12/28 AEW Dark results: Starr’s review of Joey Janela vs. Sonny Kiss in a No Rules match, Bear Country vs. The Acclaimed, Anthony Greene vs. Tony Nese, Wardlow vs. Casanova, KiLynn King vs. The Bunny, Reka Tehaka vs. Anna Jay, Shawna Reed vs. Diamante, Skye Blue vs. Ashley D’Amboise, The Blade vs. Toa Liona

By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)

AEW Dark (Episode 123)
Taped in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
Streamed December 28, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page

1. Reka Tehaka vs. Anna Jay. Jay brought the fire right away with a wrist lock and a back heel kick across the jaw. Tehaka fired back with body shots, however, Jay came through with multiple back elbows and a Jay kick in the corner. Jay quickly made Tehaka tap out to the Queen Slayer for the win.

Anna Jay defeated Reka Tehaka via submission.

Briar’s Take:  A quick showcase for Jay, who dominated the match. 2022 could be an interesting year for Jay.

Tony Schiavone interviewed Wardlow about his match with Casanova. Wardlow was about to speak when he was interrupted by Shawn Spears, who asked Wardlow about the multiple powerbombs and said he felt they were excessive. Wardlow said he thinks the chair shots are a little excessive. Spears said he would hang out in the back and not be a bother to Wardlow during his match… An AEW TBS Dynamite ad was aired…

2. Toa Liona vs. The Blade (w/The Bunny). Right before the bell rang, The Blade struck Liona and continued to do so. Liona hit back with a flying back elbow, but The Bunny was trying to provide a distraction and The Blade sent Liona to the outside. The Bunny slapped Liona, which allowed The Blade to take a cheap shot. Back inside the ring, The Blade hit Liona with a loaded right hand to win the match.

The Blade defeated Toa Liona via pinfall.

Briar’s Take:  Good match for The Blade, but I’m not a huge fan of outside distractions to allow a cheap finish. I guess that’s heels being heels though.

A Battle of the Belts ad was shown…

3. Casanova vs. Wardlow. Wardlow quickly hit a powerbomb once the bell rang. He continued to hit four more powerbombs and then scored the victory.

Wardlow defeated Casanova via pinfall.

Briar’s Take:  Wardlow is a good character, but hitting multiple powerbombs in a row is starting to get old. Why not just come out, hit the powerbomb once, and quickly win the match?

Schiavone spoke with Anthony Greene about his match with Tony Nese…

4. Shawna Reed vs. Diamante. Reed and Diamante began with a waist lock countering each other. Diamante locked in an arm lock, but Reed swept Diamante off her feet. Reed hit a neckbreaker and only got a two count. Diamante threw Reed into the turnbuckle and finished her with a running dropkick.

Diamante defeated Shawna Reed via pinfall.

Briar’s Take:  It sure has been a bit since we’ve seen Diamante on Dark. She last appeared on the episode 114, which doesn’t count her recent appearances on Elevation. Nonetheless, Diamante always looks good in her matches. Here’s hoping 2022 can be a better year for her, potentially be involved in some good stories.

5. Anthony Greene vs. Tony Nese. Greene played Nese a little with the Full Nelson, but quickly broke the hold and hit the step up huracanrana, before flying to the outside with a jumping sucidia. The two fought outside briefly with Greene throwing a couple of chops to the chest of Nese. Back in the ring, Nese came over the top and hit a springboard moonsault press from the top rope. Greene fired back with a jawbreaker/neckbreaker combination to Nese to gain momentum. Nese threw a kick across the jaw of Greene, but Greene quickly responded with a thrust kick. Nese rallied with a release German suplex and put Greene away with a running knee in the corner.

Tony Nese defeated Anthony Greene via pinfall.

Briar’s Take:  A great back and forth battle between Nese and Greene. I’m always excited for their matches, as they normally bring the fire and have great showings. This bout is no different. It’s definitely something to go out of your way to watch.

6. KiLynn King vs. The Bunny. The Bunny drove King face first into the turnbuckle with a kick and hit a dropkick to her tailbone. The Bunny continued to dominate King with strikes and kicks until King struck back with a throwaway slam. King threw a kick to the midsection and a single leg dropkick to the side of the head of The Bunny. Shortly thereafter, The Bunny regained momentum with a running knee lift and planted King with the Rabbit Hole for the win.

The Bunny defeated KiLynn King via pinfall.

Briar’s Take:  King continues to be an interesting character. Anytime she is in an enhancement match, she wins those respective matches, however when King is in a match with an AEW regular, she loses them. Kind of inconsistent, but a good match between the two.

7. “Bear Country” Bear Boulder and Bear Bronson vs. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens. Bear Boulder planted Bowens with a chokeslam early on. Eventually, Bronson tagged in Boulder, who came in with momentum and hit multiple clotheslines on Caster and Bowens. Boulder also double flat lined The Acclaimed duo and nearly got the victory. Bear Country looked for the Bear Bomb, but The Acclaimed countered the move. Bowens struck the knee of Bronson and got the victory.

The Acclaimed defeated Bear Country via pinfall.

Briar’s Take:  A solid match following their encounter last week on Dark. The finish was kind of clunky with Caster and Boulder out of the ring and The Acclaimed not using their usual finish.

8. Ashley D’Amboise vs. Skye Blue. Blue hit a thrust kick before ending the night of D’Amboise with a powerful flatliner.

Skye Blue defeated Ashley D’Amboise via pinfall.

9. Peter Avalon and Cezar Bononi (w/Ryan Nemeth) vs. Orange Cassidy and Wheeler Yuta (w/Chuck Taylor). Bononi struck Yuta as the Best Friends made their entrance. Yuta tagged in Cassidy after Bononi and Avalon missed a release German suplex. Cassidy tried hitting the jumping suicida on the outside, but Bononi threw him back in the ring. Cassidy was successful the second time with Yuta, before planting Avalon with a DDT Bononi tried hitting the Stun Dog Millionaire, but hit Cassidy with the powerslam instead. Ryan Nemeth attempted to get involved, but Chuck Taylor pulled him down to ringside. Bononi hit Taylor and then Yuta dived on top of Bononi on the outside. Cassidy got the victory for his team with the Orange Punch on Avalon.

Orange Cassidy and Wheeler Yuta defeated Peter Avalon and Cezar Bononi via pinfall.

Briar’s Take:  Man, this match was quickly paced from the get-go and was a little bit hard to keep up with near the end with the run-ins from Taylor and Nemeth. However, the match still had a solid showing.

10. Sonny Kiss vs. Joey Janela (w/Kalya Rossi) in a No DQ, No Count-Out, No Rules match.Kiss and Janela were hard hitting from the start with Kiss throwing a trashcan at Kalya Rossi, which sent her to the outside. Janela threw right hands and planted Kiss with a clothesline. Kiss turned the tables slightly with a clothesline and a jumping huracanrana on Janela. Janela and Kiss fought on the outside by throwing each other into the barricade.

Kiss missed a moonsault off from the stairs, which allowed Rossi and Janela to plant Kiss with a double powerbomb on the stairs. Janela looked for the package piledriver from the top rope, but Kiss hit the swinging DDT onto the chairs instead. Afterward, Janela was busted open with a boot from Kiss, who lifted Janela on the shoulders and landed the TKO. Kiss followed with a crossbody block on Janela at ringside.

Janela and Rossi brought in a table and ladder into the ring. Kiss hit a rolling elbow strike to both Janela and Rossi. Kiss put Janela and Rossi on the table and landed a flying splash off the ladder, which broke the table. Janela set up a table by the entrance ramp and piledrove Kiss through it. Janela rolled Kiss back into the ring and and made the cover to win the match.

Joey Janela defeated Sonny Kiss via pinfall in a No Rules match.

Briar’s Take:  A hell of a fierce match between Kiss and Janela, which was to be expected in this type of match up. Originally, I thought this set up would have been better in front of a live crowd either on Dynamite or Dark Elevation. With that said, they put on a hard hitting battle that felt like it could have gone either way. With the match being a No DQ, No Rules match, and Janela getting the victory, this should be the end of their feud.

Overall, Dark was carried by the Joey Janela vs. Sonny Kiss feud for the final episode of 2021 and rightfully so. I wish there would have been a little more hype on Dynamite with a video package of some sort for fans to tune into watch or a quick graphic. As for the other matches, they were short and simple to follow, which made the show quicker. Aside from the main event, Tony Nese vs. Anthony Greene was excellent and definitely a must watch, while Bear Country vs. The Acclaimed was good in its own right despite the clunky finish. This puts a cap on AEW Dark for 2021 and it sure was an interesting year for the show. They are slightly improving their content, but still have a long way to go in terms of being consistent with their match count and show length. I hope everyone has a Happy New Year and thanks for following along this year. Episode 123 clocked in at 1 hour and 15 seconds. Final Score: 8.0 out of 10.


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