AEW Dynamite: Wild Card Wednesday Preview for May 18, 2022
AEW is back in Texas this Wednesday night with an all-new Dynamite (Buy Tickets) hailing from the Fertitta Center in Houston! Last week's events kicked off the Owen Hart Tournament with Adam Cole, Jeff Hardy, Toni Storm, and Ruby Soho all advancing to the Semi-Final round, it saw both Scorpio Sky and Ricky Starks retain their respective titles, and MJF lay down the stipulations for Wardlow to get his Double or Nothing 2022 (Event Info) match.
Dynamite is coming to you LIVE from Houston, TX starting at 8pm EDT/7pm CDT on TBS, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international audience. With the Owen Hart Tournament continuing, the AEW World Champion in action, Chris Jericho and William Regal going face-to-face, and plenty more on tap, be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube page to get caught up on Dynamite and Rampage highlights, the latest editions of Dark: Elevation and Dark, as well as the new editions of Road To and The Control Center with Tony Schiavone!
AEW World Champion Hangman Page vs Konosuke Takeshita
***CM PUNK ON COMMENTARY***
The time is nearing for Adam Page to defend his AEW World Championship against CM Punk in the main event of Double or Nothing 2022 (Order Now). In one week's time, the eyes of the wrestling world will be fixed on Las Vegas where AEW will present both Dynamite and Rampage prior to that pay-per-view extravaganza featuring Page's seventh World Title defense. Before AEW gets to that destination though, Hangman has a date with one of DDT Pro Wrestling's most amazing athletes!
Since his debut in AEW, Konosuke Takeshita has impressed against each of his foes. Be it in victory over Rhett Titus or Brandon Cutler, or in shady defeat to Jay Lethal, this founder of The 37Kamiina unit has shown fans just why he is among the best in Japan. Referred to as “The Future of DDT” when he first debuted in 2012, Takeshita was awarded the 2013 Rookie of the Year award by Tokyo Sports, became the youngest KO-D Openweight Champion in DDT history at the age of 21, and has since gone on to capture the title on five occasions. So when Takeshita announced at the end of March that he would be heading to the United States come April, it was met with great excitement, speculation as to who he may wrestle, and even saw Dax Harwood offer himself up for a fight “if your dad Kenny Omega will let you”.
While that is definitely a match fans would be interested in seeing, this Wednesday night Takeshita gets the biggest non-title opportunity he could possibly ask for in All Elite Wrestling: a fight with the AEW World Champion “Hangman” Adam Page.
Last week Page joined the commentary team while CM Punk faced The Dark Order member, and Hangman friend, John Silver in a singles match and watched as Punk made the very deliberate choice of finishing off “The Meat Mean” with his own take on a Buckshot Lariat. It was a clear jab at the World Champ sitting just yards away, a personal shot contrary to Punk's statement when confronted by Hangman moments later that it was “just business”.
Nothing about the World Title is “just business”, not for Page at least, getting to the championship was an extremely personal situation for him, and as such, any one coming after the title is going to be treated with a personal touch. Be it Archer, Cole, Danielson, or now Punk, it is a very personal thing to try and take away Adam Page's success, and there's a good chance Takeshita will be used as an example for Punk as Double or Nothing 2022 draws closer.
Just like John Silver last week, Konosuke isn't going to just lay down for his foe, so Hangman absolutely has a fight awaiting him in Houston, but the fire is burning strong within Adam Page and he is not going to let anyone slow him down.
OWEN HART FOUNDATION MEN'S TOURNAMENT QUARTER-FINAL...
ROH World TV Champion Samoa Joe vs. The Joker Card
***WINNER FACES O'REILLY/FENIX***
The Joker has proven a rather unpredictable aspect of All Elite Wrestling over the last several years. Since Hangman Page emerged at Double or Nothing 2019 as the Joker for the very first Casino Battle Royale, it has been a spot full of intrigue that generates mass speculation from the AEW faithful.
That has been the case already for this situation, plenty of names both within AEW and from the outside wrestling world have been thrown into a hat by the fans, now all that remains is to see just who pulls the Joker card for the Men's Owen Hart Foundation Tournament.
Whoever it may be, in Samoa Joe they've got a massive test in front of them if they hope to make it to the Semi-Final round of competition. Since his arrival at ROH's Supercard of Honor 2022 event, the ROH World TV Champion smashed Max Caster to qualify for The Owen, he's been haunted by the Lethal/Singh/Dutt trio for the last six weeks, and he went to war with Minoru Suzuki to claim said championship. Joe has been in fine fighting form, ready to unleash his own personal form of violence on any foe, and mystery man or not, the person who enters the ring on Wednesday night had better be ready for war.
OWEN HART FOUNDATION MEN'S TOURNAMENT QUARTER-FINAL...
Rey Fenix vs. Kyle O'Reilly
***WINNER FACES SAMOA JOE/JOKER***
Both Kyle O'Reilly and Rey Fenix had tremendous fights to qualify for this prestigious tournament; the former had to fend off Jungle Boy while the latter had a high-flying battle with Dante Martin to make it to this point. Each demonstrated why they are top shelf athletes on their own despite their general competition as tag team wrestlers, and that will certainly continue this week on Dynamite.
It's going to be an interesting clash of styles; one of the most innovative high-flyers in modern pro wrestling versus a violent artist known for vicious strikes and deadly submissions. Which style will win out? Will the numbers of The Undisputed Elite play a part in the fight? Will The House of Black have their eyes on Rey Fenix given their heated issue? There's a lot more at play here than just the tournament, but that tournament semi-final is the most important piece of the game.
OWEN HART FOUNDATION MEN'S TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINAL...
Adam Cole vs. Jeff Hardy
Adam Cole had a vision heading into this tournament of three Undisputed Elite members qualifying for the field, and running the table down to the finals. Clearly, if that had been the case, they would have had to fight one another once en route to the finals, and then once more to determine the first ever winner of The Owen. Once Cole beat Tomohiro Ishii in their qualifier, and O'Reilly topped Jungle Boy, it became a very real possibility that UE members could fight. Bobby Fish's loss to Jeff Hardy put a damper on Cole's grand design but as the song goes, two out of three ain't bad, and with Cole being the first to advance to the semi-final round, there was still skin in the game.
It remains to be seen if Kyle O'Reilly's tournament journey will continue beyond the quarter-finals, but considering Adam Cole has to face down the legendary Jeff Hardy in this first semi-final bout, the UE better pray Kyle advances. Jeff Hardy is coming into this tourney looking to pay tribute to a man he knew, he respected, a friend and inspiration, while Cole just wants to be the first. It means nothing deeper to him than the victory and its bragging rights, he fights only for himself and (seemingly) the Undisputed Elite.
In the span of two hours on Wednesday night, the Undisputed Elite could see their hopes dashed with both Kyle and Adam competing in Houston. Will Hardy be the one to knock Cole out of contention, or will fans get one step closer to an all-UE final at DoN 2022? However it goes, when this match ends, we will all know one-half of The Men's Owen finals...
OWEN HART FOUNDATION WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT QUARTER-FINAL...
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D vs. The Joker Card
***WINNER FACES TONI STORM***
As with Samoa Joe, Dr. Britt Baker is faced with her own unknown commodity this Wednesday night on Dynamite. The mystery of the Joker, the inability to game plan for a specific foe, it furious speculation of the AEW fanbase, it can add up to one overwhelming experience capable of throwing even the most zen of competitors off their game.
But if the Good Doctor's 290 day Women's World Title reign demonstrated anything, it's that she excels at a game plan, and more often than not, those plans pay off. It doesn't hurt that she's got Jamie Hayter and Rebel in her corner to lend a hand...crutch...whatever, whenever Baker needs the assist, but her own in-ring skills have also demonstrated Britt's ability to roll with the punches. She may claim conspiracy, having to face an unknown entity in this quarter-final round, but Baker knows what she's doing in setting up her own out should she lose. The former champ will enter this fight with a plan, even if it's not specific to a opponent, and she will use whatever pawns necessary to insure she sees the semi-finals...
FAMILIARITY AND CONTEMPT...
It's an ancient adage, a form of it dating back to Aesop's Fables, but it can be quite true that familiarity breeds contempt. In the case of many of the men involved in the situation that unfolded in the video above, there is a great deal of familiarity. Jon Moxley ended the AEW World Title reign of Chris Jericho at Revolution 2020 and he had himself a battle with Jake Hager over said championship as well. Mox and Eddie Kingston have been friends for quite some time, they've been enemies as well when that World Title was in the picture, but since Revolution 2021 they have been back on the same wavelength, even challenging The Young Bucks for the World Tag Titles last year at Double or Nothing 2021.
Kingston and Jericho's issues over the last several months resulted in a tremendous fight at Revolution 2022, but also led to the dissolution of The Inner Circle and the formation of The Jericho Appreciation Society. Then there is the matter of Santana and Ortiz, and their relationship to Jericho via The Inner Circle, and the betrayal their former ally heaped upon their heads. Oh yes, then there is the issue of Menard, Parker, and Garcia, and the fact they have been targeting Moxley and Kingston in one fashion or another every since they set foot in All Elite Wrestling.
Then there is the wildly disparate history that has brought together William Regal, Bryan Danielson, and Jon Moxley under the banner of The Blackpool Combat Club, the crucial position Chris Jericho holds in Danielson's wrestling past, the 2021 Danielson/Kingston battle during the World Title Eliminator Tournament; there is a lot to unpack with this collection of athletes, lots of ties that bind, lots of familiarity that has turned to contempt, but none of the history between this group runs as far back as that of Chris Jericho and William Regal.
Dating back some twenty-five years, Jericho and Regal have been foe and friend, they danced in tags, singles, and multi-mans, and with championships at stake, but it has been a long time since they've fought inside the squared circle. And yet that history did not stop Regal from laying out Jericho last Wednesday night when The JAS' self-congratulatory ceremony degenerated into absolute chaos, perhaps that history just further fueled the Rogue's desire to knock Chris on his keister.
So it will be that this week on Dynamite the two men will have a face-to-face confrontation. There is no question Regal would willingly go this alone, stare down Jericho without support at his back, but can “Le Champion” say the same? Will he be willing to step eye-to-eye with William Regal without his JAS lackies supporting him? Even with Wheeler Yuta off in New Japan competing in the Best of the Super Juniors 29 tournament (he is 0-1 thus far with a 5/19 bout against DOUKI up next), the numbers advantage that Jericho and his lot thought they had has vanished, so it may be in their best interest to let Regal and Jericho have it out devoid of outside influence...
MJF takes pleasure in putting people through the ringer if he has something they want, especially when that something is a match with the 3-Time Dynamite Diamond Ring winner. He did it to Cody Rhodes, he did it to Chris Jericho, and now he's doing it to Wardlow, but not only is he doing it to Wardlow, he's putting his former bodyguard into the same situations Wardlow once helped Max dole out to Cody.
Ten lashes, a Steel Cage, it rings familiar, but this time, instead of being the man holding the belt, Wardlow will be on the receiving end of the leather sting. Unlike the previous instance when Wardlow was the willing participant, there are no friends and family to rally him through the pain, to encourage him to get back to his feet if it becomes to much to bear. There are however a legion of fans who have watched Wardlow transform over the last two years since he was the one standing at MJF's side, who have seen the true soul of the man come through, and have come to vociferously support him since he finally turned away from MJF at Revolution 2022.
That is who “The WarDog” will have to boost him to his feet when that ninth lash makes him question if he can hold out through just one more. It is the fans who will chant Wardlow's name to let him know they are in his corner, providing that added fuel, letting him know that it is all worth it to get Maxwell Jacob Friedman in the ring at Double or Nothing 2022. He's already taken the first few steps, withholding the ring and signing the contract, now he just has to take the last few to get to the jackpot in Las Vegas: survive the straps and survive the Steel Cage.
AEW returns to the Fertitta Center in Houston, TX this Wednesday night LIVE on TBS for another loaded edition of Dynamite! All the action kicks off at 8pm EDT/7pm CDT, and at AEWPlus.com for the international audience, with doors opening up at 5pm CDT for fans in the Houston. Plus there will be a limited Meet & Greet at 4:30pm for those who purchase tickets (Purchase Here) in advance, just note you must have an event ticket to participate, no personal items are allowed, and you must be there by 5pm.
Prior to bell time on Wednesday, be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel for the latest editions of AEW Dark: Elevation, AEW Dark, and Road To episodes, as well as the Control Center with Tony Schiavone, to get ready for Dynamite!