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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (June 15, 2022): Never doubt a sports entertainer

AEW Dynamite (June 15, 2022) emanated from Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, MO. The Road Rager show featured Chris Jericho keeping his hair against Ortiz, the Young Bucks winning the tag titles in a ladder match, Christian Cage showing his true colors, and build for the Forbidden Door PPV.

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

Chris Jericho, master sports entertainer

Just when Chris Jericho had people thinking he would be bald by the end of this evening, he pulled a swerve out of his bag of tricks, weaseled into the Forbidden Door main event hype segment, and announced his own match for the PPV. That man is a genius at sports entertainment. Never doubt him.

Jericho’s first order of business was facing Ortiz in a Hair versus Hair grudge match. The Jericho Appreciation Society and Eddie Kingston were ringside. Ortiz raged right away barreling toward Jericho. The Wizard saw it coming and tried to finish quickly with a Lionsault. Ortiz got his knees up and took control by brawling outside the ring. Jericho was back on track with a painful suplex off the apron down to the floor.

Jericho took a break from the action to entertain by flexing his muscles and floofing his hair. The match went back and forth with big moves, such as Ortiz powerbombing Jericho off the turnbuckles and Jericho dodging a corkscrew to land a Codebreaker. Le Champion was close to victory by countering a hurricanrana into the Walls of Jericho. Ortiz dramatically reached the ropes for the break.

That’s when all hell broke loose. Cool Hand knocked Ortiz’s hand off the rope, so Kingston attacked. That brought out Santana and Wheeler Yuta to join in the fisticuffs. Kingston snuck in the ring for a surprise spinning backfist to Jericho. Ortiz made the cover. 1, 2, would there soon be a bald wizard? No. Jericho shocked the crowd by kicking out.

Referee Aubrey Edwards was distracted by Jake Hager and Kingston. That allowed Fuego del Sol to swoop in and clobber Ortiz with a baseball bat. Jericho made the easy pin to win.

Afterward, Fuego pulled off his mask to reveal himself as Sammy Guevara.

Despite the chicanery, Ortiz paid off his debt as a man of his word by cutting his own hair. Kingston added that this feud isn’t over. They’re coming for Blood & Guts, which takes place June 29.

That match was a ton of fun. Jericho and Ortiz had great chemistry in the ring for a smooth flow with counters and dramatic teases. The swerve reveal was a case that made all the difference in enjoyment for the finish. At first, I assumed it was actually Fuego del Sol and shrugged my shoulders thinking he was squeezed into a story where he wasn’t needed. I was a bit bummed that they took the cheap way out to finish the enjoyable match. Then when Sammy pulled off the mask, it took the moment to a level of greatness. Oohs and aahs were my reaction.

Sammy makes a ton of sense in that spot. He has the Inner Circle background to support Jericho. The crowd boos him mercilessly, so that vibe fits in well with the JAS. Since Sammy is banned from the TNT Championship picture while Scorpio Sky has the belt, this reunion gives him importance and fresh foes to feast upon. Credit to AEW for listening to the fan response toward Sammy and acting accordingly instead of forcing him as a babyface. They just made sweet lemonade out of all those sour lemons.

Jericho’s evening didn’t stop there.

Jon Moxley is set to wrestle Hiroshi Tanahashi for the AEW Interim World Championship in the main event of Forbidden Door on June 26. Naturally, AEW needed to hype the contest on television with a face-to-face. Moxley spoke about big-game hunting in NJPW for three years. Tanahashi is the last one on his list. Moxley believes himself to be the best professional wrestler on the planet. Tanashasi is called Ace for a reason, and he deserves respect. However, Tanahashi will be calling Moxley as Ace after they fight.

Moxley handed the microphone over to Tanahashi. Just as Ace was about to speak, Jericho interrupted. Le Champion claimed to that Moxley was in his spot. Chaos broke loose with Jericho officially welcoming Sammy and Tay Conti into the JAS, Lance Archer and Desperado (on loan from Minoru Suzuki) ambushing Moxley and Tanahashi, and Jericho’s match for the Forbidden Door. Jericho, Guevara, & Suzuki will wrestle Eddie Kingston, Wheeler Yuta, and Shota Umino on the PPV. Kingston and Yuta ran out for the babyfaces to stand tall.

This was a so-so segment. AEW really needs to sell Tanahashi to those unfamiliar with him, such as myself. Nothing happened with Tanahashi that created urgency to buy the PPV. All the rest was ham-fisted to see how many wrestlers they could jam in there.

Jericho wasn’t the only sports entertainer leaving his footprint on the show.

AEW World Tag Team Championship ladder match and betrayal

The Young Bucks are two-time AEW tag champions. They used their brand of flippy sports entertainment in a ladder match to dethrone Jurassic Express. On top of that, Christian Cage betrayed his young steed to close the show.

The main event had the type of athleticism and daredevil nature you would expect from the participants. The pace was hot to start then erupted for a wild sequence. Jungle Boy hit a hurricanrana off the apron to send Matt Jackson through a table. Nick Jackson powerbombed JB off the apron through a table.

Nick then leaped for a Canadian Destroyer to Luchasaurus and followed for a 450 splash to the dino through a table.

Both teams provided ladder drama trying to reach the prize. The Bucks had the edge in the end. They pushed over a ladder sending Luchasaurus crashing though a pyramid of tables. A BTE Trigger flattened Jungle Boy, and the Bucks climbed unabated to claim the tag titles.

That match was intense. The pace never dulled and yet they still built waves of action to crest with wild spots. All four men put their bodies through the ringer of pain. I appreciate that the Bucks won on their own accord. That was the kind of win that elevates their legacy in AEW. The Jacksons won convincingly, so there is no wiggle room to doubt their excellence in current times.

After the match, Christian assisted medical personnel in attending to Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy. When it was clear that the dino buddy was not fit to protect, Christian made his move. He pulled JB into a Kill Switch and added a Conchairto as a cherry on top of the sundae. The anticipated heel turn by Christian was executed like a true sports entertainment professional.

So, what have we learned from this episode of Dynamite? Never doubt sports entertainment veterans. Just when fans wanted to dismiss Jericho, the Bucks, and Christian, they each seized the moment to grab the spotlight. I wonder if this notion could be tied over to MJF’s story.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Wardlow defeated 20 men. Wardlow was booked for a 20-on-1 elimination handicap match against the security guards he physically mistreated over the weeks. Mark Sterling viewed this as a form of settlement. AEW humorously hyped the contest with a People’s Court intro style vignette. Wardlow took care of business to dominate with powerbombs and create piles of bodies for pinfalls. He was never in any danger.

After the match, Dan Lambert ran his mouth sending former UFC champions Matt Hughes and Tyron Woodley into the ring. Wardlow sweet-talked the fighters as hard-working Midwesterners. Lambert’s plan backfired when they shoved Sterling into Wardlow’s arms for a powerbomb.

This whole segment was a lot of fun. It started poorly with terrible communication about the match structure. The ring announcer announced eliminations for men falling off the apron, which made zero sense. Once the match found its footing with Wardlow powerbombing everyone, it was easier to enjoy and giggle at him stacking bodies to pin five at a time.

Will Ospreay defeated Dax Harwood. Highlights of this athletically rugged affair include five straight German suplexes by Harwood plus one more for good measure and a springboard 450 splash by Ospreay. Down the stretch, Ospreay and Harwood delivered heavy blows. Ospreay shifted to a higher gear for a Liger bomb, springboard cutter, and Hidden Blade swinging back elbow to win.

Ospreay and Harwood exceeded expectations. Ospreay was the obvious winner going in, but they put on such a show that I got lost in the moment. Their counters and reversals were very creative. It widened my eyes several times. Check out these Liger bomb spots. First from Harwood with the slingshot style.

Second from Ospreay with a clothesline counter.

After the match, the United Empire from NJPW hit the ring. Cash Wheeler, Roppongi Vice, and Orange Cassidy evened the odds. Ospreay and Cassidy had a staredown leading to a IWGP United States Championship match at Forbidden Door.

All-Atlantic Championship qualifier: Miro defeated Ethan Page. All Ego targeted the shoulder, and Dan Lambert physically interfered on occasion. As Page forced Miro’s hands together to pray to him, that’s when Miro fired up. A few suplexes to Page, a punch to Lambert, and a thrust kick to Page set up the Game Over submission to win.

Decent match. I like that the story played into the promo material. Page was in control for much of the contest, then his ego overreached. That was Page’s mistake to rile up Miro in that manner.

Toni Storm defeated Dr. Britt Baker DMD. Storm cut a backstage promo about taking the women’s division where it should be as champion. In my view, Storm threw a lot of shade at Thunder Rosa without even mentioning her name.

Storm and Baker slugged it out. Reba and Jamie Hayter worked their hijinks, so Thunder Rosa ran in to chase Hayter away. Storm was in control with a DDT in the ring then a DDT on the floor. After a crushing hip check in the corner, Baker seemed to be concussed. Her body was a sack of potatoes. That was a ruse playing possum for a roll-up. Storm escaped. She stifled the Lockjaw submission for a German suplex and spike piledriver to win.

Afterward, Thunder Rosa came back out to hold the women’s title high. Thunder versus Storm was announced for the gold at Forbidden Door.

The aggression of that match fit the tone of their feud. Storm and Baker dislike each other and came out swinging. I’ve been critical of Baker’s consistent cheating to win, so I have to keep it fair and give praise for her cheeky plan this time. 3-on-1 cheap interference to win is boring and sucks the spirit out of the room as if getting invested in the match was a waste of time. Pretending she had a concussion is the type of creativity I can get behind. It’s tricky, unpredictable, entertaining, and worth booing in a productive way. That tactic made it amusing to see Storm rally and put Baker in her place.

“Switchblade” Jay White calls the shots. Hangman Page wanted Okada for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, but Okada lost the belt to White. Hangman’s goal doesn’t change. He still wants a shot at that title. Adam Cole interrupted to stake his claim at the front of the line for Undisputed Elite versus Bullet Club. That was a setup for White to attack Hangman with the Blade Runner.

White explained that neither Hangman nor Cole call the shots. As champ, Switchblade does, and the match won’t be against either of them. Cole was left in a state of confusion by that proclamation.

I have no idea what match AEW is heading toward with these three, especially since White claimed Okada will not be at Forbidden Door. I assume Hangman and Cole will be involved somehow, but that would make White look like a chump by negating his stroke. Time to sit and wait to see how this shakes out. I must acknowledge Cole for his amusing befuddlement when dissed by White.

Notes: Darby Allin wrestles Bobby Fish on Rampage. Allin wants to break Kyle O’Reilly’s leg as payback for injuring Sting, and he’ll make an example out of Fish.

Dante Martin versus Jon Moxley was announced for Rampage. Martin will fulfill his potential, and a new star will be born. Good luck with that.

Stokely Hathaway offered an open challenge on behalf of Jade Cargill for Rampage. Willow Nightingale accepted.

Stud of the Show: Chris Jericho

Fireballs aren’t the only magic Jericho is capable of. The wizard had his hands all over the show in impactful ways.

Match of the Night: Young Bucks vs. Jurassic Express

I can see three contenders for this honor. Jericho and Ortiz in the sports entertainment vein of chaos was put over the top with the Sammy Guevara reveal. Will Ospreay and Dax Harwood provided the technical excellence. My choice goes to the Bucks and Jurassic Express for the ladder match high-spots exhilaration.

Grade: B+

Dynamite was a blitz of fun delivering excitement in and out of the ring. AEW came up short in Forbidden Door build. The stories are cobbled together enough for a minimum explanation to follow along. Unfortunately, as someone who doesn’t follow NJPW, I don’t care about a lot of these PPV matches yet.

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

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