AEW DARK: November 3, 2020

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark Episode 59: Like There’s Anything Important Going On Today, November 3, 2020.

Taped (THANKFULLY) from the AEW Arena. Your adjective: “Tremendous”.

Your anchor hosts are Excalibur and Taz.

TONIGHT! Chaos Project is in our feature bout against Private Party! Big Shotty Lee celebrates joining Team Nightmare, but can he beat Sammy Guevara? KiLynn King steps up to face the debuting Lei’D Tapa!

PLUS: Butcher and Blade, Pillman and Garrison, Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus, Brandi and Red Velvet, Darby Allin, Frankie Kazarian, Will Hobbs, and more Dark Order than you can handle! Let’s see what’s good this week!

Anthony Ogogo is in the booth to begin.

Bshp King (0-2) vs. Darby Allin (12-5, #5 men). King is described as a hard-hitter by the announcers. Excalibur stops Taz before he starts and asks Ogogo about Allin. “He’s a lunatic, he’s charismatic, there’s no limit he won’t go to.”

Allin opens with a headlock, keeping it on after one shove-off. King tries a bearhug, but no dice. King sets Allin on the apron, so Allin drops down to regroup. King doesn’t want him back in the ring, cutting him off with a back elbow, but Allin flips over King and dropkicks him. Now Allin won’t let King back in, and when King turns his back to ponder, Allin torpedoes into him! Back in, Allin with a clip to the leg, but he runs into a right hook. Shoulderblock by King gets Allin down, and King clubs away, chasing Allin around the ring.

Uppercut by King, then a boot choke as Taz says there’s still no answer from Will Hobbs… but Allin catches the leg and pulls a kneebar out of nowhere! King makes the ropes and catches Allin in a powerslam for two. Senton Bomb by King airballs as Taz gets mad at Excalibur. Allin slugs away and goes for a chop block, escaping a headlock to hit it, then nails a springboard back elbow. Headbutt and Code Red gets two. Cloverleaf cradle gets the pin in 4:27 out of nowhere. Allin is such a great babyface. *3/4 FULL GEAR ALERT: Cody Rhodes vs Darby Allin for the TNT Title!

Leyla Hirsch and Elayna Black (first time teaming) vs. Red Velvet and Brandi Rhodes (w/Dustin Rhodes) (first time teaming as well). So on one team we have a world-class amateur wrestler teaming with a tarot reader. On the other, we have a very important member of the company teaming with an elevated enhancement talent. Some serious odd couples here. Ogogo puts over Brandi’s work ethic.

Brandi and Black start. Brandi with a double armdrag on Black, and on the next lockup, Black works the arm. Brandi rolls out and reverses, so Black with a gut kick and charging kneesmash in the corner. Snapmare, but the soccer kick misses and Brandi cradles for two. We go to a pinfall reversal sequence – Black for one, Brandi reverses for two, Brandi with La Majistral for two. Brandi sends Black to her cornner and tags in Velvet. Snapmare and kick by Brandi, and a moonsault from Velvet gets two. Black slugs Velvet silly and rushes her to the corner, and Hirsch enters with forearms. We go International~!, with Velvet finishing it off with a leg lariat.

Velvet kicks Hirsch down and adds the stir-it-up boot choke before giving Black a shot coming in. She pauses to taunt Black, and Hirsch smokes Velvet with a clothesline. Black with GTS, and Hirsch with double knees and a pendulum dropkick for two. Hirsch with a waistlock, but she runs into a clothesline. Hirsch walks up the turnbuckle for a moonsault, but Velvet moves aside, hot tag Brandi. Clotheslines to Black and a Sling Blade, then a low kick into an enzuigiri, Hirsch saves. Hirsch tosses Velvet but turns into a spear from Brandi, only for Black to cradle Brandi for two. Shot of Brandi ends it at 5:07. Nothing wrong with this as a YouTube match. *1/4

Danny Limelight and KC Navarro (first time teaming) vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy Jack Perry and Luchasaurus w/Marko Stunt) (9-6). Commentary notes that Limelight did well against Jurassic Express in trios competition last week, and now he’s trying again with a new partner – the debuting KC Navarro, whom a lot of people are looking forward to seeing. Ogogo notes that Jurassic Express is popular in England too. Great background gag as Marko Stunt tries to imitate Luchasaurus by stepping over the top rope. It ends badly.

Perry and Limelight start. Perry with arm control, but Limelight picks the leg and the two go International~!, only for Limelight to kip up and a series of pinfalls to break out. Perry uses an arm-trap fireman’s carry for one and keeps arm control. Backflip lucha armdrag and regular armdrag, and Perry keeps the arm. Everyone tags out as Saurus and Navarro face off. Navarro tries to kick Saurus, then tries a sunset flip, but nothing works. Navarro flips off Saurus’s back and poses before turning around into a nasty chop.

Navarro is tossed out, and Limelight gets tossed from offscreen, then Saurus throws Navarro into the top rope. Navarro is then tossed in through the ropes, and Perry is tagged in with a stalling senton off Saurus’ shoulders, Limelight saves. Navarro escapes a suplex and tags in Limelight, but he runs into a dropkick. Navarro distracts Perry, and Limelight gives him an STO into the middle rope for two. Limelight throws Perry into the corner and brings in Navarro, who tripes Perry into the ropes and leaps over the top for a dropkick. Cradle

gets two. Limelight tags in, but so does Saurus for a… hot tag? Kinda? I mean, Limelight gets beaten up, and when Navarro tries to stop it he gets thrown in too. Double clothesline by Saurus, then Navarro gets thrown into the air for a bad landing. Tail Whip to Navarro, but Limelight escapes the chokeslam only to get pump kicked. Limelight avoids a blind charge and goes up, getting a springboard knee. He tries a double-jump version, but Saurus with a goozle into a knee. ELE to Navarro, and a Saurus back bodydrop into a Perry powerbomb on Limelight ends it at 6:07. Luchasaurus didn’t seem to want to play ball with the enhancement talent. Odd. 3/4*

Meanwhile, the Inncer Circle shills A Little Bit Of The Bubbly.

Ogogo leaves for the night.

Ryzin (0-1 singles) vs. Frankie Kazarian (25-18). Ryzin is halfway home to a long indy career – he has the gimmick of the demon priest that is always in vogue. Excalibur: “Where is Hellgate [Ryzin’s town], anyway?” Taz: “Port St. Lucie. It’s near the Mets, obviously.” Last week, Daniels and Kazarian beat TH2, but TH2 got the last word as we see highlights.

Kazarian opens with a hammerlock into a drop towhold and front facelock. Kazarian switches to arm and wrist control, and when Ryzin tries a backdrop, Kazarian gets a backslide for two and small package for two. Kneelift/lariat combo floors Ryzin. Ryzin begs off only to grab Kazarian’s tights and slam his trunks into the middle buckle. Ryzin stomps a mudhole in Kazarian and walks it dry as Taz thinks Ryzin’s first name should be Terra. I think that one’s taken, buddy. Alley-oop bomb by Ryzin gets two. Ryzin slugs Kazarian around the ring, and Kazarian fights back with chops. Ryzin rushes Kazarian into the corner and rams his shoulder into Kaz’s gut before staring at his hands and choking Kazarian with them.

Kazarian fires out of a hammer throw with a clothesline and leg lariat, then the flying jalapeno follows. Suplex try by Kazarian, but Ryzin blocks until Kazarian clubs Ryzin and switches to a fisherman’s suplex for two. Ryzin gets caught in a prawn lock for two, but Ryzin with a SUPERKICK and atomic drop leading to a big boot. He sends Kazarian hard into the top turnbuckle and calls for last rites, but a middle-rope moonsault eats the knees. Inverted DDT by Kazarian wins it at 4:09. Well, no one’s outstaying their welcome. *1/4

And now, Dasha interviews Kazarian. She asks what Kazarian’s goals are, but as Kazarian gives a generic answer, TH2 attacks from behind and Jack Evans takes the mic as Angelico stretches Kazarian. Daniels runs in to shut Evans up and make the save, giving Evans Angel’s Wings. Daniels wants Round 2, but TH2 bail to the back. I think it’s fair to say This Is Not Over™.

Dave Dutra (debut) vs. Ricky Starks (10-2). Dutra is dressed as a Viking and… uh… hang on, his entrance screen says it’s spelled Datura. Might want to look into that one, guys. Not that he’ll be around much, but still. Excalibur notes the only two men to beat Starks are facing each other at Full Gear.

Starks elbows out of a waistlock and armdrags Dutra before grabbing the wrist. Dutra reverses, so Starks just forearms him. Dutra gets knocked back to the corner, but he hammer throws Starks and gets a flying forearm and clothesline. He goes up, but Starks knocks him to the floor. Starks gives a lady at ringside a blown kiss before throwing Dutra into the apron. Back in, he slaps around Dutra, but Dutra responds in kind. Starks wakes up and lariats Dutra before going to side mount and throwing hands. Big back suplex by Starks follows, and Starks poses. He should do some move off that pose, like the People’s Elbow. Running knee to Dutra, but a blind charge misses and Dutra cradles for one. Sunset flip gets one. Spear and Rochambeaux end it at 2:56. Dutra is not ready for prime time. DUD

Starks now goes to commentary, but not before leaving the announcers hanging… for a while. He gives it to them anyway.

Sean Maluta and Alex Chamberlain (first time teaming) vs. Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr. (1-5). No graphic as we transition from Starks going to the table and straight to the ring. Maluta is part of “the Samoan Wrestling Dynasty”. Excalibur keeps trolling Taz over the Ivy League MVP moniker Garrison allegedly has.

Garrison and Chamberlain start. Chamberlain pushes Garrison into the corner and piefaces him, but Garrison calmly takes a waistlock. He’s backed into the corner again, but Garrison avoids a back elbow and maintains control. We go International~!, ending with Garrison trying a hiptoss, but adjusting to the big boot. Maluta in, but Garrison gets a drop toehold and tags in Pillman. Diving dropkick to the back of a prone Maluta gets two. Pillman chops away on Maluta before giving him a snapmare. Garrison in, and he’s slingshotted in by Pillman to a legdrop.

Pillman then returns with a tope atomico, Eddie style, for two. Pillman controls Maluta and chops him down for two. Corner clothesline by Pillman, but Chamberlain distracts Pillman and Maluta Hotshots Pillman into the top corner. Lariat by Chamberlain gets two. Head kick and side suplex combo gets two for Maluta. Maluta chops away on Pillman, who tries to come back with forearms only to run into a Samoan Drop for a delayed two. Starks thinks hooking the leg may have won him the match.

Blind charge by Maluta misses, and a return runs into a Pillman powerslam. Hot tag Garrison, who runs over Maluta and causes Chamberlain to bail. Maluta tries a sneak attack, but Garrison with the backdrop facejam, Chamberlain saves. Pillman with the SUPERKICK on Chamberlain and a springboard crossbody, and Maluta eats the powerbomb / Air Pillman combo for the pin at 4:39. *1/4

But here comes Lance Archer to destroy all four men as Jake Roberts encourages it. Powerslams to Garrison and Pillman and they wisely bail, so the jobbers eat a chokeslam / inverted DDT combo. Roberts cuts a promo about how everyone’s a boy. Roberts wants to DDT someone just so they can learn before Archer destroys them. Archer tells Kingston that his silver tongue allows him to get his way, but he’s ready to fight and not talk. Archer hopes Kingston wins the title so he can destroy Kingston and take it from him. Hey! Lance! Speak up! Archer has rage in every fight he enters against the dying of the night. I wasn’t feeling this one.

Aaron Solow and Angel Fashion (first time teaming) vs. Max Caster and Anthony Bowens (0-1). Kind of weird – I’d have bet on THIS match being the Lance Archer cameo, seeing as how none of these guys are under contract. Fashion is wearing weird contacts and a jacket that even Excalibur enjoys. Caster delivers another rap, this time with a backing beat. The battle rap rhymes are actually pretty good, with Fashion and Solow laughing at the disses.

Bowens and Fashion start. Bowens with a throat kick and he stomps a mudhole in Fashion. Big chop and Caster’s in, delivering a kick to the gut. Caster tries a whip, but Fashion with a headscissors and Lightning Kicks for one. Caster tries an O’Connor Roll, but Fashion reverses. Caster tags Bowens mid-roll, then kicks off Fashion to get kicked by Bowens. Massive forearm by Bowens gets two. Bowens with axhandles and he brings in Caster as the duo do a Broken Arrow on Fashion. It gets one, primarily because Bowens spent too much time preening.

We HIT THE CHINLOCK, with Bowens cutting off a rally and driving bionic elbows to the back of the head. Caster slugs Fashion in the gut as Starks says Solow getting in might change the match. Fashion tries to fight back, but a SUPERKICK by Bowens, backbreaker by Caster, and running knee by Bowens gets two. Bowens holds Fashion with a kneebar, and Caster comes in with a diving elbow… but Fashion escapes. Enzuigiri to Caster, and hot tag Solow as he sends Bowens off the apron and runs Caster ragged.

Solow avoids a Bowens trip and goes to the outside to give him a SUPERKICK, then returns with a diving clothesline to Caster. Fashion back in (announcers aren’t fans of that), and Bowens holds Solow while Caster runs Fashion into Solow. Caster wqith a big boot, and a wheelbarrow drop / cutter combo wins it for Bowens at 5:20. FIRST WIN ALERT! Well done, guys! You usually don’t see people get wins unless they’re under contract. And indeed, reports on PWInsider say they were signed earlier this week. Good for them! 3/4*

Next week on social media, an AEW Games announcement just before Dark!

VSK (0-2) vs. Alan Angels (with the rest of Dark Order) (5-10). Commentary points out that VSK lost to Shawn Spears in under a minute on Dynamite. Alex Reynolds appears to be healed, unless this was taped prior to the four-way. Commentary notes that John Silver cost Orange Cassidy the TNT Title. Vance stays at ringside.

Angels works the arm to start, but VSK goes to a headlock. Angels reverses and holds the hair to prevent a push-off, then takes VSK down. He tries another time, but VSK escapes and gets some armdrags, a slam, and a splash for one. According to Taz, VSK stands for Very Skilled Kicker. But it’s Angels getting the first dropkick after VSK has to re-tie his shoe (Angels untied it). On the outside, Angels throws VSK into the guardrail and stomps away, adding a suplex on the floor.

He throws VSK in and celebrates with Vance, but VSK catches Angels coming in and fires away. Angels avoids an attack and gets a calf kick and roundhouse for two. Soccer kick to the back on VSK, and he stomps away on VSK in the corner. Uppercut gets one. Angels goes to the half-nelson neck crank, but VSK escapes with a jawjacker. Knee to the gut by Angels, but VSK catches him and gets a Chaos Theory suplex.

Cesaro Express by VSK and a fireman’s carry, but Angels escapes and gets a spinning heel kick that floors VSK. They go to the apron, where Angels stalks a groggy VSK and drops him with a uranage on the apron. Back in, Wing Snapper ends it at 5:04. VSK has a future, and Angels has a mean streak I’m enjoying. *1/2

Meanwhile, Peter Avalon is… The Continental! He admires himself for a while before offering “you” some champagne (no points for guessing what). Peter then gets rather forward with “you” before bringing up books and regretting it. “You” slap him, and we find out he’s now Pretty Peter Avalon, and it’s PPA All Day. He’s no Christopher Walken.

Jersey Muscle (Tony Vincita and Steve Gbiki) (first time as a 2v2) vs. The Butcher and The Blade (w/The Bunny) (10-6, #4 team).

Before I can even do comments, Butcher and Blade attack before the bell clear the ring. They throw Vincita back in the ring over the top rope with a double hiptoss, and Blade with a big chop before bringing in Butcher. Double throw to Vincita, and Gbiki tags himself in as THE STRAPS COME DOWN. He slugs it out with Butcher, but Butcher runs him over with a tackle. Vincita tags in, and Blade meets him and throws him into the buckle. He kicks Vincita into a gooey paste and gives a knee choke, almost getting DQ’d.

Vincita escapes and goes up top, but Bunny stops Vincita and Butcher throws him off the top to the floor. Blade then throws him into the guardrail as Bunny taunts him. Vincita back in is so dazed he goes to a neutral corner, but he low bridges Blade out of the ring and in comes Gbiki. He slugs down Blade, trying a DDT, but Blade stops it and gets an atomic drop into a Butcher crossbody. Nodowa Otoshi combo on Gbiki, and the DWI gets the pin at 3:42. This is just what this team needed for a reboot – a complete utter slaughter. 3/4*

But before we go to the next match, the Natural Nightmares come out and it’s a brawl. Marshall has to restrain himself from hitting Bunny, and it’s Blade and Marshall fighting in the ring and Dustin and Butcher outside. Dozens of referees try to break it up, but it’s going to take a while. QUICK! GO TO THE NEXT MATCH!

D3 (0-2) vs. Will Hobbs (5-6). Okay, that’s better. Believe it or not, despite last week’s chair save of Darby Allin, Taz still thinks there’s a chance Hobbs will join the team. Love the centurion outfit on D3, by the way. Hobbs heads to the desk, where Starks gives the “well, we’re waiting” signal. Taz tells him to go wrestle first.

D3 shoves Hobbs and asks for action, but when Hobbs is ready, D3 tries to run. Hobbs throws D3 into the corner, but B3 rolls away and kicks at the legs. Hobbs is unimpressed and shoves down D3 before giving him a uranage. Two-corner Oklahoma Stampede ends it at 1:12. NR Taz says he can make money with Hobbs, but Hobbs frustrates him.

And now Starks figures the answer is no and charges the ring, but Brian Cage enters from behind. Hobbs anticipates this and turns to fight Cage, but the numbers game is too much. Then the lights go out… and here comes Darby Allin to clear house with a skateboard! Allin beckons Team Taz, who just wait on the outside.

Baron Black and Nick Comoroto (first time teaming) vs. Evil Uno and Stu Grayson (w/The Rest Of The Dark Order) (10-2). Both Black and Comoroto have been pretty good as singles talent, so why not try it as a team? Uno and Grayson lead the troops out and salute, but the troops are sent to the back.

Uno and Black start. Uno brushes off Black, but Comoroto tags in, so Grayson does as well. Grayson with a headlock on Comoroto, but a tackle goes nowhere for either man. Grayson keeps running and keeps not moving Comoroto until he’s caught in a crossbody. Comoroto throws Grayson over the top before running over Uno. Knuckle-lock by Comoroto and Uno tries to fight out, but Grayson is tagged in and races into a back body drop. Now Comoroto twists both men’s wrists. Comoroto runs through a double Polish Hammer attempt and floors Uno, and Black is in to chop down Uno and catch Grayson in an abdominal stretch.

Grayson uses the elbow to escape, but Black catches him in a dragon screw and a surfboard cloverleaf combo. He lets go to deal with Uno, so Grayson runs him over and takes over. Uno in, and he whips Grayson in for an avalanche, getting a big boot on the rebound for two. Uno chops away on Black and drops him with a right jab before brushing off Comoroto. Black tries to come back, but Uno smashes the ears and gets a backbreaker. Grayson in with a tope atomico to the apron before he mocks Black. Grayson chops Black down for two back in, then he works the arm. Knee to the gut follows as Black is on his knees, so Grayson picks him up and gets an elbow strike.

He throws Black into Uno’s boot, then distracts Comoroto so Uno can choke Black. Black tries to fight out, but Grayson chops him down and adds a soccer kick for two. Grayson calls for Uno to come back, but Uno’s too dazed and Black gets a Backstabber instead. Uno’s not in the corner, meaning he has to face the hot tag to Comoroto. Now Uno returns and Comoroto slams both men before going coast to coast with running back elbows to both men. Grayson escapes a powerslam attempt and throws him into Black, then hits Comoroto with the Nightfall! Fatality to Black ends it at 7:08. SIGN EVERYONE! **1/2 Really good use of Comoroto and Black sold like a champ. Everyone looked good in this one. It’s great to see an established act willing to make the losers look good in defeat.

A Little Bit Of The Bubbly, available now.

Shawn Dean, Cezar Bononi, and Fuego Del Sol (first time teaming) vs. John Silver, Preston Vance, and Colt Cabana (first time in this lineup). If the Dark Order trio seems a little weird, this trio is going to face Cody Rhodes and Billy and Austin Gunn tomorrow on Dynamite. Evil Uno is still selling from the previous match, but he offers some final words of advice for Colt. Everyone goes to the back and leaves the trio to themselves.

Silver insists on starting… against Bononi, who is quite amused. A staredown emphasizes the height difference, and a bemused Bononi hears Silver can’t be lifted because he’s too big. Bononi offers to try, but Vance smacks him in the back and Silver slams Bononi! Silver to the headlock, and Fuego’s blind tag attempt just gets him run over. Colt tags himself in to work over Fuego, but they can’t agree on who whips who in. Finally, Colt throws Silver into Fuego and gets a back elbow on Fuego on the way back.

Vance in now, and he toys with Fuego until Fuego hits a flying knee. Tornado DDT is shoved off and a crossbody is caught into a Vance powerbomb. Dean in, but Silver distracts him and Vance gets a kneesmash and headlock. Dean gets run over with a shoulderblock, but Dean with a big headbutt only to run into a pump kick. Dean is in the Dark Order corner, and Silver returns with a high kick to Dean. Colt wants in, and Silver allows it, so Colt drops a bionic elbow into a Flip Flop and Fly. Dean tries to fight out, but his kick is caught… enzuigiri!

Hot tag Bononi, who clears the apron and no-sells a chop. Bononi with a corner clothesline to Colt and he puts him up, but Vance tags in as Colt comes off. Vance spears Bononi, but Fuego tagged himself in… only to run into a spinebuster. Silver in as they clear the ring, and Silver with a UFO to pin Fuego at 4:52. If they keep embracing Silver’s personality he’s going to get himself and Reynolds kicked out of Dark Order in a hurry. And it will be WONDERFUL. *1/2 Silver is foaming at the mouth during the salute, much to Colt’s concern.

Lei’D Tapa (debut) vs. KiLynn King (0-12). So I was hanging out in the AEW Dark chat before the show, and a lot of people were wanting Tapa to be signed. I understand the women’s division needs star power, but I think she’s a little old to be anything more than a placeholder. Plus, according to the Impact viewers, she wasn’t all that much of a worldbeater. King and Tapa are about the same size, anyway.

Tapa throws King into the corner and poses. King goes to a headlock, but Tapa shoves her off and begs for more. King goes to the headlock again but gets run over and goes outside. Tapa follows, but she runs into a gut kick and SUPERKICK. She comes back with a Vader attack and throws King in. King hangs Tapa up on the top rope and clotheslines her, but Tapa recovers and throws King down by the hair. King fights back when picked up, but Tapa with a gut kick and Samoan Drop for two.

King gets Tapa off her hair and fires off elbows, and a running one staggers Tapa. King keeps coming, and a crossbody gets one on Tapa out of nowhere. Tapa tries another Samoan Drop, but King elbows out and gets an atomic drop and lariat. King goes up, and a frog splash gets the pin at 2:59! FIRST WIN ALERT! ALL HAIL THE KING! If Tapa was only good for three minutes, odds are she’s not getting signed. King’s victory scream is something else. 1/2*

FEATURE BOUT: Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico) (4-1) vs. Private Party (Isaiah Kassidy and Marq Quen) (8-8). Chaos Project has matching red tops now. Taz: “There’s something there with this team… well, something missing, too.” This is the first Chaos Project appearance since the Chris Jericho tribute, and this is Private Party’s first appearance since hurting Alex Reynolds. Quen kicks in Luther’s direction in time with the music.

Kassidy and Serpentico start. Serpentico with a headlock, and they do a criss-cross into an series of armdrags. Serpentico with a back kick and he brings in Luther, but Kassidy ducks the leg lariat and fires away. Kassidy escapes a slam and goes under Luther, then delivers a dropkick. Serpentico back in, and another armdrag. Quen in, and he kicks the arm and continues working it with a Fujiwara armbar. Serpentico can’t quite fight out, and Kassidy comes in on Serpentico’s arm. Quen returns and the arm work continues as Excalibur thinks Quen’s outfit is like the Incredibles: NO CAPES!

Manhattan Drop / Enzuigiri combo to Serpentico and double dropkick to Luther, and the Project bails as Kazarian is shown watching on. Back in, Luther demands to be in and slugs down Kassidy. Big boot and lariat to Kassidy, and he wants one more kick, but Kassidy catches it into a 540 kick. Luther is held up by the ref, allowing Serpentico to use the STREAMER GUNS OF DOOM to neutralize Kassidy. Somehow, the streamers being everywhere doesn’t lead to the ref being curious. And let’s be honest, we don’t want referees to be anything but oblivious, don’t we?

Luther suplexes Serpentico onto Kassidy for two. Blind charge eats Kassidy’s boot, but Serpentico gets a back body drop for two. Luther in, and he kicks away on Kassidy before fish hooking him. Butterfly suplex follows, and Serpentico in as Luther reverse suplexes Serpentico onto Kassidy for two. Taz is wondering why Serpentico allows this. Luther returns now, and the Project stomps on Kassidy’s hand to make sure there’s no tag.

Slam by Luther, and a Rocket Launcher senton gets Serpentico two. Luther kicks away on Kassidy, and the Project throw him into the corner. Kassidy avoids a Luther running elbow and low bridges Serpentico to the apron. Hot tag Quen, and Serpentico gets bumped until Luther runs into a pair of Pele kicks. Big boot to Serpentico and a moonsault press gets two. Quen kicks away on Serpentico, but Luther pulls him away. Kassidy comes in, and Luther slugs both men down until Kassidy comes back with a facejam. Quen puts Serpentico up top and tags in Kassidy, and Gin and Juice wins it at 8:27. Kazarian leaves without tipping his hand. Perfectly good B-show feature bout. **1/4

AEW Games is coming. Next week. Something.

MAIN EVENT: Lee Johnson (0-14) vs. Sammy Guevara (9-7). So we all know Lee Johnson has a future ion a few years on AEW and has stolen the show when given the chance, and now with him officially on Team Nightmare, maybe things will turn around. FULL GEAR ALERT: Sammy Guevara will do a cinematic match (probably) at the Hardy Compound (we hope) against Matt Hardy. Also, tomorrow, it’s MJF/Wardlow vs. Guevara/Ortiz.

Guevara lounges on the top rope at the bell. Waistlock into an amateur takedown by Guevara, and the two tussle on the mat until Guevara gets a facelock. Johnson reverses to a waistlock and holds on the ride. Guevara switches to wrist control and takes Johnson down again, this time flexing as he stays on top. Guevara drops down, but Johnson handsprings over and they reset. This time Guevara backflips over Johnson on a whip and dropkicks him before kipping up and posing.

Guevara works Johnson in the corner and chops him, but Johnson goes up and over and ducks a clothesline, landing a dropkick of his own and imitating Guevara’s pose with a little Naito TRANQUILO twist. Guevara and Johnson chop away on each other’s chests, with Guevara getting the better of it with a forearm shiver. He works Johnson over in the corner, but Johnson reverses and chops away. Guevara clubs out of it and drives a knee to the jaw before stomping a mudhole and walking it dry. Guevara keeps Johnson in the corner , but after a hammer throw, Johnson escapes the corner and gets a high kick on Guevara.

He tries a springboard, but Guevara trips him and Johnson crashes in the ring. Guevara wants a suplex, getting a 5-second hang before dropping Johnson on the top rope. Johnson falls outside as Guevara relaxes on the top rope. Guevara heads outside to Johnson and throws him in, shrugging off chops as the commentary talks about why wrestling ropes are so tight. Guevara with a knee to a prone Johnson and he tosses him out, but he fakes a dive and hits the Naito pose. He dropkicks Johnson back outside and hits a spinning moonsault twist before singing his own praises.

Back in, he tries a clothesline, but Johnson ducks and gets a discus lariat. They slug it out, but Guevara cuts off a Johnson flurry with knees. Johnson catches Guevara in a hanging neckbreaker and he kips up. Running chop in the corner, and a blind charge by Guevara eats an enzuigiri. Johnson with a springboard dropkick for two. Guevara kicks Johnson away in the corner to get space, then lands an enzuigiri from the apron.

Guevara wants a springboard, but Johnson dropkicks him in mid-air and Guevara bails. Johnson follows with a 360 Fosbury flop to Guevara! Back in, Johnson pulls off the wrist tape and sets Guevara up, but Guevara holds a headlock and elbows to stop it. Backslide fight, but Guevara escapes only to run into an enzuigiri. Flying knee out of nowhere by Guevara to cut Johnson off, and Feast Your Eyes ends it, but Guevara refuses a pin. Instead it’s a Twist of Fate to end it at 10:33. This was very, VERY good Professional Wrestling. ***

TOMORROW!

  • Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston go face to face!
  • Sammy Guevara and Ortiz face MJF and Wardlow!
  • Red Velvet goes against Nyla Rose!
  • Miro and Trent go one-on-one!
  • Scorpio Sky and Shawn Spears settle it!
  • Cody, Billy, and Austin vs. Silver, Colt, and Vance!

First off, I’m not even mad that this show went long. Why? The individual matches didn’t drag. This is something Raw has yet to figure out: you can throw a bunch of matches into a show, and you can make things happen, as long as nothing overstays its welcome. Twelve of the fifteen matches went 6:10 or less, meaning that they were probably told six minutes max and stuck to it. That’s big: one of the best things you can do if you’re a wrestler is have a sense of the clock in your head and know when you need to wrap things up.

Okay, pull back the curtain a tad: that’s asking a LOT of a wrestler. But fortunately (as I’m sure you’ve heard in a few You Talk Too Much segments on Botchamania), the referee is constantly being informed of time and relays it to everyone else. Now, beginners often want to get their stuff in at their pace, which is understandable, but it can lead to abrupt finishes because the time sneaks up on them. I’ve had that happen in my scrimmages in training. And they’ll always tell you it’s better to go short than to go long – especially in a promotion with strict time limits like AEW.

Now, having said that, the matches didn’t get much of a sense that the wrestlers had to skip to the end – Allin’s cloverleaf cradle notwithstanding. The matches still got their story in, sometimes faster than the usual time limt. It helped that both Butcher/Blade and Will Hobbs’ story was “murder” and those can be as short as you want, but at the same time, Kazarian and Ryzin had a four-minute match that didn’t feel remotely rushed. VSK and Angels performed superbly in their five minutes. The only case where things got awkward was Starks/Dutra, and if someone found out Starks called the audible to go home early, it wouldn’t surprise me.

Then there were the three matches up top. Uno and Grayson are in a very healthy position to have in your company – the guys with credibility who don’t mind making their wins look tough. Because of this, their match followed a fun twist on the usual formula, the Andre Twist if you will. One guy is clearly a force of nature, so please PLEASE keep him out of the ring and when he does come in, time to panic. Comoroto got that Andre spot and performed admirably in it. Combine with Black’s selling and the Dark Order’s ring generalship, and you got a match that made all sorts of people look good.

Chaos Project and Private Party showcased why Luther, despite being old and beaten up, can be valuable in a company like AEW – he showed how to do more with less. Serpentico did most of the bumping and flying, but when Luther did something, it was usually a big deal. Private Party can afford to learn how to make their moves matter – and not just because they can cause injury.

And then there’s the main event. Sammy Guevara and Lee Johnson told a story. Guevara was arrogant and thought himself miles ahead of Johnson, so Johnson did things to make sure he had Guevara’s attention. As the match went on, Guevara became more focused on Johnson, realizing he was in a heck of a fight. But the Spanish God just couldn’t help himself, showboating when he knew he had the edge and insisting on sending a message to Matt Hardy as an exclamation point. Johnson did his part too, playing the plucky underdog who commanded respect. That’s why the whole thing worked.

Look, I understand if 15 matches is too much and you just want to pick and choose the ones to watch. But look at what we had here: two talents getting out of the Cutler Club; Peter Avalon being repackaged; the continuation of two storylines (Hobbs/Allin vs Cage/Starks and TH2 vs SCU); and it’s shorter and more fun than Raw! It wasn’t just a match spam, it was a match spam with PURPOSE. And I’ll take that.

Wait, Full Gear is coming up, so here’s HOW I WOULD BOOK IT!!!

  1. Orange Cassidy takes out John Silver to get his mojo back.
  2. Darby Allin upsets Cody Rhodes to become the new TNT Champion.
  3. Hikaru Shida retains against Nyla Rose.
  4. Twenty minutes isn’t enough; after asking for overtime, Kenny Omega defeats Adam Page to win the tournament.
  5. Cinematic break as Sammy Guevara survives the Deletion and rids himself of Matt Hardy.
  6. MJF defeats Chris Jericho to join the Inner Circle, but Wardlow kicks out Jake Hager to replace him.
  7. The Young Bucks succeed in their one and only chance to become AEW Tag Team Champions.
  8. In an impromptu cooldown match, Chuck Taylor beats Kip Sabian, but Miro cleans house on the Best Friends.
  9. Jon Moxley makes Eddie Kingston quit to retain the AEW Title; Kingston’s posse is neutralized by Lance Archer, in what is tantamount to a face turn for him.

But, as you’ll surely remind me, this is why I don’t book.

STATS

BELL TO BELL – 76:42 over fifteen matches (average time 5:04)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Guevara vs Johnson

FIVE STARS:

  1. Sammy Guevara
  2. Nick Comoroto
  3. John Silver
  4. Lee Johnson
  5. HONORARY MENTION: Anthony Bowens, Max Caster, and KiLynn King

Enjoy this Wrestling Only Zone and we’ll be back for the double feature tomorrow!