By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 165)
Taped in October 7 in Washington, D.C. at Entertainment & Sports Arena
Streamed October 11, 2022 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur and Taz were on commentary… A Full Gear ad was shown…
1. Alec Odin vs. Lance Archer. Odin turned his back on Archer after the bell rang. Archer decked him with a lariat. Archer followed up with another shot to the back of the head. Archer spiked Odin to the mat, but Odin countered Archer with a suplex. Eventually, Archer planted Odin with a Blackout for the victory.
Lance Archer defeated Alec Odin via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Odin is from the Washington, DC region and made his AEW debut here. I had to smirk when Excalibur said it was Odin’s family who chanted “one more time” when Archer was dominating Odin.
2. Jordan Blade, Trish Adora, and Brittany Blake vs. Penelope Ford, Serena Deeb, and Jamie Hayter. Deeb and Blake started things out respectively for their teams. Deeb chopped Blake in the corner and took her down to the mat. Deeb threw Blake back into the corner and Blade made the tag. The crowd chanted ‘Hayter’ and then Deeb tagged her in. Hayter hit multiple shoulder tackles on Blade along with a snap suplex.
Later, Adora entered the match for the first time and Deeb caught her with a handspring elbow followed up with a punt kick. Deeb turned Adora inside out with a swinging neck breaker. Deeb locked in the single-leg crab submission to win the match.
Penelope Ford, Serena Deeb, and Jamie Hayter defeated Jordan Blade, Trish Adora, and Brittany Blake via submission.
Briar’s Take: Nothing more than a showcase match for the makeshift tag team of Ford, Deeb, and Hayter. It is interesting that the crowd wanted Hayter in the match.
3. Marina Shafir (w/Nyla Rose, Vickie Guerrero) vs. Hikaru Shida. Shida hit a knee lift while Shafir was lying on the apron. As Shida was distracted by Guerrero and Rose, Shafir locked in a quick hold using the ropes. Back in the ring, Shafir planted Shida with a German suplex. Shida tried attempting a shoulder tackle, but Shafir proved to be too powerful for her. Shida eventually hit the shoulder tackle down and laid in 10 shots to the head of Shafir. Shida performed a missile dropkick. Shafir hit a back elbow to Shida, who threw a kick to the back of the head of Shafir as a counter. Shida almost won with a Falcon Arrow, but Shida got the victory by using a Katana.
Hikaru Shida defeated Marina Shafir via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A heck of a back-and-forth match. I recommend going out of your way to go watch this one. Fans in attendance were treated to a quality match and this was a good bounce-back win for Shida.
4. Papadon vs. Brian Cage (w/Prince Nana). Papadon sent Cage to the outside and attempted jumping through the ropes. Cage countered with a kick. Cage caught Papadon off the ropes and dropped him with a Death Valley Driver. Surprisingly, Papadon kicked out at two, which kept the match going. Papadon came back with some combination moves on Cage, including an uppercut. Cage quickly ended the match with a Drill Claw.
Brian Cage defeated Papadon via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The match was kind of clunky in some spots, buy there was more good than bad. Papadon had a nice showing and didn’t make this match feel like a throwaway.
5. Gia Scott vs. Athena. Athena slowed down the match early with multiple side headlocks. Scott spiked Athena and received a one count for her efforts. Scott continued her momentum by planting Athena with a pop-up powerbomb and nearly got the upset victory. Athena regained momentum with a high boot to Scott. Athena then flew off the top rope with an O-Face finisher.
Athena defeated Gia Scott via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Another quality women’s match here. There were some believable near falls from Scott. Great stuff.
6. Action Andretti vs. Q.T. Marshall. Marshall took Andretti off his feet with a shoulder tackle., Andretti came back by taking Marshall off his feet by with a move off the ropes. Marshall slowed down Andretti’s momentum with a right hand and hit an uppercut to Andretti’s jaw. Andretti hit multiple elbow strikes and threw a nice dropkick. Andretti nearly got the upset with a shooting star press. Marshall looked for the Diamond Cutter, but Andretti came off the ropes and sent him to the outside. Andretti struck with a moonsault. As the match came to a close, Andretti attempted to hit a diving clothesline, but Marshall caught him with a Diamond Cutter for the victory.
Q.T. Marshall defeated Action Andretti via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: An amazing matchup with Andretti and Marshall. Definitely the best of the match so far on this episode of Dark. Andretti has some major upside and was allowed to show off his offense. Marshall delivered his great heel work as usual too.
7. Joe Keys, Josh Fuller, and BK Klein vs. ROH Six-Man Tag Team Champions Dalton Castle and The Boys. The Boys dominated Keys early on. Castle landed a body press. The Boys hit a double Japanese arm drags to Keys, who then rocked one of The Boys with a forearm to the side of the head. Castle hit a stalling German suplex on Klein. Castle planted Fuller in the middle of the mat with a Bangarang for the win.
ROH Six-Man Tag Team Champions Dalton Castle and The Boys defeated Joe Keys, Josh Fuller, and BK Klein via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: This match was essentially a filler, but the DC fans were treated to seeing Castle live.
8. Kip Sabian (w/Penelope Ford) vs. Brandon Cutler. The match started out slow with some comedy. Sabian eventually turned up the heat by stomping Cutler in the corner. The contest then turned into comedy again briefly until Cutler used an airplane spin. Sabian quickly planted Cutler with a swinging DDT for the win.
Kip Sabian defeated Brandon Cutler via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Not much to this match, as it was mainly comedy. It continued Sabian’s winning ways following his recent return.
An Action Andretti video package was shown and Andretti talked about his match with Marshall.
9. Interim AEW Women’s Champion Toni Storm vs. Emi Sakura in an eliminator match. Storm dropped Sakura with a drop toe hold very early and then locked in the side headlock. Storm continued with a shoulder block and hit a baseball slide through the ropes. Sakura and Storm fought on the outside. Sakura dropped Storm with a backbreaker. As the two returned to the ring, Storm performed a sunset flip on Sakura.
Sakura threw a shot across the jaw of Storm, who came back with a German suplex and a high boot as well. Sakura hoisted Storm up and planted her using another backbreaker and almost got the victory. However, Storm quickly put Sakura away with a hip attack and eventually win the match.
Interim AEW Women’s Champion Toni Storm defeated Emi Sakura via pinfall in an eliminator match.
Briar’s Take: More awesome stuff. I truly believe this match could’ve been on Dynamite or certainly Rampage. Sakura and Storm had a fantastic match.
10. Cole Karter and Aaron Solo vs. Matt Sydal and Dante Martin. Karter was dominated by both Sydal and Martin after the bell rang. Sydal locked in the bow and arrow stretch on Carter before releasing him. With an assist, Sydal catapulted Karter into a kick by Martin, who tagged out. Sydal dropped his knees on the shoulder of Karter.
Sydal got hung up on the ropes, allowing Karter to make the tag out. Solo capitalized on the momentum with a backbreaker. After catching his breath, Karter tagged back in and threw kicks to Sydal. Solo made the tag again and suplexed Sydal. Quickly, Sydal tagged in Martin, who leaped from the ropes with a diving crossbody on Solo. Martin hit a shotgun dropkick to Solo and then finished him off using a double jump moonsault.
Matt Sydal and Dante Martin defeated Cole Karter and Aaron Solo via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: It seems as though we get a lot of these close-showing matches with Martin/Sydal and The Factory or The Wingmen. With that said, this was not a bad match to close the show.
Overall, this certainly was one of the better episodes of AEW Dark there has been over the last few weeks with the show being back in an arena rather than in the studio. I truly think it should stay that way, just like it was when the show first started a few years ago. There were some great matches on the show this week including Action Andretti and Q.T. Marshall, which I suggest going out of your way to watch. Both men had a tremendous showing and we even had a followed up video feature from Andretti as well, which leads me to believe that we might see him more in the future.
More so, we were treated to a good championship eliminator match along with Shafir vs. Shida. Big props to both women for an awesome outing. If you’re short on time this week, I think those matches are the most worthy to watch from this episode, though not a bad show at all. Episode 165 clocked in at 1 hour, 29 minutes, and 04 seconds. Final Score: 8.0 out of 10.
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