AEW’S return to Pittsburgh last week came with one monumental announcement regarding the Forbidden Door (Event Details) pay-per-view event, and a tremendous amount of top shelf in-ring action. This week, the excitement continues as AEW comes back to Philly (Buy Tickets) for an all-new Dynamite this Wednesday night! Last week saw Scorpio Sky and Sammy Guevara agree to a TNT Title Ladder Match, CM Punk and Dustin Rhodes engage in a dream match, both Kyle O’Reilly and Dr. Britt Baker qualified for the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament, and Darby Allin vanquished Andrade in their Coffin match! Plus Jade Cargill successfully retained the TBS Title to score her 30th straight victory, Adam Cole qualified for the OHFT as well, and Eddie Kingston had a little war with Daniel Garcia.
Oh yes, and HOOK spoke…
As for this Wednesday night, well the aforementioned TNT Title Ladder match is on tap, as is Wardlow going head-to-head with Lance Archer, the OHFT continuing with Dax versus Cash, a Philly Street Fight between Shida and Deeb, and The Undisputed Elite in ten man tag team action! Dynamite is dropping LIVE on TBS at 8pm EST/7pm CST, and at AEWPlus.com for the international audience. Fans can get ready for the fights by visiting the official AEW YouTube Channel for highlights from last week’s events, as well as the newest episodes of Dark: Elevation, AEW Dark, and Road To!
TNT TITLE LADDER MATCH…
Sammy Guevara(c) vs. Scorpio Sky
Prior to Full Gear 2021 and the Street Fight that would take place between The Inner Circle and the American Top Team/Men of The Year contingent, Dan Lambert would propose a deal with then-TNT Champion Sammy Guevara to try and get what his team wanted. Lambert pitched the trade-off to Guevara that he put the TNT Title on the line against Ethan Page in exchange for the PPV Street Fight with the added caveat that if Sammy loses, he leaves The IC forever. “The Spanish God” agreed to the terms, defeated “All Ego” to get the Street Fight for his Inner Circle crew, and they would in turn win at Full Gear 2021.
Fast forward to last week’s edition of Dynamite and it can be seen that things have circled back around. Sammy Guevara may still be the TNT Champion, but it is now his third reign after trading the championship with Scorpio Sky, and he is now the one laying out the terms of the deal as Sky pursues a championship rematch.
As can be witnessed in the video clip embedded above, Sammy acquiesces to Dan Lambert’s demands for a TNT Title rematch, but only with the caveat that if “The Spanish God” give Scorpio the rematch, then Lambert agrees to a mixed tag, presumably involving Paige Van Zant, although Sammy doesn’t actually state her name, but it’s a reasonable assumption that’s who Tay Conti wants to get her hands on. Smartly Guevara holds onto one last detail until after Lambert’s verbal agreement, but once he gets that nod, Sammy dropped the Ladder Match bomb on The MOTY’s heads.
Guevara holds the distinction of being the winner in the only other one-on-one Ladder Match in AEW’s history after beating Cody Rhodes at Dynamite: Beach Break 2022 to unify the TNT Title with the Interim Championship, and that definitely gives him a confidence boost issuing the challenge. That being said, Scorpio Sky is also a Ladder Match winner, in his case the first-ever Face of the Revolution Ladder Match at Revolution 2021, and he had to accomplish that feat with five other men also vying for victory.
Suffice to say, each man has a measure of experience in this environment, and each man holds a victory over the other where that TNT Title is concerned. Now the bigger picture of their wrestling careers versus each other gives Sky the head-to-head edge, having won three of their four singles matches, but two of those fights were in their pre-AEW life, and both men have changed drastically from where they were four years ago.
Which man will climb that ladder this Wednesday night to claim the TNT Title? Will Guevara’s third reign continue or will Sky snatch the gold to begin his second championships reign? One man who will certainly have a close eye on this fight after last week is Frankie Kazarian! Having won ten of his last eleven singles matches and fifteen of his last seventeen total, as the number two man in overall wins with seventy-one, and having just competed in his 100th match on AEW Dark Tuesday night, Kaz has been more than deserving of a title opportunity for quite some time, thus the result of this fight is pivotal to his future as well as that of Guevara and Sky…
PHILLY STREET FIGHT…
Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb
Imagine you are rendered incapable of doing your job, not through any fault of your own, but rather as a result of the malicious actions of a coworker; a coworker who did not care if you were unable to make a living, one who did not care if you ever returned to your job, or even if you were ever capable of working again. If you can imagine yourself in those shoes, than you can imagine what two months of Hikaru Shida’s life were like between January and March as she struggled with recovering from a work-related injury. If this was an accidental injury, some freak occurrence beyond prevention, it may have been one thing, but this situation was created by wanton abuse at the hands of “The Professor” Serena Deeb.
It began in October of last year, the night AEW returned to Philadelphia for the first time since 2019, when Deeb defeated the former Women’s World Champion via Serenity Lock after decimating Shida’s knee throughout the fight.
The thing about that fight, what really drove Deeb to victory, was the simmering anger that she was treated like an afterthought by All Elite Wrestling. That fight, had Hikaru won, would have recorded her fiftieth victory, and so sure was AEW of Shida’s triumph that they made a trophy celebrating the milestone as if it was a done deal before the bell even rang. To Deeb, that reeked of disrespect, and so she did the most rationale thing imaginable (at least to her) when she smacked Shida across the head with the trophy.
That marked the beginning of this red-hot rivalry that culminates with AEW’s return to the scene of the crime! In the months since that October 6th battle, Shida eliminated Deeb from the TBS Title Tournament and netted that 50th win in the process, but Deeb in turn made sure Shida did not advance any further when she interfered in the former World Champion’s fight with Nyla Rose in the next round.
Deeb ended up hoisted on her own petard in their rubber match at Dynamite: Winter is Coming 2021, colliding with the turnbuckle she exposed earlier in the match, but that only exacerbated the animosity between the two women. Those raging emotions would explode on January 12th when, in their fourth battle, Serena would waylay Shida on the latter’s way to the ring, and proceed to decimate that already injured knee before defeating Hikaru in under two minutes once the match officially began.
The end result of that assault put the record-setting former Women’s World Champion on the shelf, necessitating a trip back to Japan where she could rehab, and kept Shida out of action for two months. While Deeb was running roughshod over “rookies” with her five minute challenge in AEW, Shida took time to rest and recover before surprising her enemy on March 5th after one of those five minute challenges:
After delivering that receipt, Shida would return to Japan for a pair of fights in Tokyo Joshi Pro and Ice Ribbon to get ready for an AEW in-ring return, and part of that return was qualifying for the Women’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament. Hikaru, in rather aggressive fashion, would do just that at the expense of Julia Hart, and would then be confronted by a chair-wielding Deeb after the fact.
Thus, with AEW returning to Philadelphia and as can be heard in the tweet embedded above, it was Serena Deeb who made the challenge to Shida for this to end in a Philly Street Fight! Now the AEW faithful have seen before what Shida can do in this environment, after all she began her record-setting title reign in just such a match against Nyla Rose, but looking at Deeb’s history via Cagematch.net, it was over a decade ago, inside the Berwyn Eagles Club against Portia Perez, since she last competed in a situation such as this. Deeb is a woman usually known for her in-ring acumen, her grappling bell-to-bell, but this dynamic with Hikaru Shida has either pushed her into these unfamiliar realms, or opened up doors she willfully kept closed all these years.
Whether or not Serena Deeb comes to regret her challenge remains to be seen, but one thing for certain about this Philly Street Fight on Wednesday night is that there will be violence!
OWEN HART FOUNDATION MEN’S TOURNAMENT QUALIFIER…
Cash Wheeler vs. Dax Harwood
***SPECIAL GUEST COMMENTATOR: CM PUNK***
This was unexpected, to say the least, something that has never happened before, and will most likely never be seen again. For a spot in the Owen Hart Foundation Men’s Tournament, this week on Dynamite, the two men who comprise FTR will go one-on-one for the very first time!
There history as a team is well known; six different Tag Team Titles in their eight years as a duo, two of which they currently hold heading into Wednesday night, but neither is known a singles practitioner. Dax has never held a singles title in his career, Cash held one for NWA: Anarchy in 2011, yet it is in the tag team ranks where both men have made their names. But not just in the general tag team ranks, rather specifically with each other ever since their first outing back on June 28, 2014; that’s nearly eight years of living inside each other’s head, spending more time with one another than anyone else in their lives, and learning just how each other tick.
There is no man who knows Cash Wheeler or Dax Harwood like they know each other, and no men who respect each other like these two brothers. They might not be blood, but they are indeed family, and that bond is going to be evident come Wednesday night when they meet in singles competition for a spot in the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament! For Cash, this will be his first singles match in All Elite Wrestling, and his first since a January 3, 2020 bout. Now Dax has had a bit more singles experience under the AEW banner, fights with CM Punk, Chris Jericho, Jungle Boy, and PAC, but he hasn’t found success despite giving each foe the fight of their lives. Prior to those though, one would have to go back to August 2018 to find Dax in singles action.
Clearly this isn’t their preferred wheelhouse, but with a spot in this tournament at stake, and given the level of respect the men in FTR have for one another, as well as for the sport of professional wrestling, there is no doubt they will give each other the same kind of fight they’d give any man. For Dax and Cash, this is a fight about the love of competition, about being the better wrestler on that one night, and being happy for each other no matter who wins the fight.
For some teams, this might be the beginnings of driving a wedge, but for FTR, this is just strengthening the foundation; may the best man win!
Wardlow vs. “The Murderhawk Monster” Lance Archer
This is what Maxwell Jacob Friedman aims to do isn’t it? His master plan for Wardlow is throw dollar after dollar at body after body and aim them all at “The War Dog” in hopes that someone will eventually destroy MJF’s former bodyguard.
He tried it last week with The Butcher, but four minutes and twenty seconds later, “Mr. Mayhem” was still standing, victorious over The AFO’s monster, and ready for whatever MJF could throw his way next. Turns out that the next phase of this crucible would be someone who could care less about the money, but who relishes the violence MJF wants unleashed.
This Wednesday night, it will be “The Murderhawk Monster” standing across the ring from Wardlow in a continuation of Max’s mission to end the career of man he calls “The War Pig”, a mission in which MJF has yet to show any willingness to actually physically involve himself of course. Max figures he’s holding the contractual strings for Wardlow, he can dictate the matches, the opponents, the music (or lack thereof), essentially every aspect of Wardlow’s career while he still owns the contract, and this time he’s choosing to punish “War Dog” with Lance Archer. This one is going to be a good old fashioned slobberknocker as our very own Jim Ross would say, but will Archer be able to deliver on Max’s expectations? Or will too end up another note in Wardlow’s symphony?
TEN MAN TAG…
Undisputed Elite (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson)
Brian Pillman Jr, Brock Anderson, Dante Martin, Griff Garrison, & Lee Johnson
The issues within The Undisputed Elite, as Adam Cole has dubbed them, have been prevalent since the moment Cole first brought Bobby Fish into the equation to help The SuperKliq out with some Jurassic problems. The history between Fish and The Young Bucks runs deep, with none of it remotely amicable, and most of it involving fighting over the ROH, IWGP Junior, or PWG Tag Team Championships. Still, when it was just Fish, the brothers Jackson were in the majority and Adam Cole wasn’t quite so…divided.
Enter: Kyle O’Reilly.
When “The Violent Artist” arrived on the scene, the entire dynamic changed, and now Adam found himself a bit divided between these two facets of his life. The Young Bucks and reDRagon had nothing but animosity towards one another prior to All Elite Wrestling, but all four men shared history with Adam Cole in their previous lives. While there were moments that Cole seemed genuinely torn between Matt and Nick or Bobby and Kyle, he more often conveyed aggravation at the never-ending tension, and leaned towards reDRagon. This was especially true as Adam Cole set his sights on the AEW World Championship held by Hangman Page, but found The Young Bucks unwilling to stick their noses back into Hangman business after their peace accords prior to Full Gear 2021.
In addition to that, The Young Bucks ended up at cross-purposes with reDRagon as both teams were in pursuit of the World Tag Team Titles held by Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus heading towards Revolution 2022. Their Three Way fight with the defending champions went the same way as Cole’s challenge for the World Title, utterly unsuccessful, and left all the members of The Undisputed Elite quite unsatisfied after the pay-per-view event. It’s safe to say the tensions between reDRagon and The Young Bucks only intensified afterwards, each team blaming the other for not walking out the new champions, but when Fish and O’Reilly got a straight-up tag fight with Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus, the outcome was the same as at Revolution 2022.
Coincidentally, it was the same result that Matt and Nick Jackson faced when they fought FTR in a fight with both the ROH and AAA Tag Team Titles on the line, and the same fate Adam Cole met in his Texas Death Match rematch with Hangman. In short, the entirety of this Undisputed Elite has faced ever escalating failure throughout 2022 where championships are concerned. All five of them can point fingers any which way they want, they can call each other out over whatever trivial matters cross each other’s minds, but the end result does not change: there are no champions in this lot.
And with that in mind, it seems as if this Wednesday night on Dynamite, the five members of this unit will attempt to get their collective head together when they unite for the first time since October 15, 2016 for this ten man tag team bout. Their foes are a rather mish-moshed unit- The Varsity Blonds, Anderson and Johnson, and Dante Martin- but when the situation is an intense as that within The UE, there’s as strong a chance the Cole, Bucks, reDRagon unity will fall apart before the match even begins.
Will that indeed be the case in Philadelphia Will there be any semblance of Brotherly Love with The Undisputed Elite, or will it be the deep-seeded rivalry revolving around Adam Cole that rips it all apart?
SIX MAN TAG ACTION…
The Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, & Wheeler Yuta w/ William Regal)
The Factory (Aaron Solo, Nick Comoroto, & QT Marshall w/ Anthony Ogogo)
The Blackpool Combat Club, whether it is as a singles, a tag, or now a trio, has been a dominating force in AEW since William Regal brought it altogether after Revolution 2022. Bryan, Mox, and their latest addition Wheeler Yuta have all stepped their game up to another level under his watchful eye, and both The Gunn Club and the Brock Anderson/Dante Martin/Lee Moriarty trios have felt the wrath in the last two weeks.
With the dawn of another Dynamite upon us, it’s time for Regal’s trio of fighters to lace up their boots, wrap up their wrists, and get ready for another battle. This time, standing across the ring on Wednesday night, it will be The Factory of Aaron Solo, QT Marshall, and Nick Comoroto! The Factory group is 4-3 as a trio while The BCC are 2-0; can QT Marshall’s unit stop the violent momentum of Regal’s warriors, or will they continue to crush all comers inside that squared circle?
The AEW action comes back to the City of Brotherly Love this Wednesday’s edition on Dynamite LIVE from the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University! The action gets underway at 8pm EST/7pm CST, as well as at AEWPlus.com for the international audience, and be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel before Wednesday to get ready with the latest editions of AEW Dark: Elevation, AEW Dark, and Road To episodes, as well as the Control Center with Tony Schiavone!