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Cazer’s AEW Dark Review 3.15.22

March 15, 2022 | Posted by Andrew Cazer
AEW Dark Image Credit: AEW
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Cazer’s AEW Dark Review 3.15.22  

We have a very special jam packed episode of Dark tonight with over 13 matches on the docket and a number featuring some big names. We’ll see the Young Bucks, Ricky Starks, The Dark Order, 2.0 and more compete. With a stacked card due to this being taped in Orlando during their Pay Per View week I expect something a bit better than most weeks.

Dark Order (Alan Angels, Colt Cabana & Evil Uno) vs. The Young Bucks & Brandon Cutler

This is an interesting call back for the Bucks returning to Orlando and commentary does a good job reminding us of their history working Universal for Orlando. The announcer called Colt, ‘Cult Cabana’ and we get some funny banter regarding that as well. Good back and forth six man early with the Dark Order actually looking really competitive up against The Bucks. It’s an interesting pairing for The Dark Order as we have Uno, Angels and Colt together tonight. Cutler tries to roll through for a tag and as Taz says it’s the story of his career always coming up short. The crowd chants you fucked up, but it was intentional so was it truly a ‘fuck up’. Angels with the inadvertent boot to the face off Angels allows Cutler to finally make the tag to the bucks. As goofy as that spot is they actually executed it really well. The Bucks get into the match and quickly take control, they taunt and give the crowd something to cheer about as Cutler dances awkwardly behind them. Nick leads a that was awesome chant following their posing. This is a great treat for the Orlando audience getting to see the Bucks as this was taped ahead of the PPV so they were in town. Interesting choice by the Bucks to tag in Cutler backfires as Angels counters a superkick and makes a tag to Colt. Taz explains that they’re just hosting a podcast while watching wrestling and ya know it’s a pretty accurate statement of what they do for Dark. Colt nearly takes the victory following the flying apple to Cutler, they got me there as Cutler is typically the fall guy, looked like a Dark Order upset. Angels has decided to put on a hat mid match for a splash but it is effective. Lots of comedy throughout this match but these are truly some of the best to work that style so it’s not for me but not the ‘cringe’ you might see during some comedy matches. BTE Trigger to Angels and they drag Cutler onto him for the victory. Big win for Cutler picking up the pinfall over Angels. Post match Cutler shows love to the Bucks for helping him pick up the win.
Rating: ***
Review: For what it was it was a solid fun matchup between these two teams. The Dark Order got to look strong throughout but came up short to the much better team (and Cutler). Cutler getting a pinfall win is cute and the way they played into his schtick was goofy but it was entertaining. Overall a really great way to open up Dark.

Ruby Soho vs. Ashley D’Ambroise

Remix Jones was late to the party but we get a Taz remix for Ruby’s theme eventually. I believe D’Ambroise may have appeared a time or two before but i’m relatively unfamiliar with her. Hopefully these two get some time as Dark women’s matches are usually pretty short. D’Ambroise gets some offense in and shows she is no slouch. Looking it up Ashley only has two years actively wrestling but I really would’ve guessed she had been around longer as she seemed pretty sound. Ruby of course is a great opponent though so it helps. Ruby with the victory after hitting No Future on D’Ambroise in 2:55.
Rating: N/A
Review: This was really short and didn’t get much time to get going but i’d love to see how

– Tony Schiavone is backstage to talk to Serpentico about his upcoming tag match with the Dark Order. Luther interrupts and says that Chaos Project put the FU into FUN. I’m always hit or miss with Luther and this was a bit of both but glad we’re continuing to get promos ahead of the later matches in the show.

Josh Woods vs. AC Adams

Woods has been around a time or two and every time i’ve seen him i’ve been impressed. It looks like now’s his chance to get a real opportunity and maybe his first victory facing another relatively unknown superstar. Woods is an intimidating dude but AC shows no fear and slaps him in the face which awakens a side of Woods we’ve yet to see. Woods catches Adams and launches him with a weird suplex from a tombstone position for the victory in less than two minutes.
Rating: N/A
Review: That finish is wild but it feels a bit dangerous and Taz certainly didn’t seem to love it. It’s unique but not sure it’ll stick around. Very quick match and an easy win for Woods.
Post match: Schiavone talks to Woods about Tony buying ROH, Woods asks the crowd how they feel and we get a loud ROH chant. Woods discusses how great it will be to defend the ROH pure title against AEW’s great competition. Promo wasn’t really anything to write home about but the in ring talent is there.

Ricky Starks vs. Darian Bengston

Ayyy Darian Bengston is back for another episode of Dark. He’s got some unique qualities to him so i’m excited he’s back with the sweet half kilt attire. I was going to mention i’m excited to see Starks in a match following that big bump in the ladder match but I remembered this was taped prior to that. Still nice to see Ricky and i’m pretty sure he’s doing ok after the ladder match. Starks with some heavy offense in the corner and poses getting a nice pop from the Orlando crowd. Starks is fantastic at commanding a crowd and utilizing his undeniable charisma. Bengston gets a bit of offense but it’s quickly halted with a spear that’s followed by the Ro-Sham-Bo for the victory in 3:22.
Rating: **3/4
Review: Too short to be anything major but it was a solid match none the less. Starks is great and really did a good job commanding attention during this match. Previously Bengston was really able to stand out against his opponent but this week Ricky didn’t let you take your attention off him and that’s a good thing. This was a decent squash and I still hope we see more Bengston down the line.

Diamante vs. Session Moth Martina

The Session Moth is in the AEW Darkpact Zone. She’s hype to be here dancing around and Diamante joins momentarily before dropping her with a clothesline.
Diamante goes to bounce off the ropes but Knox is in the way, finally she bounces off with the forearm to the back. Session Moth used to have a lot of hype behind her, it’s nice to see her getting this opportunity but it does seem that steam has started to cool off. Martina with a headbutt to Diamante that only gets a small reaction. Diamante with the roll up and tries to use the ropes but she’s too short. It pops Taz. Diamante with covered in the corner for the victory in 2:38.
Rating: N/A
Review: I have to ask, what is even the point of these matches, I get it we’re feeding records and giving them a small bit of shine but a 2 and a half minute match in the middle of 13 other matches isn’t doing anything for Diamante or Martina. Let’s bring in some of the incredibly talented women out there and let them just have stellar matches once in a while.

John Silver & Alex Reynolds vs. Chaos Project

This match apparently just happened on Dark Elevation yesterday but hell let’s run it back. Some kids in the crowd start screaming and Excalibur can’t tell if they were happy or scared and ya know I just can’t tell. Cute kids though. We have a fair bit of kids in the front row and it’s so damn cool to see -1 interacting with the kids. Taz accidentally namedrops Cody and gets called Landmine Jones for the slipup, the commentary on Dark is unmatched. We got a new ref she looks pretty cool. Silver showing some power launching around Serpentico Keith Lee style, not to be the boomer fan but shouldn’t we leave stuff like that to Keith who can make it look much crazier? I feel it loses its luster if everyone starts doing it now. Luther and Serpentico are such a fun team that really works as a pair of Jobbers people are entertained by. Good for Luther to find a comfy position in AEW alongside a young guy who can work and take a majority of the beating. Silver and Reynolds hit Luther with the Dark Destroy and Silver covers for the win in 4:28.
Rating; **1/2
Review: This was a fine showcase for both teams and allows Reynolds and Silver to stack up another victory. The post match staredown shenanigans between -1 and Luther were great. Overall a decent little tag match but it didn’t do too much for me, i’ll have to check the match from Elevation to see how it went with a bigger crowd.

Leyla Hirsch vs. Marina Tucker

Leyla is looking to bounce back and regain some confidence after losing her #1 contenders match to Thunder Rosa. Hrisch shows an aggressive side early as she looks to put away Tucker quickly. Leyla wraps her arm in the ropes and lays into her with multiple clotheslines. Tucker hits an uppercut and roll up but that’s about is as Leyla quickly regains the offense and locks in an armbar for the victory in 2:11.
Rating; N/A
Review: This squash was a bit more understandable than the earlier woman’s matches as Leyla should look ‘legit’ and dominate a majority of her opponents, it’s just not as impactful when all three women’s matches have been 3 minutes or less up to this point but Leyla did have the most ‘dominant’ win.

Top Flight vs. Invictus Khash & Ariya Daivari

Khash and Daivari are back to put over another great AEW team. They’ve become a really solid duo that is primarily here to put other teams over. Excited to see Dante and Darius back on Dark they’ve become a team you have to go out of your way to see what they’re up to. This is also nice to see as I believe both Dante and Darius have history with Ariya. Darius being back is interesting because there is an interesting older brother appeal to him but that respect is still there for Dante after his incredible run while Darius was gone. Dante with the assisted springboard, these two are so exciting and creative. The scary part is they’ve just scratched the surface. Khash and Daivari are great and have started working together well having little to no history as a team before this if im not mistake. Taz has become lowerbackpain jones and it feels like Excalibur has robbed Taz of his gimmick. Dante with the leaping tag gave me ptsd to Cutler missing. Some of the things Dante does really makes him look like a superhero, just the way he floats when he dives or springboards. Khash and Daivari got some solid offense in for a moment but a bit of miscommunication allows Top Flight to regain control. That moment of offense did show that if ever needed to Khash and Daivari could be more than a job team. Top Flight with the combination german into a pinfall from Darius for the victory in 7:30.
Rating: ***1/4
Review: This is pretty much everything I want from Dark matches. I know they can’t do this every match but I do think we should have more matches like this weekly. Both teams got to look strong even though Top Flight was the clear top team in this match they didn’t just walk through their opponents. I wouldn’t mind if we got a match like this every week from Top Flight. Glad Daivari and Khash are around and hope that continues for a while.
Post match: Schiavone interviews Top Flight and they cut a great promo, Darius was solid here holding it down for the duo. They close it out saying watching them is like being knocked out because you’re seeing stars.

10 vs. Aaron Solo

Solo doesn’t stand a chance against 10 and neither does Bryce as the referee apparently because Taz is ready to let him have it. Solo outside with QT and claims the crowd needs to cheer for him, lets get a couple wins first before we start making demands huh Solo? Ten with the ten shots in the corner and we get a big ten chant, I think he owes Shawn Spears some royalties for that one. Ten lifts Solo up for a delayed (10 second) suplex. Get it, because his name is 10. It’s lovely watching -1 banter with Kip Sabian and other crowd members throughout the match, kids a hell of a worker already. Solo actually getting a fair bit of offense after capitalizing on an opportunity. It’s short lived as 10 regains control and hits a spinebuster on Solo. 10’s spinebuster might not be top 3 in AEW. 10 with a clothesline and covers Solo for 3 but Solo gets his foot on the ropes. QT yells that Solo’s foot is on the ropes and -1 claims that QT put his foot on the ropes. Bryce ejects QT, Comoroto gets involved and drops 10, Solo with the cover but its only good for 2. Comoroto argues with Bryce and decides to get back on the apron. 10 with a pumpkick to Solo but he moves and Comoroto is dropped. Ten with the full nelson on Solo and gets the victory in 5:41.
Rating; **1/2
Review: This was fine the outside shenanigans were actually fun but the match itself wasn’t really that great. You could see a lot of stuff being set up for before it happened like Comoroto getting booted off the apron and what not. I think there were once big plans for 10 but i’m not sure he’s really developed into what was seen in him early. He’s still big and he’s not bad by any means but i’m not sure he’s made much progress like others have in the past.

Emi Sakura vs. Shalonce Royal

Shalonce the opera singer opens it up but Emi returns with her own singing as she tosses Shalonce around. Emi starts chanting ayyyoooo some of the fans get the hint and join in bet unfortunately we get another instance of Emi trying something that would be cool but it just doesn’t connect. The singing between Shalonce and EMi is funny but not good at all. Taz asks what the hell is going on and even says someone help me, I have to agree. Shalonce’s matches always turn into Taz losing it every time she gets to singing. Emi joins in the she will chop you clap, that connected wonderfully this time. The crowd starts chanting extra fast. Emi with the twisting vader bomb for the victory in 2:46.
Rating; N/A
Review: I’m glad this one was short and while it was annoying it was pretty memorable. Emi seems to be hit or miss given the night but her consistency in Orlando has started to get the crowd into a majority of what she does. This was fun for what it was and you could tell Emi herself was having a blast with it.

Lance Archer vs. Sage Scott

Scott doesn’t start off strong getting beat up on the way to the ring. Archer lays out Scott’s tag team partner Jake Saint Patrick, the perfect segue for Excalibur to pump the AEW St. Patrick’s day merch promo. Archer makes quick work of Scott dropping him with a full nelson. Archer stomping away and the crowd joins in but he yells at them to shut up. C’mon Lance what’d you expect ’em to do brother? Scott punches Archer and heads to the top but he’s caught by Archer and hit with the blackout in 2:05.
Rating; N/A
Review: Not exactly your typical Archer squash but still a squash for Archer. Post match Saint Patrick tries to dive onto Archer but he’s just diving to death as he gets choke slammed too. Archer gets a dominant victory and I wonder what’s next for him as he hasn’t done much since he lost to Page and it feels like he could be being built up for something new.

2point0 & Daniel Garcia vs. Luke Sampson, Mike Reed, & Shane Stetson

2.0 and Garcia just joined Jericho’s new group, a great move for them and an interesting one as well. It’s clear that TK and Jericho have faith in this trio. I was unsure what would be next for them as they easily could’ve slid into the new serious job group category. Luke Sampson has been on Dark before he’s got a Kevin Nash look if Nash were like a foot shorter. 2.0 hit him with two for the Show. Garcia tags in and locks in his modified sharpshooter for the victory in 2:20.
Rating: N/A
Review: This match didn’t do a single thing for me, it’s hard to get six guys involved in a two minute match. The finish was solid as Garcia got to look like a bit of a badass but the rest was too short to really even give much thought to.

Frankie Kazarian vs. Jora Johl

Kazarian’s record is 65-29 that seems like a lot but SCU were prominent winners early on so I get it. Kind of surprised to see this as the main event but it makes sense to keep guys like Kazarian and Sydal in the main event spot on Dark to help them feel bigger than they are booked. Jora Johl will almost certainly take the hardest hit following Jeff Hardy joining AEW as his alliance with Matt Hardy was pretty much the only thing going for Johl. Kazarian LAYING into Johl with chops to the chest. Kazarian not letting Johl get much offense in, this feels like a match that could go long because it’s in the main event but could also end in four minutes. Johl finally takes control with a delayed vertical suplex but Kazarian quickly regains offense and drops Johl with some flying forearms. Kazarian may be older but the guy still works better than a ton of the young guys. Kazarian with the crossface chicken wing for the submission victory in 4:38. Called it. This was awful editing as Kaz went from what looked like it was going to be a roll up to a chicken wing position. Watch it for yourself and see that was just odd and makes me wonder what the hell could have happened that was cut. Johl has had some ugly botches in the past so it could’ve been on him regardless if you have such a blatant edit why not put it earlier in the show?
Rating; Dud.
Review; I’m picky and a clear bad edit like that is going to hurt the overall match for me, rather than give it a star rating i’ll call it a dud. I can’t get over that weird way to go to the finish after a relatively decent opening to the match. I still think Kaz is fantastic and am open to Johl being a decent jobber but really his work to this point is very unimpressive. The decision to keep this as the main event is truly confusing and a major reason I won’t give it a true rating. Such an odd way to end a good show.

Names to watch following this weeks episode of Dark.

Top Flight – These two are phenomenal and have so many unique attributes that help compliment each other in wonderful ways. The promo after their match is what really stands out to me but their match itself was the best on the show and really should’ve been the main event.

Josh Woods – His finisher is legit scary and not a move i’d want to take especially after seeing it one time, but he’s a good wrestler and an interesting member of the roster. He can easily cross over between AEW and ROH and can be the first guy to defend an ROH title in AEW if they continue to reference him being pure champion. His post match promo left a lot to be desired but get him a good manager and the skies the limit.

Leyla Hirsch – When Leyla wins she almost always looks ‘Legit’. It works for her and it typically leads to good matches. I wanna see her up against Marina Shafir and just watch them really fight. I think an extended feud for Leyla on Dark would be great entertainment and would help Leyla gain confidence working storylines and things of that nature.

Jobber(s) of the week:

Ariya Daivari and Invictus Khash – These two were in the best match of the week and it’s not just on top flight for the match being the best of the night. These two are legit good and can have good matches. They’ve started to develop a bit of a presence to them, when they took offense and really started to play it up as heels you could see that there might be something for these two beyond just job guys. I don’t expect much and if they continue to be predominantly job guys that’s ok as they’re great in that position, I think they could always do more if needed.

The final score: review Good
The 411
This week was a clear step up from some episodes of Dark but I do have a fair share of complaints of the overall show despite there being a few really solid matches. The women could really use extended matches, I get that the job women that come in aren't always ready to work longer matches but i'd rather they bring better women in or just use their core womens roster for these matches than get three or four two minute matches a week. There are plenty of competent women on this roster who should be wrestling eachother and having feuds on Dark but instead it's a repetitive formula. Outside of the womens matches the main event was a complete dud and there's not a good excuse for that when this is an edited show. The good matches on this card propped this one up and I do encourage you to seek those out, also seek out the edit and tell me if i'm overreacting, I probably am but it was a bit egregious for the main event position if you ask me.

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AEW Dark, Andrew Cazer