SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW DARK TV REPORT
MAY 17, 2022
RECORDED AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, ORLANDO, FL.
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY RYAN HOWARD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
AEW Dark Announcers: Excalibur and Taz
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-Before Excalibur and Taz can even welcome us, Max Caster is out to do his rap to kick off the show.
(1) MAX CASTER vs. TYLER URIAH
Uriah tried an early leap frog and duck down, but Caster took him down with a side headlock. Both traded dropkicks with Caster standing tall. Uriah popped up and got a few pinning combinations until Caster smacked him with the back of his hand and a flapjack. Uriah fired up, sent Caster to the corner and delivered a big back body drop. Uriah took way too long to follow up and Caster came out of the corner and hit a standing double stomp like a Cameron Grimes cave in for the victory.
WINNER: Max Caster in 3:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Quick opener to give Platinum Max a singles win, as I have no idea what the end game is with The Acclaimed & Gunn Club joining forces. I just want to know if they’ll be called The Ass-claimed?)
(2) MARINA SHAFIR vs. LAYNA LENNOX
Taz sang along to the violin playing of Marina’s theme, so add that to his Greatest Hits album. Marina got an early throw, tried for another, Lennox desperately avoided it, hit a snap mare and running boot. Lennox took too long to follow and Marina lit her up with a kick to the kidneys and chucked poor Layna into the corner violently. To the floor, Marina got a fireman’s carry and dropped Lennox face first on the apron. Back inside, Marina hit a throw and kick to the small of the back before a wild pump handle over head throw. Marina locked in almost a stump puller mixed with a triangle for the submission.
WINNER: Marina Shafir in 3:00
(Howard Analysis: Just a dominating victory for Marina, whose squashes have been quite the joy to watch on Dark. I assume it wasn’t a joy for poor Layna Lennox.)
-Lexy Nair interviewed the New Japan Dojo ahead of their 10 man tag tonight, as Clark Connors introduced their team, who were trained by Katsuyori Shibata. Kevin Knight said they’re coming for The Factory for what they did to The DKC last week. Knight translated Uemura saying it’s over with.
(3) BEAR COUNTRY (Bronson & Boulder) vs. THE WORKHORSEMEN (JD Drake & Anthony Henry)
Taz baffled himself when he thought the roar of Bear Country’s theme was a moan of a bear stepping on a tack in the ocean. You read that line right. Bronson & Henry traded kicks to the chests and forearms, with both men teeing off on each other. Bronson finally hit an overhead suplex to win the exchange and bring in Boulder. JD Drake jumped in and Boulder no sold chops. Boulder hit a few corner clotheslines and splash before Drake was dropped with a bodyslam. Henry made the tag, got a drop toehold onto the knees of Drake, as The Workhorsemen took control by isolating Bronson. A shotgun dropkick into and exploder suplex from Drake got a two count, as Boulder was continuously kept at bay. Henry is bleeding on his chest from the chops he ate earlier in the match, tried a sunset flip, but Bronson sat on the chest. Boulder made the hot tag and cleaned house with a fall away slam and Samoan drop simultaneously. Henry put a stop to his partner getting flattened by a Bear Bomb, as Drake hit a Shining Wizard and Henry with an assisted Tornado DDT. Drake missed a cannonball, Henry was wiped out by Boulder on the floor and Bronson hit his cannonball on Drake. With Drake & Henry stacked, Boulder backpacked his partner and hit a double corner cannonball. The Bear Bomb on Henry finished the match for Bear Country.
WINNERS: Bear Country in 8:30
(Howard’s Analysis: Wow, what a battle this match was. It’s a match I’d love to see again, as both teams looked strong. Even in defeat, Drake & Henry got off quite a bit of innovative offense, but the Bears were just too much to handle in this battle.)
-A brief commercial for RJ City’s YouTube show HEY! (EW) is shown with guests on Sunday being Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs. I said it last week and I’ll say it every week a preview of his show is shown; go out of your way to watch RJ’s show each Sunday morning. This past week with Arn Anderson was nothing short of a work of art.
(4) EMI SAKURA vs. DEVLYN MACABRE
Emi raked the face of Devlyn across the top rope and delivered a big hair mare. Emi locked on the Romero Special while singing the Freddie Mercury chant. Emi just let the hold go and let Devlyn get up to throw some strikes, which Emi no sold. Finally Devlyn punted out the legs and hit a thrust kick to the face. Devlyn fired off a Diamond Cutter for a near fall. Emi reversed a fisherman’s suplex into a spinning reverse neckbreaker, as she got the We Will Rock You chants going during her chops. Taz screwed up the chant and expects an angry Emi Sakura tweet directed at him as a result. A stalling double arm underhook back breaker led to Queen’s Gambit for the win.
WINNER: Emi Sakura in 3:30
(Howard’s Analysis: Emi has been getting quite a few wins, which makes me hope she’s going to have a big match on Dark or Rampage sometime soon? At least that’s what I hope, as we need more Emi on our TVs and not just YouTube.)
(5) ANGELICO & JORA JOHL vs. BARON BLACK & ANTHONY CATENA
Shout out to the one guy chanting Baron loudly during the start of this match, as it’s good to see Baron Black back on Dark. Black avoided a double team and tagged Catena, who locked it up with Johl, who caught Catena off a leap frog attempt and drove him to the corner. Catena ducked a lariat, hit a dropkick, but Johl responded with a thrust kick. Angelico made the tag and wrapped up Catena like a pretzel, but a rope break saved him. Black made a hot tag, ran wild with an atomic drop into a backstabber on Johl. Running discus lariat and overhead exploder got Black a near fall. Angelico caught Baron from the floor and Johl hit a Cradle Shock, while Angelico made the tag and got the Navarro Death Roll for the submission.
WINNERS: Angelico & Jora Johl in 4:30
(Howard’s Analysis: Good showing from the A.F.O. duo, with this being one of the first times I believe they’ve teamed. Can we please get Baron Black a win in AEW in 2022, please? He deserves to finally get in the win column.)
(6) TRENT BERETTA vs. RYAN NEMETH
Thank goodness there was an Excalibur voice over for this match, as there was just a blank screen with no graphic about this match during the intro. Nemeth grounded Trent and tried getting the crowd to cheer him, but only Taz did. Nemeth was sent outside and avoided a dive, but not the baseball slide. Nemeth avoided another dive and caught Trent with a leaping DDT on the floor. Back inside, Nemeth was too preoccupied doing his Pee-Wee Herman strut and ran into a Gobstopper knee for the win out of nowhere. Post match, Peter Avalon hit the ring and beat down Trent until Rocky Romero made the save for his Roppongi Vice partner.
WINNER: Trent Beretta in 3:30
(Howard’s Analysis: This was a quick match just to really set up the Trent & Rocky vs. Nemeth & Avalon tag match next week. I liked how Excalibur was mid plug for upcoming dates when Trent got his win and just cut off Excalibur dead in his tracks. That’s something you never see.)
(7) SKYE BLUE vs. AMBER NOVA
Nova demanded a real woman who wasn’t 12 to wrestle her prior to the match. Blue got a few pin attempts, but was driven head first into the corner. Nova got a rolling reverse arm bar, but Blue got a rope break. Blue fired up with a step up knee in the ropes and low dropkick for two. Blue tried her spinning flatliner, but Nova hit a big boot for a near fall. Blue fought back with a boot and got the spinning flatliner to get the win. Tony Schiavone did a brief interview post match and Skye Blue is excited for her future in AEW.
WINNER: Skye Blue in 3:30
(Howard’s Analysis: Technically Blue won in about 2:30, since the first minute was Nova trash talking her opponent. The post match promo wasn’t all that much, but I like that they gave Skye a chance to talk, which is what more folks should be doing on Dark. It gives people a chance to improve on the mic.)
(8) YUYA UEMURA & CLARK CONNORS & KARL FREDRICKS & ALEX CAUGHLIN & KEVIN KNIGHT vs. QT MARSHALL & AARON SOLO & NICK COMOROTO & BRICK ALDRIGE & BLAKE LI
We had a 10 man stare down that led to a giant brawl right out the gate. With chaos on the floor, Li & Connors were the legal men inside the ring, as they traded strikes. Knight & Uemura jumped in and double teamed Knight with a double elbow drop for a near fall. Solo ran distraction enough for Knight to be stuck in the wrong corner, with Aldridge hitting a huge beal. The Factory took turns picking apart Knight with fast tags, so much so that QT tagged in and just tagged in Comoroto without doing anything. A tilt a whirl back breaker on Solo gave Knight some hope, but QT put the stop to it. Knight used his speed and mowed down QT with a shoulder block to get the tag to Fredericks, who ran wild with a spinebuster, back breaker and double team double stomp with Connor’s help. Fredericks took the fight to Comoroto, who showed off his strength briefly enough to gain control. Comoroto did a gorilla press, while Aldridge did a face buster off the top, which looked really cool. The match broke down until Caughlin hulked up and had a strike battle with Comoroto. Caughlin wound up for a home run lariat, but ran into one from Comoroto, who tried a suplex, but Caughlin reversed into one of his own. A marathon of moves as Li hit a springboard forearm, Connors hit a spear, Solo with a corkscrew kick, Uemura with an overhead suplex, Aldridge with a press power slam, Fredericks with an enzugiri, QT missed a Cutter. Fredericks sent QT to the floor and did a dive that saw him hitting his own head on the apron it looked like in the process. Electric chair combo slam from Caughlin & Knight on Aldridge got the New Japan crew the victory.
WINNERS: Yuya Uemura, Clark Connors, Karl Fredericks, Alex Caughlin & Kevin Knight in 10:30
(Howard’s Analysis: I had been looking forward to this match for the last few weeks and it didn’t disappoint. The heat on Knight took half the time of this match, but once the New Japan Dojo crew got going, it was full speed action. Everyone got to show off a little bit of what they’re capable of and I hope this isn’t the last time we see the LA Dojo crew on Dark. Continued best of luck to Clark Connors in the Best of Super Juniors in Japan right now, as he was impressive, even in defeat in his opening round match with Ace Austin.)
(9) WHEELER YUTA vs. JOSH WOODS – ROH Pure Championship
The judges for this match are Jerry Lynn, Ace Steel & BJ Whitmer, as if this match goes to a time limit draw, they will decide a winner. Fast pace start with reversals aplenty until Woods hit an overhead throw, locked on an arm breaker and Yuta used his first rope break 90 seconds in. Yuta fired back with a Tornado arm breaker out of the corner, as that’s what he’ll be working on, as he wrenched the wrist. Yuta tried a leap frog, but Woods caught the leg and got an ankle lock. Woods trapped the legs in the corner, unleashed some forearms and hit a pump kick to the leg. We got a rolling cradle spot with each man getting dizzy, but Woods had the ware withal to hit a pump kick for a one count. Yuta’s leg keeps going out and he threw a closed fist, which he was warned about, so if he does it again, he’s disqualified. Yuta threw some forearms and hit a massive splash off the top for two. Yuta tried the Lebell Lock, but Woods countered into an ankle lock. Excalibur wisely pointed out he hasn’t perfected the hold yet in training with the Blackpool Combat Club. Yuta sent Woods to the floor and hit a tope suicida, but clutched his leg in the process. Yuta as back dropped to the apron, looked for a dive, but Woods hit a kick to the head, as both men are down. There’s a 20 count, so both men started moving at 13 and broke it at 15. Forearm exchange commenced until both men thought pump kick and laid each other out. Yuta avoided a suplex, delivered one of his own into the corner and hit an Angle Slam for two. Yuta skinned the cat on the bottom rope, but came right back into an ankle lock, having to use his second rope break. Woods went back to the ankle lock and Yuta used his third rope break. Woods again went to the ankle lock, Yuta crawled under the ropes, but Woods held on. They traded roll ups until Yuta trapped Woods in a Euro Clutch for the flash pin. Tony Schiavone had a post match interview with Yuta saying he’s only just begun.
WINNER: Wheeler Yuta in 12:30 to retain the ROH Pure Championship
(Howard’s Analysis: This was an excellent match on Dark. This match really played into the Pure Rules with rope breaks, 20 counts, closed fists, it was fantastic. I wish the crowd would’ve been more into this, as both guys put on a great title match. This was one of the better overall wrestling matches I’ve seen on Dark since doing recaps. Much like Clark Connors, continued luck to Wheeler Yuta in the Best of Super Juniors, despite a losing effort in a very good match with Robbie Eagles.)
(10) KEITH LEE & SWERVE STRICKLAND vs. CHAOS PROJECT (Luther & Serpentico)
This was taped at the end of the most recent Dynamite & Rampage tapings last week in Long Island. The first minute of this match was Luther & Swerve poking each other in the chest with one, two, three, four fingers until each man took turns biting the hand of the other. Swerve used his speed to get the best of Serpentico, with the crowd chanting Swerve’s House. Serpentico slipped on the second rope and clutched his leg, as Swerve hit a knee drop and tag to Keith Lee, which startled Serpentico. Luther tried to hype up Serpentico, who hit a horrible chop, which Lee couldn’t help but smirk at. Embarrassed, Serpentico tagged Luther, who tried offense, but was Pounced by Lee. Luther did hit an enziguri and body slammed his partner onto Lee for one. Chaos Project made fast tags until Luther chucked his partner into Lee, who caught Serpentico and tossed him into Luther. Lee hit a massive beal, while Swerve hit a double stomp into a Lee powerbomb for the win.
WINNERS: Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland in 6:00
(Howard’s Analysis: I was wondering why this match was shown at the end of this episode, but with Lee & Swerve seemingly in the tag title picture, they need wins and this ups their record. This was pretty much a dominating win for Swerve & Lee, which is should’ve been, just sprinkled in with a little comedy, which Serpentico & Luther are masters at.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was one of the most enjoyable episodes of Dark I’ve gotten to review in my time doing recaps. The tag match with Bear Country & Workhorseman was hard hitting, the 10 man tag was action packed and delivered and the ROH Pure Title was my Match of the Night. I’d say it’s in the running for best match I’ve seen the past year and change on Dark. Sprinkle that in with your Dark specialty squashes and it was wrapped up in 90 minutes that honestly flew by. Go out of your way to watch Yuta vs. Woods, then cheer on Yuta & Connors in the Best of Super Juniors like I’ve been doing.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S AEW DARK TV REPORT: 5/10 AEW DARK TV REPORT: Jay Lethal vs. Jake Something, Hogan vs. Blue, The Factory in action, more