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Pantoja’s AEW Dynamite: Road Rager 2022 Review

June 16, 2022 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
AEW Dynamite Road Rager Young Bucks Image Credit: AEW
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Pantoja’s AEW Dynamite: Road Rager 2022 Review  

AEW Road Rager

June 15th, 2022 | Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Missouri

Even if the show itself isn’t good, I love special episodes of Dynamite and NXT. They just feel like the kind of episode you have to see and I appreciate that.

Hair vs. Hair Match: Chris Jericho (42-16-1) vs. Ortiz (44-25)

I mean, if anyone needs to go bald, it’s Jericho. His hair looked ROUGH at Double or Nothing/weekly. Shoutout to Excalibur for saying Jericho is 2-0 in Hair vs. Hair matches. As one would expect given the feud, Ortiz came out hot and was aggressive throughout. They kept up a wild pace heading into commercial break, which is when Jericho took over. Returning, Ortiz got going and hit a DDT for two. His paint was basically totally gone by this point. I was a bit surprised to see Ortiz kick out of the Codebreaker. Of course, you knew this wasn’t going to end without shenanigans as the JAS and Eddie Kingston were at ringside. When Ortiz made the ropes on the Walls, it sparked a brawl outside. Eddie went at it on his own until Santana and Wheeler Yuta ran out. Why wasn’t Santana out there from the start? Kingston knocked out Jericho with the backfist for a fantastic near fall. The finish came when “Fuego Del Sol” knocked Ortiz out with a baseball bat and Jericho won in 11:48. A quality match that had the intensity it needed and had some good late drama. [***¼]

Post-match, Fuego removed his mask and it’s Sammy Guevara. I get it. He’s extremely unlikable and putting him back with Jericho makes sense. Ortiz shaved his head like a man but shouted BLOOD AND GUTS into the microphone as he did it because this is far from over.

Elimination Match: The Plantiffs vs. Wardlow (52-8)

The hype for this set to The People’s Courttheme was fun. Obviously, this match is dumb because it makes more sense to sue Wardlow than to fight him. Wardlow ran over everyone, delivering powerbombs all over the place and pinning guys in ways that made no sense. It was fun though and it lasted 4:08. [NR]

After the bell, Dan Lambert cut a promo from the rafters with Scorpio Sky. He revealed Matt Hughes and Tyrone Woodley in the crowd and they hit the ring to go after Wardlow. However, Wardlow appealed to them as hard working guys who shouldn’t take shit from rich assholes, leading to them siding with Wardlow and Menacing Mike Sterling eating a powerbomb.

Dax Harwood (44-15-1) vs. Will Ospreay (0-1)

One of the best wrestlers in the world right now against the IWGP US Champion. Well, I wouldn’t know he was champ if I didn’t watch NJPW since he doesn’t have the physical title. Also, I want people to know that it’s not just Willy. There are several guys with similar issues as Will outside of the ring who I tend to avoid unless I’m covering a show for a review. It’s not just an anti-Will thing, even though he is my least favorite wrestler in the world. Anyway, I loved how hard hitting this was at the start. Will bulking up has improved his striking but Dax was LAYING into him at points. The Shotgun Dropkick into the steps before the break looked fantastic as well. Will held serve through the break but upon returning, Dax reeled off FIVE German suplexes. HE IS SO GODDAMN GOOD. THE RELEASE GERMAN AFTER WAS EVEN BETTER. They continued at a wild pace with close calls and they made me believe Dax would win even though we all knew he wouldn’t. Dax survived everything Will threw at him, including the Oscutter. Alas, he couldn’t get up from the Hidden Blade, ending this in 13:46. Goodness, how right am I about Will Ospreay? Once again, he has a fantastic match because he stayed in that 12-18 minute range. When he goes balls to the wall, it works in a way that having 20+ minute matches rarely does. Dax has had one of the best years of anyone so far and Will joins the ****+ club of 2022. [****¼]

The United Empire hit the ring for an attack but out came Cash Wheeler and Roppongi Vice. Eventually, Orange Cassidy made his big return and had a staredown with Will Ospreay. I saw some people on Twitter are FUMING that Will is “being wasted” on OC. Honestly, it’s the other way around for me. I wish OC had a more interesting match for Forbidden Door.

Time for the face to face between Jon Moxley and Hiroshi Tanahashi. Moxley spoke about how he’s been chasing Tanahashi since this entire thing started. He repeated himself a bit but basically said everything he has fought for is on the line at the PPV and when it’s over, Tanahashi will call him “Ace.” Before Tanahashi could speak, Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, and Tay Conti interrupted. Why does AEW have this thing where they have a great show and then are like HERE’S A SECOND SAMMY GUEVARA SEGMENT? It’s maddening. Jericho complained that he should be in the match at the PPV for some reason and Tanahashi told him to shut up. JAS hit the ring but so did Lance Archer and EL DESPERADO. More Despy baby! Anyway, Jericho said that at the PPV, it’ll be him, Sammy, and MY-NORU Suzuki against Wheeler Yuta, Shota Umino (SHOOTER), and Eddie Kingston. Random but whatever. Jericho rambled a lot here and lost the point a bit. The faces cleared the ring and then Tanahashi had a faceoff with Moxley.

We got a hype video for Bobby Fish vs. Darby Allin on Rampage.

Toni Storm was interviewed and said she’s not impressed with Britt Baker and the games she plays.

AEW All Atlantic Title Tournament First Round: Ethan Page (27-8) vs. Miro (22-3)

I 100% feel that Miro should win this match but AEW has really dropped the ball with Ethan Page. He needs to be a bigger star than he is. He should be in the spot that a guy like Sammy Guevara is. Page came in with a plan to go after Miro’s arm, looking to cut off his power and the Game Over finisher. After a break, Miro was in control hitting Sheamus’s Beats of the Bodhran. Page managed to send Miro into the steps and he hit a sweet shoulder block but he made the mistake of telling Miro to pray to him. That fired up Miro who beat him with Game Over in 9:31. It was fine but nothing more. [**½]

We heard from Dante Martin as he said he’s sick of being labeled as only “potential” and is out to beat Moxley on Friday.

Britt Baker (46-23) vs. Toni Storm (7-1)

A rematch from the Owen Hart Tournament (**¾). Britt is one of only two women who TK seems to care about. They had another pretty middling match that continued a trend we’ve seen with Britt for a while. Her run to the title was top-notch but outside of the Statlander and Thunder Rosa matches, she has had a slew of mediocre matches. Her cronies tried to get involved until Rosa ran down and chased Jamie Hayter away. After a break, Toni fired up with a tornado DDT off the apron. Toni added the Umaga ass attack and Britt seemed out of it. However, she was playing possum as she rolled up Toni for two. Toni kicked out of the neckbreaker and escaped Lockjaw before winning with a sweet looking Storm Zero in 7:31. That was okay. I wouldn’t even count it as a big win for Toni since she lost when it really mattered. [**½]

Thunder Rosa came to the stage to point at Toni like she’s the WrestleMania sign.

Stokely Hathaway was interviewed and said Jade Cargill has an open challenge for Friday. He’ll be on commentary. Willow Nightingale showed up and basically accepted the challenge.

Hangman Page came out for some talky time. He wants the match with Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Title but of course, Jay White dethroned Okada at Dominion. Adam Cole interrupted to say that he should get the shot. I still don’t get his argument. I know you won the Owen Hart Tournament but he’s 0-2 against Hangman. Maybe he should beat Hangman first. Cole brought out his Bullet Club buddy Jay White, who showed up from behind and planted Page with the Blade Runner. He then cut a promo saying that he’s 2-0 against Page and isn’t giving him the shot. Cole celebrated until Jay said he’s also not getting the shot. Do a big tag or something. I don’t want Cole/Jay and Hangman doesn’t need to lose a second straight big match.

AEW World Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: Jurassic Express [c] (38-9) vs. The Young Bucks (33-12)

As usual, I’m not going to recap the moves here. It’s a Young Bucks ladder match so you know it’s filled with big spots. It’s a formula that works as people eat up these kind of spotfests with tons of flips, dives, and weapons. However, I’ve seen it done to death at this point and it’s really hard to make a ladder match stand out these days. The team spots didn’t do much for me though I did appreciate some of the Luchasaurus spots we got to see. I love when a big guy gets to kick ass in a match like this. They kind of overdid some of the late close calls like in the TNT ladder match a few weeks back before the Bucks pulled down the titles at the 14:35 mark. I didn’t love this though if you’re a huge fan of these kinds of matches and you loved it, more power to you. Also, nothing about the Bucks as champions sounds interesting right now. [***]

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Obviously, this was a great show. With a better main event, this would’ve been one of the best episodes ever. The first hour is pretty spectacular, especially that Dax/Will match. The second half struggled some and held it back but this was a lot of fun as a whole.