1/26 AEW DYNAMITE RESULTS: Keller’s detailed report and analysis on Cody vs. Guevara in a ladder match, Cole vs. Cassidy, Santana & Ortiz & Jericho vs. 2poin0 & Garcia

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

KELLER’S AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
JANUARY 26, 2022
CLEVELAND, OHIO
AIRED LIVE ON TBS

Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur

Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts


[HOUR ONE]

(1) CODY RHODES (w/Arn Anderson) vs. SAMMY GUEVARA – TNT Title / TNT Interm Title merger match

Cody and Guevara were standing in the ring as the announcers introduced the show. Justin Roberts did ring introductions. Sammy was cheered. Cody was largely booed. Schiavone said these two had the very first match ever on Dynamite, which Cody won. They shook hands at the start. Cody outmaneuvered Sammy early and got cocky with a strut, as if he was playing into being an overt heel. He did it again and kissed his bicep. Fans chanted for Sammy. Sammy got the better of Cody next. Sammy was chewing gum, which looked ridiculous for someone in a fight. Cody went for an early Tiger Driver, but Sammy blocked it. Sammy went for a GTH, but Cody blocked it. Sammy grabbed a ladder from ringside, but Cody dropped to the floor and knocked Sammy down. Cody bridged the ladder across the ring apron and the ringside barricade. Cody kindly warned fans near the ladder to watch out. Sammy recovered and took over against Cody at ringside. He threw him into the crowd area. Cody yanked him over with him. They walk-‘n’-brawled. Cody clotheslined Sammy over the barricade back to the ringside area a minute later, then high-fived some receptive cheering fans next to him. Sammy leaped at Cody with a cutter on the floor.

Sammy climbed the ladder. Cody lifted Sammy onto his shoulders to pull him down. They collided heads. They showed Dan Lambert and Scorpio Sky watching from a luxury suite. Fans began a dueling chant of “Let’s Go Cody! / Cody sucks!” Cody stood on the seventh rung of the ladder and superplexed Sammy to the mat. Schiavone yelled, “Oh no!” as Cody executed the move. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]

Cody set up a ladder upside down against the ropes, then dropped Sammy abdomen first over the ladder. Lots of booing. Cody put Sammy’s legs through two separate openings in the ladder and applied a figure-four. Sammy made a comeback a minute later with two explosive clotheslines and a step-up enzuigiri. Cody threw a ladder at Sammy as he was about to springboard. Cody and Sammy each climbed a separate ladder. Sammy spring-boarded off of the top of his and took Cody off of this ladder with a flying super cutter. Wow.

Sammy placed a ladder over Cody’s chest and then climbed the ladder. Cody bench-pressed the ladder and knocked Sammy off balance. Sammy crashed over the top rope. The announcers said his landing was nasty. Another Cody dueling chant broke out. Sammy and Cody climbed separate ladders again near each other. Cody gave Sammy a Crossroads off the ladder. Sammy grabbed his face and was kicking his feet in an expression of pain. Fans chanted “AEW! AEW!” Cody got fired up and climbed a ladder. Sammy met Cody at the top. Both grabbed the belts and hung together from the pole holding both belts. Sammy dropped first. Cody also fell to the mat. Both recovered on opposite sides of the ring at ringside. Cody smashed the ladder on Sammy’s leg at ringside. Fuego del Sol ran out and yelled at Cody. Excalibur said he’s a close friends of both. Cody had a few words for him, then climbed into the ring. Fuego followed Cody. Cody gave him a leaping piledriver. Excalibur said he got what he deserved. Schiavone said he didn’t belong in the ring.

Sammy went after Cody and backdropped him to the floor. Then he landed a running flip dive onto Cody at ringside followed by a GTH. Cody struggled to stand as Sammy pulled another ladder out of the ring. Sammy put Cody on the ladder that was still brigded at ringside. Sammy then set up a huge ladder next to Cody on the bridged ladder, then climbed it. Sammy stood on the top of the ladder, played to the camera and made a crazy hand signal, then dove onto him with a flip senton onto Cody. The ladder bent, but didn’t break. Sammy tumbled hard to the floor, but then rolled into the ring. He centered the ladder in the ring under the belts. Cody began to pull himself into the ring. Cody climbed the ladder and met Sammy at the top. They exchanged elbows as the belts swung at their head-level. Sammy swung one belt into Cody’s head and knocked him off the ladder. Sammy then unsnapped the belts to win. He held up both belts. Fuego hugged Sammy afterward.

WINNER: Guevara in 23:00 to become the lone TNT Champion.

(Keller’s Analysis: Wild and well-executed match, although it seemed like there were some high risk moves that will leave them sore and could have led to injuries. The Fuego thing was odd and interrupted the flow, and nobody in the audience had any idea who they were supposed to side with there. The announcers, though, seemed to frame Fuego as an idiot for interrupting a match in progress. That made it more strange when Fuego hugged Sammy afterward, since Sammy was for sure a babyface in this match. The main drawback in this match is that they had no business recovering as quickly as they did – if at all – from some of those monster spots, and it’s hard to take regular ordinary finishers in the match seriously the rest of the show after seeing them almost no-sell (short-sell?) some devastating crash landings.)

-Schiavone stood on Edgewater Beach with Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs. Schiavone said it was freezing. (Wear a hat and gloves!) Hobbs told him to man up. He told Dante his win last time was just luck. He proposed a rematch. Ricky told Jay Lethal he hopes he enjoyed his week off, but he hasn’t forgotten about the challenge. He said he wants to face him on Rampage next week in Chicago.

(2) “MR. MAYHEM” WARDLOW vs. ELIJAH DEAN & JAMES ALEXANDER – Two-on-One match

Shawn Spears accompanied Wardlow onto the stage, but Wardlow told him to sit on the stage and not come to ringside. Ross said this is Wardlow’s hometown and he called him a “Franchise Builder.” Wardlow overpowered the two men and tossed them to the mat. He powerbombed one of them twice, then did the same to the other guy. He then powerbombed one on the other and got the three count. They cut to a couple of elated female fans. Spears greeted Wardlow on the ramp and told him he was the man. He had a suggestion that Wardlow seemed to dismiss. Excalibur said he often tries to steal Wardlow’s glory.

WINNER: Wardlow in 1:00.

-The announcers hyped upcoming matches. [c]

(3) DANNY GARCIA & 2POINT0 (Matt Lee & Jeff Parker) vs. CHRIS JERICHO & SANTANA & ORTIZ

Jericho made his ring entrance as his music played. Santana & Ortiz came out behind him and walked right past him quickly. Jericho shot them a look, but then continued on his way down the ramp. They played an inset snippet of Santana & Ortiz last week expressing discontent with their relationship with Jericho. Then they cut to fans singing along to “Judas.” Schiavone said he doesn’t want to take sides, but he thinks Santana & Ortiz have a point. He said they’re a great team, but they have made a priority serving Jericho’s issues. Jericho started against Matt, but Santana blind-tagged himself in right away. They cut to an early split-screen break. [c/ss]

Back from the break, the heels were in control against Ortiz. Exclaibur said the story of the match so far was the dysfunction of Inner Circle. Ortiz crawled over to his corner. Jericho enthusiastically reached out for a tag, but then Santana reached out. Ortiz tagged Santana. Schiavone said, “That’s a little bit too much. I’m really shocked at that one, guys.” Santana rallied against all three heels coming after him. He gave Matt and Jeff a double-cutter. Jericho had dropped to the floor and paced. Schiavone said Santana and Ortiz have ignored him. Ross wondered if they’re seeing the end of the Inner Circle era as they’ve known it. Jericho gave Jeff a Judas Effect from ringside, aiding in Santana getting a three count. Jericho stood on the ramp and shook his head. Excalibur said Santana & Ortiz might not know it, but they got a big assist from Jericho. Jericho yelled at Ortiz & Santana from the ramp as Santana & Ortiz had their arms raised by the referee.

WINNERS: Jericho & Ortiz & Santana in 10:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good match that told a good story. 2point0 and Garcia have been a surprisingly enjoyable mid-card act who can take good bumps, agitate, and deliver credible offense before losing. This does seem to be a solid way to elevate Santana & Ortiz to another level.)

-A video package aired on the “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Lance Archer match for the AEW Title. Archer talked about it being a Texas Death match. When the interviewer told Hangman that, he hadn’t heard yet and said, “What?” with a mix of surprise and fear. He then said he will take his best shots and bring hell with him though all nine layers of the abyss.

-Excalibur hyped the Cole vs. Cassidy main event, but said C.M. Punk would speak next. [c]

-Schiavone interviewed Christian, Jungle Boy, and Luchasaurus on one side and Matt Hardy with Private Party on the other side of him. Christian talked first. Hardy said nobody cares what he has to say. He touted Private Party and said Friday is their time to become champions. Jungle Boy told Private Party their “expensive” watch is fake and they’ll see them Friday.

-C.M. Punk made his ring entrance. Excalibur noted Punk was dressed to fight. Punk said, “Hello, Cleveland. How is everybody doing tonight?” He said he tried to walk to the ring like a badass, but they made him smile from ear to ear. He asked if they were tired of hearing him talk yet. He said he’s tired of hearing himself talk. He said they all know who he wants to fight. He encouraged them to chant his name. He said it’ll be the first time. It didn’t really gain momentum, which was kind of funny since fans just couldn’t stomach it. Punk revealed he had MJF’s scarf around his neck. He thought the scarf might be sentimental to him, but then he saw you could buy them on Amazon for $5 for a 12-pack. “It’s just as cheap as his personality,” he said. He said he saw the label said it was made in Long Island, “so I immediately knew it was not made of strong material.” (This isn’t strong material, sadly.) Punk said he didn’t want to wait, “so let’s do it tonight!” He said he went through everyone but MJF. MJF’s music played.

MJF walked out and asked for his music to be cut. Excalibur said MJF is not dressed for a fight. He said he wouldn’t waste a historical match on Cleveland. He called it a cesspool. Fans chanted “Asshole!” He said he’d give the fans the match they want next week in Chicago. “It’ll be C.M. Punk versus… (dramatic pause)… MJF!” He added a “but.” He ripped on Cleveland some more and then said it’s significant in Punk’s history, which he’ll get to in a minute. He said fans think they want to see him against Punk. “Shut the f— up!” chanted the fans. MJF said the match will be spectacular, but the outcome will be upsetting for fans. He said he’ll beat Punk in the dumpster fire he calls his hometown, he’ll also be beating him in the mid-mid-midwest.

[HOUR TWO]

MJF said then something unsettling is going to happen after he beats Punk. He said the people will finally get to see the real C.M. Punk, the one who loses his fake smile the second he doesn’t get what he wants. He said Punk blames his failures on everyone but himself. He said he’s the guy who is more than willing to sue if he doesn’t get what he wants. He said he will announce next week he’s leaving wrestling again. He said Lebron James left the fans, just like Punk will be doing. He said Punk left before his advertised appearance in Cleveland back in 2014. He said he turned his back on each of them. He looked into the camera and asked if they think Punk cares they were chanting his name at the top of their lungs for seven years. MJF said those chants won’t stop him from turning his back on them again and then crying about it on a podcast.

Punk said MJF listened to that podcast “because you’re a fan.” He said the best thing Punk ever did was leave, and the best thing he ever did was comeback. He said if he didn’t come back, MJF wouldn’t have this brush with greatness. He told MJF to lace up his three-inch lifts and come back for a fight. Punk said he can’t win. MJF turned to leave. Punk said he took matters into his own hands and he never lied to the people. He said some love him and some hate him, but he’d rather be him and try and fail than be MJF and talk a big game but never show up. “You paid to see me, you paid to stand in line to get my picture,” Punk said. “And how dare you try to put it on those people. I make decisions. I stand by each and everyone one of them.” He said the fans love him, not because he always wins, but because when he loses he gets back up, just like Cleveland does, just like Chicago does.

MJF asked if he really gets back up. “How about we test that real quick?” MJF said. Out walked FTR and Wardlow. Spears then tackled Punk from behind. FTR joined in the attack. Wardlow entered the ring and watched as Spears jabbed Punk with a chair. Excalibur said they’re trying to take Punk out so he can’t wrestle next week. Schiavone said when MJF agreed to face Punk in Chicago, he had some kind of devious plan. Ross noted Wardlow was “docile” as he stood and merely watched. MJF entered the ring and called Punk a dumb son of a bitch. Punk reached up and grabbed MJF’s scarf. MJF broke free and ordered Wardlow to powerbomb Punk. Wardlow walked to mid-ring as FTR and Spears set up Punk and put a chair in front of him. Wardlow then powerbombed Punk onto the chair. MJF rolled Punk over and sat on his chest. “Oh, come on!” said Excalibur. MJF said the same place his journey started will be the same place it ends. MJF’s music played. A graphic advertised Punk vs. MJF next week. Excalibur wondered what kind of shape Punk would be in next week.

(Keller’s Analysis: It’ll be a hell of a scene next week if they go through with the match, which it appears they are going to do. Punk’s early insults weren’t great, but overall he was likable. MJF picked at some scabs and even referenced Colt Cabana, although not by name. Punk had good comebacks. The beatdown not only played into setting up heat going into next week’s match between them, but also forwarded the Wardlow storyline. He was hesitant to join in MJF’s tactics, but he just can’t resist powerbombing anyone and he’s still under MJF’s employ.)

-A promo aired with The Acclaimed. They complained about Jon Moxley. Max Caster said Anthony Bowens will face Moxley on Friday on Rampage.

(Keller’s Analysis: Bowens continues to get singles matches against some of AEW’s top tier stars. That’s a real compliment to how Tony Khan feels about his work and his upside. It was real basic, but Caster was really good on the mic in this segment.) [c]

-Schiavone was about to interview Julia Hart and Griff Garrison when “Smart” Mark Sterling walked in. He told Hart that Jade Cargill had chosen her to be her next challenger. He asked her to sign a release because of her eye. Garrison told her its not a good idea. She said it’s not his decision to make, it’s hers. She signed it. Garrison looked worried for her.

(4) LEYLA HIRSCH vs. RED VELVET

Hirsch made her ring entrance first. Then Velvet ran to the ring and jump-started the match. At 2:00 they cut to a split-screen break with Hirsch in control. [c/ss]

Hirsch controlled during the break. Velvet made a comeback after the break and landed double-knees to the back of Hirch’s neck. The crowd wasn’t making much noise here. Hirsch landed a running knee strike for a two count. She then shifted into the Legit Lock, but Velvet forced a break with her leg on the bottom rope. Hirsch complained to the ref, then kicked Velvet in the corner. Velvet tried to comeback with a spinning hook kick, but Hirsch ducked and then rolled her up for the leverage three count. Hirsch attacked Velvet afterward. Kris Statlander ran out for the save. Hirsch fled up the ramp.

WINNER: Hirsch in 8:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Not much crowd investment in this, but they put together a good match.)

-A vignette aired on Malakai Black & Brody King. Black said Brody King is the embodiment of violence, which AEW fans will be thankful for. Brody said Pac denounced The House, so for that he will be humbled. He said they will pray for salvation and then look for the teachings The House has bestowed upon them. “Just like death, we are inevitable,” they closed with. [c/ss]

-Guevara came out with his TNT Title belts wrapped around his waist. He then held up cue cards with Fuego del Sol on split screen during the break. “Tonight I stand before you… Beaten, battered, bruised… But not defeated… Tonight I am a champion!… A true pillar of this company… I climbed the ladder in that ring… The same way I climbed the ladder in this company!… I didn’t politic!… I didn’t brown-nose!… Instead… I did the work… Over 2 years… Over 100 episodes… I have gone from a supporting role… To becoming a key player… But it wasn’t just me… Whether it’s the people here in Cleveland, Ohio… Or the people at home watching on TBS… You have been with me… Every step of the way… This TNT Championship is not mine… It’s ours… I wouldn’t be here without you… Thank you, sincerely. The undisputed TNT Champ…

(Keller’s Analysis: This just feels too syrupy and self-congratulatory. I think he’s at risk of fans turning on him. However, he’s so damn talented in the ring, he might overcome this cloying personality he’s displaying here.)

-Schiavone introduced Britt Baker, who came out to the ring as her entrance theme played. She hugged Schiavone, then pointed at three plaques from Pro Wrestling Illustrated and a blown up image of her on a cover of PWI. She touted her 9 singles victories. She said she shares a relationship with that number, noting that Cleveland’s quarterback Baker Mayfield was sacked 9 times. She said she did it all with a broken wrist. She said she didn’t take the top spot, she created it. She said she surpassed all the women and then surpassed the entire roster to become the Face of AEW. She said she’s the first female to main event Dynamite, Rampage, “and several other things I can’t even remember.” She said Mayfield threw ten interceptions, the first quarterback to do that this year. “Whatta guy,” she said. She said she is there for Cleveland, and she won’t settle for Female Wrestler of the Year. She said she won’t settle until she’s Female of the Decade. She said she’s not going anywhere. “I will be the champion you deserve,” she said. “You finally have a Baker you can count on.” She said her name, then threw the mic into the air. Ross said she’s at risk of throwing her arm out patting herself on the back.

-Excalibur hyped Rampage: Mox vs. Bowens, Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson vs. FTR, Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus vs. Private Party, and Jade Cargill vs. Julia Hart. Vickie Guerrero screeched, “Excuse me!” She and Nyla Rose interrupted and said she wants Ruby Soho in a rematch next week. She said her TBS Tournament win over her was a fluke. Then on Dynamite next week: Penta & Pac vs. House of Black and Punk vs. MJF.

(Keller’s Analysis: It’s been a smart new policy lately to include short video packages and interruptions or angles during the plugs for matches. It keeps people from tuning out and breaks up the barrage of information the announcers are pitching toward viewers. [c]

(5) ADAM COLE vs. ORANGE CASSIDY – Lights Out Match

Cole came out first. Schiavone said it’s the first Lights Out Match for either wrestler. They brawled in the ring and then Cassidy took it to Cole at ringside. He put his hands in his pockets and charged at Cole with a dropkick. Fans chanted “Freshly squeezed.” Cole reverse-whipped Cassidy into the barricade, then backdropped him across it. He pulled a chair out from under the ring. Danhausen was holding onto the chair. Danhausen struck a pose. Cole wasn’t sure what to do. He swung a chair at Cassidy, but Cassidy ducked. Cassidy then DDT’d Cole on the ringside mat. Some fans chanted “Danhausen!” Cole came back with a superkick and then threw Cassidy into the ringpost. Cassidy countered a Panama Sunrise and set up a Beach Break. Instead they crashed through a table at ringside. Cassidy went for an Orange Punch, but Cole held up the ring bell to block it. Cole then put Cassidy’s hand between the steps and the ring, then he kicked the steps. Cole next pulled a trash can out from under the ring. Then a chain and two chairs. He threw it all into the ring. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]

During the break, Cole put the trash can over Csasidy’s head and kicked it. He used the chain as a weapon to whip Cassidy. Back from the break, Cole landed a brainbuster suplex and scored a two count. Cole set up two chairs. Cassidy countered Cole with a Slumdog Millionaire and then drove Cole through the chairs with a Michinoku Driver. Brandon Cutler came out. Wheeler Yuta attacked him. Bobby Fish attacked Yuta. Chuck Taylor attacked Fish. The Young Bucks ran out and stereo superkicked Taylor. Cole smiled. The Bucks and Cole set up a Superkick flurry on Cassidy, but Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero yanked the Bucks out of the ring.

Cassidy landed Beach Break on Cole for a believable near fall. Cassidy stood and got fired up. He then hit the Orange Punch. He grabbed his injured, bloodied hand in agony and couldn’t make the cover right away. Cole then gave Cassidy a low blow. Cassidy didn’t flinch, then pulled out a protective cup (with his badly injured right hand!). Schiavone said he’s seen everything now. Cassidy slo-mo kicked Cole’s chest. Cassidy then leaped off the second rope with a Panama Sunrise for a believable near fall. Cassidy picked up the chain and wrapped his injured hand. Fans chanted, “This is awesome!” Cassidy then went for the Orange Punch, but Cole rolled under the bottom rope. He made his way up the ramp.

Cassidy pursued Cole. Ross said there’s no countout in this match. Cassidy followed Cole to the back where Jerry Lynn stood to protect Tony Khan. Cole then slammed Cassidy through a table and scored a two count. They battled back up the small flight of steps to the stage. Cole superkicked Cassidy, then climbed to a platform. He looked down, but Cassidy had snuck to the top. He gave Cole a low-blow from behind. Ross said, “I’d say that hit the mark.” Cassidy struck a pose and then hugged Cole. Cole tried to break free. Cassidy held on and then leaped off of the stage through a wooden platform. Cassidy landed on Cole. The ref leaned into the hole they created and counted to three. As the announcers did a sign-off, they showed both wrestlers still down on one side of the split-screen and highlights from the match on the other side of the split-screen. Taylor, Yuta, Romero, and Trent helped Cassidy sit up.

WINNER: Cassidy in 17:00.

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