Date: January 26, 2022
Location: Wolstein Center, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone
It’s time for Beach Break, which is in Cleveland because when you think of going to the beach, you think of a place that is currently 12 degrees and on a lake. This week’s show is stacked, with a ladder match for the TNT Title and a Lights Out match where Orange Cassidy can beat Adam Cole but it doesn’t count. Let’s get to it.
TNT Title: Cody Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara
Ladder match for the undisputed title. Cody starts fast with a dropkick and goes for the drop town uppercut, only to get blocked. The technical wrestling (which defines ladder matches) ensues until they head outside with Cody grabbing the ladder. That’s broken up so they head into the crowd (with Cody having to check on a fan he bumps into). Cody wins a slugout but stops to high five the fans, allowing Sammy to dive over the barricade with a cutter.
Back in and Sammy loads up the ladder but Cody is fine enough to break that up without much trouble. The collision knocks both of them down and they slowly climb, with Cody hitting a scary delayed vertical suplex off the ladder (with the referee holding it in place). We take a break and come back with Cody dropping Sammy ribs first on an upside down ladder. Cody grabs a Figure Four with Sammy’s legs tied in the rungs of a ladder but lets go pretty soon.
Sammy fights back and kicks away but his springboard is cut off with a ladder to the face. That lets Cody go up, but Sammy hits a springboard (off the top of another ladder) into a super cutter to send them both crashing down. It’s Sammy going up again but Cody shoves the ladder over, sending Sammy crashing into the rope. Somehow Sammy is back up so it’s Cross Rhodes to bring him back down, almost sending the ladder into the referee.
They both go up but wind up hanging onto the bar the belts are attached to. That means a double crash and they both roll outside for a breather. Cody ties the leg in the ladder but here is Fuego Del Sol to beg for some mercy. That earns him a Jay Driller inside but Sammy is back up with a save and the GTH on the floor. Sammy adds a big flip dive to the floor to take Cody down again.
Cody is laid over a ladder bridged between the ring and the barricade, allowing Sammy to climb the BIG ladder (not inside under the title, because that would make too much sense). The Swanton hits Cody, with the ladder not giving whatsoever. They’re both down and then slowly go up, with Sammy hitting him in the head with one of the belts for the big knockdown. Sammy pulls down the titles to win at 22:07.
Rating: B. This was the definition of a spotfest, with a bunch of the moves not making sense as they could have gone for the title. That being said, SWEET GOODNESS there were some amazing spots here, with that cutter being one of the cooler things I have seen in one of these in a long time. This was awesome, turn your brain off stuff and Sammy winning was a nice treat.
Earlier today, Team Taz had Tony Schiavone come to the freezing beach in Cleveland. They want to take out Dante Martin and Jay Lethal, but Tony thinks his hand has frozen to the microphone.
Wardlow vs. Elijah Dean/James Alexander
Wardlow is the hometown boy and it’s the Powerbomb Symphony for the double stack pin at 1:17.
Inner Circle vs. 2.0/Daniel Garcia
Santana and Ortiz/Chris Jericho here with the former two beating on Parker, including a splash for two. Garcia comes in and gets kicked down as well, though there is not even a look at Jericho for a tag. Jericho tags himself in out of frustration but Santana tags himself right back in.
The argument is on and the Inner Circle gets jumped as we take a break. Back with Oritz fighting out of trouble and ignoring Jericho’s hand to tag in Santana. Everything breaks down and Jericho looks on from the floor. Jericho pulls Lee outside though, followed by a Judas Effect through the ropes to Parker. Santana piledrives Parker for the pin at 8:44.
Rating: C. There wasn’t much drama in this outside of Jericho screwing over his partners, but they were a bit heavy handed with Santana and Ortiz not trusting him. The split still seems imminent and after the Inner Circle has been a thing for so long, that is not a bad idea. Jericho could use his latest freshening up and Santana and Ortiz will be fine on their own so the breakup wouldn’t be awful.
Video on Hangman Page vs. Lance Archer, which will be a Texas Deathmatch. Page, upon hearing that, has his eyes bug out as he asks “a WHAT?” in a funny bit.
We get a showdown between Jurassic Express and Private Party, with Christian Cage and Matt Hardy. Matt hypes up the team but Jungle Boy points out that Party’s watches are fake.
Here is CM Punk for a chat. He is trying to look tough tonight but Cleveland makes him smile. Everyone knows who Punk wants to fight and he wants the fans chanting for MJF so it can happen for the only time ever. Punk opens the jacket to reveal the scarf, and apparently you can get a 12 pack on Amazon for $5. He has beaten everyone MJF has so bring him out here.
Cue MJF to ask the fans if they want to see them wrestle right here right no. MJF: “No.” They can do the match next week in Chicago, with MJF finally saying he’ll have the match. MJF says he’ll beat him in Chicago (Punk: “Do it here b****, do it here.”) and talks about Punk walking out in Cleveland about eight years ago. All Punk is going to do is walk out and then talk about it on a podcast.
Punk says MJF will be listening because he is a fan. Leaving was the best thing he ever did and now being back is the best thing he ever did. Punk wants MJF to go put in his three inch lifts and come out here to fight. These people love him because he keeps getting up and fights, just like Cleveland and Chicago.
MJF wants to test that theory, so here is the rest of the Pinnacle, including Shawn Spears coming in from behind. The big beatdown is on, but Wardlow stands back and doesn’t get involved. MJF tells Wardlow to powerbomb Punk and, after thinking about it, Wardlow does so, albeit without much force. MJF sits on Punk’s chest ala the Pipebomb to wrap it up. That was awesome, and it’s time for Punk to finally crush him, possibly with Wardlow turning.
The Acclaimed doesn’t like Jon Moxley and promise that Anthony Bowens will beat his “Oskar Kokoshka looking a**.” I did not have a Hey Arnold reference on this show.
Mark Sterling interrupts a Varsity Blonds interview and gives Julia Hart the next TBS Title shot against Jade Cargill. Griff Garrison says she needs time to heal properly but she cuts him off, saying she can fight her own battles.
Leylah Hirsch vs. Red Velvet
Hirsch pulls her down to the floor for a whip into the barricade and grabs a suplex as we take a break. Back with Velvet hitting the running knees to the back but favoring her shoulder. Hirsch hits a suplex and grabs the Legit Lock, sending Velvet over to the rope. Back up and Velvet tries a rollup, only to get reversed into a cradle with Hirsch grabbing trunks for the pin at 8:13.
Rating: D+. This was WAY too long as there is no reason to believe Velvet would hang with Hirsch that long. On top of that, it wasn’t even a clean finish, which shouldn’t be the case for Hirsch against someone on Velvet’s level. The match wasn’t even very good, which makes this one of the bigger headscratchers they’ve had in awhile around here.
Post match the beating stays on but Kris Statlander makes the save.
The House of Black threatens Pac because they are inevitable.
Here is Tony Schiavone to introduce Britt Baker, who won a bunch of Pro Wrestling Illustrated Awards. She talks about how the Steelers beat the Browns and lists off a bunch of Baker Mayfield’s failures. Then she does it again before saying she is the Baker you can count on. This was oddly repetitive.
Vickie Guerrero brings out Nyla Rose, who rants about how Ruby Soho cost her the TBS Title. A challenge is thrown out.
Adam Cole vs. Orange Cassidy
Unsanctioned lights out. Cassidy takes the glasses off and crushes them, setting up the big brawl. The fight to the floor with Cole being sent into the barricade. Cole is back with a shot of his own, sending Cassidy down in a heap. It’s time to get a chair….and Cole pulls Danhausen out with him. Danhausen seems to curse him before leaving, but Cole is fine enough to superkick a chair into Cassidy’s face. Cassidy’s Orange Punch hits post to damage his hand though and we take a break.
Back with Cassidy hitting a Michinoku Driver on the open chairs. Cue a bunch of people to brawl at ringside, leaving Cassidy to hit the Orange Punch. It hurts the band hand though and it’s Cole hitting him low….only to find out that Cassidy is wearing a cup with thumbtacks attached. Cassidy hits his own Panama Sunrise for two and it’s time to fight to the back. After running Jerry Lynn off, it’s an AA to send Cassidy through a table for two.
They go back to the stage where Cole blocks an Orange Punch with a light to knock Cassidy silly. Cole climbs the set but Cassidy gets away and climbs up after him. A low blow cuts Cole down and he gives Cole a hug, setting up a dive through the stage. Cassidy lands on top and wins at 17:00.
Rating: C+.I’ve had to sit here for a bit and let this one soak in. On one hand, Cassidy winning makes sense based on the story they have been telling. On the other hand, it’s still Orange Cassidy, the guy who does the lazy kicks and the thumbs up, beating Adam Cole. This isn’t going to kill Cole and he’s not dead, but this is a case where it’s ok for Cassidy to fight hard and then lose in the end. The “but it doesn’t count!” deal will be the defense for it, but ultimately, Cassidy pinned Cole and that’s a bit much to swallow.
Overall Rating: B. This week’s AEW Dynamite was a huge improvement over last week, which gives me some very solid hope that last week was just a misstep. The opener and main event were both good brawls, though the main event result still doesn’t quite sit right. It was a better show than last week, but there is still a little something missing from these shows. I’m not sure what it is, but the spark isn’t as bright as it was for a long time.
Sammy Guevara b. Cody Rhodes – Guevara pulled down the titles
Wardlow b. Elijah Dean/James Alexander – Double pin
Inner Circle b. 2.0/Daniel Garcia – Piledriver to Parker
Leylah Hirsch b. Red Velvet – Rollup with trunks
Orange Cassidy b. Adam Cole – Slam through the stage
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