Reviews

The John Report: AEW Dynamite 05/18/22 Review

aew dynamite may 18

This week’s AEW Dynamite featured Adam Cole vs. Jeff Hardy in the main event, Hangman Page in singles action and two “Joker” wrestlers in action as well.

This was AEW Dynamite at the Fertitta Center in Houston, Texas.

It’s Wednesday night and you know what that means. Jim Ross was on commentary joined by Excalibur and Tony Schiavone. JR claimed it was one of the most significant Dynamites in the history of this company. Really? There aren’t even any title matches. There are so many AEW shows in the past that had bigger matches. These announcers really overreact to everything.

Samoa Joe made his entrance as the ROH TV Champion. The opponent was Johnny Elite, who is the former John Morrison. They even did the slow-mo camera effects as part of the entrance. Johnny is the “Joker” in the men’s tournament meaning he was a mystery guy.

Analysis: I like Johnny Elite, which is the name given to him since he always changes the last name depending on the company he’s working for. I think there are bigger names out there, but it’s not like Johnny is bad.

Owen Hart Tournament Quarterfinals: Samoa Joe vs. Johnny Elite

It was a first-time-ever matchup between these two guys that are 20+ year veterans in their early 40s. Johnny got a kick to the left arm with Joe wearing some tape on the left arm. Joe hit some hard kicks to the legs along with some chops to the chest and body punches. Johnny ran the ropes leading to Joe hitting a running back elbow smash. Joe grabbed a headlock, Johnny broke free with a kick and another kick to the head. Johnny grounded Joe with a front facelock. Joe got back up going for a back body drop, but Johnny landed on his feet and hit a cartwheel into a clothesline. Johnny went up top, jumped off and hit a twisting splash onto a standing Joe. I don’t think Johnny even touched Joe, but Joe sold it anyway. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Johnny ran the ropes, but Joe stopped his momentum with a running shoulder tackle leading to a spinning bump by Johnny. Joe with an atomic drop, a kick to the head and a senton splash for two. Johnny tried a lifting move, Joe got out of that and Joe hit a hard chop to the chest. Joe set up Johnny onto the top rope going for the Muscle Buster, but Johnny broke free and got out of it. Johnny hit a Samoan Drop while flipping onto his feet. Johnny went up top and hit a 450 Splash that came up short, but he still covered for a two count. Johnny with a running knee to the face. Johnny went for the move that he called Starship Pain, but Joe got the knees up. Joe with punches. Joe set up Johnny on the top rope and hit the Muscle Buster for the pinfall win. It went about 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Samoa Joe

Analysis: **3/4 This was just an average match. They did some spots well and other things didn’t go as smoothly. Johnny clearly missed on some moves. Bringing in Johnny for one match doesn’t make him look impressive at all. This was all about making Joe look strong. It was fine by the end.

Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt attacked Samoa Joe as soon as the bell rang. Satnam Singh held Joe and Lethal hit Joe in the left arm with a pipe. The Best Friends group of Trent Beretta, Chuck Taylor and Rocky Romero went down to the ring to save Joe from the attack. The heels left.

Jeff and Matt Hardy were about to be interviewed by Lexi Nair, but The Young Bucks walked up to them to interrupt the interview. The Young Bucks told Jeff to think about his family and maybe take the night off. Matt said that Jeff will be fine because he’s a legit Hardy, not a Hardy cosplayer like The Young Bucks. Matt ripped on their buddy Adam Cole and threatened to beat up The Young Bucks, who ended up leaving.

Analysis: They are obviously going to do The Young Bucks vs. The Hardys likely at Double or Nothing. It’s just a matter of making it official.

CM Punk made his entrance to do commentary. He was wearing a shirt that said: “Abortion rights are human rights.” Konosuke Takeshita was up next and his opponent was the AEW World Champion “Hangman” Adam Page, who got a big ovation. Page stared at his Double or Nothing opponent CM Punk on his way down to the ring. Takeshita is from DDT wrestling in Japan and recently lost to Jay Lethal on Rampage.

“Hangman” Adam Page vs. Konosuke Takeshita

Takeshita with a kick. Page hit a fallaway slam leading to Takeshita going to the apron. Page hit a clothesline on Takeshita on the apron and a dive onto Takeshita on the floor. When Page sent Takeshita into the ring, Page played to the crowd a bit and Takeshita jumped onto Page on the floor. Back in the ring, Takeshita was knocked down on the turnbuckle and he landed onto the apron. They battled on the apron with Takeshita hitting a forearm to the head and then Page hit a belly-to-back suplex on the apron. Page went up top and jumped onto Takeshita on the floor with a moonsault onto a standing Takeshita. Page does that move so well. They went to picture in picture.

(Commercial)

They were back to full screen with Takeshita hitting a running clothesline. Takeshita hit a Blue Thunder Bomb with CM Punk noting that El Generico (Sami Zayn) came up with that move. Takeshita hit a somersault dive over the top onto Page on the floor. Takeshita hit a Helluva Kick in the corner, then Page did his own Helluva Kick. Is this a Sami Zayn tribute match? Anyway, Page hit a German Suplex and then Takeshita hit a German Suplex, but neither guy sold it very long as they ran the ropes leading to a double clothesline spot that knocked both guys down. They were down selling for a bit, then back up and they exchanged strikes. Page hit a Tombstone piledriver for a two count. Page had a long staredown towards CM Punk, so Takeshita hit him with a stiff forearm and a huge Last Ride style Powerbomb. Takeshita hit a running knee for a two count. Punk put over Page saying he was tough. Takeshita with a stalling German Suplex, but he was unable to make a cover due to selling a neck injury. Takeshita went for a knee, Page avoided it, Takeshita went for a move off the ropes and Page decked him with an elbow to the face. They were both standing on the top rope, Takeshita hit him with a clothesline and Page did a backflip (like he was doing a moonsault) where he landed on his feet, so Page was fine. Page hit Takeshita with a clothesline. Page hit a discus clothesline and then a Buckshot Lariat. Page picked up Takeshita on the shoulders, then he hit the GTS while staring at Punk and Page pinned Takeshita for the pinfall win. Punk: “I love it! I love it!” It went 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: “Hangman” Adam Page

Analysis: **** Awesome match with the right guy getting the win, but I was really impressed by Takeshita. The announcers mentioned he’s only 26 years old and I think if he were to sign a deal with AEW, that’s a guy that can get better in the future. Page is always having four-star level matches when he gets the time like he did in this match. Page is so much fun to watch and continues to get better. I’m not going to complain about these guys going over 10 minutes even though it was obvious that Page was going to get the win. They had a competitive match that was fun to watch, so that’s what matters. I just feel bad for the 50 or so wrestlers in catering doing nothing on Dynamite that could benefit from working 13 minutes with the World Champion instead of a guy that is from the DDT promotion. That’s my way of saying AEW could use some of their talents a lot better.

After the match, Punk walked down the ramp to have a staredown with Page. Punk held his arms up in the air with the fans cheering him. Page grabbed the AEW World Title, walked on the ramp and held up to cheers from the crowd. Punk walked closer to Page, they had a staredown again and the fans were chanting “CM Punk” as Page walked right by Punk to go to the back.

Analysis: That’s going to be an incredible match. My pick? I think I’m going with CM Punk. Just my hunch.

(Commercial)

There was a video about Fuego del Sol saying that House of Black has made his life a living hell, but it’s time to even the odds. Feugo was joined by Evil Uno and Ten saying the odds were in their favor. House of Black will destroy those guys.

Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee vs. JD Drake & Anthony Henry

The announcers tried to put over Drake & Henry as a “dangerous” tag team even though we all know they are going to lose a quick match. Lee with a two-handed chop to Drake’s chest. Swerve tagged in, Drake with a chop and Henry tagged in with kicks to the chest. Swerve hit a jumping back kick to Henry followed by a running uppercut followed by an uppercut to the back. Swerve hit a leaping flatliner. Drake went in illegally, Swerve chopped him and Lee tagged in with a cross body block on Drake. Lee ran over Henry with a running shoulder tackle. Lee held Henry up in a Powerbomb position, Swerve did a double foot stomp into a Powerbomb for the Fall from Glory for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee

Analysis: *1/2 A squash tag team match to put over Strickland & Lee. Simple as that. Cool finisher.

Post match, Lee gave a shoutout to his home state of Texas saying he had some wonderful news. Lee said that with that victory, Swerve and Lee have now become a top-five ranked tag team. Lee said with that news…and here’s an interruption.

It was time for Team Taz members FTW Champion Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs. Starks called Lee “Rex from Toy Story.” Starks called them selfish jabronis for thinking they deserve a shot at the AEW Tag Team Titles with Starks & Hobbs there. Starks bragged about beating Jungle Boy and them. Swerve ripped on Starks for looking like he was “dressed like a bar of soap with a pearl necklace on.” Swerve said this Houston, so there’s southern hospitality there.

Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus with uncle Christian Cage showed up with their AEW Tag Team Championship titles. Christian Cage told Ricky he has to realize it was time to shut the hell up. Christian ripped on Ricky for wearing clothes that look like he’s about to go golfing with Christian’s grandfather. Christian said that they are worthy teams, but Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus are the best. Christian challenged both of those teams against Jurassic Express in a three-way for the Tag Team Titles at Double or Nothing. Christian said he had another crazy idea to have Jungle Boy vs. Ricky Starks vs. Swerve Strickland on Dynamite next week.

Analysis: I guess Christian Cage is a matchmaker now? Sure. I liked some of the lines in those promos so good job by everybody involved. The Tag Team Title match at Double or Nothing should be great. I would rather see FTR win the titles again, but I guess it’s not time for that yet. I think Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus are probably going to retain the titles.

Kris Statlander and Red Velvet were interviewed by Tony Schiavone about their match on Rampage. Red said she hopes Kris brings everything that she has. Kris said that she has changed and Red has certainly changed. Kris said that she’s taking this opportunity all the way to the top. Kris said it is not personal, it is strictly business. Jade Cargill the TBS Champion said that Red Velvet was friends with Kris, but now Red is with her because Jade is a leader. Jade told Tony to “cut the shit” to end it. That’s her awkward catchphrase.

MJF Delivers Ten Lashes to Wardlow

Maxwell Jacob Friedman made his entrance with Shawn Spears. It looked like MJF had a sunburn or sprayed too much spray tanner on himself. MJF mocked Houston, Texas to get some cheap heat. MJF called the crowd dumb, grotesque, fat hicks and the fans chanted “Asshole” at MJF. It led to MJF saying that if Wardlow retaliates or lays a finger on MJF then he doesn’t get the match at Double or Nothing or sign a contract at AEW. The fans chanted “shut the f**k up” at MJF, who reminded us that he’s better than us and we know it. MJF told them to send out the pig, which is what he calls Wardlow.

Wardlow made his entrance without a shirt on while his hands were handcuffed together. Some security guys (indy wrestlers) walked Wardlow through the backstage area and out to the arena. Wardlow got into the ring with MJF, who spit in Wardlow’s face.

The deal here is that MJF gets to whip MJF with a leather strap ten times. It’s ten lashes. MJF did two lashes to the back with Wardlow no selling it. When MJF took off his dress shirt, you could see he put way too much spray tanner on his hands. That was a weird look. MJF delivered several more lashes to the back. Shawn Spears got the belt and he hit MJF in the back, which was the eighth lash to the back. Spears hit the ninth lash to the back with Wardlow selling that one a bit. Wardlow said there was one more left. The fans chanted “Wardlow” for the big man. MJF kicked Wardlow in the groin and then whipped Wardlow many more times. That ended up being more than ten lashes. Spears held Wardlow, so MJF put the DREADED~! Dynamite diamond ring and punched Wardlow with the ring on. Excalibur called MJF a disgusting individual with Tony calling MJF the worst human being. Spears picked up Wardlow and hit a C4 slam off the shoulders. Spears covered Wardlow while MJF counted the pin. MJF told Wardlow he’s not seeing the pay-per-view while MJF put his foot on Wardlow’s throat. Spears faces Wardlow in a Steel Cage match next week.

Analysis: It was pretty much what I expected with MJF getting a lot of heat for lashing Wardlow repeatedly and then the cheap attack after it was over. Wardlow should crush Spears in the cage match next week. The announcers really go hard in terms of talking about how they have never seen somebody acting as evil as MJF does, which is silly because lots of heels have done that for decades. That’s what AEW announcers do, though. They want you to ignore the past and try to believe that everything that they currently do is the best or worst in this case for this heel character.

(Commercial)

Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero aka Roppongi Vice did a promo with Trent saying they are back together full time. Rocky said that they are going after the ROH Tag Team Titles, then the IWGP Tag Team Titles and the AEW Tag Team Titles. They challenged FTR for the ROH Tag Team Titles.

Men’s Owen Hart Tournament Quarterfinals: Kyle O’Reilly vs. Rey Fenix

Kyle with a shoulder tackle, Fenix tried a sunset flip, but Kyle got an armbar. Fenix came back with an armbar into a pin attempt for two. Kyle with a kick, Fenix got his arm up to block and Fenix unloaded with chops. Fenix with a kick to the face, Kyle came back with a rising elbow strike while Fenix was on the ropes and Fenix did a creative spot leading to an enziguri kick to the head. Fenix hit a suicide dive onto Kyle on the floor. Fenix jumped off the top, Kyle caught him with a triangle sleeper and Fenix got his feet on the ropes. Kyle sent Fenix shoulder-first into the ring post. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with the two men exchanged chops, forearms and Kyle did a hard kick to the leg. Fenix with a spin kick to the chest. Kyle sent Fenix to the apron, Fenix with a kick to the body and Fenix jumped off the ropes with a jumping kick. Fenix slammed Kyle off the shoulders into a Powerbomb-like move for a two count. Fenix fought out of a suplex and Fenix hit a hurricanrana into a pin for two. Fenix went for a move off the ropes, but Kyle caught him and hit some double underhook suplexes. Fenix drove Kyle to the ropes, Fenix with a forearm and a spin kick to the face. Fenix with a half n half suplex, then a hook kick that barely touched Kyle and Kyle bounced off the ropes with a clothesline. They kicked each other in the head at the same time so they were down at the same time. Kyle applied a wristlock, Kyle with a knee and Rey came back with a jumping kick. Kyle with a kick to the head, then a forearm and Fenix delivered a hook kick to send Kyle to the apron. Kyle was standing on the apron, so Fenix walked the ropes leading to a hurricanrana to the floor! That was incredible. Back in the ring, Fenix tried a cutter, but Kyle trapped the arm and isolated the left arm with the leg capture. When Kyle got a hold of the left arm, Fenix tapped out quickly.

Winner by submission: Kyle O’Reilly

Analysis: ***3/4 A great match between two tag team wrestlers that are also very capable in singles matches. It was also a match that was unpredictable in the sense that it wasn’t obvious who was going to win, so I enjoyed the action as well as all the nearfalls in the match. They did a nice job of mixing in the high spots along with submissions throughout the match and Kyle found a way to put Rey away. The finish felt a bit rushed because there was a spectacular spot with Fenix walking the ropes leading to a hurricanrana on the floor. That’s a move that should lead to some selling and replays. Instead, they were back in the ring and they went right to the finish with Kyle not even selling that he took a hurricanrana bump onto the floor. I get wanting to get the moves in, but you also have to sell moves too. Anyway, happy for my fellow Canadian Kyle getting the win. I’m a big fan of both guys.

The win by Kyle O’Reilly means that he’ll face Samoa Joe in the semifinals of the Owen Hart Cup. Kyle had a lot of visible red scars all over his chest as he celebrated the win.

(Commercial)

Face to Face Confrontation: William Regal and Chris Jericho

Bryan Danielson made his entrance with William Regal as part of the Blackpool Combat Club. Excalibur mentioned that Wheeler Yuta was wrestling in Japan right now, so he’s not there. Jon Moxley made his entrance in the back part of the arena where he was joined by Eddie Kingston, Santana & Ortiz. They showed a clip of Dynamite last Wednesday when these guys got into a brawl with Chris Jericho’s group, which saw Regal deck Jericho with a punch.

The five-man heel group known as the Jericho Appreciation Society led by Chris Jericho made their entrance on the stage. Angelo Parker did a promo saying no singalong, no pyro and the song stopped.

Jericho ripped on the fans for cheering this group of thugs when they attacked Jericho’s group. Jericho wondered who could have put this group together between all of these heathens and of course the attack was orchestrated by his old friend Mr. William Regal (they were opponents at the excellent WrestleMania 17 event among other things). There were some “Regal” chants. Jericho told Regal he thought he’d be dead by now with Regal laughing about it. Jericho said that it’s amazing that Regal still has a brain that works…sort of. The fans chanted “Asshole” for that. Jericho said Regal was wasted potential saying he could have been one of the greatest of all-time like Chris Jericho. Chris told Regal he should have been a World Class Champion ten times over, instead he ended up as a World Class Addict.

Jericho told Regal he’s been fired from every company he’s worked for until he weaseled his way into AEW on the coattails of his proteges. Jericho mentioned Santana & Ortiz, who are too stupid to realize that everything they had in AEW was because of him. Jericho mentioned Eddie Kingston, which led to loud “Eddie” chants and Jericho told Eddie he was too stupid to stay home to take care of his face and stay home to take care of his girl. Jericho said if you need pointers, just have her give Jericho a call. When Jericho mentioned Bryan, the fans chanted “yes” for him. Jericho said that Bryan may be the greatest wrestler in the world while calling him a “squeaky clean nerd” for not having a drink or doing a drug in his life. Jericho said that if you hang out with this group long enough and Regal will be shoving “disco biscuits” and whiskey down your throat until you have to join the program with Moxley. That led to loud boos from the crowd. Jericho said that it’s a “royal flush of losers” right here. Jericho told Regal to go home because if he doesn’t then Jericho will throw a fireball in his face because Jericho is a wizard. Jericho said, “or maybe I’ll just take a piss in your tea again.” That was over 20 years ago and people remember it because it was in the Attitude Era when a lot more people were watching pro wrestling shows.

William Regal was standing in the ring with the group while Jericho stood on the ramp. Regal ripped on Jericho’s annoying voice that has bothered him since 1997 while adding that the only thing that could make him more sick to his stomach would be the screams from a burning orphanage. Regal said that Jericho may be right about some things in his past. Regal said that something that kept him going for the last 21 years is that when Jericho was in the ring, he opened up his bag and shoved a toothbrush up his own ass. Daniel Garcia asked how can you do that to somebody, so Regal told “flower” that he did it to his last week. The fans let out an “oooohhhh” because they easily believe everything apparently.

Jericho said he knows that they obviously want a fight. Jericho said that Double or Nothing is synonymous with one of the greatest matches ever created – the third ever Stadium (Stampede), but Moxley goes: “No, no, no, I ain’t doing that shit.” That was funny. Moxley said that Stadium Stampede was a different time and a different place. Moxley said that they should get their asses kicked in front of an arena full of screaming fans. Moxley said at Double or Nothing it will be the five of them (Jericho’s group) against the five guys in the ring in gang warfare, gang rules and they will all be bleeding like stuck pigs. Ambrose said you can call it anything you want, but it’s the beautiful violent art that they love versus a bunch of stupid bullshit.

Jericho said if you want anarchy then you’ve got it. Jericho said that his group is a well-oiled machine while you guys in the ring have issues like Moxley and Santana trying to stab eachother in the face the last time they were in a match. Jericho talked about how Danielson and Eddie have been at each other’s throats for the last year. Jericho said that Bryan called Eddie “lazy” and then Eddie called Bryan a “judgmental prick.” Eddie said that’s what Bryan is. Eddie said that he didn’t care about the crowd, buyrates or ratings, he just wanted them to get in the ring and fight…bitch. Jericho teased fighting, but then he left. Kingston wanted to go after them, Bryan stopped him and they shoved each other.

Analysis: There were some harsh lines from Jericho to Regal and others, but it worked in terms of getting heat. It may be going a bit too far when Jericho mentioned Moxley going to the rehab program because you want to support people that go through something like that. In this case, Jericho took a real-life situation to try to get some boos. Once again it worked, but I don’t know if you need to bring up that kind of stuff. Regal had some good lines too. I liked Moxley shutting down the Stadium Stampede idea because that was something that was fine with no fans at shows, but with fans back, you shouldn’t do Stadium Stampede again. Anyway, now the match is on for Double or Nothing. Considering some stuff later in the show came off as extremely rushed, I think this segment went way too long because it dragged on and it took a while to get to the point. It ends up hurting the show when you do that.

Matt Sydal and Dante Martin did a backstage promo together saying that he can tell that the Blackpool Combat Club was ready for a fight. Sydal said that they can give Danielson and Moxley a fight on Rampage.

The talented Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. made her entrance for the Women’s Owen Hart Tournament Quarterfinals. Her opponent was Maki Itoh, who did some unique promo and singing on her way to the ring.

Analysis: There was a lot of speculation about who the women’s “Joker” would be. A lot of guesses were for women that were released by WWE in the last year or so. Nope. I don’t think Maki Itoh is that big of a deal, but I’m sure some people watching the show or reading this were excited about it. I know a bit about her, but not that much.

Women’s Owen Hart Tournament Quarterfinals: Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. vs. Maki Itoh

Baker and Itoh hugged because they were tag team partners in a match over a year ago, which Excalibur mentioned. Baker wanted Itoh to lay down for her, but then Itoh did a cradle for two. Itoh stepped on the foot, then did a middle finger gesture and Itoh hit a running shoulder tackle. Baker avoided a move and got a two count. Baker hit a Slingblade neckbreaker for a two count. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Baker was in control with a double underhook suplex. Itoh hit a suplex. Baker took out the black glove for her finisher and sent Itoh into the turnbuckle, but apparently Itoh no sells moves against the head. Itoh rammed her own head into the turnbuckle a bunch of times, so Itoh hit a headbutt. Itoh hit a Tornado DDT for two. Itoh did a comedy headbutt to the ribs for a two count. Baker no sold it pretty much with a superkick followed by a Lockjaw submission. Itoh tapped out. It went about six minutes.

Winner by submission: Dr. Britt Baker

Analysis: ** It was a decent match with an obvious outcome since Baker is the former Women’s Champion while Itoh was just brought in for this spot. They only showed about three minutes on the full screen, so that’s disappointing. They could have timed the picture in picture better by doing it before the match and then show the whole match. Anyway, it was an easy win for Baker and not that exciting at all.

The win by Britt Baker means she will face Toni Storm in the semifinals. Toni walked onto the stage for some long-distance staring. JR: “How great does Toni Storm look?” Does he subscribe to her OnlyFans? I don’t know. Anyway, Toni and Britt looked at eachother.

The semifinals of the Women’s Owen Hart Tournament will see Toni Storm vs. Dr. Britt Baker while Ruby Soho will face the winner of Red Velvet & Kris Statlander.

Interview with Serena Deeb

Tony Schiavone was in the ring for an interview saying next week on Dynamite they are celebrating three years of AEW as they head to Double or Nothing one week from Sunday. Serena Deeb walked out there saying she was so sick of hearing Tony talk. Serena got in Tony’s face saying she heard that Serena can’t beat Thunder Rosa and that led to “Thunder Rosa” chants. Serena said that in one short interview, Tony made himself a complete idiot.

Serena called out Dustin Rhodes since he said some things last week too. Dustin walked out here with half of his face painted, which looks weird for a guy not having a match, but here he is. The fans chanted “Dustin” as he got in the ring with Serena. Serena ripped on Texas for having sports teams that fail, so of course, they would cheer for a failure like Dustin. Serena complained about what Dustin said and she added that Jim Ross might be the only one with brains around here. Serena ripped on Dustin for coaching and mentoring Thunder Rosa. Serena said that Dustin knows all the dues that Serena had to pay in this business as well as how hard it was to be a woman in that era. Serena: “I put some breast implants in my body just to satisfy some old perverts.” What a line! She does not have them now in case you are wondering. Serena said she shaved her head to show how bad she wanted and she still got no respect. Serena wondered why Dustin thinks that Serena can’t beat Thunder Rosa. Dustin said nothing. Serena said that Dustin doesn’t have the balls to answer her. Serena said that when she beats Thunder Rosa, Dustin will respect her.

Thunder Rosa walked out thee with the AEW Women’s Championship. Dustin picked her up to restrain her, but Thunder elbowed Dustin to break free. That allowed Serena to pick up the AEW Women’s Title and hit Thunder with it. Serena celebrated with the title.

Analysis: I liked some of the lines by Serena in her promo, but it was kind of weird that she is so upset that the AEW talking heads don’t believe she can win. Then there was the physicality part, which looked so lame. Dustin was really staggered by an elbow from somebody that’s his friend? I get that they wanted Serena to do a cheap shot, but the acting performance that went on here was lame.

The main event was next.

(Commercial)

Jeff Hardy made his entrance for the main event with brother Matt joining him. Adam Cole attacked Jeff on the stage before Jeff could get to the ring. Cole tossed Jeff into the ring.

Analysis: The pre-match attack to get some heat and I think they were running short on time.

Men’s Owen Hart Tournament Semifinals: Jeff Hardy (w/Matt Hardy) vs. Adam Cole

Jeff recovered with a body slam. Cole bailed to the floor, so Jeff jumped off the apron with a clothesline on the floor. Cole whipped Jeff into the steel steps at ringside. Back in the ring, Cole hit a backstabber to Jeff’s back. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Cole was in control with punches, but Jeff came back with a punch to the back and a Russian legsweep. Jeff got a pin attempt while using his legs to keep Cole down, but Cole kicked out at two. Jeff hit a spinning back kick on Cole, who came back with an enziguri kick. Jeff hit a sitout front suplex for a two count. Jeff went for a twisting splash off the top, Cole hit a superkick (to the leg?) and got a two count. Excalibur was screaming about it, but I think Cole barely touched him. That’s why they didn’t show a replay. Jeff avoided a running knee, then Jeff hit a Twist of Fate and a neckbreaker. When Jeff took off his shirt, you could see he had his ribs taped. Jeff jumped off the top with a Swanton Bomb, Cole moved and Cole hit the Boom knee strike for the win after six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Adam Cole

Analysis: ** A disappointing match that felt rushed. It was another match under six minutes where AEW decided to throw in a picture in picture break instead of showing the whole match on the full screen. This match needed more time and I assume it would have received more time if not for some segments running long earlier in the show. Cole getting the win is certainly fine with me because Jeff is going to be against The Young Bucks at Double or Nothing while it makes sense for a singles wrestler like Cole to be in the Owen Hart Cup finals.

The victory means that Adam Cole moves on to the Finals of the Owen Hart Cup against either Samoa Joe or Kyle O’Reilly.

Post match, The Young Bucks teased a cheap attack on The Hardys, then The Hardys looked at them and Cole knocked down both Hardys from behind. Nick and Matt did a BTE Trigger double knee on Matt. Darby Allin and Sting made the save, but Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly were on the ramp to do the high/low kick on Allin on the ramp. Sting punched Cole, Kyle with a chair to the back that Sting no sold and Sting threw the chair at Kyle. The Young Bucks hit Sting with double superkicks. So a chair doesn’t hurt, but two kicks do? Okay. Cole put the chair around Sting’s left ankle, so Kyle jumped off the ropes with a knee drop on the ankle. Tony screamed about how they were out of time. End show.

Analysis: A good cheap attack by The Undisputed Elite group. It’s another heel group in AEW using the numbers game to get the advantage and now we must see when the faces get their revenge.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. “Hangman” Adam Page

2. Kyle O’Reilly

3. Rey Fenix

 

The Scoreboard

This Week: 7 out of 10

Last Week: 8

 

Final Thoughts

It was a good show, but not as good as their better episodes like what we saw in the last few weeks. I still liked two of the matches a lot: Adam Page had another great match, this time with Konosuke Takeshita, who was impressive in his first Dynamite match. The Kyle O’Reilly/Rey Fenix match was also very good. Some of the other matches were rushed, including the Adam Cole-Jeff Hardy main event. The two “Joker” wrestlers were Johnny Elite (Morrison/Mundo/Impact, etc.) and Maki Itoh. Both of them lost, so I don’t know if I’d call them good surprises.

Some of the promos were great like Chris Jericho/William Regal and others involved in that. However, the women’s segment with Thunder Rosa/Serena Deeb didn’t work very well at all. They also had some timing issues most likely because I doubt they wanted the Adam Cole-Jeff Hardy main event to only go six minutes (with half of it in picture in picture), so there must have been parts of the show that went long.

They have done a nice job of building to the main matches at Double or Nothing. I like the lineup for the most part, but there are still more matches that they will need to make official.

The next AEW pay-per-view is Double or Nothing from Las Vegas on Sunday, May 29. Here’s the lineup so far:

AEW World Championship: “Hangman” Adam Page (c) vs. CM Punk

10-Man Tag Team Match: Jericho Appreciation Society (Chris Jericho, Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, Daniel Garcia and Jake Hager) vs. Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley), Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz (with William Regal)

AEW Women’s Championship: Thunder Rosa (c) vs. Serena Deeb

Men’s Owen Hart Cup Tournament Finals: Adam Cole vs. Winner of Samoa Joe vs. Kyle O’Reilly

AEW Tag Team Championships: Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus) (c) vs. Team Taz (Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs) vs. Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland

Wardlow vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman

Women’s Owen Hart Cup Tournament Finals: To be determined.

Pre-Show BUY IN: Hook & Danhausen vs. Tony Nese & Smart Mark Sterling

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport