By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
AEW Dynamite (Episode 138)
Las Vegas, Nevada at Michelob Ultra Arena
Aired live May 25, 2022 on TBS
A cage stood up around the ring. JR, Tony Shiavone, and Excalibur were on commentary. JR tossed immediately to Justin Roberts. MJF made his entrance first as the special guest referee. Excalibur pointed out that if Wardlow touches MJF, the match is over. He was followed by Shawn Spears, who carried two chairs to the ring with him. He wore a mask that looked like Casey Jones from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Wardlow was escorted to the ring by his security detail. MJF mimed that he didn’t have the keys on him for the handcuffs. Spears jumped him, and MJF rang the bell.
1. Shawn Spears vs. Wardlow in a cage match with MJF as special referee: MJF got in a few shots after Spears finished the initial onslaught. He and Spears then performed a double shoulder block that sent Wardlow into the cage. Wardlow showed some life and sent Spears aside. MJF dared him to put his hands on him, and then spit on him. He then got enraged and broke the handcuff chain without much trouble. He took his anger out on spears with a clothesline. Spears tried to scale the cage, but Wardlow dumped him into the ring and then performed a Swanton. He tried to cover, but MJF refused to count.
Wardlow got angry and attempted a powerbomb, but MJF kicked him in the plums. Spears then landed his C4 finisher, but even with a fast count Wardlow kicked out. Spears left the cage to retrieve his chairs. The match can only end in a pinfall or submission. MJF held Wardlow, and Spears crushed him with a chairshot to the head. He did not get his arms up. Wardlow stood up behind spears and took down the straps. He then performed a series of powerbombs and Bryce Remsburg entered the ring as a secondary referee.
Wardlow called for a final powerbomb, and delivered it onto the chair of Spears. Bryce then made the three count for the win.
Wardlow defeated Shawn Spears at 6:47 in a cage match
After the match, the security crew funneled into the ring single file for their personalized ass whipping. One of the security guys got powerbombed into the cage, and slid all the way down to the floor between the ring and the cage. Wardlow vs. MJF was then confirmed for Double or Nothing on Sunday.
JR addressed the situation in Uvalde, Texas, and challenged the audience to help make the changes necessary for it to stop…[c]
My Take: Full disclosure, I loathe chair shots to the head. That aside, this match was what it needed to be, and Wardlow is heading into Sunday with a full head of steam.
Backstage, The Jericho Appreciation society approached a staffer backstage. They asked him if he knows what happens when you wear a Jon Moxley T-Shirt? Jericho then threw a fireball in his face and called himself a wizard.
In the ring, Tony Schiavone introduced CM Punk for a face to face with Adam Page. Both Punk and Page got strong reactions. JR said Hangman Page had become a great competitor throughout his time in AEW. Schiavone gave a brief recap of recent weeks, and asked CM Punk if he was ready to become AEW Champion. He got a mixed crowd reaction. Punk said the biggest moment of his career happened in Las Vegas. He said he loved his fans, and said he planned on walking in the challenger, and respectfully walking out a Champion on Sunday.
Page replied that he already said what he was going to do to CM Punk, and he didn’t stutter. He said there was nothing Punk could do to take that title away from him. Punk said he wasn’t sure why Page was taking this so seriously, this is business to him, and this was his title opportunity. Page said three weeks ago he would annihilate him and embarrass him, but he didn’t mean at Double or Nothing, he meant tonight.
Page continued and said it would be cathartic to sit cross legged on a ramp and roll a pipe bomb to the ring and have it blow up in his face. But then he realized he couldn’t do it, because it was something that he would do. Page said he didn’t like Punk or respect anything he’s done since he’s gotten to AEW. He said he talks a big game about Worker’s Rights, but he hasn’t lived that in the back. He told Punk he doesn’t think he knows what a Champion means, and said it had more to do with what happens when the red light is off in those quiet moments in the back. He said he wouldn’t be defending the title against CM Punk on Sunday, he would be defending AEW from him.
Punk continued to act coy and said he wasn’t sure why Page was taking this so personally. He then said if he wanted to do something about him, it would have to be in the ring on Sunday. Punk said he would shake his hand on Sunday, in fact he would do it right now. He extended his hand and told Page he was mad at himself and not Punk. Page refused the handshake and punched Punk in the face. He then left up the ramp.
We got a brief video package for Anna Jay vs. Jade Cargill for the TBS Championship on Sunday. William Regal joined on commentary. The Jericho Appreciation Society then made their entrance. Jericho cut the music at the top of the ramp. He told the crowd didn’t have what it takes to sing his song, and then joined in on commentary as well. Eddie Kingston and John Moxley made an entrance for the next match. They were followed by Private Party. Kingston and Moxley jumped Private Party on the ramp. The bell rang, so I assume this is a tornado tag?
2. Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston vs. “Private Party” Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen: Quen and Moxley began the match in the ring. Eddie Kingston jumped on the apron, so no Tornado Rules after all. Kingston tagged in and dropped Quen with a suplex. He then picked him up and landed a butterfly suplex. Moxley tagged in and they landed a double team STO. Quen landed a kick and scrambled to made a tag to Kassidy. He attacked Moxley, but was quickly cut off with a release vertical suplex…[c]
My Take: I feel like we missed a few weeks of story building with Hangman and Punk. Their segment was good, but it seemed odd for a go home episode because it was the start of a story rather than the culmination of one. I assumed this feud would continue through the Summer, but I imagined the story being in the different place heading into this show.
Moxley and Kassidy continued to trade offense. Kassidy landed a cutter, and Quen then landed a shooting star press for a close near fall. They went for Silly String, but Moxley stuffed it and landed a lariat. Kingston ran in and applied a submission to Quen. Moxley then landed the paradigm shift to Kassidy and got the win.
Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston defeated Private Party at 7:20
After the match, a brawl broke out between the Jericho Appreciation Society and their opponents for Sunday. Jericho declared victory in the ring. Danielson confronted him, but Jericho kicked his injured leg and ran away.
My Take: This is one of those feuds where I normally enjoy the work of the majority of the participants, but it sucks anyway.
A video package aired for the Owen Hart Tournament, and featured quotes from the competitors. Mark Henry said he thinks Owen would be proud of the competition.
Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero and Trent Beretta) made their entrance for the next match for the Ring of Honor Tag Team Championships. Caprice Coleman joined on commentary. FTR then made their entrance.
3. “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler vs. “Roppongi Vice” Rocky Romero and Trent Beretta for the ROH Tag Titles: Romero and Wheeler started the match. They worked some mat wrestling a bit. There was a miscommunication on the ropes, but they sorted it quickly. Romero pulled Wheeler into a cross armbreaker, but Wheeler retreated to the floor quickly. Harwood and Beretta tagged in and began trading hard chops. Harwood got the better of it and tagged in Wheeler. They performed a tandem leg drop combination for a two count. Trent scrambled for a tag to Romero, who landed a suplex on Wheeler and covered for a two count…[c]
Wheeler was isolated during the break. He landed a suplex on Romero, and escaped Beretta to make a tag to Harwood. He entered and took down both Beretta and Romero with hard strikes. Trent tossed Harwood chest first into the turnbuckles to regain control. Both men traded a series of German Suplexes. After a struggle, Harwood landed a third suplex with a bridge, but Romero broke up the pinfall.
Trent made a blind tag while Dax had Romero up for a suplex. They landed double knees on Dax, and then chained together a series of kicks and knees for a close near fall. Trent set up for Strong Zero, but Wheeler created a distraction to break things up. Harwood and Trent traded a series of pinfalls for near falls. Trent then set up for and landed the tandem Strong Zero with Romero.
“United Empire” Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan from NJPW ran down to the ring and assaulted everyone. The match was called off.
Then match ended in a no contest at 10:12 in an ROH Tag Title match
Cobb and Khan dismantled both teams. Cobb landed Tour of the Islands on Romero. He then put Harwood through a table with a doctor bomb on the outside. Khan then applied an Iron Claw to Beretta and put him through a table with it as well.
The announce team plugged the Young Bucks vs. The Hardys at Double or Nothing. Matt and Jeff Hardy gave a promo backstage. They said they had a common upbringing with the Young Bucks, but that’s where the similarities end. He said they broke into the business in the 90s in a different culture that the Young Bucks never could have survived in.
Jeff said they were in their over-prime, and said this last run would be their best. He said this was a step on their path to claiming the AEW Tag Team Championships. Matt continued and said The Bucks believe they are in their prime, but they are middle aged and Extreme. Matt said that you should never meet your heroes, but in the case of the Bucks, they’ll never beat their heroes.
In the arena, Ricky Starks made his entrance, followed by Swerve Strickland and Jungle Boy.
4. Jungle Boy vs. Ricky Starks vs. Swerve Strickland: Starks rolled to the outside immediately. He then re-entered and shoved Jungle Boy, kicking off a rapid series of small packages and roll ups. Starks was sent to the floor by a Jungle Boy head scissors. The action spilled outside where Ricky Strarks creatively avoided the offense of Jungle Boy and Swerve. He sent Jungle Boy into the ring post, and Swerve into the barricade…[c]
My Take: The Tag Team Match was a fun watch. I think the finish felt pretty cold, but that’s the nature of doing cross promotional work where a lot of the audience is unfamiliar with incoming wrestlers. The Hardy’s promo was good, but once again it feels like it should have happened weeks ago.
Jungle Boy landed a Samoan Drop of sorts on Starks. Swerve then shoved Jungle Boy into the turnbuckles. All three men ended up on the same turnbuckle trading punches. Swerve shoved Starks to the floor. Jungle Boy went for a poisoned rana, but Swerve landed on his feet. Starks caught Swerve with a kick, who then kicked Jungle Boy. Starks landed a Michinoku Driver on Jungle Boy, but Swerve broke up the pin.
After a thumb to the eyes. Starks landed the Roshambo on Swerve. Jungle Boy ran in and applied the Snare Trap on Starks before he could cover Swerve. He pulled Starks to the middle of the ring, but Swerve broke it up with a running kick. Swerve then went up top and landed a double stomp on Starks and got the win.
Swerve Strickland defeated Jungle Boy and Ricky Starks in a three-way at 8:30
After the match, Powerhouse Hobbs and Luchasaurus got involved. Keith Lee got a full entrance, and ran down to clear Hobbs and Luchasaurus from the ring. He then splashed them on the floor, and had a bit of a rough landing. He and Swerve celebrated to close the segment.
Backstage, we got a promo from Dan Lambert. He said that Scorpio Sky would have a custom TNT Title Belt crafted in his image presented to him on Friday.
Back in the arena, Thunder Rosa was brought out on the stage with Tony Schiavone. He asked her about her challenge on Sunday. She did not have makeup on, and told everyone she wanted to see the real her. She said she has worked for everything she has, and has never complained about anything. Rosa addressed Deeb and said she blamed her past on other companies and her questionable cosmetic choices.
Rosa told Deeb that she would teach her a lesson in respect on Sunday for Tony, her mentor Dustin Rhodes, and especially herself. Her music started playing, but she kept talking and it was barely audible for me.
My Take: There were some clever spots in the Triple Threat, but I think Ricky Starks was the only one to sell anything. It was an enjoyable watch from a high spots perspective, but not much happened in the way of storytelling. Rosa had another uneven week on the microphone, but it was better than previous efforts. Not sure why they were playing her off early though.
Red Velvet was backstage with Tony Schiavone, and said she was pissed off to not move onto the next round of the Owen Tournament to face Ruby Soho. Ruby then walked up, and Red handed her a book that apparently contained all of her research on Kris Statlander’s weaknesses. In the arena, Britt Baker made her entrance in the arena. She was followed by Toni Storm.
5. Toni Storm vs. Britt Baker in an Owen Hart Cup tournament semifinal match: They traded some mat offense early on, with neither woman gaining a clear advantage. Storm applied a head scissors on the mat, and then landed a dropkick to a seated Baker. Both women ended up on the floor, where Storm threw Baker into the ring post. Baker recovered and tried to throw Toni into the ring, but Toni just rolled back out after breaking the count. Britt slammed Toni’s face into the ring steps…[c]
Britt landed a thrust kick in the ring, and then climbed to the second rope. She went for the Pittsburgh Sunrise, but Toni fought free and landed a swinging DDT. Storm landed a hip attack in the corner, and then a waterwheel drop for a two count. Baker fired back with an Air Raid Crash for a two count of her own. Jamie Hayter walked down to the ring and stood at ringside. Baker landed a twisting neckbreaker for a close near fall.
Storm bloodied her nose at some point. Storm went for Storm Zero, but Baker reversed into a pinfall attempt. The referee paid no attention to Britt Baker grabbing the ropes and securing the pinfall.
Britt Baker defeated Toni Storm at 8:48 to advance to the finals of the Owen Hart Cup tournament
After the match, Excalibur ran through the various upcoming matches on Rampage and the Double or Nothing Card. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Samoa Joe is up next…[c]
My Take: Maybe my expectations were too high, but that didn’t feel like a great outing for Storm and Baker. It wasn’t bad, but it was clunky at times and the finish was unsatisfying given how dumb the ref looked.
Kyle O’Reilly was out first for the main event, followed by Samoa Joe.
6. Samoa Joe vs. Kyle O’Reilly in an Owen Hart Cup tournament semifinal match: Joe got off to a hot start with strikes and kicks. O’Reilly went for a takedown, but was stuffed. They traded counters on the ground, and then Joe landed a big chop to slow things down. Joe chopped Kyle a few more times and landed a jumping elbow drop for a two count. More chops and a headbutt from Joe, followed by a snap suplex. He then covered for a near fall. O’Reilly land some strikes to the shoulder, and then a dragon screw with Joe’s leg tied up in the ropes. O’Reilly then dropped a knee to Joe’s back from the top rope. He then attempted a cross armbreaker, but Joe escaped…[c]
Kyle landed some hard kicks and slaps. Joe replied and cut him down with a rolling leg sweep. He then followed up with jabs and a manhattan drop. He followed up with a lariat and a running senton for a two count. Joe landed another hard lariat and covered for a near fall. Joe set up for a muscle buster, but O’Reilly fought free and applied a Fujiwara Armbar. Joe struggled and crawled for the ropes, and Joe was able to reach.
O’Reilly ripped off Joe’s arm tape and landed more kicks. Joe fired back with right hands and chops. They both traded knee strikes and Joe landed an enzuigiri. O’Reilly avoided a Uranage out of the corner from Joe, and rolled him up. Joe pulled him into the Coquina Clutch and O’Reilly passed out.
Samoa Joe defeated Kyle O’Reilly at 11:15 to advance to the finals of the Owen Hart Cup tournament
After the match, Adam Cole walked out on the ramp and stared down Joe to close the show.
My Take: A very enjoyable, physical main event. The outcome of this match didn’t seem too highly in doubt to me, but I think they did a nice job of creating some believable scenarios for KOR to win towards the end of the match. Joe facing Cole should be a lot of fun, and I hope they can craft a style that lets Joe keep his air later into the match. Overall, this show was up and down a bit. I’m looking forward to Double or Nothing, but not quite as much as I could have if the stories had been a little bit tighter along the way.