The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 05.12.21
Live from Jacksonville, FL
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Excalibur & Jim Ross
IWGP US title: Jon Moxley v. Yuji Nagata
Apparently TK has now sprung for “Wild Thing”, although I kind of prefer his original theme. It works better with Justin Roberts’ ring announcement. They slug it out with forearms and Moxley gets a corner clothesline, but Nagata declines to go down and hits Mox with a big boot to chase him out of the ring. Moxley suckers him into a shot to the post and drops a knee from the apron. Back in, Mox beats on him with forearms and drops an elbow for two. He actually puts Nagata down with kicks while Yuji yells for more, but then Nagata fires back with his own kicks and hits a running boot in the corner. Exploder gets two off that. Mox fights back and Nagata dropkicks the knee and throws more kicks, but Moxley gets a german suplex and lariat for two. Nagata backdrops out of a piledriver and comes back with a running knee in the corner as they fight to the top, and Nagata gets a top rope exploder and another hard kick for two. Moxley reverses a suplex into a sleeper, but Nagata takes him down with his armbreaker and Mox has to make the ropes. They slug it out and Mox is all fired up now, but Nagata hits him with an enzuigiri, and Mox hits a lariat on the way down and gets two. Moxley tries for the choke and Nagata powers out of that, so they hit each other hard again and Moxley wins that one. This sets up the Paradigm Shift out of nowhere and Moxley retains at 8:34. Felt a bit short but Nagata is pretty old so kudos to him. ***1/2
Meanwhile, the Inner Circle lets us know that Santana has been ARRESTED for using a fork on MJF last week. So now he’s gonna come back stronger and SCOOP OUT MJF’S EYES. WITH A FORK. And also they want a rematch. I feel like Ortiz threatening to have some dude’s eyes scooped out with a fork is the bigger story here.
Cody Rhodes joins us to share how proud he is to be an American. And you know who’s NOT an American? ANTHONY OGOGO. So at Double or Nothing, which will be at full capacity, he’ll face Ogogo and he’ll be the American Dream instead of the American Nightmare. GOD BLESS AMERICA. Anyway, a lot to unpack here. First of all, UGH, FLORIDA. Come on, full capacity at the end of the month? Both companies are still literally having Covid outbreaks. Plus they might want to announce a main event for the PPV before shooting for a sellout in the same building they’ve been running weekly for a year now. Second, I swear to god that Cody better not put himself over Ogogo and beat the guy in his first major match. Just let him wreck people in 30 seconds with the liver punch for a while and let it breathe. Third, the “I love America and Ogogo is not American so boo” stuff was really cloying and felt like something from a bygone era. This was all NO BUYS from me.
Meanwhile, SCU discusses their title shot at the Bucks tonight, which could be their last.
AEW World tag team titles: The Young Bucks v. SCU
The Bucks have yet another pair of $1000 shoes to show off here, as the announcers note that Callis probably had a coupon. Kazarian chases Nick around the ring and hits him with a clothesline, and SCU double-teams both members of the Bucks. Daniels slingshots in with an elbow and Kaz adds a legdrop for two, and they double-team Nick until Daniels charges and gets backdropped to the floor. Matt dropkicks him into the railing and gives us a little Macho Matt before powerbombing Daniels onto the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. And we take a break. Back with SCU hitting Nick with a double slam for two and set up the BME, but Matt breaks it up and allows Nick to run wild a bit. Slingshot facebuster while Matt beats on Daniels outside, and a superkick sends Chris into the post as he’s bleeding all OVER the floor. Well they know their audience. In the ring, the Bucks proceed to destroying Kaz with double-teams, but he manages to catch Nick with a northern lights suplex for two. Small package, but the Two Yayhoos from Impact take the ref and there’s no count. So Kaz pulls out a Styles Clash on Matt for two and Nick has to save. Matt catches him with a superkick and tombstones him for two, but Daniels pulls himself out of his pool of blood and saves. Angel’s Wings on Nick and he tags himself in legally, but Matt spears him and pounds on the bloodied eye some more. Daniels tries the Angel’s Wings again but Matt backdrops out. “This is awful! He’s bleeding all over Matt’s beautiful shoes!” notes Don. And then Matt does the sarcastic “I’m sorry, I love you” and superkicks Daniels for two. Daniels fights back and gets the BME after one slip, and that gets two. Daniels takes out the Yayhoos, but Matt uses cold spray in the eyes, hits him with the can…and that only gets two. So finally they hit the BTE Trigger, and Kaz can’t save in time as SCU is done at 14:23. ****1/4 But unfortunately they can’t let the moment breathe, as we cut to the back with Moxley and Kingston tearing up the Elite dressing room in disgust. Also, the match was great, but enough with the constant nWo run-ins. It’s not 1998 anymore.
Meanwhile, Christian Cage has an open contract for any of Team Taz to face him next week. And also he’s going to win the Casino Battle Royale at the PPV. But then Matt Sydal pops in and announces that he’s signed the open contract.
#1 contender match: Orange Cassidy v. Pac
Orange offers Pac the glasses and the gift is rejected, so Orange immediately hits the Beach Break and gets two. Pac bails and Orange hits him with a tope suicida and pulls out a replacement pair of glasses as we take a break. Back with Pac sending Orange into the railing. Back in, Pac hits the shotgun dropkick and goes up with a missile dropkick to the back, and that gets two. Pac goes up to finish, but Orange rolls away from the corner. So Pac drags him to the OTHER corner, and this time Orange rolls to the post to annoy Pac. Pac goes after him, so Orange leverages him into the corner and gets a rollup for two. And then Pac whacks him with a superkick and adds a Ligerbomb for two. We take another break and return with Kenny Omega running and hitting Pac with the belt and both guys are out. And they’re both out to the point where we get the first double KO finish I’ve ever seen outside of a Last Man Standing match, at 13:40. Kenny and Don celebrate because there’s no challenger for the PPV now, but Tony Schiavone announces that the PPV main event will be Omega v. Pac v. Orange Cassidy. That’s some weak ass WWE booking crutch shit there. I HATE the trope of “two people lose, so they both get the title shot”, especially on a show that’s always been built around clean finishes and a winner in every match. **1/2
Meanwhile, the Elite are sickened by their destroyed dressing room, and so next week they’re gonna take it out on the Varsity Blonds, who are apparently the #1 contenders now. That feels dangerously like they’re gonna hotshot the titles onto the Blonds to cash in on the Pillman show, actually. They just did the job last week! How does that even work? Anyway, the Bucks also challenge Kingston & Moxley for the PPV.
Meanwhile, Hangman Page and the Dark Order discuss his fall from #1 to #5, and Page throws out the challenge to Brian Cage at Double or Nothing. “Hey, that’s the name of the PPV! Did you do that on purpose, Adam?”
The Pinnacle is out to celebrate their Blood N Guts win, and associated ratings wins, including the highest rated episode in their history in Canada. Thanks to Shawn Spears of course. So Tully talks about the women and impending celebrations, but the Inner Circle pulls up in some kind of tractor and Jericho wants a rematch, which is denied. So the Pinnacle gets soaked with what is supposed to be a champagne hose and the announcers have to do the fake WWE laughing. So this convinces Max to accept the rematch, in the form of Stadium Stampede II (TOLD YOU SO!) but the Inner Circle has to break up forever if they lose. We JUST had a match where the losing team had to break up forever, on this show! I know they’re trying to be Attitude Era WWF but literally ripping off Steve Austin bits from 20 years ago and overdoing stips comes off really badly.
Meanwhile, Dr. Britt Baker DMD discusses how she’s hard to kill, and we get footage of a mini-brawl during a photo shoot for Forbes.
Thunder Rosa v. Jazmin Allure
Rosa beats on Allure in the corner with chops, and then sends her into the corner with a shotgun dropkick. Running senton gets two. Shoulderbreaker and Fire Thunder Driver finish at 1:50. Complete squash for Rosa here. Oddly, the NWA Women’s champion isn’t featured on the NWA show. And in fact they put over how Thunder Rosa wants another shot at Deeb’s title, but on the actual NWA Powerrr show, it’s Kamille who is the #1 contender.
Meanwhile, Jade Cargill is still open to offers for management but hasn’t picked anyone yet.
TNT title: Darby Allin v. Miro
Miro attacks before the bell and beats Darby into putty in the corner, demanding that the bell be rung, but Darby bails to the floor to escape. So Miro follows him out and hurls him into the railing like garbage and then runs him into the post as well. He clotheslines Darby into the crowd, and back in for more punishment as Darby finally wants the bell rung. So Miro hits him with a clothesline for two, and Darby retreats to the floor again. Darby fights back with a dropkick out there and tries the stunner, but Miro just blocks him like a child. So Darby regroups and hits him with a tope, and then Miro shrugs it off and suplexes him on the floor. We take a break and return back in the ring with Miro throwing Darby around, as apparently Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky attacked Sting during the break because this show needs MORE stuff going on. Darby fights back with a sleeper. Miro makes the ropes and Darby clamps it back on outside, so Miro grabs the TNT title and then just rams Darby into the wall to break free. Back in, Miro pounds on the previously injured shoulder, but Sting uses the power of the fist bump to fire Darby up again. So he clips Miro and this the stunner, and a small package gets two. Another stunner and Darby goes up with the Coffin Drop, but Miro catches him. Darby escapes a suplex and rolls up Miro for two, and the Code Red gets two. Darby goes for an armbar, but Miro takes him down and breaks him in half with the Game Over to win the title at 11:41. Seems like a weird time to take the title off Darby when he’s drawing a million viewers a week in this role, but it was time to do something with Miro. And then Sky and Page attack Sting again, but the Dark Order saves, and Lance Archer comes out to yell at Miro for more stuff going on. Good match at least. ***1/4
For me, this show is best when it occasionally flirts with Crash TV nostalgia booking and then veers back to solid matches again, but this was WAY too far into the Russo portion of the Venn Diagram. Like having a #1 contender match with no winner is pretty much inexcusable. And the Bucks stuff with the run-ins and interference is OK to draw heat in big matches, but done every week it’s getting old, fast. Hopefully with the PPV set up now, they’ll calm the fuck down for a couple of weeks, but ratings wins are an intoxicating brew and I bet TNT wants more of them. I don’t begrudge them that, but I don’t like this direction at all.