The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 12.23.20

The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 12.23.20

“Holiday Bash”

Taped from Jacksonville, FL

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross and Excalibur

MJF & Chris Jericho v. Top Flight

Darius slugs away on Jericho and uses his gymnastics to roll into a dropkick, and the faces double-team Jericho in the corner with a double kick for two.  Over to MJF, who chokes Dante in the corner and slaps him around, but Dante dropkicks him to the floor and the Inner Circle regroups before heading back in for a four way slugfest.  IT’S BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA!  The Martins do stereo punching in the corners and dropkick the heels out of the ring again, but MJF heads over and suckers Dante into a chase, which ends badly for the kid.  Back in, MJF drops an elbow for two and Jericho hits a back suplex, and they follow with a double flapjack on him.  Hey, if they’re gonna worship the Rock N Roll Express, it’s fair game for the other guys to rip off the Midnight Express.  MJF chokes away in the corner and Jericho catapults him under the ropes, and then MJF and Hager drop elbows on Dante on the apron and Jericho gets two.  MJF with a superplex on Dante for two, but he finally fights over and makes the hot tag to Darius, who hits MJF with a Spanish fly and then dives onto Jericho outside.  Back in with a Stampede style missile dropkick for two and then a tornado DDT on MJF, launching off from Jericho’s chest in a great spot.  That gets two.  Top Flight with a broken arrow on MJF for two, but MJF powerbombs Dante on a criss cross and Jericho comes in with a Lionsault for two.  That sets up the Walls of Jericho, but Dante cradles for two.  Another try, but Darius tags himself in and comes in with a sunset flip for two.  Jericho gets frustrated and beats on Darius in the corner with MJF, but Darius turns a backdrop into a double DDT and puts Jericho on the floor before making the comeback on MJF.  But then Hager takes out Darius and MJF finishes him with the Heatseeker at 11:44.  These kids are SO good and getting over so big and they’re gonna have to pull the trigger pretty soon.  This was an awesome opener, non-stop action and Top Flight looked like complete pros.  ***3/4

Jake Hager cuts a promo afterwards, complaining that Wardlow isn’t here and he’s doing the job while he’s away.  “I understand he’s an asset, but he’s also an asshole.”  So next week, it’s HAGER v. WARDLOW.  MJF of course isn’t thrilled about that.

Meanwhile, The Acclaimed are on a Buck Hunt and they manage to rhyme “quitting Twitter because fans hating” with “kiss Dave’s ass for a star rating”, so that’s reasonably impressive.

Sting joins Tony for an interview, and he thinks back to watching matches with Dusty Rhodes and wants to be part of the happenings in AEW, but Team Taz comes out for a fight.  At which point Darby Allin appears from the stands through the magic of pre-taping and Taz decides to back off for now.  So Darby will defend the TNT title on the January 6 show, against Brian Cage.

Meanwhile, MJF decides to do the right thing and go make peace with LAX, bonding with them over a lost grandfather.  No indication that he was lying about it either.

Colt Cabana, 10 and 5 v. Jurassic Express

5 gets double-teamed by the Jurassics, but Marko comes in and Dark Order beats on him in the corner.  So Luchasaurus comes in and beats on 10, and then slams Marko onto him and sets him up for Jungle Boy to hit a flying splash for two.  10 blocks a bulldog and drops JB on the top rope to take over, and we take a break.  Back with 10 continuing the beating, but Jungle Boy hits a lariat on the rebound and it’s hot tag Luchasaurus.  He throws 5 around and beats on him with kicks.  Standing moonsault gets two.  Marko comes in with a crossbody on Colt, but he tries a dive and gets popped by 10 from the floor.  5 with a frog splash for two off that.  Jungle Boy gets another hot tag and they clear the ring before finishing 5 with a double powerbomb at 10:33.  Just an OK sloppy tag match that felt like a Dark main event more than anything.  **1/4 And then FTR pops up on the big screen to throw out a challenge on their way back to the tag team titles.

Meanwhile, Kenny and Don arrive at the building, and Don is tired of wrestlers RUNNING AMOK, like Pac making matches.  UNPRECEDENTED IN THIRTY YEARS.  Well I don’t think THAT’S true but then that’s certainly his character at the moment.  Kenny points out that Fenix is a choker and now he’s worried that he might actually put him on the shelf for good, but he can always go to Impact or AAA.

The Butcher v. Pac

Cool new gear for Butcher here, as he moves to black leather pants and a red sash belt. Eddie Kingston joins us on commentary and Tony is SALTY.  “Quit talking over me when I’m trying to promote!”  Butcher clotheslines him over the top, but Pac comes back in with kicks until Butcher puts him down again and chokes him out in the corner.  Eddie:  “You’re my Toby.  That’s all I’m saying.”  Butcher biels him and slugs him down for two and then whips him into the corner, but Pac fights out with kicks until Butcher slugs him down again.  They fight to the floor and Butcher boots him down as we take a break.  Back with Pac making the comeback with a dropkick, but Butcher puts him down again and then takes so long following up that even Eddie has to leave the booth to yell at him about it.  This brings Lance Archer out, at which point Pac hits Bucher with a high kick and finishes him with the Black Arrow at 13:00.  This felt like a major style clash and Pac still doesn’t have it back in full gear yet.  **

Meanwhile, Jade continues to be a thing on this show for some reason, and she’s gonna take over Brandi’s duties while away on maternity leave apparently.  Don’t care.

Kip Sabian and Miro are here to announce the wedding date, but of course the Best Friends’ music plays, which turns out to be a SWERVE and in fact the heels were just trolling us.  In fact the Friends are going out in an ambulance and the wedding is at Beach Break in February, although we can’t see the exact date because they shoot the screen from below and the railing cuts off the date.

Dustin Rhodes v. Evil Uno

Uno attacks before the bell, but Dustin slugs away in the corner while Tony actually explains the whole “Seven” gag for people who might not remember.  Which is probably a lot.  Uno catches him with a dropkick and Dustin bails, so Uno chases him and then accidentally chops the post.  Dustin works on the hand in the ring with some SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION, but he misses a corner clothesline and Uno goes up with a senton for two and we take a break. Back with Dustin making the comeback with the flip flop and fly and booting Uno down, but Uno hits a spinkick that puts Dustin in the corner.  Blind charge misses, however, and Dustin finishes him with the bulldog at 8:00.  Decent hard-hitting match.  **1/2  Afterwards, Uno and Grayson make another offer to Dustin and then beat him down, but QT makes the save, also gets beaten down, and finally Lee Johnson chases them off.  Eh, it’s something for them all to do.

Meanwhile, Shawn Spears complains to Tony that he’s still hitting the glass ceiling and he doesn’t need the black glove.  Tony points out that he might be the problem, so Spears storms off and wants Tony to pass on a message to the “executive vice pricks” that he might return if he feels like it.  Guess we’ll have to find someone else to jerk the curtain.

Hikaru Shida v. Alex Gracia

Abadon attacks during Shida’s backstage promo and she’s pretty shook, so Gracia gets some offense before Shida tosses her and hits her with an elbow on the floor and back in for two.  Gracia with a cradle for two and she comes back with a boot in the corner for two, but Shida takes her to the apron for the kneelift.  But then Abadon appears at ringside and Shida stops to beat her up  Back in, Gracia gets a rollup for two, but Shida finishes her off with the falcon arrow at 3:33.  And then Abadon bites her neck like a literal zombie.  And people say the new generation doesn’t know how to live the gimmick!  Well that’s a unique way to set up a title match.  *1/2

AEW World tag titles:  The Young Bucks v. The Acclaimed

The Bucks quickly double-team them and send them out for a stereo baseball slide, and then send Caster into the railing and hit him with Risky Business on the floor.  Back in, they double-team Bowens with a catapult into a double stomp from Nick for two.  Caster trips up Matt, however, and they double-team him with a kick to the head for two.  Nick springboards in with a facejam on Bowens and follows with a swanton, but Bowens gets the knees up and chokes him out as we take a break.  Back with Matt making a comeback on Bowens with the northern lights into the Sharpshooter, but Caster tries to break it up and Matt just shrugs off his punches and shoves him out of the ring for a Sharpshooter from Nick!  Bowens makes the ropes, but the Bucks hit him with a Doomsday Device for two.  The Acclaimed come back with a Powerplex on Nick, but Matt makes the save and then comes in and slugs it out with Caster.  Bucks come back for the SUPERKICK PARTY, but the ref gets superkicked in the process, allowing Caster to go low and Bowens to use the boombox as Caster gets two.  They try for the finisher, but the Bucks regroup and Bowens gets powerbombed through the table at ringside, and the BTE Trigger finishes Caster at 14:25.  Wow this was a million times better than the SCU match last week.  The Bucks are miracle workers with these young teams.  ****

Kind of an up and down show, but it started really strong and ended really strong and they set up a bunch of stuff in the middle, so that’s a win for me.  Especially on a show that was basically the middle of the night and could have been a total throwaway.