AEW DARK: July 7, 2020

It’s time for the Fyter Fest intermezzo!

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, July 7, 2020. Keep calm and wrestle on.

From AEW HQ.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz.

TWO featured bouts this week! Shawn Spears is facing Brian Pillman Jr., while Dark Order 1 and 2 (Evil Uno/Stu Grayson) face Peter Avalon and Brandon Cutler.

FEATURED BOUT 1: Brian Pillman Jr. (0-0 in singles action) v. Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard) (7-2). Pillman has the nickname “Bulletproof” and a specialized Tron. The announcers talk both about Brian Pillman Sr. and about Spears’ mysterious glove. Tully keeps the mask on the whole time this time.

Pillman wins a lockup early with speed as both feel each other out. Spears works the arm, blocking an armdrag and keeping Pillman grounded. Pillman does some gymnastics to distract Spears, kicking him from an inverted position, and they reset. Spears with a knee to the gut in the corner and he chops Pillman. Another fires Pillman up and he fires back, but after a cross-corner whip Spears dodges a dropkick only to get hit on the second try. Spears rolls out to get advice from Tully Blanchard. That advice: “Make sure your kids understand how to videotape a promo.”

Back in, Spears works the kidneys and sends Pillman into the corner, chopping away. Whip and reverse, but Pillman goes the apron and tries a springboard only to be dropkicked in mid-air. Spears stomps away on the ramp and pummels. He sets Pillman on the ramp steps and stomps down, squishing it. Excalibur: “Shawn Spears is not out to win; he’s out to maim!”

Spears tosses Pillman back in and chokes away. He makes a point to say the glove he’s choking with isn’t loaded, but the time allows Pillman to recover and fight back with a five-arm. Corner clothesline follows, but a 180 crossbody airballs. Running DVD ends it at 5:12. Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling. *3/4 Spears blasts Pillman with the loaded glove post-match.

Rache Chanel (debut) v. “Big Swole” Aerial Monroe (4-3). Chanel is dressed like she’s walking the streets of Milan, and during her entrance we get a few looks at the bartender ladies in the crowd. Monroe throws her gear out to Pineapple Pete and his date for the night (Faye Jackson, a wrestler I’ve met in person!)

Swole shoves away Chanel and flexes. Chanel backs Swole into the corner and poses, allowing Swole to get a headlock and hang on after two attempted whips. Chanel uses the leg to reverse, but Swole easily gets it back and does a takedown. Taz: “It’s all in the feet.” He’s not wrong. Swole hangs in the ropes off a whip as they talk, and Swole responds by trying Dirty Dancing and getting Chanel to bail. Back in, Chanel is run over by a tackle, and Swole blocks an armdrag and goes to the corner. Swole with a roundhouse kick from the apron, but Swole stalls and gets kicked coming in.

Chanel with a swinging neckbreaker off the hangman position, but only for one. Chanel pounds away with forearms, then a boot choke. Hairpull snapmare by Chanel, into a seated abdominal stretch. Swole kicks out of it, but Chanel HITS THE CHINLOCK. Chanel gets a bodyscissors with it, then transitions to almost a camel clutch (as the announcers put it). This goes on for so long that the camera cuts to DOCTOR Britt Baker watching from her perch.

Swole in with a hard knee, and Chanel responds with a forearm before a getting clotheslined over and over. Glasgow Kiss after a missed legsweep, and Swole with a back elbow off the middle rope. (Baker and Rebel: not impressed). Swole with a Blue Thunder and running knee smash, into a TKO/GTS combo and Dirty Dancing. The ropes hold Chanel up, so a pump kick ends it at 7:21. Chanel was NOT ready for this match. DUD Rebel and Baker drive off as Swole yells at them and at the camera.

Backstage, Brandi and Allie are interviewed by Alex Marvez about Fight for the Fallen. Each of them talk about how they are carrying the team. The arguing continues until Dustin Rhodes stops it. He warns Allie not to hurt QT Marshall’s feelings OR his groin. Rhodes uses the Nightmare Sisters name (so that’s where it came from) and demands Allie show she’s turned over a new leaf. Bottom line, even after all the arguing, they’ll remain a team.

Luther (2-1) v. Frankie Kazarian (w/Christopher Daniels and Scorpio Sky) (19-10). Luther comes out in Michael Jackson’s jacket, which leads to jokes about what he’d be like in the Thriller video. SCU doesn’t stick around.

Kaz works Luther into a corner and offers a clean break. Luther backs Kaz into the corner and breaks, but he misses an overhead chop and gets hit with armdrags and an armbar. Kaz continues to work the arm into a short-arm scissors before dropping his knee ont the arm. Luther backs Kaz into the ropes and tries an armdrag only to get hit with a Rocker Dropper setup into a rana for two. Kaz works the arm some more, but Luther catches Kaz with a knee smash and leg lariat off a whip attempt.

Luther chokes Kaz against the ropes with wrist tape. He rakes the eyes repeatedly, then gets a butterfly suplex for one. Luther demands a faster count before getting a boot choke in the corner. He continues working the eyes, using four on the count, then gets an avalanche in the corner for one. Kaz uses Luther arguing with the ref to get a comeback with rights before knocking him down with a kneelift/clothesline combo.

Polish Hammer by Kaz, then a Flying Jalapeno. Kaz escapes an avalanche try and gets a kick against the corner, and a slingshot Oklahoma Roll gets two. Kaz runs into a pump kick from Luther, but recovers with a Victory Roll for the pin at 6:47. Kaz carried that match. *1/4 Kaz now becomes the fourth member of the 20-win club.

Joe Alonzo, Brady Pierce, Tony Donati, and Faboo Andre v. The Butcher, The Blade (combined 7-5), and The Bros (combined 6-6). The jobbers don’t get any stats. Commentary notes either duo could probably beat all four jobbers. As a reminder, the star quartet will face the Young Bucks and FTR tomorrow.

Penta and Donati start. Penta removes the glove, but misfires on throwing it to his corner. Donati cuts off Cero Miedo and gets a right, but runs into a thrust kick. Cero Miedo taunt and Penta chops away, then Fenix adds his shots. The Bros with a double legsweep into a Paradise Lock. Feniz dropkicks Donati, then lifts Penta onto him before bringing in Blade. Alonzo takes over, and he gets a kick before being clotheslined. Blade with a big boot in the corner, Butcher with a clothesline, Blade with a chop, and Butcher with a uranage for a very close two, Andre saves (in theory).

Fenix gets a ropewalk kick on Andre, and Penta/Blade with superkick/brainbuster to Andre. Back to Butcher and Alonzo, and Butcher calls in Penta for a wild finish: Butcher suplexes Alonzo into a Penta powerbomb on Blade’s knees and holds him there while Fenix gets a missile dropkick on the prone Alonzo. It gets the pin at 3:17. The finisher alone gets this up to *1/4. Yeah, I’ll forgive the jobbers mucking up the timing a bit.

Will Hobbs (debut) v. Orange Cassidy (w/The Best Friends) (5-5). A lot of shots of beach babes on this show. I saw Hobbs on the BLM mixtape on IWTV and liked him, so let’s see what he’s got here. A reminder that tomorrow, Cassidy faces Chris Jericho. Cassidy takes the sunglasses off on his way to the ring, so you know he means business.

Cassidy rolls away from Hobbs and hits the Superman Punch to win in 12.5 seconds. Okay then. NR I guess Cassidy is fired up for his match.

Shawn Dean (0-8) v. Michael Naka – Naka – NAKAZAWA! (1-1) Actual quote from Excalibur: “Taz, I regret to inform you that is NOT the world’s largest donut; that is in fact an inflatable watermelon inner tube.”

Dean refuses a handshake to start. Nakazawa works the arm off a lockup, with Dean reversing after some gymnastics. Dean into the waistlock, but the BABY OIL OF DOOM allows Nakazawa to escape. A headlock takedown by Nakazawa doesn’t work, nor does one by Dean, because baby oil. Nakazawa back to the headlock, and they go International~!, with Dean landing a dropkick. Dean with a running gut shot in the corner, then a clothesline to a kneeling Nak for two. Nakazawa blocks a suplex and wants more oil, but the ref intecepts it and chucks it into the mezzanine.

Nakazawa fights away from Dean, but he’s out of oil and gets suplexed for two. Dean with an uppercut on Nakazawa, but a blind charge eats boot. Nakazawa with a football spear for the double KO. Nakazawa up first and he goes up top, and a Patriot Missile gets two. Nakazawa pulls off his trunks – don’t worry, he has a spare set on – and tries an underwear shotei, but Dean ducks and gets a TKO and Backstabber for a close two.

Dean runs into an abdominal stretch and rubs his underwear into Dean’s face. Dean beals out and tries to rub off his face, but after some reversals it’s a Thong Claw STO by Nakazawa for the pin at 5:44. Yeah, okay, comedy match, not my taste. 1/2* Nakazawa throws his underwear at Alex Jebailey post-match.

Serpentico (0-3) v. Scorpio Sky (w/Daniels and Kazarian) (20-9). Serpentico has his own streamers. Taz talks about how Sky’s music is throwback rap. Sounds like POD to me.

Sky dodges Serpentico early and gets the single-leg on a lockup, transitioning into a front facelock. Serpentico escapes to a hammerlock into a side headlock, but Sky trips him and goes back into the facelock. Serpentico and Sky exchange chops against the ropes, after which Sky gets a body blow and Russian legsweep for two. Sky with a right cross in the corner, followed by a pendulum backbreaker for two.

Sky goes TO THE CHINLOCK, and after some leaps and reversals and rolovers, Serpentico gets a blind charge block and a headscissors. Sky bails, so Serpentico fakes a dive and gets a thrust kick before throwing Sky into the railing. (Ricky Starks cringes on that one in the crowd.) Serpentico keeps up the offense on the outside, sending Sky into the rail and the apron. Serpentico with an apron legdrop and he back rolls into a cover for a pair of two counts.

Sky tries to punch out, but Serpentico with a mare and kneedrops. He does a standard stomp on the third go-through, though, getting two. Serpentico with the neck crank as Taz and Excalibur talk about what animal Serpentico’s mask reminds them of. Sky fights out but runs into a dropkick. It gets two. Serpentico goes up top and drops the knee (with some showmanship) for two. Serpentico into a top wristlock before switching to a suplex try, but he stalls to work the crowd and Sky sprawls to block. Serpentico beats up Sky instead before trying again, but Sky reverses out of nowhere. Not a bad sequence, as honestly, Sky had to know what was coming and think of a counter.

Both men woozy as they get up, but Sky begins the comeback. Serpentico ducks two clotheslines only to run into a knee strike. Hangman neckbreaker by Sky gets two. Serpentico goes up and over but hits boot on a blind charge. He adjusts the mask to fire up and gets a big kick and slingshot double stomp for two. Sky with a sole kick, but Serpentico rolls through with a kneeling kick and low DDT for an incredibly close two. Chops against the ropes but Sky avoids a waistlock and nails the Kobe Dropkick. They back into each other, and Serpentico avoids the TKO and gets a flying knee. To the top again, but the double stomp misses and Sky with the TKO for the win at 10:01. I really hope Serpentico gets a job out of this match; he’d earn it. Put this match in any indie hall and the crowd would love it. ***

FEATURED BOUT #2: Peter Avalon (w/Leva Bates) and Brandon Cutler (0-4 as a duo) vs. The Dark Order (Evil Uno and Stu Grayson) (with 3, 4, 5, and 10) (6-0 as a duo). The seconds are Alex Reynolds, John Silver, Alan Angels, and Preston Vance, in order. Taz, discussing Cutler/Avalon’s appeal: “But the key to wrestling is winning.” You don’t get award-winning commentary like this outside of Nitro.

Uno and Avalon start. Uno offers a spot to Avalon if he’ll throw the match, and Avalon actually lays down, only to get a small package for two. Uno knocks him silly with a right, and Grayson in as they stomp away on Avalon. Avalon avoids Uno but gets chopped by Grayson. Blind charge eats boot, and Cutler in with a slingshot kick. Slam by Avalon into a splash/kneedrop combo gets two. Uno pulls Cutler off, but Cutler kicks Uno away only to have to block an O’Connor Roll from Grayson. The Dark Order distracts Cutler, who leaps into a slam from Grayson.

Big chop by Uno and he works Cutler over in the corner. Grayson sends Uno into Cutler, and Uno reciprocates as they get two off of it. Cutler punches out only for Uno to cut him off and get a backbreaker. Grayson in with a tope atomico to the apron. It gets two. Cutler with a sunset flip try, but Grayson gets out and delivers a knee to Cutler for two. Uno loads up a suplex with a roundhouse kick from Grayson for two. Grayson and Uno mudhole stomp Cutler and whip him repeatedly back-first into their corner. Uno tags in and they try a double alley oop bomb, but Cutler flies to the top rope off the momentum and gets a crossbody to Grayson.

Hot tag Avalon, and he fires off dropkicks. Blind charge eats elbow, though, but he recovers with an enzuigiri and split-leg moonsault for two. Grayson forced in, but Leva trips Grayson. Grayson is VERY ANGRY and lectures Leva, so Avalon dives to the outside with a corner plancha. Now the rest of the Dark Order surround Leva and Avalon, so Cutler takes them all out with a springboard pescado. Avalon with a tornado DDT into a big elbow from Cutler gets two, Uno has to save.

Cutler throws Uno out and brings Grayson to his corner, but Grayson gets both geeks with Peles. Uno appears to have a wrist injury, so Grayson and Avalon go it alone. Grayson with a Lygerbomb for two. Grayson with a running knee to Avalon, and a Nightfall ends it at 7:25. Things got a bit awkward at the end with Uno’s injury – which may explain why Lee subs in for Fyter Fest – but when Cutler and Avalon get that first win it’s gonna be so cathartic. **1/4

FYTER FEST TOMORROW PART 2!

  • Young Bucks and FTR vs. Butcher, Blade, and Bros
  • Lance Archer vs. Joey Janela
  • AEW Tag Team Titles: Kenny Omega and Hangman Page vs. Private Party
  • Chris Jericho vs. Orange Cassidy
  • SCU vs. Dark Order
  • Nyla Rose in action

Hey, we got three reasonably good matches. Sure, the Swole match disappointed and Nakazawa is an acquired taste to say the least, but this is what Dark is – a few showcases mixed in with some surprisingly competitive matches. We got angle advancement with Dustin Rhodes and Allie, plus the Cutler/Avalon team looked like they may outpunch their weight as comedy jobbers.

The real story tonight, of course, is Serpentico and Scorpio Sky. WOW. I’ve said before that Scorpio Sky can do more with the basics than most wrestlers do with big moves, and Serpentico was right there with him. None of the moves were what you’d call complex – the TKO may well be the most flashy move of the whole ten minutes, and honestly if you gave me a couple months I could do the stuff in that match. But it’s how they do it. I remain impressed with Sky’s smoothness in the ring and how he can take first-year moves and make them meaningful. Bravo.

STATS:

Bell To Bell: 45:59 over eight matches (average: 5:45)

Match of the Night: Scorpio Sky vs Serpentico

Three Stars:

  1. Scorpio Sky
  2. Stu Grayson
  3. Frankie Kazarian

Come back tomorrow for the Great American Fyter Bash Fest II: Electric Boogaloo!