By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 193)
Taped in March 24, 2023 in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
Streamed April 11, 2023 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur and Taz were on commentary
1. Brian Pillman Jr vs. Matt Taven. Pillman and Taven traded blows to begin the match. Taven threw a dropkick to the side of Pillman’s face. Pillman performed a crossbody from the top rope. Taven threw a dropkick through the ropes, which sent Pillman to the outside. Pillman struck with a thrust kick and went for the cover. Taven kicked out at two. Taven eventually spiked Pillman for the victory.
Matt Taven defeated Brian Pillman Jr. via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A strong match to open Dark with both men putting in good work. I was somewhat expecting Pillman Jr to get the victory since Taven is an ROH guy, but nonetheless, this was a great competitive match that could’ve easily main evented this episode.
2. Blake Li vs. Lee Johnson. Johnson performed a fisherman’s neckbreaker and quickly scored the victory.
Lee Johnson defeated Blake Li via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Holy smokes. I don’t even think this match lasted a minute. It was two moves and the match was over just like that.
Backstage, Toni Storm said the AEW women’s division should take her more seriously going forward after what she did to Kiera Hogan on Dark last week…
3. Daisy K vs. Josh Woods (w/Ari Daivari, Mark Sterling, Tony Nese). Daisy K got the upper hand to start before Woods cut him off with a running kick to the chest. Shortly thereafter, Woods threw K with a gut-wrench suplex and ultimately finished K off with a move into the turnbuckle.
Josh Woods defeated Daisy K via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Only thing notable here is that K made his AEW debut here and only lasted a short while.
Lance Archer was backstage with Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Archer said he wants something that’s worthwhile…
4. Diamante vs. Willow Nightingale. After Diamante was planted by Nightingale, Diamante threw a dropkick to the lower back. While on the outside, Diamante used a stretch submission and held on to the hold until the referee’s four count. Back in the ring, Diamante was looking for a suplex off the top rope, but Nightingale hit her with a headbutt and followed with a low dropkick. Diamante took a slight advantage with the release German suplex on Nightingale. Eventually, Nightingale Pounced Diamante and quickly won with the Doctor Bomb…
Willow Nightingale defeated Diamante via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Both wrestlers tried hard and did what they could, but I thought this felt like a step down compared to the Taven vs. Pillman match we saw that opened up the show. That said, Nightingale continues to be over with the crowds while Diamante continues to eat losses. I truly hope that Diamante can find a meaningful program and get in the title picture because she has a lot of potential.
Overall, this was a fast-paced edition of Dark that consisted of only four matches. The two matches in the middle were really short and only lasted a minute or so. As such, we only had two matches that felt somewhat competitive. Taven vs. Pillman was killer and was the best match on the card. This is a passable edition of Dark. Episode 193 clocked in at 25 minutes. Final Score: 4.0 out of 10.