Date: January 19, 2022
Location: Entertainment & Sports Arena, Washington DC
Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone

It’s a big night around here as we have the return of Jon Moxley after a nearly three month absence. Moxley has been out of action due to undergoing alcohol rehabilitation treatment and it is great to have him back. What matters most is that he is healthy and if that is the case, I’m glad he can be around here again. Let’s get to it.

Here are last week’s results if you need a recap.

Here is Jon Moxley to a hero’s welcome to get things going. Moxley gets in the ring and, after telling a fan “Go f*** yourself, get that piece of s*** out of here” (completely uncensored on the broadcast), Moxley talks about having a dream where a demon told him he would never make it. He has more scars on his body than most people and those are the things that tell our story. Those scars are the ones that tell us the story of who we are. Nobody is perfect and no one should be afraid to stand up and bare it all.

Everything that makes you the person you are, scars and all, should make you say THIS IS ME. If you want to write him off, he’ll tell you where to shove all that s***, just like he told that demon. For everyone who has supported him, thank you. He is going on a pilgrimage and do whatever he wants to the world of professional wrestling because he is truly free. No one here can put him through worse than he has been through and these days, all he drinks is blood. Well that was amazing, and one of the most emotional speeches you’ll see in a LONG time.

MJF talks about CM Punk needing to steal a win by using the hair and trunks last week to beat Wardlow (who could have escaped with a bit more experience). As for this week, it is Wardlow’s birthday and MJF offers him a sincere apology for losing it last week. Wardlow seems to appreciate that….but MJF is docking Wardlow’s pay for putting his hands on him. MJF moves on to Shawn Spears, who is going to hand PG Punk his first loss, while teaching Wardlow a lesson. The turn is going to be incredible when we finally get there.

Adam Cole/Britt Baker vs. Kris Statlander/Orange Cassidy

The women start but Baker tags out almost immediately. Then Cole tags out, meaning Statlander has to come back in. Hold on though as Cassidy does the lazy kicks, earning himself a stomp to the food. Statlander comes in to slam the posing Baker but it’s too early for the Big Bang Theory. It’s back to the men, meaning Cassidy can hit a tornado DDT to send Cole outside.

Back in and Statlander grabs a delayed vertical suplex on Baker, with Cassidy shoving it over. Cassidy hits a rather low dive on Cole before stopping for a pose, allowing Baker and Cole to superkick them down. A nice kiss sends us to a break and we come back with Cassidy taking Cole down.

The women come back in with Statlander hitting a Blue Thunder Bomb for her own two. A neckbreaker takes Statlander down though and it’s back to Cole for the superkick to Cassidy’s knee. Cole hits an enziguri but Stundog Millionaire gets Cassidy out of trouble. Baker comes in off the blind tag to break up Beach Break and Stomp Cassidy down. Statlander kicks her in the face and hits something like a Falcon Arrow for two.

Area 451 is loaded up but Cole covers Baker….which is fine with Statlander, who splashes both of them. The Beach Break hits Cole for two but he superkicks a dive out of the air. Baker takes Statlander to the ramp for a Canadian Destroyer, leaving Cole to Panama Sunrise Cassidy for two. With nothing else working, Cole loads up a table at ringside (because we need tables), only to have Cassidy accidentally knock Baker through it. Cole is livid and it’s a low blow into the Boom for the pin at 14:22.

Rating: C+. That’s it for the feud right? There is no reason for Cole and Cassidy to feud any longer and hopefully we can move on and let Cole do something more important. The match was your usual AEW match with big kickouts and went on a bit longer than necessary, but it did have the entertaining bits that you would expect.

Chris Jericho tells Eddie Kingston to GFY but Santana and Ortiz don’t like him talking about Kingston that way. Actually, when has Jericho even had their back? Maybe next week, they can prove that they don’t need Jericho. That seems to shake Jericho a bit.

Adam Cole is sick of Orange Cassidy. He has beaten Cassidy every way he can, but now Cassidy is attacking Baker? Next week, it can be No DQ, anything goes, lights out. It might not be a good idea to point out that you have beaten the guy over and over before challenging him to another match. And great, ANOTHER hardcore match.

CM Punk vs. Shawn Spears

MJF is on commentary as the GTS finishes Spears at 12 seconds. Much like last week: that’s how I like my Spears matches.

Post match Punk poses so MJF tries to sneak in, only to have Punk jump in his face. Punk grabs the scarf but MJF bails from the threat of a right hand.

Billy Gunn stops Christian Cage in the back and says his sons have earned a Tag Team Title shot against Cage’s friends, the Jurassic Express. Cage says make a statement and they’ll talk. Cue the Gunn Club to jump Christian and send him head first into the steel door. Billy as a mouthpiece for his kids is a completely acceptable idea and an upgrade over what he has been doing.

Here is Cody Rhodes, with a huge ladder in the ring. Rhodes talks about CM Punk’s pipe bomb, which was the beginning of a revolution. Some of the things Punk were saying were the blueprint for what AEW would do. After pausing for some negative chants, Cody talks about how Punk made the comeback of the decade and we are all living it. Cody starts yelling about how he carried the revolution and since “you ask me why I won’t turn heel”, it’s because they cheered him when he needed it the most.

There are industry journalists who talk about opening the forbidden door…and now let’s talk about how ReDRagon passed hiptoss class. There are wrestlers elsewhere named Gunner McGillcutty or whatever it is but then he was gone for two weeks and there is an Interim TNT Title. Fans have been taught to believe that any title without the word World in it doesn’t matter.

That’s why he wants to face Sammy Guevara in a ladder match at Beach Break for the undisputed title. I got the gist of what Cody was saying here, but this was all over the place with one idea after another thrown out there but he kept moving on before getting to the point. The ladder match (because this company loves ladder matches) is a fine way to unify the titles, but this was a rambling mess of an insider/shoot promo and it was all about Cody, again, without making much sense until the end.

Jade Cargill has issued an open challenge for the TBS Title and Anna Jay is ready to accept it. Jay talks about the hardcore match from a few weeks ago to show she’s ready.

Kings of the Black Throne vs. Varsity Blonds

Brody shoves Garrison around to start and sends him outside, meaning it’s off to Pillman. That doesn’t work though as Pillman won’t try Air Pillman. Instead he drops outside to talk to Garrison, who is driven into the steps. Back in and Black sweeps Pillman’s leg so Garrison can hit a backsplash. Garrison is taken out again and Dante’s Inferno finishes Pillman at 1:48.

Post match Black tells the House of Black to rise but Pac, still blind, pops up on screen to say he is beyond Black’s reach.

Video on Lance Archer vs. Hangman Page, with Jake Roberts returning to say Archer is ready for Page.

Roppongi Vice steals Brandon Cutler to challenge the Young Bucks to a match on Rampage. They beat the Bucks in Japan once so they can do it again. Cutler thinks the Bucks are going to kill him. Romero: “Then turn the camera off bro.”

Lance Archer vs. Frankie Kazarian

Jake Roberts and Dan Lambert are in Archer’s corner. Archer hammers him down before the bell and then stands on Kazarian’s neck. The beating continues with Archer slowly pounding away as Kazarian can’t get anything going. Kazarian gets dropped again and again and we take a break.

We come back with Archer loudly saying “F*** YOU” (seemingly to a fan) and sending Kazarian chest first into the buckle. The Blackout is broken up with Kazarian finally getting in a little something. That doesn’t work for Archer though and he chokeslams Kazarian down as this is going WAY too long. Archer finally finishes with the Blackout at 10:01.

Rating: D. This was a bad miss, as Archer didn’t look like a monster but rather a guy lumbering around and (very) slowly beating Kazarian down. I don’t know if they were told to fill in time or what, but they took what should have been a three minute match and stretched it way further than it needed to be. This doesn’t make me want to see Archer vs. Page, but rather seeing a big audible call.

Post match, Dan Lambert goes on another cowboy rant against Hangman Page, but Archer cuts him off because he’s sick of this s*** (as we have even more swearing, which isn’t as edgy as AEW seems to think it is). Archer loads up a chokeslam off the ramp but here is Hangman Page for the save. Page gets kneed down so he pulls off his cowboy boot to blast Archer in the head. The Buckshot Lariat is blocked so Page forearms him out to the floor. Page stands tall.

Dante Martin is ready for Team Taz, with Lee Moriarty and Matt Sydal having his back until his brother gets back.

Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs are going to prove Martin is all alone because he’ll need someone to watch every side.

Leyla Hirsch breaks up a Red Velvet/Kris Statlander interview to complain about their loss on Friday. Velvet says it was miscommunication and gets her arm barred as a result.

Serena Deeb vs. Skye Blue

Deeb takes her down to start and sends Blue to the apron to keep up the beating. Back in and some uppercuts to the back of the heck set up a fisherman’s neckbreaker. The Serenity Lock finishes Blue at 2:50. I can absolutely go for more of this Deeb.

Ethan Page wants a big match on Rampage and tells Tony Khan to put the franchise player in.

On Rampage: Ethan Page vs. Jon Moxley, plus Roppongi Vice vs. the Young Bucks. We get some New Japan footage of their previous matches.

Video on Hook.

Matt Hardy has signed Andrade El Idolo 51% of the Hardy Family Office but he is still in charge of the board of directors. Andrade will be the president though, and they are now the AHFO. Now, they want Darby Allin. I’ll take them combining some of their more boring acts into one.

Acclaimed vs. Darby Allin/Sting

Caster’s rap promises to make this worse than Starrcade 97 so you know it’s serious. The Acclaimed jump them before the bell as Tony says he still can’t explain Starrcade 1997. A chair is wrapped around Allin’s neck and Caster whips it into the post. Sting is back up as medics check on Allin but he’s willing to fight on his own. Sting takes the Acclaimed down to start but the Stinger Splash hits an exposed buckle, giving Bowens two.

We take a break and come back with Sting putting Caster in the Deathlock. Bowens hits a discus forearm but Sting yells and doesn’t let go. A superkick breaks it up but Allin comes back in to make the save. Allin gets taken down again so the Mic Drop can give Caster two. Sting backdrops Bowens over the top and splashes Caster through a table at ringside. Fans: “YOU STILL GOT IT!” I don’t think YOU STILL GOT IT is a term that applies to something that Sting rarely did, but fair enough. The Coffin Drop finishes Bowens at 9:20.

Rating: C+. Sting matches are all smoke and mirrors, but dang they’re fun smoke and mirrors. They aren’t doing anything too bad and the fans’ reactions alone carry the matches to another level. That being said, Sting and Allin have to be close to being #1 contenders right? They’re undefeated and just beat the #1 contenders, so shouldn’t their title shot be coming soon? That’s not a bad thing, but it should be addressed.

Overall Rating: C-. I’m not sure what happened tonight but this might have been the biggest miss Dynamite has had to date. There were good parts to it (Gunn being moved into a manager role (at least for now), Deeb’s squash, the main event, Spears going short again and King/Black’s debut) but the rest was a bit of a mess. It felt like they didn’t have a plan tonight and it was kind of all over the place.

The biggest standout part was the Cody promo, which started and ended well but took a right turn into lala land in the middle. I still don’t know what he was trying to say with a lot of that and it was one of the bigger head scratchers in recent memory. In addition, you have Cole saying that he has done everything he can to Cassidy, including pinning him tonight, but now we’re going to do it AGAIN, and this time in a hardcore match.

That is where AEW is starting to slip a bit for me, as it feels like they are trying to be a modern day ECW. Between the constant hardcore based matches (I believe Cole vs. Cassidy makes three since December 31), the table spots (two tonight) and ALL THE SWEARING, it feels like they are trying to push the envelope for the sake of pushing the envelope. When you do that kind of thing all the time, the impact goes away very fast and that is what they are doing now. Just pull it back a bit and save that stuff for when it matters, not whenever you can throw it out.

Overall, this show just did not feel like AEW quality. Dynamite has been good to excellent most of the time but they have been missing a bit in recent weeks. I don’t know if that is due to some kind of Covid deal shaking things up backstage or something else, but the shows have not been the best as of late. Maybe they need to change something backstage, because this is starting to trend in a bad direction.

Adam Cole/Britt Baker b. Orange Cassidy/Kris Statlander – Boom to Cassidy
CM Punk b. Shawn Spears – GTS
Kings of the Black Throne b. Varsity Blonds – Dante’s Inferno to Pillman
Lance Archer b. Frankie Kazarian – Blackout
Serena Deeb b. Skye Blue – Serenity Lock
Sting/Darby Allin b. Acclaimed – Coffin Drop to Bowens