AEW Dark recap: Max Caster, rap master

Episode 158 of AEW Dark is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the stream. Excalibur and Taz called the action taped at Universal Studios in Orlando. If you want to practice your own Max Caster freestyle (yo, listen, yo) here’s an instrumental before we get to tonight’s action!

Robyn & Charlette Renegade vs. Rocky Radley & Allie Recks

The Renegade Twins brought a record of 1-2 to this match. Thankfully for them their opponents Radley and Recks were teaming together for the first time. Poor Taz had no idea who was Charlette and who was Robyn, but given they constantly do “twin magic” and sub in for each other he can hardly be blamed. They were not at all hesitant to cheat when “Dropkick” Mike Posey had his back turned, and he also did nothing to break up a double delayed vertical suplex they held onto forever. Robyn got a near fall and then laid in some ground and pound before tagging Charlette. They did another delayed vertical but Recks hit a sloppy double DDT to escape and tag Radley. Radley ate a double team neckbreaker and was promptly pinned. I’d say the Renegades had a squash, but they could have just as easily been wrestling two brooms for as stiff as their opponents were. They did nothing.

Anthony Ogogo vs. Meto

Ogogo brought a record of 19-1 to the ring. Taz: “He doesn’t like people. Sometimes in life there’s no reason to like anyone. Everyone has an agenda and everyone’s sneaky.” There’s a positive outlook on life. Meto was making his AEW debut here, so you already know the outcome before I even say it. Meto may have gotten slightly more offense than the losers of the previous bout combined — a dropkick and a forearm — but Ogogo promptly wiped him out with an overhead belly to belly and laid in the strikes. Meto tried and failed to turn it around and ate an uppercut and a slam. The pop up right hand was the finishing blow.

The Wingmen (Peter Avalon & Ryan Nemeth) vs. Adrian Alanis & Liam Gray

The Wingmen brought a record of 0-4 and were accompanied by Cezar Bononi. Alanis & Gray were also 0-4. By the numbers you’d say that’s a fair fight but pro wrestling logic tells you the guys who got entrance music and a walkout are winning while the guys waiting in the ring for them are not. With Bononi there to run interference on the outside that was almost assured. Still Alanis got the hot tag and got to run wild on the Wingmen for a little bit and his dropkick looked good. Alanis and Gray bonked heads, Nemeth hit a neck breaker and Avalon did a splash for the pin. The Wingmen can finally put “win” in their name.

Tony Schiavone hit the ring for a post-match interview. Avalon: “Take a look at who’s in the ring, the best looking men in the company, ooh. Take a look we’re on the board.” Nemeth: “We’re bold, we’re buxom, and we’re beautiful. We’ve got a message for the whole AEW locker room.” Bononi: “The Wingmen are going to make AEW pretty.”

Blake Christian vs. Lucky Ali

“All Heart” Blake Christian entered with a record of 1-3. “Lucky” for him his opponent Ali was 0-2 coming in. The crowd was definitely on Christian’s side as Orlando chanted his nickname, and Ali mocked him by saying he has “no heart.” Ali tried to charge him in the corner and missed, then kicked him in the knee and dragged him in the ring for a near fall. Ali applied a bear hug on the ground and Christian fought back to his feet. Ali refused to let go. Ali threw him into the corner, Christian got a boot up and then fired up for a whirling lariat in the corner. Leaping knee, double stomp to the head, and Ali tumbled to the floor. Christian did a suicide dive through the ropes, threw Ali back in, and did a springboard elbow as the crowd chanted “All Heart” again. Ali ducked a second top rope move and went to the ropes but Christian countered with a superplex from the top and a twisting neck breaker. A curb stomp led to the pin.

Tony Schiavone was back for another interview. Christian: “You know all I ever wanted was All Heart on that big screen and I finally got it, so I thank you for supporting me and you people at home for supporting me. All Heart is back on track and I’m looking for success, whoever and whatever that success might be.” He may have rehearsed that one but credit to him if he did because he delivered it well.

Jora Johl vs. Vary Morales

Johl brought a 2022 record of 5-3 to the ring. Morales was 0-1. Morales caught him with an elbow to the face outside the ring, so Johl threw him in the air and dropped him right on his face before throwing him back in. He knocked Morales down with a chop but Morales fought back to his feet… and got wiped out by another chop. Morales hit a kick from the apron but got cut off and superplexed back into the ring. Johl signaled the end was near but missed and ate a series of kicks. Morales tripped him into the turnbuckle and went to the top but ate a pump kick when he came off for the pin.

Max Caster vs. Justin Cotto

Caster’s record was 65-31. “Yo! Listen! Yo. Platinum on the mic, nobody can outdo. This guy’s like an NFT, no value. That hair looks iffy on you. Wait ‘til I’m done, you see what my scissors’ll do. I shine bright, I’m illuminated. I bury you lower than Biden’s approval rating. So put some respect on my name. It’s Universal, everybody loves The Acclaimed.” True!

He also got a fan at ringside to do Bowens’ half of the entrance. Cotto was making his debut in AEW here and to his credit wasn’t a complete novice to the ring. He even hit a decent shooting star press but Caster got out of the way, spiked him with a backdrop, and went to the top rope for the Mic Drop and the pin. This was a fun squash. Cotto has promise.

Dante Martin & Matt Sydal vs. The Factory (Aaron Solo & Nick Comoroto)

The Factory brought a team record of 6-11. Surprisingly QT Marshall was nowhere in sight. Martin was 55-31 and Sydal was 40-33. They overwhelmed Solo and mocked Comoroto, and when Paul Turner’s back was turned dealing with him cheated with a senton. Martin got double teamed and thrown into the barricade for the heat. Comoroto ran him back and forth between the barricade and apron and threw him through the ropes back into the ring. Even when Solo was the legal man Comoroto choked him from the apron while Turner was distracted. Sydal kept begging for the tag and The Factory kept destroying Martin. Comoroto tried a standing flip and missed but the crowd chanted “that was awesome” anyway, which drew the ire of Taz. “You entitled heathens. I’m sick of you!” Martin finally leapt to freedom to give Sydal the hot tag and unleash a fury of kicks. Taz: “Karate Jones!”

Solo ate a ‘rana off the top for two. Taz: “He landed on the side of his bean right there.” Comoroto clubbed Sydal from behind when he hit the ropes. Martin made the save and Comoroto ran in to break up a double team. Scoop slam and clothesline by Comoroto. “One more flip! One more flip!” Taz: “They’re getting on my nerves these people!” Comoroto hit Sydal with a backbreaker and signaled to Solo for a double stomp. Martin made the save again. Taz: “This thing could have ended a couple of times already.” Comoroto and Martin spilled out, Martin recovered and made a backflip to wipe out Comoroto (after a legal tag oddly enough) then hit Solo with the Nosedive for the win.

Daniel Garcia vs. Westin Blake

If that name looks familiar you’re not wrong — it’s Wesley Blake from WWE. Garcia brought a singles record of 26-19 to the match, while Blake was making his promotional debut here. Garcia and Blake were 50/50 in the early going until Garcia hit a back suplex for a near fall. Garcia hit an uppercut, whipped Blake into the turnbuckle, hit a dropkick to the back and got another two count. Garcia hit a chop, Blake hit a forearm to the back of the head, and Garcia sold it big. Blake started stomping on him, grounded him, and sank in a chinlock. Garcia fought back to his feet and they exchanged chops. Garcia slapped him in the face, hit a backdrop and a running PK, and Blake kicked out. Taz: “It’s a good hard hitting contest here.” (Crowd: “Wre-stl-ing!”) Taz: “I’ve never heard that one before.” Blake hit a pendulum piledriver for a near fall. Garcia kicked out of another pinning predicament as Taz opined that Garcia might have been weakened by 2 out of 3 falls with Daniel Bryan on Dynamite. Blake went top rope but nobody was home. Garcia hit a reverse suplex and rolled through into a Dragon Sleeper to tap Blake out. Both men did well here.

The Trustbusters (Ari Daivari, Slim J, Parker Boudreaux) vs. Ryan Howe, Omar Amir & Cash Flo

The Trustbusters brought a record of 1-1 along with Sonny Kiss and their new “butler” Jeeves Kay to the ring. Their opponents were working together as a trio for the first time, which didn’t bode well for them since Daivari’s crew were coming off a loss in the trios tournament. Excalibur went out of his way to explain that Jeeves Kay was the former VSK, but that would only matter if people remembered who VSK was from previous Dark appearances. Boudreaux hit the ring to manhandle everyone, no sell their offense, and tag in Slim J. Boudreaux used him as a battering ram and then gave him an assist on a Sliced Bread for the pin. J was so excited he ripped his shirt in half Hogan style after the match was over.

Tony Schiavone hit the ring for an interview. Daivari: “Mr. Schiavone, I want you to meet Jeeves Kay. This is the the Trust Butler! I told these guys when they joined the Trustbusters I would spare no expense taking care of them. I want every single one of you at home to get used to these faces —you’ll be seeing them for a long time, because everybody knows in bust we trust!”

The Dark Order (John Silver, Alex Reynolds & Preston “10” Vance) vs. Joey Sweets, DK Vandu & Tyshaun Perez

Speaking of trios we have Dark Order in the next match and they brought a combined record of 9-1 to the ring. Excalibur noted that Evil Uno couldn’t accompany them because he was in Germany promoting AEW Fight Forever. Their opponents were “making their debut” in the trios division so let’s sum it up like this — the jobbers tried to cheat and get the heat on Reynolds three on one but it didn’t pay off. Vance got the hot tag and cleaned house, spine on the pine, tag to Reynolds who tagged Silver immediately so they could do the Pendulum Bomb for the pin. It was paint by the numbers with every stroke.

Tony Schiavone interviewed them about their semi-finals match this Friday on Rampage. Silver: “I’m a little disappointed. I’ve gone on Twitter and seen the brackets. Nobody had us getting past the first round. We’ve been here since the beginning. We’ve been busting our butts, and this Friday we’re going to beat some spooky perverted ass!” Reynolds: “There’s no team here that has a stronger bond than us. It’s our time to make history. Dark Order will be the first AEW Trios Champions.” Only if they get past the House of Black that is.

Tony Nese & Josh Woods vs. GKM & Oliver Sawyer

Nese & Woods were accompanied by “Smart” Mark Sterling and brought a team record of 3-1 following their win last night on Elevation. GKM and Sawyer were teaming together for the first time in AEW so once again the result is self-evident before the match even begins. In fact the more interesting part here was Tony Schiavone’s interview.

Sterling: “I’m glad you’re out here. I’m going straight to the top and there are implications for Tony Khan as well. Did you inform us we had an interview in the ring last week? And Tony Khan okayed that? Moxley not only attacked us from behind, he stole our Dynamite opportunity, taking money from our pockets. We are exploring a lawsuit against the entire Blackpool Combat Club. They walk around willy nily doing whatever they want, bleeding on whatever they want, and sanitation workers are overworked cleaning every surface. There’s possibly a class action lawsuit there. The majority of that group isn’t even from Blackpool so they can cut that crap out right now. I know there’s a Swiss Bank account and Bryan Danielson has a lot of money, but his wife has a lot more. Tomorrow night CM Punk vs. Jon Moxley, the whole world is watching, but the Blackpool Combat Club should be watching their e-mail because they’ll get SERVED!”

Iron Savages vs. Sean Maluta & Manny Lo

Apparently Bear Country has had a gimmick change. They now have a manager named JT Davidson and he introduced Brunson and Boulder as the Iron Savages, sporing a record of 17-10. I don’t understand why this is happening but Davidson made sure we heard him loud and clear even without a working microphone. Maluta and Lo were in the ring waiting for TAFKA Bear Country but they weren’t waiting long. Boulder hit a choke slam, Maluta briefly escaped a double team with an enzuigiri and a back elbow, but he ate a Death Valley Driver right into his teammate. The Iron Savages stacked up the cordwood in the corner and did their double team cannonball before Bronson made the pin.

Tony Schiavone spoke to Mr. Davidson. “Everything on this planet requires change. But before I talk any more about these boys, my name is the Iron Manager JT Davidson and I guaran-damn-tee I am the meanest, the best, the man who is going to put a mark on AEW. I don’t believe in luck. Luck Tony Schiavone is when preparation meets the time we are at. These beasts, these savages are going to take over. Schiavone you are dismissed.” Bronson: “Let me make myself perfectly clear. We have never needed validation from you or anybody in this country to know we’ve been All Elite since we stepped foot into AEW. I dare anybody in the back who is frustrated to look me in the eyes. I will eat you alive!” Davidson: “We are the Iron Savages and everybody in the back is now on notice.”

The Workhorsemen (JD Drake & Anthony Henry) vs. Rosario Grillo & Dean Alexander

The Workhorsemen brought a record of 0-5 to the ring. Thankfully for them Grillo and Alexander were teaming together for the first time. If you’re keeping track this is match 13 out of 14 and 80+ minutes into this show. Dark episodes don’t need to be this long. Henry had his way with Grillo, but Grillo countered into an inside cradle before giving Alexander the tag. Drake caught a boot to the head but by playing the crowd the carpenters got hammered. Henry went to the top for a double stomp, Drake did a moonsault, and Henry made the pin. At least it was quick.

KiLynn King vs. Mafiosa

King brought a record of 0-2. Mafiosa brought a record of 0-5. At least they were finally giving King a chance to pick up a win, and given she has her own entrance music, it was overdue. She hit a knee to Mafiosa’s stomach, a kick to the head, and turned Mafiosa inside out for a finish that made Excalibur say “Wow!” Tony Schiavone had one final interview here about her match with Britt Baker tomorrow night.

King: “Really Tony, you had to do the moniker for her? It is great to be back, it really is. (Welcome back! Welcome back!) When the pandemic started, I was one of the fortunate ones to find my way to AEW. But once I found my way here, I busted my butt every week to stay here. I made the conscious decision to go back out on the independents, bust my ass, and make sure everybody’s buzzing about the name KiLynn King. And what do you know? A few months later I’m back baby. Not only am I back, I’m back on Dynamite against Toni Storm and I go toe to toe with her. And now I’m back in my hometown tomorrow night in Cleveland, Ohio, the home of the mother-effin King. And how appropriate that I’m going against Shittsburg’s own, Britt Baker?”

This brought Baker out for a response and the whole crowd chanted “D-M-D” for her. Baker: “First things first KiLynn, please stop boring these Orlando nerds with talk of Cleveland. That’s almost as brutal as the match graphic I saw of me wrestling you. I did not want to come out here tomorrow night but your little sob story was making me sick to my stomach. Let me get this straight, you worked hard, made a name for yourself, and we’re supposed to be impressed. She gets a pat on the back for doing what everybody here should be doing. I have built AEW from the ground up. I built an empire and I still make it to my dental practice to see my patients by 8 AM baby. I am the baddest bitch on the block, I am Britt Baker, DMD. As much as I’d like to end this nonsense right now, DMD don’t do Darks, sorry.”

King: “Let me get this straight. You came here to talk your shit, and these fans want to see this match right now, but you the role model are going to deny them? I know how much you like to bleed though so how about I do you a favor and bust your ass open and get you a new t-shirt?” Baker: “KiLynn, a drop of my blood on this mat would still be worth more than 15 minutes of anything you could ever do.” She pie faced King and they started brawling. Lynn threw her into the barricade before security made her back up and leave.

What to watch/skip

What a loaded episode! With 14 matches to go over let’s just get down to brass tacks. Caster vs. Cotto was fun, The Factory vs. Sydal & Martin was an excellent tag team match, and Blake looked good in a loss for his AEW debut. There was a lot of filler before that and a lot of filler after that, and even though the matches were longer than Elevation I still don’t think you need 14 of them in one show, especially when there are about five too many in-ring interviews with Tony Schiavone. Less is more people. If you want to watch any of those segments though, watch the one that led to a face off between Baker and King. That’s all!

Cageside commentary crew! Share your feedback in the comments section below. If you love pro wrestling you can find me on Twitter to discuss it there too. See you in just under a week for new episode of Elevation!

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