clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Mar. 9, 2022): Firings & new beginnings

AEW Dynamite (Mar. 9, 2022) emanated from Hertz Arena in Fort Myers, FL. The show packed a punch with newsworthy moments. Jeff Hardy debuted, Matt Hardy and Tully Blanchard were fired, Chris Jericho started a new stable, and Scorpio Sky won the TNT Championship in the fallout from Revolution.

Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.

Hardy Boyz together again

Jeff Hardy is All Elite. Brother Nero made a surprise debut to save his brother. This happened after Matt Hardy was fired from the AHFO.

Andrade called an emergency meeting in the ring. Hardy sensed an urge for his dismissal, but he was confident that he would have the votes on his side from the AHFO board members. Andrade voted to fire. Hardy voted for himself to remain. Jose voted to fire. Private Party voted in Hardy’s favor at first. As Andrade kept speaking, they voted thumbs down. The AHFO beat Hardy out of the group.

Fans chanted for Jeff to make the save. Darby Allin and Sting ran out instead. The numbers games got them, and then the big reveal of Jeff arrived.

Nero’s music hit, and he cleaned house on AHFO. The Hardys shared glances with Allin and Sting. It was unclear if a future match is in the works between those pairs.

The big news of the evening was Jeff Hardy in AEW. The moment alone was a cool surprise. The story execution wasn’t so hot though. AEW didn’t do a good enough job of building sympathy for Matt. He’s been a total jerk for so long that I didn’t feel bad to see him get beat up. Apparently, Jeff didn’t care that much either, because he was busy dancing on stage to pop the crowd while Matt was being pummeled. There was also no obvious reason for Allin and Sting to help Matt either.

Tully Blanchard fired

On the topic of firings, FTR dumped Tully Blanchard. I’m not even sure what happened. It was all so quick. One minute Dax Wheeler was talking about family, the next minute Tully Blanchard was talking about winning championships, then Cash Wheeler fired their manager.

That came out of left field. Blanchard had a point. He was brought in to chase gold, not dillydally with personal feuds. FTR has lost focus by choosing to go after the Young Bucks and reDRagon instead of climbing the ladder back to the top. AEW tends to do things for a reason, so I’m very intrigued about Blanchard’s future. I’m drawing a blank on who he could manage next.

Jericho Appreciation Society

Dynamite also held several directions for new beginnings. The most shocking one involved Chris Jericho.

Jericho opened the show to address walking away from shaking Eddie Kingston’s hand. Kingston won the match at Revolution. Instead of fulfilling his word for a respectful handshake, Jericho bounced out leaving Kingston high and dry. Le Champion explained why during Dynamite.

Frustration and anger got the better of Jericho that night, and he feels guilt over the situation ever since. Jericho called out for Kingston, so he could apologize and live up to his word. Jericho was ready to pay his debt.

Kingston entered the ring. He talked about wanting to hide from the pressure, but fan support forced him to stay clean. Kingston didn’t want to let them down by not showing up. Kingston claimed that the win was satisfaction enough for him. He went for the handshake to help Jericho find what was missing in his soul. Jericho apologized and humbly offered his hand in peace. Kingston accepted, and good vibes radiated throughout the arena.

The handshake was a nice and tender moment. Both men bared their feelings in an emotional yet honorable way. I thought it was amusing for Jericho to milk the moment and force Kingston into a sports entertainment angle. Kingston flipped the tables by trying to help Jericho find the Lionheart within. It was a perfect promo segment.

Then, it suddenly became carny shit. 2point0 and Daniel Garcia arrived on the scene. I was thinking this will be a great way to tie a bow on the moment by having Jericho and Kingston team together for a future tag bout against those jabrones. That idea was quickly flushed down the toilet.

The bad guys smashed Jericho and Kingston. Santana and Ortiz ran out for the save. They held up Garcia for Jericho to strike with his bat. Swerve! No, I don’t mean Shane Strickland. More on him later. Jericho swerved to attack Santana instead. Jake Hager ran out confused at Jericho’s actions, but the big hoss sided with his pal to attack Ortiz. Jericho bashed Kingston in the face with his bat, and Hager powerbombed Kingston off the apron through a table.

Le Champion announced the formation of the Jericho Appreciation Society with himself, Hager, Garcia, and 2point0.

Well, I certainly did not see that coming. After such a strong promo, this swerve felt a little ham-fisted and not necessarily one I wanted to see. It made sense though once the name was revealed. Jericho Appreciation Society says it all. It is equal parts hilarious and obnoxious. Jericho is self-serving and egotistical. He’s fully embracing his inner self. I think this partnership could strongly benefit Garcia. He’ll get more experience in larger angles and hopefully be ready to break out by the end of the year.

Also shout out to Kingston for crushing down chants of, “What?” A few wisenheimers tried to be cheeky during his promo, but Kingston wasn’t having it.

Scorpio Sky wins TNT Championship

The TNT Championship has a new beginning by switching hands from Sammy Guevara to Scorpio Sky.

The main event went with an injury angle when Sammy crashed through a table on a 630 senton. Sky moved out of the way, so Sammy had no cushion on the fall. He clutched his ribs in pain for an injury timeout. Tay Conti ran to Sammy’s aid as a loving girlfriend.

Drama was teased of Sammy not being able to continue, but he toughed it out to return to the ring. The match resumed with Dan Lambert causing a referee distraction. Ethan Page was across the other side of the apron aiming to do harm, so Conti pulled him down. Paige VanZant leaped over the railing to smash Conti into the ring steps. Sammy noticed with concern. That’s when Sky punched for a fireman’s carry cutter to win.

During the celebration of a new champion, VanZant entered the ring to sign her AEW contract.

The action in this match was popping. The story telling was not. Sammy fooled me once with a convincing rib injury a few months ago. That was subtle and effective. This occasion was an obvious snow job. I can forgive it a bit, because it led to VanZant attacking Conti for story progression. Conti should be a good first opponent for VanZant.

There are two things I can’t forgive. First was the injury timeout. The referee declined to make a ten-count, so Sky did it for him. The time elapsed should have been a disqualification. AEW has a habit of doctor timeouts, and it always looks silly. Sammy did the damage to himself, so why should he be rewarded with recovery time? Second was Sammy being super charged despite the ribs. He was really close to beating Sky clean a few times. This did no favors to making Sky look like a worthy champion.

Elite soap opera

Just when Hangman Page thought he was out, the Elite soap opera pulled him back in.

Hangman wanted to be a fighting champion, so he was back in action for Dynamite after defeating Adam Cole at Revolution. #2-ranked Dante Martin was called in as the challenger. The two provided much excitement for a medium length contest. Hangman showed that there are levels to this game. Martin may be a young gun, but he was no match for the top gun. Hangman was often ready with a counter. He caught Martin in the air for a DVD, and he caught Martin in the air for a powerbomb. In the end, Hangman hit a furious buckshot lariat after a vigorous game of cat and mouse.

It was a spirited affair to show Hangman can hang with the speedy high-flying style. He showed flash of his own with a springboard lariat and a slingshot plancha. The finish was quick and cool. This turned out to be a nice reward for Martin’s efforts in the absence of his brother. With Top Flight back as a unit, Martin should be shifting over to the tag division.

In a post-match promo, Hangman pretty much said the same. He put over Martin as a star worthy of a rematch down the line in the future. Cole interrupted to claim Hangman scored a fluke victory over him at the PPV. To prove it was lucky, Cole challenged Hangman to a 6-man tag. Cole won’t stop coming for Hangman until he has the world title in his possession.

Raise your hand if you wanted more of the feud between Hangman and Cole. I certainly don’t. I haven’t seen anyone clamoring for it either, although, my sphere of interaction isn’t that large. The PPV finish was pretty conclusive. Hangman won fair and square. AEW failed to make Cole a believable threat before the PPV. With that loss, their work is ten times harder.

If the rematch with Cole doesn’t materialize, then this might end up being just a storytelling tool to drive Hangman closer to the Young Bucks. The way Cole spoke, it sounded like the Bucks would be a lock as his partners. That transitioned to Hangman increasingly taking his friendship with the Dark Order for granted. He apologized to Alex Reynolds for shoving him at the PPV. The Dark Order was cool with it, but Reynolds did not verbally respond. That’s one strike. The second strike was Hangman choosing Jurassic Express as his partners over the Dark Order.

For Cole, he spoke about partners who are his friends and also in the head of Hangman rent-free. Surely he means the Bucks, right? Apparently not. The Bucks wanted no part of the Hangman feud, so Cole shot back that he was selecting reDRagon anyway.

All this drama seems to be pushing Hangman and the Bucks back together. Soon enough they will be alone and find each other like ships passing in the dark.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Bryan Danielson & Jon Moxley defeated Anthony Henry & JD Drake. The enforcers of violence mauled the competition. The bout closed with Moxley eliminating Henry with a dive to the outside then a Paradigm Shift on the floor. Danielson took care of Drake with a running knee, kicked his head in, then the LeBell Lock.

The question was if Danielson and Moxley would be a cohesive unit. They were certainly on the same page without any tension. To drive that point home, Moxley gave an emphatic hand slap and first pound to Danielson in celebration.

William Regal speaks. Regal had been ringside for his rogues. He put over Danielson as the perfect wrestler and Moxley as the perfect sadistic fighter. Together, they make a perfect compliment. Regal left room open to expand the stable through recruitment. If someone is willing to work hard, he will make them a better professional wrestler.

Regal did well weaving together this new alliance. He also brought a little mistiness to the eyes during story time.

Danielson and Moxley are a true super team. It feels like a matter of counting down the time until AEW pulls the trigger on them as tag champs. When they do eventually break up, I wonder how close to the Mega Powers story they will veer. I’m envisioning Danielson with delusions of Moxley earning favor from Regal, then Danielson will accuse Mox of jealous eyes toward his mentor.

PAC defeated Wheeler Yuta. The Bastard finished with an avalanche brainbuster then the Brutalizer submission. The match had solid action for what it was. PAC won like he should have won.

A little touch I liked was how AEW announced this as a standby bout to make up for Hangman not needing a ton of time to beat Martin. It was a cool wrinkle in matchmaking that added realism. These things do happen in the legitimate fighting world. It is a much better explanation to look prepared as a proper company. In comparison, the long-used tactic of booking on the fly always makes shows look unprofessional. The boss had a whole week to put fights together and there is still no official card? That’s why I appreciate AEW. They generally announce the cards in advance and let anticipation simmer.

Wardlow under contract. Wardlow was interview by Tony Schiavone in the ring. Wardlow took employment from MJF in order to help his family. He grew up poor, and MJF’s money was a way to provide for his mother. There comes a time when you have to fulfill your own dreams. That time is now for Wardlow. Even though he is still under contract to MJF, he proposed a deal. In exchange for being free, Wardlow would not pursue violence upon MJF. Wardlow put AEW on notice. He plans to start world domination by winning the TNT Championship.

Wardlow did well with his first big solo promo. He provided relatable reasons for what he did in the past, so fans won’t keep a grudge against him. He also kept a badass edge not cowering to his current contractual situation. The idea of Wardlow winning the TNT title seems too good to be true. There is no way MJF will let Wardlow’s insubordination slide, especially since it cost the match against CM Punk. Intrigue is brewing for retaliation to happen soon.

AEW World Tag Team Championship: Jurassic Express retained against the Acclaimed. Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus used a springboard Doomsday Device for victory.

The result was never in doubt. The Acclaimed did their best trying to steal the win, but the dino powered duo were too slick.

#1 contender bout: Thunder Rosa defeated Leyla Hirsch. The bout began with mat work elevating to splashy moves, such a superplex. Hirsch tried to cheat with the turnbuckle steel again, but Red Velvet put a stop to that. Thunder ducked a running knee to counter for the Fire Thunder Driver to win.

This match didn’t click. The mat work didn’t have a sense of urgency, and I think that lost the crowd. It picked up the pace by the end for a satisfying finish.

Afterward, it was revealed that Thunder will get her title shot inside a steel cage. Dr. Britt Baker DMD was not pleased. She is afraid of what will happen to AEW if riffraff like Thunder Rosa becomes champion.

The stipulation should be the big payoff for Baker to get her ass kicked by Thunder. How can you not be excited by that prospect?

Notes: CM Punk needed to become a monster for the dog collar match against MJF. That Punk is now dead.

Swerve will be wrestling on Rampage. Tony Nese entered to challenge The Realest. Swerve accepted.

QT Marshall proposed a partnership with Keith Lee over common enemies in Team Taz. Lee declined. QT versus Lee was set for Rampage.

Jade Cargill issued an open challenge as she aims to put her record at 30-0.

Studs of the Show: Jurassic Express

Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus are hitting their stride as the top tag team in AEW.

Match of the Night: Hangman Page vs. Dante Martin

It is always a treat to see the best rise to their best. That’s what Hangman did. Dante played his part well by setting up the cowboy for cool spots.

Grade: B

Dynamite was in the A range for entertainment, but it dipped to the B range for storytelling. For as many awesome moments and newsworthy bits, there were a handful of weird executions.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats