AEW Dark recap (Feb. 8, 2022): ‘Empathic’ Mercedes Martinez debuts on Dark!

Episode 129 of AEW Dark is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream from YouTube. Your commentary team this week was Excalibur and Taz. Let’s get right into the action!

Julia Hart vs. Kelsey Heather

Hart brings a 9-9 record to Dark following her win on Elevation last night, while Heather was waiting for her in the ring with a 0-2 record. A standing moonsault by Hart left Heather reeling in pain, she did a backspring elbow, an uppercut, a bulldog, and the triangle choke submission. A total one sided squash and relatively quick to boot.

Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Gus De La Vega

Hobbs brought an overall AEW record of 38-17 to the ring. Just like our last match, Vega was waiting in the ring with a singles record of 0-1. Vega got clotheslined before the opening bell could even ring and things got no better for him. Excalibur even said he got “squashed” into the ropes — how apt! I don’t know why but it cracked me up hearing Taz call Vega “Gustavo.” Hobbs wasn’t satisfied beating him up in the ring so he did even more outside before throwing him back in and yelling “Where’s Dante?” Spinebuster, torture rack, submission. Taz: “Direct message to Dante Martin right there.” Indeed! Just to continue to make that point Tony Schiavone interviewed him. “Dante, this is exactly what’s going to happen to you.” Hobbs gave Vega a second torture rack so Martin ran out from the back and broke it up, then did a suicide dive to start a brawl before the referees broke it up.

Gunn Club (Austin & Colten Gunn) vs. Liam Gray & Adrian Alanis

The Gunn Club brought a tag team record of 6-0 to this match. Gray and Alanis had competed before as a team, but their record to date was 0-1. Just like out last contest this match started before the opening bell, and the Orlando crowd chanted “Ass Boys” in response to Billy Gunn’s boys playing dirty. To their credit they encouraged the crowd to do it even more by constantly yelling “Who’s the Ass Boys now?” at them. Gray managed a hot tag to Alanis and he got in a few good shots on the boys before being clobbered with a right hand, which led to an assist from Colten into a roll up by Austin for the pin.

Mercedes Martinez vs. Queen Aminata

It may surprise you to see that Martinez is 0-1 so far in AEW, but that’s because she got disqualified for bashing Thunder Rosa with a pipe on Rampage. Aminata also had a record of 0-1 but it wasn’t hard to guess who’d get the win here, whether or not you read spoilers ahead of time. In case you don’t understand the joke in this week’s report, AEW uploaded Martinez’ debut to YouTube and meant to say it was “emphatic” but never bothered to correct their mistake. Aminata tried her best to fight back but Martinez put her spine on the pine and got on top to lay in some ground and pound. She actually let Aminata get back up which seemed foolish when she was in such a dominant position, but after a brief recovery by Aminata she was put away with a fisherman’s buster, so it didn’t hurt her at the end. Schiavone: “She has been commissioned (by Britt Baker) to take out Thunder Rosa, so she’d better watch her back.” This led us to a Wheeler YUTA interview backstage.

“Tony I do appreciate the congratulations. You can see how much I improved in my two matches with Jon Moxley, but it’s not enough. Aaron I’m sure you’ll have somebody with you but I’m going to leave my friends in the back and show you what +I+ can do.”

Anthony Ogogo vs. Anthony Ogogo Tony Vinci

Ogogo brought a 9-1 record to this match. Our Cageside Commentary Crew provided helpful translations after his last promo on the show and told me that Ogogo said everything was “lubbly jubbly.” He probably felt that way too here knowing he was facing the 0-1 Vincita. Taz was enjoying Ogogo’s handiwork immensely. “He can rip somebody’s nose off, he couldn’t do that with boxing gloves on, right here on the YouTubes!” Ogogo was more interested in power slamming Vincita and yelling out “Cheer for the Guv’nor!” Vincita avoided a charge to the corner and tried a little boxing, but missed by a mile when he went for a missile dropkick. Ogogo planted Vincita with one arm, flexed, then took the boxing taping off his right wrist. He cold cocked Vincita and draped the UK flag over his prone body as the ref called for the bell. QT Marshall raised the victor’s hand.

Lee Moriarty vs. Anthony Henry

Moriarty brought a 2022 record of 1-0 to the ring. Henry was waiting for him sporting green hair and a 0-1 record in AEW. Moriarty showed off the new aggression he promised in his last interview with Tony Schiavone, stretching Henry out and trying to break down his arm. Henry threw a chop and said “come on Lee” and that was a mistake, as it only fired Moriarty up even more. Henry broke up his momentum by sweeping his legs on the apron and cranking his head between his feet, using the ring ropes for leverage. Now it was Henry’s turn to be aggressive, whipping the leg and trying to break down a knee with a back bridge, but Moriarty got a rope break to save himself. Moriarty made a comeback with a side suplex, a lariat, a kick, a knee, a stomp and a near fall. Moriarty and Henry traded rolling cradles before Henry hit a brain buster, almost picking up the upset win. Moriarty took Henry down with a clothesline and finished him with a flatliner. Very fun match and you could hear the crowd applauding the finish. Schiavone went to interview Moriarty again.

“Thank you Tony. What did I say the last time we were here? I said it was time for me to be consistent and focus on right now instead of the future. The competition is not getting any easier, but with every fight I get stronger and I find my focus. Everyone here and everyone at home, you are watching live, TAIGA STYLE’s evolution, and you are watching the metamorphosis of Lee Moriarty. Everyone better watch their step and protect their neck.” If you had any doubt about his Wu-Tang Clan influences, doubt no more.

Anna Jay (w/ -1) vs. Kaci Lennox

Jay brought a 24-11 record to this match. Lennox was waiting for her with a 0-1 record. Lennox had a moment of shine with a big boot to the head, but got yanked off the ropes hard and went splat on the canvas, and Jay unloaded with kicks before quickly tapping her out with the Queen Slayer. Jay’s wins are always like this so but at least -1 got to celebrate with her after it was over.

Fuego Del Sol vs. Serpentico (w/ Luther)

Serpentico’s unfortunate 2022 record to date is 0-3. Even more unfortunate is the fact that Luther accompanied him to the ring. Unfortunately Fuego Del Sol was also in search of his first win this year, bringing a record of 0-1 to the ring. Luther’s screaming is even louder in a small venue like one of the TV taping venues at Universal Studios. Fuego teased a suicide dive but Luther picked him up and carried him for safety, then yelled “shut up” at the crowd.

Luther grabbed the boot for a distraction and Serpentico hit a DDT for a near fall. Luther screamed at Fuego to do a headbutt and as usual he had to grab the back of his own head to do it. Luther told him to rip Fuego’s mask off and he tried. He failed but at least he tried. Fuego gave him a neckbreaker in response. He hit a series of kicks, went up to the top, but Serpentico cut him off thanks to Luther’s distraction. They fought on the top, both landed on the apron, Serpentico hit a pile driver and did a senton atomico for the near fall. Fuego recovered and hit back to back suicide dives on each member of Chaos Project, then gave Serpentico a tornado DDT on the floor for good measure. Double stomp to the back of the head and Fuego had his first win of 2022. Poor Serpentico will have to wait another day.

Wheeler YUTA vs. Aaron Solo (w/ QT Marshall)

Solo brought a record of 14-42 to the ring for the main event. YUTA’s record was 17-15. As you’d expect QT Marshall kept interfering to distract both YUTA and the official Bryce Remsburg, which caused Taz to berate the referee for not doing his job. Solo put the heat on YUTA for a while but he came back with a step up enzuigiri, a flying elbow, and a suicide dive out of the ring. Solo hit a suplex when they got back in the ring for a two count. They brawled from their knees back to their feet, and somebody forgot to tell the Orlando crowd that it was the “boo/yay” spot. German suplex by YUTA. Marshall tried to yank YUTA off the apron but got kicked away, and YUTA was able to tie Solo up in knots for a quick pin. Comoroto ran down and bowled over with a clothesline as Marshall called for his Factory flunkies to finish him off. Orange Cassidy sauntered out from the back to make the save. Marshall tried to sucker punch Cassidy and missed by a country mile. YUTA and Cassidy stood tall in the ring as the show went off the air.

What to watch/skip

This week’s “what to watch/skip” for Dark is brought to you by Non Phixion, because as far as I’m concerned Mercedes Martinez is a “Rock Star” and always has been, whether she’s as empathic as Counselor Troi or not. A close second for a sponsored song would be True God’s song for Lee Moriarty — it might have been first but I couldn’t find a link to it. The new album is on ShopAEW.com though and all proceeds go to the Bootsy Collins Foundation, so check it out. I have no “skips” this week unless you count Anna Jay’s quick squash, but I’m just happy to see Brodie Lee’s son living his best life, so you can watch that one too. This was a relatively short edition of Dark at just over an hour and was paced out very well.

Cageside commentary crew! I welcome your feedback in the comments section below. I’m also on Twitter if you want to hit me up there. See you next Monday night for Elevation!

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