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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (June 22, 2022): A taste of Tanahashi

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AEW Dynamite (June 22, 2022) emanated from UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee, WI. The show featured Hiroshi Tanahashi competing in an AEW ring, a surprise appearance from Kazuchika Okada, and Christian Cage stealing the show with an excellent promo on the go-home to the Forbidden Door PPV.

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

A taste of Tanahashi

You want a taste? No, not from Daddy Magic. The taste I speak of on this evening was from Hiroshi Tanahashi. The NJPW legend will square off against Jon Moxley for the AEW Interim World Championship in the main event of Forbidden Door on June 26. Dynamite was Tanahashi’s chance to give new fans a taste of his skills in the ring as he teamed with Moxley against Chris Jericho and Lance Archer in tag team action.

Early in the show, Moxley hyped the Dynamite main event, the upcoming Blood & Guts match, and the Forbidden Door championship contest. The most important was the title match. Moxley viewed it as a chance to transform into the success he always knew he could be.

Jericho and Archer did their best to ugly up the fight. They managed to control the flow that way until Moxley ran wild. Sammy Guevara interfered to help the bad guys regain the edge. That led to a hot tag to Tanahashi. He lit up the ring with punches, elbows, a springboard crossbody, and a flipping senton.

Later, Tanahashi ducked a Judas Effect to counter with a knee strike. Tanahasi went high-risk to take flight, however, Jericho countered for the Walls of Jericho. Moxley stormed in for a cutter to make the save.

Tanahashi hit a slingblade on Archer. Tag to Moxley for the Paradigm Shift. Tag back to Tanahashi for the frog splash victory.

After the match, the locker room emptied primarily consisting of competitors in Blood & Guts and Jericho’s trios match at the PPV. All the while, Moxley and Tanahashi engaged in a friendly staredown.

The great Tanahashi finally graced an AEW ring. He looked good, but there was something missing. Nothing really stood out to hype me for the PPV. Compared to Moxley, I don’t think Tanahashi has a strong chance at victory. Moxley is younger, stronger, possibly quicker, bigger. I don’t know enough about Tanahashi to judge the technical and violence advantages, but Moxley excels in those aspects too. That said, never count out a legend. I just would have liked to see something to make me say ‘wow’ heading into Forbidden Door.

Those blowout brawls are always a hoot. Minoru Suzuki walking down the stage oozes a badass aura each and every time. Thumbs up for that.

Christian Cage villain extraordinaire

If there is one thing to watch from this episode of Dynamite, it is Christian Cage’s promo explaining his heinous physical attack on Jungle Boy last week. In terms of scumbag heel speeches, this promo will make you sit up and pay attention. It could be in the talk for AEW promo of the year once the calendar comes to a close.

Christian started strong against the chorus of boos. Since it would be rude to speak over their voices, Christian requested a bit of decorum. Then he shouted for them to shut their damn mouths.

Christian revealed that he played the long con all this time. He orchestrated payback for Jungle Boy eliminating him in the Casino Battle Royale many moons ago.

Since that spot cost him a massive roster bonus, he decided to hitch his wagon to Jungle Boy and take the easy paydays as JB did all the work. Christian laughed at the notion that he was in AEW to help young talent. No. He was there to make money for himself. Once Christian realized that Jungle Boy doesn’t have the killer instinct, he took control and got his hands dirty with the attack last week.

Christian took the insults up a notch. He surmised the JB’s mother had a spark for him and that she wanted him to be JB’s new father. Christian shot that idea down cold. He went even colder with his next line. Christian said it was good that Jungle Boy’s father was dead, because Luke Perry would have been embarrassed to how JB turned out. Luke would have been ashamed to see JB curl up into a ball and not fight back.

The Jurassic Express music hit, and Luchasaurus arrived. He goozled Christian tight. Christian eventually fast-talked the dino into having a private conversation backstage. Christian hugged Luchasaurus like a father figure and smiled as the fans jeered his actions.

Christian held me in the palm of his hand the entire time. He was so despicable and hilarious at the same time, but his humor didn’t overshadow the desire to boo. Boo that man! The talking points were dirty enough, then Christian went into wicked territory speaking about Jungle Boy’s family. He tried to utterly destroy any goodwill fans still had for him, and I’d like to think he succeeded across the board.

If there is one thing I’m disappointed about from that segment, it is Luchasaurus. It stems from story reasons as well as fan reasons. First off, I don’t want to boo the big dino. He’s a great babyface with one of the best hot tag flurries. Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus together are one of the very few wholesome acts in professional wrestling. Into the story, how can Luchasaurus be duped so quickly and so easily by Christian? It makes me wonder that perhaps Jungle Boy isn’t the swell fellow I was led to believe behind the scenes. I think Christian muttered something about Marko Stunt. Did JB cast Stunt aside with no remorse? What’s the deal?

That goes to show how good this segment was. It entertained, shocked, coerced desire for Jungle Boy’s payback, and produced interesting questions that we want answered.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Bryan Danielson’s replacement. Danielson opened the show with good news and bad news. Bad news is that he is not medically cleared and would be missing Forbidden Door and Blood & Guts. Good news is he found the perfect replacement to wrestle Zack Sabre Jr. on the PPV and fight the Jericho Appreciation Society next week on Dynamite. Danielson teased that he’s not going to tell us. The answer awaits at Forbidden Door.

What a rascally wrestler that Danielson is. He got us all pumped up for the reveal only to stop short. In this scenario heading into the PPV, that surprise could be an extra carrot for fans leaning on the fence of a purchase. As for who, my mind immediately went to Cesaro. There aren’t many free agents out there with the sizzle, technical skills, and fighting acumen to match Danielson’s requirement for a replacement. I can’t think of anyone but Cesaro to fill the slot. So, that will be awesome if it is indeed the Swiss Superman. I can’t wait until he puts Satnam Singh in the big swing.

Orange Cassidy & Roppongi Vice defeated Will Ospreay & Aussie Open. Down the stretch, Rocky Romero and Trent blasted Kyle Fletcher with a pair of jumping double knees. When going for Strong Zero, Ospreay headkicked Trent, and Mark Davis planted him on a piledriver. Cassidy broke the pin. Ospreay flipped out to attack OC, but the cool dude slyly slipped away. Romero collided onto Ospreay with a flying crossbody. Trent scored a DDT on Davis, then Cassidy seized the day with a Superman punch on Fletcher to win.

Afterward, Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan joined their United Empire fellows. The crew stepped up threatening a beatdown with the numbers advantage, then FTR came out to even the odds. The United Empire stood down without fisticuffs erupting.

Good action from all involved. The draw for this match was to see interactions between Ospreay and Cassidy, since they will wrestle for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship at Forbidden Door. Here’s a sample.

Cassidy clowned Ospreay more often than not on this evening by using his antics to frustrate. It seems like the PPV match will be a similar story to PAC versus OC. When Ospreay can put hands on OC, he will thrash. However, putting hands on Cassidy is easier said than done. The trick will be for Ospreay not to lose his focus along the way.

All-Atlantic Championship qualifier: Malakai Black defeated Penta Oscuro. Penta hurt his back during the contest. That prevented him from executing a standing package piledriver. Penta did manage to use leverage off the turnbuckles for a super package piledriver, but he was too slow crawling across the ring to make the cover. In the end, Penta went for a pumphandle slam. His back gave out. Penta went for a kick, and Black caught it. Malakai didn’t miss a beat to counter for a spinning head kick to win. Black advances to the championship final against PAC, Miro, and Tomohiro Ishii at Forbidden Door.

After the bout, PAC entered the ring and Miro cut a big screen promo. Miro wondered if the new title was a gift from his god as an apology. All Miro wanted was his god, his gold, and his gorgeous wife. He will walk through the Forbidden Door to send his opponents to meet their maker. They can tell that coward that Miro wants to talk.

Penta and Black did their thing, and they did it well. The story was simple, and the moves were cool. After that finish, I’d like to see Black lean more into his finisher head kick as an out of nowhere move. Make one mistake, and it is death. Miro’s promo game was as strong as usual. I’m starting to wonder if the end result will be a letdown, because I don’t think AEW will book a Miro versus God match.

Hangman Page defeated Silas Young. The ROH veteran paid the price getting too fancy for his own good on a headstand aerial maneuver. Hangman dodged, went on a run of offense, and closed with the Buckshot Lariat.

Hangman took care of business with an emphatic finish in a rugged match. There was a minor story of Hangman overcoming an old rival from his ROH days.

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship bout. After Hangman’s match, Adam Cole sat up from commentary for story time. “Switchblade” Jay White immediately interrupted. White felt he owed an explanation to Cole for passing him over for a title shot. As the catalyst of pro wrestling, White has a duty to make Forbidden Door as big as it can be. He can’t wrestle Cole, because Cole lost twice to Hangman.

White went to the ring to gab with Hangman. The cowboy knocked the mic out of Switchblade’s hand and roughed up the champ. On the Buckshot Lariat setup, Cole low-blowed Hangman. Cole grabbed the IWGP title belt ready to strike White, but White caught him in the act. Instead, they both attacked Hangman. Kazuchika Okada showed up to help Hangman clear the ring. It was later announced that a four-way with these men for the IWGP prize is on at Forbidden Door.

The excitement from special appearances and the weekly jockeying was entertaining, however, I think this story was rubbish from White’s perspective. It kind of makes him look like a joke. White should have had the most stroke as champion, and yet he’s now forced into a dangerous four-way. That shows he is all talk with zero power.

Toni Storm defeated Marina Shafir. Nyla Rose was ringside to support Shafir. The Native Beast was physically involved on occasion, such as a senton on the floor. Storm rallied with a DDT on the floor, German suplex, and running hip attack. Shafir tried to stifle the momentum with a pump handle, but Storm countered for a roll-up to win.

Afterward, Nyla attacked. Thunder Rosa made the save. Storm used the women’s title as a weapon. She handed it back to the champ, and tension brewed prior to their fight at Forbidden Door.

Storm continues to work well with a variety of wrestlers. Shafir’s style impressed me. She’s been a mixed bag so far, but she shined here showing technical prowess for a variety of trips, suplexes, and stretches.

Notes: The biggest celebration is yet to come for Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh when Lethal wins the ROH World Television Championship. Time is almost up for Samoa Joe to come back to work. Lethal presented two options. Either Joe tapes up his shoulder and defends the championship or Joe vacates the title. The clock is ticking.

The Young Bucks claimed that all is right in the world with them as tag team champions. For the Forbidden Door PPV, they will be joined by Bullet Club members Hikuleo and El Phantasmo against Sting, Darby Allin, and two cronies. Kyle O’Reilly was not medically cleared.

Wardlow wants the TNT title. When Scorpio Sky is healed, he will welcome him to Wardlow’s world.

The Baddies announced that Red Velvet is injured. Jade Cargill opened up recruitment for more Baddies. This is worth watching for Tony Schiavone’s drum roll sounds.

Kris Statlander and Athena mocked the Baddies. They won’t back down and will have Willow Nightingale by their side.

Sting and Darby Allin will team with Hiromu Takahashi and Shingo Takagi against the Young Bucks’ squad.

Fenix versus Andrade was announced for Rampage. Fenix wants payback for the low blow in the Casino Battle Royale.

Stud of the Show: Christian Cage

A+ promo and the most memorable moment on the show.

Match of the Night: Toni Storm vs. Marina Shafir

The style of action was the most engaging of the bunch for me.

Grade: B

Solid show with plenty of entertainment. As a go-home episode, I was hoping to see something to wow me into excitement and anticipation for Forbidden Door. That didn’t happen.

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

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