The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 12.21.22
By Scott Keith on 21st December 2022
The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 12.21.22
Live from San Antonio, TX
Your hosts are Excalibur, Tony Schiavone & Taz
Ricky Starks joins us to start after losing last week like a big loser. But at least he lost like a man and not a coward, he notes, and there will be a next time. But then Chris Jericho interrupts, along with Daniel Garcia and his mentor, Sammy Guevara. He offers Ricky the chance to join the JAS, but Ricky tells Jericho that “he used to be built like an air fryer” but now he’s in better shape, although Ricky is still going to have to decline. So instead he challenges Jericho for January 4, and Jake Hager attacks from behind, setting up a JAS beatdown. And Action Andretti makes the save and then moonsaults Jericho for good measure.
No DQ: The Elite v. Death Triangle
The Elite immediately try triple powerbombs, but Death Triangle hits triple superkicks and follows with triple dives. The Elite comes back with triple team elbows on Penta, and even Cutler and Nakazawa get involved, since it’s no DQ. Penta retrieves a trash can and dropkicks it right into Kenny’s yam bag, and they hit Matt with a triple dropkick. Nick comes back and brawls with them outside, but Penta cuts him off with a sling blade and we take a break. Back in with a Christmas tree in the ring, because why not, and Nick throws superkicks on Fenix but kicks a chair by mistake and hurts his ankle again. Pac tries to PIllmanize him, but Kenny saves with another can, and then does a You Can’t Escape moonsault with the can on Pac for two. Kenny retrieves the BROOM OF DOOM, which is of course wrapped in barbed wire, and does some damage with that, while the Bucks put the Lucha Bros on tables outside and put them through, while Kenny piledrives Fenix on the broom for two. Alex trips Kenny up to prevent a V-Trigger, and Fenix reverses the One Winged Angel into a rana for two. So with no other choice, Fenix accepts the hammer from Alex and uses it on Kenny…for two. Next up, Pac grabs tinsel from the tree and chokes out Kenny with the Brutalizer while Fenix wraps up Nick’s bad ankle, but Matt escapes and makes the save. But the Death Triangle have TRIPLE HAMMERS, so the Bucks have to pull them out to save again, and they finish Fenix with the Indietaker at 13:55 to make it 3-2 now. Kind of sad that the tree didn’t actually factor into the finish but this was wacky and fun even without it. ****1/4
Meanwhile, MJF is a tad upset about Bryan Danielson stealing his thunder last week.
Meanwhile, Action Andretti is confronted by 2.0, who point out that he’s so hot at the moment that he’s practically ON FIRE. And then Jericho throws fire at him. I see what they did there.
Bryan Danielson joins Renee in the ring to talk about how he originally trained in San Antonio with Shawn Michaels, but William Regal is the man that he credits with making him into the wrestler he is today. But although he calls out MJF for talking shit about him, Ethan Page answers instead and makes vegetable jokes about Bryan. Not because he eats vegetables, but because Ethan is going to leave him as a vegetable. Fair enough. Bryan wants to wrestle TONIGHT, but Page of course wants to wait until next week, so that’s what we shall do. Ethan Page doesn’t really light my world on fire as an opponent for Bryan but it’s something different at least and I think Bryan can get something out of him.
Jon Moxley talks about his thing with Hangman Page and promises to make an example out of Darius Martin tonight for Hangman’s benefit.
Meanwhile, King of All TV Samoan Joe offers us seasons greetings, but none for Wardlow.
Hook v. Exodus Prime
Exodus, perhaps named after Mr. Perfect’s theme song, gets in Hook’s face and that’s a mistake. Hook beats him in the corner and adds a lariat, and then finishes with the crossfaces and Redrum at 1:00. This gets *********** because it’s a prime number. And then Stokely and his Firm attack Jungle Boy backstage and Big Bill chokeslams him in the dumpster. Hook seems unconcerned and cold. But I bet there’s a bunch of women in the audience who think that deep down he’s got a heart and they can change him.
Jon Moxley v. Darius Martin
Moxley gets a forearm to the back off the lockup and grabs a headlock, but Darius dropkicks him to the floor and Mox gets some advice from Claudio. They fight into the crowd and Moxley suplexes him on the floor out there, but Darius uses some distraction from Dante and hits a tope suicida. He goes up for a dive, but Moxley casually knocks him down and out to the floor. Moxley calmly lets him back in and hits him with the drop suplex, then wraps him up in a leglock before switching to the arm and stomping on the bad elbow. They head to the top and Moxley brings him down with a superplex for two. They slug it out with forearms, but Moxley takes him down and goes after the knee. Darius fights back with an awkward Pele kick. Man, Darius is nowhere near the level his brother is at as a single. They’re just not clicking at all. Darius comes back with a flatliner for two and goes up with a flying bodypress, but Moxley rolls through and stomps his head in. And then batters him with elbows and finishes with the Death Rider at 8:47. Yeah this didn’t work for me at all. Maybe Darius had a case of nerves and couldn’t live up to the positioning, I dunno, but it was awkward as hell and never had any real heat or momentum to it. *1/2
Meanwhile, Powerhouse Hobbs relates his childhood trauma, and how the monsters around him turned him into a monster himself.
FTR v. The Gunns
Apparently the Gunns are no longer a Club without their father. So in the aftermath of the ROH PPV, FTR are mere double champions, which is like “Why even bother?” The Gunns immediately go after Dax’s taped up leg, so Cash comes in and takes care of them by himself. Colton misses a dropkick and Cash whips him into Austin in the corner and FTR puts them on the floor with clotheslines and they brawl out there as we take a break. Back with Austin holding a chinlock on Cash, but he runs Austin into the corner to break and Dax makes the hot tag and runs wild. He goes for the Sharpshooter on Austin, but Colton pulls him out of the ring to break it up and sets up for a spike piledriver on the floor. Cash makes the save, but he gets run into the railing and Austin hits Dax in the leg again to take over. Austin teases some sweet chin music back in the ring, but then decides on a Sharpshooter instead and Cash saves there. Cash dives off the apron and lands on the railing to take him out, but Dax escapes the fameasser from Austin and throws out his hip as a result. And he tries a rollup instead, but Austin reveres it and Colton holds his arm for leverage and they get the pin at 9:00. Well that’s certainly a choice of booking. This didn’t have much heat considering all the buildup they’ve had for it, and man, putting the Gunns over FTR is not what the world wanted. **1/2
Meanwhile, we get a rap from Sonjay Dutt and his crew to further the Acclaimed beef. Man this show started so strong, too.
Swerve In Our Glory Explodes, Featuring Rick Ross: Keith Lee comes out and hangs out with Rick for a bit, and Rick calls him “a big motherfucker” and it certainly wasn’t bleeped on TSN. Not sure about TBS. Swerve is fashionably late and doesn’t like all the accusations against him, which brings out Parker Boudreaux for an attack that no one cares about. And then we get some other tattooed goof that no one knows and I guess these winners are Swerve’s new goons. Because if there’s one thing AEW needs more than another title, it’s another heel stable. And then Swerve puts a cinder block on Keith’s stomach and breaks it with a double stomp off the top rope, which is a cool spot but doesn’t justify the complete trainwreck of a segment that preceded it. I guess Rick Ross is also a member of Swerve’s stable now?
AEW World Women’s title: Jamie Hayter v. Hikaru Shida
They slug it out on the ropes and Shida puts the boots to her in the corner and slugs away on the mat. She follows with a suplex into the corner and pulls her out to the apron for a knee strike as we take a break. Back with Hayter fighting back with the help of Britt and Rebel, and they slug it out back in the ring. Hayter with the snap suplex for two, but they clothesline each other for the double down. They slug it out again and Shida comes back with a dropkick and they fight to the apron. Hayter tries a german suplex to the floor, but Shida fights her off and gets her own suplex to the floor as we take a second break. Back with Hayter missing a moonsault and Shida hits the running knee for two. Hayter goes limp to evade the katana, and hits the lariat for two. Backbreaker gets two. Shida counters the lariat with a knee strike, but misses another katana kick, which brings Britt and Rebel into things again. Shida takes out Britt and steals a kendo stick while the ref is occupied for the length of a commercial break, but Hayter powerbombs Shida for two in a hot near fall. Lariat gets two. Ripcord lariat finishes at 16:04. Took a while to get going but the finishing sequence was great and Hayter’s intensity at the end in putting Shida away was the kind of stuff that got her over in the first place. ***1/2 Heel beatdown follows, but Toni Storm makes the save and then falls victim to the numbers. And then Saraya makes one more save to end the show.
Great opener, great main event, and a lot of very questionable stuff in between, but the start and finish were good enough for a thumbs up this week.