1/19 AEW DYNAMITE RESULTS: Keller’s detailed report and analysis on Moxley’s return, Cody’s promo, Sting & Darby vs. Acclaimed, Punk vs. Spears, Cole teams with Spears

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


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KELLER’S AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
JANUARY 19, 2022
WASHINGTON D.C. AT THE ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON TBS

Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur

Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts


[HOUR ONE]

-The Dynamite opening aired and then Jim Ross introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd. (There was a bad traffic jam before the show slowing down entry, but it looked pretty full by show time.)

-Jon Moxley’s music played and he walked out to his music. He looked emotional and then paused to soak up the moment. He took a swig from a water bottle and then headed to the ring. He looked healthy and ten years younger than last time on TV. He whipped the water bottle toward the crowd.

He kneeled on the ring apron and again soaked up the moment as his theme continued to play. Schiavone said this is a big moment after battling what he has battled personally. Ross said he’s interested in what he has to say. When his music stopped, the fanse loudly chanted, “Moxley! Moxley!” Then they chanted “Welcome back!” He threw off his jacket and began talking. The crowd went silent. As he began to talk, one fan yelled something. Moxley said, “Go f— yourself. Get this guy out of here.” The crowd cheered. (I don’t think you’re supposed to say that word on TV.) Ross said, “Well, he hasn’t changed.”

He said a little while back he fell asleep on a plane and woke up from a bad dream. He said he was in the dirt on the side of a road and his face was bruised and there was a dark cloud over him. “A demon, the kind that follows you around your whole life,” he said. He said everyone has something like that. He said the demon asked him if he really thought he was going to “make it out.” He said he woke up before he had a chance to answer. He said nobody gets through life unscathed and without scars. He said the scars you carry on the inside are harder to see. He said sometimes you try to cover them up and try to pretend they aren’t there, but those are the scars you should be proud of because they give you strength and make you the person you are. “Nobody’s perfect,” he said. He said nobody should be afraid to stand up in front of the world and bare it all and say, “Hey, this is me!” Fans cheered.

He said there are plenty of people who want to write him off and who doubt him. He said if you write him off now, say what you want to say and shove it right up your ass. “I don’t run from demons, I just beat the shit out of them,” he said. He thanked everyone who had his back through thick and thin. He said they are going to go on a ride in 2022. He said he’s going to grab the world by the balls and do whatever the hell he wants because now, more than ever, more than anybody in the business, he is truly free. Fans went back to chanting his name. He said he’s been to hell and nobody can put him through more than he’s been through. He said if you thought he was dangerous before, these days all he drinks is blood. He threw down the mic and walked with a purpose to ringside where he grabbed his jacket and walked from whence he came.

(Keller’s Analysis: That was money. It’s totally up to him how much of his business he wanted to share, and he stood there and – without getting into specifics – conveyed a vulnerability and an inspirational message with force and charisma. It seemed in part designed to establish he’s still going to be a laser-focused badass fighter.)

-The announcers hyped the scheduled matches including Lance Archer vs. Frankie Kazarian. [c]

-MJF and Wardlow stood in front of lockers. MJF said if Wardlow had more seasoning, he could have reversed the small package from C.M. Punk last week. MJF turned to Wardlow and said it’s his birthday, and his gift to him is to say he’s been a stellar employee and good friend for two years, and he lost his cool last week and he apologized. “However, you put your hands on me,” he said. “That sets a bad precedent for everybody in this company, so as much as it pains me to do this, I’m going to have to dock your pay.” He said if he gets more wins, his pay will go back up. He said he believes in him. He said he also believes Shawn Spears is going to give “P.G. Punk” his first L in the company, and he’ll show Wardlow how to get a job done. He finished with his catch phrase, “I’m better than you and you know it.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Great smarmy delivery by MJF, and fun reactions from Wardlow, just barely tolerating MJF for some reason at this point. MJF went from seeming decent to being a total ass.)

(1) BRITT BAKER & ADAM COLE vs. ORANGE CASSIDY & KRIS STATLANDER

Cole came out to his theme song first. Then Baker. And finally Cassidy and Statlander. Baker and Statlander started, but Baker tagged out immediately to Cole. Cole then tagged out to Baker as soon as Cassidy tagged in. Cassidy, though, didn’t tag out to Statlander as the rules require. Baker had some words for him, so he slow-kicked her ankles. She stomped on his boot. As Baker shouted “DMD!” Statlander tagged in and went after Baker. Baker tagged out to Cole after escaping her bodyslam attempt. Cole and Cassidy got in the first sustained action of the night. Cole bailed out to ringside after a Cassidy DDT. Statlander and Baker tagged in. Statlander lifted Baker for a delayed vertical suplex. Cassidy shoved Baker down. She joined Cole at ringside. Cassidy and Statlander leaped off the ring apron onto them. Cassidy dropped off the apron with his hands in his pockets. Excalibur called it “low-flying offense.” Ross said he’s a man after his heart. Cassidy and Statlander did the (stupid) “You gotta give the people what they want hug” which backfired when Cole and Baker superkicked them. They deserved it. Cole and Baker then smooched. Excalibur told Schiavone he was sorry he had to see that. [c/ss]

Cole controlled Cassdy on the mat during the break. Cassidy made a comeback after the break. Cassidy crawled over and tagged in Statlander. Baker had to also tag in. Fans laughed when Statlander ran over and stuck her tongue out as Cole. She then hit Baker with a Blue Thunder Bomb. Baker rolled Statlander into a backslide for a two count. Cole and Cassidy tagged back in. Cassidy punched away at Cole. Cole came back with a superkick and an enzuigiri. Cassidy countered with a Stun Dog Millionaire. Baker blind-tagged in, and as Cole distracted the ref, she gave Cassidy a stomp. Statlander tagged in and went after Baker with a cradle sitout slam. Statlander dragged Baker to the corner and then climbed to the top rope. Cole covered Baker’s body to protect her. Statlander landed the 450 onto him anyway, then tagged in Cassidy. Cassidy gave Cole a Beach Break for a near fall. Fans chanted, “This is awesome!” Schiavone said he’s never seen Cassidy so emotional. Excalibur said there is something about the power couple that gets under people’s skin. Cole caught Cassidy mid-air with a superkick on the ramp. Statlander threw Cassidy into the ring to avoid a Panama Sunrise by Cole. Baker then blind-side kicked Statlander and gave her a Pittsburgh Sunrise on the ramp. Cole then hit Cassidy with a Panama Sunrise for a believable near fall. Baker and Cole looked at each other in shock.

Cole went to ringside and grabbed the time keeper’s table. He and Britt brought it to ringside. Cassidy leaped at Cole, but Cole ducked, and Cassidy knocked Baker off the ring apron inadvertently and she crashed through the table. Cole was enraged. Fans chanted, “You f—ed up.” Cole gave Cassidy a low blow and then hit the Boom for the win. The ref was at ringside and was late to begin making the count. Afterward, Cole yanked the doc away from Baker to check on her himself. She was selling the crash landing big.

WINNERS: Cole & Baker in 15:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Solid match that told a good story within the scope of mixed tag rules and the Cassidy shtick.)

-Alex Marvez asked Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz about facing 2point0 & Danny Garcia next week. Jericho said Eddie Kingston can go GFY. Ortiz interrupted and told Jericho they care about Kingston, so watch his words. Santana said Eddie made some comments last week that rang true. He said Jericho might be holding them back. He asked if he has their back. Jericho said he’s got their backs. Santana said they’d look out for themselves next week instead of Inner Circle. “Feel us?” he asked. A dejected Jericho shook his head and said, “No, I don’t feel you.”

-Excalibur said they’d get a word with Cole after the break. [c]

-Marvez interviewed Cole. Cole took the mic and told Marvez to “get out.” He said he’s already defeated Cassidy in a singles match and a mixed tag match, so what more does he need to do. He said because he put his hands on his girlfriend. He proposed an anything goes, no DQ lights out match next week on the Beach Blast special episode. He said he’s tired of looking at him, so it’s damn time he ends his “pathetic career.”

-A video package aired on the C.M. Punk-Shawn Spears interactions leading up to this grudge match.

(2) C.M. PUNK vs. SHAWN SPEARS

Spears sat on a chair on the stage and then made his entrance. Punk then made his entrance. MJF joined in on commentary. Punk ducked a Spears charge and caught him with a sudden GTS at the start. MJF stood up in embarrassment. Punk then eyed MJF from the ring.

WINNER: Punk in about ten seconds.

-As Punk celebrated, MJF ran to the ring and snuck up behind him. Punk turned around. Schiavone said Punk lured MJF to the ring. He grabbed MJF’s scarf. MJF gave up the scarf and scurried away. Punk held his scarf as his music played again.

-Excalibur said Billy Gunn has commandeered one of their backstage cameras. They showed Christian Cage arriving outside. Gunn said his boys are ranked in the top five, so it’s time for his guys to give them a title shot. Christian said when the lights were the brightest, he could never get statement win, and the apple doesn’t fall from the tree. “Make a statement and then we’ll talk,” he said. Billy’s sons then jumped Christian and threw him into the garage door. Austin Gunn kneeled and said, “Statement made.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Christian spoke the truth, I suppose, but came across as a bit of a jerk in the process. There’s just a sternness to his delivery that seems dickish a lot of the time.)

-Cody began his ring entrance. Sounded like lots of boos. Excalibur threw to a split-screen preview of “Go Big Show.” Cody then set up a big ladder mid-ring during the split-screen break. [c]

-Cody stood mid-ring as fans booed. Cody seemed, as usual, slightly taken aback. “What do you guys want to talk about?” he said. He talked about C.M. Punk’s “pipe bomb” promo. He said someone told him to save this promo, but he’s not sure if he’ll get the chance, so he’ll do it now. He said in that interview, Punk laid out a road map and listed things that for him and people like him were taboo at that time, like going to New Japan and ROH and teaming with the Young Bucks. He said as fate would have it, Punk was unable to do those things. Fans pelted Cody with chants. Cody paused, then said Punk would wind up in AEW in what Pro Wrestling Illustrated calls “The Comeback of the Year.” He said it’s the Comeback of the Decade. “We are all living it, we are all loving it,” he said. Some fans chanted “Cody sucks.”

Cody said someone ended up doing each and every one of those things. “I did them!” he said. He yelled and said he carried through that revolution and everyone cheered. He said he won’t turn heel because the fans cheered him when he needed it the most. He said when he talks about there being more than one Royal Family in wrestling, he means “me and all of us.” He said people talk about the Forbidden Door and it’s become vernacular. “If you’re an industry journalist who covers what we do and you disagree with anything I say tonight, you’re not a journalist.” He said before there was a Forbidden Door, “I was the one who built it!” Fans began cheering and chanting “Cody!”

He said he was gone for two weeks and he saw The Young Bucks almost started the Wednesday Night War all over again. He said he knows Red Dragon graduated hip toss class with flying colors, “but I don’t need to see the Young Bucks beat the developmental more than once.” He said his real life friend Ricky Starks got into a tiff with Jay Lethal. He said the Lethal Injection is the one move in the business people don’t kick out of, so avoid avoid avoid. He then brought up Malakai Black. He said everybody knows he hates to lose. He said they’re not in the business of renaming people like “Gunter McGuillabuddy” or whatever the hell it is, but it’s not just speed and strength that calls, it’s also balls. “If you come to AEW and you call yourself Brodie, you’ve got balls,” he said. He said he’ll find out in eight years what a mistake that was.

He then talked about Darby, Miro, and the TNT Interim Champion Sammy Guevara, it’s a lineage and legacy of champions, and everyone had been conditioned to believe that any title that doesn’t have “world” in it is a secondary belt. He said they don’t have secondary titles, and the only reason people say it’s secondary is because they have two. He said Tony Khan has sent a contract in the mail. He said, “Maybe it’s not the contract I wanted.” He said to Sammy, he wants to face him next week in a match where both title belts are hung above the ring. “So Sammy, what do you say?” He climbed the ladder. Ross said he wants to see that and he hopes it becomes official before the end of the night.

(Keller’s Analysis: Cody’s promos are like his ring entrance. He just applies layer after layer and complicates it to a point of being overwrought. There was a really good promo in there, but also a lot of extraneous “insider-fan-catering META” stuff that belongs on TNA circa 2005 when “breaking the fourth wall” was a weekly act of desperation to get noticed. Overall, I liked this promo more than I disliked it, but like a good movie with a need for editing to be great, this was just too much. It’s the type of promo that gives people like me who host a podcast right after Dynamite ends a lot to talk about, but it’s not focused enough to be effective as it should be. I have no idea if Cody is legit upset with his contract offer or they’re just playing it up for storyline purposes, but I’m not sure how that helps his brand and helps sell tickets and draw viewers to talk about it. He scored points with different types of fans. It was a bit like a President’s State of the Union speech where they feel the need to talk to every constituency throughout a long, meandering speech, though. I just want his character to live within the Dynamite universe and tell simpler stories, because as he showed here, when he’s fired up, his emotionally charged promos are among the best today.)

-Schiavone interviewed Jade Cargill and Anna Jay, who were accompanied my “Smart” Mark Sterling and John Silver. Silver interrupted Sterling and said Jay will beat her. Jay said she has a dark side. She said she will do whatever it takes to win. “Will you?” she asked. Cargill said she needs to understand who she is where they are. “This is That Bitch Show.”

[HOUR TWO]

(3) HOUSE OF BLACK (Brodie King & Malakai Black) vs. THE VARSITY BLONDS (Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison)

The House of Black ring entrance took place, with the lights going dark, then a foggy spotlight on Brodie King and Malakai Black. Garrison took a beating early. Pillman was going to springboard into the ring, but he lost his confidence in Air Pillman and jumped to the floor instead. Garrison yelled at him over it. Pillman tried to explain himself. Brodie charged at ringside and shoved Garrison into the ringside steps. Ross said, “Steel doesn’t sell much.” Brody rammed Pillman back-first into the ring apron. Ross said, “Maybe this treatment will convince young Brian to get off your ass and go fight.” Black and Brody double-teamed Pillman in the ring, then fended off a save by Garrison. Then they finished Pillman with double-team Dante’s Inferno.

WINNERS: House of Black in 3:00.

-Afterward, Black asked fans to rise for the House of Black. Instead Pac appeared on the big screen afterward, his eyes covered by a bandage. He said he has found a new vision thanks to Malakai and he now truly sees him. He said he’s just the same as every other cretin in AEW – power hungry. He said it’s exhausting. He held up a playing card that said “Justice.” He said this is the moment he expected him to bow down and call him master, but he’s going to make a martyr of him. He then removed his eye covering and revealed his eyes. Excalibur said Pac sent a message to Black.

-A video package aired on the return of Lance Archer last week, with Jake Roberts cutting a promo. Jake said he thinks “Hangman” Page is probably allergic to horses “like Clint Eastwood.” Page asked if “Cowboy” Bob went home from the road and herded cattle. Jake said Archer won’t wait in line anymore. Page said he’ll bring him the fight. Jake said when it’s time, he will bite the dust. [c]

-Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero crashed a planned Young Bucks promo that Brandon Cutler was standing by to record. They were nice to Brandon and challenged the Bucks to a match on Rampage. They said they beat the Bucks in Japan and they’ll beat them again.

(4) LANCE ARCHER (w/Dan Lambert, Jake Roberts) vs. FRANKIE KAZARIAN

Kazarian came out first with a new tag line. Justin Roberts introduced him as: “Heavy Metal Rebel, you guessed it, Frankie Kazarian.” Archer came out next with both Jake and Lambert. The announcers speculated about the Lambert-Jake alliance. Archer dominated for three minutes before they cut to a break. [c/ss]

The methodical beating continued during the break. The mic picked up Archer yelling “f— you” at fans after he played to them for a reaction, but it appeared the crowd was turning against this match as it continued on needlessly long. Fans chanted “Piece of shit” at someone. (Archer? Lambert?) Kazarian teased a comeback, but it didn’t take. Archer continued the beating. He delivered a Blackout mid-ring for the clean win.

WINNER: Archer in 9:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: An intense one-sided win for the next-in-line against Hangman. It got monotonous, though, and the crowd lost interest and didn’t really buy Kaz’s late attempt at a comeback.)

-Schiavone interviewed Lambert mid-ring. He asked about his new alliance with Archer. Lambert yanked the mic away and said Schiavone doesn’t need to know anything. He then went on to insult Hangman including saying Hangman is an East Coast dairy farmer who gives hand jobs to heifers in order to make soy milk to sell to Starbucks. (Wait, soy milk comes from cows? I’ve been doing this vegan thing all wrong.) Archer said he heard enough and yanked the mic from Jake. He said he’s had enough of this “Cowboy Bullshit.” He went after Kaz. As he set up a chokeslam on the stage, Hangman’s music played and he made the save. He got in Archer’s face. Fans chanted “Cowboy Shit!” Hangman slapped Archer. Fans popped. They brawled. Archer picked up a chair, but Hangman hit him with is cowboy boot first. He then went for a Buckshot Lariat, but Archer blocked it. Hangman did clothesline him over the top rope to the floor. Lambert held him back as Hangman’s music began playing. Excalibur said Lambert told Archer there is no money in fighting Hangman now.

-Marvez interviewed Dante Martin, Lee Mariarty, and Matt Sydal. Dante said Sydal has been like a brother to him, and that’s why he has his and Lee’s back against Team Taz. Moriarty said they have his back too.

-Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs stood backstage. Starks asked, disgustedly, how many friends Dante has. Hobbs told Dante he better have someone watching his back, his front, and his side-to-side. “Team Taz, we build assassins.” [c]

-Schiavone interviewed Statlander, Red Velvet, and Leyla Hirsch. Hirsch complained that Statlander wasn’t focused on their match and cost them thousands of dollars. Velvet stepped in and said mistakes happen. Hirsch told her to shut up, then hit her. Statlander asked what her problem is. Hirsch put her in an armbar.

(5) SERENA DEEB vs. SKYE BLUE

Ross touted Deeb as the match began. Deeb applied a guillotine over the top rope. Then she landed a swinging neckbreaker. Ross called it “old school.” Fans chanted “Deeb! Deeb! Deeb!” Schiavone pointed out she grew up just outside of D.C. Deeb rammed Skye knee into the mat and then applied her Serenity Lock for the tapout win. Ross said she’s on a roll.

WINNER: Deeb in 3:00.

-Lambert, Ethan Page, and Scorpio Sky cut a promo backstage. Ethan called out Moxley and said he’s up for the task. “While you’ve been gone, I’ve been racking up victories.” He told him not to take him lightly and he called himself Tony’s “franchise player.”

-Excalibur hyped the Rampage line-up: Ethan vs. Moxley, Hook vs. Serpentico, Jade vs. Anna Jay, and Beretta & Romero vs. The Bucks. They showed New Japan footage of the Bucks vs. Beretta & Romero, “Roppongi Vice.” Nice pop for Hook. A video package aired on Hook. Then Ross and Schiavone hyped next week’s Dynamite: Cole vs. Cassidy, Cody vs. Starks, Jericho & Santana & Ortiz vs. Garcia & 2point0. [c]

-Schiavone stood backstage with Matt Hardy and Andrade. Hardy announced he has decided to sell 51 percent of HFO to Andrade. He said he has three seats on the board so he’ll run day-to-day operations. He said he’s the CEO and Andrade is the President. He said they’ll now be known as the AHFO. Andrade said he was still interested in recruiting Darby Allin.

-They aired the video of Anthony Bowens and Max Caster spoofing Darby and Sting. Caster then yelled “It’s Showtime!”

(6) STING & DARBY ALLIN vs. THE ACCLAIMED (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens)

Caster rapped his way out. He said they’ll leave their teeth more crooked than most politicians. He said they’d make Sting look worse than Starrcade ’97. Bowens announced to D.C. they have arrived. Caster then stomped on the skateboard they brought to the ring. Darby came out to his music. Then Sting came out to his music and they came to the ring together. Before the bell, Caster and Bowens attacked Sting and Darby. Schiavone said it’s been 21 years since Sting last wrestled on TBS. They took out Sting, and then put a chair around Darby’s neck and then knocked him off the ring apron to the floor. The bump looked rough. The ref called for a doctor to check on Darby. The doctors told the ref that Darby wasn’t able to wrestle. The ref asked Sting if he wanted to wrestle alone. Sting said he would. The match began with Sting fighting alone, but the crowd popped for him taking it to the two heels at first. They showed Darby being helped to the back, holding his neck. Bowens took the corner pad off, then Sting crashed into the corner with a Stinger Splash attempt. Caster hit Sting with a dropkick, then Bowens scored a two count. They cut to a split-screen break with The Acclaimed in control. [c/ss]

Caster and Bowens methodically beat up Sting during the break. Excalibur said it’s been essentially a handicapped match. Sting came back and applied a Scorpion Death Lock on Caster. Bowens punched Sting. Sting no-sold it. A second strike to Sting knocked him down and out of the ring. Bowens hit Sting at ringside with the boom box. Darby returned with a vengeance, looking totally recovered. Fans chanted “Darby!” He legally tagged in, then landed a Code Red on Caster for a near fall. Sting was kneeling, perhaps catching his breath from carrying so much of the match and also selling the boom box shot. Darby landed a Coffin Splash on Caster in the corner and then applied a hanging guillotine. Caster crawled over and tagged in Bowens, who then elbowed Darby and sideslammed him. Caster then landed a top rope elbow. Sting broke up Bowens’ cover. Sting clotheslined Caster over the top rope, then backdropped a charging Bowens over the top rope. He looked tired as he set up a running splash off the stage onto Caster through a table. Fans chanted “Holy shit!” Back in the ring, Bowens ran into an exposed turnbuckle. Darby then landed a Coffin Drop for the win.

WINNERS: Darby & Sting in 9:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Sting carried a lot of that match for his team while Darby was backstage. I assume they were genuinely concerned for Darby after that nasty landing with the chair around his neck. If so, Sting was really thrown into the deep end. Either way, it was an interesting story with Sting battling both heels. This is probably the highest profile match for The Acclaimed yet, headlining Dynamite. They weren’t “protected” but they were featured and they continue their climb up to the top tier of tag teams. The fans remain very into Sting and Darby as a team.)

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