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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Apr. 20, 2022): Coffin madness

AEW Dynamite (Apr. 20, 2022) emanated from Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The show featured Darby Allin closing the lid on Andrade in a Coffin Match, CM Punk in a dream match, and a huge announcement from Tony Khan.

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

Coffin madness

The main event of the evening was madness. Darby Allin competed against Andrade in a Coffin Match, but it was Sting who stole the show.

Andrade didn’t waste time stacking the deck in his favor. Blade and Marq Quen immediately assisted in a 3-on-1 beating. So, where’s Sting to save his little buddy? Hiding in the crowd wearing a Sting mask, of course.

That was a humorous callback to one of Sting’s classic career moments. The security guard’s grin was gold. I’d like to think he was unaware of the plan, and his smile was spontaneous.

It only got crazier from there. Sting took a chair shot to the back to no effect then leaped off the upper level for a flying crossbody down below. Super Sting is so much fun.

That set the scene for Allin against Andrade solo in the ring. Allin hit a Code Red. Andrade caught a Coffin Drop for a wicked German suplex on the floor. Andrade suplexed Allin onto steel grates by the stage.

The casket was opened to reveal a thumbtack lining. Andrade intended to slam Allin into the box, but Darby escaped to hit an over-the-top stunner on the apron. Andrade hung onto the ropes until Allin crashed into him for a forceful suicide dive. Both men fell down into the coffin.

Allin rose to his feet. When he tried to close the lid, Jose ran down to help his boss. A back body drop onto the thumbtack lid put a stop to that. Allin slammed the lid shut on Andrade to win. The Hardys celebrated on stage for Allin’s success.

For the quality of this Coffin Match, I have mixed feelings. In terms of a heated singles bout to blow off a feud, I don’t really feel satisfied. There were too many carny spots to get a read on who is actually the better competitor from a sporting perspective. I mean as sporting as a Coffin Match can be. The focus was spread a little too thin across the board to water down the aura of a Coffin Match. I’m used to the Undertaker epic style, and this style has been diluted to a cheesy gimmick in AEW. To its credit, all the extras were true to this feud to date. Allin against AFO has been one giant hodgepodge of chaos.

In terms of sports entertainment, all those carny spots were a blast. It was the type of match to munch popcorn and enjoy the action. Sting flying through the air was awesome. Andrade had some cool power spots. Allin throwing his body with reckless abandon will always entertain.

Dream match

Dustin Rhodes called out CM Punk for a personal dream match. This bout meant a lot to the 53-year-old Rhodes, and he rose to the occasion to show he can still shine when the lights are bright.

Punk worked the leg, while Rhodes worked the arm. Intensity and chippiness increased as the match progressed. Rhodes had momentum on a Code Red and powerslam, but he couldn’t finish. Punk came back with a figure-four. Dustin sat up, slaps were exchanged, Dustin reversed the leglock, then Punk reached the ropes for the break. Dustin took control for a Cross Rhodes and piledriver. Punk kicked out. He found a second wind for a roundhouse high kick. As Punk picked up Rhodes for a GTS, his knee gave out. Rhodes tried to slide down the back side for a roll-up, however, Punk stacked on top for the pin to win.

The bout had an obvious winner going in, but it was still easy to get lost in the action of two professionals performing their craft at a high level. Dustin looked spry with his hip tosses. His signature moves added to the drama. After that Cross Rhodes and piledriver, it would have been awesome if Dustin won to upset the apple cart just for the sake of chaos. Alas, it was not meant to be. I appreciate mixing up the finish and selling the story of the bout with the way Punk won.

As strategic as the fight was, I couldn’t help but crack up laughing when Rhodes whiffed on a crossbody and hurt his knee when crashing on the floor. I don’t think it was supposed to be comedic, and yet it tickles my funny bone.

Afterward, Hangman Page entered the scene for a staredown with Punk.

The first encounter between Hangman and Punk gave me goosebumps of anticipation. That is a big-time box office matchup, and I can’t wait. I don’t think AEW needs to tweak any babyface/heel alignments for this feud. The fans are going to root for who they want regardless in this situation. Just let two of the best fight it out.

Punk has done the work to deserve this title shot, but I would like to see AEW make him officially earn it. Lance Archer and Adam Cole called their shots. Let’s get back to the sports aspect for Punk. If he is going to wrestle each week anyway, AEW might as well line up a #1 contender bout.

Tony Khan’s huge announcement

Tony Khan promised a huge announcement, and he delivered. Well, Adam Cole delivered, because he stole the glory of Khan’s reveal.

Khan welcomed NJPW president Takami Ohbari on stage. Cole cut in to reveal a joint PPV between AEW and NJPW for June 26 in Chicago. The name of the event is Forbidden Door. As a preview of the concept, Cole will wrestle Tomohiro Ishii on Rampage for Friday night.

The surprises didn’t stop there. “Switchblade” Jay White arrived to steal attention. The PPV isn’t about AEW or NJPW. It is about the Undisputed Elite and the Bullet Club.

In my opinion, Khan’s announcement qualifies as huge. I don’t watch NJPW, so it is a bit of a shoulder shrug from me in terms of potential blockbuster bouts. However, I’m excited to see superstar wrestlers that are new to my eyes. I also like the Forbidden Door name as smart marketing. AEW didn’t invent the concept, but they did make the phrase theirs. Might as well reap the reward.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, & Wheeler Yuta defeated Dante Martin, Brock Anderson, & Lee Moriarty. The young guns showed promise with flying flash from Martin early, a spinebuster from Anderson, and a hot tag rally from Moriarty. Moxley took control by catching Martin with a bulldog choke. The Blackpool Combat Club hammered heads all around the ring. Mox finished Martin with a Paradigm Shift.

This bout brought a burst of hard-hitting action. The BCC handled business in a violent manner. Yuta’s growth in brutality continues to blossom. Even though it was obvious BCC would win, I like that everyone in the match received a moment to look good. That is the type of thing that can help the youngsters earn fans even in defeat. The top highlight was William Regal on commentary explaining technical tricks of violence. I would love a show of Regal and Taz breaking down matches.

Wardlow defeated Butcher. The Wardlow saga was a multi-segment story. It began with Wardlow being instructed by Mark Sterling that he must be escorted by security all evening. He also has to wear handcuffs.

Wardlow was still in handcuffs when it was time for his match. MJF and Shawn Spears observed from the skybox. Handcuffs off, hoss fight on. Wardlow and Butcher collided with meaty goodness. Shoulder tackles resulted in a stalemate to start. In the end, Butcher hit a powerbomb. Wardlow kicked out at 1 then conducted the powerbomb symphony. Four powerbombs did the deed to pin Butcher. Handcuffs back on as Wardlow was escorted to the back.

Later, MJF handed over an envelope of cash to Jake “The Snake” Roberts in exchange for the services of Lance Archer. The Murderhawk Monster slapped the money out of Jake’s hand. He just wants to fight. Archer versus Wardlow will be next week.

The build continues to be effective pushing toward Wardlow finally getting hands on MJF. Wardlow and Butcher provided a satisfying hoss smash. The bruisers gave me what I wanted. Next week is going to be insane with Wardlow against Archer. Two little moments of the money scene chuckled me hard. First was Jake saying, “Come on, man,” about Archer knocking the cash out of his hand. Second was Shawn Spears seeing the green on the floor and saying, “Money,” with the intention to pick it up. Those little laughs go a long way.

Owen Hart tournament qualifier: Kyle O’Reilly defeated Jungle Boy. In the clash of styles, Jungle Boy wanted to prove he could beat O’Reilly at his own game. That was JB’s mistake. When O’Reilly made it dirty, JB wanted to deliver the pain. Jungle Boy had the opportunity for the Snare Trap submission. Instead, he ran the ropes for a stiff forearm blast to the head. O’Reilly ducked and went on the attack. JB would eventually lock in the Snare Trap, but O’Reilly was close to the ropes for a break. O’Reilly turned up the heat for a superplex, brainbuster, and flying knee drop. 1, 2, 3. O’Reilly advances. Afterward, Christian Cage consoled his young pupil.

The match itself was rock solid with a wide variety of offense. That result caught me off guard in a good way. I was not expecting O’Reilly to win. It played out smart in execution. O’Reilly looks like a genuine threat to win the tournament, depending on the draw. It was also an interesting story how Jungle Boy altered his style to prove a point. Jungle Boy was as exciting as always and learned a hard lesson about controlling his emotion.

Hook defeated Anthony Henry. Tony Nese and Mark Sterling took notes from the front row. Hook dominated with style. As he was softening up his opponent, Danhausen tried to curse to no effect. Hook finished with the Redrum submission.

Afterward, Danhausen was irate that Hook refused to be cursed, so he challenged the lad to a fight. Danhausen immediately regretted the notion and backed away. Hook bumped him on the way out.

Hook’s Dynamite debut was on point. He roughhoused with athleticism. I guess Hook’s hairstyle is part of his appeal. I don’t know. The way his hair was spiked on this evening reminded of the hair gel scene from There’s Something About Mary. The post-match comedy bit gave me a giggle. I don’t know how these interactions are going to pay off in story, but they have my attention to find out.

Sammy and Sky get what they want. Sammy Guevara granted Scorpio Sky his rematch in exchange for the mixed tag bout he desires with Tay Conti and Paige VanZant. TNT title ladder match next week.

The news from the segment was all positive. TNT ladder match? Yes, please. Mixed tag with VanZant? Thank you. The confusing part is trying to read if babyface and heel turns are taking place. Sammy’s smugness and defiance to haters can be abrasive. Ethan Page’s part of the promo was fire. Dan Lambert closed with a sex joke about Conti, so he dragged his crew back toward heeldom.

Owen Hart tournament qualifier: Dr. Britt Baker DMD defeated Danielle Kamela. Baker made her triumphant return to hometown Brittsburgh. Kamela got a lot of offense in. Baker rallied for a curb stomp and Lockjaw to win.

In a post-match promo, Baker called out Ruby Soho, Toni Storm, and Jade Cargill as inadequate to carry the women’s division.

This match was all about Baker reveling in hometown glory. She soaked in the cheers, was backed by Steelers players, and even had a special Steelers glove for the Lockjaw.

Notes: Kyle O’Reilly encouraged the Undisputed Elite to turn the page and get back on track as winners. Adam Cole felt the motivation and tried to convince the Young Bucks that this group is unstoppable as a team. To prove it, a 10-man tag was booked for next week. That was a good little redemption scene to rebuild as top players.

Samoa Joe is coming for Jay Lethal. That is inevitable.

Jade Cargill is not worried about Marina Shafir in the TBS Championship bout on Rampage. Jade was flanked by baddies Red Velvet and Kiera Hogan. No explanation was given why Velvet is cool with Jade now.

Eddie Kingston is going to punish Daniel Garcia on Rampage. He wants Chris Jericho to take a good look, because that beating is meant for him.

Frankie Kazarian’s record is 10-1, and he wanted to challenged Sammy Guevara for the TNT Championship. Scorpio Sky stepped in requesting a favor. Sky wants payback on Sammy. If Kaz can wait a little longer, Sky will win the belt and give him first crack. Kaz always had Sky’s back and always will. Kaz took a step back. I like that bond of friendship from SCU.

Thunder Rosa is not a stepping stone. She will face the best competitors to defend the AEW Women’s World Championship.

House of Black is going to kill Fuego del Sol next week.

Hikaru Shida and Serena Deeb hyped a Philly street fight next week on Dynamite. Hell yeah!

Dax Harwood versus Cash Wheeler was announced for next week as an Owen Hart tournament qualifier. Good golly, Miss Molly!

Stud of the Show: Sting

Sting is pretty much a lock for this honor whenever he does age-defying feats. Leaping off the balcony for a flying crossbody qualifies as such.

Match of the Night: Jungle Boy vs. Kyle O’Reilly

Chess match of styles with a surprising result.

Grade: B+

Lots of fun moments throughout. Anticipation was built strong for next week’s action.

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

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