back in, another buckshot misses and Bryan hits the running knee for two as the crowd loses their damn mind. They continue beating on each other with headbutts and forearms, but Bryan catches him with a Gotch piledriver for two. Bryan decides to KICK HIS FUCKING HEAD IN and New Jersey is all about that, but Page catches him with a powerbomb before Bryan continues annoying him by catching a leglock. So Page has to fight out of that one and then drops him on his head with a backdrop driver. And the Buckshot Lariat finishes clean at 30:00, and that’s that. A fitting return to TBS for pro wrestling, with two guys just beating the hell out of each other until one of them drops. Blood, suplexes, hatred and a new network, what more can you want out of a World title match? ****1/2
Meanwhile, The Acclaimed are gonna release a VIRAL VIDEO next week to get their revenge on Sting and Darby Allin, like all people of their generation do.
MJF v. Shawn Dean
CM Punk runs in and MJF decides to run away, so Punk hits Dean with a GTS, which results in a historic DISQUALIFCATION, thus giving Dean the win. Only the second one in AEW history! Then we get the real match, as Punk and MJF get into a promo battle and MJF goes for the jugular by letting Punk know that he’s no Piper, because Piper could actually main event a Wrestlemania. OOF. And then Max threatens to go main event one, too. So Punk tells him to go “main event night four of a buy one get one free extravaganza”. IT’S FUNNY BECAUSE IT’S TRUE! And that makes MJF mad enough to accept the match with Punk for next week…against Wardlow. Well we’re getting closer.
Chris Jericho joins us, reminiscing about coming back to TBS for the first time since 1999 when he lost to Booker T on Thunder. This gives us the first ever TBS chant in wrestling history, but 2point0 interrupt and they have MUSIC? Who knew? I’m just waiting now for someone to make an NXT 2.0 burn on them. Jericho is still obsessed with Matt Lee’s square head and Parker’s pin head, which gives us some weak comedy, but then Jericho just decides to grab the bat and attack. And we get a brawl with Kingston & Santana & Ortiz making the save to set up a six-man on Rampage.
Meanwhile, Adam Cole forgives Kyle O’Reilly for kicking him in the face, and just wants them all to get along with the Young Bucks, although reDragon are still not sold on this idea. Adam wants a match with Jake Atlas on Rampage as well.
Wardlow v. Antonio Zambrano
The victim tries to stall things out, so Spears hits him with a death valley driver on the floor and throws him in to start the powerbomb symphony, and we get five of them this week at 1:15. It keeps getting over bigger.
TBS title: Jade Cargill v. Ruby Soho
Ruby quickly sends her to the floor and follows with a dropkick off the apron, but Jade takes over with a double axehandle off the top and stomps away. And then Mercedes and Thunder Rosa brawl at ringside as we take a break. Back with Ruby making a comeback with corner kicks and an enzuigiri, which gives us some of Jade’s “selling”. Ruby SWEEPS THE LEG for two. And yes, I’m two episodes into Cobra Kai, a review is coming at some point. Jade catches a bodypress attempt and hits a shoulderbreaker and pump kick for two. Jade goes to a headlock, but Ruby takes her down with a suplex for two, prompting Mark Sterling to distract the ref and get ejected. Jade tries to finish but Ruby rolls her up for two and hits the riot kick for two. Jade tries her slam again and Ruby rolls her up again for two and that was pretty clunky. They head to the top, however, and Jade hits the Jaded slam off the top to win the title at 11:43. People who were expecting any other result here are nuts, this was ridiculously obvious from the moment the bracket was announced. The match wasn’t quite as bad as the three-way from NXT this week, but Jade selling is no buys and we don’t need Jade going 12 minutes every week. *1/2
Meanwhile, Serena Deeb still has a problem with Hikaru Shida, and they’re gonna have a match next week to settle it.
Malakai Black v. Brian Pillman Jr.
Poor Julia Hart is sporting an eyepatch from the black mist, so you know it’s serious. They slug it out and Pillman sends him to the floor for a baseball slide, and we take a break. Back with Black beating him down with kicks, but Pillman comes back with clotheslines and a jackhammer for two. Pillman tries Air Pillman and completely whiffs on it, allowing Black to finish with Black Mass at 6:07. Wow this was a hot mess. * The Lucha Bros come out afterwards to confront Black, but the lights go out and they switch places, allowing Black to leave. That was…weirdly pointless. They’re killing the “lights out” gimmick with stuff like that, which doesn’t pay off with anything.
Meanwhile, Tony talks to Ruby Soho, but Britt Baker interrupts and makes fun of her for not getting the job done again. We call that “pulling a Luger” in the recapping biz. Britt and her group attack Ruby, but Riho saves to set up their title match on Saturday.
This week on Rampage: Aaron Solo takes on HOOK!
AEW World tag titles: The Lucha Bros v. Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus
Jungle Boy and Fenix trade takedowns and JB gets a rana for two, but Fenix dropkicks him and it’s over to Luchasaurus. Penta decides to try some chops and gets nowhere with that, so Fenix flies in with a superkick and that gets the job done. So we get a funny spot with everyone doing wristlocks and Fenix and JB do a double springboard backflip escape, and Luchasaurus suplexes Penta for two. JB gets caught in the Lucha corner and double-team, but he fights them off and takes Penta to the floor. But then Fenix flies in with a ropewalk kick to take over as we take a break. Back with Luchasaurus running wild, but the Bros double-team him with kicks and Penta slams Fenix on him for two. Jungle Boy trips up Penta on the top rope and then leaps off Luchasaurus with a destroyer on Fenix and that’s pretty amazing. Penta fights back with superkicks, and Fenix gets his own destroyer on Luchasaurus, before Penta hits the Penta driver on JB for two. They go for the finish, but the lights go out again, with nothing happening again. They fight to the apron and Penta hits a piledriver on Jungle Boy before the double Fear Factor gets two. Alex sets up a table at ringside and Christian chases him off, but Fenix gets chokeslammed through it by Luchasaurus and they’re both out on the floor. Penta tries to finish Jungle Boy again, but he reverses to a rollup to win the AEW tag team titles at 14:14 in a rather surprising title change. I would have bet cash money that Christian was gonna fuck them over tonight, but that’s why TK keeps us guessing. The match didn’t really ever get into second gear for whatever reason, though, and although it had some hot near falls at the end, the beginning was so clunky that even JR was openly complaining about it taking forever to get going. *** All the tag teams watching them from the ramp to show all the challenges ahead was a nice touch, though. I still think it should have been them to get the belts off the Bucks at All Out, so this was a nice payoff for two years of chasing.
Ugh, apparently Fenix broke his arm taking that table bump, which really sucks for him because he was just getting into a groove again after his last injury.
Well that was certainly a newsworthy episode, although the wrestling aspect kind of went off a cliff after the opener and I have no idea what was up with the lights going out multiple times for no reason.