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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (May 4, 2022): Hangman ignites championship feud

AEW Dynamite (May 4, 2022) emanated from Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena in Baltimore, MD. The show featured Hangman Page and Thunder Rosa with championship promos to light the spark, W. Morrissey and Deonna Purrazzo walking through the Impact Forbidden Door, and awesome aerial highlights from Fenix and Dante Martin.

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

Championship promos

When Hangman Page versus CM Punk for the AEW World Championship was announced as the main event of Double or Nothing on May 29, it seemed like a cool matchup based in respectful competition. There didn’t appear to be any angles for beef. Well, hold the phone. Business just picked up.

Hangman had his chance to speak, and he went for the jugular. He felt that it would be easy to say he is looking forward to having an all-time classic, but that’s not going to happen. Hangman brought an edge to his tone when saying that he will destroy Punk. The cowboy plans to embarrass Punk in the fight of his life.

Hangman’s promo was the best moment on the broadcast and worth watching if you haven’t already.

Heck yeah for the cowboy. His passion has me all aboard the train cheering for him to retain gold. It is interesting that AEW is giving Hangman the ‘heel’ rub, for lack of a better term. By going after Punk fans and referring to the masturbatory Bret Hart tribute match, Hangman earned boos from the crowd. That reaction has me curious for AEW’s plans in the upcoming weeks for this feud. The match sells itself, but these fighting words have taken the emotional investment to a higher level. Well done.

I just hope AEW doesn’t push Hangman too far over the line where he can’t come back as the #1 hero. That is a man I enjoy rooting for, and I don’t want to see him turn to the dark side.

Hangman wasn’t the only champion on Dynamite to deliver a fiery promo. Thunder Rosa had fighting words for Serena Deeb. Thunder became the backbone of the division by elevating women’s wrestling. She wants the best challengers and called out the woman who inspired her as a young wrestler.

Deeb came out full of vim and vigor ready to accept. Deeb’s confidence bordered on arrogance as she proclaimed herself to be in a class of her own. Deeb just needed the women’s title to prove it.

This is another match that sells itself for the PPV, but it went to another level seeing that promo exchange. The intensity is so hard. It is going to be a war at Double or Nothing.

Impact Forbidden Door

AEW knocked on the Forbidden Door, and Impact came calling. W. Morrissey and Deonna Purrazzo were special guests for Dynamite.

MJF teased last week with hints of Morrissey as Wardlow’s mystery opponent. Well, that’s exactly who arrived.

Morrissey was a powerhouse hammering blows and hitting a spinning sidewalk slam.

Morrissey displayed athleticism by leapfrogging over Wardlow. Morrissey also showed personality when a duel chant for NZO erupted. Half the crowd wanted Amore, and the other half did not. Morrissey’s response was a shuffle dance and ‘up yours’ arm motion.

Wardlow rallied down the stretch for a moonsault and pounced to finish with an impressive powerbomb.

AEW provided a cool surprise bringing in Morrissey. Much credit to Tony Khan for booking a unique superfight for the hoss division. That’s what the Forbidden Door is all about. Even though Morrissey lost, he carried himself well delivering exactly the kind of match fans wanted to see. Commentary framed it as only taking one powerbomb to pin Morrissey. I don’t look at it that way. I see it more as a sign of respect. Wardlow realized he needed to finish the job while he had the chance. Dishing out extra powerbombs is usually Wardlow’s way of showboating. He didn’t want to take extra risk against a man the stature of Morrissey.

After the match, Wardlow beat up security. He won’t stop until MJF releases him from the contract. MJF agreed to a match, but it will be on his terms. Stipulations will be revealed in a contract signing next week on MJF’s home turf of Long Island.

Deonna Purrazzo’s business revolved around the ROH Women’s World Championship. She competed against interim champ Mercedes Martinez in the main event. Purrazzo followed her game plan to weaken the arm. Martinez was prepared. Purrazzo could never lock in a signature armbar or execute a piledriver finisher. Martinez found her groove to finish with a fireman’s carry slam, curb stomp, then a dragon sleeper to become the unified ROH champ.

Purrazzo has a specific style of match that she does very well. This bout was heading that way and may have hit that next gear if given more time. Instead, Martinez stood tall in the end as champion. The finish was pretty cool with the small adjustment from Martinez. As she used one arm for a dragon sleeper, Purrazzo bit her. Martinez switched to use her other arm to cinch the choke tight.

The action was solid, but I don’t think AEW did them any favors. I respect the main event slot for a title bout, however, there was very little build to create an aura about the ROH unification contest. The match was given about ten minutes in the ring. Overall, it felt shoe-horned into the broadcast rather than standing on its own as a special attraction.

Owen Hart tournament qualifiers and bracket

The Owen Hart tournament for the men’s division received the spotlight on this episode with two high-quality qualifying bouts and the bracket reveal.

First on the docket was Jeff Hardy versus Bobby Fish to open the show. Fish dominated 80% of the contest with technical precision. Once Fish executed a dragon screw legwhip into the guardrail, attacking the knee became his focus. Fish was close to victory after a super Falcon Arrow.

Hardy rallied for a flying corkscrew senton then the Swanton Bomb for victory.

That was a strong showing by Fish. His offensive style makes him my favorite member of the Undisputed Elite. For example, Fish didn’t miss a beat when Hardy kicked out of the Falcon Arrow. He had already planned his next move to snatch Hardy’s leg for a submission in a swift transition. Even though Fish controlled much of the action, all that matters is Hardy leaving in victory. Hardy hit his signature spots to pop the crowd and advance in the tournament.

Also of note, the Young Bucks entered the ring after the match for a staredown with the Hardys. Tension was teased as the first step toward a dream match for the Double or Nothing PPV on May 29. This story has been playing out on Being the Elite the past two weeks, but now the TV direction is solidifying.

The second Owen Hart qualifier was a high-flyer duel between Fenix and Dante Martin. The action lived up to its potential for spectacular feats. Fenix hit a springboard flipping Russian leg sweep, which is a move I’ve never seen before.

Fenix also had a dope pop-up cutter from a powerbomb position.

Martin was slick landing on his feet from a Spanish Fly to counter for a poison rana.

In the end, Fenix countered for a Fire Thunder Driver to win.

That was a dandy of a match. There were so many gems that it requires a second and third viewing to appreciate the amazing athleticism from both men. Some of those leaps left me in awe, and the pace never slowed.

With seven of eight tournament participants determined, AEW revealed the bracket:

  • Rey Fenix vs. Kyle O’Reilly
  • Samoa Joe vs. Joker (mystery man)
  • Jeff Hardy vs. Darby Allin
  • Adam Cole vs. Dax Harwood

That is a tough field to predict. Thumbs up to stacking the tournament with so much great talent.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, & Wheeler Yuta defeated Butcher, Blade, & Angelico. William Regal hyped up his crew.

Danielson took control for victory. When he was ready to kick Angelico’s head in, Moxley and Yuta rushed in with furious elbows to Blade and Butcher. As Danielson locked in a triangle sleeper, Moxley secured a rear naked choke on Blade and Yuta had a guillotine choke on Butcher to ensure no interference on Danielson.

This bout brought the pain. AFO were not intimidated. They were just outclassed by William Regal’s students. Moxley’s ornery attitude was amusing when he was throwing around a chair and flipping the timekeeper table just to dish out more punishment to Blade. Yuta ate some stiff chops from Butcher that were titillating to watch. Angelico scored a cool llave submission on Danielson.

Excalibur brought up an interesting question when he asked if there is any trio hotter than Blackpool Combat Club. The answer is that it doesn’t matter. Aside from hitting the pay window and getting their kicks from hurting opponents, there is no upward trajectory without a trios division. I’ve seen enough of these beatdowns that I’m ready to see the ball rolling on a story feud. That may take awhile with Yuta leaving to compete in the NJPW Best of Super Juniors tournament.

Chris Jericho defeated Santana. Jericho entered with a new flashy jacket and a new official nickname, The Wizard. Ortiz and the full Jericho Appreciation Society were ringside. The numbers game was too much to overcome when a distraction from Daddy Magic allowed Jericho to strike with a low blow. Judas Effect finished the job.

This match was a perfect fit for the feud to date. The action was intense. Santana fired out of the gate for a suicide dive as Jericho was soaking in the adulation of fans singing his theme song. Both men showed strategic familiarity due to their past personal history in the Inner Circle. Santana went on a run with Three Amigos suplexes, a frog splash, and a rolling cutter, but he still had no way to solve Jericho’s numbers advantage. At some point, Eddie Kingston will have to even the odds. The question becomes when and who. I’m wondering if AEW is taking their sweet time to bring in Homicide and Hernandez as LAX homies to help. Or maybe Kingston calls Moxley for a favor, so Mox and Danielson can beat up some sports entertainers at the PPV.

Still pure of Hart. Brian Pillman Jr. cut a passionate promo about House of Black poisoning Julia Hart’s mind. The Varsity Blonds will protect the one thing that makes them whole, Julia. Pillman called out the House of Black for a fight.

Lights out. Lights on. The Blonds were bludgeoned. Malakai Black handed Julia a chair to hit Griff Garrison, but she couldn’t pull the trigger. Julia still had light in her heart. Death Triangle made the save.

The Julia story with her black eye has intrigue, but it has been very slow to progress. This was an exciting little scene to finally see some drama. Pillman showed his promo chops to entice a reaction. His words may have saved Julia from losing hope. Too bad the Blonds came off looking like chumps. They were manhandled by the House of Black with barely any offense of their own.

Notes: Jurassic Express accepted the tag title challenge from Ricky Starks & Will Hobbs, but Jungle Boy wanted to spice it up. He requested a shot at the FTW belt. Starks accepted for next week on Dynamite. I like that Starks didn’t hesitate when pressed for action. That makes him feel more like a star.

Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland have unfinished business with Team Taz. They will get their payback in time.

Ruby Soho and Toni Storm have receipts coming for Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Jamie Hayter in the tag bout on Rampage. They will serve humble pie.

Konosuke Takeshita will wrestle on Rampage. Jay Lethal was irked at the red carpet treatment for the DDT Pro-Wrestling product, so he offered to be the opponent. Lethal will show what an international star is capable of. Also, Samoa Joe is coming for Jay Lethal on Rampage.

The Gunn Club presented gifts to the Acclaimed. Scissors! What’s this mean? Billy Gunn stepped in to start a scissor party. That was the laugh of the night.

Jade Cargill and the Baddies will continue their celebration rolling with Red Velvet in the Owen Hart tournament.

John Silver will wrestle CM Punk next week in his hometown Long Island. Dance with the meat man.

Stud of the Show: Wardlow

Powerbombing W. Morrissey was studliness personified. Pure power and destruction.

Match of the Night: Fenix vs. Dante Martin

Innovative and creative with high-flying excellence that very few can duplicate.

Grade: B+

Entertaining matches across the board. Morrissey and Purrazzo were cool to see as Forbidden Door appearances. Directions for the Double or Nothing PPV are shaking out. Right on par with the quality of programming AEW is known for.

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

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