The SmarK Rant for AEW Dynamite – 05.18.22
Live from Houston, TX
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Excalibur & Tony Schiavone
Owen Hart Foundation quarterfinals: Samoa Joe v. Johnny Elite
I’m assuming this is a cameo appearance for John Hennigan, although this might give away the identity of the other Joker now. Joe beats him down right away, but Johnny takes him down and goes for the leg. Joe slugs away in the corner and puts him down with a back elbow and then follows with a high kick to lay him out. Johnny fires back with his own kicks and goes to a facelock on the mat, and then puts Joe on the floor and follows with a dive from the top as we take a break. Back with Joe coming back with an atomic drop and big boot, and he puts Johnny down with a nasty chop for two. Joe tries for the Muscle Buster, but John flips out of it and gets a samoan drop and 450 for two. He kind of undershot that 450. John goes up again for Starship Pain, but Joe gets the knees up and hits the Buster on the second try to finish at 10:29. This brings Jay Lethal and his crew out for the beatdown, but the Best Friends save. Match was a little wonky at times due to a bunch of blown spots from Johnny Elite, but overall pretty solid. **1/2
Meanwhile, the Hardys have BREAKING NEWS, as Jeff is medically cleared to compete tonight. That is big news considering the condition he’s in these days. The Young Bucks interrupt and recommend that Jeff take the night off, but Matt calls them “Hardy cosplayers” and warns them not to interfere.
Hangman Page v. Konosuke Takeshita
They slug it out to start and Takeshita hits him with forearms, but Page gets the fallaway slam and chases him to the apron for a lariat out there. Hangman follows with a pescado and stops to glad-hand the fans a bit, so Takeshita hits his own dive and they fight back into the ring. They trade forearms on the apron and Page drops him out there with a suplex, which as JR reminds us is THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING, and he follows with the moonsault as we take a break. Back with Takeshita fighting out of a chinlock and coming back with a flying clothesline and Blue Thunder Bomb while Grandpa Jim calls him “a young man from the Orient”. Oh man they have to get him off commentary soon. He tosses Page and follows with a tope con hilo, and back in for a running boot in the corner. But then Hangman fires back with his own and then they drop each other on their heads with german suplexes before clotheslining each other for the double down. They slug it out with forearms and Page spikes him with a tombstone for two. They trade more crazy forearms and Takeshita hits him with a Last Ride for two, and then hits the running knee for two. Deadlift german suplex follows, but he can’t hang onto the bridge due to a neck problem. So they exchange more forearms and then Takeshita tries a lariat and Page WALLOPS him with an elbow in mid-air to knock him out. They fight to the top, but Takeshita puts him down with a lariat on the top, so Page pops up and hits the buckshot and then finishes with a GO TO SLEEP at 12:44 as an FU to Punk. THIS. WAS. AWESOME. Holy s--- they were just beating the bejesus out of each other at a million miles an hour. ****1/4 Afterwards, Punk comes out for a confrontation, and TEXAS BOOS THE HANGMAN. Oh it’s on now.
Meanwhile, the Dark Order and their new friend Feugo Del Sol challenge the House of Black for Rampage. Well good luck with that. Really Black should just annex the Dark Order.
Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee v. JD Drake & Anthony Henry
JD does not bask in Lee’s glory and in fact thinks it’s silly and mocks it, so Keith beats on him and brings in Swerve, who hits Henry with a jump kick in the corner and follows with the springboard elbow. Rolling flatliner follows and it’s back to Drake, but Keith comes in again and destroys them both, setting up an incredible double stomp from Swerve into Lee’s powerbomb to finish Henry at 2:30. This brings out Team Taz and Swerve calls Starks “someone dressed like a bar of soap with a pearl necklace on”, but of course Jurassic Express interrupts them both and challenges them to a three way tag title match at Double or Nothing.
Meanwhile, Kris Statlander and Red Velvet discuss their impending tournament match, but Jade Cargill interrupts and tells off Tony.
MJF joins us to run down Texas, and then brings out Wardlow for his 10 lashes after infuriating the crowd to the point where he can’t hear his own promo. So he delivers a couple of lashes and Wardlow won’t even react, and so Max kicks him in the nuts and then delivers more shots, and finally knocks him out with the diamond ring to lay him out. Pretty much what was expected here.
Meanwhile, the now full-time Roppongi Vice challenge FTR to the ROH tag team titles.
Owen Hart Foundation quarterfinal: Rey Fenix v. Kyle O’Reilly
They trade armbar takedowns and Kyle gets some shots in the corner, but Fenix tosses him and follows with a dive into the railing. Back in the ring, Kyle catches him in an armbar on the mat, but they fight to the floor and we take a break. Back with Kyle putting the boots to Fenix in the ring, but Fenix fights back and is apparently suffering from a leg injury. Kyle sends him to the apron as Fenix can’t counter to his hook kick, but he does manage a springboard kick and then gets a powerbomb out of Alabama Slam position for two. Rey snaps off a rana for two, but O’Reilly beats on him with kicks and catches a dive and reverses it to a series of rolling suplexes. Fenix gets a spinkick in the corner and they trade rebound kicks and then exchange head kicks and both go down. They trade more kicks and head to the apron, where Fenix hits a rana off the apron and to the floor. Back in right away for a cutter, but Kyle counters with an armbar and traps the leg at the same time, and Fenix has to tap at 12:00. This was kind of weird and awkward to start and then they just started doing crazy s--- and it got awesome in a hurry. ****
Face to Face Confrontation: Chris Jericho v. William Regal
Jericho demands NO PYRO and NO SINGING tonight, then accuses Regal of orchestrating the attack against him last week. He’s also amazed that Regal isn’t dead yet and still has a brain that mostly works. Next up, he notes that Regal is a lifelong addict who’s been fired from every job. Also all his team members are STUPID and Jericho’s banging Eddie Kingston’s wife. And also, Regal will soon be shoving whiskey down Bryan’s throat until he has to join the program with Moxley. So he’s gonna throw fireballs at them because he’s a Wizard and then piss in Regal’s tea again. I was waiting for him to bring that up. So then Regal ups the ante by noting that every time he shared a locker room with Jericho, he went into Chris’s toiletry bag and stuck his toothbrush into his bottom. EW. So now Jericho is all worked up and is about to challenge them to a STADIUM STAMPEDE, but Moxley isn’t gonna get sucked into the Sports Entertainment Vortex and instead wants a street fight in the arena. Jericho points out that Santana and Moxley were trying to stab each other in the eye last time he saw them (“Remember the Eye For An Eye match that was actually GOOD?”) Eddie’s had enough talking and wants to fight right now, but of course Jericho’s crew only sports entertains for ratings and they leave, as the babyfaces all argue thanks to Jericho’s stirring of the s---. This went on a bit long but Jericho was really funny here.
Meanwhile, Matt Sydal and Dante Martin want a piece of the Combat Club on Rampage. Good luck with that.
Owen Hart Foundation quarterfinals: Dr. Britt Baker DMD v. Maki Itoh
I was thinking they might bring in Taya but Twitter was speculating about Itoh as well. Maki offers up a free pin for Britt because they’re friends, but then turns on Britt and cradles for two. She misses the headbutt and Britt tries for the Lockjaw, but Itoh rolls her over for two. Britt clotheslines her for two and we take a break. Back with Itoh getting a suplex, but Britt loads up the glove and runs Itoh into the turnbuckle. However, Maki has a hard head and no-sells it, and then headbutts Britt down instead. Tornado DDT gets two. Diving headbutt gets two, but Britt superkicks her and finishes with the Lockjaw at 5:45. This was an interesting trainwreck, I’ll give it that. **1/2 I don’t really “get” Maki Itoh, but then I love Danhausen and Orange Cassidy and lots of people don’t get them, so I get how people might get it.
Tony Schiavone joins us in the ring to talk about Double or Nothing Week, but Serena Deeb interrupts and she’s complaining about Dustin Rhodes and having to put in breast implants and shave her head years ago to get respect. So the Karening intensifies until Thunder Rosa comes out to save Dustin from demands to see his manager, and Deeb lays her out and steals the belt. This was amazing….ly awful. Like, every week they let Deeb and Rosa do stuff to hype the match it makes me care even less.
Owen Hart Foundation Semifinal: Jeff Hardy v. Adam Cole
Cole attacks on the ramp, but thankfully stops so we can go “Adam Cole Bay Bay”. Jeff fights back and hits a dive from the apron, but Cole sends him into stairs to take over. Back in, Cole slams him and we take a break. Back with Jeff making a comeback, but Cole superkicks him to counter the Whisper in the Wind and that gets two. Cole misses the Boom and hardy hits the Stunner and Twist of Fate, but he misses the swanton and the Boom finishes at 5:34. This was rushed as HELL and still wasn’t very good even at high speed. *1/2 Man, they better do the Bucks v. Grandpa Bucks dream match at the PPV because the Hardyz are going to crumble into dust on live TV one of these weeks. Speaking of which, the Bucks come out for the attack, but Sting and Darby save until the Bucks put him down with the superkicks and Kyle O’Reilly pillmanizes the ankle. And the show just goes to black with that.
This one was ALL OVER the damn place, with timing issues up and down the show (Excalibur didn’t even run down next week’s show until the main event started!), but we got two awesome matches on free TV at least. For me, that second hour was kind of a dumpster fire after the Kyle-Fenix match and this was a steep drop from last week’s banger of a show. I’m sure the Vegas show next week will be super hot, though. And you should really check out Hangman v. Takeshita.