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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Apr. 13, 2022): Fight of the Year

AEW Dynamite (Apr. 13, 2022) emanated from Uno Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, LA. The show featured Samoa Joe versus Minoru Suzuki in a Fight of the Year contender, Jurassic Express defending the AEW tag titles against reDRagon, and a new giant making a surprise debut.

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

Fight of the Year

When Samoa Joe and Minoru Suzuki are in town, you know someone is going to get destroyed in the ring. What happens when they are opponents against each other? Glorious violence. Joe and Suzuki went to work in the main event for a Fight of the Year contender. Emphasis on fight. This was no match. It was a fight. Oh, the ROH TV Championship was also on the line.

Both men received full entrances. Suzuki had his, “Kaze ni nare,” moment with the fans. The vibe was electric. Tension was thick for the staredown. Chops erupted violently from each man. Joe and Suzuki went back and forth chopping chests until the skin was beet red. I didn’t time it, but it felt like five minutes of chops. And it was spectacular.

Neither man backed down. They just kept chopping the shit out of each other. Chops gave way to forearm strikes. Over and over and over again. Suzuki was rocked on the jaw. Then Joe was rocked on the jaw. The firefight continued with furious elbow blows. The third move of the match, if you want to call it that, was a shoulder block from Joe as Suzuki ran the ropes. That knocked Suzuki down. When Joe walked near, Suzuki sprang up for an armbar over the ropes. Back to even more chops on the floor then even more elbow strikes in the ring.

The match progressed with submission work to tenderize the limbs of each gladiator. That didn’t last long. Joe headbutt Suzuki to set up a powerbomb. After some slick transitions, we were back to square one. Suzuki declined to complete a Gotch piledriver in favor of another chop duel. Chop, chop, chop!

Suzuki ducked to cinch in a sleeper, but Joe quickly countered for a side slam. Suzuki came back with a dropkick and sleeper, but he couldn’t pull the trigger on the Gotch piledriver. Joe muscled out. The action went into the corner. As Suzuki went for an armbar, Joe positioned him on the turnbuckles for a Musclebuster. 1, 2, 3. Joe is the new ROH TV champ.

Oh my goodness. That match was so awesome. Just two badasses being badasses. Joe and Suzuki delivered exactly what the fans wanted. I would say they overdelivered. The intensity never let up. The chop sessions were so rugged that I wouldn’t have cared if they spent the entire match doing that. There was maybe ten different moves throughout the match, and it was still as exciting a match I’ve ever seen. I probably wouldn’t hand it Match of the Year honors, but it is definitely the frontrunner for Fight of the Year. I salute Samoa Joe and Minoru Suzuki.

Giant!

In the aftermath, Joe’s celebration was cut short by a giant. AEW debuted a very large man to the mix. Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt promised a surprise. It turned out to be Satnam Singh, who stands at 7 feet 2 inches tall. The newcomer towered over Joe to crush his skull as Lethal and Dutt landed kicks. Lethal closed the show with a handspring cutter to Joe.

Maybe it is the high from watching Joe versus Suzuki, but I don’t mind this new development. I’m attracted to the larger than life aspect of professional wrestling, and it doesn’t get much larger than a giant. I think AEW has earned the benefit of the doubt in terms of developing raw talent. The debut matches for Anthony Ogogo, Hook, Brock Anderson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Jade Cargill were all executed excellently to highlight strengths. One question I have is wondering where they hid Singh all night long. Was he safely blended into the Baddie section and nobody noticed?

Championship Week

AEW is dubbing this week as Championship Week with Rampage and Battle of the Belts II still to come. The other championship bout on this evening for Dynamite was Jurassic Express defending the AEW tag titles against reDRagon.

Jungle Boy worked a quick pace, while Luchasaurus flexed his power. reDRagon relied on tag team tactics to slow down the action. Highlights include Jurassic Express with a flying elbow drop to side slam combo.

reDRagon had a nifty suplex sequence on JB with a butterfly followed by a teamwork wheelbarrow German.

reDRagon’s best chance at victory came when Kyle O’Reilly neutralized Luchasaurus with a guillotine choke. Bobby Fish capitalized for a super Falcon Arrow on Jungle Boy. The dino was able to keep hope alive by crashing on top of the pinfall pile.

After a flurry of fisticuffs all around, Jurassic Express went to a higher gear. Jungle Boy hit a step-up DDT to O’Reilly. Fish ate a Tail Whip kick from Luchasaurus, then the champs finished Fish with the Thoracic Express teamwork powerbomb.

The tag title contest was highly enjoyable. Both teams played to their strengths for cool treats and hot eats. Luchasaurus’ hot tag offense will never get old. This was a bout where I could see either team winning. Jurassic Express and reDRagon fought competitively throughout to keep the mystery afloat. I was a little surprised that reDRagon didn’t have more moments coming close to victory. There was one major tease with the super Falcon Arrow, but I wasn’t quite buying in that it could be the end. I think the right choice was made for Jurassic Express to retain. They’ve done the work to stay hot and deserve big money showdowns. Jurassic Express won’t have to wait long for that.

After the bout, O’Reilly flipped his lid attacking Jurassic Express with a chair. As reDRagon exited, FTR’s music hit. They held both the AAA and ROH tag titles high as a sign to Jurassic Express. reDRagon was standing in the way, so they might pay for getting in FTR’s face.

FTR and Jurassic Express are on such amazing rolls right now that a matchup between them would produce epic electricity. It doesn’t matter if both are aligned as babyfaces at the moment. FTR is a bit more tweener, but they are earning raucous cheers as of late. FTR versus Jurassic Express would be for the sake of competition, and that’s what sports is all about.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

CM Punk defeated Penta Oscuro. Punk tweaked his knee on a suicide dive. Punk tumbled to the mat on a super hurricanrana attempt. I couldn’t tell if it was a botch or part of the story. Either way, Punk played it off well as knee pain negatively affecting his movement. Punk managed to rally to hit a super rana later.

The bout went from good to great with several series of counters to prevent finishers. Penta elbowed his way out of a GTS to set up an armbreaker,, but Punk countered into the Anaconda Vice. Another sequence was Penta blocking a GTS on the way down then both men escaping piledrivers and exchanging roll-ups. In the end, Penta used the ropes to springboard into the air. Punk caught him on his shoulders for a GTS to win.

That match was hot from the get-go. Fans were so loud with dueling chants and only grew louder for the initial back and forth of fisticuffs. The finish was executed in a very creative manner to help Punk get around his knee pain. Instead of a premeditated GTS, his adrenaline kicked in for a GTS out of nowhere. As far as I’m concerned, Punk is ready for a world title shot. His momentum is peaking after numerous quality matches. I fully believe he is capable of winning AEW’s top prize, and that’s what is important when building up a challenger.

Shawn Dean defeated MJF. No, I did not make a mistake typing that. Wardlow ran roughshod on security. MJF sprinted away up stage as about 20 security guards corralled Wardlow. The problem was that they blocked MJF’s path back to the ring, so he was counted out. Wardlow will continue being a thorn in MJF’s side until he gets released from the contract.

Wrestling wise, this result was weak. Sports entertainment wise, the scene was a hoot. There were so many little details to provoke amusement. Wardlow concealing his arrival in disguise was a humorous setup for MJF to be shocked at Wardlow’s appearance. MJF is so despicable that I don’t feel bad at all for all the trouble Wardlow is causing him. That shows quality character building getting to this point where everyone wants to see Wardlow wring MJF’s neck.

Later, MJF had Mark Sterling peruse Wardlow’s contract to announce that he can still book the strong man’s matches in AEW. MJF decided to put Wardlow to work. He handed over an envelope of cash to Andrade’s assistant in exchange for the services of Butcher. Wardlow’s punishment will be a match against Butcher.

Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, & Daniel Garcia defeated Eddie Kingston, Santana, & Ortiz. Earlier in the day, Kingston’s crew jumped 2point0 on the airport runway. They even stole Angelo Parker’s shoes. I hope that turns Cool Hand into a barefoot wrestler now.

The trios bout was chaos early with Kingston running around ringside trying to fight anyone and everyone in JAS. The bout settled down into JAS working over Ortiz. Hot tag to Kingston for a butterfly suplex on Garcia followed by a tag to Santana for Three Amigos and a frog slash. Garcia kicked out to continue the match.

2point0 eventually arrived. Their presence was a distraction, so Santana and Ortiz went on the attack. In the ring, Kingston found his groove for an exploder suplex to Garcia. On a spinning backfist, Garcia ducked and shoved Kingston into the ropes. Jericho was waiting to whack King in the back out of the referee’s sight. Garcia picked up the pin to win.

Afterward, the JAS numbers put a beatdown on Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz. The moral of this story is don’t mess with Daddy Magic.

This was an okay match, but it was in a tough position due to the previous storytelling. Kingston was out for blood, however, he still had to remain in the confines of trying to win. That sort of hindered the flow and direction of the action. Then 2point0 arrived, and you know how the numbers game goes. JAS needed this win for Kingston to continue the chase for vengeance, and that’s what happened.

Marina Shafir defeated Skye Blue. Stoic domination from Shafir as a message to Jade Cargill. Shafir won via triangle choke. Jade wasn’t paying attention backstage.

This match was awkward, and I don’t know why it turned out that way. Shafir has been impressive in her Dark outings, so it was disappointing to see the uneven execution here. On the plus side, Shafir was aces selling a badass aura as a future challenger to Jade Cargill for the TBS Championship.

Also of note, Red Velvet and Kiera Hogan were in the Baddies section. We’ll have to wait and see if that gets explored further with any explanation.

Ricky Starks & Will Hobbs defeated Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee. Taz played a role hooking Lee’s foot to set up Hobbs for a spinebuster to win.

This was another hot bout. Even though Starks was the hometown hero, I think it would have been equally hot in a different city. There were plenty of neat maneuvers in this contest. Swerve stepped off Lee’s chest for a moonsault down to the floor. Lee did a backward leapfrog over Hobbs, who speared Starks by accident. My favorite was a teamwork maneuver from Swerve and Lee. Swerve used a fireman’s carry off the turnbuckles to toss Starks into the air for a pounce from Lee. Swerve also showed his flash with a 450 splash onto a pinning pile. All that creativity made the match unique. That was tough to do on such a stacked card.

Notes: Blackpool Combat Club will wrestle the Gunn Club (24-0 in trios action) on Rampage. Jon Moxley views the Ass Boys as goofs. Wheeler Yuta is ready for the real work to begin.

Jamie Hayter versus Toni Storm will be a first-round matchup in the Owen Hart tournament. Hayter wants her crowning moment and will break Storm’s face to get it. Storm said nothing and walked away.

Darby Allin used a skateboarding vignette to challenge Andrade to a Coffin Match.

Malakai Black warned Fuego del Sol to be afraid of the shadows. The House of Black can take away his hope if they so desire. I think that was the point. I never fully understand Black’s speeches, but they always sound cool.

Hook was interrupted by Mark Sterling and Tony Nese. Hook stood up, so they exited. The camera panned back to show Danhausen cursing Hook. No sell. Hook tossed a medicine ball over his shoulder onto Danhausen. I like this Hook much better than last week’s hunched muncher.

Ethan Page claimed Sammy Guevara begged Tony Khan for a title match. Scorpio Sky will defend the TNT Championship against Sammy at Battle of the Belts II on Saturday night.

Jonathan Gresham will defend the ROH World Championship against Dalton Castle at Battle of the Belts II.

Thunder Rosa was interrupted by Nyla Rose with a cake celebrating a short title reign. Thunder smooshed the cake into Nyla’s face. The Native Beast raged to smash Thunder into crates.


Stud of the Show: Satnam Singh

The giant made an impression, and he has me curious for more.

Match of the Night: Samoa Joe vs. Minoru Suzuki

The definition of slobberknocker. There are a few matches on this show that could have this honor, but I’ll pick the one that had me smiling the entire time.

Grade: A

Banging matches with an all-time classic main event. There was also a lot of good humor mixed into the action. A very strong show indeed.

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