ALL ELITE WRESTLING DYNAMITE PREVIEW 4/20: The doctor is back In, Punk vs. Dustin, more

BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR

Dustin Runnels

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

ALL ELITE WRESTLING DYNAMITE PREVIEW
APRIL 20, 2022
PITTSBURGH, PA. AT THE PETERSEN EVENTS CENTER
AIRS ON TBS NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST, 7:00 p.m. CST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross

Last Week

  • CM Punk defeated Penta Oscuro.
  • Jurassic Express defeated ReDRagon to retain the AEW Tag Team Championship.
  • “Captain” Shawn Dean defeated MJF via countout.
  • The Jericho Appreciation Society (Chris Jericho, Daniel Garcia, and Jake Hager) defeated Eddie Kingston and Santana & Ortiz.
  • “The Problem” Marina Shafir defeated Skye Blue.
  • Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs of Team Taz defeated Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland.
  • Samoa Joe defeated Minoru Suzuki to win the Ring of Honor Television Championship. Afterwards, Satnam Singh made his AEW debut attacking Joe.

Arena

This week’s AEW Dynamite and Rampage tapings take place in the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The arena, known as “The Pete,” is located on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh and opened on April 27, 2002, and thus we are near its 20-year anniversary. It hosted one of the first episodes of Dynamite in October of 2019.

Tonight’s episode of Dynamite features six pre-advertised matches, a return, and an announcement. Here is AEW’s Road to Pittsburgh on their YouTube page:

Dr. Britt Baker Returns; Faces Danielle Kamela in an Owen Hart Qualifying Match

After losing her AEW Women’s Championship to Thunder Rosa on the St. Patrick’s Slam edition of Dynamite, Dr. Britt Baker makes her return to AEW television in her hometown of Pittsburgh. She will face Danielle Kamela in an Owen Hart Cup tournament qualifying match. Kamela is the former Vanessa Borne from WWE, who was released from her contract in May of 2021. She has worked two matches on Dark, winning one and losing to Marina Shafir.

The winner of this match will face Ruby Soho, who qualified by defeating Robyn Renegade on Rampage.

Baker defeated Hikaru Shida for the championship at the 2021 edition of Double or Nothing, the first AEW PPV at the time to have a full live crowd since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. She defeated Kris Statlander, Ruby Soho, Riho, and Tay Conti amongst others throughout her near one-year reign.

Coffin Match: Darby Allin vs. Andrade “El Idolo”

Things will finally come to a head between Darby Allin and Andrade “El Idolo” tonight when they face one-on-one in a Coffin Match. Darby challenged Andrade in a pre-recorded vignette last week which saw him skateboarding and knocking over a frame of a coffin. He said he wanted to put a “nail in this whole thing.”

Andrade tried to recruit Darby into the AFO (Andrade Family Office) as far back as the end of 2021 when it was the AHFO (Andrade Hardy Family Office) and went so far as to involve Sting. Matt Hardy was voted out of the group and starting teaming with his brother Jeff. The Hardys and Darby & Sting have had various matches with members of the AHFO throughout most of the beginning of 2022.

CM Punk vs. “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes

In a match that seemingly came out of nowhere, CM Punk will go one-on-one with “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes. This past Friday on Rampage, Dustin talked about taking Lance Archer out of the top five after defeating him on Rampage several weeks ago. He then challenged CM Punk, calling facing him a “bucket list” match. Later in the show, the match was officially announced for tonight.

Dustin has been in AEW from its inception and lost to his recently departed-for-WWE brother Cody at the first Double or Nothing in 2019. After both bled heavily in the highly regarded match, they teamed together but lost to the Young Bucks at the subsequent event Fight for the Fallen. Punk defeated MJF in a Dog Collar Match at this year’s Revolution and has since accumulated victories over Dax Harwood of FTR and Penta Oscuro. He has declared his intention to become the AEW World Champion, and is likely to face “Hangman” Adam Page at Double or Nothing.

Owen Hart Qualifying Match: Jungle Boy vs. Kyle O’Reilly

The men’s side of the Owen Hart Cup will continue to take shape as one half of the AEW Tag Team Champions, Jungle Boy of Jurassic Express, will go one-on-one with Kyle O’Reilly of ReDRagon. This is a short turnaround in terms of facing each other for these gentlemen, as Jurassic Express defeated ReDRagon (O’Reilly and Bobby Fish) to retain the championship last week. The winner of this match will face Samoa Joe in the quarterfinals. Joe defeated Max Caster of The Acclaimed to qualify.

Last week was not the first time Jurassic Express and ReDRagon faced each other for the titles. Both teams were in a triple threat match that involved The Young Bucks at Revolution for the championship, which of course was won by Jurassic Express. In addition, all men were involved in the recent feud between “Hangman” Adam Page and Adam Cole over the AEW Championship. The post-match happenings after Cole and Christian Cage faced each other set up the Texas Death match on Rampage between Cole and Page.

Hook’s Dynamite Debut

Hook has officially been sent to Dynamite as he makes his in-ring debut tonight. Last week on Dynamite, a pre-recorded interview was shown with Lexy Nair. As Hook was about to talk, he was interrupted by “Smart” Mark Sterling and Tony Nese, who said they should be the ones interviewed. When Hook stood up, they left, and then Danhausen appeared behind him. Hook through a weighted ball over his head and it hit Danhausen, and then walked away without saying a word. Danhausen has been attempting to curse Hook, but he hasn’t cared.

Wardlow vs. The Butcher

By order of MJF, Wardlow goes one-on-one with The Butcher of the AHFO. Wardlow interfered in MJF’s match with “Captain” Shawn Dean, who defeated him via count out for the second time. Wardlow posed as a security guard during the match, and when he was spotted by MJF he ran up the ramp. He was about to powerbomb Shawn Spears who hit him with a chair when security guards thwarted his efforts. Meanwhile, MJF was being counted out although the referee stopped at the behest of MJF when he said he’d triple his pay not to count to ten. The ref counted him out anyway, and Dean was the winner. Later, “Smart” Mark Sterling pointed out that in Wardlow’s contract, MJF can decide his opponents, who subsequently chose The Butcher.

Wardlow in storyline is under contract to MJF. MJF ordered Wardlow stay home after he betrayed him at Revolution by giving CM Punk the Dynamite Diamond ring during their Dog Collar match.

Tony Khan to Make Major Announcement

AEW and Ring of Honor owner Tony Khan will make a major announcement tonight. Speculation has landed on a few rumors including a “supershow” featuring AEW and New Japan Pro Wrestling some time in June. Another is a potential streaming deal, which could find AEW and/or Ring of Honor content on HBO Max, which is owned by Warner Media and is seen as a natural fit with AEW television on TBS and TNT.

(I have no inside information and these rumors are speculative. These aren’t rumors that haven’t been parsed on the great various podcasts here at the Pro Wrestling Torch.)

Tony’s last major announcement was made nearly two months ago on Dynamite when he announced the purchase of Ring of Honor. He presided over the Supercard of Honor during WrestleMania weekend.

Frank’s Analysis: I’m most looking forward to Punk vs. Dustin. Dustin’s recent work is interesting. I don’t know if we should read anything more into getting the most they can out of a veteran in his remaining years, but it’s fine by me. It could be a little middle finger to Cody, who left for WWE, but I’m not sure. The coffin match will be entertaining, but I haven’t forgotten Andrade trying to recruit Darby. I don’t know if that’s still in play, nor do I know if I want to see Darby go heel and join Andrade, but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind. Dr. Baker’s return in her hometown will be a fun watch, and her path forward will be interesting to see develop with a heel TBS Champion and a babyface Women’s Champion in play. Does she turn babyface or stay heel, accumulate some victories, and go after Rosa down the line for the AEW Women’s Championship? I don’t have much to say about the Owen Hart qualifiers, but at least there’s some backstory with Jungle Boy and O’Reilly. As far as the announcement by Khan goes, am I curious about it? Of course, I am. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t, but there’s another part of me that’s growing a numbness to the announcements and debuts, etc. You’re conditioning the audience to constantly expect something new and big and at some point, when do you “play with the toys you have?” I’m not trying to stop the man from growing his company, and hopefully the influx of talent and what is coming pays off in the long run.

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!

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