By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 119)
Raleigh, North Carolina at PNC Arena
Aired live January 12, 2022 on TBS
[Hour One] Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone checked in on commentary and ran through the show’s lineup. Justin Roberts was the ring announcer…
Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly made their entrance for a promo segment. Cole asked who was ready for story time. He said 2021 was a great year for him, Fish, and O’Reilly, and 2022 will be even better. Cole told the crowd he hasn’t been pinned or submitted and remained unbeaten in singles competition. Cole said the boys are back together. He said it was a new era in AEW.
“The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson interrupted and they were accompanied by Brandon Cutler. Matt boasted that he kicked COVID’s ass in two days and said they thought they would join Cole and company in the ring.
Once in the ring, Matt said Fish and O’Reilly are one of the best teams in the world and they didn’t need their help. Matt said AEW is their company and they remain the longest reigning AEW Tag Team Champions in history and they plan to get their belts back.
Fish said there wasn’t a team on the planet that would stand between him and O’Reilly and the AEW Tag Titles, including the Bucks. Cole said it was friendly competition. He compared their faction to Best Friends and said Best Friends are an absolute joke.
Right on cue, Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta, Chuck Taylor, Wheeler Yuta, and Kris Standlander made their entrance. Once the male members of Best Friends entered the ring, Cole called for someone to turn off their stupid music. He asked what Cassidy could possibly say that was of any importance whatsoever.
Cassidy attacked Cole and then the rest of the two factions brawled to ringside. Cassidy dominated Cole. Cutler tried to help, but Cassidy sent him over the top rope. Cole took advantage of the distraction and hit Cassidy with a low blow. Statlander entered the ring to stop Cole.
AEW Women’s Champion Britt Baker ran out and hit Statlander from behind and then followed up with a Stomp. Baker held Cassidy while Cole superkicked him. Cole followed up with a running knee to the back of Cassidy’s head. The heels stood tall. The Bucks moved in to kiss Cole’s cheeks, but Baker stepped in and kissed Cole instead…
Powell’s POV: A good opening segment that furthered the tension between Cole’s crew and the Bucks and put heat on the heels. It also featured Cole and Baker together on camera. While AEW opens most shows with in-ring action, I like that they’re not afraid to shake it up by going with the occasional verbal segment. By the way, Jake Barnett is off doing Jake Barnett things tonight (working late). He will be writing tomorrow’s AEW Dynamite Hit List and covering Friday’s WWE Smackdown, and he should be back covering Dynamite next week.
A brief video package aired on Wardlow… Excalibur set up a sneak peak at the Go Big Show that features Cody Rhodes… [C]
MJF made his entrance and waited on the stage while Wardlow made his entrance. CM Punk made his usual entrance to “Cult of Personality.” Punk yelled that it was clobberin’ time. MJF sat on the ropes behind Wardlow as Punk entered the ring…
1. CM Punk vs. Wardlow (w/MJF). Punk went to ringside where MJF stood behind Wardlow. Punk returned to the ring. Wardlow did a standing leap back onto the apron. The broadcast team all agreed that Wardlow seemed to have outgrown MJF and now wants to be his own man.
Punk went for an early GTS that Wardlow escaped. Wardlow set up or a powerbomb, but Punk slipped away and rolled to ringside heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Coming out of the break, Punk avoided another powerbomb and threw a few kicks at Wardlow. Punk failed to knock Wardlow off his feet with three clothesline attempts. Punk clubbed away with additional front and back clotheslines, then hit him with a springboard clothesline that knocked him off his feet.
Punk hit Wardlow with a running knee strike in the corner, but Wardlow powerbombed him coming out of the corner. Wardlow followed up with a second powerbomb. MJF taunted the crowd at ringside. Wardlow picked up Punk and powerbombed him a third time, then picked him up again and powerbombed him a fourth and fifth time.
Wardlow placed his foot on Punk and posed. Referee Aubrey Edwards started to count, but MJF stood on the apron and called off Wardlow from pinning Punk, telling him that he wanted him to dish out more punishment. Schiavone said MJF normally doesn’t want Wardlow to show off, but it’s personal this time.
Wardlow picked up Punk and powerbombed him again. MJF told him to do it again. Wardlow didn’t look thrilled about it. Wardlow grabbed Punk, looked at MJF, and then powerbombed Punk. MJF asked the fans what happened to their hero. Punk rolled onto the apron.
Wardlow went to the floor and tried to grab Punk, but MJF stopped him. MJF cleared the timekeepers table and pointed at it. Wardlow powerbombed Punk through the timekeepers table. MJF stood on the apron and flashed a big green while the crowd booed. Wardlow returned to the ring.
Punk got back to his knees while the referee counted and MJF jawed at him. Punk beat the referee’s count by rolling back inside the ring. MJF barked at a reluctant Wardlow to powerbomb Punk again. Wardlow grabbed Punk, who was dead weight. Wardlow tried to pick him up, but Punk caught him in an inside cradle and scored the pin…
CM Punk defeated Wardlow in 14:00.
After the match, MJF called for Punk’s music to stop playing, then yelled at Wardlow and shoved him. MJF pointed his finger into Wardlow’s chest while yelling at him. Wardlow grabbed MJF’s hand and eventually released it. Shawn Spears ran out and tried to talk Wardlow down. Wardlow left the ring and was followed by Spears and MJF while Punk remained down at ringside…
Excalibur hyped Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Dante Martin as coming up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: Great booking. Wardlow looked like a badass who could have put Punk away at any point. MJF got heat for sadistically demanding more punishment. And Punk escaped with a fluke win to keep his unbeaten streak alive. This was great storytelling. As much as I’m looking forward to Punk vs. MJF, the eventual Wardlow vs. MJF match is just as appealing.
2. Powerhouse Hobbs (w/Ricky Starks) vs. Dante Martin. Both entrances were televised. Taz sat in on commentary for the match. Hobbs met Martin at ringside and brawled with him before tossing him inside the ring to start the match. Martin sent Hobbs back to ringside and dove at him, but Hobbs caught him and put him down with a spinebuster.
Back inside the ring, Hobbs remained in control. Martin showed signs of life, but Hobbs put him right back down with a clothesline. Martin caught Hobbs with a series of kicks while lying on his back. Hobbs came back and went for a Torture Rack, but Martin delivered a knee to the head to block it. Hobbs came right back with a running cross body block. Hobbs sent Martin into the corner. Martin’s momentum took him to ringside where Starks put the boots to him. [C]
Hobbs dominated Martin throughout the break. Martin caught Hobbs with a kick. Hobbs went for the Torture Rack again, but Martin flipped from that position onto his feet. Martin missile dropkicked Hobbs., who ended up at ringside. Martin went up top and performed a spinning dive onto Hobbs on the floor. Starks frantically tried to revive Hobbs. Martin caught Hobbs with a kick as he returned to the ring.
Both men ended up down inside the ring. Starks teased getting involved. Jay Lethal came out and pulled Starks off the apron. Martin performed a Nose Dive on Hobbs and got the three count…
Dante Martin defeated Powerhouse Hobbs in 10:05.
Powell’s POV: I enjoyed the match, but there were some similarities between it and the opening match. As such, it felt like they should have put some distance between the two matches.
Backstage, Alex Marvez interviewed the Inner Circle members Chris Jericho, Santana, Ortiz, and Jake Hager. Marvez noted that they won the PWI Faction of the Year. Jericho spoke about winning the award until he was interrupted.
Eddie Kingston showed up and told Jericho to mind his own business. Kingston asked Santana and Ortiz if they knew why they are not AEW Tag Team Champions, then pointed at Jericho, who pushed his finger away. Jericho told Kingston to get the hell out of their business.
Santana told Jericho and Kingston to get their shit together and walked away. Ortiz joined his partner while Kingston asked if he was going to play him like that. Hager followed Santana and Ortiz. Jericho said he was going to be in Sammy Guevara’s corner and would kick the asses of 2point0 if they get involved, and he threatened to do the same to Kingston. “I’m begging you,” Kingston said. “GFY” Jericho said before walking away…
MJF stormed out while the broadcast team was talking. MJF said Punk got a fluke victory over an oaf. MJF said he would make sure Punk takes his first loss in AEW next week. MJF asked the crowd if they wanted the match, then announced that Punk would face Shawn Spears next week…
Powell’s POV: You had to know MJF was going to name Spears as Punk’s opponent, but it was still good fun.
The Young Bucks, Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly delivered a promo backstage. Cole said they have whipped the asses of the Best Friends over and over again. He said Kris Statlander thought she was safe. Britt Baker showed up and challenged Cassidy and Statlander to a mixed tag match for next week’s Dynamite. They al told cameraman Brandon Cutler to shut up…
AEW World Champion “Hangman” Adam Page made his entrance in non-wrestling attire. Page said he spent 90 minutes in the ring with one of the best in the world. He said he poured sweat and spilled enough blood to float a battleship and he did it all for the AEW World Championship. Page said it’s a new year and the records reset, and he needs a new challenger.
Dan Lambert walked onto the stage and spoke about wrestling cowboys such as Stan Hansen and the Funks, and said now we have Page. Lambert said he knows how good Page is and the matches he had with Bryan Danielson were some of the best that he’s seen in his forty years as a fan. Lambert said he appreciated that Page didn’t take the Cody Rhodes path.
Lambert said Page earned his championship, but he took issue with his cowboy persona. Lambert said the guy in the Village People can put on his gear, but it doesn’t make him a real cowboy. Lambert told Page to stop disrespecting the legacy of Dick Murdoch and Blackjack Mulligan. He said anyone coming from the Carolinas or the Virginias pretending to be something they are not comes across like they are completely full of cowboy shit.
Page spoke about growing up on a cattle farm ninety miles away and asked if turning down a six-figure deal to help start a new company was cowboy shit. Page invited Lambert to enter the ring and let him shove his size 12 boot up his ass and then tell him who the cowboy is. Lambert started to back away, but he stopped due to entrance music.
Lance Archer made his entrance with a chair in hand and and chased Lambert inside the ring. Lambert begged off, but Archer tossed him aside and attacked Page. Archer hit gave Page his Blackout finisher onto a chair that he’d set up in the middle of the ring.
[Hour Two] Archer stood over Page as fans booed…
Powell’s POV: It’s great to see Archer back for the first time since he suffered a neck injury while performing a moonsault back in late October. I could be mistaken, but it didn’t come off like Archer and Lambert formed an alliance, as Lambert acted like he was lucky to have escaped without Archer attacking him. Page was really good on the mic this week.
Footage aired from an interview that Schiavone conducted with Arn Anderson while Brock Anderson and Lee Johnson stood by. Arn spoke of how proud he is of his son and Johnson, then noted that they were in Horsemen Country.
Tully Blanchard, Dax Harwood, and Cash Wheeler showed up. Blanchard told Arn to ditch the dead weight and join them. Arn said Brock is his son. Wheeler said he might be blood, but FTR will do more for the Anderson name than Brock ever could. The two sides agreed to a tag team match for next week’s Dynamite… [C]
A brief video package aired on Jade Cargill…
Hikaru Shida made her entrance. Her opponent Serena Deeb ran out and clipped Shida’s knee from behind. Deeb grabbed the kendo stick that Shida brings to the ring and tried to hit her with it, but Shida kicked it away. Deeb picked up Shida and dropped her knee first onto the ring steps. The referee checked on Shida, who eventually rolled inside the ring and demanded to start the match…
3. Serena Deeb vs. Hikaru Shida. Deeb targeted Shida’s bad knee. She slammed it into the mat several times and then applied a half crab. Referee Paul Turner called off the match.
Serena Deeb defeated Hikaru Shida.
A trainer came out afterward to check on Shida. Deeb grabbed the kendo stick from ringside and cleared the referee and the trainer from the ring by swinging it over their heads. Deeb beat Shida’s knee with repeated kendo stick shots. Two more referees ran out and talked her down. Tay Conti, Anna Jay, and another wrestler ran out and helped Shida…
Powell’s POV: This was more of an angle than a match. No complaints. It put more heat on Deeb and added to their ongoing feud.
Schiavone interviewed Christian Cage and AEW Tag Team Champions Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus. Cage gave his best wishes to the injured Rey Fenix. Jungle Boy said they wanted to defend their titles against any team in the top five. John Silver and Alex Reynolds showed up and pointed out that they are in the top five. The teams agreed to a match on Rampage…
Matt Hardy and “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy were in the ring. Hardy’s wife and children were in the crowd. Hardy acknowledged them and said he would send Penta El Zero Miedo to the hospital with his brother. Penta made his entrance…
4. Matt Hardy (w/Marq Quen, Isiah Kassidy) vs. Penta El Zero Miedo (w/Alex Abrahantes). Hardy and Penta took turns leading the crowd in saying “delete” and “cero miedo” before getting physical with one another. [C] In the end, Penta hit the Penta Driver and scored the pin…
Penta El Zero Miedo defeated Matt Hardy.
After the match, Abrahantes took the mic and said Penta had a message for Malakai Black. Penta spoke in Spanish. “Penta says he’s going to show you some respect,” Abrahantes translated. The light went out. Black appeared in the ring and took out Abrahantes with a boot to the head. Black and Penta went at it. Black put Penta down with a kick and then tried to tear his mask off.
Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison ran out and fought Black. Julia Hart climbed onto the apron with her eye patch on and told them to stop. Penta recovered and joined the Varsity Blonds in standing over Black, who laughed.
The lights went out and when they turned back on, Brody King was in the ring. King took out all three babyfaces. Black picked up Garrison and tossed him to King, who slammed him to the mat…
Powell’s POV: It’s been pretty obvious that King was going to be the mystery man who appeared in Black’s video package. It’s interesting that Hart told her team to stop. A popular online theory is that characters change when Black sprays them with mist. So perhaps the idea is that Hart has changed and will be aligned with Black and King in the House of Black.
A Schiavone interview aired with Kris Statlander Red Velvet, and Leyla Hirsch. He noted they would compete in a trios match on Rampage, and added that Statlander would be in the mixed tag match on Dynamite. Hirsch took issue with Statlander not focusing enough on their trios match. Statlander defended herself. Velvet told them they both needed to get it together if they were going to have a chance to win on Friday…
Ross hyped the TNT Championship as the main event…
5. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens vs. “Bear Country” Bear Bronson and Bear Boulder. Bear Country’s entrance was not televised. Caster’s pre-match rap included a shot at Darby Allin and Sting. Caster performed a cross body block on Bronson heading into a PIP break. [C]
Bear Country went for a Bear Bomb on Caster, but Bowens pulled him out of the way. A short time later, Caster performed a top rope elbow drop and scored the pin for his team.
“The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens beat “Bear Country” Bear Bronson and Bear Boulder.
The Acclaimed started to leave, but they were interrupted by Sting making his entrance. Darby Allin showed up from the other side of the ring and performed a suicide dive on Caster. Sting took out Bowens and then joined Allin inside the ring. Sting put Caster down with a Scorpion Death Drop…
Powell’s POV: I don’t think they live crowd knew who they were supposed to root for during the actual match. The Acclaimed are clearly heels, but I don’t think we’ve even heard Bear Country speak on Dynamite or Rampage.
A Pac video package aired. He had his eyes covered and spoke as if he was a doctor telling him that he may never see again. He said he may have been blinded, but he sees everything. He says he appreciates the blessing and his vision has never been more clear…
The broadcast team hyped the following matches for Friday’s AEW Rampage: Adam Cole vs. Trent Beretta, Nyla Rose, Penelope Ford, and The Bunny vs. Kris Statlander, Red Velvet, and Leyla Hirsch, Shawn Spears vs. Andrew Everett, a special look at the Thunder Rosa vs. Mercedes Martinez rivalry, and Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus vs. Alex Reynolds and John Silver for the AEW Tag Titles.
The broadcast team listed the following matches for next week’s AEW Dynamite: Orange Cassidy and Kris Statlander vs. Adam Cole and Britt Baker, CM Punk vs. Shawn Spears, Serena Deeb vs. Skye Blue, and the return of Cody Rhodes (the crowd booed), and Sting and Darby Allin vs. The Acclaimed… [C]
Schiavone interviewed Matt Hardy and Private Party. Hardy was frustrated about losing and said he might need to start focussing more on himself. Andrade El Idolo and Jose showed up. Andrade told Hardy to take it easy. He said they are both businessmen. Hardy said he would love to talk with him more away from the cameras…
Justin Roberts introduced David Crockett, who was there to present the title to the main event winner. Chris Jericho and Eddie Kingston was already at ringside. Daniel Garcia made his entrance followed by Sammy Guevara…
6. Sammy Guevara vs. Daniel Garcia for the Interim TNT Championship. Kingston and Jericho jawed at one another as the match started. With Garcia at ringside, Guevara hit him with a dive from the ring. Back inside the ring, Guevara performed a snap suplex and got just a one count. Guevara set up for his finisher, but Garcia escaped. When Guevara went for a flying knee, Garcia caught him with a nice backbreaker on the way down. [C]
Guevara performed a double jump flip dive onto Garcia at ringside. Back in the ring, Garcia caught Guevara on the ropes and pulled him down. Garcia threw a clothesline to the back of Guevara’s head and followed up with a backdrop driver for a near fall. Guevara rallied and went for his GTH finisher only to have Garcia block it and apply a leg lock. Guevara reached the ropes to break the hold.
Guevara dodged Garcia charging at him in the corner. Guevara pointed into the camera and then performed a lousy version of CrossRhodes for a near fall. Schiavone said they would stick with the match through its 20-minute time limit even if it went past the top of the hour. Guevara performed another double jump move, but this time Garcia caught him in a sleeper hold. Garcia countered into a bulldog choke and then released it to perform a piledriver for a good near fall.
Guevara rallied with a step-up enzuigiri. The “2point0” duo of Matt Lee and Jeff Parker ran out and attacked Jericho and Kingston. They ran Jericho into the barricade. Guevara superkicked Lee. Garcia rolled him up for a two count. Guevara shoved Garcia into Lee, who was on the apron. Guevara hit Garcia with his GTH finisher and pinned him clean.
Sammy Guevara defeated Daniel Garcia in 12:45 to retain the Interim TNT Championship.
David Crockett entered the ring and presented the title to Guevara. Lee and Parker attacked Guevara from behind. Jericho brought his baseball bat inside the ring with him. Kingston also entered the ring and grabbed Lee. Jericho hit Lee with the bat a few times. Kingston grabbed Jericho and shoved him into the corner and asked him what he was doing. Kingston and Jericho bickered to close the show…
Powell’s POV: An entertaining main event, but there was no reason to think that Garcia was going to win. As much as the broadcast team tells us how good Garcia is, he loses most of his Dynamite and Rampage matches. Garcia and 2point0 continue to get a ton of television time despite rarely winning matches. The weekly bickering between Kingston and Jericho is getting repetitive.
Overall, I really enjoyed the first hour of the show. The second hour was decent, but it was much more chaotic and less interesting. I will have a lot more to say about this show in my weekly Dot Net Members’ exclusive audio review. Let me know what you thought of Dynamite by grading it below.
I haven’t watched AEW in ages (or anything aside from the occasional snippet of NXT really) but there was nothing on so I thought I would at least start AEW
Opening segment was death. I like Adam Cole I think he is great on the mic but he looked physically small. Statlander is pretty much his equal in size. I have no idea why I didn’t notice this as much in NXT but he really looks… small. Also I have zero idea how the Young Bucks are on TV. They are channel changing cringe. I see Orange is adjusting his character a little. That’s a positive
The Wardlow / Punk match felt like it lasted an hour. Anyone who didn’t see the result of that match coming needs to repeat first grade. As I said I have not watched lately but Punk looks like a shell of himself. Was it an off night or is this what he is now? MJF seems like a poorly written caricature of a circa 1987 heel. I haven’t seen much of Wardlow but he seems like he might be pretty athletic. But he looked like a total idiot. Again this angle came across like a warmed-over dinner
Finally the presentation is dreadful. The crowd seemed dead but I’m going to blame that on the production because I know the AEW crowds are usually vibrant. And I think Excalibur is a really good announcer. He really seems to carry the booth
I’ve pretty much moved in from wrestling since early 2021 and this 1/2 hour sure didn’t pull me back in. Maybe this was just a poor sample of a good product. I’m not sure
Cole didn’t look small in NXT because the Black & Gold era were all undersized indy guys with no build. I’d put money on Statlander and Hayter both being able to outlift Cole in the gym.
Now those little guys are pretty much gone and NXT has gotten much better while the children do terrible comedy on Tony Khan’s dime. Then there’s Matt Hardy still being on TV in 2022 doing his shtick that killed TNA/Impact 5 years ago.
At least Serena Deeb didn’t have to job to generic Omega fetish girl #7 this week.
Gotta love you Cornette worshipping dirtbags that reduce every joshi to a fetish. Because 1) surely the only reason they would bring in talent from Japan is because Kenny is horny and 2) any woman that isn’t white = fetish because how could someone be attracted to someone of another race without it being a kink? Fuck’s sake.
Funny how Company Man Phil’s best work is when they take the mic away from him. Didn’t have to hear him whine about Vince not taking him back once.
Not like I’m expecting Adam Cole to have a build like Lee Haney in his prime but really it wouldn’t hurt to at least put a little muscle on and look the part of a main-event caliber wrestler. Right now he has the physique of a teenager who consumes a lot of Mountain Dew and spends most of his time playing World of Warcraft.