The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 12.29.21

The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 12.29.21

“New Year’s Smash”

Live from Jacksonville, FL, on TNT for the last time.  Which means nothing in Canada because it’ll still be on the same channel next week.  Luckily they don’t have any Covid in Florida so there shouldn’t be any outbreaks from this show.  Maybe they should have held the World Junior Hockey tournament there, too.

Your hosts are Excalibur, Tony Schiavone and the cancer-free Jim Ross

The Jurassic Express, Christian Cage & The Lucha Bros v. FTR, Private Party & Matt Hardy

Christian trades wristlocks with Cash and flapjacks him, then slugs away in the corner and brings in Jungle Boy for a double-team that chases Cash to the apron.  Over to Dax, and they trade chops in the corner before Jungle Boy elbows him down a few times and Dax gets pinballed in the babyface corner as a result.  Christian chokes him out on the ropes to set up a Snare Trap from Jungle Boy, but Cash saves right away and Kassidy comes in.  He gets double-teamed by the Lucha Bros, but manages to cut off JB and Private Party works him over and Matt comes in with a sleeper before JB escapes with a lariat.  Penta cleans house with sling blades, and Fenix tries to hit a Muscle Buster on Quen, but he reverses to a DDT in a wacky spot.  The heels drag Fenix back to their corner and work him over, and Dax hits a gourdbuster for two.  Fenix fights them off and hits a moonsault press on FTR, setting up the hot tag to Luchasaurus.  Kassidy squealing in terror while getting thrown around is never not funny.  Luchasaurus destroys everyone with corner clotheslines, but FTR goes low on him.  Luchasaurus comes back with a chokeslam, but Penta tags himself in and hits a backstabber on Dax for two.  It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and people are diving all over the place, leaving Dax alone with Penta and Christian.  Cage tags himself in and Penta doesn’t appreciate that, but that allows FTR to hit the Big Rig on him for the pin at 12:42.  This was your Party Match of the Week, obviously.  ***1/2

Eddie Kingston, Santana & Ortiz v. Daniel Garcia & 2point0

Eddie snaps off a suplex on Matt Lee to start and immediately chases the heels to the floor for a brawl, but Parker cuts him off in the ring and slugs away in the corner.  Ortiz comes in, but Parker SWEEPS THE LEG and Ortiz is looking pretty skinny.  Santana comes in and they double-team Parker with clotheslines, so Daniel Garcia comes in to give it a try.  Santana gives him the Three Amigos and they double-team Garcia with a double-team facebuster for two.  Matt Lee gets a blind tag and hauls Ortiz to the floor for some abuse out there and we take a break.  Back with Lee gets worked over by Santana & Ortiz now, but Lee gets his knees up on a moonsault and rolls up Santana for the pin at 8:42 with a handful of tights.  This never get going, unfortunately.  **  Afterwards, the heels run the ringbell into Santana’s head, but Chris Jericho makes a late save, which doesn’t really help after his friend already took a bell to the head.  But then Eddie Kingston gets all pissy about Jericho sticking his nose into his match, and they tease a brawl before cooler heads prevail.  I was just thinking that it was weird that Kingston’s heel tendencies have receded lately, but apparently that’s not the case.

Meanwhile, MJF complains that if he was working for a more PROFESSIONAL wrestling company, bad things wouldn’t happen to him, but that’s a conversation for 2024.  And then MJF has a contract for Wardlow, stating that he’s going to need to win a shot at the TNT title, and then relinquish it to MJF.  I don’t feel like that plan is going to work out for Maxwell.

Meanwhile, The Lucha Bros are doing their post-match interview with Tony, but the Jurassic Express interrupts and they want a tag team title match NEXT WEEK.  Penta apparently says that they should dump Christian first.

Wardlow v. Colin Delaney

I love that they’re digging up doughy jobbers for Wardlow to murder now.  And the powerbomb symphony ends it at 1:21.  They’re getting it over bigger every week.

Meanwhile, the Elite have an awkward meeting backstage, as the Bucks and reDragon don’t really get along very well.  And in a nice touch, Kyle acknowledges that he and Adam Cole had heat last time they were together.

Dan Lambert and the Men of the Year join us, and he’s sad to see Arn Anderson go from Horsemen to Whore.  And this leads us to Brandi, who is not CURRENTLY a stripper.  Ethan and Sky laughing uproariously at their own jokes is amazing.  And then Dan gets the line of year, noting that Cody “tattooed a Transformers logo to his neck”.  This brings out Brandi, who calls Lambert a “less talent Paul Heyman”.  Dan prefers being compared to Jim Cornette.  “When’s the last time you got beat up by a woman and didn’t have to pay for it?”  Even the hostile crowd has to laugh at that one.  Dan is happy to choke out Brandi, but Dustin Rhodes steps in and gets blindsided for his troubles.  Which is smart because people like Dustin, and having Cody make the save would have turned Lambert babyface.  Tremendously entertaining segment.

Meanwhile, we get a video about next week’s Hangman v. Dragon rematch, although we still don’t know who the three judges will be.  I vote for Judge Judy, Judge Fudge and Mike Judge.

TBS Tournament semi-finals:  Jade Cargill v. Thunder Rosa

Rosa has gone full Wolverine, or maybe X-19, I dunno.  They fight to the floor and Jade runs her into the railing, but Rosa fires back with kicks and tries a crossbody off the apron, which Jade turns into a backbreaker on the floor.  Rosa takes out the knee, but Jade runs her into the post to take over.  Back in the ring, Jade misses a charge and Rosa takes out the knee again.  She goes up with an elbow off the middle that goes a bit askew, but Jade lays her out with the big boot and we take a break.  Back with Rosa coming back with a corner clothesline, but Jade powers her into a backbreaker before dropping her due to the knee injury.  Rosa takes out the knee again and gets the figure-four on Jade, but she makes the ropes.  Rosa tries it again, but Mark Sterling takes the ref and someone comes out of the crowd and hits Rosa with a stun gun, allowing Jade to finish with Jaded at 11:22 and advance to the finals.  And then the mysterious person unmasks as Mercedes Martinez for the beatdown.  That one feels like taking WWE’s sloppy seconds, to be honest, especially with Retribution being such a punchline by the end of their “run”.  A decent match with some sloppiness from both women.  **1/2  I think the winner is so obviously going to be Jade that they might swerve us and put it on Ruby, but obvious is probably the best way to go.

CM Punk joins us for his debut in Daily’s Place, and he’s thinking about Brodie Lee.  The tribute show made him want to come to AEW, where MJF is currently trolling him.  But Punk is looking to bigger and better things, like the AEW World title.  And MJF is a bigger waste of Khan money than Tim Tebow, which draws gasps from the crowd.  SPORTSBALL REFERENCE!  So he’s gonna make sure to mess with MJF’s quest to win titles in AEW.

Meanwhile, Hikaru Shida is still not done with Serena Deeb.

Brian Pillman Jr joins Tony for an interview, and he’s still shaken up from Malakai Black trying to end Griff’s career, but his memory is a little fuzzy due to evil black mist.  Black appears and then leaves without incident in a weird payoff.

Meanwhile, Anthony Bowens will be facing Darby Allin on Rampage and Max Caster rubs baby oil on him to prepare.  Plus we get another match with Anna Jay & Tay Conti v. Bunny & Ford to hopefully finish that feud off for good.

Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish v. Orange Cassidy & Best Friends

Kind of crazy given the war at this time last year that we’d see the Undisputed Era main eventing Dynamite by the end of 2021.  And of course the crowd immediately chants “Undisputed” as the lawyers prepare for their own war.  Kyle trades kicks with Trent, and for some crazy reason he seems way more motivated here than he was while fighting Von Wagner.  Orange comes in to face off with Fish with his own kicks and rolls him up for two, but stops to put his hands in the pockets and gets laid out by Cole.  The Best Friends double-team Cole with elbows and drop the Paisan Elbow on him, and we clear the ring for the hug before reDragon breaks it up.  Kyle cuts off Chuck on the apron and Fish SWEEPS THE LEG to take over, and we take a break.  Back with Cole working Chuck over, and he superkicks Orange off the apron, but Trent gets a hot tag and suplexes Kyle to set up a tornado DDT for two.  Cole cuts him off, however, and reDragon double-team him with a double-team kneedrop for two.  Trent fights out of the corner and Orange comes back in with a crossbody on Kyle and stunner on Cole.  But then reDragon double-team him with a suplex for two and the High Low for two, as Chuck saves.  Everyone fights to the floor and Fish DDTs Trent on the ramp, but Cole tries a Panama Sunrise on Chuck on the ramp and gets backdropped.  Chuck cannonballs the other two on the floor, and Orange hits Cole with the diving DDT in the ring, for two.  Chuck and Trent hit piledrivers on Cole and Orange follows with the Beach Break for two, but Kyle and Fish make the save.  Kyle comes in with kicks on Orange, but accidentally boots Cole in the face and Orange rolls him up for two.  Chuck and Trent double-team Kyle with the half and half combo to set up the Best Friends Hug, but Cutler comes out to run interference while the Bucks superkick everyone, and Chasing the Dragon finishes Chuck at 14:48.  And it’s the Bucks who are comforting Adam Cole while reDragon celebrates, and that’s how we end the TNT era.  That tag team match is going to be balls out crazy awesome when it happens and I’m there for it.  ***1/2

A fun show to end the TNT era, which absolutely flew by, but also suffered from the same sort of non-essential feeling that the promotion has had lately.  Probably because they’ve had a lot of big shows coming up right away that need to be hyped, but I was kind of hoping for a big surprise debut here and it was mostly just a fun, solid show.