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AEW Dynamite: January 12, 2021

by Doc Allen

AEW Dynamite

Live from the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Shiavone, and Excalibur.

Adam Cole and reDRagon come to the ring for Storytime. 2021 was a great year for the trio, 2022 will be even better, especially for the still-undefeated Cole. They're interrupted by the Young Bucks (with Brandon Cutler) who are back after Matt kicked COVID's @ss in 2 days. The Bucks admit that they overstepped boundaries with a recent assistance, unfortunately both the Bucks and reDRagon have sights set on the tag titles. Cole tries to shift their thinking to friendly competition being a good thing. They're joined by Orange Cassidy and Best Friends. Cole wants to know what important thing OC could possibly say, prompting a fierce spear from Cassidy! Best Friends clear the ring, Cassidy back drops Cutler onto the Bucks. Cole low blows Cassidy, but Kris Statlander steps in as a shield. Dr. Britt Baker runs in and puts Kris down with a curb stomp. Britt holds OC in place for Cole's superkick and knee to the head. Cole asks for a kiss, and gets one from Britt instead of the Bucks. Cole is getting everything he wants, but the Bucks and reDRagon still don't look too happy about working together.

Video package for Wardlow, set to classical music. Because he dishes out Symphonies of Powerbombs. Get it?

Commercial for the Go Big Show. The judges watch a guy set himself on fire and solve a rubix cube. Cody Rhodes looks disgusted in the moment, but you know he's thinking "That would look cool on Dynamite."

Wardlow (with MJF) vs. CM Punk

Punk would rather fight MJF, so Wardlow casually gets between them. They lock up and Wardlow hits a shoulder block. Punk struggles as Wardlow delivers shoulder thrusts. Punk dodges a head of steam and looks for a quick GTS, Wardlow tries a powerbomb, so Punk flees to ringside. Back from commercials, MJF smiles like a Cheshire cat while Wardlow dominates the match. Punk blocks a powerbomb and nails a roundhouse kick. Springboard clothesline by Punk finally knocks Wardlow off his feet. Loud "CM Punk" chant. Punk hits a running knee, but pauses to flip off MJF, which allows Wardlow to hit his first powerbomb. Wardlow hits a second powerbomb and asks the fans if they want a third one. They don't, but he hits third, fourth, and fifth powerbombs anyway. Wardlow is poised to win with a cocky pin, but stops when MJF demands more punishment for Punk. Wardlow hits a sixth powerbomb, MJF still wants more, so he hits powerbomb #7. Punk rolls into the ropes, MJF orders Wardlow to put him through the timekeeper's table. Wardlow reluctantly carries out MJF's wishes and Punk looks finished. Punk beats the count, so MJF wants more powerbombs, but Punk surprises with an inside cradle and wins at 14:03! This was something different, with a compelling narrative about whether or not Wardlow would continue accepting his marching orders. This also nicely paid off the last several weeks of Wardlow squashes, ***.
Winner: CM Punk

MJF berates Wardlow, and finally Wardlow has enough and grabs his boss by the finger. Shawn Spears runs in to play peacemaker, and it looks like they'll save this tough conversation for later.

Powerhouse Hobbs (with Ricky Starks) vs. Dante Martin

The fight starts before the bell. Martin takes them over the ropes with a running crossbody. Martin dropkicks Hobbs in the knee, but flies into his arms for a spinebuster outside. Hobbs slows things down with power moves. Martin slips out of a torture rack but runs into Hobbs' crossbody. Hobbs' hard Irish Whip sends Martin crashing outside, where Starks gets his shots in. Back from commercials, Martin lands a desperate haymaker. Martin escapes a torture rack and hits a shotgun dropkick. Martin follows with an enziguri and soaring missile dropkick for 2. Martin hits a tornado senton to ringside. Hobbs answers with a body avalanche. Starks telegraphs his interference, and Jay Lethal runs in to neutralize him. Meanwhile, Martin wins with a springboard moonsault out of nowhere at 10:09. Martin and Lethal retreat together while Team Taz try to figure out what happened. Decent, yet average match, **¼.
Winner: Dante Martin

Backstage interview with Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle (minus Sammy), who are now PWI's Faction of the Year. Jericho says that the prize is no surprise, because they set out from the beginning to take over the country, er company, by being the baddest blood brothers on the planet. Eddie Kingston saunters in because he wants a piece of Daniel Garcia. He thinks Jericho is the reason why Santana and Ortiz have not been Tag Team Champions, so Jericho tells him to scram. Santana, Ortiz, and Hager leave so Jericho and Kingston can get their sh!t together. Jericho will get his revenge on 2point0 and will kick Eddie's @ss too if needed.

MJF comes back to the stage to complain about CM Punk, the fans give him an "@sshole" chant. Every schmuck in attendance knows that Punk only beat Wardlow by a fluke. MJF is so irate that he'll give us the match we've all been waiting for, CM PUNK VS... Shawn Spears.

Adam Cole, reDRagon, and the Young Bucks talk to the camera. First, they have to argue if Cutler's name is Landon or Brandon. They're joined by Dr. Britt Baker, who wants to challenge Orange Cassidy and Kris Statlander to a mixed tag. She tells Brandon "Butler" to stop filming, and the entire group tells him to shut up.

AEW World Champion Hangman Adam Page comes to the ring to talk. He's poured sweat and spilled blood, enough to float a battleship, while battling Bryan Danielson for 90 minutes. Hangman needs a new challenger, and gets interrupted by Dan Lambert, who compares Hangman unfavorably to the cowboys he watched growing up. He calls Hangman an urban, east coast cowboy, so no wonder these fans relate to him. Hangman wants "walking Facebook profile" Lambert to send Men of the Year out themselves if they want their shots. Lambert thinks Hangman has earned everything in this business, but he's not a cowboy, because anyone can put on a costume and sing YMCA. Hangman makes his case for being a true cowboy, because he worked on a farm only 90 miles from here. Lance Archer returns and chases Lambert into the ring, but it's a predictable swerve, and Archer lays waste to Hangman with a Blackout through a chair!

Tony Shiavone interviews Arn Anderson, Lee Johnson, and Brock Anderson backstage. Arn is really proud of his guys, and says that smell in the air means they're in Horsemen Country. They're interrupted by Tully Blanchard and FTR, who try to recruit Lee and Brock, which sets up a match for Rampage. Arn and Tully shake hands, so it's on.

Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb

Deeb ambushes Shida during her entrance with a chop block to the back of the knee. Deeb further injures the knee with a single leg atomic drop onto the ring steps. Shida can hardly move, but insists on starting the match. Deeb hits a dragon screw to the bad knee and drapes it against the ropes for repeated seated sentons. Deeb locks on a deep half crab and the ref stops the match at 1:58. Shida wouldn't quit, so the ref made a judgment call. Match was a total squash and advances the feud.
Winner: Serena Deeb

Deeb lights Shida up with repeated kendo stick shots until referees rush in to restrain her.

Tony Shiavone interviews Christian Cage and AEW Tag Team Champions Jurassic Express backstage. Christian wishes Rey Fenix a speedy recovery. Jungle Boy says they worked hard to get the titles and want to work harder to retain them, and put out a challenge to any Top 5 team. This brings over John Silver and Alex Reynolds, who just happen to be Top 5 guys, and the match is set for Rampage.

Big Money Matt Hardy and Private Party come to the ring to talk. Hardy takes credit for starting Lucha Bros.' downfall and invites Penta out to get deleted.

Matt Hardy (with Private Party) vs. Penta El Zero Miedo (with Alex Abrahantes)

They're in Hardy's hometown, with Hardy's family watching live, so Hardy gets the crowd on his side with "DELETE" chants. Penta doesn't mind playing a subtle heel and kicks Hardy in the gut and face. Penta charges in for a simple overhand chop. Back from commercials, Penta makes a comeback with a pair of sling blades. Sloppy backbreaker by Penta gets 2. Hardy counters with a DDT for 2. Penta puts Hardy into a Tree of Woe for a double stomp to the face! They trade slaps on the apron until Hardy hits a mean Side Effect! Penta blocks the Twist of Fate, tries a super reverse suplex, but Hardy blocks for a missed moonsault! Penta hits Fear Factor for the win at 8:47. Average match with little crowd heat aside from the fans kind of liking obnoxious heel, Hardy, **.
Winner: Matt Hardy

Alex Abrahantes and Penta turn their attention back to Malakai Black, who arrives via the lights out gimmick. Black takes Penta down with roundhouse kicks and goes for the mask. Varsity Blonds run in for the save, but Julia Hart calls them off. Malakai laughs it off, lights go out, and this time BRODY KING debuts and single handedly lays waste to the good guys. Julia feigns outrage from ringside safety. My fantasy booking scenarios are still alive and well, so I'm satisfied.

Tony Shiavone interviews Kris Statlander, Red Velvet, and Leyla Hirsch ahead of their trios match on Rampage, but wants to talk about Kris' upcoming mixed tag. Leyla thinks it's selfish of Kris to focus on her own business like this. Kris thinks Leyla is selfish for always trying to steal the pin in their matches, and Velvet wants them to get it together. Productive segment, but not exactly well acted.

The Acclaimed (Max Caster and Anthony Bowens) vs. Bear Country (Bronson and Boulder)

Bear Country must not like rap music, because they start with stereo shoulder blocks. They slam the Acclaimed onto each other and Bronsen hits them both with a back senton. Bear Country dismantle Bowens in their corner until Bowens arranges a Meeting of the Minds. Caster returns with a diving crossbody onto Bronson. Back from commercials, Bronson escapes the Acclaimed's corner with a seated senton onto Bowens. Boulder gets an ice cold hot tag and runs wild through the Acclaimed. Boulder does get a pop for a double flatliner. They set up a Bear Bomb but Bowens pulls Caster to safety. Caster snaps Bronson's neck on the ropes, allowing Bowens to finish with a Mic Drop at 6:15. Alright short match that lacked crowd interest, **.
Winners: The Acclaimed

Sting and Darby Allin arrive to repay The Acclaimed for their rap disses. Sting backs the Acclaimed back down the ramp so Darby can wipe them out with a skateboard assisted dive. Sting puts Caster down with a Scorpion Death Drop.

Video promo from Pac, who I'm guessing is stuck overseas again while COVID surges again. He feels alone and desolate, and appears blinded from Malakai' Black's blast spray. Pac's vision has never been so great, and he appears to be holding one of the tarot cards from Black's estate. PAC IS JOINING THE HOUSE OF BLACK, IT'S HAPPENING!!!!

Backstage interview with Matt Hardy, who is upset about losing to Penta. He thinks it might be time to focus on himself more than the Hardy Family Office. Andrade El Idolo struts over to make a business deal. Andrade loves money, Matt loves money, so perhaps they should work together for money! MONEY! Hardy is willing to talk off camera. Because money.

Interim TNT Championship:
Sammy Guevara © vs. Daniel Garcia

David Crockett is once again in tow to present the title to the winner. Chris Jericho and Eddie Kingston are both lurking around ringside. Guevara and Garcia don't seem interested in shenanigans and tear into each other for an intense grappling sequence. They exchange stiff palm strikes, and Guevara lands on Garcia's head with a flipping dive. Guevara strikes a resting pose but refocuses for a snap suplex. Garcia blocks GTH and maneuvers into a backbreaker! Back from commercials, Guevara mounts a comeback with quick attacks. Daniel slips to ringside, so Sammy improvises with a springboard 450 splash to outside! Garcia recovers with a backdrop driver for 2. Garcia blocks the GTH and locks on a Scorpion Death Lock! Sammy considers tapping when Garcia wrenches it back, but gets the ropes. Garcia misses a corner charge, Guevara points to the camera before hitting Cross Rhodes for 2. Sammy goes for a double springboard attack, but Garcia counters into a tight sleeper! Piledriver by Garcia only gets 2! Sammy hits an enziguri to buy some time, but 2point0 arrive to attack Kingston and Jericho. Sammy has to superkick Jeff Parker from the apron, and nearly gets rolled up. Sammy knocks Garcia into Matt Lee and finishes with a GTH at 12:32! This was a brave match to put on last, but they looked right at home, ***½.
Winner and still interim TNT Champion: Sammy Guevara

Crockett's nice moment with Guevara is ruined by another 2point0 attack. Jericho and Kingston manage to clear the ring, but then get into another shoving confrontation.

Final Thoughts: This was a show heavy with angles and storyline development, and they need to do more episodes like this in between their bigger shows. I'm ready for some feuds (Acclaimed vs Sting and Darby) to end, and I'm really interested in other long running angles (House of Black, MJF vs. Punk), and everything moved ahead here. It's also cool to see Britt and Adam Cole paired together on-camera, and see Brody King arrive in his ROH lifeboat. This Dynamite was too eventful to skip, I recommend you fire this up on your DVR.

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