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Cazer’s AEW Dark Review 1.31.23

January 31, 2023 | Posted by Andrew Cazer
AEW Dark Konosuke Takeshita Image Credit: AEW
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Cazer’s AEW Dark Review 1.31.23  

It is Tuesday Night and you know what that means! We’re back to recap this weeks episode of AEW Dark. Tonight we have 9 matches on the card and we’re back in Orlando for the studio style taping. We’ve got Top Flight, AR Fox, Yuka Sakazaki and the always impressive Konosuke Takeshita advertised for tonight’s episode. A pretty decent lineup, particularly for me as I’m a fan of all mentioned. Let’s get to it and see how they deliver!

AR Fox & Top Flight vs. The Wingmen

Damn this is a banger on paper even if the Wingmen aren’t the biggest winners this should be a solid match. The Wingmen assault their opponents early but they’re quickly dumped outside. Bononi has a completely different look it almost feels like he’s an actor playing the role of Bononi. Fox with a dive onto Bononi outside and this one gets started with fast paced tag team action. Top Flight with quick tags and a speedy offense on Nemeth before tagging in Fox who lands a senton and covers for one. Avalon tags in and has Fox on the defensive shortly just to have Fox quickly regain control. Fox with a corkscrew brainbuster to Avalon. Bononi hits the ring and tries to take out Fox but he ducks a clothesline. Top Flight help get Bononi back outside. Nemeth on the apron and Fox sends Avalon into him but Nemeth distracts the referee allowing Bononi to hit a lariat and give Nemeth control. Nemeth taunts Fox before pulling him to the corner and tagging in Cezar. Cezar prevents the tag and hits Fox with a delayed throw taunting the potential tag. Avalon tags in and prevents the tag momentarily but Fox hits Avalon with a DVD. Avalon and Fox make tags, Nemeth and Dante in, Dante with a burst of offense taking out all three opponents. Dante with a diving crossbody for two on Nemeth. Nemeth runs into a kick from Darius, Darius with the tag and hits a springing flatliner to Nemeth and covers for two. This breaks down as everyone quickly gets some offense in. Bononi catches both members of Top Flight but Fox with a dropkick to finally take him down. Fox tags in and hits a lariat to Peter in the corner. Top Flight launches Avalon into a cutter from Fox and he covers for the victory. Sick Finish.
Rating: ***1/2
Review: That was an awesome match and if they’re building up to a six man tag match between these two teams then that’s absolutely great. That finish was awesome, these three are a match made in heaven.

Red Velvet vs. Sofia Castillo

Red Velvet looking for a warmup and to stack some victories ahead of her match with Jade on Dynamite tomorrow. Velvet and Sofia back and forth early until Velvet takes control with Strikes to Sofia in the corner. Velvet runs into a sit back kick from Sofia. Sofia in control for a moment even getting a two count on a few occasions. Castillo with a full nelson but Velvet breaks free, Velvet ducks a boot and hits Castillo with a lung blower. Running double knee from velvet and she locks in a submission for the victory.
Rating: *1/2
Review: This wasn’t that good, Velvet should be dominating her opponent if she’s facing Jade tomorrow not taking two different near falls. The finish was fine but especially against undefeated Jade she needs to look strong.

Zack Clayton vs. Fulton

Shame that Madman Fulton has to come in and job to Clayton. Nice open to this one as both men are showing some nice aggression. Clayton in control as the referee backs Fulton up and he drops him. Clayton with a bodyslam and a vertical knee drop onto the chest of Fulton.. Clayton runs into a bodyslam from Fulton, he goes for a powerbomb but Clayton counters by pulling at the hair. Clayton slams Fulton kneck first into his knee and then finishes Fulton with an armhook brainbuster, covering for the three count.
Rating: **
Review: This wasn’t bad but it wasn’t that great either. I can’t look at Fulton in AEW and not think of Archer, the look is just so similar he’s like mini Archer. Clayton continues to stack wins and someday that might mean something.

Brock Anderson & Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Rosario Grillo & Dean Alexander

Pillman looking for new life now being managed by Arn Anderson. He takes control of Grillo early before tagging in Brock. Quick tags from Brock and Pillman as they isolate Grillo. Pillman prevents the tag until Grillo backs him into the corner, they go for a tag team move but Pillman sends Grillo outside, Brock Anderson with the surprise tag to Pillman and hits the gordbuster before covering for the victory.
Rating: **
Review: This was just another Brock Anderson and Brian Pillman Jr. match they’ll need a long angle and some extended matches for me to say one way or the other on this duo. They’re both OK but have had a lot of time to become impressive and haven’t done a lot with it.

Renee Michelle vs. Skye Blue

Blue in control early and nearly steals it with a rollup in the corner. Michelle sends Blue into the corner and hits her with a series of forearms and then nails Blue with a springboard moonsault covering for two. Blue in control and nails Michelle with a knee strike and then a spinning enziguri. Michelle with a roll through into a german and covers Blue for two. Blue with a superkick and her spin out flatliner finish covering for the victory.
Rating: **
Review: This was fine it wasn’t anything great but Skye Blue is improving. The finish was cool, a little messy but still good.

Shane Taylor Promotions vs. Dante Casanova & Mr. G

Griffey kicks this one off with Mr. G laying him out, Taylor tags in as does Casanova, he slams Casanova and hits a splash onto him. Casanova with an enziguri then a spinebuster and covers for one. Taylor to his feet and hits Casanova with an elbow strike. Combination knee strike package piledriver from Griffey and Taylor. Griffey covers for the victory.
Rating: **1/2
Review: It was a little short but Shane Taylor promotions looked strong and the finish was cool.

Yuka Sakazaki vs. Avery Breaux

Breaux and Yuka with some comedy early. Yuka with some quick roll ups nearly stealing it every time. Avery heads outside to hide and Yuka mocks her taunt. Yuka to the outside and Avery with control for a moment but Yuka spins through with a kick to the face of Avery. Yuka with a highfive to a fan then a dropkick to Avery, covering for two. Avery counters with a suplex and then a cannonball in the corner, covering for a very close two fall. Yuka dodges a kick then hits Avery with a forearm. Yuka with a merry-go-round to Avery. Yuka with the magic girl splash and covers for the win.
Rating: *****
Review: Find me a Yuka Sakazaki match that isn’t five stars and i’ll call you a liar. Realistically this was a fun change of pace from the rest of the night. Nothing to out of the norm but the comedy bits and solid work from both Avery and Yuka made this a decent little match. **3/4 if I didn’t give Yuka all of the bonus stars.

The WorkHorsemen vs. Adrian Alanis & Liam Gray

Gray tries to catch Drake off guard early, both men jump Drake but he quickly regains control using them against eachother. Henry with a boot to Gray then Drake with a cannonball, Henry with a crosslegged brainbuster and covers for the easy easy victory.
Rating: N/A
Review; I actually really really liked the way this was booked, have the jobbers start out quick and try to catch JD off guard but he’s just too good and quickly uses that against them. Simple but very good.

Konosuke Takeshita vs. Angelico

Quite the main event honestly, this could really bang. Angelico with a taunt towards Takeshita early, they exchange strikes early as Luther distracts Aubrey and Angelico takes advantage sending Takeshita out of the ring. The SAP attack Takeshita while Angelico does the distracting now. Back inside and Angelico locks in a submission but Takeshita gets to the ropes and forces a break. Takeshita with a couple of strikes, Angelico tries to send him outside but he skins the cat and cracks Angelico with a strike then a leaping lariat. Takeshita charges Angelico but he’s dumped on the apron, Takeshita with a springboard DDT. Takeshita with a crucifix roll up for two, Angelico counters the blue thunder bomb but finally Takeshita hits the Blue Thunder Jones and covers for two. Takeshita up top but Serpentico distracts him, Angelico with a top rope bulldog to Takeshita and covers for two. Takeshita with a jumping knee but Angelico stays on his feet, Takeshita with a german and covers for two but Serpentico breaks it up, apparently Aubrey didn’t see. Luther drops Takeshita as the referee is again distracted. Angelico has Takeshita held up both Serpentico and Luther are on the apron. Aubrey still doesn’t eject them so Takeshita shoves Angelico face first into Luther and hits a sick neckbreaker then a brainbuster covering for two again. Takeshita drops Serpentico off the apron then a running knee to the face of Angelico before covering for the victory finally.
Rating: ***1/4
Review: This was quite fun but the interference shenanigans kinda took it down a notch from me. It was just too much to have noone even get ejected. Angelico is good but Takeshita did a lot of simple great stuff that took this up a notch. It’s wild that we still get Takeshita featured on these shows he will be a huge star someday.

The final score: review Good
The 411
This was a pretty good episode of Dark all things considered. The opener was fun, there were a couple of decent squash matches and then a really good main event. That's about as good as it can get when they're filming these in Orlando and don't put much behind them in terms of storyline progression. The main event was worth seeking out but the rest is your typical AEW Dark that you can watch if you want but all in all not a must watch episode of Dark.

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AEW Dark, Andrew Cazer