Previously on All Elite Wrestling…
We recapped a massive week of AEW action in a special This Week in AEW recap that you can read here.
It’s Wednesday Night. You Know What That Means.
From Raleigh, NC’s PNC Center, it’s the second Dynamite of 2022 and we’ve got our friends Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone ready to call the action.
The Paragons of AEW?
Flanked by Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish, Adam Cole is here to open the show with Story Time. Cole brags about how 2021 was great for him and the reDRagon duo and that 2022 will be even better for all three of them. Cole says that it’s because he remains unbeaten in singles competition and that The Boys are back in town. Before he can continue, Cole is interrupted by the Young Bucks, who enter with Brandon Cutler in tow.
Matt Jackson boasts about how he kicked COVID’s ass in just two days and that they wanted to join Cole and his friends in the ring. Kyle O’Reilly objects and we have a bit of an argument going on between the Bucks and reDRagon. Adam Cole tries to get things back on track, citing all this as “friendly competition” that makes their combined force the strongest faction in AEW, unlike the Best Friends.
This brings out the Best Friends themselves, who take exception to these remarks. A donnybrook breaks out and the fighting happens all around ringside, leaving only Adam Cole and Orange Cassidy in the ring. Cole gets the advantage with a lowblow and looks to finish Orange off, but Kris Statlander stands in his way. Suddenly, Dr. Britt Baker DMD hits Kris from behind and lays her out! She then helps Cole with beating up OC. As the Elite stand tall, Cole and the Bucks prep for the SuperKliq SuperKiss spot, but Dr. Britt steals the spot by kissing Cole. That naturally annoys the Bucks.
Match 1: CM Punk vs. Wardlow
The Story So Far
Last week, CM Punk caused a disqualification in MJF’s match against Captain Shawn Dean, making MJF’s 2022 record a not-so-sparkling 0-1 to start the year. A war of words between the bitter rivals led to Max deciding that Punk would face Wardlow tonight, and here we are with this match.
Punk does not waste time in heading out of the ring to confront MJF at ringside, but Wardlow gets in the way. Collar and elbow tieup in the ring ends with Wardlow shoving Punk away easily. The War Dog corners Punk and lays into him with hard strikes, until Punk manages to escape. Missed corner strike allows CM to go for the GTS, but Wardlow escapes. Powerbomb attempt fails as Punk escapes to the outside and we go to picture-in-picture.
As Dynamite returns, Punk catches Wardlow with a boot in the corner, but that doesn’t prevent him from being hoisted up for another Powerbomb attempt. CM again slips out moments before disaster and rocks Wardlow with a roundhouse to the noggin. Punk’s offensive flurry is stopped dead in its tracks when Wardlow finally lands the Powerbomb on his foe!
The Powerbomb Symphony is in full effect as Wardlow continues to batter Punk with repeated Powerbombs before deciding to go for a one-footed pin on his opponent. MJF gets up on the apron and yells at Wardlow to make Punk suffer even more. Alas, Wardlow hits even more Powerbombs on Punk to the delight of MJF.
On the outside now, the timekeeper’s table is cleared as MJF tells Wardlow to powerbomb Punk through it, which he does. With Punk motionless in the wreckage of the table, referee Aubrey Edwards begins the count as Wardlow stands in the ring.
Through sheer willpower, Punk beats the count at nine! MJF is incensed and he tells Wardlow to hit a ninth Powerbomb on Punk to finish him off for good! Taking advantage of this momentary distraction, Punk manages to roll up Wardlow for the surprise 1, 2, 3 and escaping with the win!
CM Punk def. Wardlow via pinfall – Roll-up Pin (14:06)
MJF is not happy that Wardlow lost against CM Punk and yells at him, saying that he’ll “never win the big match ever”. MJF gets a little belligerent and puts his hands on Wardlow, which prompts the big man to grab Max’s hand, perhaps looking to finally take out some frustrations on his boss. Shawn Spears runs to the ring and manages to calm things down for the time being.
Match 2: Dante Martin vs. Powerhouse Hobbs
The Story So Far
Dante Martin has found himself the target of Team Taz after he and Lio Rush pulled a double-cross on them at the Dynamite Dozen Battle Royal a month ago. This match was set up after Dante ran in for the save at Battle of the Belts when Team Taz beat up on Matt Sydal.
Dante doesn’t want to wait to get to the ring, immediately running at Hobbs to attack him before the bell can even sound! The scuffle to start this match ends with Powerhouse catching Dante in the air and hitting a spinebuster on the ringside floor. As the action spills back into the ring, Hobbs maintains control and eventually tosses Dante out of the ring. The show goes to picture-in-picture with Ricky Starks stomping away on Dante outside the ring.
The action heats up as Dante wriggles free from the Torture Rack and lands a dropkick on Powerhouse. To the top Dante goes and the missile dropkick connects. Hobbs kicks out and he powders to the outside to recuperate with Ricky Starks. Tornillio con hilo floors Hobbs on the outside and it looks like Dante’s got everything going for him.
Ricky Starks tries to get involved, but Jay Lethal runs out to intercept him before he can interfere. This opens up Powerhouse for the Nosedive by Dante Martin and the 1, 2, 3.
Dante Martin def. Powerhouse Hobbs via pinfall — Nosedive (10:07)
We’re backstage with The Inner Circle, who talk about being somehow named Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Faction of the Year for 2021. Chris Jericho says that he and his boys will be in Sammy Guevara’s corner for his Interim TNT Title defense against Daniel Garcia later tonight.
Eddie Kingston appears and says that he’s going to go after Garcia later for hurting his knee. He goes on to lay the blame on Jericho for being the reason why Santana and Ortiz are not the AEW Tag Champions. Jericho takes exception and tells Kingston to get out of their business. Santana and Ortiz walk off, telling Jericho and Kingston to get their shit together already. Jericho concludes by saying that if 2point0 gets involved in the TNT Title match, he’ll kick their ass, and that he’ll kick Kingston’s ass if he gets involved. “GFY,” says Jericho before walking away.
The Match Everybody Wants?
An angry MJF walks onto the stage and yells about how CM Punk’s win tonight was a fluke and that next week, he’ll personally make sure that Punk gets his first loss in AEW. That’s because there’ll be no more running or hiding, because the match we’ve been waiting for is here: CM Punk versus….. Shawn Spears.
The Cole/Baker Regime
The seemingly united Elite and reDRagon cut a promo backstage about their handiwork earlier on, as Adam Cole & Dr. Britt Baker challenges Orange Cassidy and Kris Statlander to a mixed-tag match next week. The group yell at Brandon Cutler (or as Britt calls him, “Brandon Butler”) to cut the camera as the promo ends.
Murderhawk’s Next Target
The AEW World Champion, “Hangman” Adam Page, makes his way to the ring, ready to address the fans after beating Bryan Danielson in an instant classic on last week’s Dynamite. He says that he’s poured enough sweat and blood to keep a battleship afloat and survived 90 minutes against the best wrestler in the world all to keep the AEW World Title around his waist. Page says that with the new year and the reset records, it’s time for a new challenge.
Dan Lambert rears his ugly head to interrupt Hangman (who replies with a “oh god, shoot me” upon Lambert’s arrival). Lambert basically calls Hangman a pretend cowboy, an “East Coast Cowboy”, saying that he’s nothing like the Stan Hansens or the Bill Wattses or the Funks of his youth.
Page tells Lambert to say all that to his face, calling him a “walking Facebook profile”. Lambert praises Hangman’s matches with Danielson, but says that his cowboy gimmick is inauthentic. As Page beckons Lambert to get his ass kicking, Lance Archer’s music interrupts.
Archer enters the ring and grabs Lambert, who says not to waste the opportunity staring him right in the face (i.e. the AEW World Title). Seemingly taking the American Top Team head’s words to heart, Archer goes after Hangman and proceeds to beat the ever-living piss out of him! Archer unfolds the chair he had with him and sets it in the middle of the ring. He grabs Page and plants him with the Blackout ontto the chair! Lance grabs the AEW World Title and it’s adamantly clear what he wants next.
Match 3: Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb
The Story So Far
This rivalry has turned into one of AEW’s most bitter feuds. It started on the Anniversary edition of Dynamite last October, where Serena robbed Shida an opportunity for her 50th win in AEW after brutally targeting Shida’s knee. This would spill over into the TBS Championship Tournament, where Shida finally got her 50th win by eliminating Serena from the tourney. A third match at Winter is Coming ended with Shida using Serena’s own cheap tricks against her to get a 2-1 edge in this series.
Serena ambushes Shida during the entrances and viciously goes after her rival’s knee! She throws Shida into the steel steps knee-first for maximum damage. Senior official Paul Turner checks up on Shida to see if she’s good to go, and the match is officially underway.
What follows isn’t really much of a match as Serena continues the sadistic assault on Shida’s injured knee. The match is called off via referee stoppage as Serena locks in the Serenity Lock on the hurt knee.
Serena Deeb def. Hikaru Shida via Stoppage – Serenity Lock (2:00)
Deeb’s far from done, taking Shida’s kendo stick and proceeding to attack the injured knee even further! AEW officials and a contingent of face superstars like Tay Conti, Skye Blue, and Anna Jay chase off Serena and check up on the badly-injured Shida as the dust settles.
The Top of the Game
Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, and Christian Cage talk about the former two’s big AEW Tag Title victory from last week. They issue a challenge for any top-five ranked AEW tag team to face them for the titles this Friday on Rampage. The Dark Order’s Alex Reynolds & John Silver step up to the challenge and we’ve got a match.
Match 4: Matt Hardy vs. Penta El Zero M
The Story So Far
Matt Hardy and Penta El Zero M faced off as part of a massive ten-man tag match at New Year’s Smash where Hardy’s team picked up the win after miscommunication between the Lucha Brothers & Jurassic Express.
Penta and Matt start things off with dueling “cero miedo” and “delete” taunts before they get into a chopping contest as the show heads to picture-in-picture.
When Dynamite returns, it’s Penta on the advantage with Slingblades and kicks to Matt. “Big Money” regains momentum by countering a Fear Factor piledriver with a DDT. 1, 2, NO! Penta with the stomp on a tree-of-woe-trapped Matt, but that gets a near fall.
It’s a duel on the apron, but Hardy wins out with the Side Effect onto the hardest part of the ring! That’s not enough to put Penta away, however. Matt Hardy goes for a moonsault, but hits nothing as Penta gets out of the way. Superkick by Penta, followed by the Fear Factor package piledriver and that’s all she wrote.
Penta El Zero M def. Matt Hardy via pinfall – Fear Factor (8:46)
Penta and Alex Abrahantes talk trash to Malakai Black, vowing to teach them some respect for his treacherous actions. The lights shutter off, and you know what comes next.
Malakai Black appears as the darkness dissipates and he gives Abrahantes a big boot! Penta superkicks Malakai in revenge and goes after him! Malakai regains the advantage and begins to tear away at Penta’s mask! Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr run in and start beating up on Malakai as Julia Hart says that it won’t be enough. Malakai looks at the odds facing him and he just begins to laugh as the lights go out once again!
Once they come back, we see another figure standing alongside Malakai Black… It’s Brody King! The “Kings of the Black Throne” (as Excalibur calls them) proceed to lay waste to Penta, Pillman, and Garrison. King hits a cannonball senton on Pillman, followed by an impressive catching powerslam on Garrison after a Malakai Black suplex. The Kings of the Black Throne walk off, satisfied with their handiwork.
Getting it Together
We’re backstage with Kris Statlander, Red Velvet, and Leyla Hirsch. As the subject of Kris’s mixed-tag match next week comes up, Hirsch is angered by it, calling Kris “selfish” for taking that match and not focusing on their trios match on Rampage. Red Velvet tells the two to get their act together for their match.
Match 5: The Acclaimed vs. Bear Country
The Story So Far
The Acclaimed are riding high after having recently laid out Sting and Darby Allin following a singles match on Rampage two weeks ago. They are also the No.1 ranked tag team in all of AEW, having earned the most tag team wins in company history.
Not really much to write about other than the Acclaimed picking up the victory in short order after Max Caster hit the Mic Drop elbow on Bear Bronson to continue his team’s winning ways.
The Acclaimed def. Bear Country via pinfall – Mic Drop elbow (6:18)
The Acclaimed try to make their exit from the ringside area, but they’re stopped by the entrance of Sting. Max Caster backs up to the ring and is floored by Darby Allin flying into him with a skateboard-enhanced suicide dive! Meanwhile, Sting smashes Anthony Bowen’s boombox with his bat and then Bowens himself soon after. Darby throws Caster into the ring and hits a running splash before allowing Sting to finish things off with the Scorpion Death Drop.
A Clearer Vision
We see a video of PAC in his home with the blindfold completely covering his eyes. He talks about how he may be blinded, but everything has become clear to him. PAC says that his perspective is different and that his vision has never been more clear. The video ends with a shot of PAC holding a tarot card with the word “Justice” on it.
Match 6: Interm TNT Championship – Sammy Guevara vs. Daniel Garcia
The Story So Far
Guevara captured the interim TNT Championship on the inaugural Battle of the Belts by defeating Dustin Rhodes after Cody had to back out of the original scheduled match due to COVID protocol. Post-match, he was confronted by an angry Daniel Garcia, who called next for Sammy’s first Interim TNT Title defense. One thing to keep an eye on is the 2point0/Inner Circle/Eddie Kingston situation that’s been brewing in the background.
Not wasting time as Sammy and Danny proceed to brawl it out to begin here. Chops and elbows a plenty to start this match. Garcia gets knocked to the outside, and soon finds himself flattened by a corkscrew tope by Sammy at ringside. Inside the ring, Sammy looks to hit the GTH, but Garcia uses his technical prowess to escape. He follows that up with a backbreaker that sends Sammy rolling out of the ring and we go to our final break of the evening.
Dynamite resumes with Sammy fighting out of a waistlock to mount an offensive on Garcia. The offensive attack sends Garcia to the outside, and Sammy follows that up with a diving senton atomico to the outside! Daniel recovers inside the ring and catches Sammy with a leg-trip, followed by the Saito suplex. 1… 2… NO! Sammy is looking for GTH yet again, but Garcia manages to reverse that into a Sharpshooter! Guevara uses all his willpower to make it to the ropes and he does. Sammy avoids a Daniel Garcia running charge and hits Cross Rhodes on him! 1… 2… Garcia kicks out! The announcers, of course, say that we’ll stay with the action if it goes to the time limit. Garcia counters an attempted springboard cutter with a sleeper hold! Piledriver by Garcia on Guevara gets a very close two-count.
With both men down, 2point0 takes the time to attack Eddie Kingston and Chris Jericho at ringside! They then turn their attention to the action inside the ring, hoping to help their “son” win the TNT Title. Sammy is able to fend them off before hoisting Garcia up for a rather sloppy-looking GTH to retain his interim TNT Title.
Sammy Guevara def. Daniel Garcia via pinfall – GTH (12:34)
As David Crockett goes to award Sammy the interim TNT Title, 2point0 rushes the ring to beat him down. This prompts Chris Jericho to chase the mouthy Canadians off with Floyd the Bat in tow. Eddie Kingston is not appreciative of this as he and Jericho get into each other’s faces to close out the show.
This Friday on Rampage (1/14/22)
- Trent Beretta vs. Adam Cole
- Kris Statlander, Leyla Hirsch, & Red Velvet vs. Nyla Rose, Penelope Ford, & The Bunny
- Shawn Spears vs. “The Big Dog” Andrew Everett (skeewoah)
- AEW Tag Team Championship Match: Jurassic Express vs. The Dark Order
Next Wednesday on Dynamite (1/19/22)
- Orange Cassidy & Kris Statlander vs. Adam Cole & Dr. Britt Baker DMD
- CM Punk vs. Shawn Spears
- Sting & Darby Allin vs. The Acclaimed
- Serena Deeb vs. Skye Blue
- Cody Rhodes Returns (boo)
While the in-ring action wasn’t exactly “exciting”, the story beats were the strongest point of this week’s episode of Dynamite.
CM Punk vs. Wardlow delivered in putting over the big man as a force of nature while allowing simultaneous storylines to develop in the process. Wardlow basically had the match won, but found himself on the losing end due to MJF’s needless bloodthirst allowing CM Punk the opportunity to seize the advantage. The win puts Punk a step closer to finally getting his hands on MJF, while also furthering the divide between Maxwell and his seemingly not-so-loyal enforcer.
The simmering melodrama between The Elite and Adam Cole’s crew (who may or may not be known as The Paragon, per recent trademark filings) continued to boil this week, with the Young Bucks & reDragon nearly coming to blows until Cole cooled things off. Dr. Britt stealing the Bucks’ SuperKliq SuperKiss spot also added some fuel to this flame that could go off at any moment.
Brody King’s arrival in AEW signifies that the House of Black is now finally taking shape. Julia Hart’s curious behavior during the segment where Brody was introduced, where she told the Varsity Blonds to cease the attack does bring into question where her loyalties lie now ever since Malakai Black sprayed her with the dark mist. Could the pirate eyepatch be hiding the mark of corruption that similarly appears on Malakai’s face? Where does PAC fall in all of this? Do his words of supposedly being able to see clearly now from a different perspective portend his corruption and loyalty to the House of Black?
The anticipated fourth match between Hikaru Shida and Serena Deeb turning into a short beatdown segment was on one hand, disappointing, but also allowed for further heat to be thrown for the rubber match down the line. With Shida set to head back to Japan for the time being, this was a way to write her off AEW for the time being. This intervening time before Shida vs. Deeb V can be easily used to establish Serena as a ruthless heel, and it seems like they’re on the way to doing that starting next Wednesday.
Of course, I have to bring up the issue of the “one women’s match a week” trope being in full force again, even with the advent of the TBS Championship. The champion herself, Jade Cargill, was only seen in a vignette hyping her big win last week and nowhere else. It makes little sense to not have the champion of the network showing Dynamite to not be actively defending her title. Even a short squash match would be a way to keep Jade active and fresh on viewers’ minds.
Marc Quill is the editor of RingCrashers, GateCrashers’ home for all your All Elite Wrestling and indie wrestling needs. He’s also the web novelist behind Skye Emery: Bluebird, which you can read here. You can chat with him about wrestling, comics, and stuff in general on @MarcQuill on Twitter.