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AEW Dark recap (Jan. 18, 2022): Adam Cole goes first (bay bay)

Episode 126 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 get right to the action that took place tonight on Dark!

Adam Cole vs. Kaun

We’re starting with a BOOM tonight because you know it’s all about Adam Cole bay bay. He brought an 8-0 AEW record to this match. Kaun was waiting for him in the ring with a 0-1 record thus far. The two locked up and Cole pushed him into the corner, then broke clean to throw his fingers in the air and have Universal Studios chant his name. They obliged. Cole went for a headlock, Kaun punched his way out, then no sold a shoulder tackle. Kaun got a waist lock even when Cole tried to break the grip, slammed Cole on his face, then mocked him to make the fans boo.

Cole got his revenge by sending Kaun out to the floor and blasting him with a pump kick when he tried to return. Neckbreaker by Cole back in the ring. Cole grounded Kaun with a chinlock but he fought to his knees and then his feet. He went for chops and forearms then took Cole down with a pair of lariats. Corner to corner splashes and a boot to the head sent Cole to the floor, and Kaun followed with a dive to the outside to knock him off his feet. Two count on Cole back in the ring. Gut buster for another near fall. I’d like to add that this is one of the reasons I like Adam Cole and other people don’t — he gives his opponents a lot. Kaun is definitely worthy too as he’s a great wrestler and may be overlooked by people who didn’t follow Ring of Honor. He put Cole in a single leg crab but he got the ropes to escape.

Kaun looked through the ropes to find Cole and he hit an enzuigiri from the floor, then hit a super kick back in the ring, but Kaun kicked out again to the astonishment of both Taz and Excalibur. The crowd even chanted “that was three” believing the match was over. Kaun blocked Panama Sunrise and hit a suplex for another near fall. Taz: “Kaun’s setting a tone really good. He’s doing a good job right here even though he got blasted twice.” That twice he referenced was two kicks to the jaw, and when Cole had Kaun weakened he came off the ropes with a knee to Lower the Boom and finally get the win. Tony Schiavone stepped in to interview him about his AEW Dynamite mixed tag match.

Cole: “Get the hell out of my ring. Now. Now!! Who’s ready for story time with Adam Cole bay bay? Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. is the greatest AEW women’s champion in company history. Adam Cole bay bay, is undefeated in singles competition here in AEW, and is the best new signing this or any company has ever seen. You put the two of us together and we’re unstoppable.” He then proceeded to run down Kris Statlander and Orange Cassidy as “nothing more than laughingstocks” who “should be embarrassed” and that on Dynamite that’s what he and Baker would do — embarrass them. “And there’s not a damn thing anybody can do about it!”

Gunn Club (w/ Billy Gunn) vs. Bison XL & Larintiz X

The Gunn Club brought a 5-0 record along with their poppa Billy. XL and X were waiting for them in the ring to debut as a team as the Universal crowd started chanting “ass boys.” Colton overpowered Larintiz and tagged Austin while the big man Bison was forced to wait on the apron. When he got it there were clotheslines aplenty until he got taken off his feet right in front of his corner, so Larintiz tagged back in and met his doom with a double team combo neckbreaker and power bomb. Billy stood on the apron waiting for a hug.

“Legit” Leyla Hirsch vs. Katalina Perez

Hirsch brought a 20-9 record to this episode of Dark. Perez brought a 0-7 record and bright pink hair that matched her top, trunks, and boots. It’s a look that stands out, no doubt about it. Hirsch was not impressed though as she grounded Perez and tried to rip her left leg off. Then she did a go behind and started rolling Perez back and forth. A gut wrench suplex came next. Perez went for a back stabber and a senton for a near fall, then followed up with kicks and uppercuts, but Hirsch side stepped and did running knees and a double stomp. Perez elbowed her way out of a back suplex and both women traded haymakers. Taz: “Yeah they are definitely throwing the lumber.” Hirsch countered a German and hit a knee to the jaw to put Perez’ lights out for good. Fun match that I wish had gone a few more minutes.

Lance Archer vs. Liam Cross

The 40-9 Archer ran down to the ring where Cross was waiting for him, and jumped on him before his ring introduction was even done, so we never got to hear one for poor Cross. Not that it matters as he was there to get wiped out. Archer chopped him. Archer whipped him. Archer badmouthed him. Archer did anything he damn well wanted to do. Archer hit the Blackout and then pulled him back up to apply the claw and bounce his head off the mat before finally making the pin. Total dominance.

Varsity Blonds (w/ Julia Hart) vs. Adrian Alanis & Liam Gray

The Blonds brought a 2021 tag team record of 20-5. Alanis and Gray were (you guessed it) waiting in the ring, with a tag team record of 0-7 in AEW. Julia Hart was sporting a patch over her left eye and a “changed demeanor” as Excalibur said, all thanks to the actions of Malakai Black. They are definitely teasing she could leave the Blonds and join the House of Black. This was a squash win just to set up an in-ring interview. “To be honest Tony I’m sick of the mind games, the lights going on and off, people coming in and out of the ring out of nowhere. This Wednesday we’re going to beat y’all ass.” “Malakai, Brody, if this is what you want take a look — we’re not afraid of a little violence.”

Red Velvet vs. Vipress

Velvet brought a 41-20 record to the ring. Vipress brought a record of 0-5. Vipress actually got a Michinoku Driver, which was more than I was expecting, but Velvet promptly overwhelmed her with kicks and hit the Final Slice so that was that.

Skye Blue vs. Robyn Renegade

Skye Blue has a match with Serena Deeb tomorrow night, but tonight she faces Robyn Renegade with a 1-1 record for 2022. The aforementioned Renegade brought a record of 0-1 for 2022 and her twin sister Charlette looked on from the ring apron. Blue hit a running knee strike and a back kick to the chin to rock Robyn, then knocked Charlette off the apron for good measure. Robyn tried and failed to get a roll up and Blue hit a flatliner for the pin.

Anna Jay (w/ -1, Alan “5” Angels & Preston “10” Vance) vs. Tiffany Nieves

Jay brought a 22-10 record to the ring. Nieves brought a record of 0-1. Happy birthday to -1 by the way — he just turned ten years old yesterday. Jay put a boot to Nieves’ face in the corner, hit a reverse kick to the jaw and sunk in the Queen Slayer for the submission. A cornucopia worth of squash in this match.

Anthony Greene vs. Daniel Garcia (w/ 2point0)

Greene came out first with an AEW singles record of 1-4. Garcia brought a 13-13 record. Greene was in control early and even managed to unload on Garcia with some big knife edge chops. Garcia finally got fed up and shoved Greene off the ropes when he went up and let 2point0 lay a beating on him while he was on the floor. After taking a pounding for a while Greene fired up with a hip toss and clotheslines, hit a jawbreaker and a neck breaker, then kipped back up to his feet. Greene turned Garcia inside out for a near fall seconds later. Garcia came back with strikes and a boot to the jaw. Greene hit a doctor bomb for two and Taz noted just how much that move hurts. Garcia with a knee to the body and a roll up for two. Garcia caught a kick and applied an abdominal stretch that made Greene submit, and held onto it a little longer even after the ref called for the bell. Schiavone hit the ring and 2point0 had a lot to say.

“Tony! As the greatest commentator in the history of this sport, I’d expect a better question but yeah I’ll answer. We got a lot of problems with a lot of people, what about it?” “I got a question for Chris Jericho. Do you remember what we did six months ago? Smashed you with a steel chair and put you on the shelf. That was for messing with our boy’s business.” Garcia: “And the saying where I come from is if you hang with rats, you a rat too. I don’t care about having competitive matches, I care about winning titles. If you don’t want to see me win the TNT title, too bad, you’re gonna have to watch me take it anyway boy!”

Bear Country vs. Brandon Bullock & Jameson Ryan

Bear Country brought a record of 12-8. Bullock and Ryan were waiting for them in the ring to make their tag team debut. That doesn’t bode well for them. They got a double scoop slam right at the opening bell for their trouble. I do like their Zubaz pants though. They got stacked up in the corner for a running assisted cannonball. Taz: “That’s a lot of bear meat driven right through your face.” Bronson was put on Boulder’s shoulders for the Bear Bomb to end it. Excalibur: “You could count to a million.”

Best Friends (Orange Cassidy & Wheeler YUTA) vs. The Wingmen (Peter Avalon & JD Drake) w/ Ryan Nemeth

Main event time! Avalon and Drake had actually never teamed before, oddly enough, so this was their official tag team debut. Cassidy was 56-18-2, YUTA 16-13. The Universal Studios crowd chanted “best friends” as the match got underway.

YUTA tied Avalon up on the mat but he escaped and applied a side headlock. This whole time there’s been a fan in the front row wearing a paper bag over his head. I don’t know why but it’s very distracting and I didn’t want to put it over too much, so I’m only mentioning it now this one time. Avalon got tired of getting beat up by YUTA so he crawled on his knees to Drake, practically hugging his leg. YUTA gave a very light tag to Cassidy in response and Cassidy stepped slowly in. Drake gave him one hard chop and he tagged back out to YUTA. YUTA tried to run a thousand miles an hour but Drake threw him high in the air and let him go splat before Avalon got tagged back in.

Nemeth interfered as the heels cut off the ring for a beatdown. Drake hit a Bossman Slam for two. Avalon came in for another near fall. Back suplex by Avalon for a one count. Avalon whipped YUTA across the ring and knocked Cassidy off the apron, but YUTA took advantage for a crossbody and Cassidy took off the shades to get back in the ring. He put his hands in his pockets as Drake came in and hit the little ankle kicks. Nemeth got in the ring and ate a DDT before being tossed out. YUTA did a splash to the floor to take out Avalon. Drake missed the cannonball and Cassidy did NOT miss with the Orange Punch to pick up the win.

What to watch/skip

This week’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by Adam Cole’s opponent Kaun. Yes, I’m old enough to make that joke. I enjoyed this entire episode but thought it was a little weird that Cole opened the show instead of headlining it. After watching YUTA & Cassidy take out The Wingmen though, I was perfectly fine with the match order, because like Excalibur always says “you’ve got to give the people what they want.” Besides — that gave Cole more time for his post-match promo — and in typical “pipe bomb” fashion he delivered it well. If you’re not already a fan of Kaun by now you should be, and I hope the other Khan (Tony) signs him full time. Be sure to watch the Hirsch and Archer squashes as well. The most competitive match other than the opener was Greene vs. Garcia, and even though Garcia said he was sick and tired of hearing the word “competitive” to describe him, he delivers over and over again when it comes to both him and his opponent looking good. Skip Velvet, skip the Blonds (but watch the promo) and skip the Gunn Club. Bear Country does great squashes but I’m ready for them to transcend beyond that in 2022.

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