Date: May 11, 2022
Location: UBS Arena, Belmont Park, New York
Commentators: Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone
We’re back on Long Island this week and that means it’s going to be a bit of a Bizarro World situation. CM Punk is getting to face Long Island’s own John Silver, but the big story is MJF getting to name the stipulations for his match against Wardlow with Wardlow’s freedom on the line. If nothing else, it should be fun to hear MJF get that kind of a hero’s welcome. Let’s get to it.
Owen Hart Foundation First Round: Adam Cole vs. Dax Harwood
Harwood starts fast with some shots to the face but gets kneed in the ribs to cut him down. That means Cole can start to pose a bit as he stomps Harwood down even more. Harwood gets sent ribs first into the post and it’s time to go outside. Cole sends him into various other things, including HARD into the post as we take a break.
Back with Harwood getting sent chest first into the buckle. Harwood is fine enough to hang in a slugout and grab a slingshot powerbomb for two of his own. A rollup gives Harwood two but the kickout sends him into the corner, only to have him come out with a spinning crossbody out of the corner. Cole is back with a superkick but Harwood rolls him up for two more.
The Panama Sunrise is blocked so Cole goes with a kick to the face and another Panama Sunrise attempt is countered, setting up a piledriver for two. With that not working, Harwood grabs the Sharpshooter but Cole kicks him off and out to the floor. That’s good for a nine count so Cole grabs his own Sharpshooter back inside. Harwood tries to bridge out but finally collapses and taps at 15:34.
Rating: B. I don’t think there was any real doubt about the winner here and that is not a bad thing. Harwood made Cole work here but ultimately fell in the end. The last few months have been a great showcase of FTR and it is great to see Harwood getting a moment to shine here on his own. Cole is a much bigger singles star and a real threat to win the tournament so this was a very nice way to use Harwood, even if he had no real chance of winning.
Video on Darby Allin vs. Jeff Hardy. They know each other and Allin has asked Tony Khan to relax the rules so they can be insane like they want to be.
CM Punk vs. John Silver
Hangman Page is on commentary. Punk, in a New York Islanders jersey, has his music stopped so the fans can boo him even more. Feeling out process to start with Silver running him over with a shoulder. Punk’s hiptoss is countered into a backslide for two but he gets in a shot of his own and we take a break.
Back with Silver firing off some kicks, including a low superkick into a brainbuster for two. Silver slips a bit in the corner but still manages a tornado DDT for another near fall. A running leg lariat gives Punk a needed breather and he goes to the apron, but stops to stare at Page. Punk hits a not very good Buckshot Lariat for the pin at 8:06.
Rating: C+. This was a similar story as the first match and that is something that works well. Punk vs. Page is starting to feel bigger and while they are going to have their work cut out for them, it is something they can pull off. That being said, Punk might need to stick to the GTS as that lariat wasn’t exactly great to see.
Post match Page storms to the ring and gets in Punk’s face. Punk talks about how the title is just business to him and this isn’t personal. Every morning, Punk would wake up and ask if he was a good guy. Now he is waking up to ask if he is the champ and yeah he thinks he is. At Double Or Nothing, Punk is winning the title and Page is going to shake his hand whether he is conscious or unconscious. Punk extends his hand but gets flipped off as Page leaves.
Britt Baker doesn’t care about who she is facing in the Owen Hart Tournament but she knows that Jamie Hayter is going to win. Tonight, the Toni Storm is going to pass. Oh and Baker is cool with facing Hayter in the semifinals.
Danhausen vs. Tony Nese
Danhausen loads up the curse but Nese sends him into the corner and hits the Running Nese for the pin at 32 seconds. It makes sense. There is nothing to suggest Danhausen is anything more than a joke so treat him as such.
Post match Nese hits another running knee and loads up another but here is Hook for the save. Nese runs off so Danhausen extends a hand to Hook, who shakes it, much to Danhausen’s shock.
We get a promo for the next season of Dark Side Of The Ring, as narrated by Chris Jericho, about an upcoming episode on MJF vs. Wardlow. Hold on though as Jericho says he doesn’t want to narrate something from MJF….but then he finds out how much he is being paid. This turns into a video about their history, with Taz not wanting to talk about Wardlow and Barry Horowitz talking about how much of a jobber Wardlow really is. Awesome, as usual with this stuff.
It’s time for the contract signing between MJF and Wardlow, with Wardlow coming to the ring in handcuffs and MJF sporting an Islanders jersey, allowing him to soak in even more cheers. MJF goes on about the greatness that is Long Island and explains the story, even for the fans in the cheap seats (MJF: “You’re poor but you’re still beautiful.”). He also doesn’t want the fans to boo Wardlow (with some very massive winking going on) and oddly enough, Wardlow is booed out of the building.
With that out of the way, it’s time to talk about the conditions, because it is time for Wardlow to pay for everything he did to Cody Rhodes. MJF again hints that he’s leaving in 2024 before saying at Double Or Nothing, he is going to whip Wardlow not one, two, etc etc, nine or…..hey Shawn Spears, how many times is he going to whip Wardlow? Anyway, if Wardlow is going to get his match, he has to beat Spears in a cage.
Wardlow REALLY likes that idea, until MJF says he’ll be the special referee. If Wardlow survives there, he can get his match at Double Or Nothing, but if he loses there, he can NEVER sign with AEW. Wardlow tries to sign but can’t with the handcuffs….so MJF says take them off. Spears and Mark Sterling point out that this is a REALLY BAD IDEA but the cuffs come off anyway.
Wardlow signs but doesn’t want the cuffs put back on. Security is taken out (with MJF hiding behind Spears) and Spears is taken out, leaving Sterling to save MJF from the Powerbomb Symphony. Then Sterling is put through the table instead. Commentary says MJF vs. Wardlow is set for Double Or Nothing, and I think it’s the whipping, the cage match and MJF vs. Wardlow all at the pay per view. Or maybe not as it’s kind of unclear. It seems that Wardlow has to get through the other stages first and then gets MJF, but their wording could have been a lot better here.
Video on Samoa Joe vs. Jay Lethal/Sonjay Dutt/Satnam Singh.
FTW World Title: Ricky Starks vs. Jungle Boy
Starks is defending. They go a bit technical to start with neither being able to get anywhere until Jungle Boy blocks a right hand. Starks gets dropkicked out to the floor and we take a break. Back with Jungle Boy hitting a rebound lariat but Starks knocks him back as well. Roshambo is blocked and Jungle Boy hits a superkick for two.
As JR goes on some weird tangent about Taz having a special guest at Thanksgiving (apparently he means Danhausen, which had nothing to do with anything going on at the moment), Jungle Boy gets the Snare Trap but Starks is in the ropes. Starks tries to leave but here is Swerve Strickland to cut him off. That means the referee doesn’t see Jungle Boy roll Starks up. Once the referee is back though, the Roshambo can retain the title at 10:01.
Rating: C+. Jungle Boy gets protected in the loss but it’s still weird to see him get pinned. This would seem to set up something between Strickland/Keith Lee and the Jurassic Express, even though Team Taz is right there. That’s the calling card of a triple threat and in this case, it makes enough sense. Starks and Jungle Boy had the perfectly good match you would expect them to have too so this was completely watchable.
Post match Christian Cage and Luchasaurus come out to check on Jungle Boy and don’t look happy with Swerve. Cue Keith Lee and it’s a three way staredown, also involving Team Taz.
Here is the Jericho Appreciation Society for a victory speech, though commentary isn’t sure what victory they’re talking about. Matt Menard talks about how excited being on this team makes him before it’s off to Jericho, who says he was glad to get out of this dump. He’s the Wizard and throws fireballs in people’s faces, including Eddie Kingston.
Hold on though as Kingston needs to stay home because he needs to keep his wife happy. If Kingston can’t, call Jericho and he’ll take care of it. Daniel Garcia talks about how sports entertainers always beat wrestlers, and it’s Jon Moxley interrupting. Jericho tells him to go on another hiatus but here are Bryan Danielson, Wheeler Yuta and William Regal.
That isn’t enough to even things up, so here are Santana/Ortiz/Eddie Kingston to start the real brawl. House is cleaned and even Regal gets in a shot on Jericho. The villains flee, as I wonder when they installed the invisible wall that is keeping the good guys from going after Jericho and company. That’s quite the one sided match on paper, but I’ll take this over the BCC crushing more and more jobbers.
Video on Thunder Rosa vs. Serena Deeb.
Owen Hart Foundation Tournament First Round: Toni Storm vs. Jamie Hayter
They go to the mat to start and neither can get very far. Back up and Hayter wins a power off and sends Storm outside as we take an early break. We come back with Storm getting two off a high crossbody but getting caught in a Rock Bottom backbreaker (with Hayter just barely getting the knee in). The ripcord lariat is countered into a German suplex though and Storm gets a breather as Hayter rolls to the apron. They slug it out until Hayter grabs a superplex, only to get small packaged for two. Hayter rolls through a backslide but Storm is right there with Storm Zero to advance at 8:32.
Rating: C+. They kept this one moving and had a physical fight to get there. I like that Storm is getting rehabbed a bit as she came in and then cooled off rather quickly, but at least they’re doing a little something with her here. I’m not sure if she is getting past Britt Baker, but one win on TV is better than another loss.
Video on Kazarian vs. Scorpio Sky.
Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti warn Kazarian about Scorpio Sky but he doesn’t want to hear it. Guevara: “SCU later.” Kazarian: “Your vlog sucks.”
Here is what is coming up on various shows. They do clarify that Wardlow will get his ten lashes next week.
Owen Hart Foundation First Round: Darby Allin vs. Jeff Hardy
Anything goes and Sting/Matt Hardy are the seconds. Allin starts at the bell and dropkicks Hardy to the floor. A bunch of chairs are set up next to each other (eight, set up four by two) but Jeff sends him face first into the steps. Hardy hammers away and turns the steps on their side but the Twist of Fate is blocked. Instead, Hardy pulls out a ladder (as we’re less than three minutes into the match) and we take a break.
Back with Allin on top of the big ladder in the ring and, after doing Jeff’s pose, flip dives onto Hardy onto the eight chairs. With that horrifically stupid idea out of the way (and Allin thankfully still moving), Allin misses a Coffin Drop onto the apron, allowing Hardy to put him on the steps for the Twist of Fate. The Swanton only hits steps though and Allin takes him back in for the Coffin Drop….so Hardy rolls him up for the pin at 10:16.
Rating: D. I know that’s not going to go over well but I got angrier and angrier throughout this….well it wasn’t wrestling so I’m not sure what to call it. Within three minutes, they had eight chairs, the ring steps and a ladder in play. After a break they did a crazy spot, then they did a crazy spot, then Allin hit his finisher but Jeff pinned him anyway. As in Jeff hardy, who can barely move, pinned Darby Allin, who (assuming he isn’t in a wheelchair because no one with any authority will tell him to stop doing those dangerous spots) could be a top star around here. If you liked it then that’s cool, but this was absolutely not for me in any way.
Post match the Undisputed Elite comes out to stare down the Hardys to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. This was a MUCH better show than last week so I think we can write that off as the kind of bad night that happens to everyone. Main event aside (and I’m likely to be pretty alone on that one), this was an entertaining show but more importantly, it moved things forward towards Double Or Nothing. A lot of the card is either already set or is pretty clear, so now they can spend the next few weeks hammering things down. That is the important part of this week, but they also had some good action throughout. Nice stuff this week, which tends to be the case around here.
Adam Cole b. Dax Harwood – Sharpshooter
CM Punk b. John Silver – Buckshot lariat
Tony Nese b. Danhausen – Running Nese
Ricky Starks b. Jungle Boy – Roshambo
Toni Storm b. Jamie Hayter – Storm Zero
Jeff Hardy b. Darby Allin – Crucifix
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