ALL ELITE WRESTLING DYNAMITE PREVIEW 5/25: Preview and match and segment line-up for tonight’s episode, Double or Nothing hype

BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR

Double Or Nothing PPV primer
PHOTO CREDIT: AEW

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

ALL ELITE WRESTLING DYNAMITE PREVIEW
THREE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY EDITION
MAY 25, 2022
LAS VEGAS, NV. AT THE MICHELOB ULTRA ARENA
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

  • ROH Television Champion Samoa Joe defeated Johnny Elite (the former John Morrison of WWE) to advance to the semifinals of the Owen Hart Foundation tournament.
  • AEW World Champion “Hangman” Adam Page defeated Konosuke Takeshita in a non-title match with CM Punk on commentary.
  • “Limitless” Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland defeated The Workhorsemen (J.D. Drake & Anthony Henry).
  • Wardlow received his “contractual” 10 lashed from MJF and Shawn Spears.
  • Kyle O’Reilly defeated Rey Fenix to advance to the semi-finals of the Owen Hart Foundation tournament.
  • Chris Jericho (w/the Jericho Appreciation Society) and William Regal (w/Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, Eddie Kingston, and Santana & Ortiz) had a face-off. After a long (and weird) exchange they set up a match for Double or Nothing, which would soon be announced as Anarchy in the Arena.
  • Dr. Britt Baker defeated Maki Itoh to advance to the semifinals of the Owen Hart Foundation tournament.
  • Adam Cole defeated Jeff Hardy to advance to the semifinals of the Owen Hart Foundation tournament.

Arena

AEW makes its debut in the Michelob Ultra Arena located in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. It opened as the Mandalay Events Center in 1999 and has hosted various sports and entertainment events, including WWE’s 999th episode of Raw in July of 2012. The name of the arena was changed last year. It is the home of the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA and will be home to the Las Vegas Desert Dogs of the National Lacrosse League.

Five matches and two non-wrestling segments are announced for the show as we begin a big week, heading towards Double or Nothing which takes place this Sunday. This Friday’s Rampage will be live from the same building. Here’s the “Road to Las Vegas” from AEW’s YouTube page:

Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Semifinal Matches

Samoa Joe vs. Kyle O’Reilly

Samoa Joe and Kyle O‘Reilly continue their journey towards the Owen Hart Cup as they meet in the semifinals of the tournament. Joe has defeated Max Caster of The Acclaimed to qualify and was saddled with facing a joker last week who turned out to be Johnny Elite (the former John Morrison of WWE). O’Reilly’s journey included facing Jungle Boy, one half of the reigning AEW Tag Team Champions (Jurassic Express), to qualify and then Rey Fenix of The Lucha Brothers on last week’s Dynamite.

The winner faces Adam Cole in the finals at Double or Nothing. These two gentlemen are no strangers to one another. They met during their time in Ring of Honor back in 2015:

Dr. Britt Baker vs. Toni Storm

Dr. Britt Baker and Toni Storm are on a collision course this week as they met in the semifinals of the Owen tournament on the women’s side. Toni qualified by defeating The Bunny in a qualifying match which was also her AEW debut on Dynamite. She then defeated Baker’s cohort Jamie Hayter back on the May 11 tapings in the UBS Arena on Long Island. Baker’s journey started with defeating Danielle Kamela to qualify, and then like Samoa Joe was saddled with facing a joker last week which turned out to be Maki Itoh of Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling. Baker defeated Maki, a woman with whom she teamed at the 2021 Revolution event to defeat Thunder Rosa and Riho. Maki replaced Baker’s original partner Rebel.

You could say this is a dream match for Baker maybe? When Toni got her release from WWE back in December of last year, Baker put up this tweet suggesting she wanted a match with Toni:

The winner faces the winner of the match between Ruby Soho and Kris Statlander, which takes place this Friday on a live Rampage.

Frank’s Analysis: I’m leaning towards Joe facing Cole in the finals. Not that a match between Cole and O’Reilly wouldn’t be appealing for obvious reasons, but I think they want to avoid that right now for one and two, a Joe vs. Cole match stands out more to be at least in terms of building a PPV. For the women I like Wade Keller’s idea of Toni Storm winning this tournament, and she should. Ruby Soho doesn’t need it. I don’t see Statlander as it doesn’t feel like she is getting a big push and I can’t see her beating either Toni or Baker even if she goes to the finals. I mean, do they want Baker and Cole winning their respective tourneys so boyfriend and girlfriend can win and be sort of a “power couple?” I don’t know. I’d avoid that (I can’t explain why I don’t like that).

ROH Tag Team Championship: FTR (champs) vs. Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero & Trent Beretta)

Well … two things are apparent after last week. Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero and Trent Beretta) are back together, number one. Number two, they are in pursuit of the ROH Tag Team Championship. They also want the IWGP (New Japan Pro Wrestling) and AEW Tag Team Championships but will start their pursuit with the ROH titles and thus challenged FTR for a match. FTR responded in the affirmative on Rampage.

FTR have held the ROH Tag Titles since December of last year when they defeated The Briscoe Brothers at ROH’s Final Battle PPV. They also hold the AAA Tag Team Championship, which they won by defeating The Lucha Brothers back in October on Dynamite. Roppongi Vice spent two years as a team in Ring of Honor from 2015-2017 and came up short to Matt & Jeff Hardy in their quest to gain the championship. They are four-time holders of the IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship during their time in NJPW over the same years they were a part of ROH.

Frank’s Analysis: Why doesn’t Roppongi Vice want the AAA Tag Team Championship too? Anyway, the integration of ROH into AEW television continues to feel a little weird. I get that Tony bought the company but, if I wasn’t a viewer of the product why do I care? I know the matches usually turn out to be good, but I need to have investment in the titles to care. This is a small thing, but does anybody really care that Roppongi Vice is back together? I mean I know Roppongi Vice from New Japan, but I don’t know that everyone else does. Maybe people don’t care and I’m being too hard on AEW, I don’t know.

Steel Cage Match: Wardlow vs. Shawn Spears with MJF as the Referee

This week Wardlow meets the other condition of getting a match with MJF at Double or Nothing when he faces Shawn Spears inside a steel cage. MJF will be the special guest referee. Last week on Dynamite, Wardlow faced the first condition in which he received 10 lashes from MJF and Spears. He got the lashes alright but got more than 10 after MJF kicked him in the business. Afterwards, MJF hit Wardlow with the Dynamite Diamond Ring and then Spears delivered a slam.

Ironically, Wardlow faced Cody Rhodes in a steel cage in February of 2020 in the run-up to MJF’s match against Cody at that year’s Revolution. Like Wardlow, the steel cage match and 10 lashes were conditions that Cody had to meet to have the match with MJF. Wardlow assisted MJF in giving Cody 10 lashes.

At Double or Nothing, if Wardlow loses to MJF, he can never “sign with AEW.” If Wardlow wins, MJF will let him out of his contract, and he would be free to sign with AEW. Even since losing to CM Punk at Revolution due to Wardlow giving the Dynamite Diamond Ring to Punk, MJF has been forcing him to come to the ring in handcuffs and under heavy security with no entrance music being played.

Frank’s Analysis: I’m not complaining that they’re almost repeating stanza by stanza what they did between MJF and Cody two years ago, but here’s hoping they come up with something different for MJF’s next feud. Cody had to go through conditions, Chris Jericho had to do the “labors of Jericho,” and Punk had to meet certain conditions. This has still been overall. I just don’t know how Wardlow comes out of this. I’m not sold on him, but we’ll see.

Three-Way Match: Jungle Boy vs. Swerve Strickland vs. Ricky Starks

We’re headed towards a three-way match for the AEW Tag Team Championship at Double or Nothing. Reigning champions Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) will defend against “Limitless” Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland and Powerhouse Hobbs & Ricky Starks.

Last week on Dynamite, Lee & Swerve defeated The Workhorsemen. After the match, Lee announced that because of their win they are now a top-five ranked team. Starks & Hobbs came out and Starks frustratingly said that he not only beat Jungle Boy (on the previous show) but he beat Swerve as well. Christian came out with the champs and said they would face both teams at Double or Nothing. He then said Jungle Boy would face Swerve and Starks in a three-way as a warmup this week on Dynamite.

Jurassic Express have been the champions since beating the Lucha Brothers back in January. Lee & Swerve came in to AEW after their no-compete clause with WWE was up and have been affiliated with each other for just about the entire them they’ve been with the promotion. Starks & Hobbs are members of Team Taz and Starks is still the reigning FTW Champion after retaining over Jungle Boy two weeks ago.

Frank’s Analysis: This is the second straight PPV with a three-way match for the tag team championship. I’m not a fan of three-way matches, but I’m ok with them for the right reasons. Christian saying that Jurassic Express will face both teams because they are bickering in the ring is not the right reason. On top of that they’re doing two three-way matches in a week. I don’t like the pattern. In addition, how do the rankings work now? On AEW’s website they don’t even have the records anymore. At least when they had them you could debate the rankings. Now the rankings seem arbitrary.

Non-Wrestling Segments Announced

AEW World Champion “Hangman” Adam Page and CM Punk Face-to-Face.

Hangman Page and CM Punk will have a face-off as they head towards their match at Double or Nothing for the AEW Championship. They have each been on commentary for respective matches over the past two weeks. Page was on commentary for Punk’s win over John Silver in Long Island on May 11. Punk was on commentary for Page’s non-title victory of Konosuke Takeshita last week and after the match they stared each other down as Punk made his way to the ring while Page was leaving.

There’s been a little gamesmanship as Punk beat Silver with Page’s Buckshot Lariat while Page beat Takeshita with the GTS. Promos have been edgy as Page said he would destroy Punk and there would be no “masturbatory Bret Hart-type match.” Punk told Page that his desire to win the championship was business and not personal.

This will be Punk’s first shot at a world championship since he challenged Alberto Del Rio in the WWE back in 2011 at Survivor Series. He won the title that night and held it for over 400 days until losing it to The Rock at the 2013 Royal Rumble. Page has been AEW World Champion since defeating Kenny Omega at Full Gear back in November.

“We Hear from” AEW Women’s World Champion Thunder Rosa

Thunder Rosa is on her way to Double or Nothing to defend her championship against Serena Deeb. Last week on Dynamite, Deeb interrupted Tony Schiavone as he was about to plug this week’s proceedings which marks the three-year anniversary of AEW. She took issue with what Tony said about her in the previous week and called out Dustin Rhodes, who said she couldn’t beat Thunder Rosa. She talked about paying her dues including putting in breast implants to satisfy “some old perverts,” shaving her head (referring to her days in the Straight Edge Society with CM Punk in WWE circa 2010). She slapped Dustin and then Rosa came out. Eventually Deeb cheap-shotted Rosa with the title belt.

Rosa has been AEW Women’s Champion since defeating Dr. Britt Baker at St. Patrick’s Slam in March. Deeb won a bunch of “five-minute challenges” and won out a feud with Hikaru Shida that started back in the fall of last year. This is not their first dance in AEW. They competed over the NWA Women’s Championship back in the fall of 2020:

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

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