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AEW Dark recap (Nov. 29, 2022): Don’t be tardy to the Hardy Party

Episode 172 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 as usual. Let’s-a-go!!

The Factory (Lee Johnson, QT Marshall & Cole Karter) vs. Justin Corino, Ryan Mooney & Steven Josifi

The Factory brought a 2-0 trios record in this incarnation. For some reason the camera lingered a really long time on a fan yelling at them, even though the announcers didn’t identify. The three men in the ring waiting for them had no prior record as a trio. One was unearthly pale and had half a mask on, and one forgot to use tanning spray when he shaved his pits. Pro wrestling is a cosmetic business whether we like it or not. At least the people being fed to The Factory looked like it. QT Marshall kept riling up the crowd by cupping his ear and begging them to boo louder. Justin Corino tried to fire up on a tag and Marshall promptly cut him off. They did a triple team diamond cutter and Karter covered him to bring this squash to an end.

Chris Wylde vs. Zack Clayton

Speaking of matches where the result is obvious from the outset, “The Reality” Zack Clayton brought a record of 6-6 to this contest, while his opponent Chris Wylde was making his AEW debut. Clayton beat him up inside and outside the ring, went to the top rope to mock the crowd, then jumped back down just in time for a jawbreaker and a rolling elbow. Clayton ended his momentum with a clothesline and a brainbuster for the pin. A Fight Forever promo followed with no announced release date — just “coming soon.”

Hikaru Shida (w/ Hagane Shinno) vs. Layla Luciano

Shida brought a record of 53-10 in AEW to this match. Luciano was making her AEW debut as her opponent.

Luciano did a firewoman’s carry into an airplane spin and slammed Shida down, then signaled she was going to do it again, but Shida kicked her away. Luciano picked her up and slammed her again for a near fall. Shida nailed her with an enzuigiri, a jumping knee, and ten punches in the corner. A meteora and Katana finished Luciano off. A quick promo for AEW Heels followed.

Jericho Appreciation Society (Matt Menard, Daniel Garcia & Angelo Parker) vs. Tracy Williams, Jack Tomlinson & LSG

J.A.S. brought a trios record of 8-3 to the match and Garcia was sure to have his ROH Pure Title around his waist. Another random fan was focused on in the crowd for no reason. Williams, Tomlinson and LSG were working as a trio for the first time. Every dirty trick in the book was being used here — biting, double teaming, boot to the face until the ref broke it up, you name it. LSG made a hot tag to “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams, who went blow for blow with Garcia and gave a series of chops to Parker before a suplex. He went to the top rope but Garcia cut him off. Williams countered him into a DDT on the turnbuckle for a near fall. At this point all three members of J.A.S. hit the ring and the ref did nothing to stop it. Tomlinson had gotten the tag from Williams, and Garcia immediately trapped him in a submission for the tap before being tossed out of the ring like trash. Williams was far and away the star of this contest.

“The Machine” Brian Cage (w/ Prince Nana) vs. Tony Deppen

Cage brought a record of 23-0 on Dark, soon to be 24-0, into a contest against the 0-1 Deppen. Deppen hit a shoulder to the gut and tried to do a flying knee but got caught and thrown through the air with a German suplex. Clothesline in the corner, suplex, and Cage pressed him like weights before tossing him aside to flex the pecs. Cage climbed the ropes as Deppen was on the apron and Deppen kicked him off and finally hit the knees to the head. Running knees in the corner and a two count. Deppen went to the top but missed the double stomp and ate a power bomb and a buckle bomb. Cage slashed the throat and hit the Drill Claw to put this one to an end. This was followed by a promo for ROH Final Battle on Dec. 10th.

Angelico vs. Hagane Shinno

Shinno returned after accompanying Shida earlier to make his official AEW in-ring debut. You might know him better as Madoka, but then again you might not. Angelico brought a 2022 record of 4-1 to this contest. They had a stalemate early and Shinno nodded his head in respect before agreeing to a knuckle lock. Angelico tried to sucker him into beating booted in the gut but Shinno suckered him into a rana to the outside. Angelico took advantage of him on the floor though and fed him back in. He used closed fists repeatedly despite “Dropkick” Mike Posey warning him not to. Has anybody ever been disqualified for it even once? If not then you might as well do it even in “sports entertainment.” Matter of fact unless it causes you to lose a match in the Fight Forever video game you should be allowed to do it there too. Shinno recovered and hit a springboard missile dropkick for a near fall. Shinno swept the leg and flipped Angelico inside out for another near fall. Jawbreaker by Angelico, wrist locked and arm trapped, and Shinno tapped out. Madoka looked good here.

Emi Sakura (w/ Baliyan Akki) vs. Tiara James

Sakura brought a singles record of 21-11. James was waiting for her in the ring with a record of 0-2. James offered a handshake and Sakura flipped her hair defiantly in response. James hit her with a forearm and Sakura whipped her across the ring by her hair, then sat on her for a spot of tea. James got back to her feet for some elbow strikes and a flying lariat. She slashed her throat but Sakura countered and drove her right onto her jaw, then did the “we will chop you” and crossbody. Double underhook delayed backbreaker for the pin. Sakura sat on Stephon Smith’s knee after picking up the win.

The Wingmen (Peter Avalon, Ryan Nemeth & Cezar Bononi) vs. Hardy Party (Matt Hardy with Private Party’s Marq Quen & Isaiah Kassidy) w/ “All Ego” Ethan Page

The Wingmen brought a trios record of 1-1 to this main event. Hardy Party brought a trios record of 7-1. Page followed them out and joined the commentary. “Enough. No more music. You look like bozos. Take this serious. You represent The Firm. No more dancing!” Taz sucked up to Page after he was done lambasting them over the mic. Excalibur: “Why do you care how they win?” Page: “I don’t, but they’re not going to win by playing games.” Avalon tried to ride Quen like a horse then tagged Nemeth. Quen ate a double dropkick for a near fall. Nemeth tagged Avalon back in and Bononi ran in for an assist, and when Kassidy tried to break it up they ate a double slam. Avalon made a lazy cover and Quen quickly kicked out. Quen hit a scoop slam and crawled toward his corner. He kicked Avalon away and leapt out to give Hardy the hot tag. Delete headbutts for Avalon in the corner turnbuckle. Power bomb for two. Side Effect for Nemeth. Bononi tried to interfere and Private Party sent him out to the floor then wiped him out on the pretty black mats. Hardy went for a Twist of Fate and Page grabbed a microphone to yell at him. He got hit with a DDT by Avalon for a near fall. Hardy picked Avalon up and did the Ego’s Edge instead for the win.

Private Party mocked Page and he yelled into the mic. “Cut that music off. Get to the back. We’ve got to talk! Ay, boo me all you want. I will make these guys champion. I am a good leader.” Hardy signaled “delete delete delete” and the crowd sang along. Page: “Yeah I’m going to delete your paycheck. Get your ass to the back.” That’s where the show ends! Backstage Hardy said he wasn’t using Ego’s Edge, he was using “the Fall of Fate.” Page ordered Lexy to leave and told Private Party to take a hike too. Hardy: “What’s your damage man? Are you embarrassed? You asked for this. You’re the one putting me through hell man.” Page: “What is this, some kind of dick swinging contest? Get this through your head. I’m your boss. I’m going to break you, I promise.” Hardy: “You will never break me. I will defy you to the final day. What are you going to do to me?” Page: “I will do nothing. From now on you defy me, Private Party pays the price. Next time you want to step out of line Matt Hardy, think about it.” Hardy: “This isn’t about them. This is about you and I. You lay a hand on them, you jepoardize them, you will live to regret it,” Page: “It’s not in my hands any more. Defy me. We’ll see what happens.”

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” for AEW Dark is brought to you by Matt Facts! Did you know? “Matt is dominant at putt-putt golf.” Page and Hardy stole the show and having the trios match in the main event was definitely the right call. Keep your eye on Shinno though as he could be your next Konosuke Takeshita breakout type star if AEW got behind him. I also really like Tiara James’ look and athletic ability but she doesn’t get to show enough of it in these squashes. I’d like to see her have a 5-6 minute match with someone like Toni Storm even if she lost at the end just to know what she can do. Skip the opening two matches. Everything else in between was fine.

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!

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