May 18th, 2022
AEW World Champion: Hangman Adam Page (since 11/13/21)
AEW World Tag Team Champions: Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus (since 1/5/22)
AEW Women’s World Champion: Thunder Rosa (since 3/16/22)
AEW TBS Champion: Jade Cargill (since 1/5/22)
AEW TNT Champion: Scorpio Sky (since 4/27/22)
1) Samoa Joe vs. Johnny Elite - Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Match
The show opens with Samoa Joe against a mystery joker opponent. The ROH TV Champ enters with his title and awaits the rival of the joker which turns out to be the former John Morrison/Johnny Nitro/Johnny Mundo. This was a letdown for some. I admittedly wanted Claudio Castagnoli, but I will accept this rather than it being someone like Johnny Gargano. There’s been enough bland NXT people joining the team.. so a one off from Morrison? I’m fine with that. The match is fun as well. So no complaints from me. Is it great? Nah! But is it good? Yes. It felt like a match from 2014-2015 Raw that would be getting rave reviews under that platform. But here in AEW, the bar is so high. I’m just glad it wasn’t a melodramatic NXT/Adam Cole style match. It had close falls and big spots, but they didn’t go anywhere near overboard and as a result, I enjoyed the hell out of it. A Joe prolonged squash would’ve also satisfied me just as much, but it won’t complain at all about whag we got because it could’ve been MUCH worse and I enjoyed this more than a lot of recent matches that have made Dynamite. It’s not FTR/Bucks obviously and it’s nowhere near Punk/Dustin even.. but it beats a lot of other stuff. Joe wins to advance to the semi finals.
Match rating - ***1/4
After the match, Joe is immediately jumped by Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt. Satnam Singh begins walking down the ramp as well. Thankfully THE BOYS are in the building. Chuck Taylor, Trent Beretta, & Rocky Romero hit the ring with chairs to run off the bastards.
Backstage, The Young Bucks walk up on Jeff & Matt Hardy. Jeff has just been cleared to compete later after his grueling nutty match with Darby last week. Nick & Matt try to get in Jeff’s head and make him question even being willing to step in the ring with Adam Cole later. Jeff says he’s sick of the CHRISTIAN AF bullshit and doesn’t let the Bucks get to him. LETS GO NERO.
Meanwhile back in the arena, CM Punk hits the stage to join commentary for the following match. Man.. some of this shit is just insane to type out.
2) “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Konosuke Takeshita
FINALLY. Our king has made it to the main stage of Dynamite. And he is oh so deserving. And on top of that, he more than delivers. There are so many things that are right about this katch. Firstly, as mentioned already, Takeshita deserves to be on Dynamite atleast twice a month. Secondly, this is the way you keep Hangman hot, he needs to wrestle more. Third.. CM Punk on commentary. This just ROCKED mannnn. They let Hanger & Soup cook and boy.. they made us a damn roast for the ages. Just good fucking shit. Stiff, snug strikes. Awesome spots. Everything laid in.. no hesitation or time wasted. Just boys putting in work with something to prove. Hanger wanting to show out in front of his future challenger Punk and send a message. Takeshita wanting to show out in the biggest match of his US excursion against the champion of the promotion. Just all around awesome and one of my favorite Dynamite matches of the year. After a bunch of bombs and counters, Page wins with.. you guessed it.. the Go To Sleep and that shit looked better than Punk’s does lowkey. Punk’s grin at commentary as this happened was so great.
Match rating - ****1/4
After the match, Punk & Page come face to face on the ramp for a staredown. Page storms off as the crowd begins chanting for Punk.
In a pre-tape, Evil Uno & Fuego Del Sol want House of Black on Rampage this Friday.
3) Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland vs. The Workhorsemen (JD Drake & Anthony Henry)
Man I’m loving Keith & Swerve as a team. It’s nice seeing Drake & Henry here also. I hope they get a legit run one day toward the tag straps because they are soooo good. This only goes for a few minutes, but they don’t miss a beat. Awesome stiff exchanges between JD & Keith, some flying from Swerve before he & Lee nail their new finisher THE FALL FROM GRACE. Awesome squash.
Match rating - **1/2
After the match, Keith Lee & Swerve begin cutting a promo on how they are in the Top 5 ranked tag teams now. This brings out Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs. Lots of good verbal jabs in this shit. Love seeing all these guys fINALLY getting their footing. This was the first time I feel like it all clicked for them. Out comes Christian Cage and Jurassic Express. A triple threat tag title match is made for Double or Nothing and next week it’ll be a Swerve vs. Jungle Boy vs. Starks in a three way match LETS GO.
MJF is out next with Shawn Spears. It’s time to give Wardlow his ten lashes. Wardlow comes out and takes the first 8 like a champ, even smiling. This pisses MJF off. Shawn Spears hits one and it begins to hurt Wardlow. Instead of the 10th lash, MJF low blows Wardlow and blasts him with the diamond ring to end the segment. Great stuff from this program as always. Wardlow faces Shawn Spears in a Steel Cage Match next week and if he wins, he gets the PPV singles match with MJF that he wants.
Backstage, Roppongi Vice is here. They challenge FTR to a match next week for the ROH Tag Titles.
4) Kyle O’Reilly vs. Rey Fenix - Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Match
I’m so happy that this lived up to its potential. Truthfully, I probably would’ve loved this even more if this was 2014 or something, but for 2022 Kyle.. this was awesome. Most I’ve liked a Kyle match in years and Fenix is ballistic as always and delivers another banger following his return from injury. Such a perfect clash of styles and an awesome match on free television. One of the best dynamite matches of the year right up there with Hanger/Takeshita from earlier. Kyle advances.
Match rating - ****
Bryan Danielson, William Regal, Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston, Santana & Ortiz all make their way to the ring for the face off with Jericho Appreciation Society. Jericho & Regal go at it early and it goes a little long. Some good jabs in there from both, but this was big time WWE Raw opener stuff. I’m not complaining though, it was a nice change of pace and I like seeing these type of segments sometimes. Especially when mostly everyone here is a good talker. Things trickle down and Eddie Kingston says he’s sick of talking and wants JAS to come fight right now. Jericho is down to fight, but at Double or Nothing in a Stadium Stamp—- Moxley interrupts and says HE AINT DOING THAT SHIT HE WANTS ANARCHY IN THE ARENA. Jericho dodges this by mentioning all the issues all the members of the face team have had with one another, particularly Danielson & Kingston which leads to a little bit of a shoving match between the two to close the segment as Jericho & co leave and Dan & King argue over who runs after them essentially.
Meanwhile backstage, Dante Martin & Matt Sydal say they will give Blackpool Combat Club the fight they want on Rampage this Friday. It will be Mox & Danielson vs. Dante & Sydal. Oh lord.
5) Britt Baker vs. Maki Itoh - Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Match
MAKI ITOH IS THE JOKER IN THE WOMENS BRACKET!!! WELCOME BACK QUEEN. They show clips of when she & Britt teamed up at Revolution last year which is a nice touch for those unfamiliar with Maki. This was as alright as it could be. Britt continues to feel a step behind almost everyone she wrestles as of late, but getting to see Maki run her schtick was so fun. I hope we see more of her in AEW in the coming month. Britt advances as expected.
Match rating - **1/4
Tony Schiavone is in the ring for something and to hype Double or Nothing. Serena Deeb interrupts and goes off about Tony & Dustin Rhodes both saying she can’t beat Thunder Rosa at Double or Nothing. Deeb asks why they would say that. Deeb calls out Dustin. He comes out and she goes on a rant. She talks about all the shit she’s been through in the business and asks how Dustin could say something like that. Dustin doesn’t say anything and Deeb slaps him. Thunder Rosa comes running out and Dustin keeps them from fighting. But in the process of this, Deeb gets her hands on Rosa’s title and leaves with it.
6) Adam Cole vs. Jeff Hardy (w/ Matt Hardy) - Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Match
This gets like 7-8 minutes and I’m not even upset about it. They just do their stuff and that is FINE WITH ME. Get in and out. Hardy misses a couple swanton attempts and Cole hits the last shot for the win and he’s headed to the finals!
Match rating - **1/2
After the match, The Young Bucks come down to jump The Hardy’s. But Sting & Darby Allin make the save and we have a bit of chaos to close the show. ReDragon runs down to counteract Sting & Darby and yeah. They definitely ran out of time here, but it added to the organic feel of the brawl.
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