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AEW Dark recap (Dec. 13, 2022): Ortiz and Kingston vs. Butler and Buster

Episode 174 of AEW Dark is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the stream courtesy Cageside. Excalibur and Taz called the action as usual this week. Let’s get to it!

Tay Melo (w/ Sammy Guevara) vs. Miranda Vionette

Melo’s record on Dark coming in was 23-0. Vionette was waiting in the ring to make her AEW debut. She sneered at Melo and Melo seemed unimpressed. She pie faced Vionette and got hit with a series of forearms in return. Vionette almost got a roll up but Melo rolled through for a German and gave her a knee to the face. She pulled Vionette back up by the hair and threw her through the air. She sank in a crossface and then smooched face with Sammy. It was everything you’d expect, except that AEW didn’t share it on Twitter.

The Factory (QT Marshall, Lee Johnson & Cole Karter) vs. Joe Keys, Chris Steeler & LSG

The Factory was 3-0 in trios action in this arrangement. Their opponents were 0-0 as this was their first time in this arrangement. Taz claimed QT Marshall got booed by his own mother. Steeler was pushed into the corner by Johnson so he could stomp a mud hole in him. Suplex, thrown into the turnbuckle, tag to Karter. Karter bealed him across the ring and then hit a dropkick on Keys when he tagged in. He too got pushed into the corner for a beating. Marshall tagged in and hit a back elbow and an uppercut. Johnson tagged back in for a boot to the gut and a suplex. Johnson mocked his teammates on the apron and then hit Keys with a back elbow. Keys threw Johnson out to the floor and tagged LSG. Karter got a tag too. LSG got to run wild for a little bit until Marshall creamed him with an elbow. Triple team diamond cutter for Marshall, Karter covered Johnson for a pin, and this elongated squash came to a close.

Zack Clayton vs. Steve Peña

Clayton’s 2022 record was 7-6. He flipped off the crowd on his way to the ring. Excalibur: “That’s how they say hello in Jersey.” Peña was waiting in the ring to make his AEW debut. Peña hit a jawbreaker and a lariat and looked fired up. He hit an uppercut but then got caught in a power slam and immediately hit with a fisherman buster for 1-2-3. Taz: “An excellent homecoming for Zack Clayton right there!”

Kip Sabian (w/ Penelope Ford) vs. Tony Deppen

Taz couldn’t stop saying the word “action” during this episode or while introducing this match. Excalibur quipped the show’s name should be changed to AEW Action. Sabian brought a record of 8-2. Deppen was waiting in the ring with a record of 0-2. Sabian wasted no time standing on Deppen and playing conductor to the crowd. Deppen went for an arm wringer, got reversed, then got reversed right back. He kipped up (ha) and the struggle of the wrist continued. Counter for counter. Excalibur put over Deppen as “a highly technical wrestler” and I’d appreciate it if AEW would sign him to a highly technical contract and give him a few highly technical wins, either on ROH or AEW programming. Deppen charged the corner, got floated to the apron, then Sabian did a springboard to kick him off. The ref told Sabian to take it back in the ring and he mouthed off in return before getting back in.

Springboard dropkick. Sabian led the orchestra again while ignoring Deppen, and nearly paid for it with an inside cradle. Knee strike by Deppen. He missed with the PK but Sabian didn’t with an elbow and an enzuigiri. He +did+ miss with a cannonball in the corner. Deppen hit double knees in the corner and did a northern lights suplex for 2.9. Deppen grabbed his jaw like it was dislocated, charged, and ate another knee from Sabian, who did an Arabian moonsault to the floor. He threw Deppen back in but missed the double stomp. He tripped Deppen into the turnbuckle, picked him up, and hit a Psycho Driver for the win.

The Trustbusters (Slim J & Jeeves Kay) vs. Eddie Kingston & Ortiz

J and Kay were teaming together for the first time in this match. Kingston and Ortiz brought a team record of 6-1. Slim J bailed out of the ring at the beginning of the match just to piss Kingston off, not that it takes much to piss Kingston off. They bumped chests, J grabbed his junk, then gave Kingston a ‘rana and mocked him. Kingston poked him in the eye, grabbed a headlock, and Ortiz blind tagged in to continue the beating. Splash by Ortiz for two. Taz put over how lean and muscular Ortiz had gotten. “Changed his whole style man, changed his whole body.” Kay ran in to interfere and Kingston unintentionally distracted the ref by complaining about it. J gave Ortiz a flatliner and he kicked out. Scoop slam. J tagged Kay in. Backbreaker for two. Kingston ran in and the ref threw him out. Ortiz bit Kay’s hand but he still managed to make the tag. Double team suplex near fall broken up by Kingston. Ortiz turned J inside out with a clothesline. Double tag. Kingston ran wild on everyone. J broke up a pinfall and he gave them a double clothesline in return before tagging Ortiz. Kay escaped and hit a boot to the side of the head for two. J gave Kingston a DDT and then dived to the floor to wipe him out. Excalibur: “An unorthodox dive to say the least.” Cradle Shock by Kay but Ortiz kicked out. Kingston yanked J off the apron and threw him into the barricade. Sonny Kiss got on the apron and bonked heads with Kay. Kingston hit a spinning backfist and tapped Kay out. The ref insisted that he let go and he reluctantly did. Slim J got a DDT and got put in a stretch plum too. The crowd cheered him on even as the ref admonished him. That’s how our show ended!

What to watch/skip

This week’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you Westside Gunn. I’m going to keep it really simple this time — skip everything but the last two matches. Sabian gave Deppen more than anybody has in the ring to date in AEW, and how can you not love the antics of Eddie Kingston and ruggedness of his partner Ortiz? Neither of those bouts would have been out of place on Dynamite or Rampage.

Cageside commentary crew — share your feedback below in the comments section. If you love pro wrestling find me on Twitter too until they force us to all pay for Twitter Blue. See you next week for new episodes of Elevation and Dark!

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