By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 135)
Baltimore, Maryland at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena
Aired live May 4, 2022 on TBS
[Hour One] Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone joined in on commentary as Adam Cole’s music hit. He will be joining in on commentary for the first match of the night. The first man out for the opening Owen Hart Tournament Qualifying Match was Jeff Hardy. He was accompanied by his brother Matt. He was followed by Bobby Fish, accompanied by Kyle O’Reilly. Cole slapped hands with Fish as he walked by…
1. Bobby Fish (w/Kyle O’Reilly) vs. Jeff Hardy (w/Matt Hardy) in an Owen Hart Tournament Qualifier: Hardy landed a shoulder tackle and a hip toss to start for a one count. He transitioned into a rear chin lock, and then landed some shoulder tackles in the corner. Fish turned the tables and focused on Hardy’s left knee. He landed some kicks and a dragon screw leg whip, followed by an elbow drop for a two count. The action spilled to the floor, where Fish landed another dragon screw, and Hardy crashed into the barricade in the process. Darby Allin and Sting were shown observing from elsewhere in the arena…[c]
Fish pressed the advantage during the break, and took a methodical approach to punishing Hardy. Hardy showed some life, but Bobby shut down a jawbreaker with a kick to the ribs. Hardy landed a second jawbreaker, and both men were down. Fish landed some kicks, but Hardy replied with a back elbow and a clothesline. He followed up with a Manhattan Drop and a double leg drop for a two count.
Hardy fired up the crowd and landed a neckbreaker. He went up top for a Swanton, but Fish kicked him back down into his groin. Fish then climbed to the top for an avalanche falcon arrow, and covered for a close near fall. Fish rotated into a heel hook, but Hardy was able to scramble and reach the ropes. Fish ran into a back elbow, and Hardy landed something approximating a whisper in the wind. He then crawled across the ring and climbed to the top rope for a Swanton and the win.
Jeff Hardy defeated Bobby Fish at 10:20 to qualify for the Owen Hart Cup tournament
After the match, the Young Bucks walked out to the ring as Matt and Jeff celebrated. Cole said he would give his left lung to see these two teams compete. They had a brief staredown before The Bucks checked on Bobby Fish…
The announce team then threw to a shortened Blackpool Combat Club vignette that aired on Youtube and Social Media yesterday. It’s an excellent promo/mission statement, and you should go online and watch the entire thing…
In the arena, Bryan Danielson made his entrance, followed by Wheeler Yuta with William Regal, and Jon Moxley. Butcher, Blade, and Angelico from the Andrade Family Office were already at ringside. A brawl started before the match, but the ref rang the bell during the disarray.
2. Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, and Wheeler Yuta vs. Butcher, Blade, and Angelico: Regal sat in on commentary. The Blade jumped Danielson in the ring before the match, and took an early advantage. Angelico tagged in, and Bryan proceeded to kick the dust off of him for a solid minute. Yuta tagged in, and Angelico dove for his corner to tag in the Blade. Butcher made a blind tag, and began no selling all of Yuta’s offense. After a distraction from Angelico, Butcher landed a series of suplexes…[c]
My Take: An okay opener. I’m not sure Fish was the best opponent for Hardy, whose style and limitations made for an odd pairing. It wasn’t a bad match by any stretch, but they never really felt like they got into a groove. Hardy’s Swanton looks rough every time he does it these days.
The heels isolated Yuta during the commercial break. He managed to land a German Suplex to Butcher and crawl to the corner to make a hot tag to Jon Moxley. He entered and immediately cleared The Blade to ringside and tossed him over the timekeeper’s table. He then threw him into the steps and back into the ring. Moxley landed a cutter on Blade back in the ring. Butcher ran into the ring, and Moxley took a bite out of him. Angelico tagged into the match, along with Danielson.
Soon all six men were in the ring, and Danielson applied a triangle sleeper while Yuta and Moxley kept Butcher and Blade busy. Angelico quickly tapped out…
“Blackpool Combat Club” Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, and Wheeler Yuta defeated Butcher, Blade, and Angelico at 7:27
Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs were interviewed backstage. They were interrupted immediately by “Jurassic Express” Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus, who accepted their AEW Tag Team Championship challenge from a week ago. They accepted, on the condition that Jungle Boy gets a shot at his FTW Championship first. Starks accepted, and said he would show him how a real man takes care of business next week. Wardlow against MJF’s mystery opponent is next…[c]
My Take: Another somewhat predictable win for the Blackpool Combat Club. I do enjoy their violent style. I wish they would have carved out enough time for the entire Vignette they recorded with Regal. It’s an important piece of character building that the Dynamite Audience may never see in its entirety.
Keith Lee and Swerve Scott addressed Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs. Lee said they would make them swerve in their glory for what they did having Taz cheat them out of their victory. In the arena, Wardlow was walked to the ring in handcuffs by about 20 security guards. Once the cuffs were removed and he got in the ring, MJF’s music hit and he walked out with Shawn Spears.
MJF said he would love to say it was great to be back in Maryland, but then he’d be a lying piece of shit. Speaking of, hey everybody it’s Wardlow. He said he would watch the match from the back, since he couldn’t stand to stare at the crowd any longer. He then introduced “The Big Dub” W. Morrissey, who walked out and slapped hands with MJF. Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was shown in the live crowd before the match.
3. Wardlow vs. W. Morrissey: Both men shared a staredown. Morrissey backed Wardlow up a couple of times in a tie up, but Wardlow escaped before reaching the corner. Wardlow then displayed some explosiveness and quickly backed Morrissey into the corner. He then flexed and fired up the crowd. Morrissey fired back with some clubs and a charge into the corner. Morrissey avoided a Wardlow shoulder charge, and then landed a big boot.
The action spilled to the floor, where Morrissey tossed Wardlow into the ring post. There was a “We want Enzo, No We Don’t” dueling chant in the crowd. Morrissey flipped them off and then smashed Wardlow into the ring apron. Morrissey climbed back into the ring, and Wardlow fired back with some punches. He then hit the ropes, but Morrissey caught him with a Bossman Slam for a near fall.
Both men brawled in the corner. Wardlow got the better of it, and then came off the top rope with a Moonsault to take Morrissey down. He then followed up with a powerbomb and got the win.
Wardlow defeated W. Morrissey at 5:49
After the match, Wardlow decided he had enough of the handcuffs and took out a handful of Security Guards. MJF waved down even more goons, who were immediately destroyed. The final one was powerbombed out of the ring and into the other goons on the outside.
Wardlow got on the mic and said he wouldn’t stop until he got his hands on MJF. It doesn’t matter how big they are, he wanted out of his contract. MJF started to respond, but the crowd chanted Wardlow is gonna kill you. MJF finally offered Wardlow a match, and if he wins he’ll let him out of his contract. He said he had a couple of conditions, and they would have a contract signing. It wouldn’t happen in a dump like this, it would happen in the most magical place in the world known as Long Island next week…
Backstage Toni Storm, Ruby Soho, Britt Baker, and Jamie Hayter were shown backstage. Britt started talking about how historic her run has been, and Ruby stopped her quickly. She said she’s not sure when they agreed to no physicality, but Toni can’t wait to defeat Jamie in the first round, and Britt had a receipt coming. These two teams will meet on Rampage on Friday…[c]
My Take: Not what I expected to happen to Morrissey here. He was dominant in parts of the match, and then it took two offensive moves to put him away. Impressive moves, mind you, but I thought he might get protected a little better. The contract signing next week with MJF’s match stipulations is a nice hook for the show.
Tony Schiavone was in the ring. He plugged Double or Nothing on May 29th, and then brought out AEW Champion “Hangman” Adam Page. For whatever reason, Page kept his cellphone in his pocket. Schiavone asked Hangman what he thought of CM Punk’s challenge. Page said it would be easy to tell the audience how much he was looking forward to having a classic, and standing across the ring from the best in the world, but that’s not going to happen. He said there wouldn’t be a handshake, or a masturbatory Bret Hart tribute match, at Double or Nothing he was going to destroy CM Punk.
Page addressed a fan with a CM Punk shirt, and said he would be heading back to the merch stand for a refund if he hadn’t burnt it already. He said Punk isn’t there tonight, and was probably off filming another TV Show. He looked at the camera and told Punk wherever he was that he was going to embarrass him, and that if he wanted a fight, he would get one…
My Take: A very different tone than we’re used to from Hangman Page. Perhaps they decided to pull the trigger on turning him heel so Punk could be the returning hero in Chicago in September.
Excalibur plugged Konosuke Takeshita on Rampage this week…
Backstage, Sonjay Dutt wondered where the red carpet was for Satnam Singh and Jay Lethal. Jay said he would get his carpet on Friday, whether Takeshita liked it or not…
In the arena, Santana made his entrance accompanied by Ortiz. Footage was shown of the fireball in Eddie Kingston’s face from last week. Chris Jericho then made his entrance with the rest of the Jericho Appreciation Society. Jericho is now calling himself “The Wizard”, which I think is a callback from the Black Sabbath track.
Santana flew through the ropes to tackle Jericho on the floor. Santana chopped at Jericho and sent him into the barricade on the floor. Santana positioned the ring steps, but Jericho attacked him from behind. He then grabbed a camera, but Santana flipped him double birds and kicked him in the gut. The bell finally rang as they got into the ring.
4. Chris Jericho (w/Angelo Parker, Matt Menard, Jake Hager, and Daniel Garcia) vs. Santana (w/Ortiz): Jericho landed a springboard dropkick that sent Santana onto the ring steps on the floor…[c]
Jericho came off the top rope and jumped into a Santana dropkick as the show returned. Jericho got to his feet first, and landed some chops. He attempted a bulldog, but Santana threw him groin first into the second turnbuckle. Santana then landed a three amigos set of suplexes, and fired up the crowd. He then went to the top rope, but Jericho got to his feet and met him in the corner. Santana knocked Jericho down with a headbutt and then landed a frog splash for a near fall.
[Hour Two] After some back and forth, Jericho was able to put Santana in the Walls of Jericho, but Santana was able to reach the ropes. At first Jericho thought he won, which gave Santana a window to roll him up for a two count. Both men then got to their feet and traded big chops. Santana then landed a unique backward roll into a stunner for a close near fall. Ortiz confiscated Jericho’s bat on the outside and took out Daniel Garcia.
Santana landed a discus clothesline for a near fall. Matt Menard jumped on the apron to cause a distraction, which led to a low blow and the Judas Effect for the win.
Chris Jericho defeated Santana at 9:18
After the match, the numbers beat down began as he hit both Santana and Ortiz with his bat. The Jericho Appreciation Society celebrated to end the segment. Elsewhere, Samoa Joe gave an interview. He said challenges are the territory of brave men. He questioned whether or not Jay was a brave man, and said he was coming for him on Rampage… Dante Martin vs. Rey Fenix is next…[c]
My Take: Try as I might, I just can’t get into this feud. “The Wizard” name is silly and I still don’t think they’ve done a very good job of creating distinction around what makes them special as sports entertainers. The match itself was fine, but yet another numbers beat down just felt like a rerun.
The Gunn Club’s Austin Gunn and Colten Gunn walked up to “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens backstage, and gifted them a pair of scissors. They then did some weird scissoring hand gesture and had a grand old time…
Back in the arena, “The Varsity Blonds” Brian Pillman Jr., Griff Garrison, and Julia Hart were in the ring. Pillman said he was a humbled man. He had been humbled by their encounter with the House of Black, an encounter that led to the poisoning of Julia Hart. He then pointed out John Harbaugh, who he quoted as telling him to attack each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.
Pillman said he lost sight of that quote, and that’s when the greed and the malice of the House of Black tore them apart. He then got fired up, and said he was enthusiastic about keeping their group together, and demanded The House of Black get out to the ring and fight.
The House of Black made their entrance. The lights flickered on and off a few times, and they were quickly in the ring and surrounding The Blonds. Julia Hart just stood in the corner, and didn’t seem all that threatened. After a standoff that went on for two long, they kicked the crap out of both Pillman and Garrison. Black approached Julia Hart, who was shaking. Buddy Matthews put his hands on her shoulders, and Brody King put a chair in her hands.
Hart lifted the chair over her head, but couldn’t hit Garrison with it. Black pulled the eye patch off of her eye and stood over her, but Death Triangle made the save and prevented any further confrontation…
Backstage, Jade Cargill and “The Baddies” Kiera Hogan and Red Velvet were shown with Mark Sterling. He said they’ve been celebrating since last week. Red Velvet said she would keep the celebration going by winning the Owen Hart Cup Tournament…
Back in the arena, Dante Martin made his entrance as Julia Hart was leaving the ring…
5. Dante Martin vs. Rey Fenix (w/Alex Abrahantes, Pac, Penta Oscuro): They started out with a tie up, and Fenix gave a clean break in the corner. Martin showed off some impressive aerial reversals, but Fenix managed to catch him with a hard dropkick. He then walked the ropes and splashed Martin out on the floor…[c]
My Take: It’s nice they decided to advance Julia Hart’s story in a meaningful way after several months of doing nearly nothing with it. Hopefully she fits in with the House of Black after all is said and done, otherwise it’ll feel like a lot of time was wasted there.
Dante dove on Fenix during picture in picture. As they got back, Fenix landed a roundhouse kick in the corner, followed by a Spanish Fly for a near fall. Both men traded kicks on the ropes in the corners. Dante knocked Fenix back into the ring and leapt for a diving crossbody for a near fall. He then landed a suplex and covered again for a two count. Fenix replied with a huracarrana for a near fall of his own.
After a series of reversals, Fenix launched Martin into the air from a powerbomb position and landed a cutter for a near fall. He tried to follow up with the Black Fire Driver, but Dante reversed into a roll up for a near fall. He followed up with a kick and went back to the top rope, but Fenix again met him on the top rope. Both men did a backflip from the top and landed on their feet. Dante spiked Fenix with a Poison Rana, and went for a double jump moonsault. Fenix avoided it, and landed a unique piledriver variant for the win.
Rey Fenix defeated Dante Martin at 9:39
Fenix pulled in Dante for a hug after the match…
The brackets were unveiled for the Owen Hart Cup tournament. The only unknown man left for the Owen tournament is The Joker…
Backstage, Sting and Darby Allin said the first round match in the tournament between Darby and Jeff Hardy writes itself and will be a special night…[c]
My Take: A fun match between Rey and Dante. They took some calculated risks, and almost all of them paid off. It’s a shame they had to have the long commercial break in the early part of the match, because they did quite a bit in the postage stamp in the corner of the screen.
In the arena, Thunder Rosa’s music hit and she walked out onto the stage. She said her life has been full of both successes and failures. Rosa then said she came into AEW wanting to elevate women’s wrestling, and now she’s the backbone of the division. She called herself the leader of the best Women’s Division in the world that some people still feel the need to criticize. Rosa then recalled a story of driving 8 hours up the California Coastline to see one wrestler and one wrestler only, and then called out the number one contender Serena Deeb.
Deeb walked out and they exchanged respect initially. Deeb insisted that she wanted to make AEW the best Women’s division in the world, and in order for that to happen, the best women’s wrestler has to be Champion. She said everybody in the arena and in the back knows that she’s on another level. Rosa asked if she wanted to make a bet on it. Deeb then replied that she would, and the bet is that she would have the shortest Women’s Championship Reign in AEW history. She then told her she would take her title at Double or Nothing, and that she would see her in Vegas.
The announce team ran down the next week’s matches. Jon Silver is facing CM Punk next Wednesday. Silver got a backstage promo, where he asked Punk if he wanted to dance with the meat man. He then said he was called the meat man because of his sirloin steak biceps. He then told Punk he would see him next week…
My Take: A bit of a clunky promo between Deeb and Rosa. They both struggled to deliver their lines convincingly, and paused at various points waiting for a crowd reaction that didn’t come. This might have worked better if they had spent more time giving both women more mic time leading up to the confrontation.
Back in the arena, Mercedes Martinez made her entrance for the main event. She was followed by Deonna Purrazzo.
6. Deonna Purrazzo vs. Mercedes Martinez for the Undisputed ROH Women’s World Championship: Purrazzo refused a handshake to start the match. They started with a tie up, and worked methodically for the opening minutes…[c]
Purrazzo damaged the left arm of Martinez during the break, so she launched her comeback with right punches. She then landed a running boot in the corner for a two count. Purrazzo landed a Russian Leg Sweep, and then transitioned into an arm bar attempt. Martinez scrambled to escape and was successful. Deonna went for a piledriver, but Mercedes avoided it and landed a knee strike. She followed up with a Fisherman’s Buster for a near fall.
Martinez landed an elbow strike. Purrazzo continued to attempt to hit a piledriver or an arm bar submission, but Martinez avoided the attempts and landed a lariat. Purrazzo got a boot up in the corner, but Martinez recovered quickly and landed a Death Valley Driver. She then landed a curbstomp, and then pulled Purrazzo into a Dragon Sleeper and got the tap out win.
Mercedes Martinez defeated Deonna Purrazzo by submission at 10:19 to become the Undisputed ROH Women’s World Champion
Martinez celebrated and shook Purrazzo’s hand after the match. She held up both belts as the show went off the air…
My Take: A good effort from both women, but perhaps slightly below my admittedly lofty expectations. Perhaps if they had a bit more build up or time it would have been received better, but the match felt pretty cold, and they didn’t push the pace until the last few minutes. The submission finish looked good, but even JR pointed out that it took a while to apply. If AEW is going to feature ROH title matches on TV, I think they have to do a better job of making the stakes feel important to AEW crowds. As it is, there seems to be a general lack of excitement from the live crowds.