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AEW Dark recap (July 5, 2022): We can’t stop here! This is Bear Country!

Episode 151 of AEW Dark is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream via YouTube. Excalibur and Taz called tonight’s action. Let’s get right into the show before the bats get us.

Lee Moriarty vs. Leon Ruffin

Moriarty brought a 2022 record of 6-1 to the ring. Leon Ruffin was waiting for him with a promotional record of 0-1 to date. Ruffin seemed cocky as the match got underway, and Moriarty promptly took a wrist lock while Ruffin tried and failed to roll out. He finally escaped with an arm drag and took a side headlock. Moriarty shoved him off, pushed him off, but he took the headlock back each time. Finally Moriarty shot him into the ropes, he flipped and landed on his feet, then hit a dropkick and did a side headlock takedown. Universal Studios chanted “Let’s go Leon” in response! It’s likely at least one person or more in the audience used to see him do similar things at the Performance Center. Moriarty was tired of fooling around so he grounded Ruffin, stretched him like a rubber band, and went for a pin. Ruffin blocked a hip toss but Moriarty locked the left arm and cranked. Ruffin got back to his feet throwing strikes, and Moriarty responded with uppercuts and a chop.

At this point I have to admit I was surprised how much time they were giving Ruffin in his second match. That made me think either Moriarty likes him and didn’t want to squash him, or AEW likes him and this was a tryout of sorts to see if he should be signed. Ruffin hit an enzuigiri and a backbreaker to put Moriarty in a predicament, but he came back with elbow strikes. Moriarty threw him across the ring and signaled for the discus lariat, but Ruffin kicked out! Taz: “Lee’s getting a little frustrated. Not the first time we’ve seen him get ticked off in a match.” Ruffin hit a German suplex that left both men down. Moriarty rolled out to the floor and Ruffin followed him with a suicide dive, and after a second both clonked into the entrance ramp. Ruffin threw Moriarty back in and went for a move off the ropes but got hit with a strike mid air. Moriarty threw a series of knees and hit a flatliner to finally finish Ruffin. Taz: “Ruffin had a great outing but Moriarty was a little too much for him.”

Bear Country vs. Adrian Alanis & Liam Gray

Bear Country brought a team record of 15-9 to the ring. Alanis and Gray were waiting in the ring with a team record of 0-3 to date. Taz and Excalibur debated whether or not Bear Country needed a mascot. Taz said “baby bear,” Excalibur said “cub” and Taz took exception to that since he’s not from Chicago. Excalibur also opined they could hire a hairier version of -1 to be their mascot. “Put out a casting call for hirsute ten year olds!” There’s time to discuss all of this because Bear Bronson and Bear Boulder were barely breathing as they beat the bejeezus out of both men. Taz: “The business we’re doing for Bear Country is amazing.” Bronson got his knee clipped as Alanis and Gray cut off the ring to beat him down. Bronson escaped with “ass to chest” as Taz called it and tagged in Boulder. He hit a double shoulder block, stacked everyone up in the corner, caught Gray while he was about to power bomb Alanis, and slammed both men together. Excalibur: “You know what they’re going to call this episode on YouTube? Build-A-Bear workshop.” A double team senton brought the bear jokes to an end with authority.

A.Q.A vs. Avery Breaux

A.Q.A came to the ring 4-2, where Avery Breaux was waiting for her with a record of 0-1 so far in AEW. That one in her loss record came against Kris Statlander in her promotional debut, but in the early going she seemed to be faring a little better with A.Q.A until a roll up and a cross body gave A.Q.A two near falls. Breaux got back on offense by doding her in the corner and then bouncing her head off the mat. She put the boots to A.Q.A.’s throat and then did a cannonball senton. Breaux dragged her to the center of the ring for two quick covers. Breaux applied a chinlock and Taz popped for the idea of “Bear Breaux” so we weren’t done with bear jokes after all. A.Q.A hit a back elbow, a running elbow strike, and a slingblade to get on track. She missed a roundhouse kick, hit an enzuigiri, and did a flipping neckbreaker to get the pin. Breaux would be a good addition to the roster.

Josh Woods vs. Barrett Brown

Woods has his own entrance video now and the nickname “The Technical Beast” although his promotional record so far is 1-2. Brown was waiting for him with a record of 0-1. “Smart” Mark Sterling and Tony Nese came out from the back to scout this match. Taz seemed a little confused though as he said Nese was a nerd and Sterling was a premier athlete. He realized it though and wisecracked “Sorry, it’s my first day, I’m new at this.” Brown hit a dropkick to the face but Woods gave him a hip toss and applied an arm lock for a sudden and violent submission. Sterling and Nese gave a polite (but sarcastic) round of applause.

Sonny Kiss vs. Lamar Diggs

Kiss brought a record of 5-3 for 2022 to this contest. Diggs was waiting in the corner with a record of 0-1. Taz: “Correct me if I’m wrong but Sonny’s been here from day one? And Sonny is a hard hitting competitor.” The problem for Kiss though is that Diggs was twice as big. Diggs caught Kiss in mid air to hit knees to the body and hit a fall away slam that sent Kiss flying across the ring. Diggs followed that with a delayed vertical suplex but Kiss escaped. Kiss went for a sunset flip, couldn’t get Diggs down, Diggs tried to sit on Kiss, but Kiss got out of the way in time. Tilt-a-whirl DDT and a crippler crossface forced Diggs to tap. Nice to see “The Concrete Rose” add another move to the arsenal!

Fuego Del Sol vs. Aaron Solo

To the surprise of no one Solo was accompanied by QT Marshall, sporting a singles record of 19-61. Fuego brought a 2022 record of 4-4 and did a backflip off the ropes before the bell even rang. Marshall tried to distract Fuego and he jumped out of the ring to get in his face. Solo took advantage to hit a dropkick through the ropes and throw Fuego back first into the apron. Solo put the boots to Fuego in the corner and took a celebratory walk to rile up the crowd. Fuego responded with a roll up for but was thrown hard into the turnbuckle for a near fall right back. The crowd tried to cheer Fuego back to his feet but Solo threw him down and paintbrushed him. Fuego hit a jawbreaker and a series of kicks then did a leaping neckbreaker to send Solo rolling out of the ring. Fuego followed that with a moonsault to the outside, landing on his feet, throwing Solo back into the ring. Tornado DDT and a bridging chinlock. Marshall distracted the ref while Solo tapped out, then Solo came back with a corkscrew kick as QT yelled at Mike Posey for not making the three count. Fuego rolled up Solo with a captured leg for three and escaped before Marshall could jump him.

Jay Lethal & Satnam Singh vs. Gus De La Vega & Darian Bengston

Lethal & Singh were accompanied by Sonjay Dutt and brought a team record of 2-0 following their win on Elevation last night. Bengston and Vega were working together for the first time in the tag division even though this was not their first go around in AEW. If you’re a regular viewer you’d remember Bengston as the dime store version of Raven. Since he and Vega didn’t stand a chance whether a shoot or a work I’d rather talk about something else here — I’m pleased that they’ve found the right use for Singh in the ring. When you’ve got somebody big and green, give him a smaller athletic tag team partner, then let him come in to do something impressive at the end. He hit the tree slam on Bengston and stood on him with one foot for the pin, which is exactly how you do it. Hopefully they can develop Singh into an attraction, but the history of pro wrestling is replete with big men who burned out quickly because all they had was size.

The Wingmen (JD Drake & Ryan Nemeth & Peter Avalon) vs. Dark Order (Alex Reynolds & Evil Uno & 10)

The Wingmen came out first with an 8-man tag team record of 1-1. Every part of that last sentence was absurd. The Wingmen are absurd. The idea there’s an actual 8-man division with records that mean anything are absurd. Case in point this was the “debut” of Dark Order in said same division as they came out for the main event. At least they’re honoring my request from Elevation that Dark Order face someone other than The Factory, so let’s give the bookerman his due. Actually it’s Tony Khan not Kevin Sullivan but I digress. Whether it’s six, eight or ten men/women in a match, more bodies equals more chaos. Taz: “God Remsburg pisses me off!” Actually it’s not his fault as no ref can control a match like this even if they’re scripted to do it. You can’t even take a signal from your earpiece. You just have to count on everybody to hit their spots, like Silver hitting Drake with a suplex. That’s an impressive sight. He gave Avalon a brainbuster too but Pretty Pete kicked out. Uno tagged in and went top rope but Avalon avoided the swanton. Bononi ran in and gave Uno a pump handle suplex. Nemeth gave him a neckbreaker and Avalon hit a frog splash but it wasn’t enough for the pin. All semblance of a match disappeared at this point as everybody hit the ring or flew out of it at the same time. The Dark Order took turns hitting Avalon with move after move until Vance his the discus lariat and Uno covered him for the pin. Meh.

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by my favorite Avenged Sevenfold song of all time. It probably doesn’t hurt that it’s inspired by an iconic/insane film, which was in turn birthed from a landmark book by the late Hunter S. Thompson. The book you can read sober. The film almost demands that you approach it from an altered state. It’s probably best to start with the book, but either one is eye opening. The best worked match tonight as Moriarty vs. Ruffin. The most surprising was A.Q.A and Breaux. The worst match was the main event and the most fun one was Bear Country squishing two poor men into oblivion.

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!