By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 128)
Taped in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
Streamed February 1, 2022 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur and Taz were on commentary…
1. Marcus Kross vs. Anthony Ogogo. Prior to the match, Ogogo cut a promo on Cody Rhodes with his match last year and how he went away for a while. He said when he came back there was no red carpet and that he had to wrestle in the crowd in front of Orlando, Florida. As the bell rang, Ogogo took Kross down with the shoulder tackle. Kross fired some kicks and a diving back elbow in the corner. Ogogo came through with the diving uppercut. Eventually, Ogogo hit the Ogogo Slam and could’ve put Kross away, but picked him up at two instead. Ogogo popped up Kross and knocked him out with a big uppercut.
Anthony Ogogo defeated Marcus Kross via knockout.
Briar’s Take: A nice match from Ogogo and a solid promo prior to the match, reminding folks who he is. I’m sure at some point we’ll see him back on television and in a feud later this year. Perhaps another feud with Cody?
2. Angelica Risk vs. Penelope Ford. Ford took down Risk with the take down to regain control of the match. Ford continued her dominance by throwing strikes. Risk planted Ford on the mat and nearly got the upset victory with the leg lariat. Ford threw a high kick at Risk. The match continued to go back and forth between until Risk landed a missile dropkick from the top rope. Ford locked in an arch submission and made Risk tap out for the victory.
Penelope Ford defeated Angelica Risk via submission.
Briar’s Take: A solid back and forth match that felt like it could have gone either way. Risk showed some flashes and gave Ford a fight, but in the end Ford got the victory and went 2-0 in 2022.
3. Toa Liona vs. Q.T. Marshall. Marshall got the early advantage of Liona with leg kicks, but Liona flattened out Marshall with a Samoan drop. Marshall hit a missile dropkick from the top rope. Liona delivered a body block. Liona had momentum for a short while with a belly to belly suplex on Marshall and a big shoulder block. However, Marshall turned the tide with a Diamond Cutter to end the match quickly.
Q.T. Marshall defeated Toa Liona via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Another quality match. That’s three in a row, which is rare for Dark. I believe Liona is still young in his wrestling career with just his fourth AEW match. It should be interesting to see if Liona increases his stock as the year goes long.
4. ISH and Kidd Bandit vs. “2point0” Matt Lee and Jeff Parker. Lee made a blind tag and laid out Bandit with a back elbow. Lee then threw the knees right to the face of Bandit in the corner. Parker made the tag and threw a knee at Bandit, while ISH made the tag. Parker hit multiple strikes to ISH before Parker and Lee hit a double Russian leg sweep. 2point0 finished off Bandit with Two For The Show for the win.
2point0 defeated ISH and Kidd Bandit via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: 2point0 continues their winning ways with another victory on Dark.
5. Jordan Costa vs. Lance Archer. As the ring announcer made Archer’s introduction, Archer brought Costa down to the ring himself and got an early advantage. Costa was able to counter the Blackout, but Archer suplexed him. Archer chokeslammed Costa and won with the EBD Claw.
Lance Archer defeated Jordan Costa via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: More of the same from Archer in terms of what we see on Dark or Elevation.
Alex Marvez interviewed Fuego Del Sol about his match with Serpentinco next week on Dark.
6. Reka Tehaka vs. Marina Shafir. Shafir locked Tehaka in a submission hold at one point, but Tehaka got to the ropes to break it. After the break, Shafir threw a kick and locked in a dragon sleeper. Despite not making Tehaka tap out to the original submission, Shafir locked in a triangle to win the match.
Marina Shafir defeated Reka Tehaka via submission.
Briar’s Take: Shafir returns to AEW Dark after a brief hiatus with a dominant submission victory. Her last appearance was in December on the 124 episode.
7. Cameron Stewart and Dante Casanova vs. Aaron Solo and Nick Comoroto. Solo was on top of Stewart early with a back body drop before quickly tagging out. Comroto threw shots at Stewart, who found a breakthrough with a jawbreaker and tagged out. Comoroto hit a double shoulder tackle on Casanova and Stewart. Comoroto performed a spike DDT on Stewart. Solo made the tag and hit a diving foot stomp on Casanova to pick up the win.
Aaron Solo and Nick Comoroto defeated Cameron Stewart and Dante Casanova via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A solid win for Solo and Comoroto, who dominated the match. If you’ve seen a previous Solo and Comoroto tag match, then this was more of the same.
8. Zack Clayton vs. Tony Nese. Clayton threw strikes and a lateral dropkick on Nese to get the upper hand. However, Nese drove Clayton’s leg in the turnbuckle. As the two returned to the ring, Nese targeted the left leg. Clayton attempted to fight back, but Nese continued to hammer the left knee. Clayton regained momentum with a big powerslam, but Nese countered a fisherman’s suplex. Nese hit the running knee strike on Clayton in the corner to win the match.
Tony Nese defeated Zack Clayton via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The match was back and forth early, but Nese picked up the expected win.
9. Mazzerati vs. Kiera Hogan. Hogan threw a thrust kick and a boot across the jaw in the corner. Mazzerati locked in a rear chin lock submission until Hogan broke the hold. Mazzerati was turned inside out with a dropkick from Hogan, who followed up with a neckbreaker. Mazzerati threw a side shot to the jaw of Hogan, but Hogan hit a high roundhouse kick to win the match.
Kiera Hogan defeated Mazzerati via pinfall.
10. Ariya Daivari and Invictus Khash vs. “10” and Alan “5” Angels. Late in the match, Vance finally gained momentum with a double shoulder block on Daivari and Khash, and then tagged out. Angels hit a diving crossbody on both Khash and Daivari. Angels almost got the victory on the Khash with a northern lights suplex. Angels hit the jumping sucidia on Daivari on the outside, while Khash was tapped out by Vance with a Full Nelson submission.
10 and Alan “5” Angels defeated Ariya Daivari and Invictus Khash via submission.
After the match, Q.T. Marshall came out and asked Vance and Angels to join The Factory. Angels and Vance declined by giving him the bird, but they were attacked by Comoroto and Solo.
Briar’s Take: A hell of a match between the two teams along with good storyline followup after the match with Marshall offering a spot in The Factory. We’ll see if AEW continues the storyline moving forward on one of the Dark shows or perhaps on Rampage.
11. “Bear Country” Bear Boulder and Bear Bronson vs. Dante Martin and Matt Sydal. Late in the match, Boulder attempted a moonsault flip from the top rope on Martin and missed. Sydal tagged in and came in with a series of kicks to Bronson, including the question mark kick. Martin hit an assisted dropkick with the help of Sydal, who performed a standing moonsault on Bronson. Boulder tagged in and hit the double powerslam on both opponents. Martin came back and performed the nose dive from the top rope on Bronson to gain the victory.
Dante Martin and Matt Sydal defeated Bear Country via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A great tag team match that felt like it could have gone either way and probably should’ve been the main event of this episode. Meanwhile, Excalibur kept bringing up Martin leaving Team Taz, which leaves me guessing that we’re not done with the Martin and Taz storyline just yet.
12. Lee Moriarty vs. Joey Janela (w/Kayla Rossi). Moriarty blocked a lariat from Janela at one point, but Janela fired back with a German suplex. Janela planted Moriarty with a Death Valley Driver on the apron. Janela threw an uppercut. While the referee was distracted, Kayla Rossi landed the huracanrana on Moriarty, which allowed Janela to hit the Liger bomb. Moriarty then rolled up Janela after numerous back and forths to get the victory.
Lee Moriarty defeated Joey Janela via pinfall.
Tony Schiavone interviewed Moriarty about his victory and his future in AEW. Moriarty told Schiavone he is focused on the current and not the future. Moriarty added that from here on out, and there will be a new attitude from him moving forward.
Briar’s Take: The match lasted a lot longer than it should have, but it was still enjoyable. I still have an issue with the AEW refs getting distracted and failing to hear anything behind them. It makes the refs look bad and I hope that changes moving forward, because TNA did that a lot back in the day too. It happens nearly every week and it’s watered down at this point.
Overall, not a bad episode of Dark with a little something for everyone. The episode was straight down the middle, but had some good matches. The first three matches were good, while the show stalled a little bit in the middle with quick enhancement matches before picking up again toward the second half of the show. For match of the night, I’m going with Dark Order vs. Ariya Daivari and Invictus Khash, and Bear Country vs. Dante Martin and Matt Sydal as a close second. Final Score: 8.0 out of 10. Episode 128 clocked in at 1 hour, 32 minutes, and 09 seconds.