Episode 166 of AEW Dark is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the stream courtesy Cageside Seats. Excalibur and Taz called today’s show, and without further adieu, let’s get right to the action!
Hikaru Shida vs. Vanessa Kraven
Shida entered with a singles record of 51-9 and her two title belts on — one around her waist and one around her neck. Kraven was waiting for her with no prior AEW record. I thought she was retired but I guess once she started feeling better she UN-retired, which is par for the course in the wrestling business. Shida took her down with a ‘rana and went outside for a steel chair. She set it up, got the audience clapping along, ran for a jumping knee, and Kraven caught her and slammed her on the apron. She put Shida in the corner and put the boot to her face, then did a massive senton into the corner for a near fall. Kraven controlled the left arm and knocked her down repeatedly with chops. Shida took a beating for a while but got back into the match with two successive uppercuts, then did ten punches in the corner. Missile dropkick, near fall. Falcon Arrow blocked. Another Kraven chop to knock Shida down. Shida escaped a firewoman’s carry and hit an enzuigiri. Springboard head kick. Falcon Arrow! Impressive to see her hit it on someone Kraven’s size. Kraven kicked out though! She had to use the Katana to finish her off.
The strength and ferocity of @hikarushida is unmatched! She picks up the victory here on #AEWDark, gaining momentum heading into tonight's #AEW Interim Women's World Title match against the champ Toni Storm! Tune in now for today's episode of #AEWDark: ▶️ https://t.co/5tcqeAECUV pic.twitter.com/80pjRk3hIS— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 18, 2022
Dark Order (Evil Uno, John Silver, Alex Reynolds & 10) vs. Tyler Tirva, Shane Hof, Zach Patterson & George Gianno
The Dark Order got a nice reaction for their walkout, sporting a record of 2-0 in eight-man action. Jose the Assistant came out to join commentary, and explained that he was here to scout Preston “10” Vance for his boss. Their opponents were waiting in the ring to make their debut in this quote unquote division, and that should give you a good idea of how this match went. Commentary wasn’t even bothering to call the match — they were bantering about the storyline for Vance while Jose was trying to claim he needed to leave the loser crew and get with some winners.
Uno got the loud Canadian reaction you would expect in his home country. He even took a bow to acknowledge it. All four of the jobbers tried to run in to beat him up, all four of the Dark Order came in to do a noggin knocker and simultaneous scoop slam, and the ref just let it all go. Jose on John Silver: “He’s been here since day one and has never won a title. That doesn’t make him a winner. That makes him a loser.” He took the four-on-one beating for a while until he reversed a double suplex into a double DDT and tagged Uno to clean house. The one who looked like Chuck Taylor took a DDT. The one who looked like a leprechaun took a cutter. The one in red and black trunks took a boot to the face and a top rope senton. Uno bowed again. The leprechaun plowed into him from behind and Vance came in to give him a discus lariat. Dark Order fed him to Uno for Something Evil, 1-2-3.
Eddie Kingston & Ortiz vs. Moe Tavary & Jake O’Reilly
Kingston 9-5, Ortiz 11-5. They too got a nice reaction from Toronto. Their opponents had no prior record in AEW as a team. At this point I doubt we will ever see Ortiz and Santana as a team again, and not just because of Santana being injured. The crowd loved Kingston tagging in and hitting about a dozen straight chops. Tavary hit a dropkick and tagged in O’Reilly. He tried to give Kingston a receipt for what he did to his partner, Kingston begged him to bring it on, then knocked him right down in response. He tagged in Ortiz and had to take Tavary out when he broke up a pin, sending him crashing into the barricade. O’Reilly hit a charging elbow on Ortiz, Ortiz hit a high back body drop, a boot to the gut, and a fisherman buster for the sudden win. Kingston clearly thought it was too quick because he put O’Reilly in a submission and Ortiz had to beg him to let it go, which he ultimately did.
.@ortiz_powerful scores the win, but @MadKing1981 continues the assault after the bell; a scene similar to what occurred in his last outing in the ring, which cost him that match! Catch today's episode of #AEWDark here: ▶️ https://t.co/5tcqeAECUV pic.twitter.com/Lf5cgDCZ8m— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 18, 2022
Best Friends & Orange Cassidy vs. Colby Durst, Steven Made & Jesse V
Time for another multi-man match! It’s so fun to hear the crowd react now when they hear the first few bars of Jefferson Starship, then explode again when Cassidy actually walks out to the ramp. He had the All-Atlantic Title in a backpack and pulled it out before the opponents were introduced, making their trios division debut in AEW for this bout.
Coming up next on #AEWDark, it's #AEW All-Atlantic Champion @orangecassidy and #BestFriends @trentylocks and @SexyChuckieT in trios action! Tune in now: ▶️ https://t.co/5tcqeAn23n pic.twitter.com/SLQJ8PCY02— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 18, 2022
Trent Beretta started the match. Apparently somebody didn’t clue Excalibur that this episode would air early because he reminded everyone not to miss Dynamite “in a few minutes.” Taylor tagged in, flexed, took a kick to the head, and planted Made before tagging Beretta back in. V ran in to break up a pin attempt and ate half-and-half/Sole Food for his trouble. Cassidy tagged in. Orange Punch for everyone! What’s next? A pin and a big hug!
Three for the show, and #AEW All-Atlantic Champion @orangecassidy gets the win for the team, heading into tonight's #AEW World Trios Title match alongside #BestFriends with momentum! Don't miss the action from #AEWDark right here: ▶️ https://t.co/5tcqeAn23n pic.twitter.com/fN8bX4xszz— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 18, 2022
Ari Daivari vs. Brandon Cutler
Daivari was flanked by Sonny Kiss and brought a record of 9-6 to this match. Cutler and his cold spray had a record of 2-6. There was a fan in the audience who very clearly wanted to see his “Cucamonga Strong Style.” Commentary leading up to the opening bell focused on Daivari making a “big money offer” to Hook, and obviously Taz would take a personal interest in that. Cutler tried to do the airplane spin but Daivari got under his face mask, stuck fingers in his eyes, threw him out, and Kiss gave him a roundhouse kick to the head before feeding him back in. Two count. Knees to the back from Daivari. Chin lock. Cutler fought back to his feet with reverse elbows. Superkick put him right back down. Daivari went to the top but Cutler avoided the splash. Flying shoulder blocks. Scoop slam. Elbow drops. Dancing. More elbow drops. Near fall for Cutler. Taz: “If he took out one of the 27 dance steps he might have got the win.” Airplane spin. Both men dizzy. Cutler fell on Daivari for a near fall. Kiss tried to stop Cutler from going to the top rope and got cold spray in the eyes. Daivari took the cold spray, conked him in the head while the ref wasn’t looking, then plowed through him with a clothesline for the pin. Kiss came in the ring to raise his arm.
Daivari checked on Kiss and Kiss informed him everything was good. Daivari grabbed a microphone. “Let me tell you all a little story about a fool who turned down $50,000 to give me the FTW championship. You see this fool, this idiot, this ignoramus turned down +my+ offer, so now I’m going to take the FTW championship personally.” Send Hook! His music played and he came out with his hoodie on and the FTW belt over his left shoulder, marching down to the ring with purpose. Taz: “I know that look buddy. It’s not good!” He walked around the ring for a bit. Daivari threw Kiss his way when he tried to step in, he laughed, and then walked back up the ramp.
#FTW Champion @730Hook wants to make sure that #Trustbusters’ @ariyaDaivari knows that the #FTW title is not for sale. They will go head to head for the championship THIS FRIDAY at #AEWRampage LIVE at 10/9c on TNT!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 18, 2022
Watch #AEWDark right now ▶️ https://t.co/5tcqeAECUV pic.twitter.com/tkW7Xv35up
Willow Nightingale vs. Seleziya Sparx
Nightingale was 4-0. Sparx was making her AEW debut. Sparx with Sole Food and a sliding lariat for a near fall. Taz: “Without the half and half.” Double down. Hip attack from Nightingale. Big boot to the body. Firewoman’s carry. Sparx escaped and threw a big elbow. Nightingale gave her a spinebuster and stacked her for a two count. Brainbuster blocked. Sparx with a Northern Lights suplex for two. Taz: “Even if she didn’t get the win it was impressive.” 100% agreed. Sparx with a running boot to the head on the apron. To the top rope. Missile dropkick for another near fall. Nightingale with a roundhouse kick and a pounce (period). Doctor Bomb. 1-2-3. Her finish could be the pounce alone — it’d be fine.
Dante Martin vs. QT Marshall
I would have had Hook’s appearance be the main event, but what do I know? Marshall came out sans Factory flunkies with a record of 29-13. Martin’s record was 38-17. Loud “QT sucks” chant right after the bell rings. Marshall went outside and grabbed a mic. “If these people don’t shut up, I’m going back across the border and you’ll never see me wrestle again.” They +roared+ with approval for that idea. Marshall did a lot of stalling and posing to make them even madder, cutting off Martin whenever he’d try to fire up. Finally Martin avoided Marshall in the corner and hit his missile dropkick to their immense pleasure. He flipped over Marshall, planted him with one arm, and QT kicked out at two. Martin with a chop. Marshall with a pop up shot to stun Martin before placing him on the top rope. He teased a diamond cutter and Martin gave him a top rope ‘rana. Marshall rolled out and he immediately followed him out with a dive, threw him back in, avoided a cutter and hit a springboard splash for two. Sunset flip near fall. Headbutt from Marshall drew a warning from Mike Posey. Stunner from Martin. Marshall avoids the Nose Dive. Martin avoids the cutter and gets a backslide bridged pin for three. That’s it for Dark!
What a counter by @lucha_angel1 to capture the victory in the main event of #AEWDark! Be sure to catch all the action from today’s early edition episode right here! ▶️ https://t.co/5tcqeAn23n pic.twitter.com/Fr9FaiuZ6F— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 18, 2022
What to watch/skip
Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by Action Bronson. It’s funny how Hook doesn’t even do anything and is still the must watch moment of the show, but that’s just the level of charisma and energy he brings when he appears. Bell to bell the best match was Shida vs. Kraven, so if she’s back full time I hope AEW makes Kraven an offer. I think I’m turning a corner on Cutler’s antics, but I think it also helps that the crowd is behind him. For that reason I don’t have any “skips” for this show. Toronto really livened up this episode!
Cageside commentary crew — share your feedback in the comments section below. If you love pro wrestling you can find me on Twitter too. See you next Monday for Elevation — presumably at the usual time of 7 PM ET, 6 Central — but we’ll see!