The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 03.18.20
Live from Jacksonville, FL
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Taz & Excalibur
So tonight they’re in Daily’s Place, and in a better visual setup than the Performance Center, with the ramp direct in the background and other members of the roster at ringside as “fans”. Sadly my PVR didn’t start recording this episode so I missed the first 15 minutes of it and pick it up during the break of Fenix & Pentagon v. Best Friends. Good match from what I saw that actually looked like a normal wrestling show and had a bit of atmosphere thanks to the guys making noise at ringside. The Best Friends tease the hug, but think better of it in a COVID19 world, before Pentagon goes low on Trent behind the ref’s back and the Luchas finish Chuck with the package piledriver. Afterwards, Chuck is offended because “you can’t kick my friend in the dick when the ref’s not looking!” and challenges the Luchas to a literal street fight next week.
Penelope Ford v. Riho v. Kris Statlander v. Hikaru Shida
Riho and Ford slug it out right away and Riho gets tossed, before Kip Sabian trips up Statlander & Shida at the same time and gets beat up for it. Back in the ring, Riho tries a flying headscissors on Statlander and gets taken down with a backbreaker, then hangs Riho in the corner and asks Shida to suplex her onto Riho! So Shida obliges, and then pins Statlander for two. Shida with an eyepoke on Statlander and a small package for two, but Statlander clotheslines her down again. And then all three other girls come off the top with dropkicks onto Statlander to put her out of the ring, and Riho teams up with Ford and suplex her out of the ring. So it’s back to Riho and Ford again and they slug it out, with Ford hitting a handspring elbow in the corner. Riho comes back and knocks Sabian off the apron with a high knee, but Statlander comes back in and cleans house on the others. She slams Shida onto Riho, but Ford gets a reverse rana on her. Shida catches Ford with a falcon arrow for two and hits a knee strike for the pin at 5:52. Ford looked really good and was totally hanging with the other three in there. ***
Colt Cabana chats with Tony at ringside and talks some crap about Kip Sabian, who comes over and stands up for himself. So Colt slaps him and notes “I’m also a wrestler!” before Sabian slinks off with Ford again.
Earlier tonight, we learn that Moxley is not medically cleared to enter the building tonight, so he’s gonna go drive Jericho’s car around Jacksonville and blow off some steam.
The Butcher and The Blade v. Jurassic Express
MJF offers a little cash bonus at ringside in exchange for a win, so Blade is motivated and beats on Jungle Boy in the corner right away. JB rolls him up for two, however. Blade hits him with a knee to the gut, but Luchasaurus comes in and they double-team Blade with a flatliner for two. Blade bails and goes for advice from MJF, so Jungle Boy tries to dive onto them and gets caught like a geek. B&B slam him into the railing for good measure and drop him onto the apron, which Taz remind us is THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Back in, the heels double-team JB in the corner and Butcher rakes him on the top rope. Blade with a clothesline for two. Sideslam into a legdrop from Butcher gets two, and we take a break. And I’m watching live so I’ll recap it! Lucky you. Blade with a chinlock on JB and he gets a clothesline to put him down again, and Butcher comes in with a kneedrop and pounds on him with chops. Butcher chokes him out on the ropes with a headlock while Blade distracts the ref, and they switch off until Jungle Boy fights out thanks to Joey Janela chanting 80s anthems at ringside. Blade tries a slam and JB reverses out and dropkicks him, and it’s ALMOST hot tag, but Blade drops an elbow on his back and tosses him to cut him off again. Back in, that gets two for Blade. Finally he fights out and it’s HOT TAG DINOSAUR GUY, and he moonsaults onto Butcher outside. Back in for the spinkick onto Blade and a fireman’s carry slam for two. It’s BONZO GONZO and JB gets dumped, as we get the HOSS FIGHT between Luchasaurus and Butcher, but Luchasaurus ducks a lariat and boots him down. The heels double-team him in the corner and hit the double-team slam on him for two, but JB saves. Butcher takes him down with a backbreaker, but MJF demands the finisher right then and there. So they set up, but Luchasaurus breaks it up and they hit a double-team cutter on Blade instead for the pin at 12:43. Finish was a bit weird with Jungle Boy trying a dive but then seeing Butcher out of position and just stopping to stomp on him instead, but this was a SOLID tag team match and just felt like a normal tag match on a normal show, which is a 100% positive thing. ***1/4 Also of note: Jake Roberts laughing at the botched dive in the background, and the heels trading betting money as a result of the match.
The Dark Order joins us, and Evil Uno never breaks his promises, so the Exalted One is HERE. SCU is tired of hearing about the Exalted One and Daniels rants about how they haven’t made any lives better and they’ve just wasted everyone’s time for the past three months. But then the Exalted One interrupts on the screen and it’s BRODIE LEE. So he appears in the ring and lays out SCU after noting that “You are not the first out of touch old man not to believe in me.” BURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRN! This was a great debut for him.
Lance Archer chats with Tony at ringside, but Jake does the talking for him and challenges Cody Rhodes again, because he’s been ignoring them and thus spitting in their face. And then we get a video about MURDERHAWK himself, as Lance kills a bunch of redneck geeks out at a farm somewhere at a high framerate. This was INCREDIBLE.
Next week (?): Wardlow v. Luchasaurus in a lumberjack match! Lucha Bros v. Best Friends in a parking lot brawl! BLOOD & GUTS!
Santana, Ortiz & Jake Hager v. Cody Rhodes, Hangman Page & Matt Jackson
Sammy Guevara singing “Judas” with MJF and Shawn Spears is the best thing ever. Even Jericho can’t help but crack up during his entrance. Speaking of cracking up, Hangman’s graphic notes that he’s been social distancing since November. Santana attacks Cody from behind while MJF heckles him, but Cody snaps off a powerslam. LAX double-teams him in their corner with a suplex as Jericho notes that LAX are such thugs that they FAILED GYM CLASS FOR BEATING UP THEIR TEACHER. “How do you fail gym glass? I asked them their first names and they said they don’t have any.” That’s tough. Cody and Matt double-team Ortiz in response and Hangman puts him down with a big boot, but leaves the other two hanging on a high five. SOCIAL DISTANCING. Hangman tags in and Santana chops him in the corner, but Page gets a short arm clothesline and a pumphandle fallaway slam for two. Cody gets caught in the corner and triple teamed, however, and Hager hits a Vader bomb for two as we take a break. Back with Ortiz hitting the delayed suplex on Cody for two, and Cody bails to the floor while Jericho buries Arn Anderson’s fashion sense on commentary. “I don’t need a sweater vest and white pants to be a coach!” Back in the ring as Santana gets a rollup for two and Hager slugs away on the mat. Top wristlock follows and Hager beats on Cody in the corner. Ortiz with a small package for two while Excalibur plugs the t-shirt sale on the website. “Why don’t you SHUT YOUR ASS, Excalibur!” Jericho heeling on the charity sale even! Cody fights back and backdrops Hager to the floor, but Santana takes out the Elite and cuts off the hot tag. Cody gets dragged back to the Inner Circle corner and we take another break. Hager with a chinlock and he cuts off the ring (which, as noted by Jericho, is a dish at Arn’s House of Waffles) but he misses the pump splash and it’s HOT TAG to Handswash Page. He cleans house with a dive onto Hager and fallaway slam on Santana, and the sliding lariat gets two. Cody with a tope onto Ortiz and he throws the thug onto MJF, but that just makes Wardlow mad. Back in the ring, Matt hits the rolling northern lights on Santana and then teams up with Page to suplex Hager. They actually set up for an IndyTaker, but Hager trips up Page and Santana rolls up Matt for the pin at 20:12 to gain the advantage for Blood & Guts. Just give him some good tag team wrestling and I’m a happy guy. **** Probably even add a bit more for Jericho on commentary. Afterwards, Jericho decrees that all fans are banned from all future events until further notice. “Shut the music off, there’s no one here anyway!” But then with the Elite down 5-on-4 for Blood & Guts, we get a run-in from the drone, and MATT HARDY is revealed as the fifth guy on the Elite team. My god, if only there had been a crowd there for it!
Well, if they’re going on hiatus, they went out with one of the greatest shows in their short history. An absolute must-see two hours of TV and I hope we can get the followup next week.