AEW’s Trios Title tournament continued on the August 31st edition of Dynamite, with the a clash between the current top individuals in NJPW USA versus three individuals who see themselves as their successors:
AEW World Trios Championship Tournament – Dynamite Semifinal Round Match
United Empire (Will Ospreay, Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) vs. The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson)
AEW Dynamite #152 – Hoffman Estates, IL – 8.31.2022
Omega’s mind games over Ospreay in his intro didn’t work, as United Empire were able to wipe out all three of the ELITE on the floor early on in the contest. They fought over to the entrance stage where Matt wipes out Aussie Open with a somersault senton off the entrance ramp and to the floor. Ospreay finds himself pummeled by the ELITE in their corner when they make their way back into the ring. Ospreay takes out the Young Bucks with a back handspring double Pele and tags in Davis, who body slams both Bucks at the same time. Omega saves Matt from being pinned by an assisted Ace Crusher from Fletcher. Matt fights off all of the United Empire himself, and tags in Omega. He gets a two count on Davis with the Kotaro Krusher. Ospreay sends Omega outside with a Frankensteiner, but Omega side steps a Sasuke Special and gives him a Dragon suplex on the floor. Aussie Open, however, stops Omega on the top turnbuckle and brings him down with a delayed vertical suplex. They take off Omega’s shirt and attack his taped up ribs. Omega escapes their corner and tags in Nick, who maneuvers in a way where he has all of the United Empire covered by his offense. Ospreay gets his knees up to block Nick’s 450 splash, then steals Omega’s dragon suplex. When Ospreay mimics Omega’s gun point pose, Omega interjects. Ospreay ends up taking him out with a Liger Bomb. Nick blocked the OsCutter/Coriolis move that won United Empire the match last week by taking out Ospreay with his own Ace Crusher. Davis saved Fletcher from being pinned by the BTE Trigger. Ospreay and Fletcher take out Matt with a shooting star variant of the Meltzer Driver, but Matt kicks out. Ospreay cuts off Omega’s V-Trigger with a pumping knee of his own. The Bucks catch Ospreay and take him out with Indietaker. Omega nails Fletcher with the V-Trigger and then pins him with the One-Winged Angel at 18:54. The Omega and Ospreay interactions were interesting, and Aussie Open had a hell of a showing. Everything else was every other Young Bucks match you’ve seen. I’m over it and ready to see them do something new. ***½
Charlotte, NC – 9.3.2022
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Alex Koslov.
John Skyler vs. Lucky Ali
This is Lucky Ali’s STRONG debut, previously seen in an XTRA match. Skyler is returning after a loss to Big Damo in April, and is now sporting a dog collar and chain as part of his entrance. Ali wins over the crowd as he attacks Skyler’s neck and shoulders. Skyler rolls Ali throat-first into the top rope and knee lifts Ali in the back, sending him propelling to the floor. Skyler sends Ali chest first into the ring apron and then lands a senton splash back inside of the ring. After wearing down Ali’s back, Skyler tiger drives Ali right into an STF. Ali is able to launch Skyler chest first onto the second turnbuckle and land an elbow drop across his back. He delivers a slingshot leg drop for two. On the ring apron, Ali looks for a piledriver, but Skyler takes him down with a spear. A slingshot spear follows. When he goes for it again, Ali double stomps Skyler’s face into the canvas. Ali sets up Skyler on the top rope. Skyler rakes Ali’s eyes and pulls him down onto his shoulders. The Lambeau Leap gets Skyler the pin at 10:56. Skyler showed more character but a little less intensity than he did in his previous STRONG showing. He feels like somebody whose ceiling is a Stray Dog Army member, and perhaps not coincidentally referred to himself as a stray dog in a backstage promo from this event. Ali on the other hand was quite exciting and seems like someone who could win over most crowds. I don’t expect to see much of either of them in New Japan outside of regional specific shows, but this was a perfectly cromulent bout. **¾
Eddie Kingston vs. Jake Something
Something surprisingly overpowers Kingston for a long while, cutting off the War King anytime it seems like he is going to start sustaining some offense. Even when Kingston pokes him in the eyes, Something comes back with a Stinger Splash. Kingston finally takes him down with a jump-up enzuigiri and a lariat. When Something blocks an exploder suplex, Kingston drops him with a DDT right away. Something ducks a lariat and drops Kingston with a Death Valley Driver. Something suicide dives onto Kingston outside. Kingston blocks Something’s offense with a successful Saito suplex. He then Saito suplexes Something and blasts him with the Backfist to the Future for the pin at 8:35. Kingston has the brighter New Japan future so the result made sense, but this match was very strange to watch. Something being in control for 95% of this match and then being taken down with three moves is bizarre. **
NJPW STRONG Openweight Championship
Fred Rosser vs. Fred Yehi
Rosser has been champion since 6.25.2022 and this is his second defense. NJPW commentator Chris Charlton noted that this is the first championship match between two black wrestlers in NJPW history. Probably the first championship match between two people named Fred as well. Rosser recovers quickly from an ankle pick and delivers three sit-out splashes to Yehi’s sternum. Yehi goes to the eyes and chops Rosser down. Yehi picks up the pace as he repeatedly drives his knees into Rosser in the corner. He puts Rosser in an abdominal stretch. When Yehi converts into a choke, Rosser grabs the top rope, and Yehi chops him down. Rosser takes down Yehi with a clothesline and then hits him with repeated hip attacks in the corner. Yehi looks to slip on a rear-naked choke when Rosser looks to place him on his shoulders. Rosser knocks down Yehi with a rolling forearm and fights to get a grounded crossface chicken wing locked on. Yehi bites Rosser’s thumb to prevent it. When he tries an abdominal stretch, Rosser immediately hip tosses Yehi. Yehi misses a spinning chop to the face, and Rosser scoops him up into the Emerald Flowsion for the pin at 8:20. I liked the unexpected, frenetic attacks from Yehi and how Rosser had to adapt as the match went on. It also fits that he would have to catch Yehi off guard with something to win the match since Yehi was an unpredictable presence from bell to bell. I expected something a little more robust, so I am a bit disappointed, but this was still a solid match. ***
Fred Rosser asks who will be next to challenge and TJP makes his way out. Rosser is down to defend the title now, but TJP wants to compete for it in his home of Los Angeles. So that defense will take place later this month or the first of October during the Fighting Spirit Unleashed tour.
No XTRA this week again. Is it dead?