By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 172)
Taped November 18 in Newark, New Jersey at Prudential Center
Streamed November 29, 2022 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur and Taz were on commentary
1. Justin Corino, Ryan Mooney, and Stephen Jocephey vs. “The Factory” Cole Karter, Lee Johnson, and Q.T. Marshall (w/Aaron Solo, Nick Comoroto). Jocephey and Johnson began the match respectively for their team. Johnson hit a back elbow to Jocephey after the bell rang. Mooney tagged in, however, was also dominated by Johnson with stomps in the corner. Karter entered the match and he and Johnson hit a double backdrop to Mooney. Karter stayed in for a while and landed a suplex before tagging out to Marshall.
Marshall hit a back elbow himself to Mooney. Johnson returned to the ring and hit a suplex as well. Finally, Mooney found a breakthrough and tagged out. Corino entered the match and was taken down by Marshall with a clothesline. The Factory doubled up and then Marshall landed the Diamond Cutter to take home the victory.
“The Factory” Cole Karter, Lee Johnson, and Q.T. Marshall defeated Justin Corino, Ryan Mooney, and Stephen Jocephey via pinfall
Briar’s Take: Man, the crowd was quiet for this one. There wasn’t much cheering or booing for The Factory. In fact, the crowd was so quiet you could hear a pin drop during this match, which is somewhat unusual for a Marshall match.
2. Chris Wylde vs. “The Reality” Zack Clayton. Clayton began throwing right hands to Wylde in the corner. Afterward, Clayton hit a modified suplex on Wylde. Clayton would go to the outside just briefly to hit an uppercut to Wylde who was lying on the apron. Wylde found some momentum with a jawbreaker and a rolling elbow strike to Clayton. In the end, Clayton put Wylde down with a brainbuster for the win.
Zack Clayton defeated Chris Wylde via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A solid showcase match from Clayton, as the outcome was never in doubt. Wylde made his AEW debut.
An AEW video game was aired.
3. Layla Luciano vs. Hikaru Shida (w/Hagne Shinno). Shida threw an early dropkick. Luciano drove Shida down with a fireman’s carry airplane spin. Luciano received a two-count off a scoop slam. Eventually, Shida threw an enzuigiri that caught Luciano off guard. Shida ended the night early for Luciano with a Katana.
Hikaru Shida defeated Layla Luciano via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Not much of a match, as this was a showcase for Shida.
4. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams, Jack Tomlinson, and LSG vs. “Jericho Appreciation Society” ROH Pure Champion Daniel Garcia, Matt Menard, and Angelo Parker. Tomlinson and Garcia started the match for their teams. LSG was isolated by the Jericho Appreciation Society trio as both Parker and Menard hit several combination moves. LSG got the boot up on Garcia and then tagged out. Williams was able to throw a couple of shots to Menard and Garcia. Williams even hit a vertical splash to Parker. Williams landed a DDT on the top turnbuckle to Garcia and nearly got an upset for his team. Menard hit a German suplex to Tomlinson and then Garcia locked in the dragon sleeper for the submission victory.
ROH Pure Champion Daniel Garcia, Matt Menard, and Angelo Parker defeated Tracy Williams, Jack Tomlinson, and LSG via submission.
Briar’s Take: The crowd eventually woke up for the Jericho Appreciation Society match after being quiet during theopening matches. Some solid stuff by Williams, as he was close to get the upset on his team. Otherwise, this was your typical Jericho Appreciation Society on Dark.
5. Tony Deppen vs. Brian Cage (w/Prince Nana). Cage hit a German suplex to Deppen. Deppen drove his knees to the face of Cage and charged in with multiple running knee strikes. Deppen missed a stomp, which allowed Cage to hit a powerbomb into the turnbuckle. Cage dropped Deppen with the Drill Claw to score the win.
Brian Cage defeated Tony Deppen via pinfall.
6. Hagane Shinno vs. Angelico. Angelico took control of the match early with a boot to the midsection. However, Shinno was able to hit a huracanrana. Angelico turned the match his way by planting Shinno on the outside. Shinno landed a moonsault and fell on Angelico to the outside. Shortly thereafter, Shinno hit a missile dropkick and grabbed a two-count. Despite the comeback, Angelico grabbed the right leg of Shinno and forced him to submit to the Navarro submission hold.
Angelico defeated Hagane Shinno via submission.
Briar’s Take: A quality match and a rare victory for Angelico, who last scored an AEW win back in August in a brief match with Caleb Konley. This match is worth checking out if you haven’t seen the show.
7. Tiara James vs. Emi Sakura (w/Baliyan Akki). James came through with a flying lariat to Sakura, who then planted James in the middle of the ring. Sakura followed up with a double underhook for a quick victory.
Emi Sakura defeated Tiara James via pinfall.
8. “The Wingmen” Peter Avalon, Cezar Bononi, and Ryan Nemeth vs. Matt Hardy, and “Private Party” Isiah Kassidy, and Marq Quen. Ethan Page sat in on commentary. Quen took down Nemeth with a side headlock takedown. Avalon tagged in and targeted the left arm of Hardy, who tagged in Kassidy for a brief period.
Later, Hardy was looking for the Twwist of Fate on Nemeth, but Page got on the mic and said ‘Hardy was not allowed to use the move.’ Avalon took advantage of the distraction and got a two-count on Hardy. Page encouraged Hardy to use a different move. Hardy used the Page’s Ego’s Edge finisher to score the win.
Matt Hardy and Private Party defeated Peter Avalon, Cezar Bononi, and Ryan Nemeth via pinfall.
Backstage, Lexy Nair was talking about the outcome of the main event. Hardy and Private Party were arguing with Page in the background. Page demanded Private Party leave, which left Hardy and Page alone. Hardy told Page he asked for this. Page said he is his boss and added that his opinion is more valued than his. Page said if Hardy continued to defy him, Private Party would face consequences. Hardy told Page if he laid a hand on Private Party, he would regret it.
Briar’s Take: While the outcome was never in question, as The Wingmen lose a lot on Dark, this was a nice storyline follow-up from last week’s show. Obviously, with the backstage segment we got following the match, this storyline between Page and Hardy isn’t going to be over anytime soon. It’s nice we have these on Dark, as it made the main event feel somewhat special. Page was also great on commentary by being demanding to the team.
Overall, episode 172 clocked in just under an hour and was carried by the main event. There were some good matches beforehand such as The Factory vs. Justin Corino, Ryan Mooney, and Stephen Jocephey, along with Hagane Shinno vs. Angelico. I could’ve done without the Brian Cage, Sakura, and Shida matches, as they were really too short. Were it not for the Page and Hardy storyline, it would’ve been a missable episode due to the brief matches and predictable outcomes. The three matches I listed above would be the ones to go out of your way to see. Episode 172 clocked in at 52 minutes and 55 seconds. Final Score: 7.5 out of 10.