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AEW Dark recap (Apr. 4, 2023): Storm-y weather

Episode 190 of AEW Dark is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats replay. Excalibur and Taz called the show. If Toni Storm and “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels were an intergender tag team, would we call them Stormy Daniels? Ponder that terrible joke as we get right to the action!

Peter Avalon vs. AR Fox

“Pretty” Peter Avalon brought a record of 1-1 on Dark for 2023, with fans in Orlando flipping him the finger before he even got all the way to the ring. Fox brought a Dark record for the year of 2-0, and Excalibur went out of his way to point out he was an industry veteran and trainer of a lot of other wrestling stars before he finally got his break and joined the AEW roster.

Barely a minute into the contest we had a suicide dive by Fox to wipe Avalon out on the floor. Avalon tried to block being fed back into the ring, so Fox gave him a leg drop from the top rope to the apron and covered him for two. Avalon missed Fox in two separate corners but countered Fox into an inside package and kicked him in the face to send him out of the ring, then did a suicide dive of his own. Top rope crossbody got him the two count from Bryce Remsburg.

Avalon hit him with chops on the ropes and Fox fired off a lightning fast series of his own. Lateral press from Avalon for two. Palm strike, climbing the ropes, Fox slid out between Avalon’s legs, Avalon knocks him down with forearms, but nobody was home on the moonsault. Roundhouse kick and low cutter from Fox. Boots up by Avalon. Another cutter by Fox for two.

Avalon tried to crawl out to the apron but Fox caught up with him. Avalon countered into a death valley driver on the apron, then sat out with him in the ring for a near fall. Avalon set him on the top turnbuckle and this time Fox fought off the foe, but he too missed (with a 450 splash). Rolling near falls until Fox got on top and his weight kept Avalon down for the three count. Excellent match!

Serpentico (w/ Luther) vs. Willie Mack

Serp came out to the SAP entrance music, sporting a record of 0-4 on Dark for 2023. There was no Angelico anywhere in sight. Mack brought a Dark record of 1-0 to this contest. Excalibur: “He’s been making the most of the opportunities he’s been given. An impressive athlete for a man of his size.” How about an impressive athlete period? We don’t need any qualifiers. Mack is great. ‘Nuff said.

Mack overpowered Serp into the corner and Serp begged (loudly) for a clean break. He tried a side headlock that Mack no sold and then got run over by a figurative and literal Mack truck. Serp got thrown, got slammed, begged for time, and got punched too. He floated over Mack in the corner, ate an uppercut, then got hit with an arm drag and a dropkick. Two count. Luther tried to throw a punch and got slapped right off the apron. Serp used the distraction to do a chop block and work over the left knee.

Luther got up selling his jaw and Serp eventually went for a pinfall, but Mack kicked out with authority. Luther screamed advice to Serp, and it failed completely as he ate a high back body drop. Mack blocked every punch Serp threw and nailed him with rights before hitting a lariat rebounding off the ropes. Samoan drop by Mack. He tried to kip up but sold that his left knee was hurting. Standing moonsault press for 2.9.

Taz: “Willie is in pain. Even Luther realizes his buddy has an opportunity to win this match.” Serp rolled out for a breather, Mack came over and got his neck snapped off the ropes. Senton atomico for two. Luther: “Three!” (Shut up Luther.) “Finish him! Finish him!” (Seriously, shut the heck up Luther.) Dropkick to the knee by Serp. He went for a crossbody, Mack caught him in mid-air, then tried to power bomb him all the way through the canvas. That was the final move for the pin. Mack selling for Serp wouldn’t normally be a believable act, but thanks to Luther’s interference, it worked.

Ameera vs. Leila Grey

Grey was 2-0 on Dark coming into this match. Ameera was taking her first Dark match of 2023 here. Grey wasted no time beating the snot out of her, using the ropes to choker her, suplexing her and then throwing her down right on her face for a two count.

Grey sank in a chinlock and Ameera fought back to her feet with body shots and right forearms. Grey kicked her in the gut, yelled “I don’t think so” but Ameera escaped. Grey caught up with her a second time and drove her face into the canvas for a squash win.

Tony Nese & Ari Daivari (w/ “Smart” Mark Sterling) vs. Jay Lucas & Terry Yaki

Sterling provided introductions for both men, saying Nese could beat Hogan in an arm wrestling match, and Daivari once bought every seat in Universal Studios just so he wouldn’t have to sit with “any of you losers.” This was Nese & Daivari’s first Dark tag team match of 2023. Lucas and Yaki are Dark veterans but this was also their first tag team match of the year on this show.

Taz cracked wise on Excalibur, saying he could have a physique like Nese if he laid off the bourbon and cookies. Actually has anyone ever made a cookie soaked in bourbon and dipped in chocolate? That sounds delightful. There’s not a lot to say about this match move wise. Yaki and Lucas were just warm bodies to take a cold cold beating. Lucas tried to fire up after a tag, got kicked in the head, hit with an uppercut, thrown into a cutter and pinned. That’s that.

Lee Moriarty vs. Invictus Khash

Moriarty brought a Dark record of 1-0 for the year, with no sign of Big Bill or anyone else from The Firm. That’s probably for the best since Bill and Moriarty are quickly becoming a babyface team. Khash brought a record of 0-1 to this contest and got a crowd chant from Orlando thanks to the “seven foot tall” Bill being nowhere in sight. Anybody else wondering if AEW will try to sign a “real one?” Don’t tell me you didn’t think about it when Enzo got his MLW release.

Khash had the upper hand early, to the point Taz was forced to praise his experience in general and on Dark in particular, until Moriarty finally hit a reverse elbow to the nose when the ref called for a clean break. They traded quick roll ups and near falls until Moriarty hit a “yam bag yahtzee city” and a leg lariat for the win. Excalibur: “The low blow scores the win” and before he could finish that sentence we had an awkward cut to a backstage interview.

Sterling: “Is Ari Daivari part of the Varsity Athletes? Well, he’s an athlete, him and Tony go way back, and he’s my client so yes he’s part of the Varsity Athletes. He’s still the leader of The Trustbusters though and those guys are doing great things. These two, those two, the end is going to be the same, we are all Varsity Athletes.”

Cezar Bononi vs. Evil Uno

Bononi brought a Dark record of 0-1 for the year to this contest. Uno brought a Dark record of 3-0 and no members of the Dark Order. That’s as it should be since no Wingmen accompanied Bononi.

Bononi actually got a dueling chant with Uno, something I never thought I would hear, and hit Uno with a knee for a two count. He threw Uno into the corner for chops, Uno slapped him in the face, and Bononi chopped him so hard he went out of the ring. Bononi powered him into the ring steps and stood on them with a pinky finger in the air. This time the chant for Bononi was almost non-existent in response to “let’s go Uno.” Uno wrapped his vest around Bononi’s head for a beating, went for a piledriver, got blocked and then powerbombed for two and change. Uno got a boot up as Bononi charged, hit him with a chop and a lariat, got thrown into the turnbuckle and hit with a short arm lariat, sit out piledriver, 1-2-3.

Toni Storm vs. Kiera Hogan

Hogan entered first for the main event with a Dark record of 3-1. Storm brought a Dark record of 7-0. None of the other Outcasts were anywhere in sight. Stephon Smith was our referee for this match. Storm rushed Hogan and the bell and tried to stomp a mudhole in her. Hogan fought back with punches until she ate a hard slap. Storm charged her in the corner and missed, Hogan slapped her in the face and punched her in the butt before a hip attack on the ropes and leg drop to the back of the head. Storm rolled out to recover and Hogan hit a suicide dive through the ropes. Very fast paced match from the get go! Storm tried to slow things down with headbutts and a hip attack of her own and it worked.

From there Storm took her time beating up Hogan on the outside before throwing her back into the ring. Smith admonished Storm for closed fists to no avail. Snap suplex by Storm. Another suplex and Hogan sold her back as Storm smiled. Boot to the jaw. Two count. Another cover. One. Another cover. Two. Storm pulled her up and tied Hogan’s arms behind her back looking for a submission. Hogan got back to her feet and fought off the full nelson with elbows, but Storm threw her right back to the mat. Hogan grabbed a handful of hair and did the same, then hit a hip attack and a sliding dropkick in the corner.

Someone in the crowd yelled “Kiera’s on fire” and she yelled back “Yeah I am!” Diving crossbody for 2.9. Storm begged the ref for a timeout. Smith bought it and told Hogan to back off. Storm sold her left ankle. The crowd booed because they didn’t believe it. They were right not to. Storm tripped her into the turnbuckle and went for another pin, screaming at the ref it was three. She went for the hip attack and ate a kick and a hanging neckbreaker for the near fall. Suplex attempts blocked back and forth. Dropkick and hip attack before a Storm Zero for the win. Both ladies left it all out there in a great main event. That’s it for this week!

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by “Watch What’s Next.” I like it better than The Outcasts’ music, but that’s just me. Watch the main event, watch Avalon vs. Fox, watch me do me and watch Willie Mack vs. Serpentico. You can skip the rest!

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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