The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 12.16.20
Live (as live can be) from Jacksonville, FL
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross & Excalibur
Hangman Page, John Silver & Alex Reynolds v. Matt Hardy & Private Party
Silver and Reynolds dressed as cowboys is what I needed in my life and didn’t even know it. Quenn starts with Page and they have a stalemate, and interestingly Quenn is not dressed in his usual tails tonight. Matt comes in and Page slugs away on him, but pulls his punches and gets triple-teamed by Hardy Party as a result. So the Dark Order come in to even the sides and they clear the ring, prompting Silver to jump on Hangman’s back for a celebration. So Hangman dumps him on Kassidy in a senton, and that gets two. Reynolds gets a blind tag and they double-team Kassidy, as Silver gets two. And Page is SMILING as Silver beats on Kassidy with his kicks and poses. Can’t blame him, Silver is entertaining as hell. Quenn comes in and fights off the Dark Horse Order on his own, and takes Silver down with a seated dropkick for two. Matt comes in with a sleeper that almost looks like the famous STRANGLEHOLD of olden days, and then he drops Silver and goes up. Sadly he spends too much time on the yodeling portion of the yodeling legdrop and Silver catches him with a suplex on the way down. Hot tag Hangman and he clotheslines Quenn off the apron and hits Kassidy with the fallaway slam, and then dives onto Matt outside before heading right back in with a lariat on Kassidy for two. Matt cuts him off with a Side Effect for two and goes for the finish, but Page escapes the Twist of Fate and puts him down with a clothesline. Back to Reynolds and he runs wild with elbows on Quenn and hits a neckbreaker for two. Quenn fights back, but Silver comes in for the double-teams and Page adds a powerbomb, into a german suplex from Silver, and Reynolds gets the jackknife cover for two. Hardy saves, however, and pulls Silver out for a Twist on the floor that injures Silver’s leg, which leaves Alex by himself in the ring. He fights them of, but the Gin & Juice finishes at 10:48, with Matt making sure to tag himself in and steal the win from his team. Poor Hangman still can’t catch a break these days. This was a tremendously entertaining opener. I feel like maybe Hangman infiltrating the Dark Order and slowly turning them to the light side, leading to a showdown with a returning Brodie Lee, could be something awesome. ***1/4
Meanwhile, MJF accepts his New York Times award for “Le Dinner Debonair” but Jericho points out that perhaps he too had something to do with it.
Meanwhile, Cody and Brandi get a mysterious gift, which turns out to be the announcement that Brandi is pregnant. That’s one way to get her off TV. Hopefully the poor kid won’t be born with daddy’s neck tattoo or grandpa’s splotch. When they had the little medallion that said “A new baby in 2021” I thought for a minute that they were doing a clever introduction of the new TNT show.
Cody Rhodes v. Angelico
Angelico takes him down to start, so Cody fires back with his own armdrag takedown and they’re at a stalemate. Angelico tries to lure Cody into his guard but sadly doesn’t yell CLIMB ATOP ME like Artie Ziff first, and we take a break. Back with Cody making a comeback with clotheslines and a powerslam for two. He tries the sliding punch and Angelico catches the fist and wraps him up with a wacky lucha submission on the mat, so Cody bites the bottom rope to break. Cody with a backslide for two, but Angelico reverses the Disaster kick and takes him down for the DEATH ROLL, but Cody makes the ropes. Cody gets the sliding punch on the second try, which sets up the Crossroads, but Angelico reverses out of that. So Cody gets the cutter for the pin at 9:45. I like that they have someone like Angelico who is different and can work a really different style but still have good matches. They should give him a try as a single. **1/2
Team Taz comes out to congratulate Cody on reproducing, but I think he’s being sarcastic. So they call their shot and let Cody know they’re coming to put him on paternity leave, but Sting interrupts again and dares them to face his baseball bat. And he stares them down and leaves.
Meanwhile, Miro has been fined $75,000 for taking out 3 AEW officials last week, but next week he’s going to make a HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT: The wedding date for Kip and Penelope! Well that only took a few months. “But what about the people in the hospital? It’s Christmas?” asks Marvez. “BAH HUMBUG!” notes Miro. Touche.
Eddie Kingston joins us and talks some shit about Lance Archer, so Lance charges out and attacks, before Butcher and Blade join in. The Death Triangle comes in to save, even though Kingston LIED and said Pac wasn’t coming back, and everyone brawls until Eddie has been beaten down. But then Archer and Pac argue about who gets to kick Eddie in the face to finish him off, and that allows the heels to escape.
Meanwhile, Dustin Rhodes wants no part of being Seven again, and so next week he’ll face Uno.
Best Friends, The Varsity Blonds and Top Flight v. Chris Jericho, MJF, Jake Hager, Ortiz, Santana & Sammy Guevara
Wardlow is away dealing with family matters, so this is a mere 12 man tag team match. Orange Cassidy joins us on commentary for an amazing visual gag, as he puts on the headset but it isn’t even plugged in. Pillman starts with Jericho and gives him some chops and a crossbody out of the corner, then adds a springboard dropkick to put Jericho on the floor. He follows with a dive as you know Jericho is going to sell his ass off for this kid, and Pillman slingshots Griff in with a legdrop for two. Over to Dante and Sammy, and Sammy hits him with a dropkick but gets hit with a Rough Rider for two. Dante hits a corner clothesline and Darius comes in for a double team and kicks Sammy down for two. Over to Trent and Santana and we get shoving match that turns into a DONNYBROOK and a PIER SIX BRAWL at the same time, a rare double. The babyfaces clear the ring for a SIX-WAY HUG and everyone regroups. LAX jumps Trent and Santana gives him a double suplex, and Ortiz slingshots in with a senton. MJF works the arm and Trent bails to escape, so the Inner Circle swarms him on the floor and we take a break. Back with Sammy and Jericho doing some posing, but Sammy misses a shooting star press and Trent gets a knee but can’t make the tag. Ortiz takes out Chucky, so Trent tags Darius instead and he hits Ortiz with a standing Spanish fly. He tries a dive and the heels cut him off, but Dante picks up the slack with his own dive onto them. These kids are SMOOTH. Ortiz gets worked over in the face corner and Pillman hits Air Pillman on him before Griff cleans house and puts Ortiz down with a clothesline. So finally Jericho has had enough of this shit and hits him with the bat, and Hager cleans up with an F5 and lets MJF get the pin at 14:21. ***
Meanwhile, Thunder Rosa is sick of people saying she doesn’t belong here in AEW, so Rebel runs interference and Dr. Britt Baker lays her out and puts her in the lockjaw while rubbing off the makeup. She also accuses Rosa of being so ugly that she broke the camera, which is pretty mean, really.
SCU v. The Acclaimed
So these kids are doing John Cena’s Thuganomics deal, complete with chains and battle rap. Although then Kaz steals their beat and cuts a pretty awesome rap on them, calling them “Men on a Mission” in a sick burn. SCU double-teams Bowens in the corner for two, so Max Caster comes in and beats on Daniels. Daniels hits him with a dropkick and it’s back to Bowens, who backdrops Kaz to the apron and then sends him into the post to take over. We take a break and return with Kaz making a comeback with a slingshot DDT on Caster. Daniels gets the hot tag and runs wild, but Caster counters the STO. So he hits Bowens with the Blue Thunder Bomb for two and adds a uranage. Kaz takes Caster to the floor and Daniels goes up and hits Bowens with a cross body for two. But Caster hits him with the BOOMBOX OF DEATH and Bowens finishes with a wacky slam thing at 9:13. Man, these guys absolutely could not back up their shit-talking in the ring at all. This was BAD, with only SCU’s greatness holding it together enough to be watchable. *1/2 And then they challenge the Young Bucks for the tag titles next week. Hopefully the Bucks can get something out of them and this week was just nerves for the new kids.
Meanwhile, Top Flight challenges Jericho and MJF for next week. Now THESE kids immediately blended right in with the top guys in a variety of situations. They’re the ones they should be pushing soon.
Ivelisse & Diamante v. Big Swole & Serena Deeb
Ivelisse goes after Deeb to start, but the babyfaces trap her in the corner. Diamante fights them off and hits Swole with a german suplex out of the ropes for one, and we take a break as the heels double-team Swole with a suplex in the corner. Back with Deeb making a comeback with a suplex on Diamante while holding a deathlock on Ivelisse, and that’s pretty cool. Deeb hits Ivelisse with a neckbreaker in the ropes and adds a gutbuster to set up a figure-four, but Diamante saves and they hit a double-team slam on Deeb that gets two. Swole gets a hot tag and takes shots at the heels, but gets tripped up by them. She recovers with a sloppy powerbomb on Diamante into a cloverleaf, and Deeb tackles Ivelisse while Diamante taps at 9:00. This was OK, but Swole has completely lost any momentum she got from the Britt Baker feud. I still don’t see what the endgame with having the NWA Women’s title here is supposed to be. Nyla Rose comes out to attack the babyfaces, but RED VELVET makes the save! Yeah!
BREAKING NEWS: I was being sarcastic. No one gives a shit about Red Velvet. IT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN, BRANDI.
Meanwhile, Best Friends aren’t really excited about the wedding announcement next week. Maybe they’ll finally have a match with Miro and Sabian after months of buildup!
Kenny Omega v. Joey Janela
Tony, throwing SHADE: “I’m glad to hear he helped Impact’s numbers go from 1 to 6. Good for them.” That is RESTAURANT QUALITY as JR says. Joey throws a trash can at Kenny and they go brawling onto the floor right away, but Joey turns his back and takes a Krusher on a chair. Kenny baseball slides him into another chair and follows with the Terminator Dive as Don Callis does commentary over the PA and then lets Kenny do his own Play by Play while beating on Joey with a cookie sheet. This act is GOLD. Back in, Kenny goes up with the garbage can and moonsaults it onto Janela for two. Kenny chops him down while still doing commentary, and then puts the can on Janela’s head and double stomps it to set up the One Winged Angel, but Janela escapes with a reverse rana. So Sonny Kiss preps a table and puts Omega onto it, and Joey goes up and puts him through with a legdrop to shut Callis up. That looked like it sucked for Kenny. Back in, Janela misses a moonsault and Kenny puts him out with a V-Trigger and then finishes with the One Winged Angel at 6:07. This was pretty wacky, complete with Joey selling the V-Trigger with his feet straight up in the air. I love Kenny but Janela is a complete joke at this point and it was stupid to even give him the offense they did. *1/2 And then the Death Triangle interrupts and Pac challenges Kenny to face Rey Fenix on the 30th for the title, which should be a hell of a main event. But it fell really flat, like most of the back half of this episode.
Man, I don’t wanna blame them personally, but the Acclaimed match just killed this show DEAD. It was a lot of fun up until then, which I am desperately needing at the moment given how my life is going this year, but I just couldn’t get into anything afterwards and it left this one feeling pretty weak. Plus we’re still running into the issue of setting up angles and doing heel beatdowns in EVERY match and segment, it feels like. Two weeks of it was tolerable but when I’m expected to suddenly care about Red Velvet feuding with Nyla Rose for some reason, that’s asking too much.
I don’t want to sound too down on it because there was nothing really BAD as such, but they couldn’t maintain the momentum of the past two weeks, unfortunately.