The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 03.23.22
Hey, my internet and TV service died tonight because apparently Putin also wrecked my modem, so it didn’t record on TSN. But luckily it got mostly fixed later in the night and I could watch the replay on Fite, so at least I’ll be watching through the PIP breaks tonight.
Live from Austin, TX. Shouldn’t this have been last week’s show?
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Excalibur & Tony Schiavone
CM Punk v. Dax Harwood
I thought they had turned babyface from firing Tully, but I guess not. They trade takedowns to start and Punk frustrates him with armdrags, so Dax rips at Punk’s face and hits him with a backbreaker for two. Dax with a backdrop suplex and he stops to yell at the Gunn Club, who are situated at ringside and making friends as per usual. Punk fights back off the distraction, but Dax elbows him down and goes up for a diving headbutt, which misses. They slug it out and Punk gets the leg lariat for two while JR speculates about either guy being “booked on top” in the territory days. I guarantee you that CM Punk wouldn’t make it past prelims before 1990. Dax MAYBE, but he’d be Arn Anderson level at best. Still, I appreciate the effort. Punk goes up for the elbow, but Dax crotches him on the top rope and brings him down with a superplex. Back to the top, and this time the diving headbutt hits for two. Punk fights back again and goes up with a crossbody for two, and then floats over into the Anaconda Vice and Dax teases the tap while Cash freaks out at ringside, but he fights out and tries for the Sharpshooter. Punk reverses to a cradle for two, and Dax reverses that for two. Dax with my patented slingshot powerbomb, the move I’d use as a finisher if I was a wrestler. Which thank god I’m not, my knees are wrecked as it is and I just can’t do that much coke. Punk runs him into the corner and tries the GTS, but Dax counters to the Sharpshooter, which would be subtle if JR wasn’t yelling about how it’s Bret Hart’s move and all. Punk rolls over and slugs out of it, then turns it into the Anaconda Vice and Dax taps at 12:51. And then Punk makes belt motions, which has to be dangerous in Texas. WE BELT THE HANGMAN AROUND THESE PARTS, PHIL. Great opener, as Dax looked like he was having the time of his life out there. ***1/2
Meanwhile, Jericho and his Appreciation Society are going to take Johnny Hungie to SCHOOL and it won’t be pretty, apparently. They’re gonna future endeavour him. Ouch. Also Eddie Kingston and those traitors Santana & Ortiz are NOWHERE and won’t dare show their faces tonight. Huge if true.
Sting, Darby Allin & The Hardy Boyz v. Private Party & Butcher & Blade
Sorry, I’m sure “Hardy Boyz” is a copyrighted WWE trademark punishable by death, which is why they have to be awkwardly announced as “The Hardys” and I’m flirting with legal disaster by calling them that other name. Sting immediately dives on the heels and Tony freaks out because he TOLD Sting “No jumper!” and he did it anyway. They’re so hard to reason with at that age. Everyone brawls on the floor and Jeff dives into the front row while Sting hits Kassidy with a Stinger splash on the railing. Butcher and Darby go brawling up the stairs, but Andrade interferes and allows Butcher to powerbomb Darby into the balcony railing and throw him down a set of stairs in a crazy bump. In the ring, Quen lays out Matt with a garbage can, while Butcher and Blade double-team Jeff in the concourse while Blade bleeds blood. I’m assuming it was hardway. Private Party hits Matt with a double suplex on the ramp, but he fights them off and slams Quen at the entranceway, but he goes after Kassidy and Quen hits him in the nutz. This sets up a double slam through a table. MEANWHILE, in the concourse, Sting finds the World’s Most Giantest Ladder, which Jeff promptly climbs to reach insane height and then puts Butcher and Blade through the merch table, which was luckily bolstered by boxes of t-shirts underneath. See at least there’s a plausible reason for it being a giant crash pad of sorts. Back to the ring, Private Party hauls Matt to the ring for two, but Sting saves and then fires up, tried of the young whippersnappers and their private parties. He misses the splash on Kassidy, however, and they set up Gin and Juice on him, but Sting kind of awkwardly counters Kassidy into what was supposed to be the death drop, but doesn’t really go well. So he recovers and Matt joins in for a Twist of Fate, and they get the double pin at 9:38. Well they packed the Party Match and Attitude Era Brawl into one match and it was all pretty silly but worked for what it was. ***
Meanwhile, FTR does not care for the Ass Boyz and they don’t get respect grandfathered in because of their dad. Wait, Billy Gunn has respect? So next week, they have a match.
Jon Moxley & Bryan Danielson v. The Varsity Blonds
Bryan kicks the crap out of Pillman in the corner while Julia Hart broods at ringside. I’m assuming that someday, somewhere, they’re going to actually pay off this angle with something. But I’m a cock-eyed optimist, what can I say? Pillman comes back with a dropkick on Moxley and Griff comes in and promptly gets suplexed on his head. Back to Pillman, who slugs on Danielson, but Bryan scoffs at his weak offense while JR calls them “The Hollywood Blonds” by mistake. Regal: “I’m impressed by you more and more every week, Man in the Mask.” Moxley hits Pillman with the lariat and piledriver for two, but Griff saves. So Moxley beats the heck out of him with forearms until the Blonds recover with a double-team dropkick for two. But then Danielson destroys Griff with the knee and Moxley chokes out Griff at 6:07. If I were Mr. Regal, I would not be impressed with the performance of the Blonds here. I saw no thirst for violence! No fight! They should be thankful to get their heads kicked in by Bryan Danielson and share a ring with him. ** Regardless of the quality of the match, it’s always great to watch Danielson & Moxley taking people to the school of hard knocks. Afterwards, Moxley puts over the greatness of William Regal and talks about how he wears a badge of honor for being Regal’s pupil. Also he’s got a message for anyone who wants to step up: There’s no free passes and you’ve gotta love pain. Can we just put the tag team titles on the Blackpool Combat Club on Rampage already? Maybe next week?
MJF joins us to insult Texas and talk about Wardlow. Wardlow signed a deal with the devil and he’s going to “strap him to the cross like Jesus”, which gets some big heat. So Wardlow tries to run in, but security holds him back while MJF promises to pay him to stay home from now on, until everyone forgets him. MJF gets heat just by existing but I found his promo a bit rambling this time.
Meanwhile, Tony chats with the Best Friends, but Trent isn’t impressed with Wheeler Yuta’s attempts to join the William Regal Tough Guy Club. THEY’RE THE BLACKPOOL COMBAT CLUB, JERK. Sue should have taught you better! Sorry, got me all worked up there again.
Adam Cole v. Jay Lethal
Excalibur runs down their history in Ring of Honor and says Ring of Honor a bunch of times. THE FORBIDDEN DOOR IS OPEN! Oh, wait, never mind. Lethal hits him with chops in the corner and slugs away on him, then takes him down with a hiptoss into a dropkick for two. Cole hits an enzuigiri but Lethal takes him down with a flatliner to chase Cole to the apron, but he misses a springboard dropkick. Cole stops to go Boom, however, and Lethal hits him from behind and dropkicks him into the railing. He follows with a pair of dives, but Cole walks away from him, so Lethal hits him with a third dive from another angle instead. reDRagon comes out for a distraction, allowing Cole to toss Lethal into the stairs to take over. Back in the ring, Cole hits a clothesline and goes to the chinlock, but Lethal fights out and they trade chops. They trade pinfall counters and Lethal takes him down into the figure-four while the two yayhoos make their way to ringside and Cole makes the ropes. Cole with a rollup for two and he tries the Boom, but Lethal hits him with the cutter. But the Lethal Injection is countered by a superkick to set up the Panama Sunrise, which gets two. Lethal fights back again, but the yayhoos take the ref and Cole goes low and finishes with the Boom at 10:00. Solid but uneventful and all the interference is as tiresome here as it was with Britt Baker. **1/2 Afterwards, Cole complains that he deserves another World title shot and Hangman is a coward, which brings out Page to offer a rejoinder. With his belt. But then the yayhoos descend on him like jackals until Jurassic Express makes the save, while Cole steals the World title. Can we just skip past Cole’s rematch and get to something people want to see?
Meanwhile, Dustin Rhodes is the next target for Lance Archer on Rampage.
Sammy Guervara and Tay Conti join Tony for an interview, and Sammy knows that he’s going to pay for the bumps later in his life but it’s worth it to him. So they want revenge on Paige VanZant, who’s going to take a loss like she did in all her fights. So Dan Lambert comes out and offers them the chance to subscribe to Paige’s fan site, where they can learn why Orange Cassidy walks around with his hands in his pockets. And then he calls Tay “Lucha-Whorus” and then kisses the TNT title. So Sammy informs him of all the sex they had on the belt, so they’re “living in his mouth” now. Ew.
Meanwhile, Swerve challenges Ricky Starks to an FTW title match for Rampage.
Legit Leyla Hirsch v. Red Velvet
With Hirsch still hailing from Russia and RED Velvet, there’s entirely too much potential communism on display in the ring. I’d appreciate 10-15% less of it for my own comfort. Leyla thankfully kicks Velvet off the apron during her entrance, and they fight on the floor off that. Perhaps if she spent more time learning to wrestle and less time stirring it up, she could avoid that sort of thing. Leyla runs Velvet into the railing, but Velvet gets a rana off the stairs and they head into the ring to start the match. Hirsch with a suplex for two and a gut wrench for two. Leyla puts the boots to Velvet in the corner and follows with a mule kick in the corner for two. Velvet fights back, so Leyla boots her down again and chokes her out on the ropes. For those watching on Fite or the international feed, you can basically hear them having a whole conversation on the ropes at this point about the time cues. Leyla goes to a chinlock and Velvet escapes from that and comes back with his clotheslines and a running knee on the ropes. She tries a springboard and Leyla gets a german suplex for two to counter. Hirsch goes up, but Velvet takes her down with an Iconoclasm for two. She follows with a spinning kick and Leyla bails to the floor to escape the sure pinfall from THE MIX, and then retrieves her trusty turnbuckle, but the ref steals it from her and Leyla finds a second object in her trunks and knocks out Velvet for the pin at 6:40. This felt 3 times longer than the 6 minutes it got and this turnbuckle gimmick is STUPID. Just let her join Team Taz and submit people. *
Meanwhile, Tony chats with Jade Cargill, who is planning the celebration for her 30-0 victory party already.
Thunder Rosa joins us after her win last week, but Vickie Guerrero immediately interrupts and accuses Rosa of being an illegal immigrant. And Nyla Rose lays out Rosa to become the first challenger, I guess. I feel like Serena Deeb would have made more sense as the first one, since we’ve already seen Nyla get a million title shots.
Chris Jericho & Daniel Garcia v. John Silver & Alex Reynolds
Silver fires up on Jericho and puts him down with a slam and Arrogant Cover for two. Dark Order double-teams Jericho, so he bails to the floor and Silver follows with a high kick out there. They hit Jericho with a combo suplex and dive, so Jericho kicks the stairs and that results in the Dark Order getting unjustly thrown out of the match for a phantom interference. Back in the ring, Jericho goes to work on Reynolds in the corner, and then they toss Alex for some abuse on the floor while Jericho takes the ref. Jericho goes up and Reynolds dropkicks him on the way down, so Garcia comes in and cuts him off with a Saito suplex for two. Jericho misses the Lionsault and Johnny gets the hot tag and tosses Garcia out, although that went south somehow. Silver runs wild and takes out all the heels outside, and then pops back in with a crossbody on Jericho for two. Jericho hits him with a codebreaker for two. Dark Order comes back with their double team sequence for two, but Hager and all the doofuses take the ref, allowing Silver to be taken out. And then Jericho hits Reynolds with the bat and Garcia finishes him with the Scorpion at 10:05. Yay, more heel interference and a bullshit finish. I don’t want to overreact and fail to heed the advice of my own blog by not letting it play out to see where it goes, but this new Jericho faction already isn’t doing it for me and it wasn’t a particularly good match either. **
Well they can’t all be home runs. We’ll leave it at that.