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Pantoja’s AEW Dynamite Review 5.11.22

May 12, 2022 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Jeff Hardy Darby Allin AEW Dynamite Image Credit: AEW
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Pantoja’s AEW Dynamite Review 5.11.22  

AEW Dynamite

May 11th, 2022 | UBS Arena in Elmont, New York

Owen Hart Foundation Men’s Tournament Quarterfinals: Adam Cole (14-2) vs. Dax Harwood (42-14)

I have been vocal on Twitter about my thoughts that Dax Harwood should win the entire tournament. Dr. Martha Hart was in the crowd. Anyway, we’ve got a Shawn Michaels guy against a Bret Hart guy in a tournament dedicated to Owen Hart. That played into this as Dax was all business while Cole was arrogant, flashy, and taunted. Cole was also more aggressive, taking things outside and throwing Dax into the steel steps. Cole held serve through a commercial break with Dax having to fight from beneath. Returning, the crowd was split and the guys went into an exchange of German suplexes. Cole went way into the HBK bag by tuning up the band for Sweet Chin Music though Dax prevented it. Dax wrestled the smarter match throughout while Cole could snap off a big move to turn the tide, which continued down the stretch. After Dax survived a near countout, Cole garnered boos by applying the Sharpshooter and Dax fought hard but had to tap at the 15:34 mark. A really good match though the outcome is disappointing. It’s the expected route and I think Dax as the underdog making it to the finals would’ve been ideal. Even if he lost at that point. Ah, well, I guess Cole needs a win after losing to Hangman twice though I’d have liked him to struggle at least a bit more before turning it around. [***½]

A video package revealed that Jeff Hardy and Darby Allin’s tournament match will be Anything Goes, which feels perfect for them but odd for the Owen Hart Tournament.

CM Punk (17-1) vs. John Silver (50-27)

Hangman Page was on commentary here. Punk continued to piss off Long Island by wearing a John Tavares Islanders jersey to troll them. Oddly, his music cut off during his entrance. Punk stalled for a bit outside to bask in the boos before taking it to Silver inside. The match was exactly what you’d expect in a good way. Punk was obviously going to hold serve but Silver got in enough hope spots to get the crowd pumped even if he never fully threatened to win. That’s fine because it’s not the point of the match. Silver’s biggest spot came on a tornado DDT near fall. Punk got back in control and stared down Hangman before doing the Buckshot Lariat to beat Silver in 8:06. Another good match and great heel work from Punk. [***]

A pissed Hangman hit the ring for a staredown with Punk, who had a microphone. Punk said this was all business and that, like it or not, Hangman will shake his hand at the PPV. He offered it now but Hangman just flipped him off.

Backstage, we heard from Jamie Hayter, Britt Baker (in a Penguins shirt, eww), and Rebel. Man, they really HAVE to hear from Baker each week, huh? Her promos haven’t hit for me lately and seem to be super redundant. Anyway, she complained about getting the Joker draw and then said that the Storm (Toni) will pass and Hayter will win. When them facing each other was suggested, Britt said it would be a fair fight with the better female winning.

Danhausen (0-0) vs. Tony Nese (15-2)

The pop for Danhausen was wild. He’s such a joy and the announcement of him weighing over 300 pounds and “HE IS VERY NICE, VERY EVIL” was great. He attempted to curse Nese but Menacing Mike Sterling got on the apron. The distraction allowed Nese to hit him and win with Running Nese in 0:32. [NR]

I would’ve liked a Danhausen win but he’s not a wrestler meant to be taken seriously so he’ll be fine. He’s a delight still. Sterling dissed Danhausen and other “meme” wrestlers on the mix and made Nese continue the assault. Hook showed up to intervene and the heels bailed. Danhausen offered the handshake and I expected Hook to just save him and leave. However, Hook shook the hand and the crowd erupted. HOOKHAUSEN >>>> MEGA POWERS. Give them all the titles, dammit.

Time for the MJF/Wardlow contract signing, which included Wardlow coming out to no music and with tron graphics that said “Boo Wardlow.” MJF’s entrance included a Dark Side of the Ring parody narrated by Chris Jericho. You need to see it, especially if you watch the actual show. It was very well done. I also dug Jericho admitting he doesn’t like MJF but that he did this due to the high paycheck. The highlight was Barry Horowitz showing up as (fellow Jewish wrestler) to call Shawn Dean a jobber. MJF got a hero’s welcome (also in an Islanders jersey) and he cut a long, condescending promo that the fans ate up. He even teased letting Wardlow talk only for the face to get drowned out in boos. MFJ also mentioned his best friend “The American Rollercoaster” Cody Rhodes, who he will see in 2024 which Tony Khan doesn’t want to talk about. MJF said he’ll whip Wardlow with a belt 10 times (complete with Shawn Spears doing his Tye Dillinger) as one of the stipulations. Second, he’ll face Spears in a cage (Wardlow laughed at that idea) though the twist is that MJF will be the referee. If Wardlow gets past that, he gets MJF at Double or Nothing and if he loses then, he can never sign with AEW. Wardlow agreed but had to be uncuffed to sign. Once he did, he started beating up guards and nearly got his hands on MJF but Sterling intervened. As MJF bailed, Sterling took the powerbomb through the table because somebody had to. It went a bit long but this was really good stuff.

We got another video to hype the Samoa Joe vs. Lethal/Dutt/Singh dude stuff that nobody wants to see.

FTW Championship: Ricky Starks [c] (46-9) vs. Jungle Boy (78-37-1)

Legitimately two of the best rising stars in the company. Seriously, build Starks as one of the faces of the company. I believe in him as a “pillar” more than Sammy or Darby. These two had some quality exchanges to star the match, showcasing the talent we all know they have. Jungle Boy made sure to pose after Starks did in a little one-upper battle. Following a commercial break, Starks wore down JB. I got a bit distracted late as Jim Ross (who has been awful on commentary for a LONG time) went into a weird tangent about Taz having a new guest over for Thanksgiving (Danhausen) which had nothing to do with what was happening on TV at the moment. Anyway, JB survived a spear and went for the Snare Trap but Starks made it to the ropes. As Starks went to use the FTW Title as a weapon, Swerve Strickland arrived. The referee got distracted trying to eject him, which meant he missed JB using a victory roll. Starks then hit Rochambeau to retain in 10:12. The finish was kind of lackluster though the match was good. [***¼]

Post-match, Christian Cage and Luchasaurus came out to check on JB, with Christian bumping Swerve out of anger. As they argued, Keith Lee joined Swerve by his side to give us a three-way staredown, likely setting up our Tag Title PPV match. I’m down for this though I was hoping for JE vs. BCC.

The Jericho Appreciation Society came out to kill time with a “victory speech.” Their promo rambled on forever and wasn’t all that good but things picked up when Jericho threatened to throw more fireballs. That brought out Jon Moxley in an unexpected arrival. Jericho said there were five of them and only one Moxley, which was a dumb thing to say. Like, you know Moxley is part of a stable. On cue, Bryan Danielson, Wheeler Yuta, and William Regal joined him. When Jericho said it was still 5-on-4, Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz showed up behind them and cleaned house. Even Regal got a shot in on Jericho to a pop. With Wheeler Yuta being off for the BOSJ, maybe we get Moxley, Danielson, Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz against the JAS at the PPV? Man, that’s a lot of acronyms I just used.

A Serena Deeb vignette aired to hype her upcoming PPV title shot.

Owen Hart Foundation Women’s Tournament Quarterfinals: Jamie Hayter (4-0 in 2022) vs. Toni Storm (4-0)

IT’S THE MATCH WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR. THE IRRESISTIBLE FORCE MEETS THE IMMOVAL OBJECT. The opening moments of this match saw the two trade some mat stuff with neither gaining the upper hand until Toni hit a pretty sweet dropkick, only for Hayter to respond with a boot that sent her outside. They worked through a commercial break where Hayter was in control. Toni rallied and they started throwing physical strikes, keeping up the intensity. Toni’s tornado DDT off the apron was cool though it’s weird to see a move like that twice in one show. Speaking of the apron, Hayter nailed a slam of sorts onto it and then a superplex that she tried to roll into another suplex only to have it countered into a small package. Storm rolled through a backslide and used the snap Storm Zero to advance after 8:32. Quality stuff here and I’ve always loved when Toni hits the piledriver like that. [***]


· Ruby Soho vs. Riho in the Owen Hart Tournament

· Jade Cargill and the Baddies will speak

· Scorpio Sky defends the TNT Title against Frankie Kazarian (this got a hype video and a Kazarian promo where he was interrupted by the most unlikable wrestler around, Sammy Guevara)

· Death Triangle vs. The Butcher, The Blade, and Marq Quen

· Shawn Spears vs. Bear Boulder


· Hangman Page vs. CM Punk for the World Title

· Thunder Rosa vs. Serena Deeb for the Women’s Title

· Tony Nese and Mark Sterling vs. HOOKHAUSEN on the Buy-In!


· Chris Jericho and William Regal will have a face-to-face confrontation

· Kyle O’Reilly vs. Rey Fénix in the Owen Hart Tournament

· Britt Baker vs. the Joker in the Owen Hart Tournament

· Samoa Joe vs. the Joker in the Owen Hart Tournament

· Hangman Page vs. Konosuke Takeshita

· Wardlow takes 10 lashes

· Adam Cole vs. Darby/Jeff winner in the Owen Hart Tournament

Owen Hart Foundation Men’s Tournament Quarterfinals: Darby Allin (60-20-1) vs. Jeff Hardy (6-0)

This is a dream match for some as Darby Allin kind of feels like the next coming of Jeff Hardy. He’s a risk-taker, an outcast, and he doesn’t need to be a able to cut a good promo to have a strong connection with the fans. It took maybe two minutes before weapons were brought into play as they were going hard with the stipulation. While it doesn’t fit the tournament, it’s likely the way to go with Jeff who isn’t going to deliver any classics now without that kind of stip. They used stairs and chairs like they were forearms and kicks. A ladder was brought in and after a break, Darby did one of the most ridiculous and dangerous spots I’ve ever seen as he did a senton off a ladder in the ring onto Jeff and a pile of open chairs on the floor. It was terrifying. Jeff then missed a huge Swanton and ate the steps because these guys apparently just want to hurt each other. Darby got two on a Coffin Drop but then Jeff rolled him over with a crucifix to steal this in 10:17. That was absolutely nuts though it felt like a collection of spots rather than a match. [***]

The outcome was a bit surprising but I’m suspecting Jeff gets screwed by the Bucks so we can get Hardy/Bucks at the PPV in a match I don’t want to see at all. Their ROH stuff never really clicked with me anyway.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Honestly, that’s just about what I want from a weekly wrestling show. There was nothing bad on the card with everything cracking at least ***, variety in the match types, and several angles that were well done and set things up for the PPV. Plus, HOOKHAUSEN!

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AEW Dynamite, Kevin Pantoja