The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 06.14.23
By Scott Keith on 15th June 2023
The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 06.14.23
My latest addiction while I wait for Fight Forever is surprisingly Luigi’s Mansion 3, which I bought for my child, before she tired of it after an hour of playing it. So I kept going and now I’m roaming the hotel trying to get JUST ONE MORE GHOST.
Also holy shit how do people do overnight shifts and still function? Luckily I chugged an energy drink at 1:00AM to keep going and thus I have enough pep to do this rant before I crash for the day. However if I go off on any weird tangents and start propagating conspiracy theories about lizard people, it’s probably due to lack of sleep. Fair warning.
Live from Washington, DC
Your hosts are Excalibur, Taz & Tony Schiavone
World Title Eliminator: MJF v. Adam Cole (Bay Bay)
MJF does some strutting and mockery to start, but runs away from a superkick and thinks it over on the floor. And he throws some kid’s popcorn away! Imagine waiting in line for 30 minutes and paying $10 for that stuff only to get it thrown away by the heel five minutes into the show! Back in the ring, MJF stomps Cole down in the corner, but he stops to celebrate and Cole fires back with the same and slugs away. He backdrops Max to the floor, but tries a baseball slide and gets caught, allowing MJF to go to work on the arm back in the ring. Max seems very focused on phallic gestures tonight, perhaps because of his breakup with his fiancé and the sexual frustrations resulting from that. MJF with a pumphandle driver for two. But again he stalls and does some HBK cosplay this time, tuning up the band, before walking into a superkick from Cole. Cole makes the comeback with a backstabber for two. Panama Sunrise is blocked and Max goes back to the arm again, but Cole blocks the Heatseeker. So MJF does a double underhook shoulderbreaker, but Cole hits his own neckbreaker for two. Ushigoroshi gets two, but Cole hurts his own knee in the process and it only gets two. They head to the apron and MJF teases a tombstone out there, but Cole escapes, only for Max it on the second try on THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING.
Both guys are down on the floor, but MJF sends him in for two and goes back to the arm again. He chokes away in the corner and Cole tries a comeback, so MJF spits on him and THAT gets Adam all riled up. He makes the comeback with superkicks, but walks into a lariat and they’re both down again. MJF gets two from that, but Adam reverses into a crossface and Max reverses for two and then goes into the armbar. Cole reverses that into an anklelock, but MJF counters in a slick move and gets a Lebell lock. Cole makes the ropes, but Max uses that to hit the Heatseeker for two. To the floor and Max puts him on a table and drops the elbow off the top rope for the crazy highspot of the match. Max demands to win by countout, but Cole beats the count and Max is aghast. They fight to the apron again and Cole gets him this time, with a german suplex on THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Back in for the Panama Sunrise, but MJF wisely runs away from it and then lures him in for the double stomp to the arm. Max argues with the ref about it and Cole rolls him up for two, but the ref is bumped on the kickout and Max retrieves his belt. So Max does the Eddie Guerrero DQ trick, but the ref is still out and Adam is standing there with the belt and no ref (“CRACK HIM IN THE HEAD!” Tony yells while the fans chant “You fucked up”) and Adam indeed wallops him with the belt, and hits the Boom for two. Cole with another try, but Max collapses to avoid it and then goes low and preps the ring. But the ref catches him, and Adam hits the superkick and Panama Sunrise to set up the Boom for two…as time expires at 30:00. Actually 29:58 but that was some impressive timing on that finish regardless, as I didn’t even register that the time limit was coming up. A stellar PPV quality opener that instantly made Cole look like a giant star again. ****1/2.
Adam isn’t happy with this development and wants FIVE MORE MINUTES, but MJF of course doesn’t want that and takes a walk with the draw in the bank. So no title shot for Adam Cole, unless he wants to book one in Fight Forever at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, CM Punk has a lot of stuff to say, and he’s gonna say it on Collision. That’s good because they still haven’t actually explained where he was or why we need another two hours of AEW TV in the first place.
Sammy Guevara joins Renee in the ring and they’re still trying to make him a babyface apparently. FETCH IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. STOP TRYING TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. Darby Allin interrupts and he says “Sounds like the people are starting to love you again!” and the crowd proceeds to boo Sammy. So Darby lectures Sammy about his life choices with the JAS, but before Sammy can answer, Jericho interrupts. He’s upset about not getting the chance to mentor Sammy leading up to his World title match, which is apparently what cost him the title. So they bicker and Jericho wants to reunite Le Sex Gods next week and have a tag team match next week, which brings out Sting to even things up. So they have a bat duel and Jericho retreats.
Meanwhile, SANADA throws out an open challenge for Forbidden Door. They should probably start announcing matches soon, although the top two are more than enough for me.
Sting, Darby Allin, Keith Lee & Orange Cassidy v. Swerve Strickland, Brian Cage & The Gates of Agony
Cage has his surfer Sting paint and gear going on tonight, and it’s a big brawl to start, with Sting and Darby taking turns splashing Swerve in the corner. Darby with a Code Red and he goes up for the Coffin Drop, but Swerve crotches him and Kaun slams him on the top rope for good measure. Cage with a suplex into the ring and the heels pound on Darby in the corner. Toa throws Darby across the ring and Swerve comes in and beats on the arm. Toa cuts off the tag and the Gates toss Darby into a Cage powerbomb for two in a cool spot. Swerve keeps working the arm as Darby fights back and reverses the JML Driver into a cradle for two. Darby with the stunner and the hot tag to Keith Lee, and he has a HOSS FIGHT with Cage and then goes after Swerve. But he gets caught in the corner and the Gates hit a double powerbomb on him while Swerve adds the top rope stomp, and that gets two. Over to Orange, but he walks into Brian Cage and gets spiked. So Sting comes in and even he gets his ass kicked! But Darby hits a coffin drop on the heels on the floor and Sting makes another comeback, hits the Death Drop on Cage with the help of Orange Punch, and gets the pin at 8:57. I thought they were gonna have someone pin Orange to set up a title match here, to be honest, but instead they went with the PARTY MATCH finish and it was pretty awesome. ***1/2.
Meanwhile, the Gunns declare themselves the best brother tag team in AEW, and they want to challenge the Hardyz next week in Chicago. Also they insult Renee’s hair, which is uncalled for.
TNT title: Wardlow v. Jake Hager
Hager attacks in the aisle and runs Wardlow into the post to get the immediate advantage, but Wardlow hits him with a german suplex and beats on him in the corner. Hager gets backdropped to the floor and Wardlow hits him with a clothesline out there and returns the shot to the post. Back in, he drops a knee on Hager for two. Wardlow misses a charge and Hager goes to work in the corner, while 2.0 comes out and get chased off by AA. Hager gets a near fall off the distraction, but he misses the Hagerbomb and Wardlow puts him on the floor and follows with a dive. Back in, Wardlow with the swanton to setup the Powerbomb Symphony to finish at 7:12. This was…fine. **. And then Christian interrupts on the KhanTron, although he’s got audio issues and needs a minute for anyone to hear him. So we get the challenge for Collision, and Arn has apparently been thrown down the stairs or whatever and won’t be there.
Meanwhile, Tanahashi challenges MJF for Forbidden Door, but Renee stops by to inform MJF and he declines. Wouldn’t want to give a title shot to some “rando from a rinky-dink indie fed” so that’s a no-go.
Meanwhile, Zack Sabre Jr would like a title shot at Orange Cassidy at Forbidden Door, but Daniel Garcia would like a title shot at Shibata, so they agree to a tag team match next week.
AEW Women’s World title: Toni Storm v. Skye Blue
Saraya is absent for whatever reason tonight, so they have a “lovely” cardboard cutout of her as representation. Skye runs wild on the Outcasts to start and hits a crossbody for two. Storm tries the hip attack on the apron, but that misses and Skye runs her into the railing. Toni decides to go after Skye Blue Sr. at ringside, so Skye hits them with a tope, only to fall victim to the old ass smash into the railing. Oldest trick in the book. Back in the ring, that gets two for Toni. She chokes Skye out in the corner while the announcers discuss family members at ringside (Excalibur: “My dad once watched me wrestle at ringside. Bryan Danielson beat the brakes off me.”). Toni with a suplex and she chokes Skye out on the corner while Ruby beats on her with the lovely Saraya cutout. Hope she didn’t get a cardboard cut off that, those are the WORST. Skye makes the comeback, but Ruby gets a cheapshot on the floor to cut her off. Toni with the spraypaint, but Skye uses her own blue paint behind the ref’s back and hits the Code Blue, but the ref is distracted by Ruby. Toni hits the piledriver for two, but then finishes with a Texas Cloverleaf at 7:00 to retain. Another good effort from Skye Blue and it was nice to see someone new getting a title shot outside of the neverending Outcasts v. Originals feud. And then Willow makes the save from a further beatdown to hopefully continue setting up new stuff. **1/2.
Meanwhile, Jungle Boy is the unlikely one to accept SANADA’s open challenge, and he asks Hook to have his back at Forbidden Door.
Blackpool Combat Club v. The Young Bucks & Hangman Page
Apparently Hangman Page also qualifies for “Carry On Wayward Son” entrance music. Slugfest to start and Yuta gets powerbombed onto the apron by Matt right away, and Nick hits a crazy dive on the BCC for good measure. And then Hangman adds a shooting star press off the apron to take out Yuta and beats on Moxley in the ring. Mox slugs away on Matt, but the Bucks double-team him and Nick hits the springboard facebuster. But then Claudio takes out Nick with a Swiss Death forearm on the floor and Matt Jackson hits them with a dive of his own. Back in the ring, Moxley nails Nick with a lariat and piledriver for two. Claudio comes in and puts the boots to Nick in the corner before whipping him across the ring. Yuta works the leg with a bridging leglock, which is perhaps what Bryan was teaching him in the deserts of Vegas two weeks ago. Still waiting for Bryan to relate the story of how he keeps Yuta locked in a dog carrier in his basement, feeding him only bread and water and throwing darts at him for his own amusement, and THAT’S how they train wristlocks. Moxley works on Nick’s arm, but misses an elbow, and Nick dropkicks the arm and makes the hot tag to Hangman. Page runs wild with the blockbuster slam on Yuta and then clotheslines him to the floor and dives on Claudio. Back in the ring for a flying clothesline on Yuta that gets two. Danielson would have preferred a stronger kickout than he got. Me too buddy, me too. Matt with the northern lights suplexes on Yuta and then one on Moxley as well, and the Bucks double-team Yuta off that. Everyone goes nuts with big moves and Yuta suplexes Matt for two. Back to Moxley and he comes in with a Doomsday Device on Matt to show he’s not messing around, and he elbows Matt into the choke. Nick saves with a swanton and Claudio dumps Nick off that and then destroys Matt with a chokeslam. Yuta comes in with the flying splash, but that hits knee and it’s SUPERKICK PARTY time. Page with the powerbomb and buckshot lariat to finish Yuta at 11:58. Oh Bryan’s not gonna be happy with that result. Yuta’s gonna have to dig a hole in the desert and then do neck bridges to escape from it. Another tremendously fun match. ***1/2.
Afterwards, the BCC proceeds with the beatdown, but Eddie Kingston makes the save and goes after Claudio, but he declines to go after best friend Moxley. But then Takeshita, my new favorite wrestler, storms in and lays out everyone from behind to continuing nuclear heat. So this brings out Kenny to save and they have a white hot slugfest before the Bucks help out…and then Will Ospreay appears and lays out Kenny with the Hidden Blade! Hot damn what a finish to the show!
Now THIS was a slam dunk episode after a few weeks of what I thought were questionable ones. Hopefully they can maintain this momentum through Collision this weekend.