By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 118)
Taped November 17, 2021 in Norfolk, Virginia at Chartway Arena
Streamed November 23, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
1. Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo vs. Dark Order’s Alex Reynolds and John Silver. Silver planted Bravo with a high end and locked him in with submission holds. Silver followed with an uppercut and tagged out. Reynolds stayed in briefly, but Silver returned to the match and began striking with kicks to Bravo. Dean made the tag and laid an elbow drop to Silver. Bravo and Dean attempted a double suplex, but Silver blocked the maneuver. Reynolds hit a back elbow and dropkick on Dean. Shortly thereafter, Reynolds landed a neckbreaker on Dean. Silver and Reynolds doubled up on Dean with multiple moves before Silver won with the release German suplex.
Alex Reynolds and John Silver defeated Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The match looked great on paper, but I didn’t think this was Reynolds and Silver’s best showing. The match never kicked into gear and it was sort of slow in some spots. The effort was there nonetheless.
2. Karma Dean vs. Riho. Dean was the first to gain momentum by hitting kicks to the midsection of Riho in the corner. Dean followed with a back elbow. Riho regained her pace by striking to the midsection of Dean and threw boots to her face, as well as a rising knee strike. Riho got the area code shot and planted Dean with the northern lights suplex. Riho won with the diving foot stomps.
Riho defeated Karma Dean via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: An okay match/victory for Riho. There was really nothing special about it, other than Karma Dean dominated early and she made her AEW debut.
3. Gabriel Hodder, Adrien Soriano, and Matthew Omen vs. Matt Lee, Jeff Parker, and Daniel Garcia. The 2point0 duo of Parker and Lee made cohesive tags early on. Garcia got in a dropkick and then shoulder tackled Hodder. Parker tagged in and hit a knee strike to Hodder in the corner. Soriano tagged in and then he and Parker threw shots back and forth until Lee made a tag and hit the Two For The Show. Garcia tagged in and made Soriano tap out to the Scorpion Deathlock for the victory.
Daniel Garcia and “2point0” Matt Lee and Jeff Parker defeated Gabriel Hodder, Adiren Soriano, and Matthew Omen via submission.
Afterward, Tony Schivaone interviewed 2point0 about their victory and their rise to the top.
Briar’s Take: Good tag team cohesion from 2point0, who never really gave the other team a chance. 2022 is shaping up to be a big year for them, if all continues to go their way.
4. Notorious Mimi vs. Kiera Hogan. Mimi came in with the high boot across the jaw of Hogan and landed a side slam. Hogan fired back with a leg drop across the head of Mimi and fired multiple dropkicks to regain momentum. Shortly thereafter, Hogan won with a roundhouse kick.
Kiera Hogan defeated Notorious Mimi via pinfall.
5. Chad Lennex and Caine Carter vs. Bear Country. Lennex attempted shots to Bear Boulder, but Boulder lifted up Lennex and threw him down. Lennex looked for the sunset flip, but Bronson planted Carter right on top of Lennex. Shortly thereafter, Bear Country splashed Lennex and Carter and got the win.
Bear Country defeated Chad Lennex and Caine Carter via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Another dominating win for Bear Country who improved to 10-2 of the year.
6. Jameson Ryan vs. Anthony Greene. Ryan arm dragged Greene early on, but Greene countered with a pin attempt. Greene suplexed Ryan and followed up with a running chop. Greene planted Ryan from the top rope and landed the crucifix driver to get the victory.
Anthony Greene defeated Jameson Ryan via pinfall.
Schiavone interviewed Greene about the match afterward and broke the news to him that he would be fighting Adam Cole next week on Dark.
Briar’s Take: A solid showing from Greene this week. His match Cole next week is one to look forward to.
7. Zack Clayton vs. Joey Janela (w/Kayla Rossi). Janela dropped Clayton by driving his shoulder into the mat. Clayton came back with dropkicks and then planted Janela with the vertical delayed suplex. Clayton was tripped by Rossi, and Janela capitalized on the distraction with an uppercut. Janela was going to go Coast to Coast, but walked over to the corner of Clayton and locked in a short submission. Janela missed a diving elbow, which allowed Clayton to strike with a power slam. While the ref was distracted, Rossi hit a moonsault. Janela eventually won with an elbow drop.
Joey Janela defeated Zack Clayton via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: One of the more longer and more competitive matches of the night. Great stuff from Janela and Clayton despite some ref distractions.
Lexi Nair interviewed Bear Country, who said there’s no team hungrier in AEW. They said they won’t be satisfied until they get what they deserve.
8. Valentina Rossi vs. Emi Sakura. Rossi splashed Sakura in the corner and nearly won with a neckbreaker. Unfortunately for Rossi, Sakura hit the running crossbody and won with a double underhook suplex.
Emi Sakura defeated Valentina Rossi via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A rare singles matches from Sakura, who has been in numerous tag teams in recent weeks.
9. Brick Aldridge vs. Matt Hardy. Hardy dropped a short elbow across the chest of Aldrige early in the match. When the two returned to the ring, Hardy hit multiple neckbreakers. Later, Aldridge flew from the top with a diving headbutt that led to a two count. Hardy attempted a side effect, but Aldridge hit a shoulder breaker. Aldridge missed amoonsault after Hardy dodged it and planted him with a Side Effect and won with the Twist of Fate.
Matt Hardy defeated Brick Aldridge via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Hardy and Aldridge had a great showing. Aldridge seems to be coming into his own here lately and 2022 might be a big year for him.
10. Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson vs. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens. Anderson got the advantage early by targeting Caster’s arm with a leg drop. Afterward, Anderson fired away with shoulders to the midsection of Caster and hit the backdrop before tagging in Johnson. Bowens ran into an arm drag from Johnson. Eventually, Caster tagged in and stomped Anderson. Caster planted Anderson with a knee drop. Anderson found momentum again with a DDT to Bowens and a spine buster to Caster and finally tagged out. Johnson came in with a swinging neckbreaker to Caster and a step up enzuigiri on Bowens. Caster hit a running forearm shot to Johnson, who hit back with a frog splash, which required Bowens to break up a pin attempt. Caster illegally used a chain on Anderson to win the match.
The Acclaimed defeated Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A hell of a tag team match and it was an especially good outing from Anderson. This was one of Anderson’s best outings since he arrived in AEW. Johnson had flashes as well.
11.. Rolando Perez vs. Wardow. Wardlow hit three powerbombs and followed up with Casualty of War for the quick win.
Wardlow defeated Rolando Perez via knockout.
Briar’s Take: Poor Perez never stood a chance against Wardlow despite pleading with him as the bell rang. To make his night worse, Wardlow continued to manhandle Perez after the match was over.
12. Lee Moriarity vs. Nick Comoroto. Comoroto dominated Moriarity early on with shoulders to the midsection in the corner. Moriarity locked in a double wrist lock, but Comoroto broke the hold by planting Moriarity on his knee. Later, Moriarity came through with a DDT shoulder combination and locked in a double wrist lock. Comroto hit a running powerslam and drove Moriarity onto the mat. Moriarity then locked in the cradle and got the upset win.
Lee Moriarity defeated Nick Comoroto via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: I assumed Comoroto was going to quickly squash Moriarity, but it turned out to be a very competitive back and forth match. Great stuff. Overall, this episode of Dark was a downer. I get the company probably gets more time with their tapings at Universal Studios compared to an arena, but the show is much, much better in front of a live arena crowd, which simply brings more energy than a studio audience that sits through multiple tapings. Jameson Ryan vs. Anthony Greene, Zach Clayton vs. Joey Janela, Brick Aldridge vs. Matt Hardy, and Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson vs. The Acclaimed were all very good, as was the main event. Otherwise, the show was very missable and didn’t really amount to much. Episode 118 clocked in at 1 hour, 20 minutes, and 43 seconds. Final Score: 6.5 out of 10.