Date: March 23, 2022
Location: HEB Center, Cedar Park, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
We’re still in Texas and this time around CM Punk is back for a match with Dax Harwood. Other than that we are probably going to hear something from Thunder Rosa after she won the Women’s Title last week in her hometown. If we’re lucky, we might even get more of the Young Bucks trying to find out who their real friends are. Let’s get to it.
CM Punk vs. Dax Harwood
Cash Wheeler is here too. They grapple into the corner to start and Harwood takes him down for an early breather. Punk is back up with a hammerlock but Harwood elbows him in the face to break it up. Back up and Punk gets kneed in the ribs, setting up a snap suplex. A backbreaker doesn’t even get one so Harwood grabs a chinlock. Harwood misses a headbutt though and it’s time to forearm it out. Punk gets the better of things and goes up top, where he has to cut Harwood off from trying a superplex.
The Macho Man elbow takes WAY too long though and Punk gets crotched down and now the top rope superplex connects. The top rope headbutt connects to give Harwood two and Punk is back up without much trouble. They suplex each other over the top for the nasty crash to the floor, setting up a high crossbody for two on Harwood back inside. The Anaconda Vice goes on but Harwood goes to the hair for the break.
Punk kicks him in into the corner and grabs a rollup, only to have them trade small packages for two each. Harwood is back up with a slingshot powerbomb for two, with Cash Wheeler being pulled up off the floor on the near fall. Punk fights up and sends him into the corner, setting up the GTS, which is countered into a Sharpshooter of all things. That’s too far for Punk, who gets out and pulls him into the GTS for the tap at 12:54.
Rating: B. Like this wasn’t going to be good, as you have Harwood who can wrestle an old school style and Punk who can work with anyone. It made for a good match and I wanted to see more, which is about as good as you can get. What I especially liked here was they took a tag wrestler and let him hang with Punk for a bit before ultimately falling. Punk gets a workout and Harwood isn’t going to be hurt by an out of his element loss to a top star. Rather good opener here.
Punk signals that he wants the title.
The Jericho Appreciation Society love that there is a photo of John Silver meeting Chris Jericho as a kid. Being in the same ring puts Silver on another level but not on the same level. The team looks around for Eddie Kingston, Santana and Ortiz, who they know are gone, because that’s entertainment.
Sting/Darby Allin/Hardys vs. AFO
Tornado tag match with Private Party/Butcher and the Blade for the AFO. Allin and Sting start fast with the dives and the multiple brawls start on the floor. Jeff charges at Blade to take him over the barricade and Sting actually hits the Stinger Splash on Kassidy against the barricade. Allin gets powerbombed up against some walls and Butcher tosses him down the steps as we take a break.
Back with Private Party giving Matt a double Side Effect off the stage through a table as we cut to the concourse, where Jeff Hardy climbs up a ladder, goes up onto a ledge, and Swantons onto Butcher and Blade through some tables. With that huge spot out of the way, we head back to the ring where Sting shrugs off a chair shot to the back and fires up on Private Party. Matt is back up (because of course he is) and a stereo Twist of Fate and Twist of Fate set up the double pin at 9:24.
Rating: B-. It was another fun match with some crazy spots, but I can’t bring myself to get that invested in these things anymore. Sting and the AFO just had one of these big wild brawls earlier this month and there is likely to be another one not too long from now. Jeff diving off of stuff doesn’t do much for me anymore, but the AFO losing is always good for a bit of a smile.
FTR is all fired up and wants to fight the Gunn Club next week, with Harwood going into a good rant about how they’re the best tag team around here.
Varsity Blonds vs. Jon Moxley/Bryan Danielson
Julia Hart sits on the steps with her back to the ring and William Regal is on commentary. Moxley and Danielson jump Garrison to start and the fight is on fast. Danielson knocks Garrison down and we take an early break. We come back with Garrison backdropping Danielson to the floor but getting dropped with a right hand from Moxley. Back up and a dropkick/spinebuster combination gets two on Moxley. Danielson is back in with the running knee to Pillman and a bunch of hard strikes to the head knock the Blonds silly. Stereo submissions are enough to make the Blonds tap at 6:00.
Rating: C+. That’s the kind of squash Danielson and Moxley should be having, as they beat up a team with a bit of credibility and did it fast. The Blonds had no change here but they got in a bit of time to keep it from being total destruction. As for Julia….does she really need some story? She can’t just keep being the pretty cheerleader for the time being while she builds up some experience?
Post match Regal comes into the ring, where Moxley talks about how there is no greater honor than to learn from Regal. He wears the Blackpool Badge of Honor and along with the perfect wrestler Bryan Danielson, they were forged in combat. If you want to step up to them, you better be ready for some violence. Of note: Julia Hart sat on the steps throughout the match and the post match promo.
Here is MJF, flanked by Shawn Spears and security. MJF mocks Wardlow for lowing to Scorpio Sky last week, but for now he wants to talk about CM Punk some more. Punk knows that he was beaten at Revolution, just like he did in Chicago, but rest assured that there will be another match. Then MJF will take him out and give him the most embarrassing loss ever.
Back to Wardlow, there are people who like him and that is because they are inbred. MJF is going to start calling Wardlow “Pig”, because he is a greedy little pig. When MJF met him, Wardlow had nothing and no one would know who Wardlow was without him. Now Wardlow actually has something, but he dared to cost MJF the biggest match of his career. Then Wardlow DARED to ask for MJF to release him from his contract? That was a deal with the devil, and it is iron clad.
Wardlow is going to ask how high when MJF tells him to jump, but MJF might even throw Wardlow’s mom out of her house anyway. Cue Wardlow, but a ton of security holds him back. MJF says he’s going to keep paying Wardlow, but it is to keep him at home until everyone forgets he ever existed. Security gets Wardlow to the back, with MJF saying that the Pinnacle has never been better. Next week FTR is in action and the Pinnacle is going to move up.
Trent Beretta throws Wheeler Yuta out of the Best Friends for suggesting he wanted to join William Regal and company. Yuta never liked Trent either and says he’s here to be the best wrestler, not to be the best friend. Trent should get that.
Adam Cole vs. Jay Lethal
Lethal takes him into the corner to start but gets elbowed in the face. Back up and Lethal starts taking things a bit more seriously, including a waistlock to the mat. Cole fights up with an enziguri but Lethal grabs the Lethal Combination. Lethal gets knocked outside so Cole poses, allowing Lethal to knock him outside. The series of suicide dives connects until Cole runs away from the last one, only to have Lethal hit another one. Cue ReDRagon to watch as we take a break.
Back with Lethal’s Figure Four attempt being countered into a small package for two, so Lethal tries it again. This one works a bit better, with the hold actually going on and Cole having to go to the ropes. Cole grabs the ring skirt to distract the referee so ReDRagon can distract Lethal. That lets Cole roll Lethal up for two but the Boom is countered with a cutter. Cole superkicks the Lethal Injection away though and the Panama Sunrise gets two on Lethal, leaving Cole stunned. The Boom misses again but ReDRagon offers another distraction so Cole can hit Lethal low. Now the Boom can finish Lethal at 10:03.
Rating: C+. They did their thing well enough here and that shouldn’t be a surprise. These two have a history together and they got to have their match until the villain cheated to win. Lethal is someone you can send out there and guarantee at least a pretty good match and Cole gets a nice win too. It’s cool to see a match where you know it’s going to work and then it does just that for a change.
Post match Cole says no one deserves to be the World Champion more than he does and he is going to ruin Hangman Page’s life. Page is scared of him but here is Page to interrupt, even though it’s 3-1. The title is dropped so Page takes the belt out of his jeans and starts whipping away. Cole manages a low blow though and the beatdown is on, with Cole holding up the title. Jurassic Express and Christian Cage run in for the save, but Cole leaves with the title.
Video on Lance Archer vs. Dustin Rhodes, which is coming up on Rampage. Rhodes wants revenge (for Archer beating him up a long time ago on Dynamite) in his hometown because monsters die too. Point for a good last line.
Sammy Guevara is in the ring with Tay Conti and isn’t happy about losing the TNT Title. He wants to be the guy that fans want to pay to see because he is going to do something so crazy that you have to see it. Yes he knows he can’t do this style forever, because it’s going to catch up to him eventually, but it’s worth the whole thing. Conti rants in Portuguese and translates it into a threat to Paige VanZant.
Sammy wants the two of them to fight any two of the Men of the Year, so here is the team (minus VanZant) to rant about how great they are. Did you know that Sky hasn’t lost a match since Tony Khan hit puberty? That was more than a year ago! Dan Lambert says not so fast on the match and kisses the interim TNT Title, but Sammy says if Lambert only knew what Sammy and Conti did while they wore that title. Lambert’s disgusted reaction is hilarious.
Video on Shane Strickland vs. Ricky Starks for the FTW World Title on Rampage this week.
Leyla Hirsch vs. Red Velvet
Kris Statlander is barred from ringside and Hirsch knocks Velvet off the apron before the bell. Velvet sends her into the barricade though and they go inside for the opening bell and a lot of stomping. Hirsch knocks her back down though and we take a break. Back with Velvet hitting a running knee to the back and pounding away a bit. The springboard is countered into a German suplex but Velvet catches her on top. The Mix connects so Hirsch rolls outside and pulls out the turnbuckle. That’s taken away, so here’s another piece of the turnbuckle out of her gear to knock Velvet silly for the pin at 6:24.
Rating: C-. This is a good example of a match that didn’t need to be on Dynamite as it was there to help advance a midcard feud at best. Velvet continues to look pretty lame by comparison and this was a pretty big downgrade over everything else on the show so far. Keep this on Rampage or Dark.
Post match the beatdown stays on and Kris Statlander runs in for the save.
Jade Cargill wants plans for the after party of her thirtieth win, including a lot of green stuff and exotic dancers.
Here is Thunder Rosa for her first chat as the Women’s Champion but Vickie Guerrero interrupts. Vickie does not like Rosa acting like she is really from Texas so she can “backstroke back to Mexico”. This turns into an argument about citizenship until Nyla Rose jumps Rosa from behind and beats her down. Two people arguing about the love of Texas. This sounds familiar for some reason.
Dark Order vs. Daniel Garcia/Chris Jericho
John Silver/Alex Reynolds for the Order. Before the match, Matt Minard praises Jericho a bit. Silver armdrags Jericho down to start and the Order knocks Jericho outside, setting up a brainbuster/dive combination. Back in and Garcia gets launched into a forearm to the face, leaving Jericho to pretend that the rest of the Order sent him into the steps. That’s enough for a big ejection and we take a break.
We come back with everything breaking down and Silver getting to clean house. Silver even takes down Jake Hager on the floor and a high crossbody gets two on Jericho. The Codebreaker gives Jericho two of his own and Jericho is shocked. The Order hits the running boot into the German suplex into the flip over rollup for two on Garcia but Hager starts wrecking people on the floor. Reynolds hits Garcia with a pop up knee but Jericho uses Floyd, setting up Garcia’s Scorpion Deathlock to make Reynolds tap at 9:59.
Rating: C. That’s your main event? It wasn’t awful but Jericho and company needing a numbers game and a baseball bat to beat some midcard guys isn’t a good sign for them. This didn’t feel like a main event match and it needed something bigger going on to get to that high of a spot on the show. Silver continues to shine in this role, and an underdog run after the TNT Title would be fun.
Overall Rating: B-. This show started off red hot and then dropped a fairly good bit. There was no way they were following those two openers, with the crowd carrying both of them to even greater heights. As usual, a weak AEW show is still good and the fans made this one feel that much better. Mix up the order on this and it’s a lot better, but for now it’s just another entertaining show.
CM Punk b. Dax Harwood – Anaconda Vice
Sting/Hardys/Darby Allin b. AFO – Double pin to Private Party
Bryan Danielson/Jon Moxley b. Varsity Blonds – Rear naked choke to Garrison
Adam Cole b. Jay Lethal – Boom
Leyla Hirsch b. Red Velvet – Turnbuckle rod to the face
Chris Jericho/Daniel Garcia b. Dark Order – Scorpion Deathlock to Reynolds
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