The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 05.24.23
Live from Las Vegas, NV
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Excalibur & Taz
AEW International title: Orange Cassidy v. Kyle Fletcher
As soon as I saw the footage of Orange Cassidy with his hands in his pockets on Fight Forever, I was SOLD. 10 out of 10, no notes. Fletcher charges in with an enzuigiri in the corner and hits a brainbuster for two right away. Orange bails to the apron and Kyle dropkicks him off to the floor and follows with a dive, and back in with a lariat for two. Orange gets dumped again and Fletcher teases a pockets dive, but Orange shoves him to the apron, with a nasty bump to the back on the apron, and then follows with a DDT of sorts on the apron, and a Beach Break on the floor. Orange tries for the countout win, but Kyle beats the count at 9, and Orange gets two from that. Orange comes back with the pockets, but Fletcher superkicks him for two to cut him off. Fletcher with a delayed suplex, so delayed they should call it FIGHT FOREVER…no wait, it’s coming out June 29, so that joke doesn’t work anymore. Let’s go with the classics: TRUMP’S HEALTH CARE PLAN. We take a break and return with Orange hitting a tornado DDT for two. He goes up and Fletcher boots him off the apron and then hauls him back up for a superplex attempt. Orange fights him off with a crossbody, but Fletcher catches him in a Michinoku Driver for two. Orange with a Beach Break, but Fletcher reverses to a rollup for two. Running boot in the corner, but Orange comes back with a brainbuster for the double down. Orange fights back with his own Michinoku Driver for two, but Fletcher gets a tombstone and then picks him up and hits That’s Incredible for two. So they fight to the top and Fletcher teases a top rope tombstone, but goes with a Michinoku Driver instead, and that gets two. Orange fights up and Fletcher tries another tombstone, but Orange hooks the ropes with his feet and spins him into a DDT. Fletcher blocks the Orange Punch with a superkick, but Orange rolls him into another wacky cradle and gets the pin at 15:14 by the skin of his teeth again. No one bought Fletcher as a serious threat but this was a fun opener and they work well together. ***1/2
Meanwhile, Ricky Starks is sick of getting beat up by Bullet Club, so he’s declaring for the Blackjack Battle Royale. And then Bullet Club storms in and beats the shit out of him again, and then promises to continue beating the shit out of him moving forward.
Meanwhile, we hear from Jungle Boy in advance of his title match on Sunday. Man, that match is such a lost cause.
FTR joins us and they admit that Jeff Jarrett and his Memphis Mafia crew have outsmarted them thus far, but Jeff has “broken a million guitars and still can’t be relevant”, so he’s attaching his name to FTR. Also Jeff Jarrett might not job security, so he should make sure to call Dixie Carter. Oh lord they’re gonna bring her in next, aren’t they? FTR tries to leave, but Mark Briscoe interrupts and wants to know what was up with the piledriver last week. Dax apologizes and wants a handshake, but Mark smacks him upside the head and does not accept apologies. So Jarrett’s crew comes out and assumes that Briscoe is on their side, but he slaps them all aside as well because he’s tired off all the bullshit from everyone.
Sammy Guevara joins us backstage, and he’s still not for sale to MJF, and he’s a grown ass man who is going to win the title from MJF.
AEW World Trios titles: The House of Black v. Blake Christian, AR Fox & Metalik
So our wacky rule of the week is that it’s lucha tag rules, with one man in when another one leaves. Blake tries some flips on Buddy to start, but he gets kicks out of the ring. Over to Metalik, but he dumps Buddy and then Black nails him from behind with a kick. Brody tosses Fox around and then spikes Blake with a slam to take over. The House takes over and Black works Blake over and SWEEPS THE LEG. Christian escapes to the corner and Metalik comes in, immediately landing on Black’s kick like a geek. He fights back with a double dropkick on the House and we get dives from the babyfaces, but Fox runs into Brody and that goes badly for him. He manages to dropkick King to the floor and everyone brawls out there, setting up Fox’s shooting star senton onto the pile. Back in, Fox misses a 450 on Matthews and Buddy stomps him down and hooks him in the standing leglock. Fox makes the ropes, but there’s no rope breaks, and the House prevents anyone from saving until Fox taps at 5:20. Fox got some cool stuff but this was mostly a squash. **. Fox is quickly falling into the Takeshita trap where he looks like a star but he literally never wins matches and they’re gonna have to either push him or cut bait soon. If you keep putting him on TV to only lose, there’s a word for that.
The word is jobber in case you didn’t get what I was going for there.
Meanwhile, the BCC does their go home promo for the Anarchy in the Arena match and promises to end the Elite.
MJF joins us and tosses a drink at poor Tony on the way by, and he’s bringing up the contract stuff again to annoy the fans. So he’s going to win and then hints that he’s taking the belt to WWE, but Darby Allin interrupts. Apparently he’s stolen Frankenstein’s boots. Also he’s climbing Mt. Everest. Not in THOSE boots. So he promises to win the title with a headlock takedown, and MJF kicks him in the nuts and loads up the ring. But Sammy makes the save, and then Jungle Boy lays out MJF on the way by. Hey you know what might have made Jack Perry look like a credible threat? NOT GETTING MANHANDLED BY RUSH LAST WEEK. Little late for damage control now, all three guys are done and we’re just waiting for the next real challenger after this. I feel like there’s more anticipation for the shitty Florida v. Vegas Stanley Cup finals than this main event. No, that’s silly, nothing could suck more than that. Gary Bettman is literally going to have to mail out Starbucks gift cards to everyone in North America to get people to watch that one. Hopefully I get one, I’d use it on one of those Dragonfruit Mango lemonade refreshers, they’re delicious.
Taya Valkryie v. Lady Frost
Frost takes Taya down with a headscissors, but Taya hits her with an elbow in the corner and sliding lariat for two. Taya misses a charge and hits the post, but hits Frost with a clothesline for two to counter a handspring. This brings out Jade as we take a break. Back with Taya making a comeback with a spear on Frost and Blue Thunder bomb for two. Taya cuts off a comeback attempt from Frost with a backbreaker, and finishes with Road to Valhalla at 8:01. Lady Frost looked OK but no one watches ROH TV so she meant nothing here. **. Also Jade was all over the upfronts for WBD and I’m pretty sure they’re never taking that stupid belt off her.
Tony Khan joins us with another announcement: AEW Collision debuts in Chicago, IL. And you know who comes from Chicago! That’s right, COLT CABANA! And some guy who eats his hot dogs plain style, according to Danhausen. Huge if true.
Meanwhile, Hangman Page is coming for blood.
Contract signing: Adam Cole and Chris Jericho join Tony as Excalibur explains why we need a contract signing for an unsanctioned match. BECAUSE SHUT UP THAT’S WHY. Actually I didn’t even think about it until he brought it up so way to go, masked man. So Adam calls Jericho a piece of crap and he’s ready to get Jericho’s blood on his hands. And break various bones in Jericho’s body, including his WRITING HAND. That’s low. So Jericho signs the contract and then shows the footage of Britt getting beaten up again, once again accusing Cole of being a coward. A 5-on-2 beatdown is threatened, but Cole made a call for help, and got reinforcements from SABU. Well that’s certainly not a cameo I would have expected. Like of all the names I would have picked as backup for Adam Cole, Sabu would be about 150 spots down after, like, Bubba Dudley or the ghost of Walter Payton. And the babyfaces clear the ring with a chair to end the segment.
Daniel Garcia v. Roderick Strong
So out of that we go right into the match. Garcia works the arm and they exchange some nasty chops as we take a break. Back with Daniel getting a curb stomp and doing his Sports Entertainer Dance to take over. The crowd thinks he can’t dance, so he dances some more and that allows Strong to make a comeback with clotheslines while Taz namedrops Alex Wright. There’s another one who I would have bet on seeing before Sabu. Strong with a backbreaker for two. Garcia rolls him up for two and they trade more chops, and Garcia slams him for two. Strong fights up and Garcia rolls him into the Sharpshooter, but Strong reverses out and hits the End of Heartache for the pin at 9:27. This was just two fellas having a rasslin’ match. Nothing wrong with it. Just there. **1/2.
Meanwhile, Willow Nightingale goes to New Japan Strong and upsets someone named Mercedes Mone to win the Women’s title.
ROH World tag team title: The Lucha Bros v. Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta
What kind of a minor league operation has their World champion challenging for the tag team titles? Bryan Danielson joins us on commentary, letting us in on a secret preview of the BCC strategy tonight: THREE QUARTER NELSONS. We’ll be anxiously awaiting some nelsons! The Luchas quickly toss them and hit dives, and back in for Made in Japan on Yuta for two. Claudio makes the save and slugs Fenix off the top rope with a forearm. Penta takes Claudio down with a sling blade and we take a break. Back with Bryan discussing their secondary training focus, CRAVATS, and Claudio hits Fenix with a Giant Swing for two. Fenix reverses the Ricola Bomb and makes the hot tag to Penta, and he powerbombs Yuta onto his knees for two. Penta goes for the arm snap on Yuta, but Claudio breaks it up and the Luchas run wild and double-team Yuta. Pena with a destroyer on Claudio and Fenix hits Yuta with the sitout piledriver for two. And then Bryan goes on this awesome rant about how Regal TOLD US about tucking the neck on a piledriver so they kick out every time. That’s a deep cut. Yuta trades rollups with Fenix, but Claudio lays him out with a forearm and slams Yuta onto Fenix for two. Bryan blames that one on Yuta. Also Excalibur referencing the Fastball Special is tremendous. Fenix and Penta switch off behind the ref’s back and Claudio tries to save again, but the Young Bucks pop out from under the ring and yank him down, allowing the Luchas to finish Wheeler at 10:44 to retain. This was good but not like top level Lucha Bros or anything. ***1/4.
And then Moxley and the BCC do another go-home promo in the ring and promise that they’re going to give us EVEN MORE BLOOD. Clearly that match needs to close the PPV unless they’ve got some crazy twist coming up in the World title match.
Well, if they were trying to save the good stuff for the PPV, then mission accomplished! Because there wasn’t much on this one to recommend.