AEW DARK SPECIAL: September 4, 2020

The PG Era Rant for AEW DARK, Episode 50 on the Road to All Out, September 4, 2020.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are Taz and Excalibur.

Tonight is a lighter edition, but still has two featured matchups. The Natural Nightmares face off against Alan Angels and Preston Vance of the Dark Order, while Darby Allin and Luther dance with death or something. Also on the show are Colt Cabana, Alex Reynolds, John Silver, Allie, Ivelisse, and more!

Opening match: Faboo Andre and D3 (first time teaming) vs. The Butcher and The Blade (w/Eddie Kingston) (13-6). The crowd isn’t in the building right now. Commentary talks about how Kingston mended fences for Butcher/Blade…

Hold that thought, as Butcher and Blade jump the gun before the bell. Blade sends Andre out, and Butcher gives D3 an inverted powerslam. Long hiptoss to D3 and Blade comes in to slug away. D3 escapes a flapjack and gets a dropkick, and Andre comes in only to walks into Blade’s grasp. Sidewinder by Butcher and Blade gets two. Jackhammer-type throw by Butcher and a forearm. Blade with some choking in the corner, and he goes to the eyes.

Butcher chokes Andre as well, and Blade with a clothesline. Chop in the corner and Blade slams Andre. A blind charge eats boot, and Andre with a diving headscissors before getting the hot tag to D3. D3 kicks away on Blade and works him over, but Butcher with a blind tag and a double-team Nodowa Otoshi follows, Andre saves. DWI by Butcher/Blade on Andre, and the Full Death (suplex to the knees) ends D3 at 3:35. Pure murder. 1/2*

Red Velvet (0-4) vs. Allie (w/QT Marshall and Brandi Rhodes) (7-1). They claim Velvet hung with Abadon on the last Dark, but that’s not true – that was a week or so ago. Whatever, time is a flat circle anyway. Brandi and Lil Bran Bran go to commentary, while Allie insists QT remove her jacket.

Lockup ends in a stalemate. A second lockup also goes nowhere. Finally, Velvet gets a headlock, and we go International~!, which ends with… who knows, they cut to Brandi. We go back to Allie getting knee strikes but getting caught in a cradle for two. Velvet bridges out of a pin attempt and offers Code of Honor, which Allie takes… and holds the hand as we get a shoving match. Allie with a big kick, then forearms in the corner. Velvet turns the tables and kicks away into the stir it up boot choke. This (and a headlock) just annoys Allie, who throws Velvet off and checks her hair in QT’s phone.

Velvet does a dropkick to both of them and throws Allie in before going up top. Allie catches her and SUPERKICKS her off the ropes to the mat for one. Allie with a fireman’s carry, but Velvet escapes only to get hit with clotheslines and knee strikes. Kneelift by Allie, then a facebuster. Velvet hides in the corner only to get hit with the sliding elbow. Down the Rabbit Hole ends it at 4:21. 3/4*

For those curious, Brandi spent most of the match discussing Allie’s shortcomings and strategic errors in the match before being happy that she won… although it took too long in her opinion. She then goes back to talking about Lil Bran Bran in post-match chatter.

Zack Clayton (0-1) vs. Colt Cabana (9-5). Clayton is a hoss from upstate New York making his return to Dark. Excalibur wonders if Taz – who is from BROOKLYN – knows that Albany is the capital of New York. Colt comes out to his own music, but soon after, the Dark Order comes out to provide emotional support. Colt seems to have no idea why they came out. (Uno and Grayson leave, the others stay).

Lockup, and they get a clean break in the ropes. A second clean break, this one by Colt, and suddenly Grayson comes back and is angry at Colt’s lack of aggression. Colt takes the arm, and the two exchange wristlocks with Colt flipping Clayton. He helps Clayton up, and now Uno returns to ask Colt what the heck he’s thinking. Now Colt’s nervous, but he gets a headlock and we go International… but now Silver and Reynolds hold Colt back so Clayton’s dropkick misses! Colt asks why, and in the chaos, Clayton rolls him up for two.

Colt low bridges Clayton to the stage right in front of the Dark Order, and after asking the Order to stay back, Colt stomps away and goes ground and pound to their approval. Some turnbuckler strikes from the apron, and back in, Colt with a slingshot back elbow. Colt with Bionic elbows (though he looks to Uno and Grayson for approval) before getting a headlock and shoteis. Clayton with uppercuts off a criss-cross and he goes up, but now Angels and Vance approach the ring to distract him.

Colt catches Clayton up top, and the Chicago Skyline drop follows. Uno has a suggestion of some sort for Colt, who agrees, and the Discus Clothesline (“Mr. Brodie Lee’s move!”) gets the win at 4:21. That’s some very good professional wrestling here, with the story being told and character development. *1/2

Meanwhile, Dasha asks Peter Avalon about Tuesday. Avalon says the team is done (Leva tries to object), and Avalon wants to shine on his own. He’s been at it for 10 years, and he took this Librarian bit so he could never be enhancement talent again. He enhances the whole show! He mentions some Texas billionaire’s nephew who has a career because of this enhancement talent. (No, I can’t figure out who he’s referring to – is Dixie Carter from Texas?) He wants to light a fire under Cutler – the attack was because Cutler was letting the team down. And yes, he challenges Cutler to prove Cutler is the worst in AEW. Leva Bates is distraught.

Ryzin and Angel Perez (first time teaming) vs. The Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr. El 0M and Rey Fenix) (7-5). Commentary is basically calling this a mismatch. Interesting twist: no Eddie Kingston for the Lucha Bros. Both of these men are in the Casino match at All Out.

Fenix and Ryzin start. Ryzin with the arm, but Fenix rolls through and flips Ryzin before stomping his foot and knocking him down. Penta in, and he assists Fenix with a backflip into front flip into a lucha armdrag off the ropes. Penta with a SUPERKICK and he chops Ryzin hard in the ropes. He kicks Ryzin’s hamstrings, but a blind charge hits the boot, and Ryzin with a moonsault press. Perez in with a flying bodypress to Fenix and he knocks him down for a hesitation shotgun dropkick in the corner. Running knee strike and Perez goes up, but Fenix kicks him out of midair. Penta in with a Sling Blade, and Fenix back with a Yoshi Tonic out of the corner for two. Fenix covers again, but Penta breaks to leap off of Fenix’s back and give Ryzin an Destroyer! Elevated package piledriver ends Perez at 2:53. Perez looked pretty good. *1/4

Kingston, Butcher, and Blade come out post-match and Kingston gets the mic. Tomorrow night, these five men will dominate, and one of them will win. They all point to themselves, which leads to some disagreement, but Kingston tells them to take it easy. He reminds them that if they stick together, one wins and they all win. It’s for the #1 title in the sport! But again, they argue over who’s supposed to win, so Kingston calls for a group hug – and smirks to the camera as it happens. This does open up the question: do they have a chosen winner if it comes down to them?

KiLynn King (0-7) vs. Ivelisse (w/Diamante and the gold medals) (3-1). King wants to call herself the Queen of Crazy, but in AEW, she’s merely eccentric by comparison. Plus, she doesn’t really do much to be crazy, you know? Then again, what can enhancement talent do? Both women carry their flags to the ring (Ivelisse is Puerto Rican, and Diamante is Cuban). Excalibur flubs this, saying they’re both Puerto Rican even though the flags are different.

Ivelisse with a quick kick to the shin as a wake-up to King. A strike battle breaks out, and King blocks to get a series of arm drags and Japanese armdrag to finish. King blocks a kick and goes for a slam, but Ivelisse uses the ropes to escape and shoves King into the ropes. Tornado DDT off the middle rope gets two. Ivelisse goes ground and pound before backing off at the referee’s suggestion, so she switches up to soccer kicks to the back. It gets two.

King goes to the gut to try to fight back, but Ivelisse with a takedown into forearms to the back, then a Lotus Lock. King bridges back for two, with Ivelisse switching it to a cradle for two. Running knee strike as they’re both standing up gets two for Ivelisse. Ivelisse with the Yes Kicks to King, but she ducks the third and unloads with a big forearm. Ivelisse with a hook kick to buy time, but King comes back with clotheslines. She kicks Ivelisse’s arm and gets a roundhouse kick and release German suplex, but has to roll her from the ropes so it’s only two.

Taz talks about how the half-nelson can rotate the prone wrestler faster for a cover. Ivelisse alley-oops to her feet, but King gets a chop to the leg. Diamante pops up, so King goes after her and allows Ivelisse to recover with a Flatliner. Ivelisse with a scorpion kick and Code Red to end it at 4:49. KiLynn King is going to have a heck of a future the way she’s going. Very good match, focusing on a strike battle and maintaining that theme with Ivelisse only winning due to King’s inexperience. **1/4

Something something AEW Heels something something.

Shawn Dean and Brandon Bullock (first time teaming) vs. Dark Order #3 and #4 (Alex Reynolds and John Silver) (2-6). Shawn Dean is a known quantity, but how he’ll team with Bullock is a mystery. As for Reynolds and Silver, they’re joined by the rest of the minions – including Anna Jay this time, who wasn’t out with Colt (although Colt himself is nowhere to be found). After the salute, the other Dark Order members go to the back.

Silver and Dean start. Start with a single-leg takedown into a rear naked choke, and he maintains with bodyscissors and tries to re-apply the sleeper as Dean tries to escape. Silver with knees in a front clutch, and Reynolds comes in to work Dean over in the corner. Dean punches out to get free, but Reynolds catches a kick only for Dean to get an enzuigiri. Bullock in, and after they take a second to get on the same page, Reynolds catches and ejects Dean. Bullock with a hiptoss and back suplex for one, though, and he tries a fireman’s carry only for Reynolds to elbow out. O’Connor Roll, but Silver did a blind tag and powerbombs Bullock onto Reynolds’ knees.

Silver with a high round kick to Bullock and he stomps away. Reynolds in, and he gets a cravat into a corner snapmare. Silver returns and forearms away on Bullock, and Reynolds returns for a trip-up into Silver doing a springboard splash into a slingshot elbow by Reynolds. The arrogant cover only gets one, so Reynolds brings Silver in and they kick Bullock silly. Silver with more Yes Kicks to Bullock, then a standing roundhouse to the sternum. Bullock escapes the Torture Rack and hot tags Dean, who backdrops Reynolds and bowls over Silver with a floatover DDT… into a double DDT as Reynolds tries to break it. It gets two on Silver.

Silver wakes up and gets a karate rush, and then he sends Dean into the ropes where the Dark Order get a double Drive-By. Cesaro-style UFO to Dean, but Bullock tags in only to get hit with a flapjack/uppercut combo. Full flip DDT ends it at 5:41. You can tell they see something in Dean, which they should, and this team has some very good double-team moves. The DDT Destroyer thing needs a name, though. **

Meanwhile, Leva apologizes to Cutler for being unable to talk sense into Avalon, but Dasha asks if Cutler accepts the challenge. He does, saying that there’s no way they’re the worst wrestlers in AEW. Just watch them! He’s mad that Avalon accepts other people’s opinions, and that lights a fire under the dragon Cutler. So now, Avalon will get burned!

Luther (4-3) vs. Darby Allin (8-5). Taz is openly rooting for Luther. Excalibur wonders which man is more dangerous, given their histories. They then explain how the Casino Battle…

Sorry, Luther jumped Allin and sends him outside, where Allin sells his knee. Luther sends it into the ringpost and stomps away on it. Excalibur: “Did you have anything to do with this?” Back in, Luther keeps stomping away on the knee in the corner, then hangs the leg on the ropes and drives the knee into it. Luther picks Allin up, and he can’t even run the ropes off of a whip due to the injury. But Allin catches Luther in an armbar with SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION, forcing Luther to get to the ropes.

Luther cuts off Allin with a kick to the leg from a prone position, but a charge sees Luther catch the boot and throw Allin down. Anklelock by Luther, but Allin gets the ropes. Luther with a backdrop driver with a folded knee gets two, and Luther screeches about the count. Allin tries to fight back, and he tries a moonsault press with one leg, only for Luther to move. Inside-out suplex by Luther gets two. Taz: “We got his number, you know.”

Luther works the leg some more, then hangs Allin in the Tree of Woe before punching the knee. Luther charges in, but Allin pulls himself up to avoid the cannonball. Luther rolls outside, so Allin coffin drops off the top rope to Luther on the outside. Allin lifts Luther in – hard to do with one leg for holding weight – but he goes up and gets the Coffin Drop for the pin at 4:28. That’s some very good professional wrestling and the best performance I’ve seen from Luther on Dark. *3/4 Excalibur wonders if Allin will be at 100% tomorrow.

Main Event: Dark Order #5 and #10 (Alan Angels and Preston Vance) (first time teaming) vs. The Natural Nightmares (Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall) (w/Allie). Once again, the Dark Order sans Colt and Lee accompany their men. Commentary notes this could be a semi-grudge match…

AND HERE WE GO as Dustin and QT jump the Order! Vance and QT start proper, and QT with a clothesline before throwing Angels int for a Dustin uppercut. Faces clear the ring, and the Dark Order stalls. Vance returns and slugs away on Marshall as they fight it out, and Dustin comes back in for a body blow / kneelift combo. Dustin goes ground and pound on Vance, but Vance recovers with a forearm strike. Dustin with a clothesline and back suplex and he’s back to the mount.

QT in, and he punches Vance before getting a big boot in the ropes and knocking down Angels. Angels low bridges QT, though, to send him to the outside and follows with a double stomp to a doubled-over QT. Angels gets one back in the ring. Vance in, and he works QT over in the corner with chops. Elbow and suplex by Vance follows for two. Angels back in, with a spinning kick and snapmare, then a soccer kick and standing frog splash for only one this time. QT tries to fight out, but Angels holds him at bay and Angels gets the knees up on a whip into a spinebuster on Vance for two, Dustin saves.

Vance goes ground and pound on QT, and the Dark Order salute. Angels in as Excalibur thinks the Nightmares are out of adrenaline and short on energy as a result. Angels steps on QT’s hand as he crawls for a tag, but QT fights out and gets the Lethal Combination. Vance gets disposed when he runs in, but recovers in time to yank Dustin off the apron and send him into the guardrail. Back in, Angels with a Wing Snapper into a pump kick by Vance, and an alley-oop DDT by Angels gets a very close two.

Angels pounds down QT, who chops back to try to get the tag. Angels with a ton of kicks into an enzuigiri, but he taunts Dustin and gets caught with a tilt-a-whirl slam off of a quebrada attempt. Hot tag Dustin, and he runs over Vance with clotheslines and the kneeling uppercut. Dustin with an inverted atomic drop and running bulldog, and he gets his powerslam on both men in turn. Dustin runs into an Angels enzuigiri, and Vance with a cradle with the tights for two. Vance with a rolling elbow and Angels comes in, and the Dark Order are ready to finish… but QT with a Diamond Cutter on Vance and Dustin gets the Final Reckoning on Angels for the pin at 8:00. Angels and Vance don’t get to show off much, but this was impressive. **3/4

So here’s the schedule:

TNT shows a countdown at 5:30.

Red Carpet shows at 5 and 6:30.

The Buy-In at 7 PM.

And the show itself starts at 8PM.

(all times Eastern)

You know, I think I appreciate their effort to get a lot of matches on AEW Dark so their roster can get experience, but this felt like a go-home B show. Everything was tight, stories were advanced (Kingston pulling a potential con, the Dark Order teaching Colt, the Natural Nightmares getting momentum, Brandi thinking herself above Allie, the motivation behind Cutler and Avalon), and the matches we did see were all very fluid. When you’re done watching SmackDown tonight, head on over to YouTube and catch some of this.

The big news about All Out, by the way, is that due to popular demand, the cinematic between Britt Baker and Big Swole has been promoted to the main card! As for what’s taking its place, they’ve added a new match with Alex Reynolds and John Silver against Private Party. This is how AEW is using its depth – they don’t need to shuffle one match out to move another in, instead just adding the match. I’m surprised WWE doesn’t do this more often – they own their own network and can afford to have a show be slightly more open-ended.

I said slightly. Slightly! I know we don’t want four-hour shows back again!

Anyway… STATS!

BELL TO BELL: 38:08 over eight matches (average time 4:46)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Natural Nightmares vs. Angels/Vance

THREE STARS:

  1. Ivelisse
  2. Alan Angels
  3. Darby Allin

(NOTE: Honorable mentions to KiLynn King, Shawn Dean, Penta 0M, Colt Cabana, and The Butcher, among others. Just a great show.)

See you tomorrow, everyone!