By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 136)
Elmont, New York at UBS Arena at Belmont Park
Aired live May 11, 2022 on TBS
[Hour One] Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, and Excalibur welcomed the audience to Long Island. Adam Cole’s music hit and he headed to the ring for the opening match in the Owen Hart Tournament. He was followed by Dax Harwood. Martha Hart was shown in a luxury box watching the proceedings.
1. Adam Cole vs. Dax Harwood in an Owen Hart Tournament Quarterfinal: Dax wore Hart Family inspired gear. Cole slapped Dax early on to get under his skin. Dax landed a series of hard chops in response to more taunting. Cole doubled over Dax with a knee to the gut in response. He followed up with a neckbreaker and tossed Dax into the corner. A dueling “Let’s go Harwood – Adam Cole” chant broke out. Dax attempted a Sharpshooter but was rejected. Cole tossed Harwood under the bottom rope and into the ring post ribs first. He then followed and tossed him into the ring steps on the floor.
Cole wound up and tossed Harwood into the steps a second time. Harwood sold his ribs, and Cole continued the punishment on the outside. He broke the count by rolling in and out of the ring, and then tossed Dax into the ring post…[c]
Cole sent Harwood chest first into the turnbuckles a la Bret Hart. Harwood fired up and landed two German suplexes. Cole performed a standing switch and landed a suplex of his own. Harwood did the same and landed a third. Harwood climbed the ropes, and Cole followed him. Dax knocked him down and set up for a diving headbutt, but Cole moved. Harwood landed on his feet and grabbed Cole for a slingshot powerbomb using the top rope for a near fall. Cole then landed a brainbuster knee drop for a near fall of his own.
Cole fired up for a superkick by doing HBK’s Sweet Chin Music taunt. Harwood avoided it and rolled up Cole for a near fall. Harwood was sprung into the ropes by the kick out, and rebounded with a cross body for another near fall. Harwood attempted another second rope cross body, and was clipped out of the air by a kick. Cole setup for Panama Sunrise, but Dax caught him and slammed him down to the mat.
Cole avoided another sharpshooter attempt with an up-kick. He then went for Panama Sunrise again, but Harwood stuffed him and pulled him in for a piledriver and another near fall. He then applied the Sharpshooter, but Harwood’s ribs gave out when he attempted to apply pressure on the hold. Cole then knocked Harwood off the apron and he landed awkwardly on the floor. He fell on his first attempt to get in the ring, and had to fight to get back in the ring before 10.
As Harwood got in the ring, Cole pulled him into a Sharpshooter of his own. After a struggle, Dax tapped out.
Adam Cole defeated Dax Harwood at 15:39 to advance to the Owen Hart Cup tournament semifinals
After the match, they quickly went to a video package featuring Darby Allin and Jeff Hardy. They both implied they are more stuntmen than wrestlers. Allin said he asked Tony Khan to wave the rules, because he wanted this dream match to be psychotic. He declared that he would be happy if he went to the hospital when it was over…
Back in the arena, AEW World Champion Adam Page made his entrance and joined in on commentary. CM Punk then made his entrance for the next match. He looked back at Page, and they had a staredown. Punk wore a NY Islanders John Tavares jersey. He asked for his music to get cut, and he got booed. John Silver then made his entrance with the other members of Dark Order…
My Take: A solid opener, but I was hoping for something really top shelf and I don’t think they quite got there. Dax did a nice job of selling the ribs, and I liked the fact that the story they told with them played directly into the finish. Punk is a heel in Long Island, and he seems to be having some fun with it.
2. John Silver vs. CM Punk: Punk soaked in the boos and took a lap around the ring to start the match. Silver knocked down Punk with a shoulder block and flexed for the crowd. He then pulled Punk into a backslide and got a two count. Punk regrouped for a moment, but Silver quickly reasserted control with some strikes in the corner. He then attempted a swinging DDT, but Punk threw him off and landed a knee strike…[c]
Punk missed a dive into the corner and went groin first into the second rope. Silver followed up with some strikes. Punk attempted a backslide, but Silver rolled through and landed a sheer drop brainbuster for a two count. Silver goofed on a swinging DDT on the corner, and Punk was nice enough to pause so he could regroup and land the move anyway. Silver went for a Spin Doctor, but Punk broke free and landed a kick. He followed up with a rising knee and a short arm clothesline.
Punk tossed Silver into the ropes, and lit him up with a leg lariat. Punk took an opportunity to stare down Adam Page, and then performed a Buckshot Lariat and got the win.
CM Punk defeated John Silver at 7:49
After the match, Page got in Punk’s face in the ring. Punk had a mic and said Page seemed to be taking it a little personal. He said he didn’t understand why Page or this crowd doesn’t like him, but for him it’s all business. Punk said he used to look in the mirror every morning and ask himself if he was a good guy, but this morning he asked if he was the champ and the answer was yes. He then said that Page said he wouldn’t shake his hand last week, but at Double or Nothing he would shake his hand when the match was over, whether he was conscious or unconscious…
Backstage, Britt Baker complained that it was part of the grand AEW Conspiracy that she had to face The Joker (mystery wrestler) and couldn’t prepare for her opponent. She then said the thing about Storms is that they pass, and there was some Hayter in the forecast. Schiavone brought up the possibility of them facing each other in the semifinals, and Baker said the best woman would win…
Danhausen made his entrance for his in ring debut. Tony Nese was already in the ring with Mark Sterling…
3. Tony Nese (w/Mark Sterling) vs. Danhausen: They circled each other, and Nese flexed in Danhausen’s face. He went for a curse, but Nese shoved him into the corner and landed a running knee to the face and pinned him.
Tony Nese defeated Danhausen at 0:32
Sterling complained that Danhausen got an entrance and Nese didn’t. Nese then landed another running knee. Sterling said Nese would continue to embarrass all of the internet meme wrestlers, and told him to do it again. Hook made his entrance and cleared the heels from the ring. There was a Hook chant. Danhausen got to his feet and extended a hand to Hook, and he shook it and left…
MJF’s contract signing with Wardlow is next…[c]
My Take: Hook and Danhausen both got fairly strong reactions, but I think Hook has lost a bit of his superstar reaction from a few months ago. Hopefully they can bring it back. Punk and Page’s confrontation was good, but I was hoping we’d get a verbal response from Page rather than just grumpy looks and a middle finger.
Wardlow and Shawn Spears were in the ring with 100 security guards. We got a MJF video package that simulated “Dark Side of the Ring” with Chris Jericho narrating. Jericho questioned why he would say nice things about MJF, then asked how much he was paying. It portrayed Wardlow as a villain for screwing over MJF by handing Punk the Dynamite Diamond, and MJF as a hero. Taz, Jake Roberts, and Barry Horowitz all gave testimony on behalf of MJF’s greatness. MJF then made an entrance and got cheered. He wore his own Islanders jersey with his name on the back and fist-bumped the fans while playing into the hometown reaction.
Wardlow looked entirely unimpressed as MJF grabbed a microphone. MJF chants rang out, and he told Long Island how much he loved them. Wardlow got boos at the mention of his name. MJF said their story was like David and Goliath. He called himself salt of the earth, and said he was a Jewish Boy from the Holy Land. He didn’t mean Israel, he meant Long Island, NY.
MJF told Wardlow that since he was the “Mensch of the Centch” he would allow Wardlow to speak to his people. He reiterated to the crowd that under no circumstances should they get out of their seats and boo him out of the building when he speaks. He then ceded the floor to Wardlow, and he was booed out of the building. MJF said he couldn’t hear Wardlow, and that was weird. He offered to let him speak, and the crowd wouldn’t allow it.
MJF moved onto his conditions, and said Wardlow was kind of the worst. He recalled his best friend the “American Rollercoaster” Cody Rhodes. MJF then asked the crowd if they wanted him to stop talking about 2024, and said the guy in the back didn’t want that either. MJF said he would whip Wardlow not nine times, and then had Shawn Spears to his ten bit. The next condition is that Wardlow has to face Shawn Spears in a cage match with MJF as special guest referee. The third stipulation is that if Wardlow loses at Double or Nothing, he would never be able to sign a contract with AEW.
Wardlow couldn’t sign initially because of the handcuffs, and MJF said to un-cuff him. Spears said that wasn’t a good idea, but MJF said he knew what he was doing. Wardlow signed the contract, but then refused to put the cuffs back on. He then wrecked the shop and destroyed the security detail. Spears guarded MJF with a chair, but Wardlow dropped him with one punch. Wardlow wanted to powerbomb MJF, but Mark Sterling jumped on his back. Instead of MJF, Sterling took a powerbomb through a table…
Ricky Starks vs. Jungle Boy is next…[c]
My Take: A very entertaining segment, as far as contract signings go. MJF hamming it up in his hometown was funny, and the shots taken at Cody Rhodes, and Tony Khan about 2024 got a smirk out of me. It’ll be interesting to see what angle they take with the whipping and cage matches over the next few weeks.
A Samoa Joe video aired where he spoke about facing The Joker (mystery opponent) next week. Lethal and Satnam Singh said they weren’t the joke, but told a joke about Joe’s stomach being big and his brain being small. Joe said he would come for them after he takes care of business in the tournament…
[Hour Two] Jungle Boy made his entrance for the next match. Taz joined in on commentary, and Ricky Starks followed with his entrance.
4. Ricky Starks vs. Jungle Boy for the FTW Championship: We got some mat wrestling and reversal to begin the match. Starks landed some strikes and palmed the face of Jungle Boy to show some disrespect. Jungle Boy replied with some slaps and kicks of his own. We saw some more mat reversals and both men had a staredown back on their feet. Starks landed an acrobatic arm drag and taunted the crowd.
Jungle Boy replied with an even more elaborate Arm Drag, and Starks rolled to the floor to recovery…[c]
Starks got a near fall during the break after an overhead belly to belly suplex. He then applied a body scissors, but Jungle Boy escaped with a headbutt. He then followed up with a comebacker lariat off the ropes. After a sequence of reversals, Jungle Boy landed a swinging DDT for a near fall. Starks replied with a backslide for a two count. He then went for Roshambo, but Jungle Boy countered with a superkick for a close near fall. Starks landed a spear a moment later and got a near fall of his own.
Jungle Boy pulled Starks into the Snare Trap, and Starks had to scramble to get a fingertip on the rope to break. Starks rung up Jungle Boy on the top rope, and then went to the timekeeper’s table to get the FTW Title. Swerve Strickland walked down to the ring to take it away from him, but it backfired. Swerve distracted the referee, who didn’t count a Jungle Boy pinfall attempt. Starks then landed Roshambo and got the win.
Ricky Starks defeated Jungle Boy at 9:34 to retain the FTW Championship
After the match, Christian and Luchasaurus walked down to aid Jungle Boy. Swerve had a staredown with Powerhouse Hobbs and Starks. Keith Lee then made an entrance and made it a proper three team standoff. Christian gave Jungle Boy a hug, further cementing his eventual turn…
Jericho is up next to make a victory speech…[c]
My Take: A good match with a convoluted finish. I assume we see these teams in a triple threat at Double or Nothing so Christian can finally turn and cost Jurassic Express the Tag Titles. The Tag Division needs some different energy on top.
The Jericho Appreciation Society made their entrance. Angelo Parker was the first to talk. He addressed the “AEW Galaxy” and welcomed the crowd to their victory speech. Matt Menard asked the crowd if they want to know what turns him on and makes his nipples hard? Not really. He said it’s being a part of the Jericho Appreciation Society. Jericho said there were a lot of hometown heroes tonight, himself included. He said he was born in Manhasset, but he left quickly because it’s a dump.
Jericho called out a fan, and said he’d throw a fireball in his face because he’s a nerd. He said they eliminated Santana, Ortiz, and Kingston one at a time and they won. He told them all to stay home, especially Kingston, who had to take care of his wife. He told Kingston that if she doesn’t get better, she could give him a call. Menard piped up and said Sports Entertainers come out on top against Pro Wrestlers every time.
This brought out Jon Moxley, who took a slow walk to the ring through the crowd. Jericho told Moxley to go on another suspended sabbatical (he botched the pronunciation badly) because there were five of them and one of him.
William Regal, Wheeler Yuta, and Bryan Danielson then made their way out. An “Eddie” chant started for Eddie Kingston, and the trio of Santana, Ortiz, and Kingston climbed up on the apron. The Jericho Appreciation Society was surrounded, and Kingston quickly mounted Jericho and choked him. Regal pulled Jericho to ringside and sent him down with a left hand. The babyface team stood tall to close the segment…
A video package aired for the Thunder Rosa vs. Serena Deeb match for the AEW Women’s Championship at the Double Or Nothing pay-per-view…
The main event was announced as “anything goes”. Jamie Hayter vs. Toni Storm is up next…
My Take: The way Blackpool Combat Club entered to even the odds on Jericho seemed unnecessarily elaborate to get where they were going. I guess the idea was to put the spotlight on Kingston making his return, but I think that could have been better accomplished if he had gotten his music and an entrance rather than Moxley and Danielson.
Jamie Hayter made her entrance in the arena. She was followed by Toni Storm…
5. Toni Storm vs. Jamie Hayter in an Owen Hart Tournament quarterfinal match: Both women traded headlocks to start the match. Storm pulled Hayter into a pinfall combo, and she was forced to scramble back to her feet. They then attempted a test of strength, and Hayter quickly won. Storm bridged out of a pin attempt, but Hayter slapped her stomach in retaliation. Hayter then landed a knee that sent Storm to the floor a moment later…[c]
Hayter landed a hard snap suplex on the floor during the break. Both women traded elbow strikes as the show returned, went down simultaneously. Toni fired up and landed a hip attack in the corner, followed by a DDT. Storm then landed another DDT out on the floor, and tossed Hayter back into the ring. She climbed to the top and landed a crossbody, but Hayter was able to kick out at two.
Storm got caught with a Uranage Backbreaker, but came down somewhat awkwardly on Hayter’s knee. Both women ended up on the apron, and Hayter delivered a uranage on the apron. She then placed Storm on the top rope for a superplex. She then attempted another suplex, but Storm rolled her up for a near fall. Storm then landed Storm Zero and got the win.
Toni Storm defeated Jamie Hayter at 8:34 to advance to the Owen Hart Cup tournament semifinals
After the match, Riho vs. Ruby Soho was plugged for Rampage, as well as Scorpio Sky vs. Frankie Kazarian for the TNT Title. We got a brief promo package for Sky and Kazarian…
Backstage, Kazarian was interrupted by Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti. Guevara told Kazarian that he couldn’t trust Sky, and Kazarian told him his vlog sucks…
Excalibur plugged more upcoming matches that were impossible to follow. Jeff Hardy vs. Darby Allin is next…[c]
My Take: A strong, physical match between Storm and Hayter. The finish wasn’t spectacular, and the commercial ate up a considerable amount of the match, but what we saw full screen was enjoyable.
Jeff Hardy made his entrance with Matt Hardy. Darby Allin then made his entrance with Sting. Everybody shook hands before the match.
6. Darby Allin (w/Sting) vs. Jeff Hardy (w/Matt Hardy) in an Owen Hart Tournament quarterfinal match: Darby landed a shotgun dropkick, and then a suicide dive out to the floor. Darby collected and set up some chairs on the floor in a seating position across from each other. Essentially they are set up for someone to land on. Hardy picked up Darby and dropped him face first on the steel steps. He then threw Darby at the stairs, and he jumped over them. Jeff then ran and leapt off the stairs and gave Darby a lariat.
Jeff set the stairs on their side and draped Darby on them. He managed to slide off and shove Jeff into the ring post. Both men got on the apron, where Hardy hung up Darby in the ropes with a Twist of Fate. He then grabbed an extremely tall ladder and pushed it into the ring. I assume it’s a 15 foot ladder or thereabouts…[c]
Jeff smashed Darby into the chairs set up at ringside. He then set up the ladder in the ring right near the ropes to jump onto Darby and the Chairs. This might end with somebody in the hospital after all. As Jeff approached the top of the ladder, Darby pulled him down onto the top rope groin first. He then climbed the ladder himself and jumped, landing horribly onto Hardy and the chairs. The referee checked on both men. Somehow Darby was able to get to his feet and tossed Hardy back into the ring. He looked to go for a Coffin Drop, but Hardy rolled to the apron. Darby adjusted, and leapt and landed on the apron when Jeff got out of the way. Darby had the wind knocked out of him briefly.
Hardy slammed Darby into the ring steps setup on the outside. He then climbed to the top rope and went for a Swanton, but Darby moved and he collided with the ring steps. Darby picked up Hardy and sent him back into the ring. Darby went back up top and landed a Coffin Drop, but Jeff rolled Darby up into a Crucifix and got the win.
Jeff Hardy defeated Darby Allin at 10:47 to advance to the Owen Hart Cup tournament semifinals
After the match, Jeff shared a hug with Darby and Sting. “The Undisputed Elite” Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson walked out on the stage, and stared down the five men in the ring to close the show.
My Take: A match full of crazy bumps, but that dive onto the chairs was downright dangerous. I’m glad Darby seems ok, but that’s a rather relative term. This was a bounce back episode of Dynamite, which had a rough second hour last week. That wasn’t a problem here, as the tournament matches kept the show interesting throughout, even if all the show’s other stories haven’t been home runs.