The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 04.12.23
By Scott Keith on 12th April 2023
The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 04.12.23
Hey, I’m back! You probably didn’t notice because I had a shitload of stuff posted to the blog in advance via the miracle of post-dating, but I was actually gone for a few days with a work thing in Vancouver. Tommy is apparently going to be taking some time off starting next week, although knowing him that will just mean everything will be two hours later instead of 5 minutes after it airs.
Oh! Update on my Macbook crashing issues for anyone who might encounter the same thing. It’s actually not anything related to the web browser or WWE Network or whatever causing the crashes like I thought it was. It turns out that installing Boot Camp causes some of the SSDs (like the one in mine) to freak out when Spotlight tries to scan that portion of the drive in the background, so all you have to do is go into the System Settings and add an exception for the Bootcamp drive under “Spotlight” and bam, problem solved. So it turns out that Windows was causing the problem after all, even on a Mac. Hopefully that helps anyone else having issues with an Intel-based Macbook Pro.
Live from Milwaukee, WI
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Excalibur & Taz
Darby Allin v. Swerve Strickland
Darby dives in with the stunner at the bell and Swerve bails to the floor, so Darby hits him with a dive and then chases him to the other side of the ring for.a crazy somersault plancha. Swerve backs off again and catches Darby with a slam on the floor before putting the boots to him, but Darby runs him into the railing and uses his body to smash into him a few times. But then he tries to dive off the stairs and Swerve drops him onto those and back in for two. Well that would certainly suck if you just got run over by a car a week ago. Swerve whips him with his own belt, which seems to be stretching the rules somewhat, but Darby fights back until Swerve cuts him off with a heel kick in the corner for two. Swerve beats on him with forearms and chokes him out with his own chain necklace while Darby bleeds from the mouth, and that gets two. Darby bails to the apron and fights back from there, but Swerve SWEEPS THE LEG and then we take a break. Back with Swerve hitting a rolling flatliner in the ring, but Darby hands him in the Tree of Woe and gets weird by pulling off the man’s boot and biting the foot. That’s some Walking Dead shit there. Darby takes him down and tries for a heel hook, but Taz smartly points out that it’s actually harder to get a heel hook without the boot and it’s more of a kneebar. They slug it out and Darby tries the coffin splash, but Swerve catches him in mid-air with a german suplex and they’re both down. Darby goes right back to the kneebar to stay on the leg, but Swerve makes the ropes and bails to the apron. Darby tries to go up for something, but Swerve pulls him off for an electric chair on the apron…and Darby reverses into a poison rana, off the apron, and onto the floor! Whoa. Back in, Darby hits the coffin drop off that, but Prince Nana breaks it up at two. This allows Swerve to hit him with the running kick and Swerve Stomp, but he hurts his bad ankle on the landing and can only get two. So he tries again for the finish, but Darby kicks him in the bad leg to escape, only for Brian Cage to interfere and get ejected as a result. So Swerve grabs a chair, but Darby kicks it back in his face and the Code Red gets two. And the Last Supper finishes at 14:43. That turned into a hell of an opening match. ***3/4. I don’t know if this strategy of having the Pillars all win a bunch of matches is going to work as far as PPV main event success, but it’s certainly worth a try.
MJF joins us for his contractually obligated appearance while Darby recovers and puts Darby over (sort of) with some very backhanded compliments. But then he reminds us of beating Darby with a headlock takeover. So Darby talks about going to therapy and learning to put others first, and he’s not going to lower his morals like MJF. But MJF points out that Darby’s legacy is going to be “Sting’s Bitch”, and you know that’s bringing Sting out to have a word. And that word turns out to be CODY, as Sting points out that Cody was MJF’s support system, as the mere mention of his name draws gasps, just like Sting had Flair and Wolfpac. And he doesn’t want the title, because “showtime is almost over”, which draws boos from the crowd, but he promises that showtime is just starting for Darby. This Sting guy is a pretty good promo, not sure why WCW stuck him in the rafters and didn’t have him talk for 18 months.
TNT title: Powerhouse Hobbs v. Silas Young
Man poor Silas gets the “In the ring to my left” treatment here, not even getting an entrance. And Hobbs hits him with a spinebuster immediately and then finishes with the Burning Hammer at 0:45. Well clearly Young isn’t #AllElite any time soon. But then Wardlow returns from wherever he’s been and does a completely unprovoked attack on Hobbs’ nice new car and then flips it over with a forklift. Well that kind of makes him look like the asshole in this situation. Wardlow’s been stuck in this holding pattern for months and months and they need to find something more interesting for him. Poor Aaron Solo gets powerbombed off the ramp as well and put through a pair of tables, but only one of them breaks and he looked like he smacked the back of his head on the second one pretty good there.
Meanwhile, the Bullet Club of Juice and Jay (aka “The Bang Bang Gang”, which is actually a real name they gave themselves) have more for Ricky Starks coming up. Look, Jay’s grandfather Butch Miller just died so I’ll cut him a bit of slack this week and not point out how he’s trash and signing him was a huge waste of money that will probably bankrupt the company one day.
AEW International title: Orange Cassidy v. Buddy Matthews
Orange quickly takes Buddy down with the headscissors and the spinning DDT to set up the Orange Punch, but Orange hurts himself on the punch and can’t capitalize. Buddy stomps the broken hand and we take a break. Back with Buddy working on it, but Orange makes a comeback and takes him to the apron for a few trips to the post. He goes up and tries a flying punch, but Buddy catches him with a superkick and then follows with a knee strike, and Orange hits him with a Beach Break on the HARDEST PART OF THE RING to put him on the floor. Back in, Buddy gets personal and stomps the fingers repeatedly, but he gets cocky and allows Orange to reverse a brainbuster into the stunner. Buddy tries to go up and Orange slugs him down and brings him down with a tornado DDT off the top. Buddy bumps to the floor off that and Orange hits him with another DDT to the floor, and then back in with a third DDT for two. Buddy reverses the Orange Punch into a knee strike, but Orange rolls out of a rollup and hits a second Punch for two. So Orange takes another shot, but Buddy just grabs the broken hand and nails him with a knee to the face. So Orange suckers him into another try, but misses the Orange Punch, and Buddy blasts him for two. But then Buddy gets cocky again, and Orange reverses him into the Mouse Trap for the surprise pin to retain at 15:00. All the “We’re gonna have a new champ!” stuff from the announcers was a bit heavy-handed but man these two used their mutual ginger powers to pull out a great one. ****. I really like the storyline with Orange getting worn down by heels like Batman getting worn down by Bane, but I’m not sure who they’re building up as Bane in this situation. Also Orange is a merchandise machine who is drawing in kids and they should probably just keep giving that audience a happy ending until it stops working.
Meanwhile, Christian and his evil dinosaur are evil.
Meanwhile, the Best Friends would like to challenge Aussie Open for Rampage. I would like to watch that.
Ethan Page joins us and he’s so upset that he couldn’t even get his haircut, although he still looks better than the crowd. So Matt Hardy interrupts and reveals that Ethan DIDN’T READ THE FINE PRINT, because when Hook won last week, it freed Matt and Kassidy. So this brings out the Firm for the sneak attack, but Hook makes the save and single-handedly tosses the Firm geeks around before getting overcome. So this brings out Jeff Hardy to make the save, and I have some feelings about that. Mostly “Fuck Jeff Hardy” but people seem to like him. Still, read bad look for AEW here. Jeff is the definition of not worth the trouble at this point. He’s already eclipsed Jay White as the biggest waste of money and time on the show.
Nah, I’m just messing with you, he’ll need a lot more DUI arrests and failed rehabs to be a bigger waste of space than ol’ Butterknife.
Yeah I lied about giving Jay a break this week, sue me.
Meanwhile, Kenny Omega speaks on his issues with the BCC, and it’s not cool that they split Don’s head open and left him in a pool of his own blood. But Kenny isn’t out for blood, he’s going to do something much worse to them. Oh shit, he’s gonna delete them from the Fight Forever game, isn’t he? Or even worse, make them unlockable DLC that costs a ridiculous amount of money. Well it’s never coming out anyway.
The Blackpool Combat Club v. Michael Nakazawa & Brandon Cutler
Guys I don’t like E-Lite’s chances here. So they get the shit kicked out of them and the BCC barely even bothers to start the match, busting Nakazawa open so that Claudio can toy with him and give him a heelish Giant Swing before finishing with the Sharpshooter. But Cutler somehow breaks that up and gets the hot tag, trying a comeback on Moxley before getting his ass beat down again while gushing blood under his goofy mask. And Moxley destroys him with the lariat and Death Rider before choking him down, but Nakazawa saves THAT, so the BCC just murders them until the ref stops the match at 3:14. But then the beating continues, so Kenny Omega reveals that he’s actually here in the building, and so are the Bucks, and they all attack Moxley and get some revenge. This seems to build to a good old screwdriver gouging (“That’s a FLATHEAD!”) but the little shit Wheeler Yuta pulls Moxley out and the BCC retreats. A surprisingly good match for what it was and a fun segment overall.
Meanwhile, Swerve decides to get some revenge by the end of the show.
Skye Blue & Riho v. Ruby Soho & Toni Storm
Hopefully now that Skye is signed she’ll be able to win some matches but I’m not holding my breath. The little inset reveals that they’re now selling Jay White merchandise, perfect for washing the dirt off your car or picking up dog crap in the backyard. I swear if they put one of those in my next AEW crate I’m cancelling my subscription. The heels quickly gain control on Riho and we take a break, and return with Skye running wild for a bit and fighting off all three Outcasts. Flying bodypress on Toni gets two, as Tony appears to be getting her previous form back and really emphasizing the hip attack. Honestly the reduction in dat ass seemingly corresponded to her becoming less over by the week. And she pins Skye with the hip attack and Storm Zero at 7:02. Most of the match was during the break and what we got on TV wasn’t much of anything. *1/2. Outcasts go for the beatdown afterwards, but Jamie Hayter and Dr. Britt make the save as this endless feud continues unabated with no sign of an endgame or blowoff in sight.
Chris Jericho v. Keith Lee
Jericho tries to chop Lee down without success while Excalibur runs down the less-than-inspiring lineup for Rampage this week. Really, Shawn Spears in a “main event” in 2023? That’s a bold move, Cotton. Keith beats on him in the corner and follows with an avalanche, but Jericho cuts him off when he goes up and we take a break. Back with Jericho dominating this rather plodding match, but Keith fights back with the pounce and goes up, missing a moonsault. But then it turns out that Keith deliberately missed it in order to hurt Jericho’s knee. Jericho manages to escape the powerbomb and takes him down for the Walls, but Lee makes the ropes. Daniel Garcia interferes and Keith throws him around in the ring as this is just going nowhere slowly and has no heat. Jericoh tries the codebreaker and Keith blocks him and powerbombs him, but Garcia interferes again, allowing Swerve to fly in and knock Keith out at 14:18. Same JAS finish we’ve seen a million times this year. I don’t know what was up with the match but they both looked old and slow. *1/4. Afterwards, Adam Cole makes the save, finally getting to live out his dream of managing Keith Lee.
This had a couple of bangers in the ring, but a lot of the booking felt like it was ripped right out of the Vince McMahon Attitude Era playbook, like needless car destruction and surprise returns no one asked for and OMG HE’S TALKING ABOUT THE GUY WHO’S ON THE OTHER SHOW NOW, so this one ended up falling somewhere in the middle for me.