By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 128)
San Antonio, Texas at Freeman Coliseum
Aired live March 16, 2022 on TBS
[Hour One] Jim Ross threw out a “Hey Yo” to open the show. Excalibur and Tony Schiavone joined in on commentary. Adam Cole’s music hit, and he walked out with Red Dragon for an opening trios match. Excalibur said Cole could have recruited the Young Bucks, but as I recall they specifically declined. AEW Tag Team Champions Jurassic Express then made their entrances, followed by AEW World Champion Hangman Adam Page…
1. Adam Page, Jungle Boy, and Luchasaurus vs. Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish: Cole and Jungle Boy started the match. The match started aggressively, with Cole striking first. Jungle Boy surged back with a dropkick, but was quickly cut off and dragged to the heel corner. Bobby Fish tagged in and traded with Jungle Boy, who quickly made a break to tag Luchasaurus.
The heels quickly escaped to the outside. Luchasaurus gave chase, but was cut down by O’Reilly on the apron. Fish then punished him on the outside with strikes, and tossed him back in the ring. He applied a rear chinlock and made a tag to O’Reilly. He entered and landed Muay Thai knees. Kyle then followed up with some kicks to the ribs, and the heels started the process of breaking down Luchasaurus with rapid tags.
Cole and O’Reilly both focused on his knees, and isolated him in their corner. Luchasaurus got a second wind and took out the heels with desperation strikes. He made a tag to Hangman Page, who cleaned house. He landed lariats on Cole and O’Reilly, and a fallaway slam on Fish. He then dove on everybody on the floor, and then got back in the ring for a Powerbomb on Fish for a near fall.
Page setup for a Buckshot Lariat, but Fish rolled to the outside. Jungle Boy tagged in and dove on everyone over the top rope to the floor. Things started to break down, with all three babyface teammates in the ring. They orchestrated a triple moonsault out of one corner, with Page and Luchasaurus diving on Cole and O’Reilly on the floor. Bobby Fish kicked out of his moonsault in the ring, and the heels took back over with some timely interference from Cole…[c]
Luchasaurus landed a German Suplex on O’Reilly, and a tail whip to Cole. He then chokeslammed Fish onto O’Reilly. He followed up with a standing moonsault on both for a two count. O’Reilly landed some kicks, but Luchasaurus took him down with an uppercut. They set up O’Reilly for a Doomsday Device, but he slipped out and Jungle Boy jumped right into a superkick from Cole.
O’Reilly applied a knee bar, but Hangman Page broke it up after a struggle. Things really broke down now with everybody in the ring. The heels ended up down and out. Page and Luchasaurus picked up Cole and O’Reilly, and Jungle Boy executed a double Doomsday Device for a near fall. Fish and O’Reilly cleared Page and Luchasaurus to the floor. Cole got a blind tag, and managed to surprise Jungle Boy by Lowering the Boom on him for the win…
Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish defeated Adam Page, Jungle Boy, and Luchasaurus at 14:01
Backstage, Keith Lee and Ricky Starks had a promo together. Powerhouse Hobbs was also present. Starks talked trash about Keith Lee showing up on his show Rampage, and how Hobbs took him out with his spinebuster. Starks said the same thing would happen if he shows up again, and Lee reminded him that he took him out like a little bitch and Hobbs had to save him. Lee said he would see them on Friday…
Moxley and Danielson are up next against Wheeler Yuta and Chuck Taylor…[c]
My Take: A good technical match, but I think they tried to cram too many spots into the time they had allotted. It just didn’t flow as well as I could have. But Jungle Boy, Cole, and Page all continue to shine whenever they get in front of a live crowd. Fish and O’Reilly are great in the ring, but their characters are just missing something at this point. There’s just no edge to them.
A video package aired for Kris Statlander where she took off her makeup…
Bryan Danielson made his ring entrance with William Regal. Jon Moxley then made his entrance. William Regal joined in on commentary. They were followed by Wheeler Yuta and Chuck Taylor, who had Danhausen, Trent and Orange Cassidy in tow…
2. Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson vs. Wheeler Yuta and Chuck Taylor: Moxley and Danielson came out hot and attacked Yuta and Taylor as they finished their entrance. They isolated Yuta and both Moxley and Danielson worked on him with heavy strikes. Moxley raked his back and then landed a snapmare. Danielson tagged in and worked on wrist control. Bryan then stomped on the wrist of Yuta and kicked him in the small of the back.
Yuta fired back with a dropkick and made a tag out to Taylor. He entered and took out Moxley on the apron. Taylor rolled up Danielson into a Single Leg Crab, but he made a quick tag out to Moxley. For some reason, Taylor held onto the hold so Moxley could hit the ropes and kick him square in the chest. Moxley tossed Taylor to the outside, where Danielson tossed him into the barricade.
Back in the ring, Danielson landed some hard kicks to the chest and applied an Indian Death Lock. He then tagged to Moxley, who continued the punishment. He landed a superplex and covered for a near fall. Moxley then transitioned into a Hammer Lock…[c]
Moxley continued the punishment on Chuck. Danielson tagged in and fired up for a running dropkick in the corner, but Chuck avoided it. Moxley quickly tagged in and prevented a tag out to Wheeler Yuta. Chuck caught Mox charging into the corner with a kick. He then tagged in Yuta, who landed an atomic drop on Moxley. He then landed a nice German Suplex with a bridge for a two count.
Danielson provided a distraction, and Moxley landed a Cutter on Yuta. They then landed a Hart Attack on Yuta, but Chuck Taylor broke up the tag. Moxley landed a Paradigm Shift on Taylor out on the floor. Danielson landed a series of kicks and a shoulder capture suplex on Yuta for a near fall. Bryan seemed impressed by Yuta’s toughness. Bryan tagged Moxley, and then kicked Yuta’s head in. Moxley then applied the Bulldog Choke and got the win.
Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley defeated Chuck Taylor and Wheeler Yuta at 11:55
After the match, Danielson and Moxley celebrated with Regal. Yuta turned back after the match and joined Regal, Moxley, and Danielson in the ring. Yuta reached out his hand to Regal, who slapped him. Yuta got in his face, and Regal told him to keep it up and they’ll see what happens…
Backstage, FTR gave an interview with Schiavone. They spoke about firing their manager and making changes. The Young Bucks walked up and reminded them that no matter what they do, they’ll always be the second best tag team in AEW. A Jericho Appreciation Society segment is next…[c]
My Take: I’m really enjoying what Moxley and Danielson are doing in the ring. It’s just very well orchestrated violence, and it’s a nice change of pace from the spot fests happening elsewhere on the show. This is the way. Taylor and Yuta both looked good for hanging with them as long as they did.
“The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens cut a promo backstage on Keith Lee. They said they would kick his ass all over San Antonio. Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs walked up and wanted them to take care of Lee for them. Swerve Strickland walked up and said if they don’t like people making a name on Rampage, what did they think of him in the main event making it Swerve’s House. He then laughed in Starks face and walked away…
The “Jericho Appreciation Society” Chris Jericho, Jeff Parker, Matt Lee, Jake Hager and Daniel Garcia made their entrance. Lee had the microphone and said the fans should thank Chris Jericho for allowing them to sing Judas, because if it were up to him there would be no sing-a-long, and why Chris Jericho is a better man than him. Parker then piped up and said that’s why Jericho needs to be idolized not only as a wrestler, but as a human being. He then introduced Jericho.
Jericho said the earth has been around for 4.5 billion years, but everyone is lucky enough to live in the Jericho Era. He took credit for carrying AEW on his back, and said there would be no AEW if it weren’t for him. Jericho called himself the greatest total package performer in history, and complained that he is not appreciated. He said the fans don’t appreciate him, the Inner Circle doesn’t appreciate him, and Eddie Kingston embarrassed him on National PPV by making him tap out. Jericho said the people in the ring appreciate him, and that’s why they are the Jericho Appreciation Society.
Jericho said they can’t relate to the rest of the locker room, because they are just pro wrestlers. He said that no Pro Wrestler has never been a millionaire or a global superstar, and he’s done that many times over. Jericho exclaimed that he is not a Pro Wrestler, he’s a Sports Entertainer. Daniel Garcia then grabbed a microphone and said that if Jericho is a sports entertainer, then so is he. Jericho then recalled funding Garcia’s recovery when he got into a Car Accident in Buffalo. He then spoke about 2point0, and called it a stupid name from bad creative. He said they will not use those names anymore, and called them by their new names “Daddy Mack” Matt Minard and “Cool Hand” Angelo Parker.
Jericho referenced Jake Hager and called him his ride or die, and said he saved his life in Dubai. He asked them who they are, and Hager said they are the JAS, and they beat up Pro Wrestlers. Jericho said to remember the date, because March 16th 2022 as the beginning of the era of the Sports Entertainer in AEW…
We then got a video package that featured Serena Deeb and Hikaru Shida. Deeb said if Shida thought she was obsessed with her during her rehab, imagine how obsessed she’ll get when she ends her career…
Back in the arena, Wardlow made his entrance.
[Hour Two] TNT Champion Scorpio Sky made his entrance with Dan Lambert, Paige VanZant, and Austin Vanderford.
3. Scorpio Sky (w/Dan Lambert, Paige VanZant, Austin Vanderford) vs. Wardlow for the TNT Championship: Wardlow rushed Sky early on, and the action spilled outside. Paige got in Wardlow’s face, and then so did her husband Austin. Wardlow teased Powerbombing Austin, but Sky interfered…[c]
My Take: Sports Entertainers? Claiming your using real names, and then just giving them new ring names? That was a weird start to the Jericho Appreciation Society. The crowd hated the term Sports Entertainer, but we’ll see if anything else gains traction.
Scorpio Sky controlled the action during the break, and had Wardlow down in the corner. He fired up and grabbed Sky by the throat, and landed two overhead throws. Wardlow clutched his chest and thigh where Sky had been kicking him during the break. Wardlow went for a Powerbomb out of the corner, but Sky avoided it. He then landed a chokeslam a moment later. Wardlow signaled for a Powerbomb, and landed the first one.
Wardlow fired up the crowd for number two, and landed number two and three in quick succession. Dan Lambert jumped up on the apron, and Sky rolled out to the floor. Wardlow set up for an apron Powerbomb on the outside, which brought out Shawn Spears with two chairs. The ref addressed Spears, but that allowed MJF to shove Wardlow directly into the ring post. Sky rolled up Wardlow in a stack pin and got the quick win.
Scorpio Sky defeated Wardlow at 8:27 to retain the TNT Championship.
After the match, Austin Vanderford jumped in the ring and landed some punches on Wardlow. MJF was in the corner. Wardlow managed to shrug off Spears and Vanderford and get his hands on MJF, but Spears landed some chair shots to break it up. Wardlow then landed a chairshot to the head, but he did get his hands up. MJF was shown passing some money to Dan Lambert. He then punched Wardlow with the Dynamite Diamond, and then stood over Wardlow to end the segment…[c]
My Take: That was the angle I was expecting, but I honestly thought it would get a bigger crowd reaction. It was much tamer than I thought, but perhaps the crowd was soaking in the moment. I think most of the crowd was expecting an angle here if they’ve been following the story.
Backstage, Mark Sterling asked who was ready to be Number 30 in Jade Cargill’s undefeated streak. Jade demanded to know who was ready to step up…
Private Party made their entrance for the next match. They were followed by the reunited Hardy Boyz, who got a great reaction as you’d expect…
4. Matt and Jeff Hardy vs. “Private Party” Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen: Matt started the match with Marq Quen. After an early advantage, Jeff tagged in to a strong reaction. Matt dropped down and Jeff splashed Isiah Kassidy in the corner. He then landed a low dropkick on Quen for a two count. Jeff and Marq Quen were the legal men at this point. Matt tagged in, and the Hardyz landed a double team suplex for a two count.
Kassidy tagged in, and landed a dropkick and a standing moonsault on Jeff for a two count. He then climbed to the second rope, but Hardy grabbed him for a Razor’s Edge. Kassidy attacked Jeff, who charged into the ring. The ref held him back, which allowed Quen and Kassidy to pull Matt groin first into the ring post in the corner…[c]
Kassidy and Quen isolated Matt in the heel corner. Matt recovered and attempted a side effect, but Kassidy dumped him to the floor. Kassidy got in Matt’s face on the floor, and Matt slugged him with a right hand. Marq Quen surprised him with an aerial move out to the floor, which appeared to have a bit of a rough landing for both men. In the ring, Kassidy and Quen continued to stomp out Matt in the corner.
Kassidy taunted Jeff and attempted to do his corner splash. Matt caught him and landed a Uranage, and slammed him into Quen in a dangerous looking landing. Matt made a hot tag to Jeff, who quickly took down Kassidy with a facebuster. Jeff went up top, but Marq Quen split his legs. They tried to set up Gin and Juice, but Matt caught Quen with a side effect to prevent it. Jeff then splashed Kassidy for a two count.
Things broke down, and all four men got involved. Matt landed a Twist of Fate on Kassidy, and Jeff followed up with a Twist of Fate for the win.
The Hardy Boyz defeated “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy at 12:03
After the match, Andrade El Idolo walked out with the rest of the AFO – Jose, Butcher, Blade, and the Bunny, who accompanied Andrade to the ring. They all surrounded the ring, and that prompted an entrance from Darby Allin and Sting. They joined Matt and Jeff in the ring, and the heel AFO thought better of it…
Backstage, Red Velvet said she would take out Leyla Hirsch on Friday… The main event cage match is up next…[c]
My Take: Jeff Hardy used Isiah Kassidy as a crash pad on the Swanton. I know that shit hurt. It’s fun to see the Hardyz in action again, but it really feels like a nostalgia act where both guys are out of gas. I’m a huge fan of their work and it’s impossible not to respect their career accomplishments, but this is not a version of them that can hang with the spot fest guys in the AEW Tag Division. Adaptation will need to occur.
In a very culturally appropriate moment, Thunder Rosa had an all female Mariachi Band play some music prior to her entrance. Rosa had full face paint and was fired to be in her adopted hometown of San Antonio. She was followed by Britt Baker, who came out solo without Rebel or Jamie Hayter…
5. Britt Baker vs. Thunder Rosa in a cage match for the AEW Women’s Championship: Baker spent the opening part of the match trying to escape the cage. Rosa prevented the escapes, and landed a hard kick and a lariat. Baker had no offense early on as Rosa laid in right hands and a drop kick. Rosa tossed her into the cage, and then dragged her face across the cage. Baker was bleeding less than 3 minutes into the match. The action spilled outside, where Rosa slammed Baker into the cage repeatedly. Rosa attempted a Suplex, but Baker shoved her hard into the cage.
Back in the ring, Baker went on offense and punished Rosa with kicks, and then tossed her head first into the cage. She then landed a series of elbows and a side slam for a two count. Baker went outside and pulled several chairs into the ring. Rosa avoided the chair strike and took down Baker with a lariat. Rosa is also bleeding heavily at this point. Rosa landed a couple of chair shots, and then a Stunner.
Rosa went for a dropkick in the corner, and then a stack pin for a two count. Baker went for a superkick, and Paul Turner got kicked in the face. On a rollup attempt, he then got shoved out to the floor. Rosa landed her Fire Thunder Driver and got a visual pin. Rosa then set a chair on Baker and went up top, but she quickly got up and blasted Rosa with chair shots to the shoulder.
Baker stacked up chairs near the turnbuckle, and then drove Rosa through the chairs with an Air Raid Crash. Aubrey Edwards ran down and counted a pin for a near fall. Baker trash talked Edwards for not getting there in time. Baker set up more chairs in a nasty stacked manner in the corner while Rosa waited patiently in the corner. Baker climbed to the top with Rosa, and they traded punches.
After being slammed into the cage, Baker took a gnarly bump onto the chairs for a near fall. Baker fired back with a superkick quickly afterward, and retrieved thumbtacks from under the ring. She smacked Rosa with the bag of tacks, and then emptied it out into the ring. Rosa took a back body drop onto the tacks. Baker attempted a Lockjaw, but Rosa escaped and slammed Baker’s hand into the tacks. Rosa then powerbombed Baker into the tacks.
Baker rolled to the floor and then grabbed a chair to hit Rosa in the head with it. Rosa then pulled Baker into the ring and landed a Fire Thunder Driver into the tacks and got the win.
Thunder Rosa defeated Britt Baker in a cage match at 17:59 to become the AEW Women’s Champion
After the match, Rosa picked tacks from herself and held up the AEW Women’s Championship as confetti dropped from the ceiling in the colors of Mexico. Dustin Rhodes emerged from somewhere to give Rosa a hug.
My Take: Another insane hardcore brawl from these two. Thanks to the ability to introduce weapons and stunt bumps into the proceedings, these two put on a much better match than we saw from them in recent memory. The cage stipulation and Rosa’s hometown crowd assisted a lot in raising the energy level for this match. My only complaint is that they quickly moved from spot to spot, which reduced the impact of some of the wilder bumps in the match. It would have helped to let them breathe a little and do some more selling. I’m hopeful both Baker and Rosa can move on and find ways to add new layers to their characters, because the Women’s division is overdue for some new blood moving through it.
Overall, this was a solid edition of Dynamite, even if there were a few segments that didn’t click with me 100%. Jason Powell will be by later tonight with his weekly Dynamite audio review for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of Dynamite by grading this week’s show below.