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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Apr. 19, 2023): Four Pillars Tournament

AEW Dynamite (Apr. 19, 2023) emanated from Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The show featured MJF setting up the Four Pillars Tournament, a surprise friend helping the Elite, Arn Anderson pulling his Glock in the TNT title fight, and much more.

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

Four Pillars Tournament

Jungle Boy, Darby Allin, and Sammy Guevara have been jockeying for position to earn a world title shot against MJF. All three are on a winning streak toward #1 contender status, so the solution was to create a Four Pillars Tournament.

The show opened with Jungle Boy, Allin, and Sammy exchanging lines in a promo duel. They spoke about reasons for respect and also reasons to diss one another. MJF arrived to announce the pathway for the main event at Double or Nothing on May 28. A tournament will determine MJF’s PPV opponent. Allin’s name was picked out of a hat to receive a bye. That meant Jungle Boy and Sammy would wrestle on Dynamite. The winner will advance to wrestle Allin next week to determine MJF’s official challenger.

The plot thickened backstage when MJF made a business proposal to Sammy. Maxwell will make sure Sammy makes it to the PPV main event in exchange for laying down in the title fight. MJF also threw in a blank check. Sammy wrote a sizeable number, but MJF agreed anyway.

Sammy and Jungle Boy engaged in a dog fight with high-flying physicality. Sammy crushed JB on a Spanish Fly off the apron down to the floor. Jungle Boy had a wicked flying Destroyer.

Sammy scored a genuine ‘damn’ moment with a brutal implant DDT. They traded reverse ranas and broke out a slap fight. The tide turned when Sammy dropkicked JB off the turnbuckles to fall into the timekeeper table. At the count of 8, Jungle Boy lunged to reenter the ring. Sammy grabbed the referee, and MJF walloped JB with his Dynamite Diamond Ring. Sammy demanded that the ref continue his count. JB lost via count-out. Sammy and MJF hugged like best friends over this business arrangement.

The Four Pillars story started the next stage with the tournament. The promo segment was alright. It felt like three dudes talking shit without anyone taking command of the segment. That fits in a way, since all three were so even in the rankings. Sammy and Jungle Boy rocked the ring with athleticism to put on a show. The MJF pay-off scenario seems played out on the surface. I’m okay with this instance, because there is no guarantee that Sammy will play ball at the PPV. He could easily view this as an easier path to the title shot then turn on MJF. I don’t expect we’ll get that far. Allin seems like a safe bet to win next week. Of all the Four Pillar matchups, MJF versus Sammy is the weakest draw for a PPV main event.

The Elite’s surprise friend

The Elite was outsmarted by the Blackpool Combat Club, but the quick thinking Don Callis brought a new ally into the story. The next step of this feud included Konosuke Takeshita.

Kenny Omega called out the BCC to the ring. Bryan Danielson answered on the big screen as a trick for Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and Wheeler Yuta to attack from behind. The Elite rallied hard, but the BCC were too much to handle. After Moxley planted Omega with a Death Rider, Danielson came down stage. Callis ran in with a chair, but he quickly retreated once realizing it was 4-on-1. Danielson grabbed his trusty screwdriver to do some stabbing. That’s when Callis ushered in Takeshita to clean house. The Japanese phenom stood tall with the Elite.

That melee was good fun. The Elite held their own pretty well. I was expecting a slaughter when BCC got the initial upper hand. Great move injecting Takeshita into a major story. They did so in a way that makes sense too, given the previous storytelling of Callis recruiting Takeshita. It is a fresh wrinkle to produce even more excitement. This can be a breakout role for Takeshita. At the least, it keeps him busy with exposure in a top story.

Arn Anderson pulls his Glock

Arn Anderson is back, baby!

Wardlow had a plan to deal with QT Marshall. That plan was placing a call to Anderson. It sounds like Arn agreed to manage Wardlow and tutor him in the Horsemen way.

Wardlow went into action against Will Hobbs for the TNT Championship. This was a satisfying hoss fight. It started strong with three consecutive belly-to-belly suplexes from Hobbs.

They also traded aerial feats. Hobbs landed a frog splash, and Wardlow connected on a swanton bomb. That was sweet sizzle, but this match was always about the slobberknocking steak. Wardlow and Hobbs had a hefty exchange of strikes that made me salivate with glee.

In the end, QT reared his ugly head. Harley Cameron created a distraction for QT to hit a cutter on Wardlow. Hobbs added a spinebuster, but Wardlow managed to kick out. Arn entered the ring to pull his finger Glock, so QT bailed. Pentagon came down the ramp to superkick QT back into the ring. The Enforcer spiked that rapscallion with a DDT.

Hobbs tried to score a roll-up amidst all that hullabaloo. Wardlow kicked out, then he powerbombed Hobbs three times in a row for victory. Wardlow regained the gold to become a three-time TNT champion.

That match was a heck of a lot of fun. It delivered on two hosses beating the stuffing out of each other, and it added the flourish of Arn handling QT. It’s a bummer that Hobbs’ title reign ends as a flash in the pan. Unfortunately, his run was more about getting QT over as a heel rather than establishing himself on a higher level. With the surprise extra of Arn, I’m okay with Wardlow taking the title. Learning the Horsemen way could be an intriguing tale to explore for Wardlow. Heck, it also might lead to a faction managed by The Enforcer. If that gives us more Arn on screen, then that is a plus in my book.

After the match, Christian Cage entered on stage with Luchasaurus. The unspoken message was calling next on Wardlow and the TNT Championship. Bring on more hoss fights! I love it.

Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Jamie Hayter defeated Toni Storm & Ruby Soho. Baker was in her hometown of Pittsburgh. Of course, the match built to a hot tag to the dentist. AEW’s home-grown women were on a roll until Saraya hit Baker in the head with a foreign object. Storm pounced for a piledriver, but Baker dramatically kicked out. Hayter hurt her shoulder being rammed into the ring steps. Baker overcame the odds for a Panama Sunrise and curb stomp to Soho. On the kick out, Baker transitioned to the Lock Jaw submission for victory.

Solid entertainment. There is always extra energy when the hometown hero is in the ring. Booking Hayter to be ‘injured’ seemed weird at the time, but it actually made sense later to cover for a story loophole in the Adam Cole segment. AEW laid it on a bit thick with Baker’s heroics. Not only did she kick out of a cheap shot to the head and Storm’s finisher, she also triumphed when outnumbered 3-to-1. It knocked some luster of the Outcasts in my eyes. Once AEW gets to Saraya versus Hayter for the AEW Women’s World Championship, it might be time to put this story to rest.

“Switchblade” Jay White defeated Komander. The luchador was intent on executing his rope-walking arsenal, but White was keen on defense to prevent the acrobatics. Komander persisted and eventually hit his rope-walking dive to pop the crowd.

Komander followed for a rope-walking shooting star press. In the end, White countered a submission into the cutthroat suplex and finished with the Blade Runner.

A subplot of the match was Shawn Spears ringside rating White’s moves. A chop earned a 4, so White went harder to earn a 6 from Spears. Komander’s special dive was rated a 10. After the match, Juice Robinson attacked Spears. Ricky Starks ran in to even the odds against Bullet Club Gold.

White earned the win clean in his Bullet Club Gold in-ring debut. He’s off on the right foot showing personality and ingenuity to beat the tricky luchador. Komander hit his high spots to leave a positive impression. Even though Komander didn’t get the win in the ring, he did get a win in life when Tony Khan announced an official All Elite signing. Maybe it’s just me, but Spears radiates heel vibes. He’s supposed to be a babyface right now, however, I don’t trust him. Starks better beware of a setup.

Chris Jericho face to face with Adam Cole. Cole started by professing his respect for Jericho. Jericho accepted the compliment and offered a handshake. So far so good. Once Jericho opened his mouth, it went downhill from there in terms of animosity. Jericho declared that has absolutely zero respect for Cole.

Words led to shoving, which led to fisticuffs. Daniel Garcia ran out to help stomp Cole. Britt Baker ran out to protect her man and slap Jericho. The Outcasts rumbled on the scene to smash Baker. Commentary put this over as a master plan from Jericho. JAS handcuffed Cole to the ropes, then Jericho handed a kendo stick to Saraya to whack Baker. Cole pleaded for them to stop.

I did not enjoy this segment much. Jericho was amusing with his lippiness. Cole makes me want to jump off his babyface train when he acts with tough guy bravado. That’s a tale too far for me to bite. When Baker was beat down, the melodramatics from Cole were so thick. It felt like All Access was influencing the hysterics. On the plus side, there is where booking Hayter’s ‘injury’ made sense. She was unable to help Baker. I appreciate that attention to detail when formulating the scene. Also, JAS and the Outcasts were scummy enough to rightfully earn jeers for heel heat.

The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn defeated Daddy Magic, Cool Hand Ang, & Jake Hager. JAS used a foreign object to punch Anthony Bowens, but he kicked out on the cover. The scissor crew rallied when Cool Hand accidentally punched Hager. That led to the Mic Drop combo for victory.

This was an amusing side feud. It got everyone screen time for several weeks, and the Acclaimed re-established their skills after losing the tag titles. Best of all, Daddy Magic’s nipples are safe.

Notes: Mark Briscoe was attacked before the show by the Varsity Athletes. Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh arrived to scare away the rude boys.

More than an hour later during show, FTR were informed about the situation. They ran into the training room to check on Briscoe. The doctor wouldn’t clear him so quickly. Briscoe suggested FTR team with Lethal and Jarrett for an 8-man on Rampage. All four were reluctant but agreed to help their friend.

Matt Hardy is playing with the Firm about not revealing the date for the fight at the Hardy Compound. Jeff Hardy teased that more info will come on Rampage.

Jade Cargill versus Taya Valkyrie for the TBS Championship was announced for next week on Dynamite.

Stud of the Show: Konosuke Takeshita

Demolishing the Blackpool Combat Club demands recognition.

Match of the Night: Wardlow vs. Will Hobbs

Hoss fight!

Grade: B

This episode had much more talking than usual, but it was necessary to progress feuds. The action was exciting in a variety of ways. The surprises of Arn Anderson and Konosuke Takeshita were electric. The show did suffer from too many similar spots. Brawling through the crowd is one example occurring in a few matches. The foreign object cheating was overused throughout the show. As a result, the babyface resilience crept a little into Super Cena range. That said, I do still fall for those false finishes almost every time. I can’t say they aren’t effective in building drama for the match. Overall, Dynamite was an entertaining two hours on the road to Double of Nothing.

Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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