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Cazer’s AEW Dark Review 1.11.2022

January 11, 2022 | Posted by Andrew Cazer
AEW Dark
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Cazer’s AEW Dark Review 1.11.2022  

It’s Tuesday Night and you know what that means! It’s time for AEW Dark, but it’s not just any old episode of AEW Dark, it’s an AEW Dark Super-Super-Supershow Jones! We’ve got every champion sans Cody Rhodes who’s currently out with covid competing on this episode of Dark. I believe this excludes interim TNT Champion Sammy Guevara  who won the championship following these tapings at Battle of the Belts. They’ve promised over 90 minutes and 14 matches, i’m lying if I say that’s not daunting for the style of show Dark typically is, but I’ve genuinely enjoyed Dark the last few weeks so i’ll keep an open mind. Let’s get to the action!

Tonight’s review is brought to you by Jonesy Delicious, Delicious, Jonesy, Jonesy, Jonsey. Jones Carbonated Canady, Green Apple Flavor. 

Shawn Dean (1-0 ’22) vs. Liam Cross (0-0)

This is an interesting match looks like Shawn Dean is going to get some attention going into the new year and it’s well deserved. That DQ victory might have felt weak in execution but his build after could be interesting. Theyre giving Liam a bit of work her, Liam looks like a former co-worker of mine, not too pretty but he thinks he is. The crowd is hot early, giving Liam some HEAT. Shawn Dean with a spear in the corner and a float over DDT, Taz says it may be the end but Shawn Dean heads to the top and hits a diving splash and cover for the victory in 2:22.
Rating: N/A
Review: Solid showcase for Shawn Dean as they look to build the Captain up going into the New Year. This was short but at least he got to do all the work himself for this victory. 

Anthony Ogogo (7-1 all time) vs. Baron Black (No record)

This might be the second time for Baron that we don’t have a record, I know we didn’t get a name for someone last week. Baron looks strong early against Ogogo which wasn’t expected. It doesn’t last long Ogogo is a BIG dude and he looks a lot more comfortable in the ring now. There are some things he could still work on those strikes were a bit weak. Ogogo is a really interesting talent, just a lot of things about him feel legitimate, both his athletic ability and the hate fans have for him. Ogogo fakes a pinfall and again gets the crowd firmly against him. Black fights back and the crowd gets behind him more because they hate Ogogo but they really want to see the upset here. Ogogo hits tower of london in the corner and covers Black for the victory in 4:25.
Rating: **3/4
Review: This was a great showcase for Ogogo as he really got to shine as a heel. I’m not sure if it’s just the Jonathan Gresham situation or what but he’s definitely someone that fans just enjoy HATING. Commentary did well by this match, sometimes they’ll go off into jokes which distracts from the match. The opposite was noticeable here where they gave it some real attention. I don’t blame them either as the comedy helps some of the bad matches, but it can hurt good matches. Here the lack of it was nice. 

– Matt Hardy is backstage with Alex Marvez and he says it’s a great night to be Matt Hardy as they’re in Charlotte NC. Matt talks about how Tony Khan phoned him up for this exciting six man main event. Matt says if his team wins he’ll get an opportunity to face Hangman for the title tomorrow. Matt announces Marq Quen is out but Serpentico will be an honorary member of the HFO and fill in. Matt promises they will win and he will become AEW World Champion.

Red Velvet (2-0 ’22) vs. Shalonce Royal (No record)

Shalonce attacks Red Velvet early and Bryce separates them to get this one started. Shalonce follows up on her attack and takes advantage early showing off her singing skills. Dang Red Velvet showing a more aggressive side in this one. Red Velvet hits the final slice and covers Shalonce for the victory in 1:20 as Taz sings in his best opera voice.
Rating: N/A
Review: Solid victory for Red Velvet, nothing special but it was a decent squash, she showed a side of her I’m not sure i’ve seen much of and she seems a lot more confident than before. This match would’ve likely suffered from the singing of Shalonce and the commentary cracking jokes about it if it went much longer, but this was an example where all of the fun stuff works. 

Proud Dad of two ass boys. 

Gunn Club (23-0 all time) vs. Marcus Kross, T.I.M., and Patrick Scott (0-0)

Austin Gunn takes the microphone before the match and warns the crowd if they chant ass boy’s they’re going to leave. Excalibur and Taz question their logic but I love it. Austin and Colten leave their dad high and dry and Billy’s still going to squash these three scrubs. Billy looks way too good to be however old he is. Billy with the win in :38 seconds by himself as his kids left him behind.
Rating: N/A
Review: They’re looking to get the ass boys chant over and this was a good way to start it, and it didn’t waste much time but damn did those jobbers get an old run of the mill SQUASHIN. Imagine having to lose JUST to old man Billy Gunn and to top it off it makes way more sense then you winning. Rough times for the enhancement boys.

– Daniel Garcia is backstage with Marvez to discuss his Interim championship match tomorrow on Dynamite. Garcia says tonight we’ll see the result of a man who focuses only on wrestling, not vlogs or being an influencers. Garcia tells Sammy he’s gonna start with Feugo and then he’ll deal with him and he can put that on his stupid little vlog.

Tay Conti and Anna Jay (8-1 All Time) vs. Charlette and Robyn Renegade (0-0)

I really liked the Renegade’s the last time we saw them on Dark I hope they get some time here. Tay doesn’t seem too concerned but the twins take control early. Taz and Excalibur can’t tell the twins between eachother and it’s a fair point that it’s tough to tell them apart they’re twins down to the shoelaces. This is the one time it makes a ton of sense for the referee to not notice the legal person. Tay with a rough suplex drops one of the Reneages right on her head ouch. She follows it up with a ROUGH stunner on the same Renegade that makes Taz say “what the hell?”. They tried some combination kicks that looked ok. They lock in some combination submissions to force both sisters to tape out at 3:55.
Rating: **1/4
Review: This was not the best showcase we’ve seen tonight. I put that more on the twins than Tay and Anna because you can tell they’re probably a bit new to this and despite the uniqueness to them they could likely work on the in ring work a tad. It was odd to see Anna doing this judo style near the end as thats more of a Tay thing but I can’t blame them for trying, just seems a tad unnatural. 

JD Drake (0-1) vs. Orange Cassidy (40-9-1 ’21)

Surprised to see JD Drake get an official entrance and two masked assistants. He’s a fantastic worker so I hope this is a sign of positive things for him this year. Orange Cassidy is so over. The pre-match interaction between JD and OC is fantastic JD is such a believable hard ass that would be mad about the nonchalant attitude of OC. Drake yells at OC and OC mocks him in a hilarious manner. The ref backs Drake away from OC and this gives Cassidy a chance to get his hands in the pockets and it pisses JD off. Drake chops the will to fight out of OC and he drops to the mat like a child. OC kips up and raises the roof calling for a body slam this match is a ton of fun. I have to believe these guys have some experience working together as they’re working really well together. Orange Cassidy looked for the tope and JD caught him for the ricochet forearm off the ropes that was sick. Drake’s minions attack OC outside the ring, I wonder if we’re supposed to assume they’re the other wingmen or what. I like that they’re not having Cassidy run through JD and giving Drake a good amount of offense in this one. Ahh Taz and Excalibur have concluded they are the wingmen, makes sense. Gotta love Excalibur laughing at the hilarious mannerisms of OC. JD really looks strong in this one, even though I know he’s losing it feels like he could. Chuck and Yuta come out to take care of the masked goons and even the odds. I wish that Boss Man Slam was the finish. JD Drake takes too long as he’s heading up top and it’s going to be his downfall as he misses the moonsault. Cassidy finally hits the bodyslam and he’s HYPED up. Cassidy hits the Orange punch and covers for the victory in 9:02.
Rating: ***1/4
Review: I was worried going into this one i’d be wishing they got more time in this one but it turns out they got just enough time to have an awesome match and even tell a bit of a story. It feels like they’re building The Best Friends vs. The Wingmen in a six man on Dark which would be cool but this was an awesome match so if this is the end of that little feud i’ll be ok with it. 

Dante Martin (2-0) vs. Aaron Solo (13-25 ’21)

It’s always odd to me that Taz is trying to explain the bad contract when they could just say Lio swapped it out but oh well. Dante has been really exciting but Solo is good too so this could be fun if they get time. Taz and Excalibur spend a good while arguing about who has the best vertical leaping ability in AEW and Taz suggests the Young Bucks I disagree. Dante hits the nose dive and covers Solo for the victory in 3:18.
Rating: **1/2
Review: Dante’s finish is great for storytelling because it leaves it open for those arm under the rope kick outs but he did a good job preventing that this week. These guys could likely have a banger with more time but instead this was a serviceable showcase. 

– Jade is backstage with Marvez and Smart Mark Sterling says that this will not be a championship match because they’re saving that for Dynamite but they did get paid a lot to be here on Dark. They go over the fact that Skye Blue is challenging for a #1 contenders shot at the TBS Championship but if she loses she can never challenge for the TBS championship again so long as Jade is champion. Well that’s a bit interesting isn’t it.

Joey Janela (12-4 ’21) vs. Eddie Kingston (37-15 all time)

Eddie Kingston is showing some signs of injury due to a beat down he suffered in the last week. This is the first time these two have wrestled which is a surprise to many as they’re both staples of the independent scene. Janela looking JACKED. This crowd loves Kingston it’s amazing to see how far he’s come. Eddie with a cover on Janela and we get Yambag Jones making an appearance. Joey with the rolling elbow and i’m not sure I see many people do that even though you’d expect it. Janela with the botch to distract the referee. That’s interesting not sure if I love it or hate it, but it’s unique. Janela with a dragonscrew in the ropes, I wish commentary would pay a bit more attention to this match than the jokes, but i’m also a mark for both of these guys. Eddie selling his injuries throughout opens the door to a Janela upset. Kingston pulls out some junkyard dog headbutts on Janela. Janela of all people pulling out the strut in Charlotte. Interesting to hear Taz mention the nature boy on commentary. Taz not hating on Bryce tonight pulling out high road jones. Eddie and Janela workin a little stiff Eddie with a black eye courtesy of a Janela kick. Eddie got his backj slapping the life out of Kingston. Rossi looks to take out Kingston and takes out Janela. Bryce was right there so it really made no sense at all for that to happen but oh well Janela’s back in the ring and back to his feet. Eddie with a stif lariat followed by a northern lights bomb for the victory in 8:37.
Rating: ***
Review: This was a fun showcase, Janela looked pretty good, and these two beat the bricks off of each other I griped a tad about commentary because I think that hindered this match a tad, I also think that these two didn’t necessarily mesh as well as many might expect. This was not a bad match but I think my expectations were a bit high, they did everything I expected just a few things felt off, and it may primarily be the fact the outside interference made NO SENSE. 

Thunder Rosa (44-7 All Time) vs. Kasey Fox (0-0)

Some of these enhancement talent just look so new to tv it’s interesting to see them take it in like kids on the first day. Fox screams a good two seconds after Rosa kicks out but hey she’s mad. You can tell Fox is really green. Droptoe hold and Kasey hung up on the ropes rough. Rosa locks in the Peruvian Neck tie and she ends this in 1:45.
Rating: N/A
Review: This went a bit longer than it should’ve and it was less than two minutes. Kasey’s gotta be really new so it’s hard to say much. Shout out to Rosa for making that look as decent as it did but it was very clearly one of the worst matches on the show. 

– QT Marshall cuts a promo on behalf of he and Nick Comoroto and says they’ll win their tag team title eliminator tournament tonight and eventually become champions. Sure QT.

Powerhouse Hobbs (36-12) vs. Alexander Moss (0-0)

HOBBS wasted NO time laying his opponent out here. He never even changed out of the overalls and beat Moss in :20 seconds.
Rating; N/A
Review: Arrive, Kick ass, Leave. That’s all there was to this one, this was more enjoyable than your average Wardlow squash because it ended quick and easy with Hobbs just looking like a bad ass. 

Daniel Garcia (12-9) vs. Fuego Del Sol (7-34)

Just license Garcia Griselda theme song already. Glad he has one to stand out from 2.0 but embrace that Buffalo grit for the guy. Dang has Fuego’s theme always been this good? Garcia’s style is so fun to watch just a gritty little jerk who really lays it in on his opponents. It’s bringing something out of Fuego too, nice to see him against a guy more his size. Garcia mocks Fuego and this cocky arrogance is well needed for a guy who people have high expectations for. Fuego’s really grown a TON in his time with AEW. Garcia locks in the sharpshooter and Fuego taps out in 3:45. Garcia refuses to let go of the hold and Guevara has to hit the ring to make the save. I’m pumped for Garcia vs. Sammy.
Rating: **3/4
Review: I don’t want to overrate Garcia’s matches because I like him a lot but this was a good match. It was a solid showcase for both Garcia and Fuego, Garcia who is just so damn good and Fuego who really is coming into his own in AEW. Cool that both guys have their own unique themesongs now, even though I think Garcia needs a licensed theme to really get him to the next level but that’s just my Upstate NY Bias. 

Skye Blue (1-0 ’22) vs. Jade Cargill (23-0 all time)

Can’t imagine this will go long but i’m surprised that if Skye loses she can never challenge again so maybe they’ll let her get some fight in this one. Mark Sterling handed his card to Aubrey but she threw it out so no shenanigans here. Jade is so big and Jade is so strong this is an interesting pairing. Skye shows a little fight but runs right into a pump kick. Skye goes for a crossbody and Jade barely catches her, tough spot for both of them. That’s a spot that usually looks easy for both competitors but here both kinda slipped up. Skye’s showing some fire that was a really good finish to an ok match. Jade hits her finish after Jade springboards off the ropes and Jade covers for the victory in 2:00.
Rating: N/A
Review: The match itself had one obvious hiccup both otherwise was pretty ok, both Skye and Jadedid really well at the end and the finish was strong, that’s what people remember so if it went wrong it’d be a problem. Instead it was really smooth and they were able to close out the match on a high note. I think I may have misheard Jade earlier as commentary made no mention of Skye not being able to challenge for the championship but i’ll have to listen back. Update, I did listen back and it seems commentary just didn’t drive the point home too hard in this match but she can’t challenge so long as Jade is champ. 

Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus (30-9 all time) vs. QT Marshall (24-11) & Nick Comoroto (16-14)

Low energy jones appears as Taz is tired nearing the end of this taping and I can’t blame him but this show has been comfortable in length thus far, I just imagine the live tapings can be a bit different. I doubt QT and Nick will give the champs too much trouble here, I get wanting to hold on to big matches but I don’t love making this a championship eliminator, I see no reason the champs couldnt have had a regular tag match, though it does add a bit of significance to the match. Early on and the heels are working on Jungle Boy as commentary works in a few jokes while they try to remain engaged in this match. The crowd loves JB and Luchasaurus so they’re into this one despite the lack of confidence in the opponents. Jungle Boy hits a SICK rana out of a suplex that was sweet. Dino Jones gets the tag in and runs through Comoroto and QT. I don’t know if he’s fully recovered from injuries or what but he looks to have a spring in his step tonight. Pig tail jones vs. Ponytail jones who you got? I’m going with ponytail. QT getting the diamond cutter feels like a waste but everyone does cutters anyway so what’s it matter. DAMN Jungle boy gets hit with a popup forearm followed by a spear that was a SICK combination from the factory. I appreciate Excalibur pointing out that the factory is unranked so it emphasizes the upset. Jungle Boy makes the tag and takes himself and QT out DAMN. I’m glad these guys are finally getting featured because they look DAMN good lately. Dang the spinkick clearly doesn’t connect as we get close to the finish. Jungle Boy hits the destroyer off Luchasaurus back as Luchasaurus covers for the victory at 8:20.
Rating: ***1/4
Review: This was a really solid tag match that was hurt by the finish. Not that the finish was bad or even a major miss it just wasn’t as smooth as something like that needs to be. Luchasaurus really needs to consider dropping that spin kick because it’s not often it looks good. Outside of that he actually really impressed me in this match as i’ve had my nitpicky issues with him but he looked good. Comoroto also looked really impressive in this one. 

AEW World Champion Hangman Page, 10 and Alan “5” Angels (0-0) vs. Matt Hardy, Isiah Kassidy and Serpentico (0-0)

Big stakes in this one as Matt can earn a championship opportunity with a victory here. I guess we couldn’t just do three championship eliminator matches? I like that it’s 5 & 10 with Hangman as the other two teams tend to get a lot of shine. I wonder how much time this match gets. This show’s been solid but for me as a consumer we’re getting into extra innings with this one so we need an exciting match if it’s gonna go long. A-Team jones is in the house tonight. Angels and Kassidy kick this one off as they look to start it off as exciting as possible. Kassidy is another wrestler who has come a long way from the early days of AEW. Ten and Five look for a tag team move and it definitely looks sloppy, Kassidy dropped on the back of his head and he heads to the outside to regroup. You can always tell when something goes left when Taz and Excalibur react as they do and Taz went so far as to say Five and Ten need to work on that one so it was not great. Kassidy finally back on the apron after taking some time to regroup outside glad he’s ok. It wasn’t too bad but it was not great. Serpentico takes a LONG delayed suplex long enough for Hangman to tag in and get some time in as well. Remember when that spot was new. I really appreciate the way they reference Matt Hardy’s history with Hangman in this one, it’s the little things in AEW that can make matches like this feel a tad more important. Hangman and Five hit a combination splash on Kassidy that was way smoother than Five and Ten’s tag. Serpentico’s outside mannerisms are fun in this one as he learns from the great one Matt Hardy. Matt in AEW has been a real interesting journey, wish his debut could’ve been with a full crowd I wonder how things would be for him now. The Hardy Family office showing something in this one, it helps they’re facing some of the weaker Dark Order members so I guess anything could happen. Matt Hardy tells Kassidy to pound that ass and of course it gets a pound that ass chant going. Hangman yells at Five for getting his ass pounded. I’m making none of this up. Angels with a crossbody that takes out Kassidy but narrowly misses Serpentico. Ten tags in and drops everybody with pump kicks. Ten is another interesting big guy talent that AEW has patiently worked with and could be really promising this year. Serpentico goes for a crossbody and Ten catches him, this is what I was talking about in the Jade match, Ten caught him and it didn’t look bad despite the rough dive from Serpentico. Hangman tags in and runs through everyone with Angels helping clear some outside involvement. Hangman hits the death valley driver, interesting to see him cover off that. Hangman tags in Five and Taz calls it smart, I have to disagree but it still works out for them as Hangman hits a twist of fate and Angels hits a frogsplash. Thought Angels was gonna get the rub off the pinfall there but apparently not. Started to feel like the HFO could steal one here but fortunately Hangman tagged in and took care of business. Serpentico teases a dive and everyone moves that was actually pretty great. The wingsnapper didn’t look so great there. Hangman with the powerbomb and runs to hit the buckshot and cover for the finish in 14:25.
Rating: ***
Review: This match went kind of long for my taste. I get it, it’s the main event and Hangman’s in there so you want to give the people what they want but I think that’s a quick victory not giving the HFO that much of a chance to hang in there. It all made sense from a story perspective but at this stage in the show I wasn’t really interested in another lengthy showcase and this was the longest of them all. All of these talent are awesome so it’s not like it was a bad way to end the show, I just think it went a bit long. 

Top Three Names to watch following this show:
Typically this is to highlight the Dark Talent who AEW look to be focusing on so i’ll disregard the top stars for this.

1. Anthony Ogogo – Ogogo looked really good in his singles showcase and played the heel really well. I think that his legitimate boxing history as well as his build really make him someone you take seriously almost immediately. Now he seems to have some confidence in the ring and really could be someone to watch this year. I do wonder where he is in training and readiness exactly as he had that shaky match with Cody then took time off, thus far his slow build has been pretty good. 

2. JD Drake – JD Drake looked awesome on this show. His heel work of just casually distracting the referee was grade a work. It was simple but made so much sense and that’s nice when you get some similar stuff that ends up looking bad. They gave him time to impress and he did just that, I’ve been loving JD Drake over the past few weeks and hope that we get to see more of him in the coming weeks. 

3. Shawn Dean / Red Velvet – They’re both undefeated in 2022 and have provided some of their best efforts yet albeit in short showings. Traditionally last year these two, especially Dean were being used to put people over, if this is the year they start to get some real opportunities then it’s perfect timing because both seem to be coming into their own within AEW and are far better than they were even six months ago. 

Jobber of the Night: Baron Black – Baron’s basically an AEW superstar so this is probably cheating, but dude had a good showcase tonight with Ogogo and really most of the enhancement talent were fine but none particularly stood out to me. The twins are still awesome but do appear that they could have a ways to go in the ring before i’m calling for them to be on AEW TV. 

The final score: review Good
The 411
This wasn't bad but i'm lying if I say it didn't go too long. I get it it's a supershow but Dark is much better when it's around 8-10 matches and about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 min run time. I get they had additional time to tape with Battle of the Belts but still this made for a long episode of Dark. The main event could've went six minutes shorter and while i'd still argue the show was too long it'd have made for a better show overall. I get the purpose of the longer main event but it was too long for me. There were some solid matches on here in between a variety of squashes, but again just the length at a point gets to be too much even with the second half of the card stacked with top names because you still know they're likely going to win even if it's a close showcase. Check for the JD Drake/OC match and Janela/Kingston match, if you want to see the good stuff and maybe search out the Ogogo match to see how much people love to hate him.

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AEW Dark, Andrew Cazer