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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Mar. 16, 2022): Thunder Rosa wins gold

AEW Dynamite (Mar. 16, 2022) emanated from Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, TX. The St. Patrick’s Day Slam special featured Thunder Rosa winning the women’s title from Dr. Britt Baker DMD inside a steel cage, the Hardys debuting in the tag team division, and Chris Jericho ushering in the era of sports entertainment.

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

Thunder Rosa wins gold

Thunder Rosa did it! She dethroned Dr. Britt Baker DMD to win the AEW Women’s World Championship.

The result seemed like a lock when AEW booked the match inside a steel cage to prevent interference. Add on top that Thunder was competing in her hometown of San Antonio, TX, and she received a hero’s welcome with live music for her entrance. Despite all the clues hinting at Thunder’s victory, it still felt like a special moment in the end.

Both women bled early. Baker was smashed into the cage fence, and Thunder was bashed into the ring post. Referee Paul Turner took a tumble when Baker accidentally superkicked him. Thunder pounced for a Fire Thunder Driver, but Turner was not conscious to make the count. Baker upped the ante by introducing a pile of chairs into the action. Baker went on the attack for a super Air Raid Crash onto the chairs. Referee Aubrey Edwards ran in as backup, but Thunder kicked out at 2.

Baker constructed a pyramid of chairs, and that backfired. As the ladies dueled on the top rope, Thunder thumped Baker’s head into the fence forcing her to fall down onto the pyramid. That wasn’t enough to keep Baker down.

Time for thumbtacks at the behest of Baker. A back body drop sent Thunder onto the tacks. Baker went for a roll-up. Thunder kicked out, so Baker transitioned to the Lockjaw. Thunder chomped down on Baker’s hand to prevent the submission. Thunder then slammed Baker’s hand onto the tacks. Thunder followed with a powerbomb onto the tacks.

Baker rolled out of the ring to attack with a chair. Back inside the ropes, Thunder kicked Baker in the gut in order to deliver a Fire Thunder Driver onto the tacks. 1, 2, 3. New champ.

Congratulations to Thunder Rosa for her triumph. She clawed her way to the top earning every bit of success along the way. This bout wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t supposed to be. Thunder and Baker went to war with the match revolving around big spots. Both were gutsy absorbing pain. The finish seemed rushed with time winding down on the broadcast. It lacked a setup leading into the Fire Thunder Driver. This battle fell short when compared to their epic Lights Out encounter, but that has become an unfair measuring stick. Thunder and Baker caught lightning in a bottle on that evening. If it was so easy to duplicate, then everything would be five stars all the time. All in all, the cage match was a satisfying conclusion to this feud for now.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Adam Cole & reDRagon defeated Hangman Page & Jurassic Express. The bout contained energetic action throughout. High points include Hangman running wild on a hot tag and a triple moonsault from the good guys.

The heroes also connected on a cool double Doomsday Device.

Down the stretch, Cole and Hangman went face-to-face with fiery fisticuffs. Hangman flattened Cole with a Deadeye piledriver. The match broke down into chaos with Cole having the last laugh on this evening by lowering the boom to pin Jungle Boy for victory.

As far as the feud between Cole and Hangman, this bout did little to sell me on a title rematch. Cole was pummeled in the one-on-one exchanges. The winning pinfall didn’t mean much. I could see if Cole somehow pinned Hangman or if reDRagon pinned the tag champs leading to a title bout, but Cole on Jungle Boy does nothing to advance the feud.

Bryan Danielson & Jon Moxley defeated Chuck Taylor & Wheeler Yuta. Danielson and Moxley brought aggressive violence for an extended beatdown. Moxley hit a DDT on the floor to take out Taylor. Danielson took care of Yuta with suplexes then kicked his head in. Moxley tagged in to finish with a bulldog choke.

The story was Yuta’s display of grit. He ate a lot of punishment and kept coming back for more. Afterward, Yuta split off from the Best Friends to offer a handshake for William Regal with the intention to join his gallery of rogues. Regal’s response was a slap across the face. Yuta didn’t back down, but an official invitation will be saved for a future date. Yuta exited the ring.

Danielson and Moxley have great chemistry as a team. They used slick tags to control the pace. The next step in their development will be more teamwork maneuvers. The Yuta story was intriguing. Best Friends are sensitive souls, so he may have burned that bridge by approaching Regal. I’m not sure what Regal wants when it comes to students. Perhaps the idea is for Yuta not to take no for an answer to show his desire to be mentored. I look forward to vignettes of Yuta being stretched in a dingy training dungeon.

Jericho Appreciation Society. Chris Jericho explained the motivation of his new crew. Without Le Champion, there would be no AEW. Instead of praise, fans and wrestlers shower Jericho with insults to leave the man feeling unappreciated. For example, Eddie Kingston had the audacity to embarrass Jericho by making him tap out on PPV. Daniel Garcia appreciates Jericho for helping with medical bills recovering from a car crash, 2point0 appreciate Jericho for helping land a job after being released by WWE, and Jake Hager appreciates Jericho as friends since 2010. Jericho removed 2point0’s gimmick names for their real names with jazzy monikers, “Daddy Magic” Matt Minard and “Cool Hand Ang” Angelo Parker.

JAS aren’t like the rest of the roster. They are sports entertainers as opposed to professional wrestlers. Jericho is ushering in the era of sports entertainment in AEW.

Good intro promo for Jericho’s band of hooligans. It established the connection to Jericho, so the group can feel more cohesive rather than a mishmash of parts. It also cemented Jericho as a pompous ass worthy of scorn. I like the sports entertainment spin. I’m not sure how it will play out in matches, but I’m curious to find out. 2point0’s new nicknames are a hoot. They sound dorky, but Jericho makes them cool. I appreciate that Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz didn’t make an appearance. That allowed room for the promo’s content to breathe and stand on its own. There is plenty of time for revenge in the coming weeks.

TNT Championship: Scorpio Sky retained against Wardlow. Sky took control early grinding on the the big man. Wardlow rallied with suplexes and a chokeslam leading to the powerbomb symphony. On the 4th powerbomb, Dan Lambert created a distraction on the apron. Sky escaped, but Wardlow aimed to powerbomb him on the floor instead. Shawn Spears sauntered down the ramp with two chairs. That opened the door for MJF to bash Wardlow from behind into the ring post. Sky scooped up the win on a roll-up. Afterward, the numbers game got Wardlow. MJF handed a fat stack of cash to Lambert for allowing the setup. MJF struck last with a punch using the Dynamite Diamond Ring.

The match was forgettable and used more as a tool for story advancement. It’s funny that Wardlow was his own worst enemy. If he had listened to Spears’ advice, there was a strong chance Wardlow would be the new TNT champ after powerbomb 1 or powerbomb 2. Sky was dead meat at that point. Wardlow decided to rain down more powerbombs and that strategy cost him. MJF read him like a book to plot revenge. The sneak attack was executed well in terms of drawing heat for Wardlow to kick MJF’s ass. Once he finally powerbombs MJF, the roof will blow off the building.

As for Sky, it is time for AEW to properly establish his reign. Both his TNT wins have been overshadowed by story drama. He needs the benefit of quality matches with the revolving door of challengers.

Hardys defeated Private Party. Matt and Jeff erupted for offense to close out the win. They countered Silly String for a double Twist of Fate, then Jeff launched for a swanton to pin Isiah Kassidy. Afterward, AFO moseyed down in force. Darby Allin and Sting ran in, so AFO retreated.

The Hardys haven’t missed a step as a team. They were in sync to rock the ring with nostalgic vibes. This turned out to be a strong win, because Private Party represented well as tough competition. They looked like the legit #3 ranked tag team in AEW rather than high class jobbers.

Notes: Ricky Starks warned Keith Lee not to show up on Rampage, or else Will Hobbs will hit him with another spinebuster. Lee was unfazed by the threat.

Kris Statlander wiped off her alien makeup. I suppose the takeaway was a change in tone for the character.

FTR fired Tully Blanchard, because they felt he checked out and lost focus on them. The Young Bucks entered with sass to say a new manager won’t make a difference. FTR knows deep down that they are the second best tag team in AEW, behind the Bucks.

Max Caster rapped about wrestling Keith Lee in the Rampage main event. Starks and Hobbs chatted up the Acclaimed to take care of Lee, then Swerve Strickland stepped in to run his mouth at Starks.

Serena Deeb was flattered about Hikaru Shida’s obsession. Deeb didn’t think about Shida once while she was away. Now, Shida has Deeb’s full attention with a goal to end Shida’s career.

Jade Cargill wants to know who is next to make her record 30-0.

Red Velvet rumbles with Leyla Hirsch on Rampage. Velvet stuck up for Hirsch as a friend. Now that she’s seen what Hirsch has become, she will put a stop to it personally.


Stud of the Show: Jeff Hardy

Hardy hit all his signature moves to pop the crowd. His aura remains strong as a true superstar of the game.

Match of the Night: Dr. Britt Baker DMD vs. Thunder Rosa

Baker and Thunder put it all on the line for our enjoyment. Thunder prevailed for an emotional feel-good finish.

Grade: B+

This episode as a solid building block show with a super blow-off in the main event.

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