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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Jan. 19, 2022): It’s Sting!

AEW Dynamite (Jan. 19, 2022) emanated from the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C. The show featured Sting flying through the air, Hangman Page slapping the taste out of Lance Archer’s mouth, as well as returns from Jon Moxley and Cody Rhodes.

Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Sting!

Sting and Darby Allin stole the show with excitement for the main event of the evening. The Acclaimed entered first with a video mocking past cinematic scenes from Sting and Allin. Fake Sting ran over Anthony Bowens, then Max Caster struck with a bat. It was cheesy and fun.

The Acclaimed took the fight to the good guys before the official opening bell. They placed a chair around Allin’s neck and smashed him into the ring post.

Physicians escorted Allin to the back, so Sting was left alone for a handicap bout. The Icon started strong until running into an exposed turnbuckle, which was intentionally stripped by The Acclaimed. Sting was down but not out. He rallied with double clotheslines and a Scorpion Deathlock. Bowens cracked Sting with a discus elbow, but Stinger ate it with a howl. Bowens kicked Sting to free his partner from the submission. On the floor, Bowens bashed Sting with a boombox.

Things looked bleak for Sting. As The Acclaimed set up a kill shot on the ring steps, Allin came out of nowhere to launch off the stage crashing into Caster.

Allin smartly pushed Sting into the ring to make a legal tag. Allin ran wild with offense. The Acclaimed used their size to slow down the speedster and hit their closing Mic Drop combo. Sting made the save on the pinfall.

The action spilled to the outside for the moment of the night. Sting jumped off the stage for a splash to Caster.

For the finish, Bowens collided with the previously exposed steel turnbuckle. Allin cleaned up with an over-the-top stunner and Coffin Drop to win.

Sting and Allin have their tag team formula down perfect for maximum excitement. Both are great at taking a beating and rallying with energy. Sting flying off stage was awesome. The Icon seems to always have something up his sleeve to make fans lose their minds. It has made his matches appointment viewing. With that win, bring on top competition toward the tag titles.

Murderhawk shit

Lance Archer made a physical statement going after Hangman Page last week. This week, Jake Roberts provided the verbal statement. He wants the cowboy to show his value under fire. Hangman replied in a video package that he will take the fight to Archer.

Archer took care of business in the ring in an extended beatdown against Frankie Kazarian. The action was pretty one-sided. Kaz had a rally down the stretch, but Archer clobbered him with a chokeslam, helicopter slam, then Blackout.

Archer aimed to injure Kaz with a chair on stage. That’s when Hangman entered the scene. The men stood face to face flapping gums. SLAP! Hangman wound up to strike Archer across the face. Fisticuffs ensued. Hangman hit Archer with his cowboy boot then flipped into the ring for a buckshot lariat, but Archer goozled him. The cowboy came back to clothesline Archer out of the ring.

Yes! Great follow-up to increase the heat from last week. Archer’s domination on Kaz built him up as a genuine threat to beat cowboy shit. The skirmish was money with Archer showing that it won’t be so easy to hit the buckshot lariat. To add a little extra sass on Archer, he trash-talked a little girl ringside during the match. Picking on innocent kids is guaranteed to get boos.

PAC sees clearly

PAC revealed his vision is back, and he’s coming to destroy Malakai Black. The segment began with Black and Brody King in tag team action steamrolling through the Varsity Blonds. The winners finished with a teamwork toss into a powerslam.

Afterward, PAC aired on the big screen with a rebuttal. He sees clearly that Black is the same as every other self-absorbed power hungry cretin in AEW. PAC is incorruptible to Black’s spells. He is coming to make a martyr out of Black.

It’s too bad the bout against the Varsity Blonds was a throwaway, but the segment was redeemed by PAC’s appearance. Anytime PAC is motivated to maim, he has my interest. Adding in Pentagon provides flexibility for tag and singles matches.

The lasting effects of Black’s mist and mind games still remain a mystery for the Varsity Blonds. Brian Pillman Jr. lost his confidence to even attempt his signature springboard flying clothesline. Julia Hart still wore an eye patch, but she didn’t wear her team jacket. Griff Garrison was extra aggressive and paid the price in pain. At this point, I think it is an even bet on any of them turning to the House of Black, all of them, or none at all. That’s what makes it fun to analyze all these minor details.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Jon Moxley returns. Moxley made his first appearance back in AEW since taking a leave of absence to deal with alcohol abuse. He told a story of dreaming of a demon. The force of evil taunted him that all of life’s good things weren’t supposed to happen to him. Moxley woke up before replying. He went on to discuss how life’s internal scars are what give people strength. If you want to doubt him, then he’ll say the same thing he would have said to that demon. Shove it up your ass. Moxley thanked his supporters with a tease that 2022 will be a wild ride. If you thought Mox was dangerous before, now he drinks blood.

Effective promo to get Moxley back in the swing of things. Mox looked leaner, but he was still full of piss and vinegar. I’m eager to find out who answers the call for a feud. There aren’t many men on the roster mean and nasty enough to take Moxley to his limits. I was wondering if Malakai Black could be a future target with the demon imagery. It turned out that Ethan Page will be up first for Moxley on Rampage, but I don’t think All Ego stands much of a chance.

Adam Cole & Dr. Britt Baker DMD defeated Orange Cassidy & Kris Statlander. Near falls included Cole kicking out of Breach Break and Cassidy kicking out of Panama Sunrise. The lovers set up a table, but it backfired. Cassidy went for the Superman punch, Cole ducked, and Cassidy’s body accidentally made contact with Baker. The force forced Baker falling off the apron through the table.

Cole became irate and low-blowed OC then lowered the boom for victory. Later backstage, Cole challenged Cassidy to a Lights Out match next week. The bout was made official.

The contest provided comedy through the heels flaunting the mixed tag rules to their advantage. One of the better moments was Cole covering Baker’s body to prevent an aerial attack. Statlander took flight anyway for a 450 splash onto both opponents.

The finish was a bit weak. Cole has beaten the low-blow to death against the Best Friends. If the Lights Out contest doesn’t involve violent attention to the groin, then that cheating story point will be for nothing.

Inner Circle turmoil. Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz will wrestle 2point and Daniel Garcia next week. Le Champion doesn’t care about Eddie Kingston. Ortiz cut him off to say that he does care about Kingston, so Jericho should tread lightly with his words. Santana wondered if Kingston was right about Jericho holding them back from tag team gold in AEW. The Inner Circle are always fighting Jericho’s battles. It might be time for Proud & Powerful to focus on their own careers now.

This scene made me a little sad. One of the great things about the Inner Circle was their devotion as friends. I’m okay with them splitting up, but I’d hate to see it happen on bad terms. Santana & Ortiz have a valid point about taking the backseat to Jericho. He shouldn’t fault them for striving for success. I hope Jericho sees the error of his ways and the friendship remains. If Santana & Ortiz separate from the Inner Circle, then they better not join up with Kingston. That would be taking a lateral step with a loudmouth doing all the talking again.

CM Punk defeated Shawn Spears. The Chairman and Punk received their full entrances. MJF came out for commentary. Big fight energy was in the air. Bing, bang, boom. Punk won in about 20 seconds with a GTS.

Afterward, MJF tried to sneak up on Punk. Not so fast, my friend. Punk caught MIJF and grabbed his scarf. MJF weaseled free to escape.

Credit to AEW for continually keeping viewers guessing in this feud between MJF and Punk. They’ve thrown screwballs all the way. From Punk’s interference costing MJF a loss on his record to Punk getting destroyed by Wardlow’s powerbomb symphony to this super quick surprise squash of Spears. It pretty much buried Spears, but it’s not like AEW had important plans for him anyway. He can take all the time he needs to rebuild his value.

Cody Rhodes returns. Cody explained how he followed the road map from CM Punk’s “Pipebomb” promo. He achieved all those things and fans cheered him through the revolution. They cheered Cody when he needed it most. That’s why Cody will never turn heel. Cody took credit for building the Forbidden Door. He also name-dropped the Young Bucks restarting the Wednesday night war with reDRagon, Jay Lethal having a devastating cutter, Malakai Black bringing help when he doesn’t need it, and Brody King having the temerity to use the name Brodie in AEW. Cody put himself over, along with other TNT champions, for elevating the TNT Championship above secondary status. The American Nightmare wrapped up his promo challenging Sammy Guevara to a ladder match title unification.

To be honest, I don’t know what was going on with Cody’s promo. It felt more like a State of the Union Address of thoughts rather than a focused story tied together by the ladder match challenge. I was waiting for Cody’s main point, but I’m not sure he ever delivered one. As a popcorn promo, Cody turned up the heat to pop kernels of truth. It was enjoyable in that aspect.

Sammy Guevara used his cue card gimmick to accept from a beach in Brazil. The TNT ladder match takes place next week.

Serena Deeb defeated Skye Blue. The professor taught the youngster a lesson in professional wrestling. Deeb closed it out with a swinging neckbreaker, Detox, and Serenity Lock.

Deeb was dominant in victory. With Deeb’s savage edge, I’d love to see her challenge Britt Baker for the AEW Women’s World Championship. I know it would be heel versus heel, but it would still be an intriguing matchup, especially with how ruthless Deeb has become.

HFO merger. Matt Hardy announced that Andrade acquired 51% of HFO, which was renamed AHFO. Hardy will maintain control with Private Party for a 3-2 advantage on the board of directors. Andrade will be president, and Hardy will be CEO. Bunny, Blade, and Butcher didn’t seem to mind the shakeup.

We’ll see how this new arrangement plays out, but I’m not optimistic of it elevating Private Party, Bunny, Blade, or Butcher. It seems like they would be in the same role as fodder for the foes of Andrade and Hardy. Perhaps something will build to turn Private Party into sympathetic fan favorites.

Notes: MJF’s birthday present to Wardlow was a sincere apology. Wardlow has been a stellar employee and great friend, however, he did put hands on the boss. MJF can’t allow that to set a precedent, so he docked Wardlow’s pay. If Wardlow can win the Revolution ladder match and hand over the title shot to MJF, then his pay will be restored. Wardlow smirked with subdued anger.

Billy Gunn propositioned Christian Cage about a tag title shot for the Ass Boys. Christian ridiculed Billy’s failure to get a statement win when the lights shine brightest. He suggested the Gunn sons earn a quality victory before stepping up to the plate. Austin and Colten attacked and smashed Christian into a wall.

Anna Jay stepped up to answer Jade Cargill’s open challenge for the TBS Championship on Rampage. Anna is going to show her dark side to do whatever it takes to win.

Trent and Rocky Romero reunited as Roppongi Vice to challenge the Young Bucks for Rampage. The match was made official with a video package of NJPW highlights from their previous duels. That historical info was a nice touch.

Dante Martin, Matt Sydal, and Lee Moriarty have bonded to watch each other’s backs from Team Taz attacks. Ricky Starks mocked Martin’s baby brother complex. Soon enough, Martin will find himself alone with no friends. Will Hobbs warned for Martin to watch his back, front, and both sides. Team Taz are assassins.

Leyla Hirsch blamed Kris Statlander for costing them the winner’s share in the trios loss last week. Red Velvet tried to keep the peace. Hirsch attacked Velvet and Statlander.

Hook is booked to wrestle Serpentico on Rampage. AEW hyped Hook with a highlight video.

Stud of the Show: Hangman Page

It takes major guts to slap Lance Archer across the face. Leave to Hangman to oblige. I love the way he wound up for extra oomph to make it an emphatic visual.

Match of the Night: Sting & Darby Allin vs. The Acclaimed

Thrills, chills, and spills. It was a safe bet going in that Sting and Allin would win. AEW did a good job providing mystery as to how after Allin was taken to the back. The end result was oodles of entertainment.

Grade: B-

Dynamite had plenty going on. The majority of talking scenes were amusing and advanced stories. Outside of the main event, the matches weren’t all that engaging with lots of dominant outcomes.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?

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