AEW DARK: September 29, 2020

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 54, September 29, 2020.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are Taz and Excalibur, with Ricky Starks and Shawn Spears wandering around.

Three big tag matches tonight to catch your attention: the New Hollywood Blonds will face off against Chaos Projekt. Vance and Angels of the Dark Order meet the Jurassic Express. And in our feature bout, the Natural Nightmares face John Silver and Colt Cabana (subbing for Alex Reynolds). Also in action, the teams of SCU (Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian), Gunn Club, and Best Friends, plus three women’s matches featuring Tay Conti, Nyla Rose, and Penelope Ford. (You hear that? THREE WOMEN’S MATCHES!)

Opening match: Ray Rosas and Ryzin (first time teaming) vs. Scorpio Sky (#5 singles) and Frankie Kazarian (10-6). Ryzin is so extra and I love it. Keep up that demonic priest action, bro, see if it gets you more bookings. Shawn Spears is at commentary, and he wants another shot at Scorpio Sky in singles action. This apparently has something to do with Late Night Dynamite. (It appears that Sky took offense to Spears’ loaded glove.)

Kaz and Rosas start. Kaz gets a monkey flip and holds the headlock at the same time, then goes around to a hammerlock and back to a headlock takedown. We go International… but Kazarian avoids the dropdown by hooking the headlock again. Rosas hooks a waistlock, but Sky tags in and gets the Kobe dropkick. It gets one. Russian legsweep by Sky gets two. Rosas with a jawbreaker and Ryzin tags in. Sky boxes away from Ryzin, but gets whipped and a leg lariat gets two. Ryzin pounds away, and Rosas is back in.

Ryzin is dumped to the apron and the jobbers collide, and in comes Kaz for a double back elbow. Kaz with a guillotine legdrop on a returning Ryzin, and a German suplex on Rosas follows as Spears says that he and FTR, despite sharing managers, are not a team. A Rosas charges eats elbow, but Ryzin distracts Kaz and Rosas gets a missile dropkick for one. Ryzin in, and he does some mudhole stomping before Rosas chokes Kaz in the corner. Ryzin with an alley-oop bomb for two. Ryzin with an STO for two.

Rosas back in, and Ryzin whips Rosasa into Kaz…’s elbow. Kaz sticks and moves, getting the hot tag to Sky. Leaping back elbow to Ryzin, and a wild dodge leads to a low dropkick and double stomp to Rosas. Slingshot cutter to Ryzin, and Kaz back in for the Gory 2 Sleep combo, getting Kaz the win at 6:27. Sky and Kaz will face FTR tomorrow, but Sky is more interested in Tully’s other client. If this is building to a Full Gear match, I’m perfectly okay with that, but I don’t know if Spears is a big enough name to push this to PPV. As for this match, got good near the end. **

John Silver is upset at teaming with Colt Cabana, and he complains to Uno. Uno says he sees potential in Colt, just like he saw it in Silver, so trust him, please. Colt Cabana matters to the Dark Order… and then Colt wanders in asking if he can join the promo. Uno takes them off-camera.

Alex Gracia (debut) vs. Penelope Ford (10-6, #4 women’s). But first, Ricky Starks joins us in the third seat on commentary. Really, you put Starks on the headset and not Veda Scott? C’mon, people. Taz says that Starks’ current shirtless look is normal and he’s allowed to do that even in airports. As for the competitors, Gracia calls herself the Pink Dream – pink outfit, pink hair, pink robe. Sabian’s entrance leads to a funny exchange over Ricky Starks not wearing crop tops. Because they’re a shirt.

Ford with an armdrag to start. She gets a waistlock throwdown and slaps Gracia around, then blocks a shot and yanks Gracia down by the hair. Ford taunts Gracia and nearly gets caught in a wacky cradle for one. Gracia with a dropkick and Ford bails. Gracia follows, but Ford rolls in and catches Gracia with a running boot for two. Ford chokes Gracia over the middle rope, then gets the arm-pull guillotine.

Remind me to steal that spot when I wrestle.

Ford whips Gracia into the corner and stands on her throat. Straight right hand follows, then a fireman’s carry into the Gut Check for two. (Starks likes Gracia’s fighting spirit.) Ford slaps around Gracia before picking her up, and the fisherman’s suplex ends it at 3:22. Complete squash. DUD

M’Badu and Bshp King (first time teaming) vs. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor/Trent) (#1 tag team, 16-6). By the way, that’s not a typo – King’s name is listed with no vowels. Starks apologizes to Excalibur for doubting M’Badu’s heritage the previous week. Excalibur wonders if they’re 100% after the parking lot brawl two weeks back, a match everyone loved. (Taz suggests getting Sue for Team Taz.)

Trent and M’Badu start. M’Badu wins the lockup and throws Trent around. Trent regroups himself and gets a headlock, but M’Badu throws him into the corner. Charge hits the boot and Trent escapes a press slam when he charges, and eventually Trent knocks M’Badu down with a back elbow. Back kick by Trent, and both men tag out as Taylor and King take over. King backs Taylor into the ropes but gets caught in a headlock. He bowls Taylor over only to be caught with a series of armdrags as Taz says something stupid and cracks up the commentary.

Trent in, and we get a double tackle. Trent chops away on King in the corner, but King takes offense and wants more. He gets more and regrets it. Taylor in to keep chopping King, then a slam follows. M’Badu gets Taylor’s attention, and King capitalizes with a powerslam for one. M’Badu boxes Taylor in the corner and gets a huge Stinger Splash for two. King in, but a swanton bomb misses. M’Badu tries to cut off the hot tag, but a second Stinger Splash airballs and Trent’s back in.

Trent with a clothesline off the ropes to M’Badu and a Saito suplex to King. Corner clothesline and Tornado DDT to M’Badu and in comes Taylor. Flying Knee by Taylor sets up the Sole Food/Half-nelson suplex combo. Stomp Strong Zero ends it at 5:51. They gave M’Badu more work to do. Best Friends are on a roll right now. *1/2

Brandon Cutler is still mad at Avalon for a double countout. He’s lost every way possible, and even tied now. Now, he wants a rematch down the line. Keep your schedule open.

Dark Order (Alan Angels and Preston Vance) (1-1) vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy Jack Perry and Luchasaurus) (7-5). Uno and Anna accompany the Dark Order to the stage, since everyone else is either taking the week off or preparing for a later match. Marko Stunt is with Jurassic Express, his foot injury fully healed. The Express asks Stunt to stay to himself at ringside.

Angels and Saurus start. Angels slaps Saurus, then realizes this was a very bad idea and tags out. Vance and Saurus have a chop battle, leading to a criss-cross and over-under ending with Saurus catching Vance in an overhead suplex. Perry and Angels in now, and Angels gets a hammerlock out of a headlock. The two exchange arm work, with Perry getting an armdrag and headlock takedown. Perry kicks out of the leg scissors and we reset. The two jockey for waistlock position, with a back elbow by Angels just upping the ante. Angels gets a push kick and outruns Perry, but Perry catches him into a fireman’s carry for… uh, the ref is with Vance, not that it would have been three.

Perry takes the arm and gets a lucha armdrag toss, then another armdrag. Saurus in with a high kick and a cartwheel into a Karelin toss powerbomb. Saurus boxes down Angels and brings in Perry, who leaps over Saurus in a senton for two, Vance saves. Angels yanks Perry down by the hair and brings in Vance, with Angels getting a legsweep into a pump kick by Vance for one. Suplex by Vance gets two as Taz notes there’s a lot of masks in this match. Starks: “It’s because they’re ugly.”

Angels in with a spinning heel kick, then a snapmare and soccer kick leads to a ground frog splash for two. Angels chops Perry and brings Vance in, and the Dark Order throws Perry into the corner. Back body drop by Vance into a missile dropkick by Angels gets two. Vance with a back suplex for two. Vance inadvertently throws Perry into Angels, nearly allowing Perry the hot tag before Vance cuts it off only to get clotheslined. Angels stops the hot tag, but Perry tumbles away and gets it soon after.

Pump kicks to Vance, big chop to Angels, and a lariat back to Vance. Vance pulls Angels out of an Oklahoma Slam, but Saurus catches Vance with a tailwhip kick and Angels with a high-angle AA for two. Perry returns, and a roundhouse kick by Saurus is followed by a back lariat by Perry, Vance saves again. Vance throws Saurus into the post as Perry has Angels for a Tiger Driver, but Angels rushes him to the Dark Order corner.

Vance with a spinebuster and Angels a frog splash, with Vance getting a very close two. Dark Order regroup and salute, with Vance throwing Angels onto Perry, but Perry ducks and cradles Angels for two. Saurus is back to chokeslam Vance, and the Extinction Level Event onto Vance for the pin at 9:39. I’ll take “matches 100 times better than they had any right to be” for 600, Alex. **3/4 Vance has improved quite a bit with each outing, and the others we knew to be good.

Luther and Serpentico talk. Some say they’re born evil or with hatred. The problem is that the Chaos Projekt is about that evil to the very core. Tonight will see the nightmares come true, and the Blonds better be ready, because the Chaos Projekt is out for blood.

Shawn Dean and Cesar Bononi (first time teaming) vs. Gunn Club (Billy and Austin Gunn) (7-0). Yes, THAT Cesar Bononi. Gunn Club have a new video and new entrance music. Kolton Gunn accompanies his father and brother to the ring, and Ricky Starks is NOT impressed. Referring to Billy: “Am I looking at his face or at his ass?”

Austin and Dean start. Test of strength starts us off, with Dean getting a monkey flip out of it as Starks questions Dean’s military service (even Taz tells him to cut it out). Austin controls the wrist and brings in Billy, who hammers the shoulder with elbows, then back to Austin as they maintain arm control. Austin with a deep armdrag, and Bononi tags himself in. Bononi wants Billy, but Austin stays in. Bononi with a waistlock and choke throw, basically tossing Austin to Billy. Billy tags himself in and it’s time to hoss it up.

Lockup goes nowhere. Bononi with a goozle, and Billy returns, with Billy winning that choke-off before Bononi gets knees to the gut. Billy reverses Bononi to the corner and stomps away, coming out of the corner with a clothesline. Dean with a shot to the back to distract Billy, and Bononi with a jumping boot and stomping a mudhole. Dean in, as he continues stomping on Billy and boxes him away. Dean knocks Austin off the apron, and Billy gets double-teamed during the distraction. Bononi in, and he slugs Billy down before getting a half-nelson knee smash. Bononi with a straight right to floor Billy for two.

We HIT THE CHINLOCK as Taz pimps the Starks/Allin match tomorrow. Bononi stops the tag with the trunks and smashes the kidneys, but Austin avoids a shot from Bononi as Billy catches a spin back suplex. Hot tag Austin (that would’ve been really good with a crowd), and Dean pinballs into a low dropkick and flip neckbreaker. DDT follows on Dean, Bononi saves.

Billy and Bononi go over on a Cactus clothesline, and Dean catches Austin in the corner and puts him up top, but Austin knocks Dean down. Billy tags in, and a catapult into a lariat follows, but again Bononi saves by grabbing Billy’s hair. Austin dives onto Bononi on the outside, and back in, the Rocker Dropper gets Billy the pin on Dean at 7:57. I’m assuming Billy wanted to see if Bononi had a future as a hoss. Me? I’d say he’s earned a callback, but I’m not willing to draw up the contract yet. *1/2

The Natural Nightmares talk. Marshall notes that they won in an even fight at All Out. Dark Order may win when there’s strength in numbers, but it’s even now. Unlike on Late Night Dynamite, says Brandi. (Awkward silence) Meanwhile Brandi is glad Anna Jay isn’t here, or she’d kick her with her royal boots. Dustin tells Colt to step away from his conflict and watch as the Natural Nightmares destroy the Dark Order.

Red Velvet (0-6) vs. Tay Conti (1-2). I enjoy that Red is “straight out of yo mama’s kitchen” and all, but I think if they went with the Colombian boxer bit more, it would fit with AEW’s style. This is a full-on South American matchup, with Colombia against Brazil. No sign of the Dark Order right now… wait, no, Anna Jay is in the front row.

Conti with a waistlock and judo throw with the wrist control, three times over. Roundhouse kick misses, and Velvet cradles her for one. Velvet with deep armdrags and Conti backs off. The two salute each other, and in the next round, Conti’s leg is caught only for Conti to get the armbar Asuka-style into a cradle for two. Judo hiptoss into a BIG sole kick to the head for two by Conti. Even Conti likes that kickout. Conti goes to the mount and lands forearms, forcing Velvet to cover up. Velvet kicks Conti away and lands strikes of her own, but Conti reverses a corner whip and gets double knees into a monkey flip into a wrist-clutch pinfall for two. Taz is in his GLORY calling the judo names.

Dragon Sleeper by Conti, but Velvet knees out and gets clotheslines for the comeback into a leg lariat. Knees to the back gets two. Splits choke by Velvet as she mugs for the camera, but her forearms wake Conti up. Conti blocks and fires back, getting a back-to-front Catatonic. More knee strikes to the head, and Conti gets a slingshot drop into… uh… what in heaven’s name was THAT choke? Anyway, it gets the submission at 4:10. Both of these women will get better after a couple years – you can see the goodness there, but they haven’t gotten the muscle memory and automatic behavior yet. * Anna Jay celebrates with Conti and helps Velvet up, only to give Velvet a Booker T hook kick (much to Conti’s confusion). Brandi Rhodes stops anything else from happening, though.

New Hollywood Blonds (Brian Pillman Jr and Griff Garrison) (0-3) vs. Chaos Projekt (Serpentico and Luther) (2-0). Exaclibur notes the team chemistry is coming together for the Blonds over the last few matches. With two new teams in the tag ranks, AEW’s division is loaded like hell and I love it.

Serpentico throws the streamers in the Blonds’ faces and the Project clears the ring. Serpentico and Garrison get in the ring to start, and Serpentico with a tilt-a-whirl. Garrison respond with a huge back body drop (streamers are everywhere), and Pillman in with a senton and Northern Lights suplex for two. Pillman blocks the O’Connor Roll and nails Serpentico with a back elbow, but Luther slugs Pillman down and tags in. Luther with a slam, then he slams Serpentico onto Pillman three times over for two. Luther back in, and he goes to the nostrils before bringing Serpentico back in.

Side suplex by Luther into the slingshot double-stomp by Serpentico. Luther tags back in, and he chops down Pillman before getting a clothesline. Snap suplex by Luther and Serpentico returns, as Luther gives Serpentico a reverses suplex onto Pillman for two. Pillman tries to fight back on Serpentico, but he misses a kick and gets nailed with a backfist. Pillman leaps to the top and crossbodies Serpentico off a whip, hot tag Garrison.

He clears the ring and gets a Stinger Splash on Serpentico, then turns him inside out with a lariat. Wheelbarrow slam follows, Luther saves. Starks wants to borrow that move. Garrison dumps Luther and brings Pillman in, but Serpentico avoids a double back drop and gives Pillman a SUPERKICK. He throws Pillman into a big boot by Luther, and the spinebuster/meteora ends it at 5:01. Luther didn’t drag this down at all. I think both teams have some wacky good chemistry here. *3/4

Rache Chanel (0-2) vs. Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero) (#1 women’s, 12-3). Well, here’s the acid test. Was Chanel’s last appearance a high, or has she really improved? Chanel now has bright yellow hair. As for Rose’s whereabouts, Taz says that Nyla’s been going back to training to regroup.

Rose invites Chanel to the center of the ring so she can lay down and end the match now. Chanel fakes it and slugs Rose with forearms, but Rose cuts it off with a big kick and slam. Tree chokeslam, but Rose picks her up at two. Rose’s blind charge misses, and Chanel dropkicks Rose into the corner. Chanel mogs for the camera before a Broski Boot, but it appears she’s more interested in the camera than Rose. Case in point, she runs into a standing uranage.

Farewell fall by Rose, and she gets the order from Vickie. Chanel escapes the Beast Bomb and tries a lucha headscissors… but when Rose catches her, she’s ready for the Beast Bomb to pin her at 2:42. Y’all wanna see a dead body? 1/4* Chanel is like Ryzin in that she tries to get herself and her character over as much as possible. But there’s a time and place for it.

Main Event: Dark Order (John Silver/Colt Cabana) (w/Evil Uno) (first time teaming) vs. The Natural Nightmares (Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall) (w/Brandi Rhodes) (#3 team, 7-2). Silver really wants nothing to do with Cabana, as this isn’t the team he’s used to. Uno is trying to keep epace and get the duo on the same page. Taz asks for the Dark Order to put a mask on Colt, followed by some heavy fake laughter.

Dustin and Colt start. Dustin runs over Colt , and after a do-si-do, Dustin gets an armdrag and Colt begs off (Taz is selling the heck out of Starks/Allin on commentary). Colt asks Uno for advice, and the advice is apparently “tag out” because Silver comes in. Silver with a couple of forearms, but Dustin catches him with an uppercut. Marshall in as the Nightmares get a double Russian legsweep for one. Silver recovers and fires away in the corner, but Marshall stops a whip and gets a suplex for two.

Silver kicks Marshall away into the corner, and Marshall and Colt argue, allowing Silver a chance for a snap suplex on Marshall for two. Silver with a slam, and Colt enters with a second-rope splash for two. Colt snapmares and kneedrops Marshall for two. Silver tags himself in and gets forearms on Marshall, and Colt returns with mudhole stomping. Silver in, and Colt sends Silver into Marshall, then a Bionic Elbow by Colt to a German Suplex by Silver gets two. Silver with Yes Kicks to Marshall, but he takes too long between them and Marshall fires back.

Silver runs into the Lethal Combination by Marshall, and despite Colt’s best efforts, hot tag Dustin. Dustin with the kneeling uppercut to Colt and he sends Silver off the apron, then an inverted atomic drop into a bulldog. Silver enters and both Dark Order people get powerslams. Dustin clears the ring and gets a cannonball off the apron to the floor on both men. Back in, Dustin brings in Marshall, but Colt escapes a piledriver and dumps Dustin as Silver has Marshall’s ankle.

Silver with an enzuigiri, and Colt gets a shoulderbreaker for two. Silver is brought in to end it, but the duo aren’t sure how to end the match and Dustin throws Colt out. SUPERKICK to Dustin, but Silver turns around to the Diamond Cutter for the win at 6:35. I like the story of this one; it’s good professional wrestling. ** Colt not being familiar with the DDTstroyer was the difference. Uno with some post-match coaching to Colt.

TOMORROW!

  • FTR face SCU as current champs meet former ones!
  • Will Cody accept Brodie Lee’s challenge for the Dog Collar match?
  • Ricky Starks and Darby Allin settle it in the ring!

Look, there’s a Presidential debate on tonight and a half-dozen people being taken out of an abundance of caution. My expectations were for a pedestrian episode, and that’s kind of what it looks like at first glance. But this is where AEW shines: this isn’t just a throwaway B show.

Consider: we had a buildup to a future Avalon/Cutler rematch. They told a lot of Dark Order stories – both Cabana being the odd man out and Anna Jay’s friendship with Tay Conti. It’s also clear Brandi and Anna isn’t over, and a future Spears/Sky matchup. Starks/Allin is clearly tomorrow’s main event when all is said and done, and Taz and Starks spent the show making sure you wanted to see it.

Another item here: it’s been noted that AEW Dark usually just has one token women’s match. Even if it’s just necessity being the mother of invention, they bumped it up to three of them tonight. Nyla Rose and Penelope Ford got squashes to maintain their top rankings, and Conti/Velvet looked like a couple of rookies with potential and was the backdrop for the Anna/Brandi story continuing. I know that when more people come back at full strength, there will be more matches. Let’s hope they keep up having multiple from the women’s division – variety is good on a show like this.

As always, you’re here to see what the “other” talent can do and if any of them can graduate to feature talent the way Serpentico and Will Hobbs have. We already know the New Hollywood Blonds are going to get the honors once Pillman’s MLW contract runs out. In addition, M’Badu and Cesar Bononi look to have a chance if they get more experience. And then there’s Red Velvet, who appears to be in the middle of the Brandi/Anna rivalry for now (Allie and the Blade being seemingly absent for this taping cycle).

In conclusion, I love wrestling and Dark is like pizza. Even when it’s a pineapple, it’s good stuff.

STATS:

BELL TO BELL – 50:44 over nine matches (average time 5:38)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT – Jurassic Express vs Angels/Vance

THREE STARS:

  1. Jack Perry
  2. Brian Pillman Jr.
  3. Evil Uno

If you are reading this, we’ll see you tomorrow!