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AEW Dark recap (Mar. 7, 2023): Archer mania is running wild brother!

Episode 186 of AEW Dark is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the stream via Cageside Seats. Excalibur and Taz called the action as usual. Let’s get to it!

Skye Blue vs. Mylo

Blue opened the show with a record of 2-0 on Dark for 2023. Mylo was waiting for her in the ring and this was her first AEW match of the year. Blue quickly took her down and went for a front headlock. They exchanged wrist control and Blue did a pair of arm drags. Mylo lifted her over the ropes to the apron and snapped her neck off them before hitting a dropkick. Mylo went outside and threw her into the apron before unloading with a chop. She threw Blue back in for the cover and only got a one count. Taz: “This Mylo has a bit of an attitude on her. I like that. A little negativity, a little bitter. Too many people are happy today.” Mylo showed her unhappiness with some forearms in the corner, then sit Blue on the top rope. Blue fought her off and connected with a crossbody. Neck breaker, step up knee, enzuigiri, Blue got a two count. Mylo with a cutter for a +close+ two count. Taz: “If she was a little more intense she probably would’ve gotten the upset victory.” Mylo went up for a splash and missed. Blue hit a superkick and Skye Blue immediately afterward for the pin.

Brian Cage (w/ Prince Nana) vs. Bad Dude Tito

Cage’s record on Dark was a combined 26-0. Tito was waiting in the ring to take his first AEW match of the year. Excalibur: “He’s familiar to viewers of New Japan Strong.” Indeed he is. Tito knocked him down with a shoulder tackle. Taz: “It’s rare you see somebody drop Cage like that.” Cage responded with a big German suplex and flexed his biceps. He put a boot to the throat and ref Rick Knox told Cage to back off. Cage laid in the forearms, whipped Tito into the ropes, and Tito got a roll up on the rebound then tried to put Cage in an ankle lock. Cage shoved him off with his feet and Tito got a lariat on the rebound. Cage floated Tito to the apron when he charged and kicked him in the head. Tito blocked the vertical suplex and hit a neckbreaker for two. Taz: “Nana’s looking a little concerned.” Cage hit a pump handle slam and Tito kicked out at the last second, and the crowd responded to him as a result. Enzuigiri and a blue thunder bomb as Cage kicked out last second. Hell of a match between these two big men for a Dark episode! A pair of reversals and a discus lariat from Cage. Powerbomb, cloverleaf, and submission win for Cage. I could have watched these two go five more minutes.

Lance Archer vs. Cody Chhun & Guillermo Rosas

Jake Roberts came out first. “It’s my pleasure to introduce to you, weighing in at whatever he says he weighs in at, from Parts Unknown. My man, Lance Archer!” Archer brought a Dark record of 28-0 to the ring. Chhun and Rosas reluctantly made their way to the ring for their first AEW matches of 2023, handicap or otherwise. Archer lost patience and ran back up the ramp to manhandle them and throw them in, at which point Aubrey Edwards called for the bell. Archer hit a middle rope crossbody to take both men out, then ran corner to corner giving reverse forearms to each one. He threw Rosas into Chhun, then choke slammed them into a pile in the middle, then tossed a body out to the floor in front of Roberts. “Everybody dies!” Short arm lariat, pin. This was a glorious squash.

Konosuke Takeshita vs. Jack Cartwheel

Takeshita’s record on Dark to date coming in was 5-0. He got the pop from the Cow Palace that you’d expect for his entrance. Cartwheel was waiting for him to make his AEW debut, and true to his name he did a series of cartwheels. Taz: “He’s living the gimmick!” Excalibur noted that he’s a young wrestler from California with a power lifting and gymnastics background. Takeshita Line took the young man down. Cartwheel tried to throw him over the ropes, Takeshita shoved him away, Cartwheel sent him to the floor, then he cartwheeled his way into a dive to the floor. Delayed elbow drop by Cartwheel for a near fall. Takeshita blocked Cartwheel trying to pick him up. Cartwheel escaped when Takeshita did the same. Cartwheel tried and failed to block a suplex. Takeshita missed a discus lariat, landed an elbow strike, and connected with a huge lariat. He begged Cartwheel to get up, missed with the knee, and Cartwheel got another near fall. He tried to back flip his way into a move and Takeshita hit a blue thunder bomb and the running knee for three. Pretty damn good match here too. I like the young Cartwheel! Takeshita shook his hand and raised his arm after the match.

Big Bill (w/ Stokely Hathaway) vs. Julius Coleman

Bill brought a Dark record of 1-0. Talk about “weighing in at whatever he says” — he could have used Jake’s introduction too! Coleman was waiting in the ring to make his 2023 debut. Excalibur: “He’s no small man either but there are few people walking the earth the size of Big Bill.” That’s because he’s seven feet tall and you can’t teach that. Bill figuratively and literally walked all over Coleman and punctuated it with an emphatic “Yeah!!” Coleman hit a corkscrew dropkick and ran up the corner for some punches, but Bill threw him off and then threw him right through the ropes out of the ring. He stepped over the ropes and went outside to throw Coleman back in, then stepped over the ropes to come back in. Subtle but effective way to emphasize his size. Delayed chokeslam spiked Coleman on his head and Bill stood on him for the pin. Taz: “A bad man right out of Queens.” Excalibur: “If he can teach Stokely Hathaway how to be a foot taller he might have a chance against the cold hearted Hook.”

Willow Nightingale vs. Zoe Dubois

Nightingale brought her charisma and a 2023 Dark record of 1-0. Dubois brought a record of 0-1. Taz compared Dubois to a Cirque du Soleil performer. Nightingale wasn’t worried about it though and hit her with a clothesline and a hip attack, then dropped her with a big boot to the face. Taz: “Holy smokes.” Excalibur: “Watch out Masahiro Chono, Willow Nightingale is coming for you.” Nightingale went for a pin and Dubois kicked out at two. Nightingale pulled down the straps, hit the Doctor Bomb and this time got the pin. Athena tried to run down and attack her, but Nightingale hit the Pounce and Athena lost her belt. Nightingale mocked her and dared her to come get it back. She decked Dubois instead and ran for the hills! Nightingale posed with Athena’s belt after the match.

AR Fox vs. Ryan Nemeth

Nemeth brought a 2023 record of 1-0 to the Dark main event. Fox brought a 2023 record of 3-0 to the ring as a fan held up a sign saying “We Want Tables.” I don’t see anybody named Bully Ray or D-Von anywhere in sight, so maybe he got lost on his way to Philadelphia. He should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque. Bryce Remsburg called for the bell and got things underway.

Nemeth took a beating on the outside, feigned being almost dead on the inside, then snapped Fox’s neck off the ropes and gave him a hip toss right on the ring apron. He went outside to stomp on Fox as Remsburg started the ten count, then sent him head first into the apron again and tried to lead a “let’s go hunk” chant. The Cow Palace crowd booed instead. Nemeth put the boots to Fox in one corner of the ring and struck a pose in the other for more boos. Dropkick, cover, two count. Fox ate a series of strikes including a shot to the windpipe. Fox blocked a kick to the gut and responded with a throw, then hit a flying back elbow and a cutter for 2.8. Fox pulled Nemeth to the corner and went to the top, but Nemeth avoided the 450 and hit a bulldog. Hunk of Love was blocked. DDT connected and Nemeth got a near fall. Now it was Nemeth’s turn to go up the ropes. He spent too much time shaking his hips though and Fox cut him off. Cutter, to the top rope, 450 splash! 1-2-3. Great main event!

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by Hoytamania. Lance Archer has come a long way since those days! I enjoyed the length of tonight’s episode, but it was actually a little strange given they advertised 12 matches on Twitter this morning, and five had magically disappeared by this evening. Be sure to check out Jack Cartwheel and Bad Dude Tito — both looked great even in the loss. There are no “skips” this time. It’s a fun watch from start to end!

Cageside commentary crew — share your feedback below in the comments section. See you next week for new episodes of Elevation and Dark!

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