This week AEW returns to Florida, making our debut in the Ft. Lauderdale area at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, and all eyes are falling on DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023 on May 28th in Las Vegas! With “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry eliminated from the Four Pillars Tournament, Darby Allin and Sammy Guevara collide in their fifth AEW one-on-one contest to determine who will challenge MJF for the AEW World Championship in one month’s time. Plus, Adam Cole will address the heinous events of last week, Orange Cassidy will defend his AEW International Championship against the returning former ROH World Champion Bandido, and Jade Cargill finally collides with Taya Valkyrie for the TBS Championship!
All that and more comes your way when DYNAMITE begins at 8pm ET/7pm CT LIVEon TBS, as well as at AEWPlus.com (https://www.fite.tv/join/aew-plus/) for our international audiences, and the official AEW YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFN4JkGP_bVhAdBsoV9xftA/videos) is the best place for highlights from last week’s DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as the recent episodes of AEW DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, ROAD TO, THE CONTROL CENTER, and much, much more!
Jeff Jarrett vs. AEW World Tag Team Champion Dax Harwood
On Saturday night’s edition of RAMPAGE, the AEW World Tag Team Champions FTW teamed with Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett, at the behest of Mark Briscoe, to get some revenge against “Smart” Mark Sterling’s ilk for their brazen assault on the 13-Time former ROH World Tag Team Champion. To the surprise of few, the partnership was far from copacetic, but FTR and Lethal’s contingent managed to co-exist long enough to score the victory. Getting there wasn’t without its hiccups though, at one point Jarrett punched Dax in the mouth while trying to hit Sterling, a moment that nearly led to Harwood getting pinned by Tony Nese.
Even after the match, the argument between the two sides picked up as soon as the three count finished, and it was only the intervention of Mark Briscoe that kept it from escalating into something more violent. Who’d have thought Mark would end up in the position of peacemaker? At least he managed to quell the situation in the moment, but come this Wednesday night in Florida, all bets are off when Dax Harwood and Jeff Jarrett lock horns for the very first time!
Now it’s pretty clear that Mark Briscoe only looks at Jay Lethal as his friend on that side of the coin, while he has become quite close with FTR after his and Jay Briscoe’s trilogy of wars with the duo in 2022. So it’s reasonable to think Mark would rally behind Dax in this situation, but the sheer fact Briscoe has shared a ring with Jeff Jarrett as a partner shows that nothing is for certain!
TAG TEAM CHALLENGE…
Kenny Omega & Konosuke Takeshita vs. The Butcher And The Blade (The Blade & The Butcher)
Last week on DYMAMITE, as The Elite were again assaulted by The Blackpool Combat Club, with Bryan Danielson intent on doing to Kenny Omega the same thing that Jon Moxley had done to Hangman Page with a screwdriver, Don Callis brought Konosuke Takeshita to the ring to help Omega and The Young Bucks in their time of dire need. It seemed that the weeks and weeks Callis had spent pursuing Takeshita paid off in that moment, and fans saw a little more of this during Monday’s edition of BTE…
Clearly Omega had his head elsewhere once everyone returned to the locker room, but that better not be the case this Wednesday night when he forms a tag team with Konosuke Takeshita for the very first time! Now they’ve there in a Trio on DARK: ELEVATION way back on the 4/19/21 edition, and part of a 10-Man tag at THE HOUSE ALWAYS WIN on 4/9/21, but in the 11 years since their first encounter, this will be the first time the two men have been on the same team in a doubles match! That being said, it’s far from their first encounter in tag team wrestling, they’ve just usually been on opposing sides, eight times to be exact dating it back to their first tag battle at DDT’s September 15, 2013, when The Golden Lovers of Omega and Kota Ibushi defeated Takeshita Shigehiro Irie. All told, Omega and Takeshita experienced 12 battles against each other from 2012-2014, and 11 of them were won by Kenny’s side of the equation. Singles, tag, three way bouts, all but one bout in September 2014 saw Omega get his hand raised.
All that history makes for an interesting pairing, that much is for sure, and the untested nature of the partnership will jump right into the fire when faced with AEW’s resident monsters, The Butcher & The Blade! Takeshita has no experience with these two violent individuals, and Omega’s only experience with them took place in a losing 8-Man tag over three years ago in Huntsville, AL. They are not the ideal opponent for two men who not only have never teamed, but have been foes through most of the interaction, and that puts them behind the proverbial 8-ball facing a team with the amount of experience Butcher and Blade have garnered over the years.
Can Omega work with Takeshita Looking at his demeanor during BTE, does Kenny even have a desire to do so? If not, than perhaps he can look at it is a prime opportunity to send The Blackpool Combat Club a message about what is in store for them when next the two forces collide, and Takeshita can use it as a moment to show The Elite first-hand what he brings to the table.
AEW INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH…
Orange Cassidy(c) vs. Bandido
Just because it’s been three months since the AEW faithful last saw Bandido in action, doesn’t mean the former ROH World Champion has been sitting back resting his bones. In fact, he’s been busy around the world, taking on the best competition he could find outside of the auspices of AEW. He competed in the AAA Rey de Reyes 2023 Tournament in Mexico, battled John Hennigan, Blake Christian, and a slew of others in Australia, took on Gringo Loco in New York City, and that’s just a small sliver of the battles Bandido has experienced since his January battle with “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson. Now he returns to All Elite Wrestling with the goal of becoming AEW International Champion, but to do so, he must take down the hardest working champion in AEW: “Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy.
In just under 200 days, OC has successfully defended his title on 19 separate occasions against 20 different opponents, including two Three Way bouts for his first two challenges. The only champion in AEW’s history that surpasses Cassidy’s record is Jade Cargill and her 21 title defenses, but for context, hers have taken place over the span nearly 480 days, and even on weeks when Cassidy hasn’t had a title defense, he’s often still competed in tags, trios, and other multi-man matches. He’s earned the right to be called the hardest working man in All Elite Wrestling, but Orange has also paid a physical price in the process, especially since that Orange Punch right hand of his first met Buddy Matthews’ championship title belt several weeks ago.
Still, OC fought through that pain to challenge for the AEW World Trios Championship with Best Friends, to turn away the challenge of Dralistico at BATTLE OF THE BELTS VI, and he even endured further punishment to that hand en route to not only topping Buddy Matthews two weeks ago on DYNAMITE, but also defeating Gabriel Kidd in a title fight just a few days later at NJPW’s COLLISION IN PHILADELPHIA event. Cassidy has been through it, yet he’s still fighting as hard as ever, and no one can ever again say he doesn’t try, but eventually the proverbial wheels will fall off, and when Orange is facing opponents the caliber of Bandido, that moment may come quite soon. The former ROH World Champion is fast, he’s sudden, he’s deceptively strong, and much like OC, has this natural charisma that fans just gravitate towards.
Who will emerge from this battle of fan favorite’s as the AEW International Champion? And if it is indeed Orange Cassidy, who out there will be the one who can bring an end to this marvelous run?
AEW TBS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH…
Jade Cargill (c) vs. Taya Valkyrie
It’s been several weeks now since Taya Valkyrie arrived on the scene here in All Elite Wrestling, and from day one she’s made it known her intentions were to claim Jade Cargill’s TBS Championship as her own. As if that wasn’t enough to infuriate the undefeated champion, Taya’s signature maneuver, dubbed “Road To Valhalla”, is the exact same as Cargill’s signature “Jaded” maneuver. That’s led to “Smart” Mark Sterling doing everything he can to prevent Valkyrie from using the move, but Taya persists, rightly stating that Jade can’t own a move, much less one that was in use long before Cargill ever laced up her first pair of wrestling boots.
This has led to back-and-forth between the two women, each trying to hit the move on the other, but only the TBS Champion has been successful in delivering Jaded to her would-be challenger. Still, nothing has stopped Taya from pursuing her goal of ending both the undefeated streak of Cargill as well as her TBS Championship reign, hence why she’s agreed to the stipulation for this match Wednesday night.
In exchange for the title fight with Jade Cargill, Taya Valkyrie has agreed to a ban on the Road To Valhalla for the duration of the bout. Is the fixation on the maneuver a belief that Taya is a one-trick pony? That it’s all she has in her arsenal? Or is it merely a psychological attempt to get an edge on the challenger? The TBS Champion has been undefeated since her debut two years ago while defending her championship 21 times against 18 different woman over nearly 480 days; eventually she will hit a roadblock she can’t overcome, a foe that she just can’t figure out, and all of that initial success will come to an end. Will Taya be that opponent? Can she be the one to overcome the athletic gifts Cargill has used to overpower her foes? Or will this historic reign continue unabated towards the 500 day mark?
FOUR PILLARS TOURNAMENT FINAL…
Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin
Both men are former multi-time TNT Champions, they both have tasted defeat at the hands of AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman during their respective AEW careers, and now they are both on the precipice of challenging for the AEW World Championship at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2023 in Las Vegas.
For Darby Allin, it would be his third attempt at claiming the most important championship in professional wrestling as his own, having failed against both Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley in 2019 and 2020 respectively. As for “The Spanish God”, it would be his very first opportunity to become the face of All Elite Wrestling, to carry the World Championship first established by his mentor Chris Jericho, and represent The Jericho Appreciation Society as the top man in professional wrestling.
But that’s getting ahead of the game; before either man can concern themselves with the AEW World Championship and MJF, they’ve got to handle each other first, something they are quite familiar with after all their battles over the last six years. Their history dates back to 2017 and hosted nine head-to-head clashes between the two warriors with Darby taking the edge 5-4. Here under the auspices of All Elite Wrestling though the two men are tied 4-4, with Sammy taking an edge if their Three Way TNT Championship bout with Andrade is factored into the equation. As a point of fact, on the whole of their entire AEW interaction, save the one unusual situation in which they were partners against The AHFO, in their eight total collisions, Sammy has taken the win on eight instances! Suffice to say, history heavily tilts in Guevara’s favor, as do the numbers outside of the ring given the members of The Jericho Appreciation Society that could help title the favor towards their ally. Then again, there is always the Sting factor…
Clearly MJF has his preferred victor in this situation, which could lead him to try and turn the tide in Sammy’s favor as well, just one more thing for Allin to have to keep in the back of his mind as he attempts to advance to DoN ’23 on May 28th. There will be a lot of eyes on this bout come Wednesday night, and not just those of the AEW faithful around the world!
THE 3-TIME CHAMP!
Last week “The WarDog” joined the ranks of 3-Time TNT Champions, alongside Sammy Guevara and Cody Rhodes, when he bested Powerhouse Hobbs in a hard-fought physical battle. It was the culmination of months of struggle to get back to the mountaintop, one hampered by Samoa Joe and by Hobbs and by QT Marshall, but now he’s back where he belongs, standing tall as The Face of TNT, and this week on DYNAMITE he will address the AEW faithful! It was a year ago at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2022 when Wardlow powerbombed his way into freedom, what will his future look like as AEW nears the 2023 edition of the original AEW PPV event?
Last week, The Jericho Appreciation Society and The Outcasts unified to commit an utterly heinous assault on Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D while Adam Cole watched helpless, chained to the bottom rope by Daniel Garcia, just inches away from the love of his life, unable to prevent the kendo stick beating being delivered to her prone body. For all the antics, the spray paint, and the assaults perpetrated by on the women of AEW by Ruby, Saraya, and Toni, nothing had reached this level, it all paled in comparison to the viciousness of the attack, and the sheer glee that all three women, as well as Jericho and Garcia, took in both perpetrating the attack as well as watching it.
Jericho certainly enjoyed the misery the situation caused Adam Cole, reveled in it really, embracing Ruby in a sign of congratulations and respect for the kendo stick assault. It was disturbing, to say the least, certainly sadistic, and there is no doubt that repercussions will follow for both The J.A.S. and The Outcasts. What form those may take remains to be discovered, but we do know we will hear from Adam Cole this Wednesday night on DYNAMITE. What his mental state will be, what plans he may have stewing, we shall all find out together, and Jericho best pray there is some semblance of restraint in Cole when they stand toe-to-toe once more, because for all the sins he’s committed throughout his wrestling career, Jericho may have finally crossed a line with a foe who won’t let him walk it back…and fans who are hard-pressed to forget.
DYNAMITE launches at 8pm ET/7pm CT/5pm PT on TBS, also at AEWPlus.com for our international fans; before the action, visit the official AEW YouTube channel to enjoy highlights from previous episodes of DYNAMITE and RAMPAGE, as well as the latest editions of AEW DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, THE CONTROL CENTER, and this week’s edition of ROAD TO!