The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 58: Get Me Some Caffeine, October 27, 2020
From the AEW Arena.
Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz, with special guest boxing Olympian Anthony Ogogo!
TONIGHT! Fifteen matches, a few of which may actually be competitive, as we determine if anyone is bothering to watch this during election season! The Hybrid 2 will face SCU’s Daniels and Kazarian, Hikaru Shida faces Leyla Hirsch in non-title action, and Brandon Cutler and Peter Avalon finally see who can avoid being winless longer! Really! Would we lie to you?
PLUS – Ivelisse and Diamante, Jurassic Express, Matt Sydal, Best Friends, Sonny Kiss, Ricky Starks, Darby Allin, Brian Cage, Preston Vance, Anna Jay, Uno and Grayson, and Will Hobbs!
Top Flight (Darius and Daunte Martin) (debut) vs. Evil Uno and Stu Grayson (9-2). The entire major Dark Order accompanies the Dark Order to the ring. The Martin brothers are a Minnesota high flying team trained by Arik Cannon. Let’s hope they say which one’s which.
Grayson runs over Darius and throws him into the corner, where the Dark Order stomp a mudhole in him. Darius grabs a headlock, but Uno wins a shoulderblock battle. Darius gets a leg cradle and dropkick before tagging in Daunte. Daunte with a corner clothesline, and Darius with a suplex into a senton from Daunte. Uno runs Daunte over, and Grayson comes in. He tosses Daunte, but Darius comes in with a step-up kick and dropkick for one. Uno comes in and gets a deadlift German on Daunte to make him face in peril as I go back and add names, so I apologize if I miss anything.
Dark Order pinball Daunte, with Uno getting two off a big boot. Uno tells Daunte to tag Darius before cutting him off, and Grayson in with a standing uranage for two on Daunte. Grayson goes ground and pound, and Uno tags in and rakes the back of Daunte. A huge right (Ogogo approves) and a Hammer Throw floors Daunte. A second one sees Daunte slam on the breaks and get a back elbow for separation, and it’s hot tag Darius.
He dropkicks both guys, and he and Grayson do… something… that Grayson gets the worst of. Spin kick to Uno, rana to Grayson and now I think I’ve lost track of who’s who. Daunte tags himself in and gets a flip rana on Grayon into a frog splash for Darius for two. Daunte in, but Uno cuts off Darius and Daunte gets hit with a toss powerbomb from the Dark Order. Knee strike to Darius, and Grayson suplexes Darius into Daunte. Uno then throws Grayson onto Top Flight on the outside, and they throw Darius in for the Fatality and the win at 7:36. I apologize to Top Flight; I lost track of which was which. It happens with brothers. Was a good match nonetheless. **
VSK (debut) vs. Ricky Starks (9-2). VSK gets a lot of play in Beyond, but I can’t remember what his initials stand for or if Beyond ever said. Ogogo on Starks: “I’ll keep it short; I love him.” He says Taz recruiting Starks was brilliant.
Starks backs VSK into the corner and chops the bejabbers out of him. A charge eats boot, and VSK jumps over Starks before getting a rana. VSK goes to the apron and tries to come back in, but Starks with a kneelift and some mudhole stomping. Starks slugs VSK down and sends him into the ropes, nailing a running back elbow. Starks chops VSK in the ropes before slamming his knee into VSK’s head as Taz and Ogogo talk basics.
Starks slams down VSK and goes up top, then realizes he’s about to dive into VSK’s boot and lands short. He misses an elbowdrop anyway. VSK’s flurry is cut short, but he recovers with a jawbreaker and dropkick, then a Yakuza kick. Uranage backbreaker has Starks in trouble, but he blocks an O’Connor Roll and spears VSK down before kipping up. Rochambeaux ends it at 3:36. The more I see of Starks the more fun he is to watch. 1/2* Meanwhile, Taz wonders if Starks is going to be upset that his seat is being taken by Ogogo.
Eddie Kingston and the Bunny ask the question: why did you turn on… you know, whoever that is? Allie explains: QT was so head over heels for her that she manipulated him easily. She had his car, his credit cards, etc., and yeah, it was fun, but it got old. Sorry, QT, but she’s with her real family now. Kingston notes that the Natural Nightmares are ranked ahead of Butcher and Blade. It might be time to fix that. Kingston’s family is coming for… “they’re not even a real family”.
Lee Johnson (0-13) vs. Matt Sydal (4-1). Johnson is in the Cutler Club: no wins, lots of matches, but he’s clearly got talent. Commentary talks about the experience edge Sydal has.
Third eye point-off and staredown to start. Sydal with an armdrag and he works the arm to keep Johnson grounded. Johnson recovers with a snapmare, but Sydal switches to a headlock and then a chinlock. Sydal with a snapmare for one. They reset, but Sydal escapes a tilt-a-whirl and gets a headlock takedown. Johnson goes to a top wristlock as they stand up, then catches Sydal with armdrags and a C-4 style armdrag into an armbar. Johnson flips over Sydal in the turnbuckles and lands with a dropkick to rock Sydal. Sydal blocks a whip and gets a side suplex for two.
Sydal chops away on Johnson in the corner, but a blind charge misses only for Sydal to recover with a spinkick for two. Sydal kicks Johnson’s back as Ogogo and Taz talk about how Johnson was a fan of Sydal and that may affect his performance. Sydal with a leg trip and standing moonsault, but the arrogant cover is reversed for two. Sunset flip by Sydal gets two, and they fight over position until Sydal gets an Anaconda Vice. Johnson rolls out, so Sydal goes for a two-handed keylock. Johnson makes the ropes. Fisherman’s bomb gets two for Sydal.
Johnson floors Sydal with a forearm, but Sydal kicks Johnson from his back to regain control. Jawbreaker by Johnson to try to fight back, but Sydal chops Johnson to stop it. Sydal charges but gets thrown to the floor, and Johnson follows with a tope suicida. A second one and Johnson is pumped, but Sydal hides under the ring. A confused Johnson looks around, but Sydal crawls out and is able to blindside Johnson. Back in, Sydal gets caught with an apron kick, then a springboard dropkick by Johnson. It gets two.
Sydal elbows out and gets a powerslam and cradle for two. Sydal with a cravat, but Johnson escapes and gets an enzuigiri. Sydal reverses a Blue Thnder Bomb with a rana. Roundhouse Kick and Saturn Driver gets two, but Sydal puts on the cobra clutch / bully choke hybrid for the tapout at 9:19. When Johnson wins that first match it’s gonna be a BIG DEAL. **3/4
Anthony Ogogo leaves commentary, as we have a rotation of people going in and out.
Leyla Hirsch (debut) vs. Hikaru Shida (AEW Women’s Champion, 18-1). This is, obviously, non-title. Hirsch is a former Russian amateur wrestler who has done a ton of work in Beyond. She flips off Gunn Club on her way to the ring. Miro is now on commentary. “I saw a Russian woman and had to check it out.” We see what you did there, AEW.
Lockup, and Shida gives Hirsch a clean break. Hirsch comes in with a double-leg and tries for arm control, and the two fight over front facelocks with Hirsch cartwheeling to avoid reversals. Shida gets a reset and offers Code of Honor, but Hirsch kicks the hand away. Shoulderblock goes nowhere for either one; a second goes nowhere; and on the third, Shida catches Hirsch in a backbreaker. She sets Hirsch up on the apron and gets the Drive-By Knee.
Back in, another backbreaker gets one. Shida with forearms to the back of Hirsch, then a Steiner Recliner like camel clutch. Shida switches to a seated half-camel, but Hirsch makes the ropes. Hirsch tries to fight out of a front facelock, but Shida suplexes Hirsch into the corner. The ref is concerned of a legit injury, but Hirsch waves him off and powers up. The two land massive bombs back and forth, ending when Shida blasts Hirsch with a right cross. Hirsch low bridges Shida out, following with a dive to the floor. Back in, it gets two. Miro: “Super athletic there.” Yeah, we know.
Hirsch with a running forearm in the corner, then double knees and a dropkick. Sambo suplex gets a close two. Hirsch sets Shida up, but the moonsault misses and Shida smashes Hirsch for two. Miro: “Don’t do these crazy moves!” Falcon Arrow is reversed to the cross armbar by Hirsch, and Shida reverses that to a Stretch Muffler. Hirsch reverses THAT to a double-leg shoulderlock and Shida has to make the ropes. Hirsch with palm strikes, but Shida blocks the Shining Wizard and gets one of her own. Tomashii and Falcon Arrow ends it at 6:43. I think I got bruised from that match! *** Hirsch should be signed to add depth to the women’s division.
QT Marshall talks now, and says he should’ve listened to, well, everyone about Allie. But now he knows: Allie took everything, including his dignity. But she won’t take his spot. Dustin Rhodes says something very quiet to Butcher and Blade, saying he always goes through people as bad as them. There’s nothing they can do that he hasn’t seen. Butcher and Blade have to come to them as the lower-ranked team, and they DO NOT WANT THAT.
Danny Limelight and Jersey Muscle (Steve Gbiki and Tony Vincita) (debut) vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Jack Perry, Luchasaurus, and Marko Stunt) (6-3). And my stream dies on my Roku. So this is from watching it on replay after the instant archive…
Limelight and Perry start. Limelight shoves Perry and poses, but Perry gets a headlock. We go International~!, but Perry cartwheels and they tumble into a lucha sequence and they both dropkick and kipup. Limelight hooks a headlock, but Perry escapes, then works the arm. Stunt in with a headscissors off the top, and Perry gets a dropkick. Perry and Stunt do a ripcord splash/legdrop combo for two. Limelight slugs and snapmares down Stunt and talks trash to Saurus, and in comes Gbiki. Stunt counters a powerbomb try with headscissors, and Vincita blocks a rana try before getting a dropkick and tilt-a-whirl.
Stunt smacks around Limelight, but he’s caught in another headscissors try only to counter with a sunset flip for two. Vincita pulls Stunt out, and Gbiki throws him into the guardrail and back in for Limelight to get two. Limelight with a head swivel suplex for two. Limelight nearly lets Stunt get a tag before cutting him off and blocking an armdrag, but Stunt with a German suplex (!!) on Limelight. Gbiki loses track of Stunt, and it’s hot tag Saurus.
Everyone gets tackled, and Limelight is brought in the hard way, and both members of Jersey Muscle get chopped. Saurus smashes both Muscle men with tailwhips, then an FU to Limelight. Chokeslam to Vincita, but Gbiki with a missile dropkick. Stunt gives Vincitate a missile dropkick, but Gbiki spears him. Perry with a tornado DDT to Gbiki, but Limelight does the same and does a twisting Fosbury Flop onto Perry and Saurus.
Jersey Muscle hits a powerslam/neckbreaker on Stunt for two. Limelight back in, but Stunt escapes and brings in Perry. Elbows to Limelight and a SUPERKICK to both members of Jersey Muscle, and it’s a wacky triple-team tornado DDT to Vincita. Dropkick/SUPERKICK/Big Boot combo to Limelight, and Perry and Saurus throw Stunt into a Destroyer on Limelight (!!) for the pin at 7:15. Everyone looked good in this one. Yes, even Stunt – in fact, ESPECIALLY Stunt! **1/2
TH2 (Angelico and Jack Evans) (3-4) vs. SCU (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) (no graphic). But first, we vibe. Taz and Miro joke about how Bulgarian dance halls do play TH2’s music… but they’re more day clubs than nightclubs. This was set up after the Kazarian/Angelico match last week.
Those two start off, with Angelico getting the arm. He prevents a kip up reversal, and when Kaz rolls through to try to reverse, Angelico keeps him grounded. Kaz is eventually able to reverse, so Angelico uses his knees to keep him grounded. They do test of strength covers, but Kazarian gets a monkey flip and they do dual two-counts ending in a double bridge. Good times. Kazarian gets a hiptoss but Angelico lands on his feet.
Kazarian gets a headscissors and more armdrags as Miro says the arcade Best Friends destroyed was a wedding present and that’s why it meant so much. Kazarian swings and misses at Evans in the corner, and Angelico knocks him down. Evans with a leaping leg smash for one, and Kazarian with a cradle for one and he chops Evans down. Daniels in, and SCU double-team Evans with a kick/clothesline/stomp combo. Daniels gets two off of it.
Daniels headbutts Evans down and gives him a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and in comes Kazarian with a slingshot legdrop for two. SCU with a back-suplex/Baba neckbreaker combo, and Daniels gets two. Brainbuster by Daniels gets two. Evans escapes a backbreaker and sends Daniels into the ropes, and Angelico hangs Daniels on the top rope before a 540 kick by Evans gets one. Angelico in, and he stomps hard on Daniels’ left knee. Evans keeps it up, adding a Mutalock.
Evans tags Angelico while holding the Mutalock, and Angelico grapevines the legs into a Navarro Especial IV. Evans tags in and does a sky twister to the prone Daniels for two. Evans goes to the eyes and gets a backflip elbow. Angelico Hammer throws Daniels, but eats boot on a charge and Daniels follows with an STO. Evans tries to cartwheel Kazarian off the apron, but he misses and Kazarian gets the hot tag. Angelico misses a spear and gets dumped, and Kazarian with a big sledge, lariat, and flying jalapeno.
Flying Rocker Dropper is avoided, but Angelico is slingshot into a Cutter. Kazarian gets Evans on his shoulder into an Ocean Cyclone Suplex for two. SCU with a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo for two. Daniels looks for Angel’s Wings, but Evans ranas out. Kaarian tags himself in with a slingshot DDT, Angelico saves. Best Meltzer Ever is set up, but Angelico clocks Daniels and TH2 kick Kazarian loopy. Assisted 450, but Daniels pulls Angelico out and Kazarian cradles Evans for the pin at 9:34. TH2 are upset at losing via flash pin and attack post-match. Kazarian’s knee is taken out, and Daniels eats a stomp/suplex combo and Royal Octopus from Angelico. A good story in this match, with TH2 being too flashy and SCU winning because they stuck to the basics. The feud is likely not over. ***
Katalina Perez (debut) vs. Anna Jay (3-3). Conveniently, Brandi Rhodes is on commentary to replace Miro, and of course she gets her own entrance. Perez calls herself the Queenpin of Long Island and has exceedingly wild pink hair. For those wondering, when John Silver appeared on Shot of Brandi, Anna Jay attacked her during the show. Her, the bodyguard, and maybe the dog too.
Perez forces Jay into the corner and gives a clean break. Jay works the arm and gets a Booker T Hook Kick to floor Perez. Running high kick in the corner, but Jay runs into a cradle for two. Jay with a lariat and she throws Perez into the corner. Boot choke in the corner by Jay, and she throws Perez into the corner and kicks her in the gut repeatedly. Rolling sliding kick in the corner and she mocks Perez. Perez tries to elbow out, and it turns into a slugfest.
Jay wins handily but throws Perez into the ropes, allowing her to get some clotheslines. Perez kicks her down out of the corner and goes up, but the middle rope elbowdrop misses. Jay avoids Perez in the corner and gets a spinkick from the apron. Very telegraphed back lariat in the ropes and Jay picks Perez up by the hair to get the sleeper for the finish at 3:46. Nah. 1/2* Jay has a ton of potential, but they need to get better jobbers to put her against.
Once More With Feeling: Peter Avalon (0-26-2) vs. Brandon Cutler (0-25-2). For fun, AEW had a poll asking who was going to win this match. The top vote-getter was Leva Bates. This is the third time they’ve met, and we’re still looking for one or the other to get a win – it was a double countout, then a double DQ. But this time, someone has to win – no countouts, no disqualifications, and no time limit from what I can tell. Someone gets their first win. Right?
Cutler dives over the ropes onto Avalon as the bell rings and slugs him down. Avalon goes to the eyes and punches him down in the corner, raking his eyes on the top rope (as Leva goes to ringside). Avalon slams Cutler’s head into the top turnbuckle, but Cutler blocks a second one and gets his own. Clothesline by Cutler, but Avalon throws Cutler into the ropes and spears him through the ropes to the ramp. Avalon then throws Cutler off the stage to the timekeeper’s area and dives off the stage onto Cutler.
Avalon gets a table and sets it up, then chops down Cutler. He sets Cutler on the table and goes to the middle rope, but Cutler comes off the table and clotheslines Avalon into the ring. Flip over high kick by Cutler and he dumps Avalon. Cutler finds a trash can and makes Avalon wear it before kicking him. Taz: “It works better with a metal one.” Cutler then elbowdrops Avalon (still wearing the trash can), but Cutler’s elbow may have gotten the worst of it. Cutler has another table and slants it against the apron, but wen he looks to powerbomb Avalon through it, Avalon reverses to a backdrop as Cutler goes through the table.
Back in, it gets two. Avalon produces a crate of books and brings them in (Leva is mortified), then beats Cutler up with the crate. Avalon drags Cutler onto the books and measures him, but the Marti-Knees airballs. Cutler with the lifting inverted DDT for two. Cutler goes outside and finds his die as the crowd wants him to roll. He also has a MYSTERY BAG OF DOOM… and this one is filled with hundreds of dice! He tries to suplex Avalon onto the dice, and Avalon tries to suplex Cutler on the books… but Avalon tries an O’Connor Roll that goes nowhere.
Cutler dives into a Rock Bottom on the books, but it’s still two. Avalon now demands Leva hand over her last favorite book, but Leva refuses. Avalon rips it out of her hands and chastises her, so Leva slaps Avalon (“You son of a bitch!”) and walks out. Cutler with a rollup for two, which Avalon blocks by smashing the book into Cutler’s head (it’s the Silmarillion before you ask). But there’s brass knuckles inside the book, which Avalon loads up, but Cutler catches him with a side suplex on the dice for two.
Cutler sends Avalon to the apron by our first table and suplexes him through it – but Avalon nails Cutler with the knuckles in midair and they’re both down. But THERE MUST BE A WINNER so we continue.
Avalon is barely up first as the Young Bucks emerge from the back (though Matt is selling the ankle). Avalon throws Cutler in as the Bucks pound on the apron to encourage Cutler. Avalon is distracted by this as he goes up top, but Cutler meets him up there. They fight it out up top, with Avalon blocking a fireman’s carry. Cutler tries a powerbomb off the top, but Avalon ranas him into the dice… but Cutler rolls through into a sunset flip for the pin at 11:11! IT’S OVER!
But seriously, as mini-feuds between jabronis go, I could get behind this. And I know other companies have done “who’s Not The Worst” as a story before. ***1/4 The Young Bucks congratulate Cutler, and they flash Cutler’s new record with the 1 win.
Max Caster and Anthony Bowens (first time teaming) vs. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent?) (w/Orange Cassidy) (#2 tag team, 17-7). In a rather interesting spin on the usual, Best Friends come out first. (NOTE: 99% of the time, the name talent comes out second.) BUT WAIT! Caster has a mic and does a wrestling-style rap (read: free verse couplets) putting their team over. John Cena he ain’t. Also Caster “shoots straight like Berettas”. I see what you did there.
Trent and Caster start. Caster backs Trent into the corner and gives Trent a love tap, so Trent fires off with forearms and a Kitchen Sink. Taylor in, and it’s a double back elbow into a handshake double elbow. Bowens in, and he and Taylor go ack and forth in the corner before Taylor throws Bowens down with a uranage slam. He goes up, but the moonsault misses and Bowens gets a kneelift and spinning DDT for one. Caster back in, and he gets a swinging neckbreaker for one. He taunted too much.
Bowens in, but Taylor tries to fight them off until Bowens gets a SUPERKICK and soccer kick, Trent saves. A blind charge by Bowens goes into Taylor’s knee, hot tag Trent. He dumps Bowens and blasts Caster with lariats. Caster with a boot to stop him, but Trent gets an overhead suplex. Corner clothesline, but Caster blocks the DDT and gets a suplex instead for two. Bowens in, and he dropkicks Taylor off the apron. Bowens mocks Trent for too long, and Trent gets a Saito suplex.
Bowens ducks a clothesline and, after some reversals, nails Trent with a forearm to the jaw. Caster in, and an Overcastle by Bowens into a diving elbow by Caster, Taylor has to save. Taylor sends Bowens out, but Caster boots Taylor out and gives Trent a clothesline. He charges into a Knee Plus from Trent as Taylor sends Bowens into the guardrail, and Stomp Strong Zero ends it at 6:17. A very selfless match by Best Friends, and Bowens was allowed to shine the way he claims he could be. **1/2 And we HUG IT OUT.
Alex Marvez attempts to interview Scorpio Sky, but they discover his dressing room has been ransacked. Someone sprayed “THIEF” on the mirror.
Fuego Del Sol (0-2) vs. Brian Cage (w/Ricky Starks) (#1 men, 9-1). Remember how last week Fuego got a lot of offense with Scorpio Sky? I’m just guessing that’s not happening here. Commentary says that if Fuego wins, he’ll get his own day in Mobile. And once again, Cage demands his proper intro as Starks goes over to the table (Brandi only did one match).
Fuego runs and tries a step-up headscissors, reversing it to a sunset flip, but Cage picks him up and suplexes him over his head by the neck! Massive clotheslin ein the corner, then an appropriate overhead suplex. Fuego hooks the ropes and gets a quick kick, but Cage flips him into the top rope. Fallaway slam after 5 reps, but Fuego lands on his feet and kicks away. Fuego spins through a lariat and gets an enzuigiri, but a spinning DDT is caught and manipulated into a butterfly neckbreaker. Drill Claw is reversed to a huracanrana cradle for two. Fuego with a gamengiri from the apron and he goes up, but Cage catches the dragonrana and gets a double powerbomb. Weapon X finishes at 2:45. Good “desperate underdog vs massive favorite” match. *3/4 Taz complains about waiting for Will Hobbs’ decision.
Sean Maluta (0-1) vs. Preston Vance (2-3). Maluta is a Samoan, but I don’t have enough time to figure out where he fits in. Does he acknowledge Roman Reigns as the Tribal Chief? This is critical info! Vance now has a white mask in the Dark Order style and the traditional Dark Order music. Angels stays at ringside as the others leave.
Vance gives Maluta a clean break in the corner and a Dark Order salute. Vance with a headlock and a tackle for one, and he goes the headlock which Maluta reverses. Maluta works the arm into a waistlock, but Vance elbows out. Blind charge misses, and Maluta gets a big boot in the corner. Vance catches Maluta coming in, though, and powerbombs him. Vance dumps Maluta out and asks the ref for help with his mask, which allows Angels a chance to add a shotgun dropkick into the guardrail.
Pump kick by Vance back in, and a stalling suplex follows. Maluta fights out with forearms and chops, but he runs into the Kitchen Sink knee. Maluta floats over and chops away, then gets a spin kick, shotgun kick, and cradle for two. Vance catches Maluta with a spinebuster (and Dark Order salute), and a ripcord Northern lariat ends it at 3:50. Vance is too slow for how short this match is. 3/4* Vance and Angels do their double-team finisher (missile dropkick into an Oklahoma Slam) after the match.
KiLynn King and Savannah Evans (first time teaming) vs. Ivelisse and Diamante (5-1). King and Evans are very tall. Evans looks like she’s wearing a boxing top with standard briefs in her two-piece. Weird. King is the Shawn Dean of the women – lots of losses but looking good in them.
King and Evans catch Ivelisse and Diamante coming at them and it’s a huge brawl to start. The heels are whipped together, but they escape stereo slams and Diamante gets a chop block on Evans. DDT by Ivelisse gets two. Ivelisse pounds away on Evans and adds kicks to the legs before stomping a mudhole and walking it dry. Diamante in, and they wishbone Evans. Diamante with a splash for two. Diamante stops a tilt-a-whirl slam and gets a Russian legsweep into a single-leg crab. Evans kicks out and they chop it out, but Diamante escapes a butterfly lock and tries a single-leg.
Evans partially blocks it, so Diamante drives the knee into the mat and charges her with an uppercut. Diamante hangs Evans’ leg in the ropes, allowing Ivelisse to kick away at it. More chops in the corner just get Evans mad, but Ivelisse stops momentum by going to the leg. She swings and misses, and Evans with Catatonic out of nowhere.
Hot tag King, and she runs over Diamante and knocks Ivelisse off the apron. Roundhouse kick to Diamante, and she throws Diamante onto the top rope before adding a lariat for two, Ivelisse saves. Starks: “This is a side of her I haven’t seen before!” King tries to German suplex Diamante, but Ivelisse goes over the top with a SUPERKICK. Code Red on King by Diamante gets the win at 4:21. This could’ve used a couple more minutes… or, you know, a different night that isn’t so loaded. *1/2 Evans looked very green in there.
Aaron Solow (0-3) vs. Sonny Kiss (11-18). Guys, we’ve reached the two hour mark. YOU ARE WELCOME. Taz says he likes Solow and thinks he’s his favorite outside of Team Taz. Starks is confused by this. Kiss is out alone, because Janela was part of the Collective and that event is getting super-spreader vibes. Announcers mention Omega beating Kiss in 35 seconds.
Solow piefaces Kiss, who dodges a clothesline and gets an armdrag and rana. Handspring elbow is missed, but Kiss goes to the apron only for Solow to shake him off the ropes. Starks: “I taught him that! When you team with me, you learn every day!” Solow undoes his hair and stomps away on Kiss. Forearm follows, then an axhandle. Solow with a back suplex for two. We HIT THE CHINLOCK, but Kiss elbows out only for Solow to get a rolling armbar into a double stomp. It gets two. Solow chokes Kiss in the ropes as he poses…
Starks: “Don’t do poses like that! It doesn’t help!”
Excalibur: “Have you ever watched your own matches?”
…then a corner clothesline and hair whips. Kiss is ANGRY and forearms away, but Solow pulls him off the ropes into the splits. Kiss avoids a kick and cradles him for two, but Solow with a roundhouse kick and T-Bone suplex for two. Solow argues with the referee, which means his blind charge misses and Kiss nails the dropsault and spinning elbow. Exploder by Kiss and he kips up (though the back isn’t quite right), and Kiss follows with Axes and Os. Split-legged legdrop gets the win at 4:30. This was fine. *3/4
BUT WAIT! Lance Archer beats up both guys as Jake the Snake recites Humpty Dumpty. Roberts says that basically Archer is now responsible for his own actions. As for Roberts, he hasn’t done a DDT in a while and he’s getting a feeling. There’s gonna be changes that no one will like… except Jake, which is what matters. So Lance, how do you feel?
Archer says Moxley survived, but he didn’t beat him. And then Kingston whined and got his title match. Then Fenix hit him with a chair. Well, Archer is watching Full Gear and doesn’t care who wins the title match or the tournament, because Archer is gonna keep coming like Jason. Everybody dies. And when Archer gets his hands, it’s going Wrath of God. Okay, that justifies the match being meh.
Nick Comoroto (0-1) vs. Will Hobbs (4-6). Did somebody order a HOSS FIGHT? Comoroto looked really good against Darby Allin last week, so let’s see how he does picking on someone his own size. Taz reiterates that his offer to Hobbs still stands. Hobbs shoots the commentary table a look before heading to the ring. So no answer… yet.
Comoroto jumps Hobbs with a shotgun dropkick and they slug it out, with Comoroto winning with a knee. Hobbs is sent into the ropes and shoulderblocks Comoroto to the outside, then does it again on the outside. Back in, Hobbs with a corner clothesline, but a second one misses and Comoroto goes to the knees. Comoroto works over Hobbs and floors him with a lariat as Starks suggests recruiting Comoroto instead. Taz: “If he wins.” Hobbs catches a Comoroto Stinger Splash into the SPINEBUSTER OF DEATH, then he goes up. Frog splash ends it at 2:13. Very short match, but some good power. *1/4 Still no answer from Hobbs, and Taz is in a VERY bad mood.
Last Match (FINALLY!): Alex Chamberlain (0-1) vs. Darby Allin (11-5). And this won’t make him feel any better. Starks is standing and staring down Allin during the entrance. Taz is still mad about how the match ended. Starks keeps standing and staring and says nothing. The problem? Starks is adamant his shoulder was up.
Shovefest to start, and Allin gets a quick armbar, as Chamberlain makes the ropes. They go to the corner, but Allin goes up and over before getting a sky high armdrag. Chamberlain bails, and Allin lets him back in. Chamberlain’s knee gave out as he was trying to get in, but it’s a ploy. Doesn’t work, as Allin sticks and moves until he falls into a backbreaker for two. Chamberlain stomps away on the back of Allin, then slams him down and gets a bow and arrow as Taz goes off on Steve-O. Allin falls on top for two.
Allin avoids a charge, but Chamberlain catches him trying to run away and chucks him into the turnbuckle. Allin low-bridges Chamberlain out, but Chamerblain pulls Allin out only to get run into the apron. Allin dodges Chamberlain into the ringpost, and back in, he gets a shotgun dropkick. Running back elbow, but Chamberlain catches Allin into a powerbomb. It takes a while, but it gets two. Excalibur mentions that Allin is getting an action figure, and Taz is FURIOUS.
Allin drops Chamberlain into the middle rope and guillotines him on the ropes. Coffin Drop on the ropes, then Stundog Millionaire, and a proper Coffin Drop ends it at 5:03. Allin is an incredible seller, and Taz and Starks being saltier than the Dead Sea added to it. It was like an old Gorilla/Heenan dialogue. Starks makes it clear: if Allin can’t make it to Full Gear, Starks will take his place. *3/4
And then Starks leaves the booth to go to the ring. Allin starts the fight, but Brian Cage comes out and holds Allin up for Starks to beat him down… but Will Hobbs clears people out with a chair. I’m guessing the answer may be no. Gimme that tag match.
- Kenny Omega battles Penta El 0M!
- Wardlow takes on Adam Page!
- Cody and Orange Cassidy go for the TNT Title, and this time it’s a Lumberjack Match!
Well, let’s get this out of the way: there was very little bad on this show. Anna Jay’s match featured advancing the story with Brandi; Vance’s squash was necessary and brought more heat to the Vance/Angels team; and you had story advancement with Miro vs Best Friends, Hobbs/Allin vs Cage/Starks, and Archer vs everyone. Add some promos of Kingston and Marshall, plus a LOT of great wrestling action, and these were two great episodes of AEW Dark.
So why was it consolidated into one? WHY?
I mean, I get you want to test new talent, but the law of diminishing returns applies. And it’s a shame – individually, every match served a purpose, and every match looked good. But this… this was too much of a good thing. Save this for next week, when I want an excuse not to watch election returns. Or split some off for next Friday and the special Road To Full Gear episode. I realize a YouTube show is open-ended in length, but that doesn’t mean you have an excuse to have over two hours. I do work in the morning, after all.
Then again, it starts at 7, so… I dunno.
Anyway, if you have time off on Halloween while waiting for the goblins to show up, watch this show in parts. There’s very little you’ll regret.
BELL TO BELL: 85:14 over fifteen matches (average time 5:41)
MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Cutler vs. Avalon, believe it or not
FIVE STARS (it’s a long enough show):
- Brandon Cutler
- Leyla Hirsch
- Ricky Starks
- Lee Johnson
- Marko Stunt (I’m as surprised as you are)
At least next week I know I’ll be the only one watching. Enjoy the night, everyone!