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AEW Dark recap (Nov. 15, 2022): Daniel Garcia is judging you judging him

Episode 170 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 to the latest action!

Skye Blue vs. Paris Van Dale

Blue brought a record of 8-4 on Dark to this contest. Van Dale was waiting for her in the ring with a 0-2 record. They traded wrist locks to start until Van Dale hit her with a forearm, then they traded go behinds, then Blue gave her a spin kick from her knees. Van Dale responded by throwing her into the turnbuckle and hitting her from behind. Blue fought her way back to her feet and was whipped down with a handful of hair. Van Dale charged her in the corner and Blue got out of the way and got a roll up for a near fall. Step up knee from Blue. Dropkick to the head. Back elbows from Van Dale. Thrust kick from Blue. Flatliner for three. One of the more solidly executed Blue matches I’ve seen of late. Not perfect, but tolerable.

Iron Savages (w/ JT Davidson) vs. Brando Lee & Lucas Chase

The Savages brought a record of 7-3 along with their screaming manager, as Taz quipped that Davidson is so loud his mic doesn’t need batteries. Lee & Chase were making their tag team debut against Bronson and Boulder so you couldn’t expect the two of them to last very long. Taz also took a moment to acknowledge the Savages were formerly known as Bear Country, so if this was your first time watching Dark you’d be aware that these gents had been around for more than a minute. Double choke slam, Excalibur quipped the match could end at any time, but then they started arguing with referee Stephon Smith for some reason... THEN they did the combo cannonball like the old days. They stacked up the jobbers like cordwood in the middle of the ring then stood on top of them for the pinfall. Taz: “They’re refocused, they’re repackaged, they’ve got new singlets, they’re ready to rock and roll.” That’s the hope.

Kiera Hogan vs. Kennedi Copeland

Hogan brought a 2022 singles record of 7-3 to this match. Copeland brought a record of 0-1. Hogan gave her a leg drop very early for a near fall, she kicked out, so Hogan laid in the grounded strikes then threw her into the corner for some kicks. She climbed the ropes to stick a boot to her throat, took her over, and kicked her in the back before another near fall. A rear chinlock was applied. Copeland tried to fight it off with punches to the gut but Hogan gave her a double sledge. Copeland went for an armbreaker but then smashed her nose into the turnbuckle on a charge and took a sliding kick to the back of the head. A roundhouse kick finished things off and Hogan slashed her throat after the three count. There wasn’t any doubt whether she did so or not. She did it again though. Go figure.

Frankie Kazarian vs. Zack Clayton

Clayton brought a record of 6-4 into this contest. Kazarian’s record on Dark was 41-7. Since these matches were filmed at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Excalibur was sure to point out that Kaz got his start at Killer Kowalski’s school in Boston. Taz said he actually knew him back then and Excalibur pressed him for details. “Later on I’ll tell you the rest of the story.” Excalibur: “What are you Paul Harvey?” I feel incredibly old due to the fact I got that joke. My only solace is that Excalibur is also that old because he +made+ that joke. Kazarian sold as “The Reality” beat him down with his size and strength as Taz called him “Jersey Shore Jones.” That’s a better nickname than “The Reality.” Kaz fired back with haymakers and went for a springboard but Clayton caught him in mid-air and hammered him with elbows. He whipped Kaz corner to corner but Kaz landed a back elbow to escape and went on offense with flying forearms. Double knees in the corner. Crossface chicken wing blocked. Kaz went for it a second time and this time Clayton wasn’t able to block it and tapped out. This match felt like it ended just when it got started. Three more minutes would have helped.

Lexy was backstage with Brock Anderson and his father to ask if he Brock was ready for his title match with Daniel Garcia tonight. Arn: “You don’t prepare. They are sets of rules that are different from anything we’re used to. The fact is we’re wrestlers. The Anderson name has always meant wrestling. All we have to do is contain him inside the ring. It doesn’t matter what the other rules are. Trust me when we get a crack at something this big we’re going to pay dividends.” Brock: “My first title shot. That’s not lost on me. You know who’s lost though? Danny Garcia. He can’t figure out whether he’s a sports entertainer or a pro wrestler. Tonight’s not the night to get lost. I can only do so many chain wrestling moves before things get physical in there, the Anderson way.”

The Factory (Cole Karter, Lee Johnson & QT Marshall) vs. Channing Thomas, Jake ‘Manscout’ Manning & Teddy Goodz

The Factory brought a trios record of 1-0. Their opponents were making their trios debut. Sadly Manning did not seem to have his scouting book with him. Maybe he left it at the merchandise table (if you didn’t know he works for AEW now). Goodz got the local pop when he came in and Marshall bailed out to avoid him, then pearl harbored him when he came back in. Goodz hit an uppercut in response and a flying elbow in the corner. Unfortunately just as he got his momentum going Johnson and Karter picked him up and fed him to Marshall for a triple team diamond cutter and the pin.

Athena vs. LMK (Little Mean Kathleen)

Athena brought a record of 13-2 in singles competition this year. LMK brought a record of 0-1 overall in AEW. Taz praised the new mean streak of Athena, and I’d like to join him in offering my appreciation of the heel turn. It may have started by accident because she was getting booed against locally popular wrestlers in Toronto, but a change was definitely needed to light a fire under her as a performer and get the AEW audience to perceive her as someone other than “f/k/a Ember Moon.” LMK avoided a charge and tripped Athena into the turnbuckle, gave her a kick to the face and a lariat, and screamed before running across the ring to climb up on top of Athena and run on her head like a stairmaster. That’s about the point when Athena gets pissed and has had enough. Sure enough Athena caught her in the air, spiked her, went to the top rope and waited for LMK to get up for the O-Face. She got tired of waiting though so she jumped down, kicked her in the ribs, gave her a lariat to the side of the head and rolled her up instead. That’s another good way to get heat. The crowd was about to pop for Athena hitting the O-Face and she didn’t give them what they wanted.

Alex Reynolds, Evil Uno & John Silver vs. Mike Magnum, Brett Gosselin & Arjan Singh

Magnum, Singh and Gosselin were making their AEW trios debut here. Uno was 20-8, Silver was 31-11, Reynolds was 27-14. Excalibur: “This episode has a lot of you bragging about losing money and me lamenting losing money. If I had your money I’d burn mine.” That’s because they’re at a casino/resort where the Mohegan Sun Arena is located. This was a 100% squash that ended with the triple team pendulum bomb, all to the roaring approval of the local crowd. Taz: “Pendulum pop city!!” Lexy brought up Athena backstage and Athena came charging in with a head of steam, screamed at her, and sent her running away scared.

ROH Pure Championship Match: Daniel Garcia vs. Brock Anderson (w/ Arn)

Our ringside judges for this match are Christopher Daniels, BJ Whitmer and Frankie Kazarian. Anderson brought a 2022 singles record of 2-1 to this match. Pure champion Garcia brought a record of 8-0 in Dark matches to the main event for his title defense.

Garcia did a dragon screw into the ropes to weaken Anderson and then worked over the left knee as Brock sold. He applied an inverted knee bar to torque it even more and Anderson had to hit a headbutt to escape. Garcia stood on his back and stomped on both knees, then paintbrushed Anderson in the corner while mocking his dad. That fired up Brock to throw a closed fist, which got him a warning from the ref per the pure rule set, and the next closed fist would be a disqualification. Garcia immediately caught him in a guillotine choke. Anderson got to his feet and hit a vertical suplex to escape. High back body drop by Anderson. Pump handle sit out by Garcia and Anderson kicked out at two. DDT by Anderson for a close near fall. Anderson went for a spinebuster but his knee gave out. Garcia responded immediately with a piledriver to get the win. A fine main event.

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by Full Gear on Saturday. This episode did almost nothing to promote the show so I thought +someone+ should. I enjoyed everything this week but the standout matches were Garcia vs. Anderson and Kazarian vs. Clayton. It also felt very “paint by the numbers” though, probably because it was taped before Full Gear week, and there wasn’t much way to adjust it to make it more relevant to that.

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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