The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 01.26.22

The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 01.26.22

“Beach Break 2022”

Ugh, my child had (symptomless) Covid over the weekend, so I’m sure I’ll be riding that train very soon too.  Frankly given the fact that I’ve been forced to mingle with humanity to earn a living on a daily basis since this started, it’s something of a miracle that I or anyone else in my immediate circle has never had it before now.  Ironically I had to cancel my booster shot because of the situation.  Can we just end this pandemic already?  It’s becoming a real pain in the ass two years on.

Live from Cleveland, OH, home of many beaches, I guess?

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Excalibur & Jim Ross

Undisputed TNT title, ladder match:  Cody Rhodes v. Sammy Guevara

Cody acts like a douche to start, but Sammy flips over him and dropkicks him and they posture at each other.  They trade finisher attempts and Sammy catches Cody’s sliding punch and then heads out to bring the first ladder in.  Cody puts one on the railing as a bridge, so Sammy throws a chair at him and they fight into the front row and into the audience for a slugfest before Cody clotheslines him to ringside.  However, he stops to high-five some fans and that proves to be a mistake, as Sammy springboards back into the crowd with a cutter.  Should have slapped those fans who were high-fiving Cody while he was at it.  Back in the ring, they fight over a ladder and Sammy rams it into Cody’s face to knock him off the apron.  Back in the ring, Sammy gets a climb, but Cody brings him down and they collide for a double down.  They head up the ladder and Cody suplexes him off the top of the ladder and we take a break.  Back with Cody suplexing Sammy onto the ladder hinges, which would SUCK.  And then we get a wacky figure-four through the rungs of the ladder.  Sammy escapes that, but Cody continues abusing him with the ladder and climbs for the belt again, but Sammy dives off a second ladder and brings him down with a cutter in a crazy spot.  So Sammy wedges Cody under the ladder and climbs, but Cody pushes him over to escape and they both climb for a slugfest, which sets up a Crossroads off the top of the ladder for another insane bump from Sammy.  Cody climbs and gets the hanger, but Sammy grabs onto him and they’re both hanging there on the belt hook before falling off.  That could have gone badly.  Cody goes to Pillmanize Sammy on the floor with a ladder, but Fuego Del Sol comes out to stop him, and Cody gives him the Tiger Driver in frustration.  That allows Sammy to dive onto Cody and hit the GTH on the floor, and it’s time to pay off that ladder bridge from earlier.  So indeed, Sammy puts Cody on the ladder and then climbs a giant ladder, then hits a swanton onto Cody that looked like it went WAY worse for Sammy than Cody.  That boy ain’t right.  So Sammy climbs and they slug it out, and Sammy runs the belt into Cody’s head and claims the undisputed TNT title for himself at 23:04.  I liked the nice simple finish after all the crazy bumps – he just smashed him in the face and got the belts.  ****1/4

Meanwhile, at the “beach” in Cleveland, Tony interviews Team Taz, and Ricky issues a challenge to Jay Lethal for Rampage for the FTW title.

Wardlow v. James Alexander & Elijah Dean

Wardlow immediately bowls them over and begins the Powerbomb Symphony on both guys in turn and then piles them up and pins them at 1:24.  Even Shawn Spears decides not to give them the chair because it’s Wardlow’s hometown.

The Inner Circle v. 2point0 & Daniel Garcia

Santana & Ortiz don’t even stop to pose with Jericho for his pyro, so you know there’s issues.  Also they’re not wearing matches jackets, as Jericho has the leather biker vest that Sammy was wearing, but the other two are just wearing their normal gear.  Santana tells Jericho to start and then quickly tags himself in and beats on Parker, setting up the triple suplexes and a splash from Ortiz that gets two.  Garcia comes in and puts the boots to Ortiz to take over, but Ortiz clotheslines him and they hit him with a double flapjack.  Jericho tags himself in to get some action, but Ortiz tags himself right back in, allowing 2point0 to take out the knee and take over again as we take a break.  Back with Parker hitting a legdrop for two, but Ortiz hits him with a back suplex to block a bulldog.  Santana gets taken out by Matt Lee, leaving Jericho as the option, but Ortiz waits for Santana to fight up and tags him instead of Jericho.  So Santana runs wild and hits a double cutter on the heels, and a powerbomb into a lariat gets two.  2point0 tries to finish Santana with their move, but Jericho hits the Judas Effect from the floor and allows Santana to pin Parker at 8:56.  This was more storyline than match at times with the Jericho stuff but it was pretty solid action.  I’m just shocked that 2point0 actually have a FINISHER because god knows they’ve never done it on TV yet.  **1/2

Meanwhile, Hangman Page learns that Lance Archer has challenged him to a Texas Death match.

Meanwhile, Jurassic Express and Private Party set up a title match for Rampage, regardless of what the Ass Boys think.  Also Matt Hardy gives out fake watches, apparently.  Huge if true.

CM Punk joins us, and he’s got his LONGBOYS on and he’s ready to fight.  Plus he still has MJF’s scarf, which it turns out is worth $12 for a 5-pack on Amazon.  So he challenges MJF for tonight again, but he accepts that MJF will have more excuses and won’t accept.  So this brings out MJF, who of course declines the challenge because he doesn’t want to waste a historic match on Cleveland.  But next week, he offers up CM Punk v. MJF in Chicago.  But then he points out that after he wins, the people are going to see the real Punk, who takes his ball and goes home when he doesn’t get his way.  Much like when Punk no-showed in 2014 at a show in this very city and never returned.  So then Punk is all fired up again, pointing out that Maxwell was a fan of his podcast, and paid to see him, and Punk would rather be the guy who made a stand instead of the guy who talks a big game and then never shows up to fight in the first place.  So MJF brings the Pinnacle out for the beatdown, with Wardlow conspicuously not getting involved.  Finally MJF orders Wardlow to powerbomb Punk onto a chair, and he obliges, surprisingly.  Thought this was the week for the turn.  Man, they’re just making sure everyone is SUPER ready for it.

Meanwhile, Anthony Bowens challenges Jon Moxley for Rampage.  That probably won’t work out well for him.

Meanwhile, Julia Hart signs for a title match with Jade on Rampage despite her eye patch, and she’s pretty bitchy about it when Griff wants her to take it easy.

Legit Leyla Hirsch v. Red Velvet

Velvet runs in and attacks and hits a leg lariat, but Leyla takes her to the apron and beats on her outside, but Velvet gets her stunner on the apron and back in for armbar attempt.  Leyla powerbombs out of that pretty easily and dropkicks the arm to take over as we take a break.  Back with Leyla sending her into the corner, but Red hits a stunner out of the corner and gets the double knees on the ropes.  Leyla blocks a bulldog, but Velvet gets a spear for two.  And then Leyla just counters the axe kick into a powerbomb, hits a knee strike, and goes to an armbar, but Velvet gets the ropes.  Velvet with a cradle for two, but Leyla reverses to her own rollup and grabs the tights for the pin at 8:23.  This was a pretty major style clash and didn’t work well.  *1/2

Meanwhile, the House of Black is ranked #5 already and coming after the tag titles.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD joins Tony in the ring for the presentation of some PWI awards, Match of the Year, Most Improved of the Year and Female Wrestler of the Year.  Also we get some football references that she drives into the ground and surprisingly there’s no angle to come out of it.

Meanwhile, apparently the Covid-postponed match with FTR and Arn’s guys happens this week on Rampage.  Am I the first person to think that they should just call them Brock-Lee?  Also Nyla Rose randomly interrupts the hype session and challenges Ruby Soho to a match next week.

Lights out match:  Adam Cole v. Orange Cassidy

They head to the floor right away and Orange dropkicks him into the railing, but he stops to high-five some kid and Cole throws him into the railing.  Man, being nice to fans is a loser’s game.  And then Cole tries to grab a chair from under the ring, but DANHAUSEN is clinging to it, thus making his AEW debut with a wacky cameo.  See, I’ve been saying that he was a lock for this company.  Or does it not count because it’s non-sanctioned?  Either way Orange and Danhausen as a team could be awesome.  And also Danhausen curses Cole on the way out, giving him an excuse should he lose tonight.  Cole tries a Panama Sunrise off the apron, but Orange counters with a Beach Break attempt and they go through the timekeeper’s table.  Orange misses a punch and hits the post as we take a break.  Back with Cole trying to drop Orange on a pair of chairs, but Orange slams him onto them.  Cole calls out Associate Stooge Brandon Cutler, but this triggers a brawl with the Best Friends and the Elite and Orange hits Beach Break for two.  Orange Punch follows, but the hand is broken and he can’t cover, so Cole goes low…and Orange is wearing a cup.  Orange brutalizes him with the kicks and makes the babyface comeback before hitting a shockingly energetic Panama Sunrise for two. So he wraps his fist in the chain, but they retreat back to the gorilla position backstage and Cole slams him through the table for two.  Back to the ramp, but Orange counters the Boom with a superkick and loads up the chain, only for Cole to counter with a light standard to the head.  Cole goes up to the top of the tunnel for the big finish, but loses track of Orange, and Orange punches him in the nuts from behind as a result.  This sets up a hug from Orange, and he pulls Cole down and through the stage and pins him to get his revenge at 16:33.  Pretty sure Danhausen under the ring makes it an automatic **** match.  It’s just a rule.  This was a lot of silly fun and it’s nice to see Cole finally get his.

Great show this week and Rampage looks pretty loaded as well.