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AEW Dark recap (Dec. 7, 2021): Is John Silver ready for Bryan Danielson?

Episode 120 of AEW Dark is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream from YouTube. Your commentary team this week was Excalibur and Taz. Let’s talk about what went down on Dark heading into Dynamite tomorrow night!

Lee Moriarty vs. Misterioso

Moriarty brought a record of 2-7 to the ring. Misterioso was already waiting for him in the ring sporting an AEW record of 0-1. Test of strength to start leading to some arm wringers and reversals. Misterioso did a springboard backflip to show off his moves but Moriarty took him down with a standing crossbody. He worked on the left arm but took a boot to the face and a running clothesline for a one count. Taz mocked Excalibur for not knowing the difference between “one” and two.” Misterioso did a double dropkick in the corner and a senton for a near fall. Taz: “Misterioso not following up quick enough in my opinion.” I was thinking that myself — Misterioso looked like he was moving in slow motion. Maybe Moriarty is just that fast. Belly to belly suplex by Moriarty for a near fall. Misterioso fought off a brain buster, hit a power slam, and did a double flip into a moonsault as Moriarty sold his left knee. Fireman’s carry slam by Misterioso. He climbed the ropes slowly and Moriarty got his boots up to block the moonsault. Hammerlock lariat and a flatliner got Moriarty the win.

Lio Rush vs. Rayo

Excalibur was sure to point out that Rush was one of twelve men in the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale tomorrow. His AEW singles record for 2021 was 2-0. Rayo was waiting for him in the ring to make his debut, allegedly hailing from Lima, Peru. Rush flipped and flew and kicked Rayo in the head too before wiping him out on the floor with a suicide dive. He threw Rayo back in for a two count then blasted him with a kick to the chest. Rayo blocked the next one but Rush flipped his way back to his feet. Rayo got a bulldog and a lateral press for two and then Rayo lit him up with chops and forearms. Rayo grabbed Rush by the locks of his hair. Shouldn’t that have been a disqualification? Handspring back elbow from Rush. He avoided Rayo’s kicks and hit a roundhouse kick of his own before going to the top rope. Frog splash connected for the pin immediately afterward. This was more or less a squash but given the athleticism of both men it was a fun one.

Brandi Rhodes vs. Angelica Risk

Rhodes was making her 2021 in-ring debut in this match. That’s about as late as you could do it given it’s December now, but as Taz noted she’s been out of action thanks to recently having a baby. Risk came in 0-4 following her loss on Elevation last night. Rhodes kicked Risk in the side of the head and got a near fall. Risk and Rhodes both grabbed handfuls of hair and threw each other around. The crowd chanted “you can’t do that” but at least this ref admonished the competitors for their illegal tactics. Risk tried to grapevine the legs for a submission but Rhodes broke free and hit a thrust kick to the jaw. Clotheslines, boot to the gut, boot to the knee, enzuigiri, whip into the ropes and forearm to the face on the rebound. Rhodes applied a neck crank with the legs locked and got the submission win.

Emi Sakura (w/ Mei Suruga) vs. Ryo Mizunami

Sakura brought a record of 9-2 in 2021 to the ring. Mizunami’s record was 17-6. Both got their full introductions so without looking at spoilers you wouldn’t know who to pick in this match. Mizunami started with a side headlock and Sakura returned the favor. They collided in the ring three times and neither fell down, just to show you how 50/50 this match was. Then they took turns chopping each other as hard as they could. I suddenly felt like I was watching joshi instead of AEW Dark, and that’s not a bad thing. Mizunami finally knocked Sakura down but Suruga grabbed her leg so she couldn’t take advantage. Sakura did her “we will rock you” chant and flying crossbody, but Mizunami caught it and threw her to the mat. Sakura sent her through the ropes and Suruga beat her up with ground and pound while the ref was distracted.

Sakura went for the Queen’s Gambit but Mizunami reversed it. Mizunami hit her with some nasty chops and a hard clothesline in the coner before the leg drop for a near fall. Sakura elbowed her way out of a headlock, and Mizunami took her down with a clothesline for another near fall. Sakura responded with a chop lariat combo. Mizunami responded to that with a spear for 2.999. Taz: “This is a battle!” Suruga got on the ropes for the distraction and bonked Mizunami with Sakura’s scepter, then Sakura used a magistral cradle for the pin. Suruga and Mizunami double teamed her after the bell, but Riho ran out to make the save and the heels bailed! Fantastic match.

Anthony Ogogo (w/ The Factory) vs. Baron Black

Ogogo’s singles record for 2021 coming in was 4-1. Taz acted like Ogogo just came back even though we saw him on Elevation yesterday, so he’s been back for at least a week if not longer given Elevation was taped in Atlanta before Dynamite. Black’s record was 0-16. Real talk for just a second folks — if someone’s good enough to be used sixteen times on the Dark shows, aren’t they also good enough to be given a contract, let alone a win over someone? Furthermore if you didn’t know Baron Black and Jonathan Gresham have their own promotion called TERMINUS starting in January, with a who’s who of the top wrestlers in the nation on their inaugural card. I’m really feeling like it’s time we put some respect on Black’s name.

Unfortunately his role here was to be rag dolled by Ogogo for the majority of this match. Black got some shine thanks to a roll up, some chops and some clotheslines leading to a backstabber. When QT Marshall got on the ropes and Ogogo gouged the eyes, all that came to a stop. He hit the Olympic Slam and that was that. Baron Black made Ogogo look good, but that’s what he does for everyone he works with.

Shawn Spears and Wardlow vs. Jay Marte and Richard King

Spears and Wardlow’s team record coming in was 8-0. Marte and King were waiting for them in the ring to make their debut as a team, and you know what that means. Commentary was sure to note that Wardlow does all the hard work for his team and Spears steals the glory with an easy pin afterward. King tried to go blow for blow with Wardlow and ate a power bomb, causing Orlando to chant “one more time.” Wardlow obliged. How is that not a babyface gimmick? King tried to run in to stop a third one and got a power bomb for his trouble, and then King got two more for good measure. Spears tagged in and made the cover, then raised Wardlow’s arm like he was the one who made the pin. When Wardlow turns on Spears the crowd will go “banana” as the late Gorilla Monsoon used to say.

Fuego Del Sol vs. Luke Sampson

Fuego brought a record of 6-33 to this match. Sampson was making his AEW debut but looked like Kevin Nash in comparison to his opponent. For the historians reading they also noted that Sampson hailed “from Stone Mountain, Georgia” and then commentary talked about Jake Roberts and Crusher Blackwell for a bit. Taz: “This guy looks like a throwback from back in the days when I broke into the business.” Sampson not only looked like Nash, he worked like Nash, doing nothing but power offense to his diminutive opponent.

This might has well have been Diesel versus Rey Mysterio. Fuego finally hit a jawbreaker to break free but immediately got planted with a half nelson slam for two. Fuego hit a neckbreaker and a series of running uppercuts followed by a spear. The tornado DDT was blocked but the step up enzuigiri connected. Fuego did a moonsault off the ropes, kicked Sampson in the head, went to the top rope and this time he got the tornado DDT. He followed up with a double stomp to the back of the head for three. I think AEW is interested in Sampson, bit I could be wrong.

Team Taz (Ricky Starks, Powerhouse Hobbs and Dante Martin) w/ Hook vs. The Bollywood Icon, Kekoa and JT Dunn

Team Taz were all billed by their individual records including their newest member Dante Martin. Their opponents were waiting in the ring to make their AEW trios debut. Is there a website that lists the records of everybody in the so-called trios division of AEW? I’d like to see it. Furthermore if it really is a serious division there should be a prize for the top team. Basically what I’m saying is we need an AEW World Trios Championship and the belts to go along with it.

To make a long story short Starks tagged out to Martin when Dunn had him in trouble, then Martin did a flip dive over the ropes so impressive that AEW aired an immediate replay. He hit the double jump moonsault and pinned Dunn in a glorified but athletic squash match.

Tony Schiavone hit the ring to interview Team Taz, and Ricky Starks noted that with all of them in the Battle Royale tomorrow night, it was a 100% certainty that they’d win. After he ran down Lio Rush as broke and broken hearted, Rush interrupted with a microphone in his hand. “Ricky! Ricky Ricky Ricky. Man, you and the entirety of Team Taz continuously count me out. Embarrassing huh? So you want to talk about 100% right? The only thing 100% is that you are not 100% so I don’t know why the hell you’re talking. It is proven time and time again with Team Taz that when the stakes are raised you can’t get it done. Ask your man Hobbs all about that one. I don’t like to make promises because in this crazy world promises can’t always be kept. Isn’t that right Dante? But I can guarantee two things tomorrow night — there will not be a Team Taz member winning, and you and every single member of Team Taz will feel... the Rush.” I’m definitely more interested in the Battle Royale now!

Thunder Rosa vs. Sofia Castillo

Rosa came to the ring with a singles record of 30-3 in 2021. Castillo was waiting in the ring to make her AEW debut. Castillo got a near fall with a knee to the face before Rosa put her in a Boston crab, swung her like a baby’s cradle, and dropped her on her face. Castillo tried to out strike her but Rosa avoided it, gave her double knees to the face and a dropkick before a Death Valley Driver and the Peruvian Necktie for the submission. Slightly longer than the typical squash but the winner was never in doubt.

This was followed by another in-ring interview with Tony Schiavone. Rosa said she couldn’t wait to face Jade in the TBS Title tournament, because she has no respect for Jade at all. “Smart” Mark Sterling interrupted to say Jade couldn’t be here because she was doing “rich people things.” Sterling tried to run her down and Rosa said he was “totally delusional.” Sterling: “Touch me and I’ll sue.” Sterling said he had almost forgotten about the message he came to deliver and it was this: “Jade Cargill is THAT, BITCH.” She jumped Rosa from behind and laid her out to end the segment.

John Silver (w/ -1 and The Dark Order) vs. Aaron Solo (w/ The Factory)

Solo brought a record of 13-24 to the main event. Silver came in with a record of 23-6. Taz implied that Silver might be losing his focus because of how big of a match he had coming up with Bryan Danielson in Long Island, allegedly also Silver’s “home town.” It’s about a half hour away from Wantagh, New York so I suppose that’s close enough. Silver laid in the forearms, did a high back bodydrop and flexed his meaty arms. Liger Bomb from Silver for a near fall. This brought out a “Johnny Hungee” chant from the Orlando crowd. The duo did the “boo/yay” strikes before Solo hit a corkscrew kick to the back of the head. Silver responded with a pump kick to the back of the head and the Spin Doctor for a quick pin! -1 got in the ring to raise his man’s hand and kick Aaron Solo out of the ring. Schiavone came back to the ring for one last interview.

Silver: “You know, leading up to this match Bryan’s been beating everyone up in The Dark Order. He beat up Uno, he tore Five’s MCL, but guess what? This Wednesday I’m gonna touch Bryan Danielson. Not only am I gonna touch him, I’m gonna beat him. Johnny Hungee, and he’s hungee for some vegan meat!” That’s how our show ended this week.

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by mc chris, because every time I see Aaron Solo that song pops into my head. Even though the main event was and is the focus this week with good reason, Sakura vs. Mizunami was the best worked match and sets up a tag team bout with Riho & Mizunami taking on Sakura & Suruga, and I can’t wait to see it. The only thing I’d say you should skip on Dark if anything was the opener, and given Lee Moriarty was in it, I can’t believe I’m saying that. Misterioso just seemed a step off the whole time and when Taz is having to cover for him on commentary that’s not a good sign.

Cageside commentary crew! Give us your feedback in the comments section below. I’m also on Twitter if you want to hit me up. See you next Monday night for Elevation!