To the joy of Maxwell Jacob Friedman, AEW is back on Long Island this Wednesday night for an all-new Dynamite (Buy Tickets)! Last time we were here, MJF had himself a hero’s welcome en route to winning the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale with Dante Martin and another LI homegrown fighter in John Silver had himself a battle with Bryan Danielson!
Coming off last week’s events where an Undisputed ROH Women’s World Champion was crowned, the fields for both Owen Hart Foundation Tournaments were set, and MJF agreed to a contract signing with Wardlow on his terms, AEW now heads to UBS Arena for a loaded night of action! The Owen Hart Foundation Tournaments officially kick off with multiple Quarter-Final matches, a FTW Title fight that also serves as preview for a future AEW World Tag Title fight, Punk versus Silver, Chris Jericho patting himself on the back, and that MJF/Wardlow contract signing!
It’s all going down inside the UBS Arena this Wednesday night on Dynamite, coming your way LIVE on TBS starting at 8pm EDT/7pm CDT, as well as at AEWPlus.com for our international audience. Prior to bell time, make sure to hit up the official AEW YouTube page for last week’s Dynamite and Rampage highlights, the latest editions of Dark: Elevation and Dark, as well as the new editions of Road To and The Control Center with Tony Schiavone!
OWEN HART FOUNDATION MEN’S TOURNAMENT QUARTER-FINALS…
Darby Allin vs. Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy versus Darby Allin; three years ago when Darby had his first AEW match at Fyter Fest 2019, there was no way anyone could have fathomed this was a battle fans would ever see go down. It was the thing of dream matches, Darby himself said so in an Inside The Ropes (Read Interview) interview in November 2020, and Sportskeeda (Read Interview) tagged it as their number one Darby dream match against a non-AEW wrestler.
Just over a year ago, Darby fought Matt Hardy in a TNT Title match that certainly seemed highly improbable in 2019 but was birthed into reality on the 4/14/21 Dynamite, and just shy of one year later, the March 9th Dynamite in Ft. Myers to be exact, the Darby/Hardy dream became a potential reality! That night Jeff emerged to rescue his brother from The Andrade Family Office and, by the mathematics of shared enemies, also ally with Darby Allin and Sting. Since then, the two competitors have had each other’s back against Andrade’s lackies, but it was only when both men were qualified for the Owen Hart Tournament that the dream got ever closer to reality. Darby did it first when he bested Swerve Strickland to qualify while Jeff made the cut last Wednesday when he beat Bobby Fish on Dynamite. It immediately led to speculation of if or when Jeff and Darby would meet in the tournament. Would it be in the opening Quarter-Final round to insure the match takes place? Would it be something left to chance, a fight that might happen in the Semi-Finals or Finals if both men make it that far? It wasn’t until after Rey Fenix topped Dante Martin that fans, as well as the two competitors in question here, found out just how the participating wrestlers would pair off. It would in fact be Jeff Hardy versus Darby Allin in the opening Quarter-Final round of the tournament, and it would take place on the first night of action on Long Island!
It was a match that fans only dreamed could happen three years ago that two months ago became one they hoped might take place someday, and now that some day has become this Wednesday LIVE on TBS! The victor here will square up with the winner of Adam Cole versus Dax Harwood in the Semi-Finals, but before we get to that, let’s take the time to relish in the dream that is about to become reality!
OWEN HART FOUNDATION MEN’S TOURNAMENT QUARTER-FINALS…
Adam Cole vs. Dax Harwood
The second of the two Men’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament matches takes place between the Undisputed Elite’s Adam Cole and FTR’s Dax Harwood. Cole got here by defeating Tomohiro Ishii while Dax had to defeat his own partner to qualify for the field, and now these two amazing talents will lock horns in another first timer this Wednesday night on Dynamite!
As mentioned above, the winner of this will meet the winner of Darby/Hardy in the Semi-Finals, and give the fans another match that no one could have anticipated we’d ever see! For Cole, this is about making sure someone in the Undisputed Elite wins the whole tournament and with Bobby Fish eliminated by Hardy, it’s all on him and Kyle to make it through the field.
For Dax, it’s partially about demonstrating he is just as top shelf a singles wrestlers as he is a tag with Cash Wheeler, but also about paying tribute to the name that inspired this tournament in the first place: Owen Hart. The love that FTR carries for Bret has been made abundantly clear over the years, but that same love and respect also holds true for Owen, and Dax aims to claim the prize to honor of his memory.
This is certain to be one tremendous fight between two of AEW’s finest athletes!
OWEN HART FOUNDATION WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT QUARTER-FINALS…
Jamie Hayter vs. Toni Storm
Fans were promised it weeks ago after both women qualified, a meeting in the opening round of the Owen Hart Foundation Women’s Tournament, and it will finally happen this Wednesday night on Long Island! Now Storm comes into this fight having scored the deciding pinfall over Dr. Britt Baker in their Rampage tag last Friday, bringing some added momentum into this first ever one-on-one meeting between Storm and Hayter!
They were 2/3 of a Three Way Match back in 2018, but that is the only time these two women had ever competed prior to Friday night’s fight. Now they will collide in a one-on-one match in this Quarter-Final Owen Hart Tournament bout, and what makes this match even more intriguing, the winner could potentially face Dr. Britt Baker in the Semi-Final round IF the former Women’s World Champion makes it through her Joker Card Quarter-Final opponent!
The finals are coming at Double or Nothing 2022, but each competitor has to take this one match at a time if they even hope to make it to Las Vegas. Jamie Hayter and Toni Storm will be the first women to fight for a Semi-Final spot, which one will advance to the next round?
FTW TITLE MATCH…
“Absolute” Ricky Starks(c) vs. AEW World Tag Team Champion Jungle Boy
Team Taz wants a shot at the World Tag Team Titles, and given their status in the top five rankings combined with Christian Cage’s proclamation several weeks ago that Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus would fight anyone in the top five, Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs fit the bill for potential challengers.
But as can be seen in the above embedded clip, Jungle Boy decided to up the ante on Team Taz’s challenge and make one of his own: Ricky Starks’ FTW Title before the World Tag Team Titles. Starks, who has held the title since July 14th and successfully defended it six times, accepted the fight and it will go down this Wednesday night in Long Island!
Now during Rampage, where Starks is a regular part of the broadcast team, the FTW Champion made some braggadocious comments about what he would do if Jungle Boy was right in his face. Well JB obviously heard what Starks had to say because he was right there before Starks could even finish his sentence to confront the FTW Champ. True to his word, Starks did pieface Jungle Boy when he stepped up to the challenge, but it was “Absolute” who ended up worse for the wear after JB tossed him around the stage like a rag doll.
There had to have been a moment of satisfaction for Jungle Boy though when, after sending Starks scurrying off into the tunnel, he held up the FTW Title while Taz had to stand there and watch from behind the announcers desk. Will Taz also have to stand by and watch as his man loses possession of the championship on Dynamite, or will Starks add a seventh successful defense to his resume? Either way, this is going to have some reverberation on the eventual World Tag Team Title clash between Team Taz and JurEx!
“The Most Magical Place In The World”, that is how MJF views Long Island, and that is where the world will find out just what terms Maxwell is laying down for Wardlow to get the match “The WarDog” so desperately wants. It is quite possibly the only place on Earth that will give the 3-Time Dynamite Diamond Ring winner the kind of welcome he feels he deserves, and thus the only place who will likely cheer whatever stipulations Max lays out in the contract with Wardlow.
See Max isn’t stupid; he’s conniving, he’s full of dirty tricks, but he is not unintelligent by any means, he knows at this point Wardlow will agree to whatever he needs to in order get MJF in the ring. Hell, Wardlow likely knows this to be true given that he’s been part of Max’s game on two occasions already. Wardlow’s first match in AEW, one inside a Steel Cage no less, was part of the stipulations MJF laid out for Cody Rhodes to get his match with Max at Revolution 2020. “Mr. Mayhem” was deemed the Fourth Labor of Jericho as Chris pursued his fight with Max that eventually took place on the 8/8/21 edition of Dynamite. Wardlow knows the way this goes better than anyone in All Elite Wrestling, and yet it will not stop him from signing on the dotted line to get this fight. It’s just a question of just what MJF will make Wardlow endure in order to get there in the first place.
As seen above, Shawn Spears delivered a warning of his own to his former “accountabilabuddy” in advance of this contract signing, and it is quite evident “The Chairman of AEW” intends to be the Kryptonite for Wardlow’s Superman. Be it green, red, blue, turquoise, or black, every color of Kryptonite carries with it side effects, and virtually none produce a good outcome for the Kryptonian in question. Spears and his chair-swinging sensibilities will likely be standing right by MJF’s side at the UBS Areana, just waiting for AEW’s very own Lex Luthor to give him the cue. Or perhaps Spears will be one of the contractual obligations Wardlow must fulfill to get Max in a match? He was for Jericho during those Labors, perhaps he will be again for Wardlow, and there is no question for Spears this one would be a great deal more personal than that.
We will all find out this Wednesday night just what is on the table when Wardlow and Maxwell Jacob Friedman sign their names to bring us one step closer to MJF finally getting what he deserves!
CM Punk vs. John Silver
Last week the man set to defend his AEW World Title against CM Punk at Double or Nothing 2022 (Event Info) let his challenger know just where he stands regarding their May 29th bout in Las Vegas. Hangman Page told Punk he is in for the fight of his life, that this will not be a love fest filled with respect and admiration, and the fans did not know how to take to that. It’s understandable, this isn’t a side of Hangman fans are accustomed to seeing, but now that he is in the position of being the defending AEW World Champion, every man coming for his title has to be seen as the enemy regardless of how the fans feel about that individual. Whether it’s someone as beloved as Punk, or someone as reviled as MJF (at least outside of Long Island), everyone trying to dethrone Hangman is the enemy and will be treated as such.
Now we haven’t yet heard from Punk following Page sharing his thoughts, but it’s a reasonable assumption that this is exactly what the number one contender wants to hear. Punk has made it abundantly clear that he is here for the championship, he is here for the fights, and he is certainly going to get the latter this Wednesday night when he steps into the ring with Long Island’s own John Silver!
With still a few weeks to go before his AEW World Championship fight, CM Punk needs to keep up the momentum that has netted him consecutive wins in his last five singles matches, and given him a 17-1 record overall since his All Elite Wrestling debut last August. John Silver aims to derail that train, not for the sake of The Dark Order’s strange relationship with Hangman as was the case last time in his fight with Bryan Danielson, but for himself. This Wednesday is about Johnny Hungee winning for Johnny Hungee, and showing the world he is every bit as good as “The Best In The World”. It’s the kind of win that can change the face of a career, and the kind of loss that can derail a championship path; which will we see this Wednesday night?
J.A.S VICTORY SPEECH…
Last week Chris Jericho and The J.A.S played the numbers game to defeat Santana in their singles bout on Dynamite. This came on the heels of Jericho fireballing Eddie Kingston a week prior, after Kingston verbally castrated Chris in front of the entire world during their in-ring sit down, thus necessitating Eddie miss being part of the Baltimore events, and being there to balance out the equation. Instead, while Ortiz was occupied dealing with “Daddy Magic” Matt Menard, the former AEW World Champion used a low blow to soften up Santana for a Judas Effect, and then the complete Jericho Appreciation Society attacked Jericho’s two former allies with absolute zeal. Afterward, they celebrated like the five-on-two beatdown was a major accomplishment rather than an unscrupulous assault, but Friday night Eddie Kingston put the fear of god right back into Chris Jericho’s soul:
Still, that chilling phone call from “The Mad King” isn’t going to stop Jericho, Hager, Menard, Parker, and Garcia from patting themselves on the back on Dynamite. It’s something AEW fans have seen Jericho do in the past, finding every excuse to celebrate himself at the expense of those he has harmed, and he will do it once more this Wednesday night! The question is whether or not any of the three, Kingston, Ortiz, or Santana, will be in any shape to rain down on this self-congratulatory session?
A VERY EVIL DEBUT…
Tony Nese vs. Danhausen
“The Premier Athlete” has taken issue with HOOK over the last several weeks. particulary since taking on “Smart” Mark Sterling as his representation. Tony Nese has problems with the idea HOOK hasn’t earned his spot, that his presence on AEW TV is due to nepotism rather than merit, and that he has eaten up time better devoted to a man like Nese who has been putting in reps for sixteen years now.
There is another individual who has developed a vested interest in “The Cold Hearted Handsome Devil” and that would be the very nice, very evil Danhausen. He has spent weeks popping up in unusual places to get HOOK’s attention, he has tried to bait him into a fight, he even smashed a bag of potato chips to finally get HOOK to open his mouth. But it wasn’t until Rampage last Friday, following HOOK’s victory over JD Drake and Nese’s challenge to Danhausen in the tweet embedded above, that all these paths converged.
In an effort to balance the scales against Mark Sterling, Danhausen tried to barter with HOOK, even threw some chips into the mix, but it doesn’t seem like this Devil has any interest in bargaining with someone very evil evil no matter how nice he can be.
So this Wednesday night in Dynamite, fans will see Danhausen step into the ring for the very first time to face Tony Nese in The Premier Athlete’s home stomping grounds on Long Island, and unfortunately it looks like Danhausen will be going it all alone…
AEW comes back to Long Island and the UBS Arena this Wednesday night for a LIVE Dynamite on TBS kicking off at 8pm EDT/7pm CDT, and at AEWPlus.com for the international audience! Doors will open up at 6pm EDT for fans in attendance, with a special Meet & Greet at 5:30pm for those who purchase tickets (Click Here) in advance. And before you get to Long Island, be sure to visit the official AEW YouTube channel prior to 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!