AEW Dynamite Preview for March 23, 2022
Last week in San Antonio, the AEW faithful got to witness a long-awaited turning point for All Elite Wrestling: the dethroning of Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D and the ascension of Thunder Rosa as Women's World Champion. Inside the confines of a Steel Cage, the two warriors fought their hearts and souls out, using all sorts of plunder to try and defeat the other, but it would be “La Mera Mera” who survived to tell the tale.
On top of that landmark title change, MJF screwed Wardlow out of the TNT Title in retaliation for The WarDog's actions at Revolution 2022, The Hardys won their first televised tag team match since 2019, and Keith Lee united with Swerve Strickland against common foes. Plus Darby Allin beat The Butcher by Count Out only for it to lead to a huge match this Wednesday night, The House of Black dominated, and Kris Statlander lent a hand to Red Velvet against Leyla Hirsch.
This week on Dynamite, the action comes to the HEB Center in Cedar Park, TX with a line-up that is already loaded! An 8-Man Tornado Tag involving The Hardys, Darby Allin, Sting, The Butcher and Blade, and Private Party is on tap, and The Jericho Appreciation Socity will be in action against the number one ranked Dark Order team, and we will hear from Maxwell Jacob Friedman!
AEW returns to Cedar Park this Wednesday night LIVE on TBS at 8pm EST/7pm CST from the HEB Center, or at AEWPlus.com for the international audience! To get prepped for the fights, be sure to visit the official YouTube channel for the newest episodes of Dark: Elevation, AEW Dark, and Road To!
EIGHT MAN TORNADO TAG...
Darby Allin, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, and Sting
Private Party (Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen) and The Butcher & The Blade
There is little chance anyone would've called this group consisting of The Hardys, Darby Allin, and Sting standing together united against a common foe. It wasn't that long ago that Hardy was trying to recruit Darby Allin into the AHFO, and then assaulting him when that didn't pan out as “Big Money” had hoped. It wasn't so far away in memory that Matt Hardy fought Sting and Darby in a Tornado Match on pay-per-view, but the interesting thing about all these fights with the painted pair, is that they are likely what brought Matt back to place he is today.
It was after that Revolution 2022 fight, after seeing his repeated failures, that Hardy seemed to look inside and find a desire to be better. He expressed a desire to be better for his “kids” in Private Party, and for the rest of the AHFO, but it turned out the A in that acronym held more sway over the unit, and Matt Hardy was exiled from the very unit he brought together. Perhaps it is because he brought them together with money that there was nothing actually holding them together beyond said dollar, and when Andrade came along with a better offer, that is where they all went.
Shockingly Darby and Sting came to the aid of Matt, but even those numbers were too strong, that is until brother Jeff arrive to support his sibling in Matt's moment of dire need. As thrilling as it was to see Jeff arrive in AEW as this brother side, it was just as surprising that the support of Sting and Darby Allin continued on beyond that moment in Ft. Myers.
And the support was mutual; the Hardys had the back of Darby and Sting as well, and it all came to a head last week when Matt made the challenge for this bout going down on Dynamite on Wednesday night! Which quartet will come out of this chaos victorious, and who will fall in the craziness?
ARE YOU NOT (SPORTS) ENTERTAINED?
Jericho Appreciation Society (Chris Jericho & Daniel Garcia)
The Dark Order (Alex Reynolds & John Silver)
It was a moment that certainly surprised the fans, as well as Ortiz and Santana, the moment Chris Jericho elected to blow-up The Inner Circle and align himself with 2point0 and Daniel Garcia.
In the middle of the ring, surrounded by Jake Hager and his new cohorts, Jericho declared that he was not a pro wrestler, but rather a Sports Entertainer! Daniel Garcia followed suit as Jericho illuminated the fact he contributed to Red Death's recovery fund after a devastating car accident, and how the newly rechristened Matt Menard and Angelo Parker came under his wing. Jake Hager, the hand of the King as Jericho called him, then declared that this Jericho Appreciation Society was there to beat up pro wrestlers!
So now The J.A.S will have its first match to try and do just that this Wednesday night on Dynamite! And what better way to prove themselves then by taking on the number one ranked team in All Elite Wrestling, the red-hot Dark Order combination of Alex Reynolds and John Silver! The two men are 5-1 on the year, went undefeated in 2021, and have won 16 of their last 17 tag team matches dating back to November 24, 2020. They are two months removed from challenging Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus for the World Tag Team Titles, and would love nothing more than to get another shot at the champs. In order to keep that hope, this Dark Order unit needs this win as badly as the #SportsEntertainers need it to establish themselves as the new dominant force replacing The Inner Circle.
Will Garcia and Jericho prove as cohesive a unit as Le Champion's previous group was up until recent weeks? Or will Alex and John keep their names in the championship picture by knocking off AEW's newest supergroup?
MJF HAS SOMETHING TO SAY...
Retaliation was inevitable; it was just a matter of when Maxwell Jacob Friedman decided to come at Wardlow after “Mr. Mayhem” chose not to assist him in the Dog Collar Match at Revolution 2022. It was a long time coming, Max had more than earned this “betrayal” from Wardlow after two-plus years of taking everything Max dished out. Whether it was having to deal with MJF's problems for him, taking repeated bullets for his benefactor, or dealing with ever-mounting levels of disrespect, Wardlow handled countless metaphorical slaps across the face in standing by MJF's side and collecting a paycheck.
It was only when those slaps across the face changed from metaphorical to a physical one that Wardlow reached his limit of tolerance. Those moments in Orlando when Wardlow couldn't locate the Dynamite Diamond Ring to help Max, and then subsequently found it just a few moments later, it caused a visceral reaction from the fans as they finally got what they'd been waiting for all these months. Wardlow finally gave Max what he deserved, so just as “War Dog” was so close to getting what he had earned in that TNT Title match, MJF reemerged to give his former lackey a receipt.
This Wednesday night, the world will be lucky enough to hear what MJF has on his mind about this entire situation with Wardlow, and if history shows us anything, it will be Max taking absolutely zero responsibility for any of what has transpired...
Adam Cole vs. Jay Lethal
Just as Adam Cole and Adam Page have their history, so too do Jay Lethal and Cole, one dating back to their first singles bout in December 2011. That night it was Cole trying to earn a shot at Jay Lethal's ROH TV Title in what the company dubbed a “Proving Ground” match, but the erstwhile challenger came up just short. It may have been their first meeting, but it was far from their last. Five one-on-one matches all told, three won by Adam, two by Lethal, and two ROH World Title matches that Adam won were part of that mix.
In fact, during a tournament to fill the vacant championship, Cole beat Lethal en route to winning his first ROH World Title in 2013, and would be the man to end Lethal's first-ever World Title reign almost three years to the day of that tournament bout. It has been since November 2016 that Lethal and Cole danced head-to-head, and February 2017 marked their last ever fight inside the squared circle. Interestingly enough, giving the crazy math that can be pro wrestling, it was a tag team bout pitting Lethal and Bobby Fish against Cole and Hangman Page.
Fast forward to 2022 and the landscape of pro wrestling is vastly different; the careers of Lethal and Cole have both seen tremendous highs, they have each won multiple championships, and each found their way to the locker rooms of All Elite Wrestling in 2021. One thing neither has yet found in AEW though is championship success: Cole was stifled by Adam Page just a few weeks ago in their World Title Match, and Lethal suffered the same fate when he challenged Sammy Guevara for the TNT Title in his very first match under the auspices of AEW.
Each man has also operated very differently during their time here, Cole has been loud and upfront, letting the entire world know his intentions as he racked up victory after victory, all the while surrounding himself with allies in The Young Bucks and reDRagon. Lethal, on the other hand, has quietly put together a solid 10-2 record coming into Wednesday night, with those losses coming in the aforementioned TNT Title bout and the other in a sublime FTW Title match with Ricky Starks.
Aside from some verbal confrontations with Team Taz, Lethal hasn't been out on front street yelling to the world about how good he is and bragging about his record. Instead Lethal has let the work speak for him, and thus has worked his way into the number three spot in the rankings, surpassing Cole at number 4, as a result. We all know Jay Lethal will return to his old stomping grounds on April 1st for Supercard of Honor 2022 (Buy Tickets) to take on Lee Moriarty, but before he gets there, Lethal will dance with Cole one more time, the first in All Elite Wrestling, this Wednesday night on Dynamite!
With Cole hot for a rematch with AEW World Champion Adam Page, this bout is crucial for Adam to achieve his ends, but so too is it an must-win situation for Lethal to maintain his ranking, and prove his name belongs in the title discussions along with the rest of the top five! It's going to be a red-hot collision in the HEB Center when Lethal and Cole go head-to-head!
Leyla Hirsch vs. Red Velvet
**Kris Statlander banned from ringside**
Last week on Rampage, Red Velvet went head-to-head with Leyla Hirsch in a very heated explosion of their friendship. Coming off a victory over Kris Statlander at Revolution 2022: Buy-In, Hirsch was then frustrated by Thunder Rosa in their Women's World Title Eliminator Match that determined just who got the next shot at Dr. Britt Baker's championship.
Red Velvet would be the next one to step into the ring with Leyla, someone for “Legit” to take her frustrations out on, or at least that's what she likely thought. Instead Velvet gave Leyla such a fight that she attempted to use a turnbuckle hook, just as she did with Statlander, to change the course of the match. Unlike in Orlando though, there was someone there to stop Hirsch from cheating to win, and that someone was a decidedly different-looking Kris Statlander. With the playing field leveled, Red Velvet won, much to the chagrin of “Legit”, but this Wednesday night the two former allies will dance once more, only this time Statlander has been banned from the ringside area.
Without Stat there to watch Red's back, will Hirsch try to sneak a win like she attempted on Rampage? Or will Red repeat her success from Friday night and score another legit victory?
It's been a little over two weeks since we've seen CM Punk on the All Elite Wrestling stage. Since he vanquished MJF at Revolution 2022 in their brutal Dog Collar Match, Punk has been radio silent as far as AEW is concerned, and only engaged on his social media a couple times since March 6th. The most notable one was “The Best In The World” announcing that he'd be coming to Austin in his own unique fashion:
What will Punk have to say following that landmark fight in Orlando? After the fight, he did make that all-too familiar gesture implying he had eyes on a championship prize. Is that the next step for CM Punk in All Elite Wrestling? Tune in Wednesday night to see what the trail “The Best In The World” blazes next!
TAG TEAM VIOLENCE CONTINUES...
Bryan Danielson & Jon Moxley (w/ William Regal) vs.
Varsity Blonds (Brian Pillman Jr & Griff Garrison w/ Julia Hart)
Last week, while it was both Wheeler Yuta and Chuck Taylor who got to feel the violence party courtesy of Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson, it was only Yuta who got slapped squarely across the face by William Regal when he tried to shake the man's hand. Contrary to how many may respond to the moment, Yuta came right back in Regal's face, which elicited a wry grin from the elder statesmen of violence, and prompted both Mox and Danielson to step up with bemused smiles of their own.
This week on Dynamite, two more young wrestlers will get a chance to show what they're capable of when put to the test by Danielson and Mox. The Varsity Blonds have won 12 of their last 14 tag team matches, and in those two losses, they were put to the test by The Young Bucks and The House Of Black. The HoB fight really needed Brian and Griff to tap into a violent side if they wanted to survive, but instead it showed how much Malakai Black had gotten into the head of Pillman Jr. as he hesitated to attempt moves he had done without thought just weeks prior. That night The Varsity Blonds were found wanting, but they have started to rebound with two victories since that loss.
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately depending on perspective, Brian and Griff are now tasked with facing two of AEW's greatest wrestlers in Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley. Can the Blonds rise to the occasion, score the biggest victory, and earn some redemption for what happened with The House? Or will they be decimated by the kings of violence and left picking up the pieces like they did just a few weeks ago? And if Garrison and Pillman Jr. do fall in defeat,will either of them have the gumption of Wheeler Yuta after the fact?
AEW Dynamite kicks off Monday night live at 8pm EST/7pm CST on TBS, as well as at AEWPlus.com for the international audience, and fans can get ready for the action at the official AEW YouTube channel with the latest AEW Dark: Elevation, AEW Dark, and Road To episodes, as well as the Control Center with Tony Schiavone!