By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 124)
Nashville, Tennessee at Nashville Municipal Auditorium
Aired live February 16, 2022 on TBS
[Hour One] CM Punk sat cross legged in the ring.. He said if you don’t know by now, you should, his name is CM Punk. Punk called himself straight edge, drug free, alcohol free, and he’s better than you. He said if those words sound familiar, it’s because he first spoke them 20 years ago and became the foundation of his career. He said he takes pride in inspiring the next generation of wrestlers. Some of them sat like him, became straight edge, and became wrestlers because of him, and then there’s MJF. He tries to sit like him, and talk like him, but he is not him.
Punk said he thought he’d be angry when he beat him in Chicago, twice, but instead he’s proud of him. But where he strays from the path is retaining the knowledge of history. MJF wants to be Piper in Portland, Bret in Canada, or Punk in Chicago, but instead he’s shitty little Max from Shitty Long Island. He then said that thanks to Jon Moxley, he gets to pick the date and time of his rematch with shitty little Max.
Punk said it will be after Sundown in Orlando on March 6th. He said he thought about putting Max in a Cage, so he couldn’t run from his lessons anymore. He also thought about Piper in Portland, and how Max wanted to be tied to Piper so badly. Punk reflected on how he learned more from the matches he lost than the matches he won. He said he was without a Valentine, and asked Max if he wanted to be his. He then produced a Dog Collar from a match in front of him, and said Piper had his dog collar match, and they would have theirs. Punk called Max.
MJF walked onto the stage. Punk showed him the photo that MJF took with Punk when he was a kid. He said it was a huge day in MJF’s life, but to him it was a Friday. He told MJF that Sunday March 6th would be the worst day of his life, and the mat wouldn’t be stained with Max’s shitty spray tan, it would be stained with his blood. MJF teased a response, and then threw the microphone down and walked away…
The broadcast team of Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone ran down the rest of the card for the evening. Bryan Danielson vs. Lee Moriarty is next. A video package was shown that recapped the conversation between Danielson and Moxley from a few weeks ago…
My Take: A solid promo from Punk. I’m looking forward to the rematch between him and MJF, but I can’t help but wonder if the dog collar stipulation still allows for some MJF shithousery. Wardlow hangs heavy over that match, so I’m curious how he factors into the feud between now and the PPV.
Backstage, “Jurassic Express” Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus along with Christian Cage were interviewed by Tony Schiavone. A Three-Way Tag Team Championship match was announced for Revolution, with the teams to be determined over the next few weeks. Jungle Boy said he loves a good three-way. Christian said there would be turmoil in the tag division, but they would remain in control of the championships…
In the arena, Bryan Danielson made his entrance, followed by Lee Moriarty. He was joined by Matt Sydal onto the stage, but he did not accompany him to the ring…
1. Lee Moriarty vs. Bryan Danielson: Immediately, Bryan offered a handshake, but then took it away when Moriarty went to offer his hand. Both men tied up and traded some mat reversals. The ref broke them up in the corner, but Danielson slapped the shit out of him on the break. Moriarty picked Bryan’s leg and then attempted a submission, but Bryan reversed and quickly transitioned into a Romero Special. Moriarty then transitioned into a crossface of sorts, but Danielson reached the ropes.
Again, Danielson slapped Moriarty on the break. After some more reversals, Danielson tied Moriarty up in the ropes and landed some kicks to the chest. He then pulled him into the ring, leaving his feet suspended the ropes, and delivered a knee strike to the neck and clavicle area…[c]
Danielson controlled the action during the break, focusing on Moriarty’s head and neck. He landed a snap suplex as the show returned from break. He then covered for a two count. Moriarty bridged out of another pin, but Danielson drove him back to the mat with knees. They then tied up their legs on the ground and traded positioning on the ground while landing strikes. Bryan transitioned into a LeBell Lock, but Moriarty quickly reached the ropes.
Moriarty trapped Bryan’s arm and threw him with a back suplex. They then both traded heavy shots on their feet. Moriarty pulled Bryan into a backslide for a near fall. Bryan returned fire with a hard right hand. That woke up Moriarty, who fired back, and then landed a lariat and a suplex for a near fall. Moriarty continued with heavy strikes on the ground, and then applied the Border City Stretch.
Bryan rolled through and captured Moriarty’s shoulder for a nasty back suplex. He then flashed a nasty look at the camera and landed a Busaiku Knee. Bryan waved off the ref and landed face stomps, before transitioning into the triangle sleeper with a double bicep pose for the humiliation victory.
Bryan Danielson defeated Lee Moriarty by submission at 12:28
After the match, Bryan asked for a microphone. He said he came out here to teach Moriarty a thing or two about violence, and he wanted to know if they thought he passed or failed. They didn’t react much, and Bryan said he doesn’t trust the American Public with anything. He then continued and said that wasn’t the reason he had the microphone. He recalled asking Jon Moxley to team up with him to teach wrestlers like Lee Moriarty about violence, and said he wanted an answer.
Jon Moxley made his way to the ring through the crowd, but took his sweet time getting there. Mox eventually grabbed the microphone, and said a little over a decade ago he was like that Lee Moriarty kid. He was young, poor, and had nothing to lose, and he took a shot at the great American Dragon Bryan Danielson. He told the story about their indie match, and how Bryan had travel delays and showed up late to the arena in his wrestling gear.
Moxley said he came up short against the best wrestler in the world, and he’s had more shots at Bryan Danielson, but he’s never beaten him. Mox said when he showed up in AEW everyone else was scared of the best wrestler of all time, but he saw it as an opportunity to put the one head in his wall he’s never taken down. But now the Dragon doesn’t want to fight him, it wants to join him. Moxley talked about all the skulls they could crack, and the dynasty they could create to give back to AEW.
Moxley said he tried, but couldn’t think of one good reason to say no. But then he got to thinking, and it occurred to him that Bryan wants to join him because he doesn’t want to find himself across from him. And if that’s the case, then he’s already beaten him (while pointing to his head). He then asked Bryan if he wants to join him because of what they could create, or because he’s afraid of him.
Moxley continued and said he’s not saying yes, and he’s not saying no. Moxley said he’s leaving it up to Bryan, but he’s not standing side by side with anyone until he bleeds with him first. Moxley then left the ring and walked through the crowd…
A Keith Lee video package aired. He called himself the limitless one, and said he was in AEW to make a statement. He called the ladder match phase 2, and then the TNT Championship would be his…
Wardlow made his entrance for the next match, which is a Face of the Revolution qualifier. He was then followed by Max Caster, who was accompanied by Anthony Bowens. Caster rapped, calling Nashville Hot Chicken overrated. he also mocked the Titans for an early playoff exit, and said Wardlow was MJF’s bitch boy.
My Take: An excellent match between Moriarty and Danielson. Really great mat work that you should go out of your way to watch. The promo from Moxley was excellent. I think we may get the best of both worlds, with Moxley and Danielson having their PPV fight, and still putting a faction together. Either way we’re getting a great match on PPV.
2. Wardlow vs. Max Caster (w/Anthony Bowens) in a Face of the Revolution ladder match qualifier: The action spilled outside immediately…[c]
Lots of punch and kick action during the break. Wardlow attempted a powerbomb, but Bowens pulled Caster out of the ring and jawed with Wardlow. He set up for another powerbomb as the show returned from break, but Caster had a chain in his hand and punched Wardlow in the face.
Caster landed his Mic Drop splash from the top for a near fall. Caster then set up for his own powerbomb, but Wardlow reversed out with a back body drop. Caster was sent into Bowens in the apron, and knocked him to the floor. Wardlow then landed a trio of Powerbombs and got the win.
Wardlow defeated Max Caster at 4:41 to qualify for the Face of the Revolution ladder match.
After the match, Bowens tried to jump Wardlow, but just got powerbombed for his trouble. After the damage was done, Spears ran in and mopped up with a chair…
Backstage, Britt Baker and her crew were backstage. Baker demanded that Mercedes Martinez put an end to Thunder Rosa. Baker said when she’s done, she’ll be the most powerful woman in AEW with the best crew and the best sensei. Martin Kove (Sensei John Kreese) from Cobra Kai walked up. Martinez said it was time to go murder a bitch. Baker asked Kove what she should do if she loses, and he said end her….[c]
My Take: Wardlow and Keith Lee in a ladder match should be real interesting. Cobra Kai fans were probably very excited and confused for a moment there.
Tony Schiavone was in the ring for an interview, and welcomed Hangman Adam Page to the ring. Page had a few stitches over his right eye from last week’s match with Lance Archer. Before Page could say anything, Adam Cole walked out immediately. He asked the crowd to give Page a round of applause. He put over his matches with Danielson, Omega, and Archer. Cole told Schiavone to get the hell out of his ring as soon as he got there.
Cole said he had earned the right to call himself the World Champion, and he had been a World Champion everywhere he went, and it was a shame his reign would have to end soon. Page said it must have been weird for him to leave and watch his friends build a wrestling empire. He called himself Cole’s Bullet Club buddy and ROH Roommate, and said it was awkward to be in the ring with the only World Championship belt that he’ll never have.
They paused for a second, and Cole said his friends in the Elite haven’t mentioned him in weeks, and he hasn’t been around his crew in the Dark Order for months. Page said he’s not perfect, and he’s made mistakes, but Cole wasn’t much of a friend himself. He brought up Cole stabbing his friends in the back everywhere he went. Cole then replied that they’ve known each other 10 years, and no matter where they were he was always the other Adam.
Cole begged off and said he had nothing but respect for Page, and that they would meet each other in the ring one day man to man for the AEW Title, and it would be nothing but respect. Cole offered his hand for a handshake, and Page shook it. Cole then walked away, but Page was jumped from behind by Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. Referees ran down and cleared the heels from the ring. The Dark Order eventually ran out.
[Hour Two] Preston “10” Vance went nuts and beat down the AEW officials at ringside in anger over what happened to Page…
We then got a brief video package that explained why Sammy Guevara and Darby Allin are both thrill seekers, because they are both trying to fill a void in themselves through wrestling. In the arena, Jake Hager and Chris Jericho made their entrance for the next match. They were followed by Santana and Ortiz. Eddie Kingston made his way out after everyone was in the ring.
3. Santana and Ortiz vs. Chris Jericho and Jake Hager: Santana and Jericho started the match. They traded some trash talk and then traded punches. Santana got an early advantage and landed a hard chop in the corner. Ortiz tagged in and landed a Manhattan Drop and DDT combo with Santana. He then landed a Fisherman’s Suplex with a bridge for a two count. Jericho recovered and pancaked Ortiz, and then made a tag out to Hager.
Hager ignored punches from Ortiz and landed some hard shots. He then landed a belly to belly and a Hager Bomb for a two count…[c]
Jericho landed a vertical suplex on Ortiz. Eddie Kingston paced around the ring and fired up the crowd. Ortiz fired back with a running lariat and both men tagged out. Santana kicked Jericho off the apron, and then landed a series of punches to Hager. He then tripped Hager and then landed a seated dropkick. Jericho snuck into the ring for a Codebreaker, and Hager followed up with a high angle slam for a near fall. Hager was sent to the floor by Santana. Jericho then landed a bulldog and called for a Lionsault. Ortiz prevented it, and Santana pulled Jericho back into the ring with a Russian Leg Sweep.
Ortiz took out Hager at ringside, and then Santana and Ortiz landed the Street Sweeper on Jericho for a close near fall. Santana attempted an aerial move in the corner, but Jericho caught him and transitioned into the Walls of Jericho. Eddie Kingston got on the apron, and Jericho landed a springboard dropkick. Ortiz caused a distraction to Jericho, which allowed Santana to land a discus clothesline and pick up the win.
Santana and Ortiz defeated Chris Jericho and Jake Hager at 11:51.
After the match, Jericho and Kingston brawled at ringside and were separated by referees…
Backstage, Cole played peacemaker between The Young Bucks and Red Dragon. They were arguing over which team would win the first tag team battle royal next week to qualify for the triple threat at Revolution. Cole said he would take out Preston Vance, and Jay White would put an end to Trent Beretta. The Bucks split in one direction, and Red Dragon the other, leaving Cole with a choice. Brandon asked him which direction he would go, and Cole told him to turn off the camera…[c]
My Take: Jericho kicked out of the Street Sweeper and then went down to a discus clothesline? I might have done that in reverse. Otherwise, Jericho gets to move onto Kingston and Santana and Ortiz get to do their own thing. I’ll call that a win. Cole and Hangman had a very good promo together, but they need to do more to establish their history with some specifics. Expecting the audience to have that knowledge would be a mistake.
Mercedes Martinez made her way to the ring with a lead pipe. Thunder Rosa then walked out with a chair. They swung weapons at each other, with Rosa getting the better of it. The then got in the ring.
4. Mercedes Martinez vs. Thunder Rosa in a No DQ match: The action spilled back outside immediately. Martinez spilled through the barricade, which wasn’t linked to the others. She looked like she might have hit her head, but was able to continue. Rosa climbed a part of the stands and landed a cross body on Martinez on the floor…[c]
Rosa set up a table next to the ring, and attempted to slam Martinez through it. She blocked it, and Martinez drove Rosa through the table with a Fisherman Buster. It broke awkwardly and both women took a bit of a rough landing. Martinez landed some shots to the ribs with a chair, and then tossed Rosa back in the ring. She placed her on the top rope, and put her in a fireman’s carry position. Rosa reversed with a head scissors and Martinez was pulled back into the ring.
Rosa placed a trash can on the head of Martinez and delivered a running dropkick. She then climbed the ropes again, and Martinez met her there with a trash can lid. Martinez followed up with a spider german suplex from the top rope, and then followed up with an elbow drop from the top for a close near fall.
Martinez piled up some chairs and set up for a powerbomb. Rosa escaped and landed a crucifix bomb. She then landed a fire thunder driver on the pile of chairs and covered for the win.
Thunder Rosa defeated Mercedes Martinez at 9:14 in a No DQ match
Rosa picked up Martinez after the match and raised her arm. She then bowed and showed some respect. Baker then walked down to the ring with Jamie Hayter and Rebel. Baker walked over to Sensei Kreese, who told her to finish Martinez. Hayter and Rebel then attacked Rosa. Baker grabbed the “lead pipe” and handed it to Martinez to finish Rosa. She hesitated, and Hayter attacked her from behind. Hayter and Baker then attacked Rosa and Martinez and left them laying…
A House of Black video package aired. Malakai Black spoke cryptically about his plans and violence while using tarot cards. It was revealed that they were still waiting for someone else, but it wasn’t revealed who it was…
The announce team ran through some future matches at 1000mph…
A brief promo from “Switchblade” Jay White aired. He said he would continue to dominate, because it was still his era…
Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin is up next…[c]
My Take: A very good match from Rosa and Martinez, There really wasn’t another possible outcome given that it seemed obvious that Rosa would challenge Baker at the PPV. At this rate, I think Baker needs to drop the title and give someone else a chance to take the division in a different direction. There’s just nothing fresh or interesting about her character at this point.
Darby Allin was out first with Sting, who walked to the back as Darby walked to the ring. Sammy Guevara made his entrance next, still carrying both TNT Titles for some reason. Excalibur brought up that Sammy has not defeated Darby in an AEW ring…
5. Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin for the TNT Championship: Dueling chants fired up the crowd early on. They tied up and Darby grabbed a side headlock takeover. Sammy fought to his feet and they traded hammerlocks. They worked through a quick reversal sequence that ended with Darby reapplying the side headlock. Sammy landed a backflip kick on Darby as he sat on the top rope. Sammy then stood on the second rope and picked up Darby. He dropped him across the top turnbuckle and Darby crashed awkwardly to the floor.
Sammy then draped Darby over the top rope, and landed a senton that sent Darby back out to the floor…[c]
Darby reversed an Irish whip and sent Sammy head first into the top turnbuckle. He then landed two coffin splashes, and then a coffin splash onto his left knee. Sammy had crashed and burned on a moonsault during the break, and Darby began to focus on it. He put Guevara in a tree of woe in the corner, and then hyperextended his right knee. He then applied a single leg crab using the tree of woe position for leverage. Sammy popped up and pulled Darby into the ring with a Spanish Fly. Sammy landed awkwardly on the bad knee on the way down. Sammy attempted a Cutter, but Darby avoided it and applied a Figure Four.
Both men slapped each other while in the hold. Sammy avoided a Stunner and attempted a GTH, but Darby was able to avoid the knee strike. Sammy ended up on the floor. Darby then attempted a dive on him, but Sammy reversed into a very nice cutter. Sammy placed Darby on the apron and went for a Senton, but Darby moved and he crashed and burned.
Darby pulled Sammy back into the ring and went up top. Sammy rolled onto his stomach. Jose from the AFHO jumped on the apron, and Sting appeared to take him out. Andrade El Idolo then appeared and blasted Darby with his tablet. Darby was motionless on the top rope. Sammy shrugged after he recovered and landed the GTH. He covered and got the win.
Sammy Guevara defeated Darby Allin at 14:38 to retain the TNT Title.
Matt Hardy ran down after the match and rained blows on Darby Allin in the ring. Sammy got back in the ring and ran off Matt Hardy, which allowed Andrade to hit another shot with the tablet to Darby’s back. Sting eventually cleared them from the ring, but Andrade took off with the TNT Title belts.
My Take: A rather cold finish to a very well worked match. Andrade and Hardy coming in didn’t do much for me personally. I think both are talented, but the AHFO tends to carry bad interference finishes and feuds that never end along with them, and I don’t really want that for Darby or Sammy, because the last thing they need is to get cooled off by a bad program. I hope I’m wrong and this plays out differently. All that said, the main event was fantastic right up until the last minute or so.