The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 1.22.20
Taped from INTERNATIONAL MONKEY KNIFE-FIGHTING WATERS ON A MOTHER F’N BOAT! My favorite story about this show so far was that Tony Khan arranged for the master tape to be duplicated and flown out on two separate planes to Atlanta, because even if Iran shot down one of them, there would still be a show on TNT!
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross & Excalibur
So apparently there’s no sound in the Bahamas, much like in outer space.
AEW World tag team titles: SCU v. Hangman Page & Kenny Omega
Luckily the sound does switch on during the entrances, because that kind of shit is the reason why we don’t get more shots from boats. As you’d expect, a wrestling show on a cruise ship looks really, really cool and different. The crowd chants “Wrestling History” to start the match while Page trades wristlocks with Kaz, but Kazarian grabs a headlock on the mat. They trade forearms and then hit each other with clotheslines until Kaz wins that battle with a lariat. Over to Sky and he gets into a shoving match with Page, so Kenny comes in to stand up for his partner. Kenny works the arm and goes to his own headlock, but Scorpio shows some attitude and they trade chops before Kenny gets the facecrusher for two. Page with a fallaway slam on Sky, but Kaz tags himself in with a leg lariat on Page and some double-teaming from the champs. Kaz with a legdrop for two off that. SCU with the double elbow for two and they work Page over in the corner. Kaz with a suplex for two as JR talks about secret tag team rules that they don’t talk about, which had to be a shot at WWE’s secret one-save rule. Page gets suplexed on his head, although Omega runs interference to prevent a pin, but Page manages to fight them off in the corner. He hits Kaz with a lariat out of the corner, but Sky takes out Kenny on the apron and Kaz gets a backstabber on Page for two. Kaz and Page clothesline each other and it’s hot tag Omega. Sky fights out of the snapdragon, but Kenny gets a rana and then follows with a fisherman’s buster for two. Page and Omega with the moonsault combo for two, and Page hits Kaz with a dive to the outside, which is quite the feat given the lack of ringside area tonight. Kenny hits Sky with the short powerbomb for two off that. V Trigger misses, but Kenny recovers with another knee and sets up the Angel, which Sky escapes. Kenny goes up and Sky takes him down with a rana from the mat. And then Hangman flies and hits Kenny with the buckshot lariat by accident AGAIN, and Sky gets the TKO for two. And we take a break. Back with Page suplexing Kaz off the top rope as TSN’s feed doesn’t have the PIP tonight. Omega and Page double-team Kaz with suplexes and Kenny hits the snapdragon on Sky to take him out of the ring, and the Tiger Driver 98 gets two on Kaz. Kenny sets up the V Trigger, but walks into Sky’s knee and SCU Later…gets two, as Page saves. Hangman drags Kenny back to the corner to tag himself in and he slugs away on both SCU, then hits them both with lariats and follows with a buckshot lariat on Kaz to win the titles at 19:13! This is actually the first ever title change in AEW, not to mention the first major title ever to change hands on a boat. Page goes crowd-surfing and drinks some beer while Kenny celebrates with the Bucks. What a way to start the show! ****1/4 And you know what, they put Page & Omega over all those teams while doing the sort-of breakup angle, but it all led to them winning the titles because they were the best team.
Priscilla Kelly v. Dr. Britt Baker DMD
Oh goodie, another new character in the women’s division. I’m hoping that Britt isn’t doing any dental work on the boat. Britt works a headlock and takes her down with a crucifix for two, and we take a break. Back with Britt trying for a suplex and then resorting to hair-pulling when that fails. Sling blade gets two. Kelly takes her down with an STO for two, but Baker gets a superkick and a legsweep into the LOCKJAW for the submission at 5:31. Just a match. On a boat. *1/2 Tony comes out to interview Britt, and she plays heel and goes with the “Tony worked at Starbucks” and goes all bitchy heel until they just kind of cut away and go to commercial. This division does not need another heel and as usual the women’s segment drops anchor on the boat of Dynamite, if you will.
Chris Jericho, Santana & Ortiz v. Marko Stunt, Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus
The crowd actually sings along with Jericho’s theme song, which is impressive because it’s not that catchy. Jungle Boy attacks LE CHAMPION to start, but Ortiz comes in and rakes the back to take over, before JB dropkicks him for two. Luchasaurus comes in and does some double-teaming with Marko, who hits a spinning DDT on Santana. Jungle Boy hits him with chops and Luchasaurus boots him down for two. Marko slugs away in the corner, which is about as effective as you’d imagine, and Jungle Boy takes Santana down for two. But then he goes up and gets cut off by a legsweep off the middle rope, and the Inner Circle takes over as we take a break. Santana with a backbreaker on JB and Jericho tries a superplex, but Jungle gets a flying bodypress for two. LAX quickly take him out with more double-team splashes for two, but JB fights back in the corner and hits Ortiz with the reverse rana. Hot tag Luchasaurus, who throws the kicks on the heels, but Ortiz gets in his face and Lucha headbutts him down. Double chokeslam on Ortiz and Jericho and a standing moonsault on Jericho gets two. This brings Hager out to run interference and draws Luchasaurus away from the match because dinosaurs are stupid, and Marko comes in with a 450 on Jericho for two. Sunset flip gets two. Rollup gets two. Finally Jericho puts him down with the Judas Effect elbow for the pin at 13:11. This was solid enough but it doesn’t really feel like they’re ever going to follow up on Jungle Boy’s near-win. ***
MJF v. Joey Janela
Joey’s island-braided hair has a pretty funny backstory behind it, explained by Bryan on the Observer Live podcast from the boat this afternoon that basically involves a Bahamas con artist that offers you hair braiding for $4 for 5 minutes of work and then works you into $130 and an hour later. They slug it out to start and MJF loses that and decides to immediately walk away, but then waits for Joey to follow and rakes his eyes. Well no one said Joey was smart. Janela manages to backdrop him into the ring and he goes up for the elbow, but MJF slowly rolls away from harm. MJF continues upping the class by hiding behind Aubrey and then takes over with a cheapshot and beats Joey down in the corner. And we take a break and return with Joey hitting a superplex, but Kip Sabian comes out and makes out with Penelope and Joey gets all flustered and pinned at 8:05 after the Crossroads. Two distraction finishes in a row isn’t cool, even on a boat. ** Afterwards, MJF cuts his promo on Cody, calling him a “lyricist in a world of mumble rappers”, but he’s the last goddamn chapter in Cody’s book. Cody comes out and MJF trolls him with the lisp jokes because Cody can’t touch him. But the Young Bucks can, and MJF gets the honor of being the guy thrown in the pool tonight.
Meanwhile on the boat, the new tag team champions celebrate their title win, but Tony asks Kenny about Pac and then the Bucks cut off Page’s portion of the promo. Hangman goes for the cheapshot by quipping that he’s surprised that they won the titles before the Bucks did. OH SNAP.
Next week: Sadly not on a boat, but we’ve got a bunch of matches announced in advance. How is that any way to run a business?
#1 contender match: Jon Moxley v. Pac
Pac works a headlock, but Moxley elbows out of it and then gets a german suplex out of the corner. Pac wisely goes to the eye and beats on it with crossfaces on the mat. Look, I don’t want to be alarmist here, but if the Coast Guard was driving by and saw an anarchist on a boat with an eye patch, I know where my suspicions would go towards. That’s right, PIRACY. That’s a dangerous game to be playing. We take a break and return with Pac hitting a missile dropkick, but Moxley pops up with a clothesline and both guys are down. Also of note here, another boat pulling up beside this one, which prompts the fans to chant “Our Boat’s Better” and “Your Boat Sucks”. That’s a tough crowd. Pac gets a jawbreaker and then puts his skull against Moxley’s eye socket and gives him the EYE-BREAKER, and they head to the top and fight over a superplex. Mox fights him off and tries to drop an elbow, but misses completely due to only having one eye and gets put in the Brutalizer by Pac. Moxley rolls him over for two, but Pac kicks him in the eye repeatedly to put him down again and a dropkick gets two. Pac goes up to finish, but Moxley gets the knees up to block a 450 and gets two. Pac snaps off a german suplex to escape a rear naked choke, and they’re both down. Pac goes up first with the Black Arrow, but that misses and Moxley makes the comeback, busier than a one-eyed man in, uh, I dunno, a staring contest. YOU THINK YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN ME? They fight to the floor and Moxley goes up, but Pac cuts him off with a superplex and gets the Brutalizer. Moxley manages to get the ropes, so Pac pulls off his eye bandage and slugs away on the bad eye, but Mox gets a small package for two. DDT and Paradigm Shift finish at 17:46 and Moxley is the #1 contender. ON A BOAT. Jericho was a riot on commentary here, but the match seemed like they weren’t really on the same page. It was good, but both guys seemed really tentative, like a boat in choppy waters. ***1/4
But at the end of the day, this was a wrestling show on a damn boat, and it was fun and different and exciting and anything we got in terms of in-ring matches was a bonus on top of that. Perhaps NXT will run on a plane next week to counter.