The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 11.16.22
Live from Bridgeport, CT
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Excalibur and Taz
Sammy Guevara & Chris Jericho v. Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli
Everyone brawls to start and that goes badly for the Sex Gods, as the BCC gets stereo hammer elbows. Meanwhile my wife, two edibles in, informs me that Claudio is her new favorite and she loves his bald head. Learned something new tonight. Sammy hits Claudio with a dropkick to take over, but Claudio gets a delayed suplex, so delayed that you might as well call it “Trump’s legal strategy”, and then he splashes both Sex Gods. Over to Danielson, who beats on Sammy with chops in the corner, but the heels go to the eyes and Jericho beats on him with chops. Claudio comes in and stretches Jericho to torment Sammy, but the heels double-team Bryan and stop for some posing. Bryan fires back on Sammy with kicks while Ian Riccaboni earns his pay with a random Mark Young reference, but Jericho nails Danielson with the bat to take over as we take a break. Back with Jericho beating on Bryan in the corner, but he fights back with an elbow and it’s hot tag Claudio. He wallops Jericho with forearms in the corner and a lariat gets two. Springboard spinning forearm gets two. Sammy assists and Jericho gets the Walls while Sammy pulls the ropes away from him. So Danielson breaks it up with a missile dropkick. Sammy trades with Danielson and tries the GTH, but Danielson reverses into the Lebell lock and Sammy makes the ropes. To the top and Sammy bites him on the eye socket and brings him down with a top rope cutter, into Jericho’s Lionsault for two. Claudio makes the save and hits Sammy with SWISS DEATH, and Danielson collides with Jericho for the double down. Back to Claudio while Jericho grabs the bat again, but Claudio counters with the Giant Swing, and steals the bat before putting him into the Sharpshooter for the submission at 18:07. This was a good, fun match, but the program doesn’t feel like it has any particular momentum behind it. ***1/4
Meanwhile, we hear from MJF and Moxley leading into the PPV.
Meanwhile, Sting finds a body bag out in the desert containing Darby Allin and drives him around.
Anthony Bowens v. Swerve Strickland
Oh man, Caster doing the Jay Leno joke is pretty low. We also get the world premiere of the new Acclaimed video, featuring a cameo by famous wrestler Captain Insano. Also Swerve is played by someone who I believe is supposed to be the Hamburglar. Billy Gunn attacks Swerve before the bell and manages to get himself thrown out of the match again. Bowens beats on Swerve in the corner and hits the facecrusher for two. Swerve necks him on the top rope to cut him off and takes him down with a headscissors, and then tosses him and follows with a somersault dive. Swerve drops him on the railing and we take a break. Back with Swerve in control with an armbar while doing pushups on him. Swerve goes up and Bowens SWEEPS THE LEG to bring him down and comes back with an elbow out of the corner. Bowens pounds on him with forearms and hits an Angle slam for two. They slug it out and Swerve hits him with a brainbuster and then does a NASTY stomp on the shoulder, bending the arm backwards before hitting the Swerve Stomp for two. Back to the arm and he finishes with the JML driver at 10:13. Felt like kind of an extended squash for Swerve. **
Samoa Joe joins Tony to explain his turn last week. As expected, he feels disrespected by Wardlow and wasn’t going to wait around and get betrayed. This brings out Powerhouse Hobbs, but then Wardlow attacks both guys from the crowd and it turns into a pullapart brawl. Well this didn’t actually give us any new information.
Dr. Britt Baker DMD joins us to remind everyone that she wasn’t handed anything and she does one HELL of a go-home promo for the PPV that makes me want to cheer her even more. The bit about working during the pandemic while wrestling was at its lowest, which Saraya wouldn’t know anything about, was a savage burn.
AEW World Trios titles: Death Triangle v. AR Fox & Top Flight
I’m not specifically familiar with AR Fox but Taz assures me that he’s great. Darius returns from the dead and trades takedowns with Fenix to start and they do a little acrobatic stalemate sequence. Over to Dante and Penta, and Dante flips into a takedown to put Penta on the floor and brings Fox in for the first time. He trades flips with Pac and hits him with a cutter out of the corner, sending Pac to the floor. Back in, Fox with a swanton for two and the faces triple-team Pac and Top flight launches Pac into another cutter from Fox. Death Triangle triple-teams Fox for two and we take a break. Back with Darius hitting Pac with a brainbuster for two and we get a very wacky sequence with Top Flight hitting stereo slams on Fenix and Pac before sending them to the floor and hitting stereo dives. And then Fox wipes out the pile with his own dive. Back in, Fenix goes up and Fox brings him down with a Spanish Fly and 450 for two. But then the Lucha Bros hit him with the Fear Factor and the Black Arrow finishes him at 11:30. I don’t know if Fox is sticking around but he looked impressive here. ***1/2 And then Pac lets us know that they’re not stupid and they’ve seen the videos, so if anyone wants to make any triumphant returns and get over on them. But then we finally get the graphic revealing that the Elite are returning at the PPV. Still no live appearance for them, though. And after all that there’s no explanation of where they’ve been or what the videos were about?
Meanwhile, Ricky Starks and Lance Archer have been delayed again, until Rampage this time. How is THAT supposed to work? Are they doing the semifinals on the same show?
Full Gear eliminator tournament semi-final: Ethan Page v. Bandido
Bandido trades wristlocks with Page to start and hits him with a running forearm in the corner, but Stokely trips him up and we take a break. Back with Bandido making a comeback with a moonsault off the ringpost, and back in for the spinning bodypress for two. Page blocks the 21-Plex and hits a cutter for two. They head to the top and Page tries the Ego’s Edge, but Bandido hits the press slam and follows with the frog splash for two. Back to the top, but Page brings him down and they fight up to the top again. Page slams him off and follows with a flying shoulder and finishes with the Ego’s Edge at 9:05 to advance to the finals. I like Page but he’s so dull and beating Bandido already is the wrong play. **1/2
Earlier today, Saraya chats with Renee about her comeback.
Toni Storm v. Anna Jay
The Bunny is apparently out with a mystery ailment, so Anna steps in. Storm grabs a headlock to start, but goes up and gets brought down by Anna. We take a break and return with Storm making the comeback, and a fisherman’s suplex gets two. Storm puts her on the floor with the hip attack, but Anna lures her into a facebuster out there. Back in for another one, and that gets two. Anna tries the choke, but Toni counters out and hits the HIP ATTACK OF DEATH before finishing with a Cloverleaf at 7:12. This brings out Jamie Hayter for the token staredown and that’s our build. Match was OK, mostly taking place during the break. **
This Friday on Rampage, they’re putting Madison Rayne on TV AGAIN. No wonder the ratings are in the toilet.
Jon Moxley joins us for the go-home promo, and he’s unimpressed by MJF’s ladder match victory and wants to be shown something. So the Firm hits the ring and attacks Moxley, but MJF makes the save and does the big babyface act. But then he explains that he saved Moxley because he didn’t want Jon’s “pissant mark fanclub” making excuses when he loses. And this time around, it’s MJF’s time to be champion and be the best wrestler in the world. I’m still 150% sure that Regal is turning to cost Moxley the belt, but why are they doing the MJF babyface teases beforehand? This was FLAT, with a confused crowd and, again, no new information presented here. And that’s your go-home show.
Man, this promotion feels ice cold right now, as the MJF program has been a huge letdown after the amazing Regal promo weeks ago. Really the only thing with any serious heat or intrigue is probably Britt and Saraya, and we’re still not 100% sure that Saraya won’t die in the ring when she takes a bump. Tony Khan absolutely needs to step back and find someone else to book for a while because the product desperately needs a refresh. Get rid of the ROH stuff, unify some titles, and decide who’s going to be the focus and build around them consistently for a few months. Not difficult.