Date: April 20, 2022
Location: Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
Battle Of The Belts has come and gone and now we should be on the way to Double Or Nothing in May. That means it should be time to start getting ready for the bigger pushes as the card hasn’t been set up so far. CM Punk gets to face Dustin Rhodes tonight so let’s get to it.
Dustin Rhodes vs. CM Punk
They shake hands to start and it’s a feeling out process to get things going. The fans are split as they go technical, with a headlock not getting either of them very far. Punk takes him to the mat and cranks on the leg a bit but Dustin is right back up with a wristlock. Some armdrags into an armbar slow Punk down but he sends Rhodes outside, where the knee is banged up. Back in and Punk stays on the leg with some elbows and kicks as we take a break.
We come back with Rhodes sending him outside and hitting some clotheslines. Nine right hands in the corner set up a double middle finger and the tenth punch, but Rhodes’ knee gives out as he comes back down. Punk misses the running knee in the corner though and Rhodes hits a Code Red for two. Back up and Punk goes to the knee again, setting up a Figure Four.
Some slaps get Rhodes out of trouble though and he turns the hold over to send Punk to the ropes for the break. Punk’s springboard clothesline is punched out of the air and the Cross Rhodes drops Punk again. A piledriver gives Rhodes two and they’re both down again. Back up and Rhodes hits some Flip, Flop and Fly but Punk kicks him in the head. The GTS is loaded up but Punk can’t lift him off the shoulders, instead going with a cradle for the pin at 17:24.
Rating: B. You could hear JR’s interest in a wrestling match here and that is a good thing. This didn’t have anything over the top or gimmicky and that is something that will always work. I don’t think there was any serious drama about Punk losing, but they told a story and had a perfectly enjoyable match as a result. Solid stuff here, which shouldn’t be a surprise. I don’t care about Dustin that much, but you have to respect what he is doing almost 34 years after debuting.
Post match Punk goes to leave as Hangman Page arrives, meaning a staredown ensues.
Wardlow arrived earlier today when Mark Sterling and some security met him at the door. Said security is going to escort him to the closet, the ring, and then back to the closet. Oh and he has to be handcuffed until his match start. Finally, MJF has left a message for him, calling him a pig. Wardlow: “Oink oink b****.”
Blackpool Combat Club vs. Brock Anderson/Dante Martin/Lee Moriarty
William Regal does some singing on commentary as Wheeler stomps away to start. We settle down to Martin getting up onto the top to avoid Danielson’s running knee in the corner. Some dropkicks stagger the Club and Anderson comes in with a clothesline to Moxley. A half and half suplex drops Anderson though and we take a break.
Back with Danielson and Moriarty exchanging chops until a quick suplex gives Moriarty two. The Border City Stretch has Danielson in trouble but he slips out and brings Martin back in to start the house cleaning. The Nose Dive takes a second too long due to a slip and Moxley pulls him into a choke. Moriarty kicks Moxley in the back for…well nothing actually, as Moxley says kick him again. The Club all strike away at the same time (cool visual) until the Paradigm Shift finishes Martin at 8:07.
Rating: C+. The Club dominated here and that is a fine way to go, as it isn’t like their opponents had much to lose. The visual of the Club beating on the other three at the same time was great and it showed you just how good they are at the same time. Other than that, this was your old school Saturday Night/Worldwide main event, with some bigger names beating up some people who are just a step above being squashed.
The Undisputed Elite talk about their recent losses and want to right the ship. Adam Cole likes the idea so next week it’s an open challenge ten man tag. Cole has to go take care of something though and leaves the other four there.
Video on Samoa Joe vs. Jay Lethal/Sonjay Dutt/Satnam Singh. Joe is promising violence.
Tony Khan is here to announce the big announcement. He brings out the New Japan Pro Wrestling President but Adam Cole pops up on screen to announce that Forbidden Door, a New Japan/AEW supershow, will take place in Chicago on June 26. This Friday you’ll get a special preview with Cole vs. Tomohiro Ishii, but for now, Cole’s friend has something to say. Cue Jay White to say that the last time New Japan did something like this, he single handedly sold out Madison Square Garden. This is about the Undisputed Elite and Bullet Club because it’s still their era.
Jade Cargill and some of her Baddies (with popcorn) aren’t impressed by Marina Shafir, as Cargill is ready to be the Problem Solver to the Problem.
Butcher vs. Wardlow
Before the match, MJF and Shawn Spears (also eating popcorn, which he throws to the crowd) are in a sky box to insult the crowd and bring out Wardlow (still cuffed), sans music or pyro. The cuffs come off and they collide in the middle before trading shots to the face. Butcher bites his head and they head outside, where Wardlow won’t let him grab a chair. Instead Wardlow gets his back driven into the apron and they head back inside where Butcher hits his own powerbomb for one. That fires Wardlow up though and a four movement Powerbomb Symphony finishes Butcher at 4:14.
Rating: C+. That’s how it should have gone, as Wardlow hung in there and took everything a monster threw at him before winning in the end. It is another step towards Wardlow getting his hands on MJF as another hurdle is cleared, likely on the way to Double Or Nothing. Pretty good hoss fight here, but this was about having two bulls beat each other up and they did it like they should have.
Post match Wardlow is cuffed again and taken out.
Eddie Kingston wants to face Daniel Garcia with all of their friends out of the building. Everything he is going to do to Garcia is going to happen to Chris Jericho too, so be ready.
Owen Hart Foundation Qualifying Match: Kyle O’Reilly vs. Jungle Boy
They go technical to start and head to the mat with O’Reilly holding him down by the hands. Back up and a springboard wristdrag takes Jungle Boy down into the corner but he comes back with some strikes to the face. O’Reilly knees him in the face and rolls his butterfly suplexes into a swinging faceplant.
We take a break and come back with Jungle Boy kicking his way out of the corner. Some running forearms are cut off with a kick to the leg but Jungle Boy hits a springboard tornado DDT. A front chancery goes on but O’Reilly hits a suplex, only to get clotheslined down hard. O’Reilly’s charge into the corner is countered into an overhead belly to belly suplex and Jungle Boy unloads with right hands in the corner.
Some stomping in the Tree of Woe has O’Reilly down even more and there’s a sliding basement dropkick. They miss some kicks to the chest until Jungle Boy rolls him up for two. The kickout lets O’Reilly grab an ankle lock but Jungle Boy reverses into the Snare Trap, with O’Reilly having to crawl to the rope. O’Reilly is good enough to catch Jungle Boy on top and it’s a superplex into a brainbuster to plant Jungle Boy again. The top rope knee to the back gives O’Reilly the pin at 12:53.
Rating: B-. This went longer than I expected and the ending was a bit of a surprise. I would have bet on the Undisputed Elite continuing its slide but Jungle Boy got beat clean. It’s not a terrible thing to have a tag team wrestler lose to someone with a lot more singles success, but I’m curious to see where this goes. Good action here though, as they allowed talented wrestlers to take their time and do something.
Post match a somewhat disappointed Christian Cage comes out to walk Jungle Boy to the back.
MJF doesn’t want to hear about Butcher losing because he has another plan. He hands Jake Roberts an envelope full of money as he seems to have rented Lance Archer. Roberts goes into a weird rant about how Wardlow needs to lie like he did when he was a kid, but Archer just wants to beat up Wardlow.
Hook vs. Anthony Henry
The fans like Hook, who starts fast with the release northern lights suplex. A running clothesline to the back of the head sets up some crossface shots but here is Danhausen to curse Hook again. It matters not as Hook Redrums Henry for the tap at 1:19. Simple and to the point again.
Post match Danhausen gets in the ring because he has had it with Hook embarrassing him. If Hook doesn’t want to be cursed by Danhausen, Hook will FIGHT DANHAUSEN! A poke to the chest annoys Hook, who walks past Danhausen without hurting him.
Frankie Kazarian wants to challenge Sammy Guevara but Scorpio Sky comes in. Sky thanks Kazarian for helping him get this far and now he needs one more favor: let Sky face Guevara first. Kazarian says he has always had Sky’s back and he always will, so the deal seems to be made. Sky coming in to surprise Kazarian would have been more impactful if Excalibur hadn’t said we were going to the back to Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky.
Thunder Rosa wants the most experienced and best challengers she can find. Now it is time to go double or nothing.
Here are Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti for a chat. Sammy thanks the fans for their support but not the ones who turned their backs on them in the first. Are they mad because his girlfriend is hotter than theirs? Those fans’ only option is to, said together, BE MAD. Cue the Men of the Year, with Ethan Page going on a rant about how Dan Lambert isn’t allowing the two of them to come to the ring and beat him into a bloody pulp.
Lambert talks about how youth is wasted on the young like Guevara. Now give Sky the rematch he wants or Page and Sky will come to the ring and give Sammy the pounding Conti dreams about. Guevara agrees to the match if they can have the mixed tag match they want (opponents not specified). Sky vs. Guevara is on next week….and it’s a ladder match, because we have gone a few weeks since the last one.
The House of Black says people have flown too close to the sun so next week, the sun dies.
Owen Hart Foundation Qualifying Match: Danielle Kamela vs. Britt Baker
Baker comes out with some Pittsburgh Steelers to make JR happy and Kamela is better known as Vanessa Borne from NXT. Baker takes her to the mat to start and seems rather pleased as we take an early break. Back with Kamela waving the Terrible Towel, which doesn’t sit well with Baker. Kamela gets hammered down and it’s a Stomp into the Lockjaw, complete with a Pittsburgh Steelers glove, to give Baker the win at 6:13.
Rating: C. This was about getting Baker out there in front of the Pittsburgh crowd, who loved every single thing she did. They didn’t bother trying to make her anything resembling a villain as there wouldn’t have been a point. What we got was a squash (which didn’t need the break) and Baker looking like a killer on her way into a likely deep run in the tournament.
Post match Baker grabs the mic and runs down the rest of the women’s division, especially Toni Storm and Jade Cargill. As for the Baddies, sit down because she is the baddest b**** on the block and will be winning this tournament. Baker had the crowd in her hand and she knew it.
Video on Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb, which will be taking place in a street fight next week.
Excalibur shows amazing lung capacity by running down upcoming matches, including FTR exploding in an Owen Hart Foundation qualifying match.
Andrade El Idolo vs. Darby Allin
Coffin match and the AFO is here with Andrade. The numbers game doesn’t take long to stat as Allin gets stomped down but he manages some skateboard shots. Andrade hits him in the back with the skateboard though and they fight into the crowd. Marq Quen rips up a Sting sign….which is held by a disguised Sting, who helps beat up the rest of the AFO. Good thing they came into that part of the crowd and Quen went after him, or Allin would have been kind of screwed.
They go into the balcony where Sting gets chaired in the back, only to pop up and dive off the balcony onto a pile of people. We take a break and come back with Allin getting suplexed on the floor before being knocked into the open casket. That means we get to see the thumbtacks under the lid (because of course) with Allin sacrificing his own arm to avoid being closed in.
Andrade powers him up with a suplex onto the ramp and looks down at a metal grate. That means a toss suplex onto the grate and Andrade takes him back to the ring, where the referee tells them 90 seconds. Allin manages a flipping Stunner to send Andrade throat first onto the top, setting up a suicide elbow to drive them both into the coffin. The tacked lid is slammed onto Andrade but here is Jose to stop the lid from being closed. Jose gets backdropped onto the lid and another slam of said lid onto Andrade is enough to give Allin the win at 12:17.
Rating: B-. There was a lot going on here and some of it probably could have been cut out to let things flow a bit better. That being said, I’ll take Allin winning the feud, hopefully once and for all, as this has gone on long enough. Allin needed a win after not doing much in recent weeks, though I have no idea where he goes from here. Maybe the Owen Hart Tournament, but is that all that interesting for him?
Sting comes out to celebrate and the Hardys appear to do the DELETE pose on the stage to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. Solid enough show here and they’re making me wonder where some of these things are going. Teasing Hangman vs. Punk instantly makes things more interesting, though I’m going to need a lot from Hangman to make me buy into the whole thing. Other than that, you had had some good action here, even if this felt more like the show that sets up the bigger shows. You need those every now and then though and it worked well this week.
CM Punk b. Dustin Rhodes – Rollup
Blackpool Combat Club b. Lee Moriarty/Dante Martin/Brock Anderson – Paradigm Shift to Martin
Wardlow b. Butcher – Powerbomb Symphony
Kyle O’Reilly b. Jungle Boy – Top rope knee to the back
Hook b. Anthony Henry – Redrum
Britt Baker b. Danielle Kamela – Lockjaw
Darby Allin b. Andrade El Idolo – Allin shut El Idolo in the coffin
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