AEW Dark recap (Mar. 22, 2022): Fuego and Hobbs

Episode 135 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. Without further adieu let’s get straight into Tuesday night’s action!

JD Drake (w/ The Wingmen) vs. Jay Lethal

Drake brought a 2022 record of 0-3 to this match. Lethal’s record for 2022 was 8-1. Let’s all be honest here — it would be incredibly strange if Lethal lost this match, even with Drake having his entire crew at ringside to interfere. It’s not just about the win/loss records here, it’s about the fact that one guy is enhancement to the stars, and one guy IS a star. Avalon and Lethal had a Woo-off and did their respective Flair struts. Drake threw Lethal to the outside for the obligatory crew beatdown. Drake did a move I’d like to see more in this kind of match — he threw Lethal into the ropes on the outside and gave him a clothesline on the rebound. Back in the ring Drake gave him a chop and applied a headlock as Avalon mimed that Lethal was going to sleep. He did not.

Lethal got to his feet and fought his way out with elbows to Drake’s bulbous gut. Drake tried to throw Lethal out again but he ducked the Wingmen twice and they took each other out each time. Taz: “What’s going on out here? It’s like Benny Hill.” Lethal did a suicide dive and then gave Cezar Bononi a chop. Bononi no sold it and Drake threw him back in. Lethal went for the injection but it got blocked. Bononi held Lethal on the ropes so that Drake could grab him for a Bossman Slam and a near fall. Drake went to the top rope and missed a moonsault, and this time the Lethal Injection connected. Very solid opening match. Drake may not be a star, but he’s a solid worker.

Tony Schiavone went to interview Lethal after the match and reminded us he’s a multi-time Ring of Honor champion and the face of ROH. “Schiavone!! I gotta tell ya, not only am I excited, but everybody here is excited about the Ring of Honor purchase.” (ROH! ROH!) “Tony as the face of Ring of Honor, and now a current AEW star, I am pretty darn excited about what the future may hold. Schiavone!!”

The Butcher & The Blade vs. Capt. Shawn Dean & Carlie Bravo

Dean and Bravo came out first which was appropriate since it’s also their first team teaming together in AEW. AFO’s Butcher and Blade brought a record of 22-10 to the match. Blade and Butcher exchanged quick tags to work on Bravo, and gave him a hard lariat out on the floor for good measure. Dean got knocked off the apron while this was going on but got back up and pounded on the turnbuckle to get the crowd into it. He got the hot tag and took Butcher down with a dropkick, then gave Blade a rising knee. Bravo got tagged back in and they double teamed Butcher, but it was for naught as a top rope move was blocked and the heels Dragged the Lake for the pin. There was no other way this could go given they’re booked for a big match with the Hardys tomorrow night.

Anthony Ogogo vs. Anthony Ogogo Ray Jaz

Ogogo brought an AEW record of 10-1. Jaz was waiting for him in the ring with a record of 0-2 for 2022. Would you be surprised to know Ogogo manhandled him and obliterated him with knees to the body? No? That’s what I thought. Jaz tried and failed to make a comeback, ate a big slam, and Ogogo took off his wrist straps to throw a right hand to the jaw. He draped a flag over Jaz as the referee counted to ten to signal a knockout blow.

Nyla Rose (w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs. Kaci Lennox

Rose brought an overall AEW record of 63-23 to this match at Universal Studios. Lennox waited for her with an AEW record of 0-1. Lennox tried to pie face Rose early and just pissed her off. Guerrero screamed at Rose to finish her but Lennox blocked a charge with an elbow. Rose took her down with a clothesline, draped her over the ropes, and did a flying knee to the back of the head as the crowd chanted “Holy shit!” That was a new and impressive way to pick up a win as opposed to doing the same old Beast Bomb. I like it.

Blake Christian vs. Rohit Raju

Raju (0-1) was already waiting in the ring as Christian came out to make his AEW debut. If you’re wondering why Christian got the star treatment here, I’d chalk it up to prior experience in Impact Wrestling and NXT, and he was known as Trey Baxter in the latter. Christian knocked Raju down with a flying corkscrew kick, gave him a running elbow, a slam, and a split legged moonsault for a near fall. Christian is so pale that every strike and bounce off the ropes was turning him bright red. Raju hit a flatliner for a near fall. Christian got back up to trade forearms. Raju hit a leaping knee but Christian hit a Spanish Fly and a springboard 450 to make the pin. Get some spray tan Christian. That’s my only complaint.

The Acclaimed vs. Liam Gray & Adrian Alanis

“Yo! Listen! Listen! Yo! Yo! The Acclaimed always with the hot start. We’re the top reason anybody watch Dark. The rap guys are the new rock stars. Someone get these guys a damn pop tart. They getting turned into dust, they look like the malnourished version of us. And y’all are virgins, I know you abstain. We get it in because everybody loves The Acclaimed.”

The Acclaimed brought a record of 34-9 to Universal Studios. Gray and Alanis brought a record of 0-2 to the match.You won’t be surprised to know this was a quick squash. Bowens did an airplane spin, Caster did the Mic Drop, and that was that. The rap was the most important part of this segment.

AQA vs. Valentina Rossi

AQA came out 2-2 thus far in AEW. Rossi was waiting for her in the ring with a record of 0-2. Rossi put the boots to her early literally, stomping on her back to make her roll around in pain, then unloading with boots and forearms in the corner as Aubrey Edwards told her to “back it up.” She threw AQA into the ropes but she hit two flying sledges and a slingblade in response. Enzuigiri, cravate into a neckbreaker, pin. Short, fast, and fun. Well done AQA.

karam vs. Tony Nese

“The Premiere Athlete” Nese brought a record of 9-2 to this contest. Kara was 0-1. Guess who’s winning here? Don’t bother — you don’t need to guess. At least they weren’t making it “easy” this time as Karam was actually the physically larger man, although his physique couldn’t match Nese’s washboard abs and bulging biceps. It’s not even that Karam wasn’t fit (he was), but he wasn’t AS fit as Nese. Few people are. They let Karam look like he might get the win for a minute, but Nese escaped a fireman’s carry with a thumb to the eyes, hit a German suplex into the turnbuckle, and finished him with the Running Nese. Oh well.

Abadon vs. Angelica Risk

It’s too bad Tony Khan hasn’t bought the rights to “Living Dead Girl” for AEW. Abadon brought a singles record of 28-3. Risk was winless so far in AEW, sporting a record of 0-4, and it was soon to be 0-5 even though she tried to get a hot start attacking Abadon. She screamed “I got her down” and Abadon sat up like Undertaker. Leaping back elbow. Senton. Black Dahlia. Done. Up to this point this was the fastest squash of the show.

Gunn Club (w/ Billy Gunn) vs. Brick City Boyz

Gunn Club came to the ring 8-1. The Brick City Boyz were waiting for them to make their AEW debut. Colt 45, pin. That was even faster than Abadon’s match. Damn.

Mercedes Martinez vs. Gemma Jewels

Martinez brought a record of 2-3 to the ring. Jewels had no record in AEW as this was her debut match. She’s a tall drink of water, so Martinez immediately tripped her to bring her down tin size. Taz: “This is going to be tough going for the taller, blonder young lady.” Martinez had an ample target to throw chops at, that’s for sure. Big boot, running dropkick in the corner, and the Dragon Sleeper got the submission. Not as fast as the last two matches, but probably no longer than both of them combined together.

Varsity Blonds (w/ Julia Hart) vs. Sotheara Chuun & Tony Vincita

The Blonds came out 26-13 for this match. Chuun and Vincita were making their debut as a tag team even though they’ve both been on the Dark programs before. You can tell AEW likes them as they actually gave this match a little bit of time. The result was still as obvious as you’d expect though. Pillman hit a kick, Garrison hit a shot to the head, and Pillman made an immediate suplex for the pin. Schiavone did a post-match interview. “Today is a good day to be a Blond, but you’re right, a couple of Wednesdays ago it wasn’t a good day. Every time we fall, every time we fail, it’s because we’re in there with the best teams in the world. What does that tell you Griff?” Garrison: “It tells me we’re going to be one of the best teams in the world. You’re asking us what’s next? It’s climbing that ladder. Tag team gold. Woof woof woof!” Yes — he barked like a dog. See for yourself.

Marina Shafir vs. Leila Gray

Shafir brought a 3-0 record to the ring. Gray was waiting for her with a record of 0-2. Excalibur made sure to remind us that Rampage would not be pre-empted this week. Shafir did a cartwheel, kicked gray in the back, then put on a triangle choke for the submission. Another quick and merciless victory on a squash-tastic edition of Dark.

Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Fuego Del Sol

Hobbs brought a record of 42-18 to the main event. Fuego brought a 2022 record of 3-3. He tried to knock Hobbs off his feet, but as Excalibur said about his strikes early, Hobbs “eats those for lunch.” He picked up Fuego, hurled him into the corner with authority, dig a big splash and draped him over the turnbuckle for some chops to the chest. Hobbs mocked Fuego’s high flying offense by circling his finger. Vertical suplex. Fuego sold his back, writhing in pain and crawling to the ropes. Hobbs whipped him into the turnbuckle and the ref checked on Fuego to see if he wanted to continue. Fuego avoided a charge into the corner and hit an enzuigiri and a dropkick to send Hobbs to the floor, and followed it up with a suicide dive. Fuego went for a crossbody but Hobbs caught him coming in. He went to ram Fuego into the turnbuckle but Fuego reversed the momentum, then followed up with a torneo. He threw Hobbs back into the ring and went top rope for the tornado DDT, but Hobbs kicked out at two. Fuego went back to the ropes looking for a double stomp but Hobbs avoided it and gave him a spinebuster, then applied the torture rack for the win.

What to watch/skip

This week’s “what to watch/skip” for AEW Dark is brought to you by Calvin and Hobbes. Officially they never produced an animated version of it, because Bill Watterson was famously skeptical that the vision he drew could be successfully translated (and leery of marketing and merchandising as well), but short “proof of concept” clips on YouTube are still fun to watch. I imagine most TV networks would have drawn the line at Calvin’s decapitated snowmen anyway… at least back then. These days, who knows. Why am I talking about this though? Because there’s so little to say about the matches tonight. Aside from the opener and Christian vs. Raju they were all very one-sided and obvious. This could have resulted in a boring edition of Dark, but they crammed so many matches into an hour that there was barely a moment to breathe. It also felt like a game of “beat the clock” in terms of who’d get the win faster, and even if that was only in my own head I enjoyed it. Don’t skip anything this time. Roll with this whole episode from bell to bell.

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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