SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW DARK TV REPORT
JULY 12, 2022
RECORDED AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, ORLANDO, FLORIDA
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY RYAN HOWARD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
AEW Dark Announcers: Excalibur, Caprice Coleman, and Taz
Ring Announcer: Dasha Gonzalez
-Excalibur and Taz tell us they’re on location from Japan, as they welcome us to the show.
(1) THUNDER ROSA vs. MIYU YAMASHITA
This match took place this past weekend at the Tokyo Joshi Pro Summer Sun Princess event in Tokyo, Japan. If Yamashita wins, she gets a future AEW Women’s Championship shot. Excalibur put over Yamashita as The Ace of TJPW as Rosa worked the arm into a front face lock. Both ladies tried arm bars until Rosa backed Yamashita into the ropes and fired off a chop. Rosa hit one arm drag, missed a second, as both ladies traded school girls for one counts and Yamashita hit a quick arm drag into a stalemate. Striking battle led to a sliding lariat from Rosa. Both competitors took turns with multiple snap mares and punt kicks to the back. Bodyslam from Rosa got a two, as she poured down elbow strikes for another near fall. Yamashita got free, lit up Rosa with kicks in the corner and Rosa took a hard corner buckle for two. Gut wrench gut buster from Yamashita, but Rosa countered a second attempt into a head scissors to the floor. Rosa hit a dropkick between the ropes and took the fight outside. Back suplex delivered on the apron from Rosa, but she turned her attention away, looked back and ate a charging punt kick to the face from Yamashita. With the head and arm locked, Yamashita hit sort of a throw, but Rosa got a rope break. Rosa fought out of a fireman’s carry, ducked a roundhouse kick and hit a stunner to regain control. Diving corner lariat, double knees in the corner led to Rosa’s running dropkicks in the ropes and Northern Lights for two. Forearm battle began at the 10 minute mark until a misdirect cazadora double stomp from Rosa for two. Rosa went to the top, but Yamashita showed off her flexibility with a high kick that flattened Rosa. Rosa put in her mouthpiece, caught an overhead kick and lit up Yamashita with strikes. Yamashita popped up, hit a pump kick, but Rosa answered with a DVD for two. The crowd is chanting for both ladies, as Yamashita floated over a Fire Thunder Driver; hit a Skull Kick for two. Yamashita hit a stalling German suplex for another two; fireman’s carry into a small package from Rosa, but Yamashita reversed it and got the three. Rosa held the title up post match, shook hands as Yamashita pointed to the title.
WINNER: Miyu Yamashita in 13:30
(Howard’s Analysis: Yamashita officially earns a title shot against Rosa in the future and I think these two will deliver in front of the AEW audience. I dug this match, both ladies put on a strong showing and the crowd really got into it at the end. I’m looking forward to more involvement from the Tokyo Joshi Pro talent with AEW. I selfishly want a lot of those matches to happen on Dark.)
(2) PRIVATE PARTY (Marq Quen & Isiah Kassidy) vs. BEAR COUNTRY (Boulder & Bronson)
Taz pointed out if Bear Bronson keeps losing weight, he’ll no longer be a bear. Kassidy was flattened with a spinebuster as the bear mocked the Private Party shot dance. Quen & Boulder entered the match as Boulder no sold a head lock and blocked a leap frog with what Taz called a “yam bag lift”. Excalibur popped Taz by calling it a double boulder holder. With the ref’s attention turned, Private Party double teamed Bronson with a Silly String to isolate the Bear. Finally, Bronson made his comeback with forearms and flattened both Quen & Kassidy. Boulder made the hot tag and did his fall away slam and Samoan drop combo to get a near fall on Kassidy. Bronson still hadn’t recovered from being double teamed, yet Boulder still tried to backpack his partner for the corner cannonball, but Quen cut them off. Bronson hit a Boss Man Slam on Quen, but foolishly opted for a Bear Bomb attempt with a bad wheel. Kassidy hit a springboard cutter off the top onto Bronson, as Kassidy followed with a somersault dive and got about 5% of Boulder on the floor. Back inside, Quen hit a Shooting Star Press on Bronson for the win.
WINNERS: Private Party in 11:00
(Howard Analysis: Marq Quen’s beard is blue and commentary questioned if he dipped his beard in a porta potty, which is a gross visual I can’t get out of my head. This match never really kicked into gear for me, it felt very slow in the middle and end, outside of that amazing springboard cutter. These two teams just didn’t click tonight.)
(3) SHAWN DEAN vs. CONAN LYCAN
Lycan is making his AEW debut, is a Scott County Wrestling roster member and making my hometown indie promotion proud here tonight. Dean used his speed in the early going to hit a few arm drags and dropkick that sent Conan to the outside. Dean tried a slingshot cross body, but Conan caught him after he struggled at first. Dean wiggled free and posted Conan, who got back inside and caught Dean in a cross body again. Conan turned the cross body into a spinning End of Days for a two count. Dean fought back with corner boots, uppercuts and short clotheslines. A round the world DDT from Dean, who kipped up, hit a three point stance shoulder tackle for two. Conan responded with a deep six spinning back suplex for another near fall. Conan took too long to follow up on the top rope, missed a 450, rolled through, but Dean caught him with a flying dropkick. Dean went up top; hit a salute splash for the victory.
WINNER: Shawn Dean in 5:00
(Howard’s Analysis: I’m happy Conan got a chance to get in some offense in his debut, but the Captain was too much here tonight.)
-Rohit Raju cut a promo backstage running down the fans, re-introducing himself to the Dark crowd. Tonight, he proves to the world and his opponent Baron Black why he’s a walking bag of money. His mother called him son, because he shines like one.
(4) MATT MENARD & ANGELO PARKER vs. JAKE ST. PATRICK & SAGE SCOTT
As soon as the bell rang, Menard & Parker dismantled both men and hit a double implant DDT for a lighting quick win. Excalibur couldn’t even finish his plug for Kingston vs. Jericho’s Barbed Wire Death Match next week on Fyter Fest.
WINNERS: Matt Menard & Angelo Parker in 40 seconds
(Howard’s Analysis: If you haven’t yet, go out of your way to watch the promos these two men cut following Blood & Guts. I know some were split on it, but Matt Menard’s is one of the best I’ve seen in pro wrestling in quite a while.)
(5) WILLOW NIGHTINGALE vs. MILA MOORE
Willow quickly got control with a corner splash and fisherman’s suplex for a one count. Moore fought back with corner pump kick right to the jaw. Willow cart wheeled out of the corner, hit an enziguri, series of clotheslines and scoop spinebuster. Moore avoided a gut wrench into a rip cord back stabber for two. Willow woke up after taking a slap to the face and Pounced Moore into the corner. Cannonball senton in the corner led to the Doctor Bomb for three.
WINNER: Willow Nightingale in 3:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Whenever Willow is on my screen, it’s a great thing. She continues to win over AEW fans and hopefully we see more of her on Dark, Elevation, Rampage, Dynamite, you name it.)
(6) ROHIT RAJU vs. BARON BLACK
Taz said the look of disdain Baron gave Raju is similar to the look Excalibur gives Alex Marvez whenever he walks into a room, which popped The Man in the Mask. Early abdominal stretch into a roll up from Baron, who followed up with a Manhattan drop and discus lariat. Raju hit a drop toehold into the ropes and leaping clothesline to take control. Baron fought back with a big time chop and gut wrench spinning driver for two. Crossface applied from Baron, but Raju got free with a pump kick to the jaw. The corner cannonball from Raju connected and he went up top and hit the double stomp for the win.
WINNER: Rohit Raju in 3:30
(Howard’s Analysis: The crowd was chanting for Baron throughout this match and enough is enough; give Baron Black his first win in AEW. He is now officially 0-50 and I want nothing more than for him to get his first win on Dark sometime this year.)
(7) ANGELICO vs. LOGAN EASTON LAROUX
Excalibur told us Angelico is fresh off his private training session with Negro Navarro and is looking to show off what he learned despite this being taped before that even happened. Angelico kept Laroux grounded with a double arm trap submission into a pin combination for two. Angelico got a drop step into a go behind, as both traded standing switches until Laroux got a flying forearm. A somersault out of the corner into a spear from Laroux got a near fall. Flying clothesline in the ropes, but Angelico side stepped a diving Laroux off the top. Angelico quickly applied the Navarro Death Roll for the submission.
WINNER: Angelico in 4:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Angelico has replaced his rad TH2 dance entrance music to a chill new theme, which completely caught commentators and myself off guard. Taz thinks he loves this new song more and I can’t wait for Taz to try to sing along with this one. Imagine if Taz sang 311, you’re welcome for picturing that.)
(8) DANTE MARTIN (w/Matt Sydal) vs. NICK COMOROTO (w/QT Marshall & Aaron Solo)
QT cut a quick promo on Sydal and Dante, which allowed Comoroto to attack before the bell. Dante used his speed to hit his bounce back dropkick, sent Comoroto outside, but the big man caught Dante on a dive and was thrown into the side of the stage. Dante would have brief moments of hope, but ultimately Comoroto kept him grounded for the next few minutes. Aaron Solo even got in a cheap shot with the refs attention turned. Finally Dante hit a tilt a whirl head scissors, forearm strikes, corner boot and cross body off the top. Dante ducked a lariat, wiped out Solo on the floor then hit a springboard dropkick on Comoroto inside for two. Buzzsaw kick connected, but Comoroto caught another springing cross body into a fireman’s carry neckbreaker for two. Comoroto signaled for the end, but Dante fought out of a Water Wheel Drop, then got a cazadora into a roll up for the flash win. Post match, QT attacked Sydal on the floor, while The Factory surrounded both he & Dante in the ring. Fuego Del Sol hit the ring with a chair to back off The Factory, as Fuego called out QT for a match next week.
WINNER: Dante Martin in 7:30
(Howard’s Analysis: When you picture speed vs. power, you look to these two. Dante was controlled for a majority of this match, but ultimately caught the big man off guard with the flash roll up. I know QT vs. Fuego happens next week, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a 6 man tag with these guys at the next set of tapings.)
(9) PAC vs. SHOTA UMINO – All-Atlantic Championship RevProUK
This title match took place two days ago at the RevPro Live show in Sheffield, England. The crowd was already on fire before the bell even rang. Umino fired off a massive forearm strike that sent PAC to the floor and Umino yelled at The Bastard to bring it on. PAC quickly took control on the floor and headed inside, with PAC shushing the crowd, who was singing KC & The Sunshine Band’s ‘That’s the Way I Like It’. The chants in England are amazing, but PAC got them into the match in no time, until Umino hit a flapjack and charging uppercut. Umino sent PAC into the guard rail all around the ringside area. A slingshot DDT in the ring got Umino two. PAC kept rolling to the floor, as Umino kept throwing him back inside until PAC suckered Umino in with an eye rake and boots to the face in the corner. PAC mocked the crowd for chanting Umino’s name until we got dueling chants from the RevPro fans. PAC went up top, missed a dive, Umino hit a back elbow and short dropkick. Umino fired off a series of uppercuts, back suplex and almost key locked PAC, who got the bottom rope break. Both spilled to the outside again, PAC was placed on a chair; Umino did the Moxley strut, got a running start and nailed a charging dropkick. Back inside, Umino hit a missile dropkick and fisherman’s suplex for two. PAC responded with his signature kick combo a low snap dropkick. To the top PAC went and hit a shotgun dropkick for a near fall. Taz joined the RevPro crowd who sang “He’s a Bastard, He’s a Bastard, He’s a Bastard, Yes He Is!” which was pretty great. PAC toyed with Umino, until both started a forearm battle. Umino seemed to gain the upper hand, but PAC suckered him in with a bounce back German. Umino hit a pop up knee strike to the face, but ran into a follow up thrust kick. PAC went for a powerbomb, Umino countered into a Crunchy for the double down and AEW chant from the crowd. To Excalibur’s credit, he pointed out how Umino must’ve studied Trent Beretta during his time in New Japan. PAC hit a thrust kick, went to the top, but Umino kicked the top rope out from under PAC. Umino hit a spinning DDT and brainbuster for two. A hanging reverse DDT got Umino another close near fall, as he signaled for the end. PAC blocked Death Rider with a roll through, Umino countered into an insanely close roll up for two. PAC again got a crucifix and Umino started to fade, finally crumbled to the mat and tapped out.
WINNER: PAC in 18:30 to retain the AEW All Atlantic Championship
(Howard’s Analysis: My goodness, what a main event this was! I beg Tony Khan to keep having these kinds of All Atlantic title defenses happen on Dark, as it improves this show a tremendous amount. The heart of Shota Umino is incredible and the crowd was unbelievable for this one, with PAC being just too much to overcome. This was one of the best matches I’ve had the chance to review on Dark and definitely recommend this as a go out of your way match to seek out. Job well done to everyone involved.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This is kind of weird, as the show was bookmarked by a very solid women’s match from Japan with a lively crowd and the Match of the Night main event with a hot Sheffield crowd. In the middle was the Dark arena fans in Orlando and they just seem dead and quiet in comparison. I understand there were much more people in Tokyo & Sheffield than there were at the Orlando tapings, but nothing beats a crowd chanting and into it like they were for those two matches. Like I said in the review, the main event was a go out of your way match to watch. I’d recommend the opener as well, especially if you aren’t familiar with Miyu Yamashita, as she will be on AEW TV in the future having earned a title shot. Those two matches I’d check out.