The PG Era Recap of AEW Dark, Episode 52, September 15, 2020.
From the AEW Arena.
Your hosts are Excalibur, Taz, and Veda Scott! SHE’S BACK!
Eleven matches tonight, with four feature-style bouts! Brian Pillman Jr and Griff Garrison look to get their first win as a team against Santana and Ortiz! Colt Cabana wants to make up for his All Out faux-pas and will face one of his foes from that night, QT Marshall! Someone has to win (right?) when the former members of the Initiative, Peter Avalon and Brandon Cutler, square off! And in our main event, Dark Order 1-4 (Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Alex Reynolds, and John Silver) face Private Party and the Gunn Club! Plus, Brandi Rhodes, Butcher and Blade, Penelope Ford, Brian Cage, Will Hobbs, Ivelisse and Diamante, and Best Friends in action!
Red Velvet (no record shown) vs. Brandi Rhodes (7-2). Interesting: Brandi and Dustin come out of different tunnels. And OF COURSE Little Bran Bran is with her. Why wouldn’t she be? Brandi even notes the doll looks like Velvet.
Stalling to start. Velvet with a hammerlock, reversed by Brandi, and Velvet to a wristlock. Brandi tumbles out to reverse, and Velvet does the same to escape. Brandi is SO HAPPY to see Velvet can do this. Velvet rolls her eyes and is caught with a kick and headlock. We go International~!, and Velvet ends with a leg lariat for two. Velvet kicks away in the corner and does the split book choke, blowing Dustin a kiss. Brandi is none too happy and gives Velvet a pump kick before going ground and pound. Hammer throw and back elbow by Brandi, who yells at Velvet before getting a snapmare and side kick for two. Velvet fires off forearms, but Brandi returns with a Sling Blade for two.
And then Anna Jay shows up.
Brandi looks for a TKO but sees Anna and drops Velvet. Dustin tells Brandi to pay attention, and Brandi walks into a legsweep DDT for a double KO. Velvet with hairpull slams and knees from the Austin Straddle position for two. Can Velvet get her first win? Nah, Brandi with a spear, but she turns to Anna to make a point. Sleeper (while staring daggers at Anna) for the TKO at 4:20. Not much in the wrestling department – Brandi is a little slow in the ring compared to others – but at least they went with a story instead. 1/2*
Daniel Garcia and Kevin Blackwood (debut) vs. The Butcher and The Blade (w/Eddie Kingston) (14-6). It’s a reunion – all four wrestlers are from Buffalo, NY, so expect Butcher and Blade to make their foes look decent. Veda Scott talks about the horrible car accident the Buffalo Boys were in last year. Question: if they sign Blackwood, can they team him with someone named Gerber or Stayman?
Don’t worry if you don’t get the joke, it’s not a very good one.
Butcher and Blade jump the gun and go to town. Garcia and Blackwood take advantage of a high-five to reverse momentum, and it’s running boots to Blade by Garcia, with Blackwood getting a backdrop throw. Butcher and Blade stop dives before they start and maul them on the floor, with Blade raking the face of Garcia. Back in, Butcher suplexes Garcia with a release before throwing him into the Blade corner. Double headbutt to Garcia, and a running knee in the corner to a knee choke by Blade. Butcher adds a choke behind the ref’s back, and Blade with a lariat. Butcher in, and a double arm-wringer chop as Veda mentions that Kingston isn’t doing much coaching because he doesn’t have to.
Butcher with a gutbuster, and Blade in with half-hearted kicks to the head, taunting Garcia. As does Kingston (verbally). Butcher pulls Garcia in and tries a back suplex, but Garcia blocks and escapes. Butcher tries a German, then re-directs Garcia, but a blind charge eats boot, hot tag Blackwood. Dropkick to Blade and he boxes down Butcher, getting a spin kick but running into a Mike Knox-like flying bear. Blackwood dodges a back suplex and throws Blade into Butcher, then Garcia chops both men. Butcher stops it with a backbreaker and Full Death ends it at 4:18. There was a lot going on in those four minutes. ** Butcher and Kingston cut a promo to the camera.
Dani Jordyn (0-4) vs. Penelope Ford (w/Kip Sabian) (#4 ranking, 9-6). Jordyn’s burn book continues to make an appearance here, as Taz accuses Veda of having a burn book as well. Excalibur reminds us all that these two introduced Miro last week. Sabian holds Ford’s engagement ring during the match.
Jordyn dodges a lockup, then shoves Ford away on another try. Veda: “Supabad girl vs. Mean girl, who are we rooting for?” Taz: “The only true heel is the ref [Aubrey]!” Ford shoves Jordyn in the corner and piefaces her, causing Jordyn to box her down and get an uppercut. Snapmare and dropkick sends Ford packing as Taz goes off on a sexist rant. When EXCALIBUR calls you out, you’ve done wrong.
Jordyn’s dive is cut off by Ford’s uppercut. Back in the ring, Ford chokes Jordyn over the middle rope, then gets the pullback guillotine for two. Sabian, meanwhile, looks for himself in the burn book. Ford taunts Jordyn as Excalibur gets on Taz for cutting off a question for Veda. Ford with the Gut Check for two. And then Sabian finds Ford in the burn book and shows Ford, who tears up the paper and stuffs it in Jordyn’s throat.
Ford goes to swing with the book, but the ref stops her and Jordyn gets the comeback. Clotheslines follow into a chop-down kick and thrust kick. Jordyn tries a German suplex, which Ford blocks with a judo throw. Stunner by Ford, then she rams Jordyn into the top turnbuckle head-first. Ford goes up, getting a missile dropkick (and favoring her back on the landing). Fisherman’s suplex gets the pin at 4:32. Taz was WAY off his game in this one. Oh, the match? It was all right. *1/4
Megabyte Ronnie (debut) vs. FTW Champion Brian Cage (#2 ranking, 7-2). Ronnie made the trip down with Blackwood and Garcia. Ronnie is a competitive eater, hence the “Mega-Bite” name. Veda runs down his accomplishments. And Ricky Starks joins us on commentary. Cage demands Roberts re-announce him as FTW champion… and this is non-title, so far as I know.
Cage grabs Ronnie in a double-leg, but Ronnie slips out the back door only to run into a shoulderblock. Cage with uppercuts on Ronnie, then Kitchen Sinks in the ropes and a hiptoss backbreaker. In the corner, where Cage drives his shoulder into Ronnie’s gut. Hammer throw, but a charge hits boot. Cage instantly recovers with kicks, but Ronnie with a knee to the face off the ropes. He sets up… and walks into an F-5. Ronnie escapes and is hit with a flying knee.
Lariat by Cage, but Ronnie avoids the Rainmaker and gets a spinebuster out of nowhere. Ronnie goes into his fanny pack and gets a hot dog, and are we getting the HOT DOG BITE ENHANCED PEOPLE’S ELBOW OF DOOM! It gets less than one. Pop-up powerbomb by a very angry Cage, then a… a 5-5-9!? Wow! Drill Claw ends it at 3:07. Cage remains awesome. 3/4*
Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr (0-2) vs. Santana and Ortiz (#5 ranking, 11-6). Excalibur notes that the two seem to be good teammates and have found chemistry. But Santana and Ortiz want to get in shape for the Parking Lot Brawl tomorrow. Taz and Starks have respect for Santana and Ortiz, which Taz notes is unusual because they don’t respect anyone.
Pillman and Santana start. Pillman kicks away a lockup attempt, but Santana gets the arm. Pillman tumbles to get out of it with a handstand Pele, which Santana is NOT fond of. He shoots a “get a load of this guy” look to Ortiz before giving Pillman a back elbow, snapmare, and floating dropkick. He smashes Pillman’s back, then slaps him down to stop a slugfest. Pillman goes behind on a slam attempt, and a blind tag by Garrison allows Pillman to hold the leg and Garrison to get a legdrop. Santana stops Garrison in the corner and chops him into next week.
Garrison reverses a corner whip and gets a Stinger Splash, but runs into a SUPERKICK. Ortiz in, but Garrison is ready and goes on the offensive. Ortiz tumbles through a leapfrog, and Santana leaps off Ortiz with a bulldog. Gedo Clutch by Ortiz gets one. Ortiz with a single-leg dropkick to the clearly rattled Garrison. Gutwrench suplex by Ortiz, who keeps grabbing his head. Ortiz with a shot in the corner that wakes Garrison up. Ortiz, though, with an eye poke and boot choke on the bottom rope. Garrison goes up and over on Ortiz, who recovers with a short-arm lariat.
Santana in, and consecutive dropkicks floors Garrison. Santana chops Garrison into the LAX corner, and Ortiz in for a double suplex. Ortiz taunts Pillman and slugs him off the apron, but Garrison with the Discus Punch for a double KO. Hot tag Pillman, who enters with Air Pillman to Ortiz. He fires away on Santana, who dives onto Garrison in a criss-cross. But Ortiz is legal, so Pillman with a SUPERKICK and suplex try. Ortiz lands on his feet and catches Pillman in a powerbomb, into a drive-by kick by Santana. Ortiz pins with one foot at 6:07. The New Hollywood Blondes need to be signed soon. **1/4 Santana and Ortiz want the gold according to their post-match taunt.
Jessy Sorenson (0-2) vs. Will Hobbs (1-5). It was brought to my attention that Hobbs not only was a surprise participant in the Casino Battle Royal, but he was the Iron Man at over 16 minutes! Starks (he’s still on commentary) is unimpressed with Hobbs, which leads to Veda trying to defend using social media, and an argument breaks out.
Sorenson slaps around Hobbs, who lariats Sorenson. Avalanche in the corner and right crosses by Hobbs, but Sorenson fires back only to get tossed aside on a cross-body attempt. Running elbow misses, but Hobbs throws Sorenson to the apron. Sorenson returns but runs into a spinebuster. Oklahoma Stampede ends it at 1:21. Even Starks and Taz say this was impressive. NR.
Skyler Moore and Rache Chanel (first time teaming) vs. Ivelisse and Diamante (3-0). Rache Chanel? Again? Okay, if you’re new to my reviews, just know that Chanel does not impress me in the slightest. However, Chanel and Moore seem to be getting along well together. Taz is in a very bad mood right now, basically slagging on Excalibur and Schiavone (in absentia) during Ivelisse/Diamante’s intros.
Ivelisse and Moore start. Ivelisse gets the arm and trips Moore, who pops up and gets some armdrags. Slam try by Moore is escaped, and Ivelisse kicks out the back of the knee before bringing in Diamante. Moore slams Diamante instead and brings in Chanel. Double whip, and Moore with a back elbow before Chanel adds a spinning back elbow and snapmare. Okay, didn’t see that coming. O’Connor Roll goes nowhere, and after a miscommunication, Chanel armdrags down Diamante.
Fireman’s carry, but she preens for the camera instead of following up, allowing Diamante to duck a kick and get an uppercut. Ivelisse in with a tornado DDT for two. Ivelisse slams Chanel’s head onto the mat before following with a hook kick and dragon sleeper. Chanel wiggles out and fires away, but Ivelisse with a knee to the gut and a butterfly hiptoss for two. Diamante in, and she sends Moore off the apron before dropkicking a seated Chanel in the corner. STO by Diamante, and she draws Moore in so that Ivelisse can SUPERKICK Chanel into a lariat by Diamante for two.
We HIT THE CHINLOCK, with Chanel fighting out with a jawbreaker and Shining Wizard (!!) for two. Hot tag Moore, and she clotheslines Ivelisse over and over before getting a headscissors in the corner. Strongest Slam by Moore, Diamante saves. Chanel enters and gets tossed, then Ivelisse throws Moore into Chanel. Backstabber by Diamante, and a snapmare roundhouse kick by Ivelisse gets the win at 5:29. Okay, I got on Chanel when it looked like she was in over her head, but she got MUCH better since I last saw her. *1/2 Reminder: Ivelisse vs. Thunder Rosa tomorrow.
Colt Cabana (w/Evil Uno) (10-6) vs. QT Marshall (w/Allie) (11-9). Uno is giving more instructions to Cabana on his way to the ring, but the whole Dark Order soon follows. Colt is none too thrilled with this, but Uno says not to worry about it. They all allow QT to enter by waiting in the tunnel entrance, then Uno gives Colt more advice.
Colt with a waistlock, then he escapes a wristlock with a drop toe hold. QT with a hammerlock, but Colt gets a snapmare only to get twirled into a hammerlock. Colt gets out into a headlock and we go International~!, but Colt catches QT in a tilt-a-whirl headscissors as QT bails and gets, shall we say, encouraged by Allie to return. Back in, QT to the hammerlock, and Colt gives a clean break. Grayson protests, but Uno calls Grayson off, and in the chaos, QT gets an uppercut to drop Colt.
Colt blocks a Hammer Throw but looks ot the stage for directions and walks into a dropkick for two. QT has a whip reversed, but gets a back elbow. Angels and Vance distract QT, and Colt yanks QT off the buckles and gets a falling splash for two. Colt backs QT into the corner, but QT fires out with forearms. Colt sends QT into the HBK Flip bump, and a Bionic Elbow gets two. This time he hooks the leg, but still two. Colt with an elbow to the trapezius, then a VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF SEVERE DISCOMFORT.
QT fights out, but Colt with a drop toe hold and he stretches QT with a surfboard with a knee to the back. Colt turns it to a snapmare, but QT punches out for a comeback. Shoulderblock and inverted atomic drop, then a slam. QT goes up (making sure the Dark Order isn’t following him), and a diving back elbow connects (as Uno is disappointed). Colt ducks the Diamond Cutter, so QT switches to the Lethal Combination for two. QT goes to the middle rope again, but Colt backs away and comes back with Flip Flop and Fly.
Reynolds encourages him to follow up, but the Flying Apple is caught into a back suplex for two. Colt shoves away the Diamond Cutter, and Uno gives advice to Colt. The ref tells him to step back, so Grayson levels QT with a flying knee (behind both the ref and Colt). Discus lariat gets the win at 7:01. This was some very good professional wrestling. **1/4 Uno makes sure not to tell Colt about the interference as he congratulates him.
So It Has Come To This: Peter Avalon (w/Leva Bates) (0-26) vs. Brandon Cutler (0-25). Cutler has a dragon mask on his way to the ring, while Justin Roberts ignores Avalon’s shushing to do intros. The Initiative explodes now!
Avalon jumps Cutler, and the two slug it out. Cutler sends Avalon over the top, and Avalon begs off on the outside. Back in, Avalon with a knee strike and he pounds away on Cutler’s back. Butterfly suplex by Avalon gets one. Cutler reverses a suplex to one of his own for one. Avalon flips out of a second one, but Cutler comes back with a Phenomenal Forearm. Cutler with a rope-flip lucha armdrag and Avalon bails, allowing Cutler a tope suicida. (Leva, for those wondering, is begging for this match to just be over and the two to make up.)
Avalon swings round the pole on a whip and dropkicks Cutler, then pulls Leva away to keep attacking with a chop against the guardrail. Cutler reverses to get some of his own, and he tosses Avalon back in. Cutler listens to Leva plead, allowing Avalon to dive onto Cutler. Back in, Cutler with a springboard bodypress and Rock Bottom for two. Avalon goes for a single-leg crab (as commentary mentions the Young Bucks at ringside), but Cutler makes the ropes. Avalon asks Leva whose side she’s on and steals the book, but Leva steals it back, refusing to let it end THAT way.
Cutler with an inverted brainbuster for two. Cutler tries a torture rack, but Avalon elbows out and gets a Tiger Driver for two. Avalon is furious and gets the MartiKnees, but he doesn’t cover. Split-legged moonsault gets two. Avalon is about to lose it, but his blind charge eats boots. Cutler to the outside, and a springboard elbow gets two. Veda wonders if Cutler can even win cleanly. Cutler sets Avalon up top and follows, but Avalon fights out. Both men are on other sides of the turnbuckle and Cutler teases a superplex to the outside as Leva is scared out of her mind.
Both men slug each other silly and fall to the floor. The ref is counting, Leva is trying to get both men up, and they get up… and fight on the floor for a double countout at 6:46. Excalibur notes it’s the first double countout in AEW history. Avalon walks off on his own, and Cutler walks off his way, with poor Leva alone in the ring. Lucky us, this is not over. Actually a pretty fun match, with Leva holding it together. *3/4
Maxx Stardom and Dontae Smiley (debut) vs. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent?) (#2 ranking, 14-6). Smiley is wearing a fur coat and Stardom a flak jacket. Best Friends have no time for their entrance poses, as they are all business.
Taylor and Stardom start. Taylor drags Stardom back and forth in a lockup. Stardom with a few cross chops but he runs into a SUPERKICK from Taylor. Smiley in, but Taylor clubs him down. Trent in, and he chops down Smiley. Back elbow off a whip from Trent, and a headlock takedown. Smiley fights out of the headlock, and after a very high leapfrog, he gets a dropkick on Trent. Now Smiley shows off instead of following up, which allows Trent to get a Knee Plus.
Trent glares at Smiley and tags in Taylor, who gets a back suplex on Smiley, then a walking elbowdrop. Trent in, and he forearms Smiley and begs him to get up, cutting off the tag. Smiley firtes off forearms, but that just wakes up Trent, who drops Smiley. More forearms in the corner to the point where the referee has to call off Trent, allowing Smiley a spin kick and flip neckbreaker. Hot tag Stardom, who gets a headscissor kick and follows with a casadora bulldog on Trent.
Discus forearm is ducked, and Trent with a Saito suplex. Taylor and Smiley in, and Taylor runs over both guys to clear the ring. Taylor throws Smiley into the guardrail, then throws Stardom into a spear by Trent. Back in, Taylor with a running back elbow, and he and Trent do a flying knee, then the Soul Food / half-and-half combo. Back-to-back piledrivers ends Smiley at 5:36. Best Friends never smiled once; they are ready for that Parking Lot brawl. This is very good professional wrestling. *3/4
Main Event: Dark Order (Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Alex Reynolds, John Silver) (0-1 in atomicos) vs. Private Party (Isaiah Kassidy and Marq Quen) (8-6 as a team) and Gunn Club (Billy and Austin Gunn) (6-0 as a team). As always, the other Dark Order members – minus Mr. Lee and Colt – come out for backup. Billy’s other son accompanies Billy and Austin to ringside as Austin, to pay off last week’s rib, hands a piece of gum to Taz. Austin Gunn does the greatest Crazy White Guy Dance to Private Party’s music.
“Why be happy, ever?” – Taz actually said this. Veda decides to give Taz a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Billy and Reynolds start. Billy with a headlock takedown, but Reynolds reverses to a headscissors. Reynolds taunts Billy and goes for a whip, but Billy stands his ground and gets a shoulderblock for one. Austin in, and he works the arm as Kassidy drops an axhandle on it. Quen in, and he leaps over Kassidy onto Reynolds’ arm. Quen uses the front facelock, and Kassidy in as Private Party get a sunset flip/dropkick combo for two. Kassidy back to the front facelock, and Austin in. Reynolds into the corner, and Austin with a Stinger Splash and BACK body drop for two.
Reynolds backs Austin into the Dark Order corner and the mugging begins. Silver holds Austin for Grayson to stomp a mudhole and walk it dry. Uno drops elbows on Austin and stomps the hand before throwing Austin into the corner. Reynolds back in, and he slugs away on Austin, but Austin gets a backslide for one and traps Reynolds in his corner. Kassidy and Quen in, and Kassidy with the camel clutch into a Quen double stomp (everyone mocks the Dark Order salute) for two.
Quen with a standing headscissors on Reynolds, but Silver kicks Quen in the back. Quen recovers to dropkick Reynolds and give Grayson an enzuigiri, but Silver distracts the ref and Uno and Reynolds get Quen dumped to the floor. Grayson throws Quen back in, and Reynolds gets one. Uno stomps the legs of Quen and brings in Grayson. Demolition Decapitation by Uno/Grayson gets two, then two. Silver with uppercuts to Quen, then a roundhouse kick for two. Silver mocks the need for a hot tag and drops an elbow for one before getting a camel clutch.
Quen elbows out, but Silver bullrushes Quen into the Dark Order corner and Reynolds and Uno both boot choke him. Uno with a delayed brainbuster for two (mocking Kassidy as he covers, so Kassidy saves). Reynolds and Silver try a double-ship, but Quen runs them together and gets a simultaneous headscissors. Silver and Reynolds stop the tag, and Uno clears off the corner of Kassidy and Austin. Uno and Grayson try a double suplex, but Quen gives Uno an enzuigiri. Quen flips out of a German and avoids an avalanche, hot tag Billy.
Everyone goes flying, and Billy gives Reynolds a tilt-a-whirl slam. Grayson with a 12-6 elbow, but Billy escapes a fireman’s carry and gets a cobra clutch slam for two. Billy goes for the Famouser, but Uno pulls him out and sends him into the barricade. Kassidy with a springboard guillotine, then Reynolds gives Kassidy a cravat neckbreaker. Quen with a backflip DDT on Reynolds, then Silver gives Quen the farewell fall, kicks, and a brainbuster. Austin is caught by Reynolds and Silver, but he comes back with a clothesline to both. Grayson ducks another one and gets a Pele. Billy with the Famouser to Grayson, but Uno the big boot to Billy. Austin with uppercuts to Reynolds and Uno and he tosses Silver out. Austin tries the Quick Draw, but Grayson tags himself in as Uno catches him, and the Fatality gets the pin at 10:54. Give eight guys ten minutes and you’ll be fine. **3/4
- Best Friends meet Santana and Ortiz in the Parking Lot!
- FTR gives Jurassic Express a non-title match!
- The NWA Women’s Title is on the line as Thunder Rosa faces Ivelisse!
- Chris Jericho and Jake Hager face Private Party!
- MJF will have a match!
- Frankie Kazarian faces Adam Page!
My favorite part of any episode of Dark is seeing who surprises me among the enhancement talent. Let’s face it, you know the “name” guys are going to do well, but who will they give time to on the other end? You look at Brian Pilllman Jr and Griff Garrison building team chemistry, for example, or Will Hobbs building himself up to getting a contract. Who can be next?
The big ones were Garcia and Blackwood, which isn’t surprising to anyone who watches Beyond on a regular basis. It helps that they’ve probably fought Butcher and Blade all up and down upstate New York and suburban Toronto, but they packed a lot into their four minutes. Maximizing your minutes is something I was always taught you had to do, no matter how you did it. Now, that doesn’t mean steal the spotlight; it means make yourself look good in the time you have.
Which brings me to, of all people, Rache Chanel. Maybe I’m going soft here, but this was a leap in skill she had today. Sure, Ivelisse and Diamante are ring generals, and that helps. However, Chanel failed to impress to this level against Hikaru Shida; here she is hitting a full-on Shining Wizard and a very nice spinning back elbow. Now, it’s easy to say “low bar for improvement is low”, but I’m always willing to note when someone achieves that next level. It’s not easy for things to click, trust me. (Before you bring it up, yes, she was still not all the way there as she and Diamante seemed to have a mixup on one spot.)
Storywise, two important stories got time here. There was Colt Cabana’s misfit with the Dark Order’s style, which again took the form of massive interference behind Colt’s back. In addition, we had the two men looking for their first win going against each other and ignoring Leva, who really wanted them to be a team together and believes they’re better friends than enemies. Leva’s facial expressions sold a lot when she was on camera and is a prime example of “working” without wrestling. Good times.
BELL TO BELL: 59:31 over eleven matches (average time 5:25)
MATCH OF THE NIGHT: The eight-man
- Stu Grayson
- Brian Cage
- Leva Bates
Enjoy Dynamite and NXT tomorrow!