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AEW Dark recap (July 19, 2022): If you want 14 matches, this is the show for you

Episode 153 of AEW Dark is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats replay. Excalibur and Taz called another extra large episode with 14 matches scheduled for the broadcast. There’s nothing else to do but dive straight in!

Jora Johl vs. Luke Sampson

Johl was accompanied by Private Party and brought a 2022 record of 4-3. That tall drink of water Luke Sampson was waiting for him in the ring with a record of 0-1 in singles action. Johl sized him up warily then hit him with a boot to the gut and some rapid fire chops. Sampson blocked an arm drag, hit snake eyes in the corner, and Johl hit a power slam. Taz: “That was impressive by Johl. Sampson is a big dude for sure.” Every time I look at Sampson I wonder how WWE didn’t sign him to a developmental deal. Sampson fired off some forearms and hit the ropes for a crossbody. Johl caught him in mid-air for a fall away slam and the announcers once again praised Johl’s strength. Taz: “All he’s gotta do is shave his hair off. Sampson, get it?” Vertical suplex by Sampson. Forearms flew back and forth until Sampson knocked Johl down three times, hit a jawbreaker and a slam. Sampson pilled down the straps looking to finish the match so Private Party ran interference from the ring apron and Johl hit a pump kick for the win. Taz: “He was watching too many Wardlow matches, taking the straps down, should have stayed focused.”

Lee Moriarty vs. Ren Jones

Moriarty brought a 2022 record of 7-2 to the ring for this contest. Jones was waiting in the ring with a record of 0-1. Jones raked the eyes and posted Moriarty into the middle turnbuckle pad, then stomped on him to draw more boos from Universal Studios. He hit a running diving crossbody for a near fall and raked the back as Moriarty tried to get up. Moriarty fought off a suplex and hit a hip toss. Jones threw a right hand and Moriarty came back with forearms and uppercuts along with a yakuza kick. Running elbow, suplex, knees to the body, Border City Stretch, submission win for Moriarty. Taz: “Steel City Stretch would sound better if you’re from the Steel City, but Border City works also.”

Fuego Del Sol was backstage for an interview. “Lexi do you know why they call me Fuego Del Sol? Because I’m fired up! I’m fired up about this match tonight. I’m fired up about the young names they say are the future of AEW, and none of those names hold a candle to Fuego Del Sol. You know who else gets me fired up? QT Marshall. I know you’re supposed to be unbiased Lexi but tell me, you don’t like that son of a bitch either. Over a year ago before I even got my contract we put on one of the best matches AEW has ever seen. As sweet as his offer was it would be even sweeter to drop him on his neck one more time and use this fire to burn the whole Factory to the ground!” Nice promo.

Serena Deeb vs. Viva Van

“The Professor” brought a record of 15-1 record for 2022 along with a Deeb’s Dojo flag. Van brought a record of 0-1 and no flag. Excalibur was sure to remind us of Death Before Dishonor this Saturday, which is why I was equally sure Deeb wouldn’t lose going into a title shot against ROH Women’s Title holder Mercedes Martinez. Deeb sat on top of Van working submission holds and Taz called her the female Angelico. The two got their feet, Van got the better of their grappling exchange and hit a diving lariat, but Deeb quickly took over again and snapped Van’s neck into the ropes with a catapult. I thought she’d finish Van with the Serenity Lock but she went for the Detox (implant buster) instead. Taz proclaimed that he thought Deeb would upset Martinez at the PPV this weekend, and Deeb tried to injure Van with a submission after the match was over. Taz: “I think Martinez is in a lot of trouble.”

Marina Shafir vs. Amber Nova

Shafir came out with her hoodie on and a 2022 record of 10-4. Following her loss on Elevation last night Nova brought a record of 0-4. She’s be 0-5 soon enough. Taz praised the judo skills of Shafir. Nova tried to fight off an ankle lock with a kick to the face but Shafir no sold it completely. Nova fired off reverse elbows and Shafir screamed “More!” Shafir hit a hip throw and applied her Greedy submission for the tap. Quick and decisive.

Konosuke Takeshita vs. Anthony Henry

Takeshita brought a record of 6-5 to the ring for this bout. Henry was waiting in the ring with a record of 0-2. Excalibur called Taz “Eerie Canal Jones” since he kept talking about wanting to break out his boat when AEW returns to New York for Dynamite Grand Slam. Takeshita Line, flip dive over the ropes to the floor to wipe Henry out, elbow strike and a chop back in the ring, Henry got bashed backward into the turnbuckle hanging over Takeshita’s back, uppercut, vertical suplex off the second rope. Lateral press for two. Blue Thunder Bomb. Taz: “Osaka Thunder Bomb is more like it!” Henry blocked a running knee and hit the right bicep with a knee, which Takeshita promptly sold. The two traded forearms and chops in the middle. Henry hit a dropkick, Takeshita hit a lariat, but Henry knocked him down and applied a double wrist lock to the right arm. He tried to turn it into an armbar combination triangle choke but Takeshita countered it into a power bomb for two. Jumping knee finally put Henry away. Best match of the show to this point.

Jonathan Gresham vs. Jordan Oasis

The ROH World Champion Jonathan Gresham brought a record of 2-0 in AEW to the ring. Oasis was waiting for him to make his promotional debut. Gresham offered a handshake and kicked Oasis in the gut when he fell for it. Gresham also faked a leapfrog, hit a dropkick, and struck a pose for the crowd. Gresham gave Oasis a pair of loud chops and Oasis begged for a third. Oasis returned the favor and hit a splash in the corner. Gresham fell into the ropes and Oasis did a senton to his back. Rana, roll through, stomp to the knee, and Gresham kept slamming the knee into the mat until Oasis tapped out to the pain. Wow.

Wheeler Yuta vs. Bryce Donovan

Speaking of ROH champions, Pure Champion holder Yuta came out for the next contest with the 0-1 Donovan waiting for him in the ring. I honestly missed Yuta’s W/L record as I was looking for a replay of that vicious Gresham victory you see embedded above. Back to this match though — Yuta bridged a submission backward to torque on Donovan, but Donovan came back with a Boss Man Slam for two. Manhattan Drop and enzuigiri from Yuta, elbow strike, flying forearm to the head, kip up. Donovan tried a roll up with a handful of trunks and it didn’t work. Yuta did a bridging German suplex for the pin afterward.

Tony Schiavone hit the ring for an interview about Yuta’s match with Daniel Garcia on Saturday at Death Before Dishonor. “Garcia likes to call himself a sports entertainer, which I think makes him a cosplay pro wrestler. Garcia, a pure championship match is no place for a sports entertainer. No frills, no bells and whistlers, none of your boys to back me up. Just you and me in a fight.” Yuta said on Sunday morning he wouldn’t be able to get out of bed, and he’d be left with a scar on his face that he’d remember for the rest of his life. Intense.

Danhausen vs. Jake Something

This was the first in-ring appearance for Danhausen on AEW Dark, bringing with him an AEW record of 2-1. Something was waiting for him in the ring with a record of 0-2. Something tried to pin him early with an elbow strike, kicked him in the head repeatedly, and hit a lariat. Taz: “Danhausen is giving up a lot of size, but he’s tough, and he’s got magical powers we’re still trying to figure out.” Danhausen fought his way out of a fireman’s carry and cursed Something, tripped him, hit a German suplex and both men were down. Running elbow, knee to the back of the head, shoulder to the gut, and Something rabbed the ropes to block a German. Danhausen went for a Northern lights suplex instead for two. Excalibur dubbed him “The Inhuman Suplex Machine” and Taz chuckled. Something hit a powerbomb for two. Excalibur: “This isn’t looking good for Danhausen.” Taz: “I’m wishing he’d powerbomb Bryce Remsburg instead.” Danhausen got an inside cradle roll up for the win and seemed shocked. The young fan with a Danhausen shirt in the crowd was quite pleased.

Charlette & Robyn Renegade vs. Avery Breaux & Valentina Rossi

The Renegade sisters brought a 2022 tag team record of 0-3. Taz: “I struggle with knowing which one is which. I just call them Renegade.” Breaux and Rossi were working together for the first time as a tag team. The Renegades put the boots to Breaux in the corner as Taz and Excalibur plugged the barbed wire everywhere match for Dynamite tomorrow. Taz also got off a Matt Riddle joke by pronouncing her name “brooooo.” Rossi tagged in and the Renegades cut off the ring with quick tags and did a double elbow drop before Breaux made the save. Breaux went for a scoop slam that was broken up by the other sister or as Taz put it “Twin Gimmick Jones.” Breaux was brought to the center of the ring for an assisted neckbreaker and the pin, the first for the Renegades in the tag division or perhaps in AEW altogether. Renegade! Tony Schiavone was not buying their “switcheroo” routine when he hit the ring for an interview. “The gig is up, okay, we get it. You switched out and we all saw it!” They continued to feign innocence. “Whether it’s tag team or singles competition, the Renegade twins, Charlette and Robyn are here to make a mark, and all the women in the back can get you some.” Schiavone: “Enough. Baloney!”

Mercedes Martinez vs. J-Rod

The ROH Women’s Champion Martinez had the title belt around her waist and a record of 13-3 in AEW. J-Rod was waiting for her in the ring to make her promotional debut. Taz: “She’s a young very strong woman. No relation to A-Rod.” She had Martinez in trouble for a little bit until a chop in the corner fired Martinez up for several right back. Elbow strike, death valley driver, two count. Martinez posted into the turnbuckle, hit a series of strikes, and ran the ropes for a missile dropkick in the corner. Two Germans and a twisting neckbreaker off the ropes led to the Brass City Sleeper for the win. J-Rod got more here than I expected. Serena Deeb came out to laugh at Martinez and remind us of their match on Saturday night. Martinez held up her title belt and I presume she said something like “bring it, bitch.”

Varsity Blonds vs. Terrence & Terrell Hughes

The Blonds brought a tag team record of 28-15, while the Hughes brothers brought a record of 0-1. Our commentary section for Elevation noted the Hughes brothers have been featured on AEW before. That’s true but last night’s match was billed as their debut in the tag team division, not their debut on AEW programming. Taz was obsessed with telling us that he’s been struck by lightning twice in his life and survived. I had never heard that anecdote but if it’s true it’s one hell of a story and if it’s not it’s still a good story. Either way the Blonds picked up this win with little trouble which isn’t surprising given they are facing Christian Cage and Luchasaurus tomorrow on Dynamite.

Fuego Del Sol vs. QT Marshall

Marshall brought a record of 44-45 to the ring for this bout. Fuego brought a 2022 record of 5-4. Marshall heeled it up for the Universal Studios crowd as he is wont to do. Fuego fired up for the crowd chants in Orlando as he is also wont to do. Running shooting star press from Fuego for two. He rolled through with the legs grapevined for a near fall. Marshall hit a backbreaker face buster combo and kipped up, signaling for the diamond cutter. If we have to hear “the move passed down to him by Diamond Dallas Page” one more time I’m going to... write Excalibur a nasty tweet, okay? We get it dude. Fuego blocked it but then had to fight off Nick Comoroto and Aaron Solo on the outside. He went to the top rope but ate a forearm to the jaw as he flew in. Fuego answered with a reverse rana and a double stomp for a near fall, then sank in a reverse chinlock. Comoroto put Marshall’s hand on the ropes for the assist. Matt Sydal and Dante Martin had enough of the interference and ran out to help. Marshall used the distraction for a low blow and a piledriver but Fuego kicked out! Fuego hit a low blow of his own behind the ref’s back and the tornado DDT, then a second DDT to the floor when Marshall went to the outside, then a sky twister where he accidentally put Marshall’s boot on the ropes to break up the pin. Fuego climbed up to the rope and Marshall countered a shooting star press into a diamond cutter, then immediately hit a second cutter for the pin. Taz: “That was a hell of a battle between these two guys.”

Jay Lethal vs. Logan Cruz

Lethal brought a record of 16-4 and immediately insisted that his music be cut. He wanted to introduce his student Logan Cruz, making his AEW debut in this match. “We have a great student teacher relationship, unlike my relationship with Samoa Joe. (Joe! Joe! Joe!) Really? C’mon. First of all I’m here for all of you and he’s not. Second of all Logan Cruz respects and appreciates his trainer, because he knows I would never manipulate him or exploit him in any way. That’s why I hand picked him for this warmup before Samoa Joe. I’ve got to warn him though — Logan, this is going to hurt me a lot more than it’s going to hurt you.” Needless to say he promptly did everything he just promised in his promo not to do, because nothing beats a heel who says one thing and does another. Lethal applied the figure four leg lock and Cruz was forced to tap to the pain. Taz: “This was a direct message to Samoa Joe.” Excalibur: “Samoa Joe better watch his back. Jay Lethal is coming for him.”

Tony Schiavone hit the ring for an interview. “Well Tony, as far as Christopher Daniels is concerned, your best friend Samoa Joe is making you look like a world class idiot. He’s standing up for a grown man who is too scared to come here and do something about it. I’m not playing games. If you’re not careful you will be a sacrificial lamb. There’s nothing you or any of these idiots can do to stop me from being the next ROH television champion. Right now Joe’s watching this and he can’t even reach his arm above his head, and he deserves it. The student surpassing the teacher should be a joyous occasion, but will Joe be proud of me? No. He’s an egomaniac and he’s a user. He will also be a loser.”

Daniel Garcia vs. Alan Angels

Garcia came out with a record of 24-18 for the main event. Angels got his Dark Order music despite now being an independent wrestler, sporting a 2022 record of 9-11. Notably though no other members of the Order came out in support of him or with him. This match was contested under Pure Rules to prepare Garcia for his match on Saturday. Angels used up one of his three rope breaks very early on. He had to burn a second when Garcia applied a Boston crab. Angels hit a suicide dive to wipe Garcia out on the floor and threw him back in for a Northern Lights suplex and a near fall. Garcia came back with a palm strike, a running booth, and a Northern Lights bomb for two. Garcia and Angels exchanged shots until Garcia hit a lariat and Angels hit a piledriver for the near fall. Angels went for a frog splash but Garcia got the knees up. Garcia applied the rear naked choke and Angels burned his final rope break. Garcia put the rear naked choke right back on. Angels climbed the ropes carrying him but Garcia elbowed him repeatedly and put the choke back on to put him to sleep. Exactly the finish that I expected. He shook the hand of Angels prone body sarcastically then applied a sharpshooter to make Angels tap. Wheeler Yuta ran out from the back to make the save and begged Garcia to get back in, which he of course refused to do. Then when Yuta turned his back Garcia tried to jump him from behind and Yuta caught him so he backed off. Yuta assumed he’d try it again so he ran hit the ropes and did a dive to wipe Garcia out on the floor, then pounded on him until Garcia ran away to the back!

What to watch/skip

I’ve got no “brought to you by” song or video this week. This was a long show so here’s a quick summation of what to watch and skip. You should absolutely watch Takeshita vs. Henry. Martinez and Deeb both had good performances to set up their title match Saturday. Gresham looked freaking vicious heading into his title defense against Castagnoli. As much as I liked Yuta’s match, I think I enjoyed his post-match promo even more. I was a little surprised to see Angels back after his recent departure from the promotion, but I suppose if he’s on good terms with Tony Khan there’s no reason he can’t be brought back on a per date appearance fee. You knew Garcia would win going into Death Before Dishonor though. Honestly that’s what this episode was all about and it showed in the match results. Anything not related to Saturday’s PPV other than Takeshita vs. Henry and Fuego vs. Marshall could in theory be skipped. I’m not big on episodes of Dark that are nearly two hours. Less is more.

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!