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AEW Dark recap (Nov. 1, 2022): Freshly Squeezed trios action

Episode 168 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 this episode, and without further adieu let’s get right into the action.

Danhausen vs. Jon Cruz

Following his loss to QT Marshall last night, Danhausen brought a record of 6-5 to this contest. Cruz was waiting for him in the ring with a 0-1 record. Danhausen attempted to curse Cruz right at the start of the match, Cruz laughed it off, and Danhausen plowed through him with a clothesline. He stomped on him, he stood on him, and when he put on a headlock Cruz escaped and nailed him with a thrust kick and pounded on him. Cruz dropped an elbow on his back for two as fans wearing Danhausen masks looked on. Taz made reference to Cruz looking “scruffy” and if I was to compare him to anybody I wouldn’t use his “Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon” reference. He reminds me of someone... named Phil. Cruz took a victory lap to boos, saw Danhausen try to get up, and dropped a double axe handle on his back. It didn’t help. Danhausen got back to his feet, hit a suplex, a running uppercut, a knee to the head, a shoulder to the gut, and a springboard German suplex. Pump kick drops Cruz. Danhausen picked him up and then drilled him into the mat for 3!

The Embassy (Brian Cage & Gates of Agony) vs. Fuego Del Sol and Waves & Curls

Fuego and his friends entered first, and they were also taking their first match as a trio in AEW. Prince Nana accompanied his charges, who had a 1-0 record as a trio in the promotion. If you don’t know the Gates of Agony, they are Bishop Kaun and Toa Liona, who you’ve each seen individually if you’ve been watching Dark episodes religiously. Given their in-ring ability I’m happy to see them get even more shine as part of this crew. Liona flattened Jordan of Waves & Curls with a belly to belly suplex, did some ground and pound, and tagged Cage. He escaped and tagged his partner Brandon, who avoided a Drill Claw for a little bit, but ate a high back bodydrop for his efforts. He escaped Cage and tagged Fuego, who ran wild with kicks and then tried to wipe out the Gates with a flip to the floor. He dived back in, Cage caught him mid-air and threw him, but Fuego landed on his feet and hit another kick. Fuego tagged Brandon and the entire Embassy hit the ring, throwing him to Cage for an assisted Liger Bomb and the pin. This is the kind of squash I really like, where multiple people all get the chance to show off their abilities against willing opponents.

Leva Bates vs. Nyla Rose

“Native Beast” Nyla Rose was accompanied by Vickie Guerrero and Marina Shafir, and had the TBS Title stolen from Jade Cargill around her waist. Her record on Dark matches according to the chyron was 25-0. Rose: “Now normally I would not be out here having a non-title match, but since we’re at the lovely Mohegan Sun I’m feeling kind of lucky, so this is an open challenge.” That brought out Bates, who had a 2022 singles record of 1-1. Excalibur openly questioned why Cargill didn’t send one of her Baddies down to the ring to steal the title back that’s rightfully hers. That’s the kind of thing I appreciate — when announcers are thinking the same way I am. Guerrero distracted Bates by yelling “EXCUSE ME” at her, she ate a spear and a Beast Bomb, and got pinned 1-2-3 just like that. Rose took a victory lap and Guerrero held up a sign that said 57-0. Excalibur: “You can’t just inflate win streaks like that! That’s bologna! That’s BS!”

Dante Martin vs. Encore

Martin brought a record of 23-2 in matches on Dark. Encore brought no previous record on Dark or any other show as this was his AEW debut. Martin did a springboard and got caught by Encore for a back suplex, but he kicked out of the pin attempt for one. Martin came back with some elbow strikes, dodged Encore’s charge into the corner, and did a high flying crossbody for two. Encore escaped the half and half, Martin jumped over him, and then he re-applied the half and half and drove him down into the mat for three while Taz and Excalibur argued over how to describe the move. Even social media opted out of that and called it an “impressive victory” instead.

Toni Storm vs. Diamante (Eliminator Match)

Diamante brought a 9-3 record and could earn a title shot at Storm with a win on Rampage this Friday. Storm brought a record of 16-2 and the interim women’s title. Excalibur: “Just because the title’s on the line doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot to lose. She could wind up facing Diamante twice.” Bulldog on Diamante for a near fall. Chop, whip, Diamante floats her to the apron and snaps her neck on the ropes before kicking her to the floor. Excalibur plugged Chris Jericho facing “a former ROH champion” tomorrow night on Dynamite as Diamante put a beating on Storm outside and inside the ring. The crowd cheered Toni on for a comeback as Diamante pounded on her and drove knees into her ribs before applying a chinlock. Taz: “She’s trying to wear down the champ and it’s working. It really is!” Ref Paul Turner warned the ladies not to grab the hair. Taz: “That’s why I shaved my head.” Storm took down Diamante with a body press and threw some right hands. Dropkick, fisherman suplex, two count. Diamante fought off a waist lock and hit a stunner for two. She slashed her throat to signal for the end, went for Three Amigos, but Storm did a standing switch and did all three to Diamante’s two. She went for the hip attack in the corner, Diamante rolled out, so she hit her through the ropes instead and gave her a DDT off the apron. She threw Diamante back in, did the hip attack in the corner, tied Diamante up in a Texas cloverleaf and Diamante tapped out. A good non-title match!

Orange Cassidy & Best Friends vs. Ari Daivari, Sonny Kiss & Tony Deppen

Excalibur told us Deppen was “an honorary Trustbuster” for this bout. Either way this was their first time working as a trio. Daivari confirmed it with a promo and said if Deppen helps them get the win he’s got “a very lucrative future” ahead. Cassidy and his Best Friends entered 71-27-2 and 31-12 respectively, and once again Cassidy had the All-Atlantic Title in a backpack over his shoulder. The Best Friends took their turns having fun with Deppen and then gave him a double delayed vertical suplex before tagging in Cassidy for a very lazy elbow drop. Taz: “You know how Cassidy is, not much effort put into things.” Kiss and the Trustbusters tried to clear house, but Cassidy reversed it and got ready to do a dive. Daivari dragged him out, sent him into the ring post, and fed him back in for a near fall.

Daivari tagged in to stomp on Cassidy for a bit then tagged Kiss for more punishment. It’s always impressive to see Kiss do the splits! Cassidy hit a Stun Dog Millionaire and tagged out to Chuck Taylor. Deppen tagged and ate a belly to belly. Trent Beretta tagged in and they git Sole Food. Kiss broke up a potential hug to give the people what they want, and did a 450 splash for a near fall before Cassidy broke it up. Cassidy hit a double rana and an Orange DDT. Deppen hit a running knee. Deppen ate a knee from Taylor. Triple powerbomb from the face trio and Beretta made the cover. Deppen was admonished by Daivari and ate an Orange Punch to boot. Now it’s hug time! The people got what they wanted.

Kip Sabian vs. Dean Alexander

Sabian brought a 2022 record of 4-1 and surprisingly was not accompanied by Penelope Ford — just his “underrated, over it” box. Alexander was waiting in the ring with a record of 0-1 and a look like a dime store Alex Koslov. He gave Sabian a neck breaker for a two count. Taz put over how tough and strong Alexander was but I wasn’t buying it. Sabian tripped him into the ropes, kicked him in the head, did a brainbuster off the ropes and pinned his hapless foe. Excalibur: “Once he stopped messing around, once he kicked it into high gear, he put Dean Alexander away.” Exactly.

Marina Shafir vs. Kennedi Copeland

Shafir was accompanied by Guerrero and Rose as you’d expect and brought a record of 13-4 in singles competition for 2022. Copeland was “already in the ring” to make her debut which spelled exactly +zero+ chance of her beating Shafir. She got hit with a pump kick immediately and then submitted before Excalibur could finish his promo for Final Battle.

Rey Fenix vs. AR Fox

I would have put the Best Friends & Cassidy match in the main event, but this is fine too. Fenix brought a record of 25-1, his AEW Trios Title, and Alex Abrahantes to the match. Fox brought a record of 0-2 and is arguably the least deserving person of being winless in AEW of anybody featured more than once on Dark shows. Seriously. Fox is an amazing wrestler and has been since the late 2000’s. He could be in the twilight of his career at this point... or he could just be getting started if they gave him a full time deal. It’s up to Tony Khan.

Fox wiped out Fenix with a dive over the top rope almost on cue with a comment from Taz about how he can fly. Twisting brainbuster back in the ring for two. Double stomp from Fenix in response. Arm drag, leg drop, now it’s his turn for the two count. Fenix set Fox on the top rope and climbed up, Fox escaped, ate a kick to the jaw, then jumped up for a Spanish Fly and hit a quick 450 for 2.9! Honestly I would have pulled the trigger and let him get the win right there. Fenix hit a rebound spinning back heel kick, set Fox up for a chop, picked him up off the ropes and hit the black fire driver for three. There was no wrong man to win this main event, but I sincerely hope Fox’s next match is a win over Fuego Del Sol. Fenix did show him respect after the match before we went off the air.

What to watch/skip

My heart was broken this morning so all I can say to sponsor “what to watch/skip” this week is RIP Takeoff. It has been hard to think about anything else, so I was very thankful for an hour of AEW Dark to cover tonight. I enjoyed everything here — even the squashes — but if you had to skip something skip Shafir’s match because it really wasn’t a match at all. This was an easy show to watch start to finish.

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 after the show airs at 7 PM ET!

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