SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW DARK TV REPORT
DECEMBER 28, 2021
RECORDED AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, ORLANDO, FL.
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY RYAN HOWARD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Excalibur and Taz
Ring Announcer: Dasha Gonzalez
-Excalibur and Taz on the call, welcoming us to the show.
(1) ANNA JAY (w/Tay Conti) vs. REKA TEHAKA
Both ladies traded corner forearms before Anna popped Reka with a superkick. Reka took Anna to the corner with body shots, but Anna turned the tables with stiff punches and a kick. Reka battled back with a headbutt, looked for a Samoan Drop, but Anna got free and locked on the Queenslayer for the submission.
WINNER: Anna Jay in 1:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Lightning quick win for The Queenslayer.)
-Tony Schiavone tried to interview Wardlow, but Shawn Spears interrupted questioning why Wardlow does so many powerbombs. Wardlow tells Spears his chair shots are excessive and Spears disagrees. Spears said he’ll stay backstage while Wardlow has his match. Wardlow promises multiple powerbombs.
(2) THE BLADE (w/The Bunny) vs. TOA LIONA
Blade attacked at the bell, but took too long to follow up, as Liona hit a running headbutt. Bunny grabbed Liona’s foot to distract him, as Liona was sent outside and Bunny slapped him, right in front of Rick Knox. Bunny also pulled Liona’s hair trying to get back in the ring, again, in front of Knox. Blade put on the brass knuckles and he laid out Liona back in the ring for the quick win.
WINNER: The Blade in 2:00
(Howard Analysis: This was ridiculous on Rick Knox’s part. He saw Bunny slap, pull the hair and jump in the ring to scurry away from Liona and he did nothing.)
(3) WARDLOW vs. CASANOVA
Wardlow swatted away a Casanova dropkick and immediately hit four powerbombs to win it.
WINNER: Wardlow in 1:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Said it before and I’ll say it again, destruction, thy name is Wardlow.)
-Tony Schiavone interviews Anthony Greene backstage about his match. Greene said he’s proven himself on Dark against FTR, Adam Cole and will do so tonight against Tony Nese.
(4) DIAMANTE vs. SHAWNA REED
A quick exchange early led to Reed getting off a few forearms and neckbreaker for two. Diamante fought back with a combo and release overhead belly to belly in the corner. That set the stage for a running corner dropkick that got Diamante the win.
WINNER: Diamante in 2:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Happy to see Diamante back on Dark after a few months away, as she’s been one of the consistent highlights this past year on this show. Unfortunately she didn’t get to do a whole lot in this one, as it didn’t take much once she got on offense to put away Reed.)
(5) TONY NESE vs. ANTHONY GREENE
Taz mentions Nese watching Hook’s match on Rampage last week and doesn’t like Nese’s chances if he ever steps in the ring with him, which I agree. Greene got an early full nelson and did a dance, which angered Nese. Greene hit a step up hurricanrana and tope suicida outside. Greene waited momentarily to follow up and Nese used the ring skirt to blind Greene and take control. Nese guillotined Greene on the top rope and hit a springboard moonsault press for two. Nese applied a Torture Rack; Greene fought free and hit a big back elbow, jawbreaker and neckbreaker. Nese floated over a back suplex, but ran into a tilt a whirl pancake by Greene for two. Nese rolled through a sunset flip, hit a spin kick to the face, but missed Running Nese. Greene was planted in the corner with a release German suplex and Nese hit Running Nese the second try for the victory.
WINNER: Tony Nese in 5:00
(Howard’s Analysis: These two got a lot in for the time given and I wish it would’ve lasted longer. Greene continues to look solid on Dark, even in defeat, while Nese, if he’s next for Hook, good luck!)
(6) THE BUNNY (w/The Blade) vs. KILYNN KING
This is a rematch from Elevation earlier this year, which Bunny cheated to win. Bunny trapped King in the corner and hit a running dropkick to the small of the back. Bunny hit a few knee lifts, but King planted Bunny with a fall away slam. Ripcord chop and clothesline by King, led to a really nice single leg dropkick. Bunny blocked Kingdom Falls with a knee lift, then hit Down the Rabbit Hole for the three.
WINNER: The Bunny in 2:30
(Howard’s Analysis: Well, at least Bunny didn’t cheat to win this one. For someone who has improved as much as KiLynn has on Dark this year, I was hoping for a longer match to end 2021. Hopefully next year she gets a chance to get some more wins.)
(7) THE ACCLAIMED (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens) vs. BEAR COUNTRY (Bronson & Boulder)
“Most bears eat fish, but you two eat only mozzarella sticks!” That line from Caster even popped Bear Boulder. The bell sounded before Bowens could get off his line, but he was punched in the mouth before it happened. Bear Country cleaned house as Bronson launched Caster off the stage onto Bowens. Boulder was sent leg first into the steps, as Bronson missed a somersault senton against into them, which let Bowens & Caster take control. I should point out Excalibur & Taz are talking about different kinds of bears as this all happened. Bronson escaped a sleeper and made the hot tag to Boulder, who hit a double End of Days on the Acclaimed, which looked great. The bears tried for their Bear Bomb, but couldn’t hit it. Bronson fought back with a double clothesline, the bears wanted a backpack senton in the corner, but Boulder’s leg gave way. Bowens hit a chop block on him while Caster held off Bronson, as Boulder was pinned.
WINNERS: The Acclaimed in 6:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Bear Country wanted better competition and they got it tonight, as The Acclaimed continues stacking victories. I liked how Caster & Bowens targeted the leg of Boulder early and it came into play for the finish.)
(8) SKYE BLUE vs. ASHLEY D’AMBOISE
Ashley started off quick, but Skye responded with a high cross body and superkick. Skye hit a spinning flatliner for the lightning quick victory.
WINNER: Skye Blue in 30 seconds
(Howard’s Analysis: Wow, commentary chalked it up as sometimes you get caught, but Skye Blue was on a mission tonight.)
(9) ORANGE CASSIDY & WHEELER YUTA vs. CEZAR BONONI & PETER AVALON
The Wingmen attacked before the bell and isolated Yuta with Orange down outside. Yuta flipped out of two back suplex attempts and made the tag to Cassidy, who sauntered in with his hands in his pockets. Bononi tried a suplex, Orange wanted the slowest inside cradle counter, but Bononi powered him up. Bononi was sent outside by both Orange & Yuta and wiped out with a double dive. Orange hit a tilt a whirl DDT on Avalon back inside for a near fall. Avalon fought back with a Future Shock variation for two and wanted a superplex, but Yuta put a stop to it. Orange fell from the top onto Avalon, but Bononi broke it up. Bononi hit a pump handle toss on Yuta, who cleared both the downed Avalon & Orange. Bononi avoided a stundog millionaire, but Avalon collided with his partner. Avalon was driven with a Michinoku Driver for two. The match broke down with Ryan Nemeth & Chuck Taylor both getting involved before Avalon was clocked with an Orange Punch for the three.
WINNERS: Orange Cassidy & Wheeler Yuta in 5:00
(Howard’s Analysis: I realize this sounds weird since it’s Orange, but everything was happening so quick at the end of this one. They crammed 10 minutes into 5.)
(10) JOEY JANELA (w/Kayla Rossi) vs. SONNY KISS – No Disqualification, No Count Outs, No Rules
There are weapons around the ring and before the bell, Sonny waffled Kayla with a trash can. Janela attacked, but Sonny turned him inside out with a lariat. Sonny hit a slingshot hurricanrana from the ring to the floor. Sonny connected with a vicious stomp of Joey’s head into the guard rail and wanted a superplex off the ring steps, but Joey fought it off. Sonny instead settled for a handstand head scissors with Joey on the steps, tried a moonsault off the steps, but missed. Janela called over Kayla, who is still hurt from the trash can shot, but she still hit a powerbomb onto the steel steps on Kiss. Joey snapped a board in half, chopped Sonny in the chest with it, then started stacking chairs in the ring. Joey wanted a superplex onto the chairs, but Sonny sent him crashing down onto them and hit a Tornado DDT to follow. This busted Joey open, as Sonny wipes his blood on his own chest. Sonny hit the split out TKO, but Joey bailed to the floor, where Sonny hit a tope. Out of nowhere, Joey answered with a snap brain buster before sending Kayla to the back for a ladder while he sent up a table in the ring. Sonny fought back, punting a trash can into Kayla’s face and she ate a corkscrew kick as well. Janela & Kayla are sandwiched on the table, as Sonny hit a frog splash off the ladder for two. Sonny nearly overshot both of them, but got enough of it. Sonny set up another table on the floor, but Joey hit a superkick to the back. They fought up to the stage, where Sonny hit a corkscrew kick, tried a powerbomb, but Joey swept the leg. Joey hit a piledriver off the stage through the table, threw Sonny into the ring and got the pin.
WINNER: Joey Janela in 14:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Credit to all involved in this one, as this was a heck of a main event. This was a very good culmination of a feud, even if the two really hadn’t done much of anything with each other for a few months. Regardless, I’m happy they took a few weeks to reignite this feud, as it pretty much went on a long duration of 2021. Joey getting his win back from losing their first encounter was a good way to end this. Both need to move on to something else in 2022.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This concludes AEW Dark for 2021 and it was a very watchable episode with some competitive matches, especially the second half. Match of the Night obviously goes to Joey & Sonny, who conclude their nearly year long feud. Yes, this feud dragged for a while and we got whatever the heck that Joey & Alex Marvez stuff was in the middle of it, but for a conclusion to a feud, it was a good one. I of course am assuming this feud is over, but they’re both 1 win a piece now, so who knows. I’m happy we also got to see some under the radar MVPs from Dark this year like Diamante & KiLynn King, who I both have strong new years. Wardlow continues to be dominant, Skye Blue keeps making a name for herself and we got a fun Nese vs. Greene match as well. While AEW Dark might not be the most noteworthy show, the commentary from Excalibur & Taz remains one of the most entertaining in all of wrestling. Every week they make the show fun, which is all you can ask for. Hope everyone has a Happy & Healthy New Year! See you in 2022!