3/30 AEW DYNAMITE RESULTS: Keller’s detailed report and analysis on Caster vs. Punk, Andrade vs. Darby, Moxley vs. Lethal, FTR vs. Gunn Club, more

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

KELLER’S AEW DYNAMITE REPORT
MARCH 30, 2022
COLUMBIA, S.C. AT COLONIAL LIFE ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON TBS

Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur

Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts


[HOUR ONE]

-They opened with the Dynamite theme. Then they went to the arena for pyro blasting as Jim Ross introduced the show.

(1) C.M. PUNK vs. MAX CASTER (w/Anthony Bowens)

Punk came out first. Caster came out and brought up “I’m like Will Smith, I’ll slap you if you’re smiling” and then he told a Hunter Biden cocaine joke (I think). He said his teeth are messed up and his movies are the only way he’ll ever go to sleep. He said he’s not the voice of the voiceless because the ladies say he’s the voice of the moistless. He also told a joke about having him crap his pants like he’s in CPAC. (That might’ve set a record for triggering more people in more pop culture and political spheres than any prior raps. Caster has to be riding high after John Cena complimenting his raps this week.) The announcers hyped the scheduled line-up and matches and segments. Ross said Caster needs more experience, but “don’t make any mistake, this Caster kid is going to be a star. He is a star.” Excalibur said Caster is looking for a breakout singles win. A loud “C.M. Punk” chant broke out.

Caster got in the majority of the offense. He spent time celebrating with Bowens and showboating. Ross and Schiavone talked about going for the win any chance a wrestler gets. Punk caught Caster on the top rope and took him off the top rope with a huracanrana. He followed with a running knee and a bulldog followed by a quick cover for a two count. Bowens yanked on Punk’s leg as he was sling-shotting himself. Caster then went for a Shane McMahon/Rob Van Dam style top rope flying dropkick three-fourths of the way across the ring and kicked Punk in the ribs with one boot for a near fall. Caster climbed quickly to the top rope and went for his Mic Drop flying elbow, but Punk moved. Punk then went for a piledriver. Caster didn’t go up at first, but then did on the second. He landed a regular piledriver which Ross called a “Tombstone.” He then floated over into a Anaconda Vice for the tapout win.

WINNER: Punk in 7:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Solid TV match. Caster isn’t in the top tier athletically, but that endorsement from Ross means something when he said he’s a future star. He does have something most wrestlers don’t. The key is whether he can show signs of being able to do his part in a higher profile singles match. He’s more in the Cody and Miz category of body types and athleticism than, say, Jungle Boy and Sammy Guevara at this point. And those two have done well for themselves.)

-Schiavone asked Punk about bringing up the AEW World Title lately. Punk signaled with his hands that he wants a belt around his waist. Punk put his arm around Schiavone and said he’s not sure who the champion will be in a week. He said it’ll either be Adam Cole or “Hangman” Page. He said he does know there’s a lot of gray in his beard now and there will be more gray before his time in AEW is over. He said there will also be more scars and he will be AEW World Champion before his time in AEW is over. The crowd cheered and his music kicked in again as fans chanted his name again. Excalibur said Punk could have come to AEW for a Greatest Hits tour, but he’s got higher aspirations.

-Alex Marvez was going to interview MJF and FTR backstage. “Smart” Mark Sterling was putting up flyers of Wardlow in the background. Marvez asked why they were doing that. MJF said they don’t say his name anymore because he doesn’t exist in his universe anymore. He said the Pinnacle are going to start getting wins now that the “big oaf” is out of the way. He said FTR will beat “the asinine boys” and then next week Shawn Spears will get an easy win over Shawn Dean. Dax said he’s not sure what’s going on between him and Wardlow, but MJF and Wardlow are both his friends. He said he doesn’t want to get in the middle of it. MJF said they’re not just his friends, they’re his “god damned family.” He said he didn’t want to tell them before because it would have hurt their feelings, but Wardlow used to “talk shit about you guys all the time.” FTR looked skeptical. MJF said they’re there to talk about winning, not Wardlow. He offered the Pinnacle hand stacking. Cash did it first, and Dax took a few seconds and looked away and wasn’t enthusiastic about it.

(2) JAY LETHAL vs. JON MOXLEY

Lethal came out first. Moxley came out through the crowd next. He wore his “Blackpool Combat Club” hoodie. Lethal offered a handshake. Moxley slapped his hand away and then had some words for Lethal. Lethal looked taken aback. Moxley looked unapologetic. Mox countered an armbar by tossing Lethal to the floor. When he went after Lethal, Lethal rolled back into the ring. A “Let’s Go Lethal / Let’s Go Moxley” dueling chant broke out. Mox took Lethal down into a side headlock briefly. Lethal countered with a headscissors. Mox returned to a headlock. Lethal broke free and attempted a figure-four, but Mox kicked him off and then threw him to the floor. When he went after him, again Lethal rolled back into the ring.

Mox entered the ring and aggressively walked toward Lethal with his hands behind his back. He then slapped Lethal. Lethal was fired up and threw a hard elbow to the side of Moxley’s face. They went back and forth. Lethal dropped to one knee. Lethal shoulder checked Mox. Mox came back with a German suplex. Then he mounted Lethal and punched away at him as the crowd counted along. Lethal shoved Mox off and Mox landed on the top rope. He then dove through the ropes and speared Mox into the ringside barricade. They jumped to a split-screen break as Ross said it’s anyone’s ballgame. [c/ss]

During the break, Moxley superplexed Lethal in the ring. A minute later they collided mid-ring with crossbody block attempts. Mox hit a King Kong Lariat a minute later. Lethal took a flip bump. Mox went for a piledriver, but Lethal resisted and lifted Mox onto his shoulders. Mox slipped out, so Lethal hit the Lethal Combination for a two count. Lethan took his time climbing to the to prope including briefly playing to the crowd (which makes babyfaces look so unfocused and undisciplined). Mox moved and then hit Lethal with a rolling elbow strike. Moxley’s knee gave out when he lifted Lethal in a double-underhook. Lethal went for a Lethal Injection, but Moxley countered with a sleeper. Lethal fell back and leveraged Mox’s shoulders down for a believable near fall. He followed with some kicks and a suplex followed by another top rope elbow drop attempt. This one connected (although it wasn’t an especially good looking elbow, as his right boot landed hard on the mat and he then sorta softly rolled onto Mox). He scored a two count. Lethal got upset the ref, showing frustration.

Lethal set up a figure-four, but Mox turned it into a small package for a near fall. He then landed the Paradigm Shift for the win.

WINNER: Moxley in 11:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: I am a big fan of Moxley when he keeps it mostly in the ring. He does so many things so well with an intensity that elevates some otherwise basic moves or exchanges. Lethal was solid here, too, and his body language and reactions to Moxley added to the match. I wish his signature top rope elbow drop didn’t look like someone diving into a pool who is scared to go all the way and ends up sorta hitting the water feet-first. His playing to the crowd before missing a move where the story is if he didn’t play to the crowd then he would have hit the move is something that takes me out of a match. The crowd ate up this match and, while Lethal lost, it elevated him in the AEW scheme to go toe-to-toe with Moxley like that on Dynamite.)

-Excliabur threw to a vignette on the arrival of Marina Shafir. It showed highlights of her matches on AEW Dark.

(Keller’s Analysis: This didn’t say anything about her personality or her character. It just showed her doing some moves. It was a good brief highlight package, but who is she? What is she about? It felt marketed in a way that suggested “of course everyone knows who she is” and I am sure many watching don’t.)

-The announcers hyped the upcoming matches. [c]

(3) FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) vs. THE GUNN CLUB (Colten & Austin w/Billy Gunn)

As the match was about to begin, MJF’s music played. FTR clearly didn’t know he was coming out and looked irritated. MJF shouted some encouraging words to FTR, then joined the commentators. “We used to say where’s Waldo, but now we’re saying where’s Wardlow,” he said. Ross told MJF he’s paying him to stay at home. Fans chanted “Ass Boys” at Colton and Austin. Ross said FTR remind him of the Midnight Express. MJF said that’s a good comparison. MJF said Billy Gunn’s kids are a little ugly, but smart. Billy hit Cash at ringside, then yelled, “Suck that, bitch!” Austin threw Cash into the ring, then tagged in a fresh Colten. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]

Back from the break, the Gunns were still in control. MJF said he’s sick of how disrespectful the Gunn boys are and how they always cheat. Cash hot-tagged in Dax who went to work on Austin and Colten as they each came at him. He scored a near fall on Austin after a short-arm clothesline. Colten pulled Dax’s leg on a suplex attempt, so Austin landed on top for a near fall as Colten held Dax’s boot also. They cut to Wardlow who showed up at the arena. He began tossing aside AEW security guys in the concourse. MJF said they’re just doing their jobs. He tossed one of them onto an obviously fake popcorn stand. (I mean, it existed. It was a table with bags of popcorn. But it wasn’t an actual sales table; it was clearly set up for that spot. And because of that, it just felt insultingly and needlessly stupid to use it. Also, there were no fans in that area, so it had obviously been cut off from fans prior to this, which made the fake popcorn sales table even more stupid. AEW should be above this amateur hour corny fake looking tropes.)

Wardlow walked down the steps and knocked over another security guy who took a cartoon bump. MJF told security to “maul” Wardlow. They did swarm him as MJF called him a “pig.” He said, “Get out of my arena!” Back in the ring, Billy stood on the ring apron and helped Austin avoid a sunset flip by grabbing his arms. Cash broke the grip. Dax and Cash then hit a quick Big Rig for the three count.

WINNERS: FTR in 12:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: I get that everyone’s inclination is to write off the Gunn sons because sons of wrestlers should be held to a high standard and not granted a push based on their family connections. That said, they take great bumps and run the ropes hard and have good heel body language. They don’t wrestle like they feel entitled to anything. They’re working hard and played their role in this match really well.)

-After the match, MJF entered the ring to congratulate them. Dax shoved MJF’s hand away and had heated words with him. Cash and Dax said Wardlow isn’t their business. Fans chanted “FTR!” MJF managed to let them raise their arms in victory, but there was still tension.

-A soundbite aired with Powerhouse Hobbs talking about Keith Lee. He said on Friday, Lee won’t bask in glory, he’ll bask in defeat courtesy of him. Lee then told Powerhouse to come bask in his glory.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good mic work from Hobbs and Lee. It’s nice to see Hobbs drop the exaggerated snarl and come across more authentic.) [c]

-The Jericho Appreciation Society stood backstage. Chris Jericho said: “For over three weeks, the Jericho Appreciation Society has been thee revolutionary force in sports entertainment.” He said calling himself The Influencer isn’t a catch phrase or a gimmick, it’s the truth. He said people from all over the world “including dirt sheet writers, fans, lowly pro wrestlers from every roster in this country want to be part of the J.A.S.” He said it won’t happen and there are only five of them. Daniel Garcia in a white tank top and dress pants and kangol hat said they’ve “future endeavored” those pro wrestlers who have gotten in their way like Alex Reynolds, John Silver, Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz. “Magic” Matt Manard looked around for them and said they aren’t anywhere to be seen. Jake Hager said they beat them up and they’re never coming back. Suddenly, Santana, Ortiz, and Kingston attacked them. Kingston came from an angle where it should have been obvious he was in their view before the “sneak attack.”

Kingston dragged Jericho back into the arena where fans chanted “Eddie! Eddie!” Then he gave Jericho a spinning backfist in the ring. He held Garcia up for a Santana kick at ringside. Santana and Ortiz set up Jericho for their Street Sweeper, but “Cool Hand” Angelo Parker and Hager made the save. Garcia locked Kingston in a shaprshooter and Jericho bashed him with his bat Floyd. Next, Jericho whipped Eddie with a belt. Ross said Kingston was being “whipped like an animal.” Ross said J.A.S. dominated.

-Schiavone interviewed Jade Cargill and “Smart” Mark Sterling backstage who stood in front of a backdrop with green lighting and green accessories. Schiavone asked who Jade’s 30th opponent would be. Sterling said they had two options, and he went with the most prestigious, “The Librarian” Leva Bates. Jade didn’t want her 30th win to be a joke. Bates left with a ridiculous cartoon pouty face. Sterling said then they’d face Marina Shafir. He said she’s an MMA fighter and black belt. Jade said he didn’t sound as confident as he should. Jade told Tony, “Cut the shit.”

[HOUR TWO]

(3) BRYAN DANIELSON vs. WHEELER YUTA

William Regal joined the announcers at the desk. Excalibur noted that Wheeler will be facing Josh Woods for the ROH Pure Championship on Friday. Regal said he’s very interested in watching that. Neither said it’s available on pay-per-view. A few minutes in, with Danielson controlling the action throughout, they cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]

After a mid-ring chop exchange, Yuta made a comeback and scored a two count with a backslide. He hit a German suplex into a bridge seconds later for another two count. Bryan bridged into a Cattle Mutilation, but Yuta escaped and elbowed Bryan over and over. Fans cheered as Yuta scored a leverage two count. Yuta showed fire as he went to lift Bryan. Bryan slipped out and hit the running high knee. That quieted the crowd. Danielson then grabbed Yuta’s arms and then spit at his face. He stomped away before then landing a Gotch-style piledriver. He followed up with a Crossface and a yank of his nose for the win. Ross touted it as “a hell of a wrestling match” with great “physicality.” Regal said he was very impressed by Yuta. “This beating is going to teach him a lot about this industry,” Regal said.

WINNER: Danielson in 10:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Danielson was more heelish against Yuta – just nasty and unlikable and arrogant – compared to Moxley against Lethal earlier, for whatever that’s worth. This was a fun match. I’m totally on board with Yuta getting this kind of push. He’s good in the ring and easy to like as that hard-working underdog with aspirations to grow.)

-A vignette aired hyping Darby vs. Andrade. Darby told Andrade to step up. Andrade said, “Kid, I slap sense into you… I hope tonight you show me who you are.”

-Adam Cole’s music played as Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish made their ring entrance. O’Reilly brought a broken-down box to the ring and opened it; five balloons floated out. Cole had the stolen AEW World Title belt and O’Reilly & Fish had the stolen tag titles. They had their names written on masking tape on the belts. Cole said “Hangman” Page and The Jurassic Express weren’t there tonight. He said they weren’t invited to the party, plus they’re embarrassed at how easily they stole their belts. He said, though, they’re not stolen because you can’t steal something that belongs to you. He said AEW needs a new “era” and a new crew to run the show. He said they’re the three best wrestlers on the planet. O’Reilly said they’re seeing a lot of haters who say they aren’t ranked high enough to challenge for the tag titles. O’Reilly intentionally lost his train of thought on purpose. He said he had too much champaign backstage and doesn’t feel good, so he needs to sit down. Fish said their reputations precede them. He said they’ll put their resumes up against anyone’s in the industry. When Cole began self-bragging some more, Hangman’s music interrupted.

Cole said Hangman isn’t there. They cut to the side of the arena where Hangman showed up in a white Tesla with cattle horns on the hood. He went after all three heels in the ring. Fans chanted “Cowboy Shit!” He tossed each of them around, one at a time. He set up a Buckshot Lariat on Cole, but Fish and O’Reilly made the save. Christian Cage, Jungle Boy, and Luchasaurus attacked them in the aisle and threw them into the ring for more of a beatdown. Christian threw Cole back into the ring, but Cole ducked a Buckshot attempt. Hangman backdropped a charging Cole over the top rope to the floor. The heel trio retreated up the ramp as Hangman’s music played.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good segment. The mic work was good from all three heels. The angle at the end with the run-in worked and the crowd popped for it.) [c]

-Schiavone interviewed Thunder Rosa on the stage. She said she became the first Mexican-born wrestler to win a title in AEW. She said she climbed her way to the top to become the face of the division. She said she wants to be the face of all women’s wrestling, not just that division. She said every time she gets to the top, there are bullies who want to take her down. She said bullies try to bring people like her down. She said pillars get knocked down, but foundations remain standing. She said she will be a foundation in the company. She told anyone to come get her because she is ready. She called out Nyla Rose by name. She asked if she needs Vickie to dumb down her message so she can understand her. She said she is ready to wrestle the best in the world and she’ll go anywhere and defend it.

(Keller’s Analysis: That was good. They don’t need to interrupt her or cover for her. That was a good mission-statement babyface promo for the start of a championship reign. She was confident without being arrogant.)

-FTR spoke backstage. Cash said some people say they take themselves too seriously, but that’s because they take their careers seriously. He said they’re already AAA Tag Team Champions, and on Friday they’ll become ROH Tag Team Champions, and eventually they’ll become the first-ever two-time AEW Tag Team Champions. Dax said they came to AEW to build a reputation, not lose their reputation. He said he loves pro wrestling too much to take second place ever in his career. He said he’s going to issue a challenge to the Young Bucks for a rematch to find out who is the greatest of all-time. “Top guys, out,” Dax said.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good mic work as they continue to travel to the babyface category of the roster.)

(4) THE BUNNY vs. TONI STORM – Owen Hart Foundation Tournament match

Storm walked out looking like she had her swagger back. The crowd popped. She soaked up the response, then strutted to the ring. Excalibur said she made her mark in the Stardom company in Japan. He recited her accomplishments there. Schiavone said fans were coming unglued. Ross said the tournament will conclude on May 29 in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena. Bunny talked trash early. Storm blocked her slap and knocked her down with an elbow. She followed with a snap suplex. Storm was moving around the ring much quicker and with more snap than her last run in WWE. Bunny kneed Storm in the mid-section and knocked her to the floor a minute later. Then she hit a running clothesline at ringside. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]

During the break, Storm made a comeback until Bunny reverse-whipped her into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Bunny landed a sliding clothesline into Storm in the corner. Storm came back with a backslide attempt, but then Bunny took over again. The two traded momentum until they both were down on the mat and slow to get up. They stood and exchanged strikes mid-ring. Bunny scratched Storm’s back. Storm fired back with a running clothesline. Storm headbutted Bunny’s chest and then hit a running hip attack followed by a fisherman’s suplex for a near fall. Ross said Curt Hennig had success with a version of that move. Bunny delivered a Death Valley Driver seconds later for a near fall. Bunny landed two sidekicks for a near fall. Ross said, “Toni Storm is kind of incredible.” Storm blocked a Rabbit Hole, then hit Storm Zero for the win.

WINNER: Storm in 10:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: An impressive debut for Storm, and Bunny is much improved this year too. AEW looks like they’re ready to get the most out of Storm, and Storm came looking like she’s serious about being a star and performing at her best in AEW.)

-Backstage Schiavone interviewed Vickie Guerrero and Nyla Rose. When Vickie talked, the mic wasn’t working. Nyla then said she is the foundation and cornerstone of the company since day one, and she refuses to be a footnote in the industry. She said she’ll cement her legacy with Rose’s blood. “You seem to have a death wish,” she said. “Well, allow me to grant it for you. I’ll be a genie. Abracadabra, bitch.”

(Keller’s Analysis: The pair of promos with Rose and Rosa are some of the better basic hype AEW has presented to build a women’s singles match. Sometimes the basic stuff works best. We can tell where each wrestler is coming form, what motivates them, and why one is likable and the other just isn’t.)

-They replayed Jeff Hardy’s big leap in the concourse last week. Excalibur hyped the Hardys vs. Butcher & Blade in a ladder match next week on Dynamite. Rampage features Young Bucks vs. Top Flight, House of Black vs. Fuego del Sol & Evil Uno & Stu Grayson, Jamie Hayter vs. Sky Blue, and Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Keith Lee, plus a Kris Statlander promo and a Dan Lambert, Paige VanZant, and Scorpio Sky promo. [c]

(5) ANDRADE vs. DARBY

Andrade jump-started the fight with a tornado dive onto Darby at ringside. Andrade continued to beat him up at ringside, including dropping him over the edge of the ring apron. Andrade strutted and yelled boastfully at ringside. When he charged, Darby side-stepped him and threw him into the ringside steps. He bashed Andrade with his skateboard and then leaped onto him with it. Next, he leaped off the ringside steps, but Andrade caught him and carried him for a while. Darby broke free and landed in the crowd. Excalibur noted the bell hasn’t rung yet. Andrade picked up Darby and threw him onto the ringside steps. Darby cringed in pain. Andrade rolled into the ring. Fans chanted “Holy shit!” The ref asked Darby if he wanted to start the match. Darby pulled himself onto the ring apron and agreed to let the ref start the match. The ref, somewhat reluctantly, called for the bell.

Andrade stomped on Darby and then threw him hard across the ring into the turnbuckles. Andrade landed running double knees in the corner, then made the cover. Darby grabbed the bottom rope to stop the count. They cut to a split-screen break with Andrade in control. [c/ss]

Andrade controlled the attack during the break. Back from the break, Darby caught a charging Andrade with a boot. Andrade fired back with a boot of his own to cut short Darby’s comeback. Darby stood and threw some hard slaps. Andrade fired back. They exchanged blows mid-ring which drew a rise from the crowd. Both went down and were slow to get up. Some fans briefly chanted, “This is awesome!” Andrade took off his belt to use. The ref took it from him. As the ref got rid of the belt, Darby tripped Andrade with his own belt followed by an over-the-top stunner for a near fall. Darby charged, but Andrade caught him and landed a backbreaker for a two count.

Andrade and Darby battled on the top turnbuckle. Andrade lifted Darby onto his shoulders. Darby fought out of it and landed a flip over crucifix and then shifted into a Fujiwara armbar. When Jose the Assistant walked down the ramp, Sting chased him down from behind. When Butcher and The Blade ran out, Darby leaped off the top rope onto both of them at ringside. He went for a Coffin Drop on Andrade, but Andrade caught him and gave him his  hammerlock DDT finisher for the win.

WINNER: Andrade in 11:00.

-After the match, Sting entered the ring to check on Darby. The heels attacked him. Private Party ran out and joined in the attack. The Hardys ran out for the save. Fans loudly chanted “Hardy! Hardy!” Matt cleared the ring with the chair until it was just Marq Quen. He gave him a Twist of Fate. Jeff gave him a Swanton Bomb. The Hardy song played as Ross called it one of the most exciting episodes they’ve ever brought them.

(Keller’s Analysis: That was a really good main event. Both wrestlers shined.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: One of AEW’s better shows in a while, I think, other than it not having a signature blockbuster angle or promo. Just start to finish really good and well-paced and well-produced.

1 Comment on 3/30 AEW DYNAMITE RESULTS: Keller’s detailed report and analysis on Caster vs. Punk, Andrade vs. Darby, Moxley vs. Lethal, FTR vs. Gunn Club, more

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