The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 04.15.20
I was gonna take a pass on the show this week because I’m really over this empty arena stuff in general, but then Vince McMahon went and won Dickhead of the Year 2020 in the span of a few hours, so I kind of feel like reviewing the competition just to spite WWE. Tomorrow I’ll start the new project I had mentioned in the daily thread earlier today: Going back to 2005 and picking up RAW/Smackdown where I originally left off reviewing 15 years ago!
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Taped from Dr. Evil’s secret mountain lair
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Chris Jericho
Jake Roberts starts us out again with a promo about how much Lance Archer is going to enjoy destroying all of the competition and winning the TNT title.
TNT Championship tournament, round one: Lance Archer v. Colt Cabana
Lance walks by and backhands some geek at ringside in a nice touch, plus knocks away one of the Gunn’s signs. Hope it was Pineapple Pete. Colt manages to evade him to start and throws some shots, but Lance no-sells it and retreats to the floor. We get a little cat and mouse, although in this case I think Lance is the metaphorical tiger and Colt is going to be Saff. Except that instead of chewing off Colt’s arm, he’ll likely pull it off and beat him to death with it. I don’t know who Joe Exotic is, I’m still workshopping this metaphor. Lance chokes him out to take over and follows with a short clothesline, then chokes him out in the corner and offers a free shot in the face. Jericho clarifies that if Archer ever tried that with him, teeth would be knocked out. I’m sure. Archer retreats to the floor and we take a break. Back with Archer beating on Colt as some geek at ringside yells “Show some mercy!” He’s literally named THE MURDERHAWK. What would make you think he’ll show mercy? Dumbass. Colt makes the comeback with the FLYING APPLE and a splash for two, but Lance literally laughs off his punches and no-sells it all. Archer with the pounce and chokeslam, and finishes with the Blackout at 11:15. Too long, not great. **1/4
Meanwhile, Dr. Britt Baker DMD does a promo from her office, with her deviated septum.
Meanwhile, Taz and Ariel Helwani offer some analysis of the empty arena street fight tonight. And then Taz breaks down Hager’s arm triangle choke with a series of clips from AEW and Bellator in a neat touch.
Cassandra Golden v. Dr. Britt Baker DMD
Chris Jericho points out Anna Jayy at ringside on the heel side, and notes that all the girls should get together and kick Shida in the face to get revenge. Jericho remains delightful on commentary. Baker chokes out Golden on the ropes and then does the tooth-cracker stomp on the ropes for the pin at 1:12. Total squash.
Meanwhile, THE BUBBLY BUNCH. The Inner Circle do a group chat from their various quarantines. Jericho is great, although he accuses Cody of being Joe Exotic and then says he fed the remains of Hangman Page to the dog. That’s a MEME FAIL. I bet he didn’t even watch Tiger King! Just some fun and wacky stuff.
Sammy Guevara v. PINEAPPLE PETE
Or Suge D, whatever. Apparently Sammy has been personally dispatched to deal with Suge because Jericho was so annoyed by him last week. Also, BREAKING NEWS, as Jericho reveals that his team with Sammy is called LE SEX GODS. Suge D works on the arm of Sammy and takes him down with a springboard armdrag, but Sammy knees him in the face to put him down. “How sexy is Sammy Guervara?” wonders Jericho with a complete straight face. Delayed suplex gets two and Sammy chokes him out on the ropes, and then does some reps with Pete on his shoulders and gets a death valley driver for two. Arrogant pin gets two as he offers an homage to Le Champion, but he misses a blind charge and Suge fights back with forearms. Sammy puts him down with another knee and finishes with a torture rack into a GTS for the pin at 6:05. Just felt like a Dark match. *1/2
Kip Sabian v. Chuck Taylor
They trade headlocks as Jericho is DISGUSTED by Orange Cassidy. WHO WEARS A T-SHIRT OF THEMSELVES? We get a namedrop of Bobby Eaton as Tony and Jericho discuss great champions who don’t necessarily have great bodies. That wouldn’t apply to Jericho, of course. Sabian catches him with a cheapshot and stomps him down to take over while Jericho discusses the question of leather pants in the hot tub. Chucky with the big boot and he drops an elbow for two, but Sabian takes him down and gets a kick to send him to the floor. Penelope gets her shots in out there, and Kip gets two in the ring. Kip with the surfboard, but Chuck fights out and they head up, where Chuck misses a moonsault but gets a powerbomb instead. Jericho dubs it “The Chuck E. Cheese” and continues burying Orange Cassidy and the Gunns. I agree with half of that. Chuck with another powerbomb for two and he goes up and hits nothing, and Kip gets a high knee for two. Slingshot neckbreaker gets two. Sabian springboards in for a DDT, but Chuck counters it and then gets distracted by Ford’s leather pants. Sabian then manages to get distracted by the seductive Orange Cassidy, but Jimmy Havoc takes out Orange with a DDT on the floor, and Penelope runs in and hits Chuck with a rana as Sabian rolls him up for the pin at 10:28. The lesson here from Jericho: Never kiss a girl during a match. Solid advice. Match was just kind of there to fill time. **
Shawn Spears v. Justin Law
Good name on the jobber. Spears messes around and gets rolled up for two, but then regroups and pounds him in the corner and finishes with the C4 at 2:12.
Next week: Sammy Guevara v. Darby Allin! Kip Sabian v. Dustin Rhodes! Orange Cassidy v. Jimmy Havoc!
AEW World title: Jon Moxley v. Jake Hager
Jim Ross takes over on commentary for this. Apparently this was taped during the original Jacksonville show weeks ago, which is a bit jarring. They do some mat wrestling to start and jockey for position, and Moxley goes for an armbar but Hager quickly makes the ropes. Hager goes for the ankle and Moxley makes the ropes. So Hager pounds him with knees in the corner, but Moxley fights back with chops and they slug it out. Moxley tosses him into the railing and follows with a dive, then tries for an armbar out there on the floor. Jake breaks free of that and we take a break. Back with Moxley throwing him into the empty audience (“Why do we need security railings if there’s no one here?” wonders JR.) and following with a piledriver attempt, but Moxley backdrops out of that. They fight into the stands and we get a unique spot with Moxley doing a figure-four around a handrail as this seems to have turned into a falls count anywhere match. Even JR is a little unclear on the rules. Jake whips him into the railing and drops him onto it, then chokes him out on the concrete. Back to ringside, Hager runs him into the stairs, and they head back in, but the Hager Bomb misses and Moxley puts him down with a high knee. Hager comes back with his own knees and a gutwrench powerbomb for two. We take another break and return with Hager hitting running clotheslines in the corner, but Moxley hits him with the rebound lariat and follows with an inside cradle for two. Hager comes off the middle rope and lands in a DDT from Moxley, but when Jon goes for the cover, Jake turns it into the arm triangle on the mat. Moxley makes the ropes and tries to fight back, but Hager slugs him out to the floor and beats on him with a chair. Back in, Hager wedges it in the corner and runs Moxley into the chair for two. We take another break and return with Hager smashing the chair into Moxley’s ankle and applying the anklelock. Mox suggests that he should just go ahead and break the ankle because he won’t be tapping. Moxley reverses him out of the ring and hits what looks like his DDT on the way back in, but it’s actually a guillotine takedown. Hager powers up and out of that, but Moxley just smashes the chair into his face and finishes with the Paradigm Shift at 30:35 to retain. I wasn’t really feeling this one overall, but they worked hard and it was good. ***
I dunno, this empty arena stuff is really wearing on my enjoyment of some of these shows, and this was one of them. Would have been a lot better with a crowd, but there wasn’t one, so this is what we got. Better luck next week, I guess.