The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 05.04.22
Happy May the 4th to everyone on the blog! I spent my day celebrating Star Wars by playing The Skywalker Saga and finishing Episodes VI and VII, as the game sets a really nice pace where you finish off each episode before you get sick of it. Good luck to the Lego people making sense of the plot of the Disney trilogy, though.
Speaking of Disney, I thought Moon Knight really pulled out the big comeback in the final episode after a questionable middle of the series, especially the big twist at the end that sealed the deal. I don’t think they’ll do a second season but as a one and done it was a nice addition to the MCU.
Live from Baltimore, MD
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Excalibur & Tony Schiavone
Owen Hart Foundation qualifier: Bobby Fish v. Jeff Hardy
Jeff goes for the arm and gets a hiptoss for one, then quickly goes to a chinlock. Fish fights out and beats on him in the corner, and a sliding lariat gets two. Fish misses a senton and Jeff bails to the floor, so Fish takes him into the railing with a dragon screw as we take a break. Back with Jeff’s jawbreaker countered by a knee strike, and Fish puts him down with a high kick. Jeff comes back with the legdrop and an elbow for two, setting up kind of a weak Twist of Fate, but he goes up and Fish kicks him down. Bobby brings him down with a falcon arrow for two and then switches into a kneebar, but the crowd suddenly comes alive for Jeff and he makes the ropes. Jeff fights back with the Whisper in the Wind, barely making contact with that, and the swanton finishes at 10:10 for a huge pop. Jeff was looking pretty rough here but Fish managed to hold it together most of the way. **3/4 So this brings out the Young Bucks for a word with the Hardy Boyz, although nothing transpires yet.
Meanwhile, William Regal does this awesome promo in a video package about the Combat Club. You see, if you gave them a knife, they wouldn’t stab you, they would cut a scar into your cheek because you might recover from the stabbing, but you’ll have that scar for the rest of your life. OH MAN. HOOK IT TO MY VEINS!
The Blackpool Combat Club v. The Butcher, The Blade & Angelico
The heels attack before the bell, annoyed by not getting an entrance. Blade beats on Danielson with chops in the corner, and Angelico comes in with a wacky Mexican submission, but Bryan rolls him up for two. And then kicks the crap out of him in the corner. Running knee in the corner and it’s over to Yuta, who continues to get huge reactions. He takes Blade down with an armdrag, but Butcher tags in and no-sells Yuta’s dropkicks. Butcher with a snap suplex as we take a break. Back with Yuta hitting a german suplex and it’s hot tag Moxley, who puts Blade on the floor with a clothesline and then tosses him into the table. Blade going flying around ringside like a crash test dummy is hilarious. Back in, Mox catches him with a cutter, but Angelico comes in with some cool kicks. And then he gets clotheslined by Mox and it’s over to Danielson. Bryan decides it’s time to kick his head in and we get TRIPLE VIOLENCE as Danielson puts him to sleep with the triangle at 8:19. These guys continue to be the best part of every show. ***1/4
Meanwhile, Hobbs & Starks get a counter-proposal from Jurassic Express: Give Jungle Boy a shot at the FTW title he never defends before they get a shot at the tag titles. They’ve got a point about that one.
Meanwhile, Swerve and Keith Lee find Team Taz to be dubious and questionable.
Wardlow v. William Morrissey
Cass still needs a better name but I’m glad he’s doing better for himself at least. They do the lockup battle to start and Wardlow runs him into the corner, but Morrissey puts him down with clubbing forearms and then follows with a big boot out of the corner. They fight on the floor while the crowd does an epic “We want Enzo / No we don’t” battle. You all know which side of the battle I’m on. Morrissey runs him into the apron a few times, and back in for a Bossman slam that gets two. They fight to the top and Wardlow puts him down and follows with a moonsault, landing on his feet, and then the powerbomb finishes at 5:32. I don’t think Morrissey earned himself a job with that effort. *1/2 Very slow and plodding for the most part. And then Wardlow decides he’s had enough of being handcuffed and absolutely destroys all the guards, powerbombing one of the geeks onto the pile for an awesome tribute. Pardon the pun. So MJF finally agrees to have the match with Wardlow at Double or Nothing, with the contract signing happening in “the most magical place in the world”, Long Island.
Meanwhile, Ruby and Toni finally get their hands on Britt and Jamie on Rampage, which airs at another oddball time on Friday.
Hangman Page joins Tony to discuss the upcoming title match with CM Punk, which will apparently not be a “masturbatory Bret Hart tribute match” and in fact he’s just going to destroy CM Punk. Ooooo, gauntlet thrown down! Also, all the nerds in the audience with CM Punk shirts will be running back to the merch stands for refunds. Serious Hangman Page is pretty awesome.
Meanwhile, Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt have animosity with Takeshita, and they’ll take it out on him on Rampage.
Santana v. Chris Jericho
Jericho is now “The Wizard”. Hopefully he can play Super Mario 3 good enough to back up that kind of boast. They immediately brawl on the floor and Santana runs him into the railing and then runs him into the stairs before finally heading into the ring to start the match. 2point0 annoys him, however, and allows Jericho to dropkick Santana off the apron and onto the stairs. We take a break and return with Santana making a comeback with the Three Amigos and frog splash, but Jericho gets the Walls and Santana has to make the ropes. Jericho gets cocky and Santana cradles for two, leading to a chop exchange before Santana rolls into a cutter for two. Ortiz takes out the JAS with the bat outside, allowing Santana to hit Jericho with a discus lariat for two. Cannonball in the corner follows, but Jericho goes low and finishes with the Judas Effect at 9:06. Good effort from Santana here. *** And the heel beatdown is on, as Eddie Kingston is apparently not here tonight and they still can’t find two more friends to help.
Meanwhile, Samoa Joe and his sweet polo shirt are coming for Jay Lethal on Rampage.
Meanwhile, the Gunn Clubb harasses the Acclaimed and gives them the gift of SCISSORS. And they all make it weird with the finger thing.
The Varsity Blonds join us to call out the House of Black, while Julia Hart looks grumpy in the background. So Brian Pillman talks about losing his enthusiasm but now he’s all fired up and ready to fight. So the lights go out and the Black gang comes out to answer and destroys the Blonds like complete geeks. And then FINALLY Julia Hart appears ready to turn heel, but she hesitates and Death Triangle makes the save. OH FOR THE LOVE OF. It’s been months, shit or get off the pot with this stupid angle.
Meanwhile, Jade and her Baddies are confident in Velvet’s chances in the Owen tournament.
Owen Hart Foundation qualifier: Dante Martin v. Rey Fenix
Dante flips over Fenix, but gets dropkicked and lands on the floor. Fenix follows with a ropewalk into a dive and we take a break. Back with Dante making a comeback in the ring, but Fenix hits him with a spinkick in the corner and then hits a crazy backflip Russian legsweep off the middle rope for two. Dante fights back as they trade flips in the corner and fight to the top, and a crossbody gets two. Fenix tries a headscissors and Dante reverses to a inverted suplex for two. Dante slugs away, but Fenix gets a rana for two. They trade powerbomb attempts and Fenix flips into a cutter out of that, for two. Fenix with a muscle buster, but Dante reverses into a cradle for two. Dante goes up and Fenix tries to bring him down with a Spanish Fly, but they both land on their feet and Dante gets the poison rana. Dante misses the moonsault and Fenix powers him up into a sit-out piledriver for the pin at 9:43. Just an incredible high flying match. ****
Meanwhile, Darby Allin is ready to pull out all the stops against Adam Cole in round one of the tournament against Jeff Hardy.
Thunder Rosa joins us to talk about her journey to the title, but Serena Deeb comes out and wants a shot at the title, so that’s another match for Double or Nothing.
ROH Women’s title: Deonna Purrazzo v. Mercedes Martinez
Oh this is gonna be flaming ratings death. This is barely even a Rampage main event. Like we know why they’re putting this as the main event but this isn’t the match to make your point with. They fight for the lockup to start and trade wristlocks as we take a break. Back with Mercedes on the floor, but they head back in and slug it out before Mercedes makes a comeback with a side suplex. Boots in the corner get two. Purrazzo takes her down with an armbar attempt and follows with a moonsault for two. Mercedes with a fisherman’s buster for two. Deonna gets a slam for two and goes for the armbar, but Mercedes clotheslines her and they’re both down. Mercedes gets a fireman’s carry into a slam and curb stomps her to set up a dragon sleeper and unifies the titles at 10:41. OK? So what? I just don’t understand what the point of having people who aren’t regular TV characters in the main event of the TV show is supposed to be. There is no ROH TV show or touring schedule, so who cares who the “undisputed ROH Women’s champion” is? The Women’s division is weak enough as it is without adding a THIRD singles title to the show. **1/4
This was definitely an up-and-down episode, although the Dante-Fenix match was a banger and is well worth checking out. I really wish they’d figure out what they want to do with ROH as a general concept and, you know, DO IT ALREADY, though. It’s hard to feel a sense of week to week urgency for most of this show when it feels like there’s 17 different singles titles all being juggled around at once.