The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 09.21.22
Live from New York City! Home of that flash in the pan.
Your hosts are Excalbur, Taz, Tony Schiavone and others
ROH World title: Claudio Castagnoli v. Chris Jericho
Jericho declines the code of honor, but they’ve never actually established if that means anything so I’m not gonna worry about it. Claudio quickly beats on him with forearms in the corner and then presses him onto the top rope before booting him to the floor and they brawl out there. Jericho hides behind special guest Cary Silkin and poor Cary ends up taking a bump as a result, and Jericho sends him back into the ring. But then he gets clobbered by Claudio on the way in, and that gets two. They trade chops and Jericho puts him on the apron, but tries the dropkick and Claudio hits him with yet another forearm to block. They slug it out on the apron and that ends with a suplex to the floor and both guys are down as we take a break. Back with Claudio going to the top and Jericho chopping him down, but he tries a rana and Claudio blocks it. He tries a powerbomb, but Jericho manages to hit that rana after all, and that gets two. Jericho with the codebreaker, but Claudio blocks it with the Swiss Death forearm for two. This sets up the swing, but Jericho blocks it, so Claudio stomps on his face for two and goes to the Sharpshooter instead. Jericho makes the ropes, so Claudio hits the Ricola Bomb for two. Claudio pounds on him with knees, but Jericho catches him with the codebreaker for two. This sets up the Walls of Jericho, but Claudio quickly reverses out and into the New York Giants Swing! Sadly he doesn’t do 61 rotations, but he goes hit a lariat for two. Jericho grabs the bat, but Claudio blocks it, so Jericho kicks him in the nuts behind the ref’s back and hits the Judas Effect for the pin and the title at 15:00. Hey, they’re booking Jericho like he’s World champion already, so you might as well put the belt on him. This was a great opener and they work together like total pros. ***1/2
AEW World tag team title: Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee v. The Acclaimed
The crowd is READY for this one, booing the champs out of the building and then blowing the roof off for the Acclaimed. Caster dubs the champs Swerve In Our Gloryhole, which seems a tad rude. Bowens trades shoulderblocks with Lee to start, but Keith takes him down with a rana out of nowhere and Bowens is pretty shocked by that. Over to Caster, and he also fails to overpower Lee, but does manage to take him down with an armdrag. The Acclaimed stop for a scissoring, but Swerve is having none of that and breaks it up as we take a break. Back with Lee beating on Caster, but he misses a charge and Max fights back with a suplex and makes a tag to Bowens. He runs wild on Lee with the superkick, but Swerve puts him down with the kick to the back of the neck. The champs try the Swerve Stomp, but Bowens fights them off and rolls up Swerve for two. But then Lee just puts him down with a headbutt and biels him over the top rope and onto the LCD ramp. That leaves Caster alone, and Lee beats him down and goes up, but misses the moonsault after taking too much time staring disapprovingly at Billy Gunn, like Billy was trying to date his daughter and failed to show the proper respect. Swerve steals the boombox and takes a shot at Caster, but hits Lee by mistake and Bowens comes back with the neckbreaker, but Caster tries the Mic Drop and Swerve trips him up off-screen and Max lands on his knee. Bowens gets two off that, but Swerve comes in again and Caster manages to hit a back suplex on him and goes up again. Swerve cuts that off and Lee pounces Caster and then tosses him into a Swerve powerbomb for two. They kind of botched the pounce spot but Caster is selling the knee anyway so it makes sense. The Acclaimed bail to regroup and Swerve dives onto them, so Billy steps in for some words and then hits Swerve with a fameasser behind the ref’s back out there. Back in, Caster finally drops the mic and the Acclaimed are the tag team champions at 14:32. I will say, it was a tremendous reaction, but the Chicago match was something special and way better and they should have changed the titles there. This was really good but never really had the heart-stopping drama of All Out, and Acclaimed needing Billy’s interference to win kind of undermines their win a bit. ***1/2
Meanwhile, FTR is ready to cash in their #1 contender status, but the Ass Boyz interrupt and accuse them of whining all the time.
Wheeler Yuta stops by for a word with Tony, but MJF interrupts to a giant babyface reaction, as he dubs the crowd his “Devil Worshippers”. Yuta outs MJF for getting engaged, but MJF gets a sick burn by saying Wheeler went from paint drying to “Pet Rock Personality” and he can go get career advice from the “Blackpool Cuckold Club” and learn how to pop pills from William Regal. Yuta’s had enough of this nonsense and attacks, but MJF lays him out and then slaps Tony as well, before William Morrisey, who is apparently the new bodyguard, takes out Yuta.
Meanwhile, Diamante’s “OG from Miami” backup on Rampage is apparently someone named Trina. Who the hell is Trina? Are we supposed to know her? Is she a wrestler? The announcers don’t mention anything about her after the promo and she’s never mentioned again for the rest of the show. Also, Jade Cargill can no longer say “Cut the shit” on TBS apparently.
AEW All Atlantic title: Pac v. Orange Cassidy
Orange uses his mindgames and gets a rollup for two, but misses the Orange Punch and Pac bails to the floor. Back in, Orange throws the kicks while Pac just stands there and somehow takes it, and then miraculously regroups and sends Orange into the corner with a shotgun dropkick. They head to the floor and Pac beats on him outside and runs into the post. In theory, because the angle they use clearly shows him missing it by a foot. Back in the ring, Orange rolls away from the Black Arrow and heads to the floor again, so Pac hits him with a dive, and that also misses by a lot. Back in, Pac with a missile dropkick for two. The guy holding up his stupid Pokemon sign in front of the hard cam every 2 minutes can kindly screw off, by the way. We take a break and return with Pac continuing to beat on Orange and booting him into the corner. But then Orange again rolls away from the Black Arrow. So Pac hauls him back with a german suplex and patiently goes up again, but this time Orange casually puts his feet in the air and waits him out. Pac goes to deal with him, so Orange cradles for two and then hits the stunner to put Pac on the floor. Back in, Orange with the diving DDT and he actually makes a babyface comeback with a tornado DDT that leaves Pac bent over backwards. Pac catches the punch and suplexes him into the Brutalizer, but Orange cradles for two and follows with the Orange Punch for two. Pac retreats to the floor and grabs the ringbell hammer for a cheapshot to knock Orange out for the pin at 13:15 to retain. That’s actually three screwjob finishes in a row tonight, and that one really deflated the crowd, too. Unfortunately Taz was going so hard on the HE COULD REALLY WIN THE TITLE HERE stuff that it quickly became obvious who was winning. Another good one that never really took off. ***1/4
AEW Women’s title: Toni Storm v. Dr. Britt Baker DMD v. Athena v. Serena Deeb
Athena quickly gets a rollup on Toni for two while Britt confers with Rebel outside, and then we get a funny spot where Serena waits until the other two do a backslide and then pushes them both over for two. This sets up a double submission spot, but Britt breaks it up and rolls up Deeb for two. Britt with the sling blade, but she stops to pose and Storm puts her down with a dropkick. Storm goes up and Deeb cuts her off, which sets up our Tower of Doom spot for the match and we take a break. Back with Deeb and Storm doing stereo leglocks and recreating the slap fight meme, but Storm puts her down with a german suplex. Britt with a neckbreaker and she goes for the stomp, but Athena saves. Deeb takes Britt to the apron with a neckbreaker and then also takes out Athena’s knee before hitting Storm with a neckbreaker for two. Serenity Lock on Storm in the middle, but Britt saves. Athena ends up slamming both Britt and Deeb at the same time for a big pop and then hits Storm with a lungblower for two and we get SHOCKED TWO COUNT FACE. That’s not even her finish. Britt rolls up Storm for two off that, but Storm reverses for the pin to retain at 9:52. This was pretty energetic and Deeb had lots of cool here, but poor Britt appears to have broken her nose again. *** Britt goes for the beatdown on Storm, but Jamie Hayter saves again and then once again joins with Britt to stay heel. But then HEY GUYS PAIGE HERE makes the save, now just Saraya and much less pale, so I guess those rumors were true. See, now THAT would have been a hell of a payoff as the person to challenge Jade instead of whoever Trina is.
Mreanwhile, Darby Allin hauls a body bag around the subway system in New York in preparation for Rampage.
AEW World title tournament final: Jon Moxley v. Bryan Danielson
They trade chops to start and Bryan takes him down and throws the forearms while MJF and his giant chip watch on. So apparently TK has clarified the poker chip a bit, and it’s not like Money in the Bank where it just can be cashed in whenever MJF wants. It still has to be a sanctioned match agreed on by TK in advance, but we won’t necessarily know when that is. Whereas the battle royale on Rampage will be for a title shot at a specific time and place that will be established after the match. Danielson takes Moxley to the corners and throws kicks and chops to beat his chest red, and then waits for him to turn around and kicks him in the back as well. That’s the Homer strategy! Blind charge misses, however, and now Moxley puts the boots to Bryan while the crowd is kind of distracted by MJF in the skybox. They need to stop fighting this and just turn that guy babyface so bad. Danielson fights back in the corner and they head up, but Bryan boots him to the floor and follows with the diving knee off the apron. Back in, Danielson with a missile dropkick and he goes to work on the arm as we take a break. We return with Bryan continuing on the arm, but Moxley slugs back, so Bryan puts him down with the bu saiku knee for two. Suplex and he goes up with a missile dropkick but Moxley catches him and powerbombs him on the way down before going to a half crab. Danielson fights out of that and they head to the top, where Moxley uses the back rakes, but Danielson shoves him into the camera and brings him down with a backdrop suplex for two. Moxley reverses into his own Lebell lock, but Bryan flips out and bridges out in an incredible reversal into the Cattle Mutilation. Moxley escapes that, so Bryan beats on him with elbows, and the bu saiku knee gets two. Moxley blocks the kicks and comes back with the curb stomp and Death Rider for two, complete with a tight cradle. That was a nice touch. They trade elbows and Bryan KICKS HIS HEAD IN, but Moxley catches the foot and they trade reversals until Danielson rolls him into the Lebell lock. Mox breaks by sheer stubbornness, as Regal points out, and retreats to the ramp, but Bryan follows with a flying knee to the arm. Moxley suckers him into a Death Rider on the ramp, however, and Bryan rolls into the ring on the sell and Moxley gets two. Moxley with the choke, and Bryan tries to roll through, but Mox gets on top of him and puts him out at 20:00 to win his third AEW World title. They took a while to get the crowd’s attention away from MJF on the big screen, but it turned into a hell of a war. ****1/2 And then they barely even show Moxley with the belt before they’re like “See you on Rampage!” and end the show.
I gotta say, given Tony Khan’s hyperactive promises on Twitter leading up to this one where he basically made clear that this show would redefine wrestling as we know it, this was a huge disappointment. Saraya’s surprise debut was cool, but it didn’t feel like any of the title matches really got the focus they deserved, and the show was kind of rushed overall. All of the matches were good and the main event was great, but something like the Acclaimed’s win deserved much more attention than second match in. Good overall, but not earth-shatteringly memorable as an episode or anything.