You are currently viewing AEW Dark recap (Feb. 14, 2023): A Kiss for Valentine’s Day

AEW Dark recap (Feb. 14, 2023): A Kiss for Valentine’s Day


Episode 183 of AEW Dark is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the stream via Cageside Seats. Excalibur and Taz called the action as usual. RIP Jerry Jarrett.

J.A.S. (Angelo Parker & Matt Menard) vs. Fuego Del Sol & Leon Ruffin

Fuego and Ruffin were teaming together for the first time on tonight’s episode. Parker and Menard obviously aren’t. Their record on Dark before this match was 1-1. I have to confess that when they were on NXT I didn’t get their gimmick at all, but on the AEW roster under Jericho’s wing I’ve really grown to appreciate their talent. The first minute of the match was Menard yelling at the crowd to get them fired up for their opponents. Even when Parker was doing the work in the ring he was on the ringpost yelling “No problem!” and “Eat dirt!” Fuego eventually ran on a tag, double teamed Parker, and they got a one count. Menard tagged in and ate forearms. He clotheslined Fuego to the floor once, he got right back in, so he did it again and Parker steamrolled him on the floor.

From here the heels cut off the ring to work Fuego over while Menard kept yelling at everybody in sight. Fuego screamed as Parker worked over his back. Excalibur reminded us Rampage will be airing at 7 PM ET on Friday and Taz said “Make sure to set your VHS machine.” Fuego fought with right hands but ate a back breaker in response. Fuego hit a gut wrench suplex, got dragged back to the heel corner, and finally leapt across the ring to give Ruffin a hot tag. Parker spilled to the outside, Ruffin did a cutter, Fuego did a tornado DDT and got pulled off the cover by a leg. He tried a suicide dive and got walloped before he could get there, and then J.A.S. double teamed him and drove him head first into the mat for the pin.

Lexi was backstage with Christopher Daniels and thankfully nobody interrupted them. He talked about his 30 years in the business and how he was fighting for his life against guys who are younger and faster than him. “My last days are farther away than any of you can hope. 30 years has given me clarity. I know exactly what I can and can’t do. I know experience trumps youth, speed and agility every time. This (pointing to his head) is a weapon nobody can deal with in a wrestling ring. I’ve signed a contract. It’s open. My name is on it. If you stand between me and something I want, my advice to you, is say your prayers.” Classic “Fallen Angel” promo.

Mei Suruga (w/ Baliyan Akki) vs. Hyena Hera

Suruga was making her 2023 debut in this bout. Hera was waiting for her in the ring with a record of 0-1. Hera immediately showed off how much bigger she was than Suruga, Suruga stomped on her feet, and Hera threw her face first into the mat. Hera patted her on the head and Suruga bit her wrist like a pit bull. Ref Bryce Remsburg screamed “Hey! No biting!” She almost bit him too.

Suruga pinned Hera in the corner and climbed to the top to assault her until Remsburg made her stop. She stood on Hera’s hands and slapped her in the head then stomped down for good measure. She worked over the left arm until Hera fought back with right hands. Suruga begged off and cried then immediately kicked Hera in the gut when she stopped and bounced her head like a basketball. She grabbed a handful of hair, Hera slapped her, clotheslined her twice and did a hip attack to the corner. Suruga gave her a double kick to the chest, walked the top rope with wrist control, came off with an arm drag, and hit a dropkick to the back. She whipped Hera down by the head, gave her a double foot stomp springing off the ropes, Hera kicked out at two. Suruga did a bridging submission with her head between Hera’s shoulder blades and Hera gave in to the pain. Bryce ran away in fear that Suruga would bite him. A fun match and TBH just as good a showing for Hera as Suruga. Great work by both!

Varsity Athletes (Tony Nese & Josh Woods) w/ “Smart” Mark Sterling vs. Allen Russell & Kameron Russell

The Varsity Athletes brought a 2023 record of 2-0 to the ring. The Russell brothers were waiting for them, prepared to make their AEW debut. I don’t know if they are twins, but I do know I couldn’t read the font on their trunks, and neither Taz nor Excalibur identified who was Kameron and who was Allen. They only called what Nese was doing. Excalibur: “One of the Russell brothers, I’m not quite sure which.” Well that doesn’t help! Woods elbowed whoever he tagged in to work with to death, and then Nese tagged in to hit a flying elbow. The other Russell argued with the ref and only gave the Varsity Athletes time to double team his partner. Nese hit a spin kick to the head and chops to the chest. Russell hit chops of his own, got tripped by the ankle and stomped on, and Sterling yelled advice from the outside. We had an enzuigiri and a tag to the other Russell, which Excalibur “thought” was Kameron, but he wasn’t sure. He ate a knee and a vertical suplex from Woods before the other Russell made the save. Nese snapped his head off the ropes and the other Russell was double teamed so Woods could make the pin, which is why it really didn’t matter who was who. They were here to lose. They looked good doing it though!

Kip Sabian (w/ Penelope Ford) vs. Gravity

Sabian brought a 2022 record of 5-0 on Dark to the ring. His opponent was Gravity, but fortunately for him it wasn’t PAC, the man gravity forgot. This Gravity was making his AEW debut under a mask and Taz said he knew who it was. Either way he certainly didn’t have the physique of PAC. Excalibur had a whole backstory for him anyway that he was an up-and-coming luchador. He had so much hair coming out of the back of his mask it almost covered his face.

Sabian sold for a hip toss but landed a front face kick and did a dive to the outside (after faking one moments earlier) to wipe Gravity out. He threw Gravity back into the ring for a missile dropkick and a two count. Aubrey Edwards checked on him to see if he could continue. Taz: “If you’re Gravity you want to keep flying. His advantage is in the air.” Sabian stomped on the prone Gravity and Ford yelled “Keep going!” He worked over the left arm as Edwards pointed a finger at him as a rebuke. Gravity got a boot up in the corner, floated Kip to the apron, and knocked him off with an elbow. Gravity flipped himself up to the middle rope and launched himself over the corner to the floor. Impressive! Taz: “I always dreamed of doing a maneuver like that but never tried it.”

Gravity tried to roll up Sabian and failed, then hung him on the ropes for a diving splash and a two count. Gravity adjusted his hair and then exchanged forearms with Kip. Dropkick from Gravity. Half and half suplex by Kip for two. Leapfrog, power slam, standing moonsault press from Gravity for two. They are really giving this match a lot of time! Gravity went to the top rope for a diving headbutt but Kip got his knees up. He went for the PK but got rolled up, then finally finished Gravity off with a knee flush to the face. Draw your own conclusions about who Gravity actually was but Kip liked him enough to go almost 50/50 with him this entire contest.

Backstage “Smart” Mark Sterling promised “domination” from the Varsity Athletes. Instead of me telling you what he had to say, watch the promo in its entirety, including the interruption by Trent Beretta to set up a match next week.

Zack Clayton vs. Dan Adams

Clayton brought a 2023 Dark record of 1-0 to this bout. Adams was waiting for him in the ring with a record of 0-2 and some attire very inappropriate for a wrestling match. At least he took off his cap and shirt first before Clayton killed him. The “Reality” was he planted Adams like a tree with ease and AEW immediately cut to a promo for Supercard of Honor in Los Angeles on March 31st.

Brock Anderson & Brian Pillman Jr. vs. The Trustbusters (Jeeves Kay & Sonny Kiss) w/ Slim J

Kay and Kiss brought a record of 1-0 to the ring on Dark. Anderson and Pillman had the exact same record. Pillman and Kay started things off. Kiss tagged in and got tripped into a front face lock. Anderson tagged in to work over the left arm. Pillman tagged back in for a double foot stomp and Kay got punched off the apron to boot. Anderson tagged back in and did an assisted facebuster for two. Eventually the faces collided and Slim J attacked Pillman on the outside before throwing him back in, prompting the Orlando crowd to chant “Slim J sucks!”

From this point it was the heels cutting off the ring and double teaming Pillman for the heat. He eventually kicked Kay away and got to Anderson for the hot tag so he could clean house. Kay took multiple shoulders in the corner from Anderson and a back body drop for two. Pillman was yanked off the apron before he could take a tag. Kiss hit a corkscrew kick and Kay hit a frog splash but Anderson kicked out. Anderson threw Kiss out, Kay hit uppercuts, Pillman made a blind tag and Anderson hit a spinebuster before Pillman hit a senton and immediately made the pin. Solid match.

“Hollywood” Ryan Nemeth was backstage with Lexi saying he had to leave momentarily to film his third movie of the year. He insulted “flyover states” and said you should go to the store and get a bar of soap to scrub off your filthy faces. Typical heel stuff. Lexi: “God, I hate that guy.”

Christopher Daniels vs. Serpentico (w/ SAP)

Serpentico came out 0-1 and brought his SAP teammates with him. Has anybody noticed that SAP’s music sounds like a 1980’s Hasbro cartoon? Daniels brought a 2023 record of 1-0 on Dark to this match. Luther was doing God knows what on the ring apron and Bryce Remsburg called him an idiot. “You’re an idiot!” Remsburg: “Look at your hair!” Luther: “I have hair!” Okay Bryce, he’s got you there.

Serpentico distracted Remsburg so his teammates could work over Daniels on the outside. Back in the ring Serp hit a DDT but Daniels kicked out at two. Luther kept screaming it was three. To quote Lexi “God, I hate that guy.” Serp got launched across the ring by Daniels and ate a series of jabs. Back body drop, enzuigiri, back heel trip from Daniels. He signaled for the BME and Serp blocked it. Serp did and Daniels traded stacks and cradles and then collided in the ring for the double down. Death Valley Driver by Daniels. He called for the Angels Wings but Serp blocked it. Serp with a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle. Serp and Luther collided on the apron and Daniels hit the BME for the pin. At this point there were still four matches left to go and we were at the hour mark, so if you are watching in real time as you read along I hope you’ve got your soda and popcorn.

Ari Daivari (w/ The Trustbusters) vs. J. Spade

Daivari brought a 1-1 record to the ring and cut off his own entrance music to cut a promo. Spade’s record was 0-1. Daivari called Spade “a very capable wrestler” and promised both Spade and everyone in the audience a thousand dollars if he got the win. Apparently that included Excalibur and Taz because they were suddenly very excited about Spade. Taz even said he placed a bet online with the money he thought he was getting. Spade actually got a cover for two before Daivari threw him out to get stomped on by the Trustbusters. Excalibur: “If Paul Turner had turned around, that would have been a disqualification. We would have been a thousand dollars richer!”

Spade put up a hell of a fight. He even hit a leg lariat and got three near falls from it. He tried to put Daivari in a torture rack, tried to bridge him for a pin, tried a roll up, and finally ate a superkick and a lariat before Daivari covered him to a chorus of boos. Taz said he’d have to go talk to Tony Khan for an advance to cover his bet. At least we got to see Sonny Kiss twice in one episode on Valentine’s Day!

Diamante vs. Ultra Violette

Diamante was taking her first singles match on Dark in 2023. Violette was already in the ring with no prior AEW record. I hate to say the fans didn’t care, but the crowd shots showed Orlando looking at their phones, eating concessions, or just staring blankly at the ring. Then again I don’t know how late in the Dark tapings this was and they might have all been really tired.

Diamante rocked her with a dropkick and posted her in the corner for more kicks. She mouthed off to Violette and then screamed to the crowd “I’m gonna beat her ass!” That woke them up a bit. Diamante signaled for a shotgun dropkick and pulled Violette out of the corner after for a two count. She slapped Violette around until she fought back and threw a pair of lariats. Violette hit a missile dropkick for a near fall. Diamante put her down with a lariat, slashed her throat, and did the Three Amigos of German suplexes before bridging Violette for the pin.

Dalton Castle & The Boys vs. Larry Lazard, Terry Yaki & Jay Lucas

Dalton and his Boys were making their 2023 trios debut here. I’m not saying Lazard, Yaki and Lucas had no chance against them… but when you’re already waiting in the ring during +this+ entrance on a Dark taping you’re definitely not booked to win. At least they had a prior trios record, but it was 0-1. This was a “Greatest Hits” of Castle spots, including “bring me a boy” and the Bangarang for Lazard. You already knew. It’s a fun act regardless. “Ray-de-ohhhh.”

Konosuke Takeshita vs. Bronson

80 minutes into the show it was finally time for the main event. Bronson came out sans Boulder and sans JT Davidson, sporting a combined Dark record of 21-14. Takeshita’s record on Dark before this match was 4-0. Aubrey Edwards called for the bell and Orlando immediately chanted for Takeshita. Bronson offered a handshake. Takeshita: “I trust you.” He accepted it, Bronson tried to take advantage, and this led to an exchange of chops.

Bronson went for a side headlock, Takeshita shot him off into a leg lariat, pointed at him and climbed the corner for a series of punches. Bronson escaped to hit him with forearms. Takeshita returned the favor and sent Bronson out of the ring with a head scissor, then hit a flip dive over the ropes to wipe him out. He threw Bronson back in, leapt over him, then got hit with a Boss Man Slam. Bronson mounted him for some ground and pound and yelled at the fans when he was done. Edwards checked on Takeshita to see if he wanted to continue. Can you ever picture Takeshita giving up during a Dark match? I can’t. The Takeshita Line connected and both men were down. He kipped up and went right at Bronson with forearms and a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Every time I see him hit that I think it should be the finish. Bronson blocked a knee to the face and both men collided three times on lariat attempts until Bronson finally put him down. Pump handle, cover, 2.9.

Excalibur criticized Bronson for reacting to the near fall instead of following up, and Taz likewise said he was wasting time. Takeshita blocked a belly to belly piledriver and hit a delayed German suplex. Running boot in the corner. Takeshita set him up on the top rope and carried him to the middle for a power bomb, backed up for the flying knee, and hit it to finally finish Bronson off. A very good main event!

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by “Kiss the Ring.” This was a lengthy episode so there’s no doubt that we’ve got hits and misses to go over. In the “what to watch” category there’s Takeshita vs. Bronson, Sabian vs. Gravity, Daniels vs. Serpentico, the Jericho Appreciation Society tag match, and Suruga vs. Hera. In the “what to skip” category are Clayton vs. Adams, Daivari vs. Spade, and Diamante vs. Violette. Everything else is squarely in between. I don’t think any Dark episode needs to be more than 8-9 matches, whether it’s on Monday or Tuesday night.

Cageside commentary crew — share your feedback below in the comments section. If you love pro wrestling find me on Twitter as well. I’d love to talk to some of you instead of the bots that follow me. See you next week for new episodes of Elevation and Dark!

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