By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 126)
Taped in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
Streamed January 18, 2022 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur and Taz were on commentary…
1. Kaun vs. Adam Cole. Cole planted Kaun on the outside with a punt kick that sent Kaun to the outside. Cole followed up by throwing Kaun into the ring post. Back in the ring, Cole dropped Kaun with a neckbreaker. Afterward, Kaun and Cole traded chops until Kaun dropped Cole with two lariats. Kaun planted Cole with the gutbuster and got a two count. Cole hit a superkick for a near fall. Cole eventually got the win with the knee to the back of Kaun’s head.
Adam Cole defeated Kaun via pinfall.
Tony Schiavone attempted to interview Cole, who took the mic and told Schiavone to get out of the ring. Cole said he’s undefeated and is the best signing in AEW history. Cole added that his and Britt Baker’s legacy is just getting started and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Briar’s Take: Impressive outing from Kaun, who hung with Cole in a great match. Cole’s AEW winning streak continues.
2. Bison XL and Larintiz X vs. Austin and Colten Gunn. Colten and Austin doubled up on Larintiz at the beginning of the match, preventing Larintiz from making a tag. However, Larintiz eventually tagged in Bison XL, who hit multiple clotheslines on Austin and Colten. The Gunn Club got the victory by hitting a powerbomb and neckbreaker combo on Larintiz.
Austin and Colten Gunn defeated Bison XL and Larintiz X via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The Gunn Club continues to get victories week after week by running through the tag team division.
2. Katalina Perez vs. “Legit” Leyla Hirsch. Hirsch hit a gut wrench that turned Perez inside out. To counter the move, Perez landed a jawbreaker and backstabber combination. Hirsch turned momentum with the knee strike and a dropkick in the corner. Hirsch continued with a release German suplex and a running knee across the jaw to win the match.
“Legit” Leyla Hirsch defeated Kaltina Perez via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: This was a different way to see Hirsch end the match with a pinfall, as she normally ends it with a submission arm breaker.
3. Liam Cross vs. Lance Archer. Archer quickly manhandled Cross once he got in the ring. Archer won a brief match with the Blackout and a claw to the face.
Lance Archer defeated Liam Cross via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Even though he returned last week on Dynamite, it’s great to see Archer back in action following his neck injury layoff.
4. Liam Gray and Adrian Alanis vs. “The Varsity Blonds” Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr. (w/Julia Hart). Garrison and Pillman Jr hit the double suplex on Gray shortly after the match started. Alanis hit the boot to the midsection of Garrison, but was quickly caught with the front suplex by Pillman Jr to gain the quick victory.
The Varsity Blonds defeated Liam Gray and Adrian Alanis via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The Varsity Blonds put Gray and Alanis quickly and gained momentum ahead of their House of Black match on Dynamite. I’m still not a fan of the hocus pocus character change with Julia Hart.
5. Vipress vs. Red Velvet. Velvet was dominant on Vipress early in the match. Vipress gained momentum throwing strikes to Velvet and planted her with the double underhook driver. Shortly thereafter, Velvet landed the Final Slice to score the win.
Red Velvet defeated Vipress via pinfall.
6. Robyn Renegade vs. Skye Blue. Blue kicked Renegade in the face, but Charlette swept Blue off the ropes, which led to Robyn to nearly getting an upset win. Renegade attempted a clothesline in the corner, but Blue dodged the move and hit the running knee strike. Renegade was caught with a thrust kick and a Flatliner to get the victory.
Skye Blue defeated Robyn Renegade via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: There were multiple attempts from Charlette to get a distraction and potentially for Robyn to get an upset victory, but in the end, Blue got the win and gained momentum heading into her match against Serena Deeb on Dynamite.
7. Tiffany Nieves vs. Anna Jay. Jay began the match with multiple shoulder tackles to take down Nieves. Nieves charged in with the uppercut and a sliding lariat to Jay. Jay then hit the boot across the face of Nieves and locked in the Queen Slayer for the win.
Anna Jay defeated Tiffany Nieves via submission.
Briar’s Take: Jay continues to be impressive every week. It would be fun to see her get an AEW Women’s Title opportunity later this year.
8. Anthony Greene vs. Daniel Garcia (w/Matt Lee, Jeff Parker). Greene swept Garcia off his feet with an arm drag. Garica threw a chop, but missed as Greene threw a chop of his own. Garcia then shoved Greene off the ropes to the outside, which allowed the “2point0” duo of Lee and Parker to take advantage of the ref’s distraction and double up on Greene. Back in the ring, Garcia locked in the bow and arrow stretch before Greene slipped out of the move only to get caught by a running knee.
Garcia rolled through with a Boston crab submission. Greene looked to regain momentum with a hip toss and more strikes to Garcia. Greene continued with an inside out move on Greene. Greene planted Garcia with a Doctor Bomb and was close to a victory. Despite gaining momentum, Garcia locked in an abdominal stretch submission and made Greene tap out for the victory.
Daniel Garcia defeated Anthony Greene via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A competitive matchup from Greene and Garcia that is definitely going out of your way to see if you didn’t watch the show.
9. Brandon Bullock and Jameson Ryan vs. “Bear Country” Bear Boulder and Bear Bronson. Bear Country planted Bullock and Ryan with a scoop slam shortly after the bell rang. Boulder hit the running elbow strike to Bullock. Boulder lifted up Bullock and threw him on top of Ryan. Boulder made the tag to Bronson and then Bear Country hit the running cannonball on both Bullock and Ryan. Eventually, Bear Country landed the Bear Bomb to win the match.
Bear Boulder defeated Brandon Bullock and Jameson Ryan via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: There was some comedy in this match when Bullock attempted a take down, but the comedy was short and Bear Country continued to dominate in the ring.
10. “The Wingmen” JD Drake and “Pretty” Peter Avalon vs. Orange Cassidy and Wheeler Yuta. Avalon hit a high lariat and Drake laid out Yuta with the senton at one point. Drake then planted Yuta with a Bossman Slam. Avalon hit a back suplex on Yuta, who continued to get beat up in the ring. Avalon missed a crossbody block attempt. Cassidy hit a step up huracanrana and a shotgun dropkick on Avalon. Yuta crashed down on Avalon on the outside, while Drake missed a cannonball. Cassidy hit the Orange Punch on Drake to win the match.
Orange Cassidy and Wheeler Yuta defeated Peter Avalon and JD Drake via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A hell of a back and forth match to close out Dark with Cassidy and Yuta delivering a crowd pleasing win. Overall, not a bad episode of Dark, as the show returned to Universal Studios. It was fairly standard with your typical enhancement matches, but there were some good, quality matches along the way. Dark opened up hot with Kaun vs. Adam Cole, which is my match of the night. Anthony Greene vs. Daniel Garcia was really solid as well. Episode 126 clocked in at 1 hour, 09 minutes, and 35 seconds. Final Score: 7.5 out of 10.