This week's AEW Dark featured the first-ever AEW All-Atlantic title defense, an AEW Women's title eliminator match, and several matches taped at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
Miyu Yamashita defeated AEW Women's Champion Thunder Rosa in a non-title match to earn a future title shot
This was incredible and no doubt the best women's match in Dark/Elevation history, if not the best match overall. It took place last Saturday at TJPW Summer Sun Princess 22.
With a win, Yamashita earns a future shot at Rosa's AEW Women's title.
Things started off slow with Rosa and Yamashita trading holds while still being upright. Rosa developed a bit of an advantage after hitting a drop-down slap (ala Dustin Rhodes), followed by a sliding clothesline. This would only fire up Yamashita, who initiated a sequence where she and Rosa exchanged stiff kicks to the lower back for about three minutes straight.
The match spilled to the outside where Yamashita continued her onslaught of stiff kicks. Moments later, she dove onto Rosa knee-first at ringside, which warranted a major reaction from the crowd.
Eventually, both women made their way back in the ring. Rosa charged up and delivered a combination of moves, including a standing dropkick to Yamashita's back while she was draped in the ropes. After nailing a great northern lights suplex, Rosa covered Yamashita for a near fall.
Yamashita's stiffness continued throughout the latter stages of the bout with a more targeted focus on Rosa's upper half. Rosa tried to go to the top rope, but Yamashita caught her with a head kick which caused Rosa to fall to the mat.
Yamashita would go to great lengths to put away Rosa, which included hitting a skull kick and a shotgun german suplex. Rosa tried to counter Yamashita with a small package, but Yamashita copied the strategy and successfully held down Rosa's shoulders to the mat for the three count and a future title match.
Private Party defeated Bear Country
Isiah Kassidy and Bear Bronson started off, but Kassidy got practically manhandled by Bronson until Marq Quen tagged in. Bear Boulder would also motion to tag in.
Quen was lifted by Boulder with ease and slammed to the mat. Following a few clotheslines in the corner, Quen collapsed to the mat, which got Bronson to tag back in.
Kassidy got a chance to redeem himself, which would prove effective for Private Party as the duo worked down Bronson in the corner with repeated kicks. Kassidy eventually focused on Bronson's knee while also working down other body parts.
Bronson eventually powered out of the constant attacks, tagging out to Boulder after taking out both Private Party members. Boulder picked up the slack and sandwiched both of them in the corner. Moments later, Boulder lifted Kassidy on his shoulders before catching Quen in his arms from an attempted springboard attack.
When Boulder went to tag in Bronson to hit the assisted cannonball on Kassidy, Quen made the last second save by dropkicking the bear-like duo. Bear Country tried to do another double team move, but Kassidy took out Boulder with a dive on the outside while Quen hit a shooting star press on Bronson for the win.
Shawn Dean defeated Conan Lycan
Lycan underestimated The Captain and tried to attack him with fast paced attacks, but that wouldn't work as Dean countered into a running arm drag. Although commentary kept cracking Top Gun: Maverick jokes, Dean hit a DDT after being on the receiving end of a slam from Lycan.
Dean tried to put away Lycan with a running shoulder tackle that got two. Moments later, Dean hit his signature top rope splash for the win.
Jericho Appreciation Society (Matt Menard & Angelo Parker) defeated Jake St. Patrick & Sage Scott
Menard and Parker jumped Patrick and Scott as the bell rang. After rolling them back in the ring, Menard pinned Scott after hitting a double DDT with Parker.
Willow Nightingale defeated Mila Moore
Moore had no chance as Nightingale threw her around the ring with ease until Moore got in one backstabber for a near fall. After that, Nightingale pounced Moore and hit a doctor bomb for the win.
Rohit Raju defeated Baron Black
Raju applied a wristlock as the bout began, but Black turned it into one of his own. The former Impact X-Division Champion didn't let this slow him down as he delivered a running knee to maintain his control. Although Black showed glimpses here and there, including a moment where he seemed close to making Raju submit, Raju went on to score the win after hitting his signature double stomp.
Angelico defeated Logan Laroux
Laroux and Angelico traded standing holds which eventually came to a stalemate. As the match went on, Angelico gained more of an advantage based on outsmarting Laroux. After some hesitation, Angelico submitted him with a navarro death roll.
Dante Martin (w/ Matt Sydal) defeated Nick Comoroto (w/ QT Marshall & Aaron Solo)
As Marshall was running his mouth at ringside, Comoroto jumped Martin from behind. This would lead to Martin trying to get back into the bout with his agility-based offense, but Comoroto shut down everything with his brute strength.
Martin tried, and failed, multiple times to get back in the flow of the things before he finally hit a diving crossbody to a massive reaction. Martin followed that up with a missile dropkick for a near fall. After Comoroto gained back some competitive edge following a neckbreaker, Martin ended the bout after tying up Comoroto's legs in a pinning combination for the win.
After the bout, The Factory attacked Sydal at ringside until Fuego Del Sol made the save.
AEW All-Atlantic Champion PAC defeated Shota Umino to retain the title
Between this and Rosa vs. Yamashita, this was one of the best episodes of AEW Dark in quite some time.
This took place this past Sunday at RevPro in England.
PAC took the bout to the outside and threw Umino into the barricade nearly instantly. He followed that up by tossing Umino in the ring and darting him into the turnbuckle. Umino regained his composure and did the same thing to PAC, much to the approval of the crowd.
PAC baited in Umino after faking an injury before following that up with putting his foot in Umino's face. Umino had no momentum at this point, but that changed when PAC missed a top rope maneuver. Umino followed the miss with a great dropkick for a near fall.
The match got more physical as the final stages approached with PAC delivering a nasty dropkick off the top rope. This would lead to a battle of strikes which PAC won after faking him out with a snap german suplex.
Umino tried a few more things to put the champion away, but nothing worked. After hitting a hanging reverse DDT, Umino thought he had enough to put away "The Bastard," but the pinfall still resulted in a near fall.
After Umino attempted a crucifix bomb, PAC reversed it into a standing brutalizer. After some slight hesitation, Umino submitted to the hold, giving PAC the win in his first title defense.
His next defense will be against LJ Cleary for OTT later this month.