The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 03.31.21

The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 03.31.21

Soon we bid farewell to the Wednesday night war.  But not tonight.

Taped from Jacksonville, FL

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross & Excalibur

Christian Cage v. Kazarian

Ironically Christian has to do his “look to the crowd” pose to a literal empty arena the first time he’s in AEW.  Christian takes him down with a headlock and works the arm, but Kaz puts him to the ramp with a shoulderblock and then backdrops him back in before chopping him down and whipping him into the corner.  Christian takes a breather on the top rope, so Kaz shoves him to the floor to be a dick and then guillotines him on the way in and goes to a neck vice.  Christian fights up and Kazarian squeezes him back down again and then turns it into a neckbreaker for two.  Backdrop suplex gets two.  They slug it out and Kazarian puts him down, but Christian comes back with a tornado DDT for two.  Cage chokes him out on the ropes and goes up with a forearm for two.  Cage slugs away in the corner, but Kaz takes him down with a rollup for two and Christian reverses for two.  Kaz goes for the chicken wing, but Christian reverses to a Killswitch attempt, but Kazarian escapes that.  Christian gets an inverted DDT and goes up for a splash that misses, which allows Kazarian to sink in the crossface chickenwing.  Cage makes the ropes and gets a small package for two, but Kaz puts him down with a knee and then follows with a springboard legdrop for two.  They fight to the top rope and Kazarian busts out the Flux Capacitor for two.  Kaz tries another legdrop and misses, and Christian goes up with a frog splash for two.  Both guys are down and trade finisher attempts, but Cage runs him into the post and hits the Killswitch for the pin at 16:24.  Kind of a slow match that never really took off as Christian’s disappointing AEW run continues.  ***

Meanwhile, Sting and Darby Allin do a takedown of Matt Hardy and his money in video form.

Meanwhile, Jade Cargill is dat bitch.  Good to know.  I might need a reminder later, though.

Exhibition match:  Cody Rhodes v. QT Marshall

Arn Anderson is special referee here and QT’s students surround the ring for support.  Cody works a headlock and they do a criss-cross, but Cody takes him down with armdrags and QT makes the ropes.  QT fights back with a dropkick and works the arm as we take a break.  Back with Cody slamming out of it and he goes for the figure-four, but then he remembers his promise and changes his mind.  And then he gets into Crossroads position and lets that go as well.  QT misses a bodypress and lands on the floor, which has him pretty perturbed, so he takes it out on AA and sucker-punches him to bring an end to this at 7:04.  But then as the Nightmare Family comes in to save Arn, QT’s students all turn on them and lay in the beats, including Nick Comorodo powerbombing Lee Johnson over the top rope and onto the ramp.  And then Dustin takes a piledriver from QT on the steel stairs, busting him wide open.  But sadly before QT can smash Cody’s head in with a chair, Red Velvet STIRS THINGS UP by running out to plead for mercy and call them off.  I don’t know if we need another heel faction but this was a pretty awesome heavy heat angle.

Meanwhile, Red Velvet is about to further stand up for Cody backstage, but Jade attacks her from behind and reminds us again that she’s DAT BITCH.

Meanwhile, Jon Moxley is pissed off for a variety of reasons, like itchy barbed wire scars and Cesar Bononi looking like a Baywatch lifeguard.  They can really make some money with Cesar, but not if Moxley kills him on Dynamite first!  Solid point.

Jon Moxley v. Cesar Bononi

They slug it out to start and Mox is like “OK then” and fires away on him, then takes him down with a dragon screw and goes to work on the leg.  Dollar Store Dolph trips Moxley up, however, and Bononi gets a clothesline for two as we take a break.  Back with Bononi holding a chinlock and then hitting a pair of corner clotheslines, but he misses a charge and Moxley fights back with forearms and a german suplex.  They head to the top and Moxley brings him down with a superplex and follows with a cross armbreaker, but Ziggler comes in while some other geek takes the ref, allowing Bononi to try for the finish on Moxley.  But Moxley reverses the slam into the choke for the win at 8:05.  *1/2

Meanwhile, Team Taz has another rap session as Cage and Starks continue to have friction.  But Taz is assuring us that EVERYTHING IS FINE.

Meanwhile, MJF has a gift for the Pinnacle:  A personal stylist for them, plus an interior decorator, but he goes to open the door and the Inner Circle are revealed to be waiting, which triggers a giant brawl backstage as everyone pairs off  and the heels suffer various wacky fates, leading up to MJF getting a swirlie from Jericho and then getting thrown headfirst into the Pepsi cooler.  And so the Inner Circle gets their dressing room back at least.

Meanwhile, Don Callis has it out with Matt Jackson and guilts him because Kenny Omega chose AEW for FAMILY and the Bucks abandoned him last week.  The Bucks are once again veering into “I don’t understand the motivations” territory like with the FTR feud.

The Lucha Brothers & Laredo Kid v. Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers

The Bullet Club don’t even get to finish their entrance before the Luchas dive onto them, and then Kenny gets triple-teamed with superkicks in the ring and Laredo gets two.  Kenny bails and the Luchas hit them with a triple dive.  Back in, Laredo hits Kenny with a double moonsault for two.  Kenny fires back with a lariat out of the corner and brings in Doc Gallows, who puts Kid down with a high kick.  Anderson comes in with a backbreaker for two and Kenny beats Laredo down for two, and Gallows puts him down with a big boot as we take a break.  Back with everyone dogpiling Laredo with a triple splash for two in a funny spot, and Gallows drop a knee for two.  Finally Penta gets a hot tag and the Lucha Brothers go to work with wacky double-teams on Anderson, leading to a swanton from Fenix for two.  Everyone fires away with corner knees on Anderson, but Gallows pulls out his partner and then the heels triple-team Fenix in the corner.  Anderson with a running boot for two. Magic Killer is broken up by Penta, but Omega takes him out with a lariat, and then Penta comes back with a Canadian Destroyer.  Anderson with the spinebuster on Fenix, but Laredo Kid breaks it up with a dive.  Kid dives at Omega, but he hands in a powerbomb and Kenny follows with a V-Trigger for two.  One Winged Angel is countered to a rana that puts Kenny on the floor, and Laredo follows with a dive to the floor.  Good Brothers get chased to the floor and the Lucha Brothers hit them with dives, and then Kid gets a Michinoku Driver on Omega in the ring for two.  Kid misses the Phoenix splash and Kenny puts him down with the V-Trigger and finishes him off with the One Winged Angel at 14:38.  This was WILD.  ***3/4  Moxley and the Young Bucks all swagger out to stare them down, and the Bullet Club immediately retreats.

Meanwhile, Britt Baker reminds us that the match with Thunder Rosa was unsanctioned, and so it didn’t count.

Nyla Rose & The Bunny v. Tay Conti & Hikaru Shida

The heels attack and Nyla gets a legdrop on Shida, and Bunny comes in and beats on her with forearms. Shida goes for an armbar and Bunny makes the ropes.  Shida goes to have some words with Big Money Matt, but that allows Rose to lay her out from behind as we take a break.  Back with Shida making the hot tag to Conti, who hits Bunny with knee strikes in the corner and then chases her to the floor.  At this point a brawl erupts between the Hardy Family and the Dark Order and Tay gets a Tay-KO on Bunny for two before Rose makes the save.  Shida dives on the pile outside and then Tay dives onto them as well, but Vickie takes the ref and Bunny hits Tay with a kendo stick and pins her at 7:31. Too much stuff going on here.  **

Meanwhile, Jurassic Express challenges Bear Country to a match for next week, which will be brought to us by Godzilla v. Kong, available on HBO Max if you happen to live in the one country in the entire world where that’s available!  Wow, thanks!

Arcade Anarchy:  Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor v. Miro & Kip Sabian

As promised, the ring is surrounded by arcade machines and it’s a big brawl to start with Orange getting thrown into the Whack a Mole machine.  He comes back with the mallet for some shots of his own, but Miro lays him out and slams him on the floor.  The Friends fight back and try a suplex onto a piece of railing, but Miro just wrecks them by himself, more annoyed than anything.  Miro finds a chair on the prize wall and takes it WITHOUT paying the 20,000 tickets required, then proceeds to beat on Orange in the ring and run him into the chair.  But Chuck dives off Mortal Kombat for more corporate synergy (Excalibur:  “I know writers who use subtext and they’re all cowards!”)  and Miro gets buried under a pile of plunder and tables for two, but Sabian saves.  So Chuck grabs a teddy bear off the wall and brings it into the ring, revealing that it’s filled with LEGO.  Oh shit.  So they fight to the top and tease a superplex onto the LEGO, but Sabian gets a powerbomb onto it instead for two.  Tony is TRIGGERED by the very thought of stepping on Lego.  Cassidy hits the Beach Break on Sabian for two and the Orange Punch gets two, but Penelope pulls out Aubrey to save and kicks Orange in the mandarins.  But then Kris Statlander returns out of nowhere, popping out of a game to put Ford through the air hockey table off the apron, but now Miro has really had enough of this shit.  So he tosses Orange across the ringside area and beats him down with a chair, then sets up a table on the ramp while Orange and Chuck try to crawl for safety on the ramp, but Sue pulls up in the minivan and delivers Trent to reunite the Best Friends.  Miro fights off all three, however, and goes to say hi to Trent’s mom and possibly wreck the van again, but Trent makes the save.  Miro decides to throw an arcade machine at Trent, but that misses and Trent spears him through the table, which leaves Sabian by himself with Chuck, and a powerslam through a table off the ramp finishes at 14:34.  This was of course goofy as fuck but delivered exactly what over-the-top nonsense it promised and then some.  ****

Definitely an up and down show this week, but it breezed by outside of the opener, which felt it like took longer than an episode of RAW to finish.  I gotta say though, TOO MANY FACTIONS.  One or two is ideal, but QT Marshall leading a group of students against a bunch of ex-WWE midcarders is not compelling television.  Nor is the amazing trio of Cesar Bononi, Ziggler, and The Other Guy.