The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 04.13.22
Live from New Orleans, LA
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Excalibur & Tony Schiavone
CM Punk v. Penta Oscuro
This crowd is insanely loud tonight, overwhelming even the announcers with dueling chants to start. They trade chops to start and beat the hell out of each other with those until Penta superkicks him. Punk fires back with more chops and tries for the GTS, but Penta reverses to an anklelock and Punk runs him into the turnbuckles to break. Penta with a sling blade for two and he tosses Punk out and follows with a baseball slide, but Punk dodges him and hits his own tope as we take a break. Back with Punk and Penta fighting on the top rope, as Punk tries a rana and slips, landing on his knee for a bad looking botch. Penta goes to work on the knee and it gives out again, but Punk puts him on the top rope and hits the rana on his second try to begin the comeback. Penta escapes a GTS and takes Punk down for the arm snap, but Punk counters to the Anaconda Vice and Penta barely makes the ropes. They slug it out and Punk puts him down with a short clothesline to set up the GTS, but Penta catches the knee and wraps him up for the package piledriver. Punk escapes that, but Penta gets the arm again and they exchange rollups for two. Penta superkicks him again, but he springboards into the GTS and that finally finishes for Punk at 14:10. They lost the train a bit in the middle but it was still a great opener. ***1/2
Meanwhile, Eddie Kingston and his crew attack the Jericho Appreciation Society at the airport and steal their shoes.
AEW World tag team title: Jurassic Express v. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish
With Discovery Channel now owning Time Warner, I expect Luchasaurus to end the year as AEW World champion. Jungle Boy snaps off the rana on Fish, but he quickly gets caught in the Elite corner and double-teamed. Kyle comes in with knees, but JB tags out to the dinosaur and he goes to work on Kyle in the corner. Luchasaurus gets caught on the ropes and Fish drags him to the floor for some double-teaming out there, and back in that gets two. Kyle works the leg with a kneebar and Fish slingshots in with a senton for two. Back to Jungle Boy, who runs wild for a bit with a lariat on Kyle and a series of dives onto them, but reDRagon regroups and Luchasaurus hits them with a moonsault to the floor. Jungle Boy hits another dive, but reDRagon trips him up on the apron to take over as we take a break. Back with JB getting the hot tag to Luchasaurus, who hits them with splashes in the corner and kicks. Double chokeslam and standing moonsault on O’Reilly gets two. Fish takes out Jungle Boy on the apron again, however, and they double-team the lizard person, but the Jurassics regroup with a double-team elbow from JB that gets two on Fish. Kyle comes in with a rolling butterfly suplex that chains into a german suplex from Fish, and that gets two, before O’Reilly turns it into the cross armbreaker on JB and he has to make the ropes. They all fight in the heel corner and Kyle guillotines Luchasaurus while Fish hits a top rope falcon arrow on Jungle Boy, vaulting OVER the other two in the process, and that gets two. Kyle and Luchasaurus slug it out and everyone exchanges strikes until JB gets a DDT on O’Reilly to get rid of him. This set up the Thoracic Express on Fish to finish at 14:18. I was not expecting them to retain here, because it felt like the right time to change the titles. Noted sportsman Kyle O’Reilly lays them out with a chair afterwards, which brings out FTR (with “6 star FTR” shirts) and a shoving match with reDRagon that will no doubt lead to an awesome match. This one was pretty great as well, though. ****
Meanwhile, the Blackpool Combat Club now includes Wheeler Yuta in advance of their trios match on Rampage. Moxley calls them a bunch of GOOFS. Glad to see they’re all keeping a stiff upper lip before Moxley’s contract expires next month and he goes back to WWE.
Meanwhile, we learn that in fact Toni Storm will in fact be facing Jamie Hayter in the first round of the Owen Hart tournament after the internet DEMANDED it. That’s why TK is Booker of the Year, because he really gets behind the talent, no ifs ands or butts about it!
Captain Shawn Dean v. MJF
Dean appears to be cosplaying Ranger Ross this week, while MJF has trouble unzipping his jacket before revealing that it was just a bit and in fact he can unzip a jacket just like anyone else. He attacks Dean and whips him into the corner, but once again Wardlow leaves a trail of bodies backstage and Max gets all distracted and tosses Dean for a beating on the floor. And at that point an AEW security guy unmasks as Wardlow and MJF absquatulates while Wardlow destroys security geeks…and MJF gets counted out at 3:50, despite trying to bribe the ref. And then Wardlow destroys more security and a camera backstage, because he’s going to continue destroying MJF until he’s free. They just keep making Wardlow into a bigger and bigger babyface and when they do the blowoff MJF is going to take 20 powerbombs and it’s going to RULE. Crazy that they can have a show full of great matches and this steals the show every week.
Meanwhile, Darby Allin challenges Andrade to a coffin match to end things once and for all.
Chris Jericho, Daniel Garcia & Jake Hager v. Eddie Kingston, Santana & Ortiz
Santana immediately beats on Jericho in the corner and puts him down with a big boot, and they exchange chops before Santana takes him down and chokes him out. Things are all CATTYWAMPUS in New Orleans as everyone brawls on the floor, and LAX double-teams Jericho in their corner. Kingston with an STO, but he gets distracted by Garcia on the outside and Hager comes in for the double-team on Ortiz as a result. Ortiz fights back with a sunset flip for two, but Hager boots him down again and Garcia comes in and slugs away on the mat, and Jericho gets the ARROGANT COVER for two as we take a break. Back with Jericho continuing to beat on Ortiz, but he misses the Lionsault and Ortiz fights him off and makes the hot tag to Eddie. Butterfly suplex on Garcia and Santana comes in with the rolling suplexes and frog splash for two. Kingston with the chops in the corner and Ortiz comes in with a middle rope legdrop while Kingston dives onto Hager. Garcia gets tossed into Jericho while 2point0 head down to interfere (minus their shoes of course) but they get taken out. And Jericho nails Kingston with the bat and Garcia gets the cheap win at 11:50. And we get the heel beatdown again as obviously the babyfaces need another tag team to even things up. I know it’s a bit of a broken record, but this Jericho group just isn’t clicking for me. Match was pretty fun, though. ***
Meanwhile, MJF doesn’t need sympathy, because he’s got money, and so he’s booking Wardlow against Butcher next week.
Marina Shafir v. Skye Blue
Shafir takes Blue down with an armdrag while Red Velvet and Keira Hogan have apparently joined Jade’s cheering section at ringside. Shafir beats on Blue and hits a pumphandle slam, but Skye blocks a rollup for two. And then Shafir wraps her up in a triangle for the submission at 2:32. This was a complete disaster. Shafir isn’t ready for TV at all and they looked completely discombobulated out there, and further Shafir wrestled like a complete heel while barely making any facial expressions, to build up for a match with mega-heel Jade Cargill, and the crowd was completely dead and didn’t care about her at all. ½* A failure on every level.
Meanwhile, Hook’s pauciloquent interview is crashed by that pettifogger Mark Sterling and his snollygoster friend Tony Nese, and Danhausen fails to curse Hook once again.
Meanwhile, the Men of the Year are as sick of Sammy and Tay as everyone else is, so Sky finally gives Sammy his title shot at Battle of the Belts.
Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs v. Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland
Man, this should have been my namesake dream team in NXT, but we never got it there and now it’s too late. Aw, Starks gets a giant babyface reaction and you can see he’s really emotional about it. Swerve works on Hobbs’ arm to start, but Hobbs tosses him back into the heel corner while JR continues ruminating about the good old days of Mid-South. Starks comes in to a big pop and walks the ropes fore the forearm shot, but Swerve rolls him up and dropkicks him. Over to Keith, who wallops on Starks with chops in the corner, and Swerve gets two. The heels bail to the floor, and Swerve launches off Lee’s chest and dives onto them as we take a break. Back with Lee throwing Starks around, but Hobbs hits him with a corner splash before missing and hitting Starks. And then Lee tosses Starks into his own partner and they absolutely destroy Starks with elbows in the corner. But then he gets the big babyface comeback reaction from the crowd and fights back with a destroyer on Swerve for two while Hobbs takes out Lee. Keith returns dramatically and we get the tease of the HOSS FIGHT, but Starks takes out Lee from behind while Taz comes out to personally watch. Starks tries the finisher on Lee but that’s not happening, although he does manage a rana while Hobbs fights with Swerve on the floor. In the ring, Starks tries a tornado DDT on Lee and that fails, but Starks spears him instead. Swerve breaks up the pin with a 450 and now Lee is good and pissed off, but Taz trips him up and Hobbs hits the spinebuster for the pin at 12:35. This was a pretty awesome piece of business. ***3/4
Thankfully they have more matches for Battle of the Belts besides Nyla Rose v. Thunder Rosa now, including Dalton Castle making his AEW debut against Jonathan Gresham for the ROH title. I bet Dalton will get over in a heartbeat. Also Nyla Rose tries to give Thunder Rosa a cake backstage and gets it shoved in her own face, so now the feud should really heat up the ratings.
ROH TV title: Minoru Suzuki v. Samoa Joe
Holy crap. They unload on each other to start and Suzuki is all about that and the chops just keep on coming. So Joe just goes nuts with the chops and Suzuki LAUGHS at him as I feel my own skin swelling up in sympathy but they don’t stop. Suzuki fires back with elbows, but Joe lures him in and puts him down with a shoulderblock that sends Suzuki to the apron. But then Suzuki lures HIM in for a hanging armbar in the ropes and we take a break. Back with Joe stretching the old guy on the mat, but Suzuki teases the piledriver before Joe reverses to a sleeper attempt while Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt watch at ringside. Suzuki fights back with a dropkick and goes for the choke, but can’t get the piledriver. Joe puts him on the top rope and tries the muscle buster, but Suzuki wraps him up in an armbar attempt, and Joe escapes with the buster and wins the title at 11:13. Rather abrupt but you can’t fault the hustle here. ***1/2 Lethal and Dutt offer their gift for Joe, which is Lethal flipping him off, but the lights go out and a giant Punjabi basketball player attacks Joe. They’ve really gotta lay off the lights out surprises if they’re gonna be as lame as that. And Lethal’s crew beat Joe down to end the show on a down note that absolutely did not need the 3:00 overrun that they hyped up in advance.
This show was GREAT, despite the craptacular ending and questionable women’s match, and wrestling is fun and you should watch this one.