Episode 171 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, so let’s get to all of the post Full Gear action taped +before+ Full Gear last Wednesday!
Watch #AEWDark TONIGHT at 7/6c on https://t.co/lBSV4rTE11, feat. @WheelerYuta v KM, #DarkOrder (@EvilUno @SilverNumber1 @YTAlexReynolds) v #Trustbusters (@AriyaDaivari @SonnyKissXO @isThatVsK), #VarsityAthletes (@TonyNese @WoodsIsTheGoods) v @rgrilloTSF @DeanAlexanderNF & more! pic.twitter.com/huTMTMGSlJ— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) November 22, 2022
Varsity Athletes (Tony Nese & Josh Woods) w/ “Smart” Mark Sterling vs. Dean Alexander & Rosario Grillo
Nese & Woods brought a record of 10-3 to this match. Sterling: “Folks we were really excited to come to New Jersey today because we were going to have tryouts for the first junior varsity team to be associated with the Varsity Athletes. But after looking around, yikes. Matter of fact I’m starting to understand why the Nets left. We’re going to make quick work of Joe and Schmoe over here and get out of town as fast as possible.” Alexander & Grillo were the Joe and Schmoe and brought a record of 0-2. Nese hit Alexander with a back elbow and a left hand then started raining down punches and kicks in the corner while Woods laughed it up. Alexander hit a neck breaker for the escape and tagged in Grillo. Grillo got his face ran across the top rope for his trouble. Woods tagged in and picked up Grillo for a trio of gut wrench suplexes. Nese tagged back in for Running Nese but Alexander broke up the pin. Woods tagged in after hitting a release German suplex just to set up their double team finisher, which AEW decided was +not+ the move to showcase here.
Willow Nightingale vs. Marina Shafir (w/ Vickie Guerrero)
Shafir brought a record of 14-5 to this match. Nightingale’s 2022 record was 11-9. Shafir rode on Nightingale’s back and slapped her around as Guerrero cackled with glee. Nightingale eventually broke free for a shoulder tackle and a low crossbody for two. Shafir threw her into the ropes and Nightingale sold an arm. Shafir kicked her in the same left arm and then did a judo throw into a roll up for two. The look on her face was pure anger that this wasn’t a three count. They did an exchange of strikes on the feet with Shafir yelling “Come on!” before a double down. Shafir grabbed a headlock, Nightingale escaped it with a chop, a hip attack, and a running boot to the face. Spinebuster. Shafir kicked out at 2.9. Nightingale went for the Doctor Bomb and had it blocked. Nightingale clubbed her in the back. Guerrero grabbed a leg from the outside. Nightingale ducked and she nearly collided with Shafir. As a stunned Shafir pulled up short she got picked up for the Doctor Bomb and the pin! Fun match.
Wheeler Yuta vs. KM (Kevin Matthews)
Will there still be a Blackpool Combat Club after Dynamite tomorrow? I don’t know but for right now Yuta is still representing BCC with a record of 18-11. KM was waiting for him with a record of 0-2 and immediately went into heel mode, playing the role of the bigger stronger man beating up the smaller gutsy babyface. Yuta rolled out of the way of a splash for KM to go splat and then fired off a pair of dropkicks. He no sold both of these but a third put him down and Yuta kipped up to his feet.
Yuta went outside to climb the ropes and KM swept the legs before he could do anything. He recovered to hit a suplex, elbow KM in the head repeatedly, then apply his seat belt hold to trap KM’s shoulders to the mat for the pinning predicament.
We jumped immediately to a backstage interview where Ethan Page was with Matt Hardy and Private Party. Page talked about how they are getting “win after win after win” for The Firm. Page: “Before I break you and turn you into a psycho again, let’s ride the wave of momentum. I say we give you a real challenge next week on Dark, a trio that has had way more experience than the three of you together. Matt Hardy is ready to be tested like he has never been tested before. Next week, Hardy Party versus The Wingmen.” Hardy: “Thanks man. I appreciate that. Next week, Men of the Wing, you are set for an unfortunate Twist of Fate. You are subject to ... DELETION!”
#TheFirm's @OfficialEGO gives a business update, and sets the next challenge for @MATTHARDYBRAND & #PrivateParty's @IsiahKassidy & @Marq_Quen; next week on #AEWDark it's #HardyParty vs. #TheWingmen!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) November 23, 2022
Watch #AEWDark right now!
▶️ https://t.co/hH1edaMA6a pic.twitter.com/yVAwbGK08r
Jake Hager vs. Bryce Donovan
Hager was flanked by the entire Jericho Appreciation Society on his way to the ring, sporting a record of 7-6. Taz: “I’ve known him a long time. He’s one bad apple, I promise.” Donovan was waiting in the ring for him with a record of 0-1. Hager looked like a heavyweight in there with a cruiserweight, but Donovan tried his best to catch him off guard until Hager put him down with a lariat. He threw him into the corner for punches to the body, then whipped him into the opposite corner and ran over him for the Hager Bomb while J.A.S. cheered him on. Hager applied a chinlock and cranked on it. Donovan hit a jawbreaker to escape. Hager ate a pair of boots when he charged in. Donovan went for a spring board move but Hager caught him in mid air, slammed him, and applied a head and arm choke for the tap.
Tay Melo (w/ Anna Jay A.S.) vs. Skye Blue
Blue brought a record of 12-5 on Dark to this match. We got the J.A.S. introduction for the second match in a row, and Melo brought a Dark record of 22-0 to this bout. We had a comedy spot of back and forth roll-ups for a one count. Blue went to the top rope, got distracted by Jay, and got a dragon screw off the ropes for losing focus. Melo choked her with the ring ropes, put a boot to her face, and while being warned by the ref Jay grabbed a handful of hair from the outside. Melo nearly got rolled up trying to cinch up a submission and that only made her madder. She punted Blue in the ribs and covered her for a near fall. Blue fired up with a series of strikes and a step up knee plus a thrust kick for two. Blue fought off a choke but ate a release German suplex and a running kick for 2.9. Melo feigned shock it wasn’t a three count. Tay K-O was countered into a near fall. Jay distracted the ref so he didn’t see the Code Red into the pinfall. Melo applied what Taz described as “a modified Peruvian necktie” for the submission and then stomped on Blue afterward. Jay put on the Queenslayer as the ref called for the bell. Willow Nightingale ran down to make the save.
Rush (w/ Jose the Assistant) vs. Leon Ruffin
Ruffin brought a record of 1-2 on Dark. Rush brought a record of 1-0. Ruffin ate the bull’s horns for the quickest win of the night. Taz: “You don’t get paid by the hour.” Time for the main event!
The Dark Order (Evil Uno, John Silver & Alex Reynolds) vs. The Trustbusters (Ari Daivari, Sonny Kiss & Jeeves Kay)
This was the first time this combination of Trustbusters had worked as a trio. This wasn’t true of the Dark Order configuration, as they had a 2-1 record coming in. Kiss hit a 450 splash for a near fall and Evil Uno had to break it up. Reynolds got thrown into the corner for some chops by Daivari. Kay tagged in to cut off the ring and continue the beating. Referee Aubrey Edwards kept getting distracted for some illegal tactics on the outside by the heels. Taz: “Very mean butler (Jeeves Kay) like most butlers are. He’s sketchy.”
Daivari attempted to put Reynolds to sleep, he got back to his feet, then got thrown down again so Daivari could tag in Kay. Reynolds finally hit a spinning elbow strike and knocked Kiss off the apron and threw Daivari out to the floor so Silver could get the hot tag. Big back body drop on Kay and a double bicep flex. Cannonball onto Daivari on the outside. Silver went to the top rope but Kay rolled through for a near fall. A series of kicks and a brainbuster right back before Silver tagged in Uno. Uno tagged in Reynolds and they immediately went to the Pendulum Bomb for the win!
What to watch/skip
For no reason at all this week’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by “Bustin.” To my great surprise this week the most competitive match was Blue vs. Melo. It wasn’t the +best+ match, but it’s the kind of match Blue needs to have if she’s going to improve, so I approve. The exact opposite of that was Rush vs. Ruffin. Blink and you’d miss the whole thing. Sure it makes Rush look like a vicious, dominant killer but neither one can improve in a sub one minute bout. I’d skip that match along with Hager vs. Donovan. The must see matches this week were Yuta vs. KM and the main event. Happy Turkey Day to those who celebrate or if not happy Thursday off!
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 for Elevation on Monday!