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AEW DARK TV REPORT
JULY 26, 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 on the call, welcoming us to the show with a Price.com plug.
(1) KIERA HOGAN vs. ALLIE REKS
Reks fired off a stiff forearm and handspring strike to the corner to start things off. Reks got a few roll ups for near falls, but Hogan responded with a thrust kick and John Woo dropkick. A sliding single leg dropkick in the corner led to a step up leg drop off the back. Roundhouse kick to the noggin of Reks gave Hogan a very quick victory.
WINNER: Kiera Hogan in 1:30
(Howard’s Analysis: Taz immediately dropped this gem of a line post match “Once Hogan hit that legdrop, 1985 called…” Not much more to say about this one, Reks got in some strikes, but once Hogan got going, it was academic for The Baddie.)
(2) ALEX REYNOLDS (w/-1) vs. RYAN NEMETH (w/Peter Avalon)
Avalon is in his ring gear & robe as later tonight he’ll be facing Dante Martin. Nemeth hit a shoulder block early, but posed and was tripped right on his face. Reynolds hit a charging cross body for two, but Nemeth fought back with a nice takedown. A missed dropkick allowed Reynolds to get a roll up and backslide, each for two. Reynolds tried an O’Connor Roll, but got hung up throat first across the top and posted to the floor. Reynolds tried a sunset flip back inside, but Nemeth poked the eyes. Nemeth missed his pendulum DDT, which allowed Reynolds to hit a corner forearm and spinning uppercut. A leaping double stomp to the head got a close near fall for Reynolds. Reynolds missed a corner kick; Nemeth got a roll up with tights for two and pendulum DDT for another close two. Rude Awakening missed, as Reynolds hit a pop up knee and running boot in the corner. Reynolds hit a Whipper Snapper out of the corner for the victory.
WINNER: Alex Reynolds in 6:00
(Howard Analysis: This was a fun little match, as I was happy there was no shenanigans from Pretty Peter, but he knew he would’ve gotten beat up by -1 in the process, so smart move. The running joke on commentary for about the past year it feels has been Ryan Nemeth likes going through peoples bags in the back. It never fails to pop Excalibur or Taz when the other brings that up.)
(3) MARINA SHAFIR vs. TRACY NYXX
Nyxx is from Sleepy Hollow and Excalibur promotes a nice Greek restaurant up in those parts. Shafir, showing no emotion, easily took Nyxx down and worked the arm. Nyxx chopped back, Shafir no sold and kicked Nyxx to the floor. Nyxx recovered, but Shafir got a quick body shot and slapped on Greedy for the submission.
WINNER: Marina Shafir in 2:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Just a dominant win for Shafir, who keeps racking wins on Dark. I’d like to see her in a feud on this program, but she just seems to be stacking singles & tag matches with Nyla for the time being.)
(4) SLIM J vs. BLAKE LI
Slim J worked a headlock and shoulder tackle before doing a double stomp elbow drop combination. Slim J kept Li grounded until Li mounted a comeback with driving Slim J’s head into three corners, but missed on the fourth. Slim J got a twisting Pele Kick off the top rope and cazadora into a Flatliner. From there, Slim J locked on a leg lock into a reverse cross face for the submission.
WINNER: Slim J in 3:00
(Howard’s Analysis: This is Slim J’s AEW debut, as he is coming off a tag team victory at Death Before Dishonor last weekend with Ari Daivari. I’m happy Slim J is getting a shot in AEW, as I’ve been a fan since I first saw him on a ROH VHS I bought at an indy show back in the day. I was always blown away by what I saw back then and I’m happy that’s still the case, as Slim J is innovative as ever.)
(5) JULIA HART vs. RENEE MICHELLE
Julia was relentless out the gate with her offense, as she drove Michelle neck first over the top rope to the floor. Back inside, Julia ate a wheel kick from Michelle for two. Julia floated over a bodyslam, sent Michelle to the corner, but missed her handspring elbow. She didn’t miss the follow up, but Michelle responded with a Northern Lights for two. Julia answered with a thrust kick, handspring lariat, running back elbow and a violent Rings of Saturn variation for the tapout.
WINNER: Julia Hart in 3:00
(Howard’s Analysis: The violent mean streak of Julia Hart is such an improvement of the cheerleader we knew and loved. Hopefully that aggressiveness will lead her to success with the House of Black.)
(6) COLE KARTER vs. MIKE ORLANDO
Orlando is nicknamed The Green Machine, which Taz said he could say that about a lot of people in the business. An early head scissors from Orlando got the crowd to chant for him. Karter offered a handshake, got a cheap shot to the gut and poured down punches. Orlando made his comeback, tried to go for corner punches, but Karter slid through with a thrust kick. A 450 splash won it quick for Karter.
WINNER: Cole Karter in 2:30
(Howard’s Analysis: Well, the former 2-Dimes graphic said Karter, but the entrance video said Carter, so they’ll have to fix that. He acted like a babyface for his entrance, but was immediately a heel as the bell rang. The 450 he hit looked solid, so I’ll give him that.)
(7) ANGELO PARKER (w/Matt Menard) vs. CAMERON STEWART
Daddy Magic told Cool Hand to make it quick, as Stewart backed Parker to the ropes and shook his hips. This baffled commentary, as Parker hit a leg lariat and Samoan Drop. A step up elbow drop off the back from Parker led to an Impaler DDT for the quick win.
WINNER: Angelo Parker in 1:30
(Howard’s Analysis: It’s awfully nice for Parker to oblige when his partner told him to make it quick. Whether it’s in tag action of singles competition, Parker & Menard continue to be masters of the squash match.)
(8) ARI DAIVARI (w/Slim J) vs. BLAKE CHRISTIAN
Daivari is now named “Trust Fund” Ari Daivari, so he’s rich now, which Taz said has always been the case. I guess Ari has forgotten to mention that the other times he’s been on AEW, but I digress. Christian hit a handspring kick, but got distracted long enough by Slim J on the apron for Daivari to take over. That wasn’t for long, as Christian hit a handspring, tried a backflip DDT but opted for a half and half suplex for two. Christian went up top, but rolled through as Daivari moved. As Christian charged, Daivari hit a hip toss into the corner and tried a hammerlock lariat, but Christian spun out into a kick. Christian was sent to the apron, Daivari was draped on the top rope and Christian hit a Frog Splash that sent Daivari to the floor. Daivari said he had an injured leg, which allowed Slim J to clip the leg of Christian. Quickly Daivari hit the hammerlock lariat and Frog Splash for the victory. Post match, Tony Schiavone interviewed the duo and Daivari said after the 4th of July, his trust fun officially kicked in and now he’s richer than Tony Khan. Daivari purchased the contract of Slim J and he works for him now. Daivari will be scouting the wrestling world on who will join the Trust Fund. The crowd chanted We Don’t’ Care and Boring as this all went on.
WINNER: Ari Daivari in 5:00
(Howard’s Analysis: The match itself was very solid, but the post match promo was just ok. So apparently we’re to believe Daivari is the richest man in wrestling, richer than the owner of AEW and he’s content with being on Dark. I know he’s gaining another name in his ranks soon, so I’ll give this time to develop before having a opinion on it.)
(9) DANTE MARTIN vs. PETER AVALON (w/Ryan Nemeth)
Nemeth tripped Dante at the bell and Avalon took advantage with a cheap shot. Dante used his speed to gain control, tried his bounce back dropkick, but Avalon countered into a Death Valley Driver for two. Avalon took the official, as Nemeth got in some cheap shots on Dante outside. Back inside, Avalon missed a moonsault, which allowed Dante to get back into things. Big time cross body off the top got Dante a near fall. Avalon got a boot up in the corner and hit a beautiful Tornado DDT for a close two. Avalon spilled to the outside after he missed a charge through the ropes; Dante hit a dive, springing back inside with the Nose Dive for the win.
WINNER: Dante Martin in 5:00
(Howard’s Analysis: I love how Taz still holds a grudge over Dante for swerving Team Taz months and months ago. Taz says his lawyers are still working on it and I think Taz is screwed. Much like Nemeth & Reynolds earlier, this was a fun little 5 minute match with Pretty Peter getting a lot of the offense, but the speed & flying of Dante was too much to overcome.)
(10) PAC vs. LJ CLEARY – AEW All Atlantic Championship
Excalibur & Taz loaded the jet and made a trip to Dublin for this main event, which took place July 22 at the Over the Top Wrestling show. The hometown boy, 23 year old LJ Cleary is the challenger and he’s faced Swerve Strickland, Rey Fenix, Pentagon and others, which I’m glad Excalibur lets us know that. Clean breaks from both to start led to PAC working the left arm, but Cleary kept up with the chain wrestling. Both men showed off their speed with leap frogs and somersaults through the legs until Cleary missed a dropkick and PAC took control. Cleary used his speed to misdirect PAC, who landed on his feet off an arm drag, but Cleary knocked PAC to the floor with a leg lariat. PAC bailed to avoid a dive and took over quickly back inside. A big time dropkick off the top sent Cleary to the floor and PAC went out after with a violent kick to the chest. Even with the crowd chanting you could hear the kicks echo with how stiff they are. PAC wrenched at side headlock in the ring and followed with a snap German suplex off the ropes. PAC is mocking the fight of Cleary, who chops to his feet; hit a spin kick that crumbled PAC and the crowd is fully behind Cleary to follow up. A barrage of strikes from Cleary, as he hit a step up kick on the apron and springboard double stomp to the back of PAC for two. PAC fought back with a bodyslam, missed a dive off the top, as Cleary hit a Disaster Kick and neckbreaker for two. Both traded sole butt and up kicks until Cleary hit a desperation thrust kick for the double down. Each man pulled themselves up and this time Cleary ran into a thrust kick, as PAC went up top, but Cleary rolled to the ropes. Cleary played possum and went up to the ropes for a huge superplex. PAC rolled outside and Cleary hit a somersault plancha going right back to the ring for two Destroyers to give Cleary a close two. PAC wrenched the arm of Cleary down violently and locked on the Brutalizer for the tap out.
WINNER: PAC in 15:30 to retain the AEW All Atlantic Championship
(Howard’s Analysis: I can’t say enough good things about the All Atlantic Title being defended at shows across the globe and shown on Dark. I wasn’t all that familiar with the work of Cleary, but I’ll be going out of my way to seek out more of his matches after this. This is exactly why having matches like this on Dark is great, it gives guys a shot to shine outside of AEW. PAC is an amazing champion and I hope these defenses happen for a long time to come. I wouldn’t be against having him lose the title eventually and you can have a rematch on AEW Dynamite or even a PPV down the line even. There are lots of possibilities with this title and this match tonight was an excellent main event.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: The main event was obviously my Match of the Night with both champion & challenger shining. I dug the Avalon vs. Dante and Reynolds vs. Nemeth matches as well, but nothing could hold a candle to the main event. We got the start of the Trust Busters storyline with newly rich Ari Daivari and his first client Slim J, so we’ll see where that goes. The rest was your standard squash Dark matches, so the match I’d go out of your way to check out would be PAC vs. LJ Cleary and hopefully we get more of those in the future. I’d love every other week having a PAC title defense on Dark.