The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 01.29.20
Holy cow, someone actually went through my archives and realized that I never did this particular episode due to my DVR recording the wrong channel that night. This will not stand!
For reference, this is the first week after the Jericho Cruise show where Kenny Omega and Hangman won the tag team titles and Britt Baker turned heel. Of course we were about a month away from the business becoming very, very different.
Live from Cleveland, OH
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone & Excalibur
Jon Moxley joins us to start, walking through the VERY WELL LIT crowd, which is a thing that Tony Khan recently brought back for like a week and then seemingly fell away from again. These older shows just look worlds better than the presentation today. Jon was in his pirate phase at this point, building up to his match with Chris Jericho after getting a metal spike stabbed into his eye. Mox complains that Jericho is the kind of scoundrel who stole the mask from some guy named Ray and punched a woman! And Moxley hates bullies, so he’s going to take the AEW World title from Jericho at Revolution. And since he’s got no patience, he just wants Jericho to come out and take his beating RIGHT NOW. This brings out Jericho, and some of the fans are even trying to sing along with his theme song! Not many though. So Jericho calls Moxley a “cracked up version of Jack Sparrow” and clarifies that means he’s stupid. Man, Johnny Depp references in a more innocent time. Sadly, Jericho will not fight tonight because Cleveland sucks and they don’t deserve to see him. This brings out the Inner Circle for another potential beatdown, but Moxley decides to walk right through them. So Jericho brings out more backup, some “South Bronx street thugs”, making it 10 on 1. Moxley gives it a go anyway, but the referees and security pull them off and Moxley walks out through the crowd again. This mostly dragged and felt more like a WWE 20 minute interview than the usual hot Dynamite open they have now.
And then they slowly read out the upcoming card for tonight in a normal tone of voice without rushing or anything!
Meanwhile, MJF and his associate Wardlow visit a meat locker and pay off the Butcher and the Blade with an envelope of money marked “Young Bucks”.
The Butcher & The Blade v. The Young Bucks
Another formatting difference from the early days, as they put the 3 minute commercial break during the entrance of the heels, which thankfully Fite.TV leaves intact so we get to watch MJF walking around ringside and trolling the fans one by one before joining the commentary desk. MJF clarifies that the Bucks nearly killed him by throwing him into the swimming pool, because he doesn’t know how to swim. Swimming is for “poor people and fat people” so he doesn’t do it. MJF also thinks that Page & Omega winning the tag titles signals “the Elite coming apart at the seams.” Never, they’ll be friends forever! The Bucks double-team the Blade and work the arm in the corner, and hit the double dropkick before Butcher puts them both down with a clothesline. Matt evades the heels and brings Nick in for some kicks on the Blade, but the Bunny trips him up on the apron and Butcher puts him down with a crossbody before Blade adds a dive onto Matt. Butcher comes in with a double-team legdrop on Nick for two and tosses him into the corner a couple of times before choking him out on the ropes. Butcher drops Nick onto Blade’s knee, and Blade gets a powerbomb for two. Nick fights them off and flips into the hot tag to Matt, who runs wild on Blade. Shiranui for Blade and he superkicks Butcher on the floor, and then comes in with a flying elbow on Blade for two. Nick with a senton for two and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA. It’s the SUPERKICK PARTY on campus to take out the Butcher, and they finish Blade with the Meltzer Driver at 8:40. Crowd was pretty dead because Butcher and Blade were still just kind of a meme at that point and people didn’t know them, but it was pretty solid. *** And then Omega and Page come down, with Hangman chugging a beer, and they all destroy the Butcher and Blade together. This did set up one of the greatest tag team matches in history at Revolution, though, so I can’t hate it.
Nyla Rose v. Big Swole
Swole slugs away on Nyla to start and takes her down for two, but Nyla lays her out with a clothesline. They fight to the floor and Nyla wraps Swole’s fingers in the turnbuckles and does some SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION, and back in for two. Nyla with a camel clutch and she chokes away on the ropes as this drags pretty badly and the crowd is silent. Swole comes back with a guillotine attempt and then comes back with a superkick, but she’s just blown up and doesn’t have much on the comeback. She manages a sort of cutter for two and screws up a bulldog attempt, so finally Nyla just spears her and pins her with the powerbomb at 8:41. Oh man this fell apart COMPLETELY at the end and Nyla had this look on her face like “Screw it, we’re going home, I’ve had enough.” Really bad. ½*
Kip Sabian v. Cody [Last Name Redacted]
Apparently Cody will be facing Wardlow in three weeks in the first ever cage match in AEW. Hopefully they don’t overdo that violence aspect on this show moving forward. Kip attacks to start and hits a gutbuster, but Cody fights back and they fight to the floor. Penelope accidentally gets “knocked out” by an elbow from Cody, so he feels bad and goes to pick her up, at which point Sabian hits him with a dive from the apron to take over. Back in the ring, Sabian puts the boots to Cody in the corner and chokes him out on the ropes, but he misses a leap frog and claims a knee injury. So the match stops while the doctors check him over, but then he leaps back into the ring with a DDT for two. He tries another one and Cody counters out and goes up with a moonsault press and they’re both down. Cody makes the comeback and slugs away in the corner, then hits him with the powerslam. Cody readies the weight belt, but Penelope steals it, so Cody hits Sabian with the disaster kick for two. Ford throws a shoe in the ring, so Arn comes into the ring to protest and gets into a whole argument with the ref about it and gets ejected from the match as a result as this grinds to a halt again. So Ford hits Cody with a rana on the floor, but Joey Janela appears in the crowd to distract the heels, and Cody comes back with a tope. Back in the ring, Sabian gets a neckbreaker on the ropes for two and they fight to the top, where Sabian brings him down with a sloppy facebuster. But he tries the finish, and Cody escapes from that and finishes him with a pair of Crossroads at 11:30. This was a weirdly meandering and disjointed match where they just stopped and did comedy bits for minutes at a time and it never really got going. **
Meanwhile, Dr. Britt Baker beats a red-haired enhancement talent named Priscilla Kelly on the boat and then takes some mean shots at Tony Schiavone. Hmm, that Kelly girl looks familiar for some reason.
Dr. Britt Baker DMD joins Tony for a followup interview this week, and she’s proud that herself and Tony were trending worldwide. Also she’s pissed off that Jim Ross can’t even get people’s names straight and lives off his barbeque sauce sales. Also she’s pretty sure Tony has gingivitis and needs to pick up a toothbrush.
Meanwhile, the Elite hang out and Hangman drunkenly wanders in and shows off the nameplates they got made for their new tag team belts, and gifts the Bucks some of their own in case they ever win the belts.
Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky v. Jack Evans & Angelico
I don’t know if Jack Evans ever escaped from Mexico or whatever happened to him, but Angelico’s a guy who got lost in the shuffle and probably deserves to be reheated these days. Kazarian works a headlock on Angelico and rolls him up for two. Snap suplex gets two. Sky comes in and gets worked over in the TH2 corner, but he jumps on Evans’ back and brings Kaz in for the double-team. German suplex gets two. Angelico gets a cheapshot from the apron and Evans gets a spinkick for two as Sky is the face in peril. Angelico with a PK for two and they take Sky to the floor and run him into a chair, and Angelico gets two in the ring off that. Sky fights up and Angelico puts him down with a dropkick and it’s back to the heel corner for more punishment. Evans with a flip kick and a rollup for two. Angelico with a kick to the back for two, but Sky fights back with a suplex and makes the hot tag to Kazarian. Well hot is relative because this crowd is a ghost town. Kaz runs wild and hits Evans with a suplex, and a cutter on Angelico gets two. Sky charges and lands on the floor, allowing TH2 to double-team Kazarian with a suplex and double stomp combo for two. Evans tries a dive and misses, and SCU double-teams Angelico and finishes with SCU-Later at 10:05. This was just an average tag match with a dead crowd. **1/4
Meanwhile, the Dark Order interrupts, talking about how the Exalted One is unhappy with Christopher Daniels and will be targeting SCU next. For a while there, and I know this will be hard to believe, people thought that since the PPV was in Chicago, CM Punk might be coming into the promotion as the payoff for this! People will believe anything.
Meanwhile, Pac is coming for blood, starting next week. At least I think that’s what he was saying, I don’t speak whatever language that was.
And then the announcers lay out next week’s card in a normal voice, at a speed that humans can easily follow! And since the early shows on Fite don’t have any of the commercial breaks cut out, we get a random Yuka Sakazaki video inserted instead before cutting to the crowd and some random shots of them while we wait for the main event.
Darby Allin & Private Party v. Santana, Ortiz & Chris Jericho
Darby starts with Jericho brings him down with a springboard armdrag, and Jericho retreats to the corner for some hugs from his crew. Over to Ortiz, who pokes Kassidy in the eye to take over, but Private Party double-teams him and Quen gets two. Ortiz hits him with a pair of dropkicks and shows off the TIGA STYLE, and it’s over to Santana, who beats Quen down and brings in Jericho. Quen manages to spear them and it’s back to Kassidy, who rolls up Ortiz for two. Crucifix gets two. Victory roll gets two, but Jericho puts him on the floor with a springboard dropkick. During the break, Excalibur calls Jericho an “honorary Boriqua”, and Tony thinks he heard “honorary Barista” and gets all offended. Back in the ring, Jericho gets the arrogant cover for two and Santana comes in with an enzuigiri to set up the triple suplexes. The crowd chants for “Eddie”, which shows how Eddie Kingston was so ahead of his time that people were chanting for him before he was even in the company! They do the suplex hand-off in the corner, which is always a neat spot, and that gets two for Jericho. Santana with a backbreaker on Kassidy for two. Jericho with a Lionsault and Ortiz drops a headbutt for two. Kassidy fights them off and makes the hot tag to Darby, who was decidedly Just a Guy at this point. Code Red gets two on Santana. Last Supper gets two. Everyone comes in for the brawl and Santana rolls into a cutter on Quen. Darby with a moonsault press on Jericho for two. Jake Hager gets involved and Darby takes him out with the coffin drop outside, leaving Kassidy to hit Jericho with a swanton for two in the ring. But then Jericho hits him with the Judas Effect and pins him at 12:20. It’s crazy how big they got that one over in such a short time. Another average match to end the show. **1/2 The Inner Circle proceeds with the beatdown after the win, and Sammy Guevara proudly hits Darby with his own skateboard and smashes it into his throat to set up their PPV match at Revolution. And Moxley makes the save while we hear the director frantically yelling “30 SECONDS!” at them just off camera to close the show. Fite also has a couple of minutes after the initial fade-out where nothing more happens, in case you’re curious.
Well this was a pretty rough early show from AEW, with a completely dead crowd. I definitely didn’t miss anything of note here first time around. I think the Fite version with all the commercial break times left intact really hurts the pacing as well, as it DRAAAAAAAGGGGED between segments.