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AEW DARK TV REPORT
AUGUST 16, 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: Justin Roberts
-Excalibur and Taz on the call, welcoming us to the show.
(1) ARI DAIVARI (w/Parker Boudreaux & Slim J) vs. FUEGO DEL SOL
Taz tells us if he had the money that Daivari has, he’d also buy people up left and right. Spinning head scissors from Fuego early on, as we get a nice exchange with Fuego hitting another head scissors. Ari was able to ground Fuego soon after, but it quickly changed to a chop battle. Ari lowered his head, got chopped in the back and ate a dropkick. Fuego was tripped by Slim-J with the ref checking on Ari, who immediately took over. Ari took the ref again and Slim-J choked Fuego in the ropes for good measure. Fuego started to fade off a sleeper, but he powered up into a neckbreaker for the double down. Fuego mounted a comeback with a dragon sleeper in the ropes and double stomp on the back of the head on a hung up Daivari for two. Daivari avoided a Tornado DDT, set up Fuego in the ropes, but Fuego fought back and hit another double stomp while Daivari was trapped in the Tree of Woe. Coast to Coast dropkick connected for Fuego to get two and Fuego couldn’t believe it. As Fuego went up top, Parker Boudreaux pulled Daivari to the floor, as Fuego hit a huge moonsault that wiped out Daivari. Fuego had a faceoff with Slim-J & Boudreaux, just stood there until Daivari recovered, posted him, hit a swinging lariat and frog splash for the win. Post match, Daivari put over his group and the tagline was “we’ll Trust Bust your ass” which doesn’t seem like that good of a line.
WINNER: Ari Daivari in 11:00
(Howard’s Analysis: This match got a ton of time and aside from Fuego losing his concentration at the end, this was a very solid opener. Trustbusters entrance song sounds like the Entourage theme, which is perfect for Ari. You can’t say the Trustbusters haven’t been showcased a ton prior to their Trios Tournament showdown with Best Friends this week on Rampage. I like how this group came together on Dark and hopefully once the tournament is over they continue to do stuff as a faction. I should also point out Taz’s pronunciation of Boudreaux is almost as great as whenever he sings along to folks themes.)
(2) WILLOW NIGHTINGALE vs. ROBYN RENEGADE (w/Charlette Renegade)
Robyn got a cheap shot to start, but Willow quickly responded with a corner splash, snap mare and low cross body for two. Willow tried another splash, missed, Robyn took the ref and Charlette booted Willow in the face. That allowed her sister to take control with chops, but jaw jacked with the fans, which led Willow to chop out of the corner. Robyn responded with a backstabber for two, but couldn’t get a Camel Clutch, as Willow drove her in the corner repeatedly. Willow fired up with clotheslines, spinebuster, as Robyn rolled outside and did the switch-a-roo with her sister. Charlette hit a fisherman’s suplex for a very close two, as the ref doesn’t know Robyn is laying down on the floor right in front of him, I mean, at least roll under the ring. Willow fought back with a Doctor Bomb to pin the wrong Renegade, but it doesn’t matter, as the Killer Bees switch fails and Willow gets the win.
WINNER: Willow Nightingale in 4:00
(Howard Analysis: I could cut and paste it whenever she’s on, but it’s always great to see Willow in action. The crowd loves her and hopefully she continues to rise in the rankings and gets in the title picture or the very least on Dynamite soon.)
(3) BROCK ANDERSON (w/Arn Anderson) vs. SERPENTICO
Serpentico nearly had a showdown with Armed Anderson during Brock’s entrance, showing the finger gun, but wisely holstered it before the match began. Brock controlled the action early, Serpentico tried to respond, but his punches had no effect and was slammed into the ropes. While hung up, Brock kicked the middle rope to guillotine Serpentico and did a Garvin Stomp, which more in the crowd should’ve appreciated. While on the floor, Serpentico flipped off Arn, but ate a right hand from Brock for his troubles. Back inside, Serpentico got a cheap shot in on Brock, nailed a low sliding uppercut and unleashed forearms. Taz & Excalibur are telling us about what Serpentico’s mask is made of, while Serpentico pulled out an imaginary shotgun to mock Arn Anderson. A head scissors out of the corner into a Flatliner got Serpentico two. Serpentico, who Taz described as Flippy Dippy Jones, missed a dive off the top, Brock fired up and hit a spinebuster for the win.
WINNER: Brock Anderson in 7:00
(Howard’s Analysis: We need more Brock matches on shows like Dark & Elevation, preferably against guys similar to Serpentico, who can put on good matches and make Brock look good in the process. The more ring time he gets, the better, I enjoyed this match, Brock continues to improve and Serpentico continues to be the go to guy for getting his opponents over.)
(4) ABADON vs. MAFIOSA
Mafiosa is Valentina Rossi, who has been on Dark in the past. She tried to fake out Abadon to chase after her, but that failed quickly with Abadon stalking her opponent down. Backstabber in the ring from Mafiosa hit, as she did a full splits into choking Abadon in the corner. Foolishly, Mafiosa played to the crowd and Abadon recovered with a corner kick and step through cutter between the ropes. Spin kick to the ribs and face from Abadon led to a nice senton splash. Mafiosa tried to fight back, but ran into a Sky High and Black Dhalia planted her for the Abadon victory.
WINNER: Abadon in 2:30
(Howard’s Analysis: Abadon is super over with the fans and continues to entertain me whenever she’s on. She’s another person I wish would be on TV/YouTube more as I would enjoy a feud with Abadon and anyone else in the AEW Women’s division.)
(5) ANGELIGO vs. BALIYAN AKKI
Angelico in action means Taz just kicking back and vibing to his theme. This is Akki’s debut, as he primarily works in Japan for the Gatoh Move ChocoPro promotion. Angelico controlled early on, but Akki got a leg kick and hammerlock. Angelico backed Akki to the corner and got a cheap shot back elbow. Both men traded kicks after a rad looking wrist lock from Angelico. Akki battled back with a dropkick, leg kicks and wild thrust kick that landed flush. Angelico answered by locking the body and wrapped Akki up like a pretzel for the submission.
WINNER: Angelico in 3:00
(Howard’s Analysis: You know Angelico is innovative when Excalibur doesn’t know the name of it. While I loved the old TH2 theme, this new 311 style chill theme for Angelico is perfect. What I would give to have a camera showing Excalibur & Taz just bouncing to the beat during Angelico’s entrance.)
(6) EMI SAKURA vs. RENEE MICHELLE
Sakura wasted no time taking the fight to Michelle early and getting an arm capture, while taking a seat and having a spot of tea sitting on the wrapped up Michelle. Foolish mistake made by Michelle, who tried a chop, but got clobbered with one as a response from Sakura. A chest rake from Sakura, but Michelle fought back pointed to the corner, only to go to the other side and hit a missile dropkick. It even confused commentary at first, but the dropkick hit flush. Nearly immediately after, Sakura regained control with a spinning reverse neckbreaker. The We Will Rock You chops and diving corner cross body led to a draping underhook back breaker. Vader Bomb out of the corner got Sakura two, but Queen’s Gambit got her three.
WINNER: Emi Sakura in 3:30
(Howard’s Analysis: If Emi Sakura is in action on Dark, you know Taz is singing, which will rule forever. Please have Emi be on every week destroying people to the sounds of Taz serenading us to We Will Rock You.)
(7) JOSH WOODS vs. COBRA
Before you ask, no, this sadly isn’t Jeff Farmer portraying Cobra. Woods is high-fiving, taking selfies with fans ringside during his entrance, which is confusing, since I thought he was part of the Tony Nese & Mark Sterling group. Woods worked the arm early, but Cobra responded with slow knees to the midsection. Woods picked the ankle off a leapfrog attempt, got a punt kick and draping release German suplex. Overhead hip throw into an arm bar submission for Woods ended it quickly.
WINNER: Josh Woods in 3:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Is Woods a good guy now? Apparently so, but he was impressive here as he made short work of Cobra, who, again, was sadly not Jeff Farmer.)
(8) ROHIT RAJU vs. INVICTUS KHASH
Dasha tells us Raju’s mother calls him son, because he shines like one, but Excalibur said she probably calls him son because she’s his mother. Very nice leg sweep counter early from Raju, who poured down elbow strikes to follow. This led to Taz singing ‘Let the Sunshine In’ from the 60s, as Taz continues to be the best commentator in wrestling. Raju tried to wear down Khash with an arm lock, but Khash fought back with a punch to a leaping Raju’s midsection off the second rope. Sharp jabs from Khash, who hit a knee lift and beautiful snap powerslam for two. Khash fought out of a fireman’s carry into a jumping knee and double stomp off the top for the win. Post match, Raju cuts the same promo we’ve heard a few times before about how he shines like the sun, only this time, he talks about Ring of Honor and how you can’t spell ROH without Rohit.
WINNER: Rohit Raju in 4:00
(Howard’s Analysis: I should point out we got a classic Taz & Excalibur tangent during this match about how Taz knows Excalibur is bald because he had cameras in his hotel room. Excalibur, master of transitions, did plugs for upcoming AEW shows that Taz can put cameras in hotel rooms, which popped Taz. As for Raju, he looked good in this one and I hope he does some good things in ROH when he gets the chance.)
(9) SKYE BLUE vs. CHARLETTE RENEGADE (w/Robyn Renegade)
Blue avoided a roll up early, hit a series of arm drags, leg pick and slammed Charlette down. Blue hit a spinning kick to the head and got tripped by Robyn right in front of the ref, who didn’t do anything about it. Charlette took control with a clothesline for two. A fisherman’s suplex from Charlette got a two count, the second we’ve seen from her tonight, as Blue made a comeback with a thrust kick and diving corner hurricanrana. Another thrust kick got two and cross body got another near fall. Charlette fought back with a Future Shock for two of her own. Blue hit a gnarly twisting neckbreaker, as the Renegades tried the switch-a-roo again, but this time the ref caught them and threw out Robyn. Yet another thrust kick from Blue led to a spinning flatliner for the three.
WINNER: Skye Blue in 4:30
(Howard’s Analysis: The Renegades were 0-2 with their Killer Bees switch tonight, as I’m not sure why they thought this would work in this match, since Robyn’s hair was up and Charlette’s was down. This match had its clunky spots, but ultimately Skye gets back in the win column.)
(10) BEAR COUNTRY (Bronson & Boulder) vs. VICTOR INIESTRA & AXEL RICO
After being controlled by Bronson early, both Iniestra & Rico were able to fight back with a double team. Boulder saw enough and actually gut wrenched Rico off his partner during a pin attempt. Iniestra tried a somersault powerbomb on Bronson off the apron, but Bronson sat on his chest for his troubles. Boulder made the hot tag and cleaned house. An A for effort for Boulder, as the powerslam-sidewalk slam combo didn’t hit, as Boulder settled for slamming them on top of one another. Boulder backpacked his partner into the corner senton and stacked their opponents on top of each other for the dominating win.
WINNERS: Bear Country in 4:00
(Howard’s Analysis: Excalibur pointed out how a woman in the crowd was fanning herself because of how much she was enjoying the chain that Bear Bronson was wearing. This sent Taz & Excalibur into giggle fits, which was an amazing highlight. The Bears squashes rule and there’s not more to be said about it.)
(11) KAYLA ROSSI (w/Diamond Sheik) vs. AVERY BREAUX
This is Rossi’s first one on one match in AEW, despite being the heater for Joey Janela last year. She’s joined by Diamond Sheik and rocking a theme that Taz approves of. Breaux was just shrugged off repeatedly by Rossi, who womanhandled the poor girl. Breaux tried a running cross body, but Rossi caught her with some curls into a Samoan Drop and standing moonsault. Rossi pulled Breaux up at two, but ate an enzugiri as a result. Sheik stood on the apron for about three seconds, enough for Rossi to attack and hit a nasty looking brainbuster jackhammer looking move for the win.
WINNER: Kayla Rossi in 2:30
(Howard’s Analysis: I always like Rossi as the heater for Janela last year and thought they could’ve done a lot more with that duo. It wasn’t meant to be for Janela in AEW, as I’m happy to see Kayla back on Dark and given a chance in the ring. She certainly has the look and I hope to see more from her on Dark to get reps and potentially be a force in the women’s division.)
(12) CEZAR BONONI (w/Peter Avalon & Ryan Nemeth) vs. MARCUS KROSS
Kross used his speed to avoid the grips of Bononi early, but that lasted about 8 seconds, as Bononi got his hands on Kross and hit a beal clear across the ring. Bonini hit a brutal stomp out of the corner and hit the Hoss Toss to follow. Kross tried to fight back with a series of shots, pump kick and springing back elbow. Unfortunately, he tried it again, got caught by Bononi, who hit a spinning slam for the victory.
WINNER: Cezar Bononi in 2:30
(Howard’s Analysis: This was shot before Kross became a Mulkey against the Viking Raiders on Smackdown a few weeks ago. He tried, but Bononi was just too much for him.)
(13) POWERHOUSE HOBBS vs. BLAKE CHRISTIAN
This is the perfect match of power vs. speed, as Christian utilized said quickness early and got Hobbs on the ropes with a missile dropkick. Immediately to follow, Hobbs steamrolled Christian with a lariat and backbreakers, living up to what he does, break backs. Hobbs rag dolled Christian to the floor and did a suplex into the ring post multiple times. Christian showed his all heart by delivering repeated knees to Hobbs, who was trying to get back in the ring. While draped in the ropes, Christian hit a 450 splash, but only managed a one count. Loud enziguri connected from Christian, but Hobbs quickly answered with a spinebuster for the victory.
WINNER: Powerhouse Hobbs in 5:00
(Howard’s Analysis: I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed the feud so far between Hobbs & Ricky Starks. It’s a feud where I think, no matter who wins, both men will come out even better than before. These two could feud for a while and I’d be perfectly happy. I hope both become mega stars and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for each man.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Tonight’s episode was bookmarked by two guys, Hobbs & Daivari, who are in active feuds on Dynamite & Rampage, while the rest were matches to get folks wins on their record it felt like. While I enjoy seeing folks like Willow, Abadon, Angelico, Emi, there’s not much more to say other than it’s what those matches feel like. Match of the Night I’d give to Daivari & Fuego for the amount of time it was given, but also that Hobbs & Christian match was fun as well, maybe not for Christian, who suffered that Hobbs offense, but still. Taz & Excalibur were in top form tonight busting each other’s chops, as they will always be my favorite part of Dark. If I could give Performers of the Night, I’d give it to Taz & Excalibur; they were a whole lot of fun tonight. Their goal is to get the talent over, while also trying to send the other into giggle fits.