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AEW DARK TV REPORT
APRIL 19, 2022
RECORDED AT CURTIS CULWELL CENTER, GARLAND, TEXAS
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY RYAN HOWARD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
AEW Dark Announcers: Excalibur and Taz
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
Excalibur and Taz on the call, welcoming us to the show.
(1) TONI STORM vs. GIGI LANE
Jamie Hayter joined commentary to scout her opponent for the Owen Hart Foundation tournament. Toni worked a front face lock early, transitioned to the arm, but Lane fired off a forearm. Toni hit a misdirect dropkick, but fired the crowd up, which allowed Lane to take control. Excalibur asked Hayter what would happen if she faces Britt Baker in the Owen Hart tournament and she said it’ll be just a friendly match. Storm missed a kitchen sink, Lane missed an enziguri, Toni hit a release German suplex and hip attack in the corner. Lane fought out of Storm Zero with a spin kick to the ribs, but Toni took her head off with a lariat. That set the table for a Water Wheel Drop and Storm Zero for the win.
WINNER: Toni Storm in 3:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Very impressive showing from Toni on her first AEW Dark, who had a strong crowd reaction as soon as her music hit. I liked that commentary covered the potential Britt vs. Jamie match that could happen in the Owen tournament. Jamie vs. Toni should be a fun opening round battle.)
(2) DANIELLE KAMELA vs. RACHE CHANEL
Eddie Kingston is next to join Taz & Excalibur at commentary. Kamela forced Chanel to shake her hand at the start before she fired some deep arm drags and flap jack. Kamela missed a charge in the corner; Chanel caught a stiff strike and enzugiri. Chanel charged, but Kamela dropkicked the leg low and draped the leg over the throat. Kamela hit a beautiful spinning neckbreaker to get the victory.
WINNER: Danielle Kamela in 2:00
(Howard Analysis: This was the first singles win for the former Vanessa Borne since an NXT house show at the end of 2019. I’m happy she was given a singles win on AEW programming before heading into Brittsburgh tomorrow night to face Britt Baker in enemy territory. That neckbreaker finisher popped Eddie Kingston with how cool it looked.)
(3) RICKY STARKS & POWERHOUSE HOBBS vs. STU GRAYSON & EVIL UNO
Right at the bell, Starks told the crowd they didn’t compare to the New Orleans crowd last week. Uno & Starks had a nice exchange to start, with Starks mocking the Dark Order pose. Hobbs & Grayson tagged in with Grayson getting a chop, but Hobbs mowed him down with a shoulder and lariat that turned Grayson inside out. Kingston compares Starks & Hobbs to Buddy Landell & Butch Reed in Mid South from 84. Starks suffered a double team from Dark Order and Grayson hit a somersault plancha that crumbled Starks. Referee Aubrey had to go check on him, but Uno brought Ricky back inside for a two count. Hobbs wisely grabbed his partner to the floor and swept the leg of Grayson on the apron to give Team Taz control. Starks paint brushed Grayson so hard and loud it got a huge reaction from commentary. Grayson countered a Hobbs powerslam into a spinning DDT and did a double Pele Kick. Uno made the hot tag and clocked Starks with a big boot and neckbreaker. Grayson wiped out Hobbs with a somersault dive outside, while Uno hit Something Evil on Starks for a two. Springboard double team slam on Starks got another near fall. Starks sent Uno & Grayson into each other and tagged Hobbs, who wiped out Grayson and hit a snap powerslam on Uno for two. Dark Order fought back with the somersault senton and 450 splash combo, but Grayson landed wrong on his leg and couldn’t make the cover. Hobbs planted Uno with a spinebuster, Grayson knocked Hobbs to the apron, tried a springboard, but Starks hit a Spear in mid air for the victory.
WINNERS: Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs in 9:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Happy to see Uno & Grayson team up in a standard tag match for a change, since it feels like we haven’t seen them together as a duo in quite a while. This was a fun back and forth contest with Team Taz continuing their win streak after their big win on Dynamite last week over Strickland & Keith Lee.)
(4) TONY NESE (w/Mark Sterling) vs. JD GRIFFEY
Nese picked apart Griffey in the opening minute, but Griffey fired off some strikes and superman punch. Nese reversed an Irish whip and hit a gnarly pump handle driver that dropped Griffey right on his head. The running Nese in the corner did the trick, as that was all it took.
WINNER: Tony Nese in 2:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Just a dominating performance from Nese, but I found it hilarious how Excalibur said Nese has been undefeated since being managed by Mark Sterling. He’s won 2 matches, so I guess that does qualify as a winning streak, barely.)
(5) MARINA SHAFIR vs. ALEJANDRA LION
Taz started calling the throws from Shafir early and Kingston couldn’t help but mock him. Lion got a big boot to the face, but missed a double knee in the corner. Shafir locked in a straight jacket with a knee to the shoulder blade. Shafir fired off a palm strike, then slapped on a Stretch Muffler. Shafir powered Lion up while still in the hold and slammed Lion down. The triangle submission won it quickly for Shafir. Post match, Jade Cargill made her way to the stage to hold her TBS Title in the air to a huge reaction. She was going to make her way to the ring, but Mark Sterling stopped her.
WINNER: Marina Shafir in 2:00
(Howard’s Analysis: I sort of wish we had more of these Marina squashes on AEW TV before she got a TBS title shot. I know she’s been undefeated for a while, but if she was made into a much bigger threat to Jade, this potential 30-0 for Jade would seem like a much bigger deal. Regardless, Marina has looked impressive since being in AEW and I’m looking forward to the title match.)
(6) SWERVE STRICKLAND & KEITH LEE vs. NICK COMOROTO & AARON SOLO (w/QT Marshall & Anthony Ogogo)
There was a huge ovation for Swerve and especially Keith Lee during their entrance. The first minute was the crowd chanting Bask in His Glory for Lee, as Comoroto told Swerve to tag Lee in. The two big men clashed and no sold shoulder blocks from each other. Finally, Lee showed off his speed with a misdirection shoulder block. Swerve tagged in and worked the arm, but Comoroto no sold and pressed Swerve over his head. Swerve worked the wrist, but Solo made the tag and we got a quick exchange. QT ran distraction with the ref, as Comoroto tripped up Swerve in the corner and this allowed The Factory to isolate Strickland. At one point Comoroto took the ref, cheap shot Swerve and trash talked a family member of Keith Lee’s seated ringside. Swerve was finally able to fight off both men and make the hot tag to Keith Lee to get the crowd going. Lee dished out multiple charging corner splashes and bealed Solo across the ring into his own partner. QT tripped Lee; Solo hit a corkscrew kick, Comoroto with a spear, Solo with a big splash for two. Lee fought back and did a fireman’s carry forearm and kick with Swerve. The finish came with Solo up in a powerbomb position from Lee, while Swerve hit a double stomp to the chest as Lee sat out with the powerbomb for three.
WINNERS: Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee in 8:30
(Howard’s Analysis: A very fun main event tonight with the crowd going crazy for Keith Lee as soon as he made his way out. The chants for he & Swerve were great and it shows why Dark is so much better taped like this. You’re pretty much guaranteed a solid tag team match against Solo & Comoroto and this was no different. The finisher from Lee & Swerve was fantastic and hopefully they keep teaming together.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: I sure have missed episodes of AEW Dark taped in front of a huge audience like this. The matches just feel more special and it builds to Dynamite a lot better than episodes in the can for a long time in advance. We had a hot crowd as soon as Toni Storm’s music hit and a huge reaction to the hometown Keith Lee in the main event. My Match of the Night is a rare toss up, as I enjoyed both tag matches on tonight’s show. I’m going to go with Dark Order vs. Team Taz because more happened in the match itself, while the main event had a great crowd reaction and finish. I wish we had Eddie Kingston on commentary more with Taz & Excalibur because the amount of times he busts their chops is hilarious. Whether it be Taz and the Mets or Excalibur accidentally calling Daniel Garcia “Danielle”, which Eddie ran with. The banter is on a whole other level, even for Dark. Also Kingston being annoyed whenever Excalibur even mentions C.M. Punk’s name made me laugh.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S AEW DARK REPORT: 4/12 AEW DARK TV REPORT: Shawn Dean vs. Rohit Raju, Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Axton Ray, more