AEW DARK: October 13, 2020

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 56, October 13, 2020.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are who you thought they were. Tonight’s Excalibur adjective: “Gargantuan.”

Tonight! It’s Cutler/Avalon II, and maybe we’ll have a winner! Matt Sydal faces Sonny Kiss! Red Velvet is promoted to the Winnes’ Circle! Griff Garrison looks to keep the momentum going against Colt Cabana! Plus, a four-way main event as The Blade, Kaz, Evil Uno, and Jungle Boy face off!

Opening match: Evil Uno (11-5) vs. The Blade (16-6) vs. Frankie Kazarian (23-17) vs. Jungle Boy (20-12). Wait, we’re STARTING with this? Uno comes out with Stu Grayson only. Blade comes out with Butcher. Kaz comes out alone, but his wrist tape is designed to honor Eddie Van Halen. Jungle Boy… screw it, I’m calling him Perry. He comes out with Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt and will be involved in the #1 Contender’s Tournament. All the tag partners go to the back.

Blade and Kaz shove to start and we pair off. Uno knocks Perry down with elbows, but Perry sends him to the outside with headscissors. Kaz sends Blade out with a clothesline and it’s Perry and Kaz doing some chain wrestling, exchanging waistlocks. Kaz catches a kick into a low sweep and covers for two, with Perry bridging out, but Kaz slides out of the backslide and both men get two-counts. Legsweeps go nowhere, and we pause to clear Uno and Blade out before Perry gets an O’Connor schoolboy for two.

Blade pulls Perry out as Uno cradles Kaz for two. Uno chops away on Kaz, but Kaz goes over Uno into a cricifix for two. Kneelift and clothesline and Uno bails, so Blade returns with a suplex into the ropes. Perry goes up top, leaps over Uno while staying on the top rope, and armdrags and dropkicks Blade. Perry catches Kaz with a dropkick for two. Kaz catches Perry in an up-and-over and drops him with an electric chair bridge, Uno saves. Uno clears out Kaz and works on Perry with chops. Blade yanks Kaz off the apron while Uno does a running back elbow and brainbuster on Perry for two.

Uno undoes the wrist tape, getting on the ref’s bad side, but he scores a hangman’s neckbreaker for two. Uno and Blade square off before agreeing to send Kaz flying. Uno catches Blade with an uppercut but runs into a twisting elbow for two. Uno and Blade exchange forearms and chops, lasting long enough for Kaz and Perry to join in. Eventually, Blade and Uno corner Perry and whip him into Kaz, so Perry does a monkey flip, but Kaz lands on his feet and takes down Uno and Blade. Perry with a cradle for two and he dives onto Uno, then somersaults back in to dive onto Blade.

Kaz with a slingshot cutter on Perry and the Rocker Dropper on Uno, then he gets a fisherman’s suplex on Blade for two. Uno throws Kaz into Blade and boots him, getting Kaz DDT’d, but Perry dives in with a sunset flip for two. Uno catches Perry and nails an oshigoroshi for two. (Did I even remotely spell that right?) Uno dodges Blade and chops away, punching in the corner mount. Blade gives him the Last Ride out of the corner and a pump kick, but Kaz leaps in with a slingshot DDT to Blade. Perry measures Kaz, but clotheslines are ducked and both men hit crossbodies on each other at once.

Everyone’s down as the count is on, with Kaz up first. He puts Perry on the top rope and follows, but Blade pulls Kaz down and takes his place. Kaz pulls Blade down and tries to do it, then both men go up and hook Perry. Uno thinks of the Tower of Doom, but just shoves everyone down instead. He picks up Perry for the spinning uranage, but Perry slips into a cradle for the pin at 8:29.

Uno, very unhappy, knocks down Perry and calls out a Dark Order beating, but Kazarian goes for the save. Butcher comes in and EVERYBODY RUNS IN (including Stunt, who brings a kendo stick with him just to be safe). Angels steals the kendo stick, but Luchasaurus runs in fashionably late and cleans house of the Dark Order. SCU and Jurassic Express check on each other as Butcher and Blade exited a long time ago. Yes, I smell a ten-man down the line. This was all action. **1/4

Cezar Bononi and Lee Johnson (first time teaming) vs. Lucha Bros (9-8). Commentary talks about how Lee Johnson is looking for the magic touch, and given how well Bononi has looked, this may be it. No sign of Eddie Kingston during intros, by the way.

Penta and Bononi start. Pena works the hamstrings with kicks and sticks the 0M in his eye, only for Bononi to run him over and demand Fenix. Fenix in, and he gets shoved down before getting slammed. Johnson in, but Penta kciks him in the back coming off and the Bros get a handspring kick into a torture rack drop in the corner. Another gamengiri by Penta, and Fenix chops away. Penta taunts Bononi before going for a reverse DVD, but Johnson lands on his feet and uppercuts away. Lukewarm tag Bononi and elbows abound to both men.

Penta springboards off the middle rope but is caught, and Fenix tries a Thesz Press but HE’S caught, and Bononi slams both men. It gets two of Fenix. Bononi tries a powerbomb, but Fenix escapes with a SUPERKICK. Fenix throws Bononi into the corner, where Penta distracts him enough for an enzuigiri. Fenix with a springboard cradle armdrag, and it’s the Wazzup Stomp by Penta. Double SUPERKICK by the Bros, and Penta sends Johnson off the apron. Spike piledriver try, but Johnson shoves Fenix and the heels collide. Johnson dives onto Fenix, and Bononi with the Amazon Stampede for two.

Johnson in and he goes up, but Penta avoids the double-stomp. He escapes a fireman’s carry and gets a Sling Blade on Johnson, and Fenix is in. Long-distance legdrop and he sends Bononi off the apron, and this time a spike piledriver to Johnson finishes it at 5:03. Bononi’s a decent hoss, Johnson is as always good, and the Bros were more on than off today. **1/2

Here We Go Again: Peter Avalon vs. Brandon Cutler (0-25-1). Blah blah blah Initiative blah blah nobody can win a match blah blah double countout last time. You know the drill. Let’s see if either one wins or if Leva Bates takes sides. Young Bucks are not at ringside…

…but Avalon emerges and attacks Cutler in the rampway! Tiger bomb by Avalon on the stage! Leva Bates is horrified, but Avalon tells off the referee before adding the MartiKnees on the stage. Avalon demands to be named winner by forfeit, but Rick Knox checks on Cutler…

…who is making his way to the ring! HERE WE GO!

Avalon keeps up the offense and pounds on the back of Cutler as Knox checks on Cutler. Avalon goes up, and the MartiKnees off the second rope, but Avalon doesn’t cover. He dropkicks Cutler to the outside and again demands the ref count him out on the house mic. But Cutler’s in at 7! Avalon keeps pounding on Cutler and gets a backdrop slam, then another, and a third. Avalon goes for the half-crab with a Liontamer twist, but Cutler makes the ropes. Avalon refuses to break, with Knox tumbling over trying to break it up.

Knox is up quickly, and Avalon’s blind charge eats boot. A second one, same deal. Then an avalanche hits no one, and Cutler with a pair of roundhouse kicks. He gets Avalon rocked on the middle rope with chops, then does the guillotine legdrop to the apron. Back in, but Avalon rolls to the other side and out. Avalon then hides behind Bates and throws her into Cutler before adding a cheap shot. He tosses Cutler in and tells Bates to stay the hell out of this, but Cutler dives onto Avalon. Now Cutler throws Avalon in and gets to the apron, and a springboard elbow gets two.

Cutler tries the torture rack, but Avalon escapes and goes for an O’Connor Roll. Cutler escapes, but he springboards in to a Rock Bottom for two. Avalon goes for a split-legged moonsault, but Cutler hangs him up on the top rope and pulls him off into a reverse lift DDT for two. Cutler then looks to Bates and heads outside, finding the D20 OF DEATH that started it all. Bates talks to him, begging him not to go there, and he doesn’t. Back in, though, Avalon goes to the eyes and gets an Island Driver for two. Avalon begs the ref to check Cutler while grabbing one of the books, but it’s a swing and a miss, and Cutler lands the Total Party Kill… but hits the ref in the process.

Cover, no ref. Cutler rips the book up, much to Bates’ dismay, while Avalon gets the die… and both men hit each other for the double DQ at 7:31. Leva’s “you gotta be kidding me” look speaks for all of us. She walks off, having had enough of this stupidity. They seemed to be heading to a great blowoff and then decided neither man was allowed to win, so they went three more minutes and gave us that. **1/4

Sonny Kiss talks about going one-on-one with Matt Sydal. Normally, he’s with Janela, but tonight, he’s showing he’s just as badass as a single. Get ready, Sydal.

Here we go…

Matt Sydal (1-1) vs. Sonny Kiss (w/Joey Janela) (11-15). Taz: “NAMASTE!” Janela comes out in an AEW hoodie so that they can pimp the store.

Sydal points to the eye as we lock up. Sydal with armdrags into a front facelock. Kiss cartwheels out of a snapmare and backflips out of a leg catch, then it’s an armdrag out of a full nelson and a Dropsault. Kiss takes the arm, but Sydal goes behind and gets a Gorgeous George snapmare for one. Kiss gets caught with an enzuigiri headscissors and leg lariat as Sydal saw it all with his “third eye”. Kiss kicks Sydal out of a backdrop position, but Sydal spikes him. He taunts Kiss and clubs away, chopping Kiss against the ropes. Sydal turns a hiptoss attempt into a double-limb stretch, switching to a bow-and-arrow.

Kiss falls on top for one, so Sydal kicks him down and gets a standing moonsault twist for two. Seriously, stop pointing at your forehead, Matt. Sydal with a fisherman’s buster for two. Kiss fights up to his feet, getting a discus elbow and running headscissors. Leaping Complete Shot and Kiss kips up, getting a split legdrop for two. Sydal with a hook kick to a charging Kiss, but Kiss returns it when Sydal goes up. Sydal caught with the Axe and O (corner cartwheel axe kick) for two. Kiss goes up, but the split-legged legdrop airballs, and Sydal with the cobra clutch. He turns it into the Russian legsweep and gets the Cobra STF for the tapout at 5:39. Sydal seems to have lost a step or two. *3/4

Aaron Solow, Angel Fashion, and M’Badu (first time teaming) vs. Alex Reynolds, John Silver, and Preston Vance of the Dark Order (also first time teaming). Excalibur corrects how he pronounces the big city in Nigeria – it’s spelled Lagos, but pronounced “Legos”. The rest of the Dark Order come out in the entrance. Silver has a head bandage from being attacked by Cody during the Dog Collar match. Reynolds is also now wrestling maskless.

Silver and Solow start. Silver with a single-leg throw and he takes head control before switching to a standing armbar. Solow sneaks through the grip and gets a wristlock, but Silver chops out. Solow with a dropkick and pose, but it doesn’t even get one. M’Badu in, and he no-sells Silver’s chop before brick walling Silver down. Reynolds in, and M’Badu with a back body drop before Fashion enters. He’s caught with a knee strike, but Fashion tries an O’Connor Roll. It’s blocked, but Fashion with a low dropkick and running knee for one.

Vance tags himself in and boots Fashion down for one. Fashion elbows out, but Vance holds on for a ripcord cutter for two. Reybnolds in, and the Dark Order triple-team Fashion in the corner. Reynolds with a snapmare and back kick. Fashion tries to fight out but is caught with a hangman’s neckbreaker. Salute and ARROGANT COVER gets two. Reynolds rakes the eyes, and Silver in with the Yes Kicks. Reynolds back in, and he stomps down Fashion (who seems lost). Reynolds and Silver try a double back suplex, but Fashion escapes.

Hot tag M’Badu and everyone goes flying. Stinger Splashes to Reynolds and Silver, and M’Badu tries a powerslam. Silver escapes, and a Claymore / German follows to M’Badu. Solow runs the heels together and drops Reynolds, but Vance in with a spear to Solow. Reynolds is now legal, and the Dark Order with a full flip T-Bomb for the pin at 5:46. M’Badu looks good even though this match was a gimme. *3/4

Elayna Black (debut) vs. Red Velvet (0-8). Brandi Rhodes is on commentary for this match. Black comes to the ring with a mini-casket with Tarot cards in it. Rhodes is out here to take a look at Velvet, who as you know last week stopped Anna Jay from going too far on Brandi.

Lockup, and Red and Black fight over the arm. Red with a headlock on Black, who switches to one of her own. Red does the splits for a duckdown and gives Black some armdrags and a single-leg dropkick. Black sends Red into the corner, but a blind charge misses and Red gets two as Brandi wants to call her “Li’l Cupcake”. Red with the stir-it-up boot choke in the corner, but she tweaks her leg and Black capitalizes. Black pounds away, getting a high splash (before mocking Red) and a soccer kick for two. Red with a forearm to Black, who shrugs it off but misses a dropkick. Clotheslines cue the comeback. Leg lariat by Red, then a casadora bulldog. Double knees in the ropes by Red floors Black, and the Just Desserts (axe dropkick to the side of the head) ends it at 3:27. Throw them back in the oven, they ain’t done yet. 1/2*

Also: “Li’l Cupcake”??

Fuego Del Sol (0-1) vs. Ricky Starks (8-2). Fuego Del Sol is from that hotbed of lucha, Alabama. Taz and Excalibur even make that joke. Taz gushes about Starks, saying his entrance music reminds him of Boz Skaggs.

Starks bowls over Fuego and beats him down in the corner, clubbing him down and throwing him into the corner. Hammer throw and Fuego is suffering. A casual kick to the head follows, then a chop and running elbow. Starks: “This is my house!” Fuego tries to fight back and gets a dropkick, but Starks back drops him onto the stage. Starks dumps down Fuego and heads over to do commentary on his own match. Why yes, he does kind of resemble Rock when he does that. Back in, Fuego with a fightback, but Stakrs ducks a spinkick. Fuego recovers with a thrust kick, but runs into a spear. Rochambeaux ends it at 3:03. You can’t spell “Starks” without S-T-A-R. The guy gets it, and he’s the future. 3/4* Commentators make it clear Darby Allin and Team Taz is not done as an issue.

Alex Marvez is with Scorpio Sky and Christopher Daniels. He asks Sky about Shawn Spears, but Spears shows up and wants to hear if he got in Sky’s head. Daniels yells about Tully, and Sky offers a match. Everyone argues and a match is made for Dark next week between Spears and Daniels. Sky knows Daniels can win, but he wants some left over so that he can finish Spears.

Maxx Stardom and Ryzin (first time teaming) vs. Gunn Club (Billy and Austin, with Colton) (8-0). Stardom is the guy in the flak jacket who teamed with Dontae Smiley. Ryzin is our favorite over-the-top dark priest. Starks jumps in on commentary. Gunn Club are the equivalent of UCF football – based in Orlando, have a cult following, and get to be undefeated despite beating no one whatsoever. Taz wants to know how “Del Fuego” got offense, then apologizes for being “fiberglassted”. TAZ, EVERYONE!

Ryzin and Austin start, and Ryzin clotheslines Austin. He kicks him down in the corner and chokes away, then Stardom comes in with a slingshot elbowdrop. Austin goes up and over and gets a snapmare and Hennig neck snap for one. Billy in, and they get a big boot / clothesline sequence as Stardom bails. Billy follows and nearly runs into an ambush by Ryzin, but he ducks and takes out both guys. Ryzin recovers and shoves Billy into the apron, and inside, Stardom can’t whip Billy. He does, however, get an axe kick and kneelift, but Billy catches him in a spinning uranage.

Austin in, but Stardom kicks away and Ryzin lariats Austin. Ryzin forcefully tags Stardom in, and we get a corner avalanche into a spinning backbreaker into an axe kick into a neckbreaker. Stardom gets two off of it. Stardom cuts off the tag and whips Austin, but Austin returns and they exchange clotheslines until both men are down. Hot tag Billy, and he uppercuts Ryzin and boots down Stardom. Make You Famous is teased, but Ryzin avoids it and gets a SUPERKICK to take Billy to his knees. Billy is dazed but brings in Austin, who gives Stardom the Quick Draw for the pin at 4:49. Gunn Club is totally not doing it for me. 3/4*

Nick Comoroto (debut) vs. Darby Allin (10-5). Comoroto has that Pampero Firpo look to him, and Excalibur says the same thing just after I type it. He also appears in a half-buckled straitjacket. Starks has no idea what to think. Apparently the Cody/Darby draw has been grandfathered out of the records.

Comoroto throws Allin to the mat and dares him to come on. Allin shoves Comoroto to get separation in the corner, but Comoroto shoves him down. Allin catches Comoroto with a right and gets Comoroto to chase, but he runs into a forearm smash. Another forearm shiver by Comoroto in the corner, then some CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY! Hammer throw and Allin collapses in the middle of the ring. Forearm grind by Comoroto, and he no-sells some chops before giving him a knee to the gut and slam for one.

Comoroto slaps around Allin, who fires up and fires away, but Comoroto regains control with another Hammer Throw for one. He goes to a chickenwing, but Allin escapes and flips out of a back suplex, only to be caught in a backbreaker for two. Starks is mad about being asked if he was taking Allin lightly as Allin tries to fight back. Allin goes to the apron and hands Comoroto’s arm on the top rope before catching Comoroto’s neck on the top rope. Allin with a desperation comeback, getting a rope-hang armbar, but Comoroto pulls him to the top turnbuckle.

He goes for a one-arm gorilla press, but Allin escapes into a clip. La Mistica by Allin, but Comoroto escapes only to get hit with a hammerlock. Comoroto backs Allin into the corner, but Allin escapes ands does a hammerlock splash. Coffin Drop to the back wins it at 5:47. Taz’s disdain aside, this was a fun match andI want more Comoroto. He’s not Will Hobbs, but he makes a good Goliath for people to conquer. **1/4

And then Allin races to commentary and attacks Starks! Tons of officials race in to break it up as Taz is furious at the uncalled-for attack. Starks is asked to go tot he back, as is Allin. This Is Not Over.

KiLynn King reminds us of the previous match she had with Nyla Rose. She held her own and could have won (in theory), but Vickie attacked her from behind. And last week on Dynamite, Nyla Rose attacked King from behind. Do you think you look big and bad? You look like a coward. This is the King of AEW’s Women Division, and Rose is just a Native Bitch. Decent beginner promo.

Griff Garrison (1-10) vs. Colt Cabana (w/Evil Uno) (11-7). Garrison says he wants win #2 tonight after getting his first win last week. Excalibur notes that Uno may be working on Cabana, and they wonder if they want to keep Colt oblivious.

Colt out-wrestles Griff and rolls over him, but it’s not even one. Colt works the wrist and tries a single-leg, but Garrison slides through into a headlock. Griff goes up and over and catches Colt coming back with a big boot as Uno even winces. Stinger Splash airballs, though, and Colt kicks Griff the rest of the way over the top. Uno throws Griff back in as Colt checks his head. Colt chops Griff and works him over in the corner as Taz wonders if Griff wearing purple is mind games.

Griff with forearms, but Colt catches a sunset flip try and goes for the Billy Goat’s Curse, but Griff scoots to the ropes before it’s locked in. Colt with a bionic elbow for two. Colt with a a headlock, but Griff fights back only to run into another bionic elbow. Griff with the discus elbow for the All Japan double-down. Colt hears Uno and gets up first, and we get a slugfest. Griff wins it with an uppercut in the corner, and this time the Stinger Splash connects. Griff goes up, but he dives into the boot of Colt. Flying Apple by Colt and he goes up, and the middle-rope splash gets two. Colt boxes Griff and goes Flip Flop and Fly, then catches a kick by Griff. Billy Goat’s Curse is locked in, and Griff taps out at 4:41. Uno approves. Not bad at all. **

KiLynn King (0-9) vs. Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero) (#1 women, 10-2). So let’s see if King is going to regret what she said. I do like they gave her motivation before the match. Excalibur doesn’t understand why Nyla decided to make an example of King. As King mentioned, these two have met before on Dark, and Nyla didn’t quite win on her own.

King charges Nyla but gets thrown down. King charges again with a waistlock, but Nyla elbows out. Vickie almost grabs King, but she recovers and gets a big boot and pump kick. King with a crossbody try, but she’s caught into a fallaway slam. Nyla punches away on King in the corner and gets a knee strike, but King reverses and fires away. Nyla sends King’s head into the turnbuckle, but a blind charge misses and King headbutts Nyla. Enzuigiri is ducked, though, and Nyla with a German suplex. Beast Bomb ends it at 1:53. They packed a LOT into those two minutes. NR

And Vickie wants to talk. Every day she plans how to get her client a title shot, but the “Powers To Be” just give them to Barbies. These women don’t have names or legacies. They will not be put to the side anymore. Vickie has a decision: no more matches until Shida gives them a title shot. And if you think they’re mad now, keep stalling, it’ll only get worse.

D3 (0-1) vs. Joey Janela (w/Sonny Kiss) (11-14). D3 is an Italian wrestler and, as such, comes out in centurion gear (although he’s so pumped he almost loses the hat). Kiss has changed into his street clothes and gives Janela a hug before the match.

D3 gets the arm to start, but Janela casually slides through the legs and gets a headlock into a wreistlock. D3 with a drop toehold into an Oklahoma Roll for one, and the two exchange covers and cradles. Janela stops a schoolboy and gets a headlock, and we go International~! (seems appropriate), with D3 getting a rana to end it. Janela runs into an uppercut and D3 goes up. He lands on his feet on a moonsault try, then it’s a satellite headscissors try, but Janela drops D3 face-first.

Dropkick by Janela and he chops away in the corner. Kitchen Sink by Janela, then a hangman’s neckbreaker for two. Janela works over D3 in the ropes, adding a Mongolian chop to the chest. D3 with a crucifix neckbreaker thing out of nowhere, and he does a handstand elbowdrop off the ropes. Janela goes to the apron, catching D3 coming in and dropping him, before giving Janela an airplane spin into a Death Valley Driver on the floor!

He throws D3 in and says it’s over, and after several rope-runs, he nails him with a lariat. Three brainbusters in a row by Janela and D3 is limp, so Janela just covers (after abandoning an attempt at a fourth) for the pin at 5:04. Did someone light a fire under Janela? I’m not saying it was good, but holy cow there may be a story with him snapping. *1/4

Elijah Dean (debut) vs. Wardlow (6-1). Dean is from Intercourse, PA, leading to a discussion about scrapple for some reason. It’s official: the announcers are running out of ideas. Wardlow is in the #1 Contender’s Tournament, and if you see the field, it’s kind of… random.

Wardlow shoves Dean down to start. Waistlock throw follows. Dean tries to attack the back, then kicks away at Wardlow just to run into a high-angle spinebuster. Wardlow allows Dean to stand up before giving him a lariat. He thinks it’s a KO, but the match continues. Wardlow smashes Dean into the corner and gets a drop into a big knee, and now Knox calls the KO at 1:56. NR

Baron Black (0-3) vs. Eddie Kingston (3-2). Black is the Emp-Bruh, according to his video. Kingston orders everyone out of his way as he enters the ring, meaning business.

Kingston measures Black and gets a waistlock takedown to start. Black fights out to an armbar, but Kingston reverses to a headlock takedown. Black with the headscissors, but Kingston goes to the ropes. Kingston with the arm again, and he throws knees to the gut. Big chops by Kingston and he stomps away as Black rolls to the ropes. Kingston works the eyes in the ropes and moves aside telling the ref he knows darn well he has til five.

Black tries to fight back, but Kingston goes back to the eyes. More chops on Black, but Black with a reverse of a corner whip. Discus clothesline and Exploder for Black gets two. But he runs into the Kitchen Sink, and Backfist to the Future follows. He then points to the hard cam and puts on a standing guillotine, making darn sure Moxley sees it, and it gets the tapout at 2:45. Kingston does so much more with less. 3/4* Kingston yells for Moxley and kicks at the cameraman as he leaves.

IT’S THE ANNIVERSARY SHOW TOMORROW!!

  • Miro and Kip Sabian will be in action!
  • Cody defends against Orange Cassidy!
  • FTR defends their gold against the Best Friends!
  • Hikaru Shida takes on Big Swole!
  • Jon Moxley defends the big gold against the Casino winner, Lance Archer!

…well, I’m reviewing the show for this website, but if you watched it all, do you regret it?

Let’s be fair: tonight was a buffet. (You remember buffets? Those things people had before Covid?) There was a lot on the offering tonight, and I can see just about every match appeal to someone, which is what you want. But watching all of them at once can be overload. I think I have the wrestling equivalent of indigestion.

Which is too bad because we had the goods! You had Kingston doing his thing and extending a main event program, you had a hot four-way, you had Bononi and Comoroto hossing lots of goodness. You got KiLynn King get a chance to prove herself on the mic, then put together a crazy two-minute match with Rose. Colt/Griff did good stuff, as did Cutler/Avalon (even if the ending was a huge eyeroll). There wasn’t anything blow-away, but lots of stuff worked.

Now, in honor of tomorrow’s anniversary show, here’s my look at the four title matches:

WOMEN’S: Hikaru Shida vs. Big Swole. Any chance Swole had before tonight was essentially ended by Vickie Guerrero. You don’t issue a challenge to the champion by name and have the champion suddenly switch. Hikaru Shida did defeat Nyla Rose, but as I recall Vickie Guerrero had not been introduced at that point, which is the hook for the rematch – is Shida ready for the more focused Rose now that the emotion of her win is long gone? I appreciate AEW putting all the gold on the line on their big Dynamite show, but I can’t imagine Swole winning. PREDICTION: Hikaru Shida in 9 minutes; Scott gives it **1/4

TAG TEAM: FTR (w/Tully Blanchard) vs. Best Friends. For the last couple weeks, FTR have been doing a Brush With Greatness challenge. What this means is that they’re defending the title, but only in 20 minute time limit matches and not 60, and if the two teams go the full 20, FTR considers that a win. So far they faced SCU and TH2, but now Best Friends as #1 contenders are calling in their shot. So far, all indication is that this is a regular, 60-minute-time-limit title defense. But why? They have THE perfect out to push this to Full Gear. Maybe FTR will change the rules prior to the match. One can hope, and not because Taylor and Trent shouldn’t be given special treatment after their incredible parking lot brawl. If they go full 60, then things get very interesting because of the Young Bucks. Do you have them change the outcome of the match? Do they cost FTR the titles, or cost Best Friends because Only They are allowed to beat FTR? Or, either way, do you built to a three-way? Lots of questions. PREDICTION: IF this is a Brush With Greatness match, it goes the full draw; IF it’s a real title match, the Young Bucks cause a no-contest 15 minutes in. Either way, FTR retains and Scott says ***1/2.

TNT TITLE: Cody vs. Orange Cassidy. Okay, so after Cassidy beat Chris Jericho and won their exp… feud, it was a feud… he’s been in prime position for a big move. He lost the first match with Brodie Lee, but as a caveat, he had to fight off the entire Dark Order and had it not been for John Silver taking a bullet, he may well have won. In fact, the only reason he didn’t (in my opinion) is that they wanted to close the book on Cody/Brodie. Which brings us to this. While the Open Challenge is a fun wrinkle for the TNT Title, and we did gain Ricky Starks and Eddie Kingston for the price of admission, I don’t think Cody has it in him to have the match every week that’s needed. He’s no Tully Blanchard. Heck, he’s no John Cena. You may argue Orange Cassidy as TNT champ would overexpose him, but audiences haven’t tired of him yet and the ratings seem to indicate he’s doing fine. At any rate, it should be noted that we haven’t had any men’s champions that weren’t already established in another promotion, be it TNA, WWE, or New Japan. Now is the time. PREDICTION: Orange Cassidy gets the title after 11 minutes. Scott goes ***.

WORLD TITLE: Jon Moxley vs. Lance Archer. Pity Lance Archer, who came down with Covid and saw Eddie Kingston steal his main event spot. If Archer were around the whole time, you could imagine he and Moxley would be riding momentum to this match. However, a spontaneous decision re-arranged everyone’s fate. Now it’s Eddie Kingston with the momentum as Moxley’s biggest challenger, based on not just the match they had but his promos. Archer is stuck as a roadblock along the way. Archer ought to give it his all, and Moxley’s matches with the Wyatt Family will prep him for the template, but whatever drama there had been is long gone. PREDICTION: Moxley retains in 14 minutes, after which Eddie Kingston tries to choke out Moxley to get him to accept for Full Gear; Scott gives it a mere **3/4 because it’s Archer.

Okay, that’s just me.

STATS:

BELL TO BELL – 65:53 over fourteen matches (average match time 4:42)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Lucha Bros vs Johnson/Bononi

THREE STARS:

  1. Ricky Starks
  2. Nick Comoroto
  3. KiLynn King

Let’s celebrate our “anniversary” “tomorrow” on “Dynamite”!.