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AEW Dark recap (Mar. 1, 2022): Don’t be startin’ with Dante Martin

Episode 132 of AEW Dark is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream from YouTube. Your commentary team this week was Excalibur and Taz. Without further adieu let’s get straight into Tuesday night’s action!

Lee Johnson vs. Darian Bengston

Johnson entered with a 2022 singles record of 0-1. Bengston was waiting for him in the ring with a record of 0-2. It was once opined that “somebody’s oh has got to go” but in that case it was about undefeated men, not winless ones, but I digress. Bengston and Johnson traded holds as Taz talked about how much a headlock can crush your face and cauliflower your eras. Eventually they stood up for a show of respect but Bengston turned the handshake into an warm wringer. That pissed Johnson off and he nailed him with a back elbow and vertical suplex for a near fall. Johnson took Bengston off his feet with a chop, smashed his head into the turnbuckle, and delivered another chop. Johnson climbed the corner ropes for some right hands, paused when the crowd counted to nine, and before ten Bengston countered and crotched Johnson. He delivered a knee to the head but missed with the moonsault press. Johnson screamed “he’s a dead man” and delivered a neckbreaker to pick up his first singles win of the year. A video for Sonny Kiss and “Who We Are” followed.

Sonny Kiss vs. Ashton Starr

Kiss brought a 2022 record of 1-1 to the match. Starr was waiting during Kiss’ entrance sporting an AEW record of 0-1. Given that a video package for Kiss just aired it wasn’t hard to guess who was winning this match, spoilers or no spoilers.

Apparently the crowd in Orlando either didn’t know or remember Starr’s previous Dark appearance, as there chants of “let’s go new guy” for this match. Starr hit a Northern lights suplex for a near fall and played to the crowd as Kiss was selling. Starr waited too long and Kiss recovered to hit the kamengiri for the pin. A squash but a fun squash.

The Acclaimed vs. B. Jack & Donovan Izzolena

“Yo! Listen! Listen! Yo! Yo! The whole roster couldn’t lace our boots, how we gonna fight ?uestlove from The Roots? So let’s love one another, I don’t really want to be Undercover Brother. And this guy’s unattractive — you look like the kind of guy who would catfish. And you look so strange. They hate you and everybody loves The Acclaimed.” Max Caster y’all.

As fun as his raps are we’re getting dangerously close to the point where they overshadow The Acclaimed’s matches, and as neither of them are bad wrestlers it would be a shame if that was all they were known for. The ?uestlove knockoff tried to interfere in the match and Paul Turner did nothing to stop it since The Acclaimed had things well in hand. Meanwhile Izzolena took a beating until Bowens asked Caster if it was time for the Mic Drop. He obliged and made a cover. Taz: “The other guy just disappeared. He’s gone. He’s in Tampa. He left Orlando and he’s in Tampa.” Excalibur: “Well he entered the match illegally first, then he left.” This was even more of a squash than the last bout, and I’m perfectly fine with it.

Marina Shafir vs. Danielle Kamela

Shafir entered with a 2022 record of 2-0. Kamela was waiting in the ring for her AEW debut, having made the trip to Orlando all the way from Scottsdale, Arizona. Kamela hit a swinging neckbreaker for a near fall, which was far more offense than I expected against the MMA veteran, but trying to apply pressure to Shafir’s arm was a mistake. Shafir reversed it, wrung out her arm, kicked Kamela in the spine and then wrapped Kamela’s own arms around her neck for a possible submission. Kamela got out of the hold but took more strikes to the spine. Kamela played possum on an injury and tried a single leg takedown, and that didn’t work. Shafir took her down and applied a triangle choke for the tap. As much as I like Shafir this wasn’t her best performance on Dark, but that may be partly due to her opponent.

Dante Martin vs. Jack Evans

Evans jumped and flipped his way to the ring, sporting a singles record of 15-21, accompanied by Jora Johl and Angelico. Martin sported a record of 41-20 and was accompanied by no one but himself. Martin sent Evans out of the ring and got out of the way of a suicide dive, saying “I’m too smart for this idiot,” but Martin was more than content to brawl with him instead and send him face first into the entrance ramp. Johl got in his face as a distraction and that gave Evans enough time to recover before they got back in the ring. Taz: “Jack Evans from the heavens. I love saying that! Heh heh.”

Johl grabbed the boot of Martin for another distraction and he spilled out to the floor on a ‘rana. Evans went top rope and came down with a kick to the side of the head, mocking the fans at ringside for cheering for Martin. He got back in the ring and let the referee start a ten count, but Martin got back in at six. Martin hit an enzuigiri but Evans responded with a front face kick and a standing twisting press for two. Taz: “Evans is very disgruntled Excalibur. You wouldn’t know what that’s like. People are disgruntled sometimes. You don’t get it, you love everyone. You’re happy-go-ass-lucky. Go ahead Jack go get him buddy.”

Martin was the one who did the getting though, sending Evans down face first on a ‘rana, resulting in a double down where both men got up before six. Martin screamed “Get up!” at Evans as he unloaded with a furious flurry of offense for a two count. Evans crawled his way to the ropes, planted Martin on his head in the middle of the ring, and resorted to kicking and punching him when he kicked out. Martin sent him over the ropes with a clothesline and he flew over the ropes to wipe out both Johl and Evans. Martin followed up with the double springboard moonsault for the win. The best match of the episode thus far!

Abadon vs. Sahara Seven

Abadon crawled out to the entrance ramp with a record of 27-3. Seven was waiting for her and seemed like she’d rather be anywhere else when she got a look at her opponent. She even threw up her fingers in the sign of a cross trying to ward off the devil. (Oh and if you’re wondering her record was 0-3.) Seven screamed “Wait wait wait! I did not sign up for this.” Then she kicked Abadon in the face. Apparently she did sign up for this. She tried to run roughshod on Abadon to no avail, who got up, cracked her neck and went to work. Knee lift, German suplex, three curb stomps, and she finished it by hooking Seven’s arm and driving her head into the mat. Squash-tastic.

Diamante vs. Vipress

Diamante’s record coming in was 34-19. Vipress waited for her in the ring sporting a record of 0-1. She mocked Diamante’s gunshot entrance music, which isn’t advisable in a work or a shoot, and Diamante promptly lit into her with a chop and a clothesline. She got on top for some ground and pound (shades of Shafir) while Taz bragged he’d do some pounding of his own in Las Vegas — shots of bourbon at the blackjack table. Vipress hit a kick to the head for a near fall and tried her own Mark Coleman-esque offense, but it didn’t last long as Diamante hit a stunner and Code Red to put Vipress to bed. Short but impressive match.

Kiera Hogan vs. Kelsey Reagan

Hogan brought a singles record of 4-1 all the way from Hotlanta to Orlando. Reagan was waiting for her to make her AEW debut coming straight outta Jacksonville. Hogan took her down with a shotgun drop kick, a hip attack, a sliding dropkick, and screamed “MOVE” at the referee. Reagan tried to make a comeback with forearms, an uppercut and a chinlock. That didn’t slow Hogan down for long. Boot to the face, second rope dropkick, and Hogan started pounding the canvas like Randy Orton. She kicked out a knee and did a leg drop to the back of the head, but Reagan kicked out. Hogan hit a roundhouse kick and dragged Reagan’s carcass to the middle of the ring for the pin.

Daniel Garcia vs. Josh Woods

Garcia brought a record of 17-15 and was accompanied by 2point0. Woods was waiting for him in the ring with a record of 0-1 and his custom mouth guard. Woods offered a handshake and Garcia refused (as you’d expect). Garcia dropped a knee on the back of Woods’ head and he writhed around in pain. He followed up with forearms to the head and crucifix pin for two, applauding sarcastically as Woods kicked out. This left me wishing Woods was competing with him in a ROH ring, which wasn’t what they intended, but that’s the result all the same. Woods hit a jawbreaker and an overhead throw to start his comeback. His release suplex was “a little bit low” according to Taz but I think it looked even more devastating as a result. Garcia got a roll up for two and then applied a sleeper. Woods got free but ate a kick to the jaw and a Saito suplex instead. Two count. Woods hit a dead lift German and a release suplex, Garcia and Woods exchanged standing switches, Garcia hit a Gotch style piledriver and picked up the win. Excellent match! Garcia shook the hand of his unconscious opponent afterward as 2point0 looked on.

Capt. Shawn Dean vs. Will Austin

Dean entered first with a 2022 record of 2-0 following a video package about his song on “Who We Are” and the Bootsy Collins Foundation. is the place to pick it up if you want to support the Foundation and the artists who contributed to it. Austin sported an overall AEW record of 0-1 for the co-main event. Austin cut Dean off as he was going to dive to the outside and Taz called it a “gotcha” moment, but then vowed that Dean would make him pay. Then he added “Let me have a ‘get off my lawn’ moment. Just do stuff. Don’t tell people what you’re going to do to them. We don’t do that in a real fight.” He’s got a point. Dean went to the top rope for a splash and begged Austin to get back to his feet. Dean did a hammerlock leg sweep and pinned Austin for the win. Dean used to get squashed, now he’s the one doing the squashing. I approve.

Orange Cassidy & Wheeler YUTA vs. Aaron Solo & Nick Comoroto

Comoroto and Solo entered with a 2022 tag team record of 1-0, accompanied by QT Marshall, and Dasha Fuentes seemed reluctant to announce QT’s name. This caused Taz to chuckle and note that this would only upset Marshall more. YUTA was 18-15 and Cassidy was 58-19-2 as they came to the ring for the main event. Excalibur: “Everybody’s throwing laundry at each other!” Cassidy threw his shirt halfheartedly though, as is his wont. YUTA and Solo started the match as Marshall jaw-jacked with the crowd. QT tried and failed to get a “let’s go Solo” chant going. Comoroto tagged in and told YUTA he wanted Cassidy, then decided to do a test of strength with YUTA instead. He overpowered YUTA with ease and brought him to his knees, then pressed him overhead and threw him away like garbage.

This led to YUTA tagging Cassidy, who slowly rolled into the ring and did a double bicep flex to mock Comoroto. Comoroto wanted another test of strength. Cassidy responded by putting his hands in his pockets instead. Comoroto ripped the shades off Cassidy’s face, got kicked and put them back on, and Cassidy lost them himself before Comoroto tagged Solo. Cassidy wound up tagging YUTA in for a double suplex where he barely provided YUTA any help at all. Cassidy played cheerleader as YUTA ran wild, then casually threw Solo into his partner for a near fall. Solo gave YUTA a corkscrew kick and Comoroto tagged in.

Comoroto put YUTA over his head and pressed him repeatedly like weights in the gym. Solo tagged in and the two cut off the ring to work YUTA over. Eventually Cassidy got the hot tag and ran mild on Solo. Marshall grabbed the boot of Cassidy from the outside and Comoroto got in a cheap shot before making the legal tag. Cassidy took a long delayed vertical suplex from Comoroto. I mean really, really long. The Factory took their time giving Cassidy a two-on-one beatdown until he did a flip to land on the apron and a stunt dog millionaire on Comoroto before tagging YUTA in. YUTA tried repeated elbow strikes and went for a German, and this time Cassidy actually lent a helping hand so he could make it happen. YUTA went top rope but Marshall shoved him off. Comoroto hit a spear as Solo wiped out Cassidy into the barricade then tagged in for a double foot stomp, but YUTA kicked out!

Solo tried to go for a Pedigree, but YUTA countered into a submission. Solo tried to bridge it into a pin and Marshall grabbed his hands for leverage, but Remsburg caught Marshall in the act. Orlando chanted “Na na na na. Hey hey hey! Goodbye.” YUTA went for a seatbelt pin but Comoroto broke it up. Cassidy went to the top rope and Comoroto caught him in mid-air but Cassidy countered into a DDT. Cassidy hit the Orange Punch on Solo right as YUTA gave him a German suplex and made the cover for three. Remsburg put Cassidy’s shades back on his head and raised the hands of the victors as we went off the air!

What to watch/skip

This week’s “what to watch/skip” for AEW Dark is brought to you by the King of Pop. Jack Evans? That’s what happens when you be startin’ with Dante Martin. It feels cliche to say Martin has the match of the night when he’s on Dark, but when he stops having them, I’ll stop saying it. Garcia vs. Woods was just as good so either one could be the winner this week. The main event was fun and I enjoyed all of the squashes except for Shafir’s, which I definitely did not expect. It doesn’t make me any less a fan of her though. Everybody has a bad night.

Cageside commentary crew! I welcome your feedback in the comments section below. I’m also on Twitter if you want to hit me up there. See you next Monday night for Elevation!

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