The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 02.02.22
Live from Chicago, IL
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross & Excalibur
Jon Moxley v. Wheeler Yuta
Wait, what happened to Brian Kendrick? I’ll just Google it and…oh. I see. Well, moving on. Danhausen is now hanging out at ringside with the Best Friends, hopefully not cursing Moxley too badly. He’s had a tough year as it is. They trade some takedowns to start and Yuta dropkicks Mox to the floor and follows with a dive, but Moxley catches him in a sleeper on the floor. Yuta escapes that and hits a dropkick, but he misses a springboard dropkick back in the ring. Moxley hits him with the drop suplex and Yuta bails, but Moxley wraps him up in an STF. Yuta fights out of that, but Moxley rakes the back in the corner. They fight to the floor off a Yuta dropkick, and Danhausen does indeed CURSE Moxley, allowing Yuta to hit a dive. Back in, Yuta with a german suplex for two, but Moxley catches him with a cutter. Yuta fires back with an Angle slam and goes up with a frog splash for two. Moxley catches him in another sleeper hold, and then hits him with the lariat instead and backs on him with elbows brutally and finishes with the Paradigm Shift at 7:27. This was certainly a much different match than their first one. ***1/4 And then Bryan Danielson pops into the ring for another staredown with Mox, and then he starts putting thoughts in Jon’s head about how they shouldn’t be fighting, but rather teaming. Because the world doesn’t need a millennial cowboy or “some guy dressed as a dinosaur” as a champion. Also Daniel thinks they should start grabbing away the various young guys and putting them under their wings to train them. Hey, Moxley has experience doing just that in New Japan! Sadly Moxley stops just short of accepting the handshake. I’m all in with this idea! Do it, Mox! Get Daniel Garcia away from those doofuses in 2point0!
Brandi Rhodes joins us, mixing up Cleveland and Chicago, but Dan Lambert and the Men of the Year interrupt and draw a big babyface pop. “I almost feel like a decent human being standing next to you.” But then Brandi goes for the throat by noting “the only reason we hired Ethan Page is to get to Josh Alexander.” Oh man he’s gonna need some salve for that burn. The crowd gives Brandi the “Shut the fuck up” chant, but then she dares to take shots at ATT’s UFC record lately. So Dan calls her a former hooker and gets slapped, which brings out Paige Van Zant to defend his honor before he “goes down in a glorious fireball of cancel culture”, and this triggers a pullapart brawl. This was another glorious trainwreck of a weirdly meta segment with talk of “heel turns” and such, but that Ethan Page burn is gonna leave a scar.
Meanwhile, Matt Hardy is very disappointed in Private Party’s performance last week, but he’s also disappointed in Andrade’s failure to sign Darby Allin. So Matt gives Kassidy a chance to redeem himself by facing Sammy Guevara on Rampage.
The Kings of the Black Throne v. Pac & Penta
In a rare slip up from the production guys, the graphic reads “The Knights of the Black Throne”. Pac meanwhile is still starring in the Bird Box. Oh man if he gains super senses like Daredevil it would make him 1000 times more awesome, actually. So Black attacks him to start, but he flips out of the way while still blindfolded and puts him down with kicks before revealing that the blindfold was a RUSE. Guys, I’m thinking wrestlers might not always be on the up and up. Death Triangle chases the Kings to the floor and follows with stereo dives, and back in for Penta’s double stomp to the groin for two. Back with Penta hitting a backstabbler on Black for two, but Black kicks him down and then Pac comes in and takes a knee as well. Black SWEEPS THE LEG and hits a sliding knee for two. Another one gets two. Pac fights back with a german suplex into a brainbuster for two. Penta and Brody slug it out and Brody ends up on the floor, allowing Penta to follow with a dive. And another one for good measure. Death Triangle sets up to finish with the Fear Factor, but Pac gets shoved off the top rope and Black mists Penta and finishes with the double team slam at 10:22. Good but a little disappointing for some reason. **1/2
Meanwhile, Adam Cole is pissed off and will be taking it out on Evil Uno on Rampage.
Ruby Soho v. Nyla Rose
Nyla sounds like she’s using something like The Hu for her entrance music, which instantly makes her even more badass if so. Ruby attacks to start and slugs away in the corner, but Nyla sends her into the corner and follows with a samoan drop for two. Ruby with a facelock and she follows with some finger-bending and stomps the back before choking Ruby out in the corner. Slam and legdrop get two, and a death valley driver gets two. And we take a break. Back with Nyla teasing a powerbomb on the apron, but Ruby manages to power her up and faceplant Nyla on the HARDEST PART OF THE RING. But then Nyla flattens her with a spinebuster on the floo and back in for the powerbomb, but Ruby reverses to the Riot Kick for two. Ruby goes after Vickie and that proves to be a mistake, as Nyla yanks her back in by the hair and hits a neckbreaker in the ropes. Ruby tries to fight back with a top rope rana, but Nyla blocks that, and then blocks a Riot Kick and comes down with a swanton before finishing with the powerbomb at 10:52. Took a while to get the crowd into it but it ended up a pretty decent match. ***
Meanwhile, Jungle Boy gets bullied by the Ass Boys and thrown into the freezing Chicago snow piles. LEMME TELL YOU about snow piles, my friends. Because my driveway and front lawn are buried in them until March, when they’ll all melt and probably flood my basement again.
Hangman Page joins Tony, as he readies for a Texas Death match with Lance Archer next week. But instead he goes off on how he’s been champion for 81 days and still doesn’t have a challenger despite all his pleading. So Dan Lambert and Jake Roberts come out to answer the challenge, which brings us Lance for a brawl, and it ends with Page taking a Blackout through the ringside table. I’m not digging this feud at all thus far and Hangman really needs a challenger with some juice at some point. Archer’s not the guy and hopefully they’ve got an idea of who is.
Meanwhile, Chris Jericho is demanding an Inner Circle team meeting NEXT WEEK.
MJF v. CM Punk
So finally here we are. MJF hides in the corner and then attacks Punk in the corner, but Punk comes back with chops and slugs him down in the ropes for the rocking horse spot. They head to the floor and MJF decides he’s had enough already, but Punk chases him up the stairs in the crowd and crotches him on the railing. Back to ringside as Punk beats on MJF all the way down, and then back into the ring for the CM PUNK BODYSLAMS. NOT ONCE, NOT TWICE, BUT THRICE! And then the bloodthirsty crowd demands one more time, so he slams him again! With MJF well and truly fallen due to bodyslamming, Punk goes up to finish, but MJF rolls to the corner to escape and Punk misses a charge, hitting the post and flying onto the floor. MJF stands on Punk’s hand on the desk and then drops a knee on the wrist, and that looked hurtful. Back in, Punk fights him off on the top rope and hits him with a flying bodypress before making a comeback. He tries the GTS, but MJF escapes that and bails to the apron, so Punk gives him the CM PUNK BODYSLAM on the apron, which need I remind you is the HARDEST PART OF THE RING. The maniacal Chicago fans want one more time, but we don’t need to see MJF crippled. Back in, Punk goes up and MJF crotches him this time, before bringing him down with a superplex for two. Punk gets the Pepsi Twist, but MJF hides behind the ref and then chokes out Punk with wrist tape and hides it with a sleeper. And this is so incredibly goofy and Memphis but Punk sells it like death and the crowd is losing their minds over a WRIST TAPE spot from 1971. And then PUNK IS OUT at 11:44?!? Holy shit. However, the ref finds the tape and THIS MATCH MUST CONTINUE. They had me with that one. And Punk revives for a rollup that gets two, and then makes the giant babyface comeback and slugs away in the corner as the heat is just unreal. Punk tries a leglock and MJF shoves him to the floor as we take another break. Back with MJF trying the Heatseeker, but Punk fights him off and hits the flying clothesline. MJF escapes the GTS, but Punk dropkicks him off the apron and dives onto him, which leaves both guys selling on the floor. Back in, Punk now has a bad leg, so MJF goes after that and ties him up in a Tequila Sunrise. Punk reverses that into an STF, but can’t lock it in due to his various injuries. Punk with a cradle that turns into a pinfall reversal sequence, but Punk tries the GTS out of that and his knee gives out. MJF with a small package for two and the SIDE HEADLOCK OF DEATH, but Punk bridges out and runs MJF into the turnbuckle to escape an anklelock. They slug it out and MJF thumbs him in the eye, but Punk snaps off a reverse rana out of nowhere and both guys are out. Punk gets two off that. MJF tries the armbar but his neck is hurt now, so he clips the knee instead and then goes for the armbar again. Pumphandle driver gets two. MJF goes low in the corner and uses the ropes for two, and we take a third break. Back with MJF trying a figure-four, which Punk reverses for two. Punk comes back with knees in the corner, but MJF bites the hand to cut him off and they fight to the top. So Punk returns the biting up there and then busts out a TOP ROPE PEDIGREE. I feel like there’s a message to someone there. MJF manages to bail to the floor, but they exchange tombstone attempts and Punk puts him down with a high kick. To the top for the flying elbow, but that gets two. Punk makes one more comeback but MJF runs away to the floor, which brings out Wardlow while MJF is dead. But he decides not to interfere, and MJF loads up the ring and knocks Punk out for the pin at 37:52 to end Punk’s win streak. So Punk actually put him over TWICE in the same match, in Chicago no less. And still no Wardlow turn. Well the ending was a downer but the match lived up to every bit of hype and then some, moving through Memphis nonsense to modern wrestling to teases of Undertaker even. ****3/4
Unfortunately most of the show felt pretty flat, with the crowd just waiting for Punk and MJF and not really into much else, but the main event was one of the best matches of the year already and maybe sets up MJF as the next guy to challenge Hangman now?