AEW DARK: November 10, 2020

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark Episode 61: Game On, November 10, 2020.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are Excalibur, Taz, and Ricky Starks. Who is not wearing a shirt.

Tonight’s feature bout is Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss teaming up to take on Jurassic Express! Plus, Chaos Project, Ivelisse and Diamante, The Acclaimed, Lucha Bros, Alan Angels, Leva Bates, Hybrid 2, and Top Flight in action! Who will Lance Archer make an example of this week? STAY TUNED.

Opening match: TNT (Terrence Hughes and Terrell Hughes) (debut) vs. Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico) (4-2). The Hughes brothers are the twin sons of D-Von Dudley. Not only do they look alike, but their names are practically the same, which I consider to be grounds for calling Child Protective Services, but eh.

The Project jump TNT before the bell. Terrell is tossed outside (so says Excalibur), and Terrence tries to fight back, getting an overhead suplex on Serpentico and a corner clothesline on Luther. Terrence ducks a leg lariat, but Luther comes back with a pump kick. Avalanche in the corner on Terrence, and he circles Terrence before giving him a belly-to-belly. Luther slams Serpentico onto Terrence three times over, getting two once Serpentico’s spine re-adjusts. Luther back in, and a kick to the arm keeps Terrence down.

Luther rakes the face in the ropes, and while the ref admonishes him, Serpentico adds a running right to Terrence. Luther with a suplex, but no cover. Luther then aids Serpentico with a splash on Terrence. Double axhandle and Luther’s back in with a kneedrop. Slam to Terrence, and Serpentico is tagged in, reluctantly going to the top for a Rocket Launcher for two. Serpentico is getting tired of being the lawn dart here. Forearms to Terrence, but he fights back only to get hit with a headbutt. Hammer Throw, but a blind charge hits boot.

Serpentico adjusts his head only to get Pounced halfway to next week, hot tag Terrell. Flying jalapeno and dropkick to Serpentico, then a back body drop. Serpentico tries to sucker Terrell into the corner, but Terrell slams on the brakes and gets a spinebuster for two. Terrence returns, but Serpentico flips out of a double back suplex only to run into a double flapjack. But Luther has tagged in as the Hugheses call for 3-D. Serpentico blocks and dumps Terrell, and Luther in with a running knee to Terrence. Creeping Death (Hart Attack Meteora) ends it at 6:04. Standard tag match, and TNT does appear to have a bit of a future. Maybe keep them on the radar. *3/4

Louie Valle and Justin Blax (debut) vs. The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) (1-1). Taz proclaims it their new name, so everyone please update your roster cards. Taz is angry that Valle is wearing orange and black, while Starks is more interested in Blax’s jacket. Caster actually raps in time with his music, and DANG he’s good at keeping the beat.

Valle charges Bowens to start and gets knocked over. Bowens with a hurricane floatover into a dropkick on Valle, and he lets Blax tag in. Caster steps in to respond, but Blax catches a boot and gets an uppercut. Caster recovers with an armdrag and boot rake, btu Blax fights out of the corner. He goes to the apron to get separation, but Bowens catches him with an electric chair on the apron. Bowens is legal and goes ground and pound, then gets a slam before bringing in Caster. Flying elbow and Caster vamps for the crowd.

He keeps on Blax, whipping him into the corner and into Bowens’ boot. Back suplex by Caster into a springboard elbow by Bowens, but no cover. Bowens encourages Blax to tag, but gets in his way only to eat a forearm. That angers Bowens, who goes with a knee to the gut. Caster returns, and The Acclaimed do the Broken Arrow (Haas/Shelton leapfrog guillotine) to Blax. Caster covers, Valle saves and wants some.

Caster knocks him down as a receipt, but Blax with a cradle for two. Flying knee by Blax off a kick block, hot tag Valle. Bowens puts his head down and gets kicked, then a mat slam and neckbreaker by Valle. Valle then runs into Caster, who gets a headstand mule kick, and a dropkick into an Angle Slam follows. Wheelbarrow Cutter gets the duke at 4:49. AEW sees something in this duo, and I can’t say I blame them. *1/4 They mock Valle to the camera after the replays.

Baron Black and Frankie Thomas (debut) vs. Top Flight (Darius and Daunte Martin) (0-1). Black’s crown is a bit much as it has… side straps or something on it. Hard to say. They’re purely decorative, whatever they are. And look, I like Top Flight, but can they dress a LITTLE differently so we can tell them apart?

Okay, I hate to do it this way, but Daunte is lighter-skinned.

Darius and Black start. Darius offers a handshake, Black refuses, and Darius goes for a waistlock. Black reverses to arm control, but Darius rolls through and gets a snapmare only to be caught with the arm again. Darius switches to a headlock and takedown, but Black goes to the headscissors, then they reverse, then Darius gets an arm drag and controls the arm. Daunte in, and Top Flight do a snapmare/shotgun dropkick combo after some tumbling. Daunte back to the arm, but Black with a huge knee to the gut and Thomas is in.

Daunte catches Thomas with another armdrag, but Thomas with a shotgun headbutt only for Daunte to get a casadora armdrag and HUGE corner clothesline. Darius with a suplex, and Daunte with a senton over the top rope from the apron! Starks wants this duo in Team Taz. Thomas breaks through Daunte’s headlock, getting a back elbow followed by a headbutt to the shoulder. Black works Daunte over in the corner, and Black adds an overhead uranage – for lack of a better way to call it – for two. Abdominal stretch by Black (almost, the arm isn’t quite in place), and Daunte escapes only to get an uppercut. Daunte escapes the corner but runs into a clothesline from Thomas.

As the ref admonishes Thomas, Darius knocks over Black from the apron. Thomas in to cut off the hot tag, but he trash talks Darius, and Daunte somersaults away. Hot tag Darius, elbows and clothesline follow before a C-4 (!!) out of nowhere gets two. Daunte with a springboard uppercut to send Black out, and Darius is placed on the middle rope. Daunte with a shotgun dropkick to the bent-over Thomas, and a double cradle gets the win at 5:25. FIRST WIN ALERT! Congratulations, guys! Top Flight looks REALLY good – like, get rid of Private Party and push them instead! **1/4

Peter Avalon is… the Continental! We have a private dinner in a private room. He’s provided premium cookies straight out the tin, a White Claw, and… oh, wait, they’re not in a hotel room, they’re in an elevator. And Avalon asks the person who enters to leave. So of course he gets slapped as that’s the end of that date. Okay, that was pretty funny.

Shawn Dean and Adam Priest (first time teaming) vs. The Hybrid 2 (Angelico and Jack Evans) (3-5). Please, no talking while we respect Angelico’s swagger on the way to the ring. Starks has left commentary and Frankie Kazarian steps in.

Dean and Angelico start. Lockup, and Angelico takes the arm. Dean reverses, Angelico ducks under twice into an armdrag and relaxed pose, and Dean tries to charge. Angelico goes for a single-leg, but Dean spins out to a waistlock before getting a hiptoss, but Angelico avoids the dropkick and kicks the leg. A roundhouse kick misses, and Dean with a dropkick as Evans enters to cut off the hot tag and dropkick Priest. 540 kick by Evans, spin back suplex by Angelico, and a standing Sky Twister by Evans leads to a two-count.

Jack chirps some at Kazarian (“Pay attention to the ring, genius”) before getting knee strikes and a mat slam. He again cuts Priest off as Angelico enters, and it’s a drop toehold into a Mutalock and a straight kick to the skull. Assisted standing 450 by Evans, and Angelico gets two off of it. Snapmare by Angelico, and a flying stomp. Evans in, but Dean punches out and ducks a 540 only to run into a flying leg lariat for two. Evans taunts Priest before avoiding the hot tag and bringing in Angelico.

Kazarian: “I was told there would be booze.”

Taz: “Only when Adam Page is here.”

TH2 give Dean a hammer throw, but Evans’ handspring elbow misses. Heels collide on a dead run, and Dean with a German suplex to Angelico and float-over DDT to Evans. Hot tag Priest, and he chops Angelico before disposing of Evans. Rebound release German by Priest, then the Atlantis Stretch Cravat Legsweep (don’t ask how that works) gets two. Dean in, but Angelico whips Priest away. Dean sends Angelico into Priest, and a double underhook lungblower gets two, Evans saves.

Priest disposes of Evans, but he lands on the apron and vaults over Priest. Priest is down, so Evans gives his a 450 off the apron to the floor. Back in, Angelico escapes Dean’s finisher – whatever it is – and gets the Navarro Death Roll for the tap at 6:16. Evans adds a few extra stomps for fun. This match had no business being this fun. **1/2 Evans stares at Kazarian on commentary before celebrating. They invite Kazarian in, but he refuses.

Ad for A Little Bit Of The Bubbly. I kind of hope they make a new one with MJF and Wardlow in it.

Ashton Starr and David Ali (first time teaming) v. Lucha Brothers (Rey Fenix and Penta El 0M) (5-4). As a reminder, tomorrow we’ll see Penta vs Fenix II. Also, some love for Ashton Starr, who is from the DC area. I need to talk to Justin Roberts – some of these combined weights seem WAY too big for the talent. Bowens and Caster should NOT be 556 pounds combined – they don’t look 280 each. Yeah, I’m nitpicking. Oh, Starks is back.

Ali and Penta start. Penta shoves Ali and gives him the CERO MIEDO OF DOOM. Ali shoves back and taunts, showing cero miedo, so Penta gives him a spinning back kick. Tumbling sequence and Ali with knees to the gut, then a flying uppercut. Fenix catches a running Ali in the back of the head, then chops him so hard I think his mouthpiece popped out. Fenix slides under Penta to the outside, and the Bros do five big kicks in a row leading to a diving double stop and diving missile dropkick. Fenix gets two off of the 7-hit combo.

Fenix disposes of Ali, and Starr tags himself in before running into Penta’s kick in the corner. Death Valley Driver into the Wazzup Stomp, and Penta gets two. Penta tries to hook a Mutalock, but Starr wiggles to tag Ali. Fenix catches Ali, and we have a Gory Special on Ali and a Mutalock on Starr all at once in a four-man maul. Order is restored as Penta chops the taste out of Ali, leading to the Penta Driver try. Ali escapes and gets a twisting uppercut off the middle rope, and I guess this’ll count as the hot tag to Starr.

Single-leg dropkick and tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to Fenix, and Starr throws him out onto Penta so that Ali can dive onto Penta. Starr with a twisting pescado onto Fenix, and back in, Ali with a shotgun missile dropkick to Penta. Starr goes up, but Fenix kicks him off the top rope. Double SUPERKICK to Ali, and a spike tiger piledriver to Starr ends it at 5:29. Starr looked good (yay), and Ali was his usual good stuff, but they didn’t get enough time – I kinda want them to run this back with 3-5 more minutes. Though with Penta facing Fenix, I understand why not. **

Dani Jordyn (0-5) vs. Leva Bates (0-1 singles). Starks doesn’t understand what a Burn Book is – as Taz explains, it’s kind of like The List. Bates has actual music now, but is still the Librarian. She kinda flirts with the camera, winking over her glasses, so you know she’s a face.

Bates sees Jordyn’s burn book and thinks, hey, another reader! Then Jordyn shows her what is IN the Burn Book, and Bates is slightly less impressed. She mopes before shoving Jordyn, then gets a cradle for one and a SUPERKICK to a kneeling Jordyn. Forearm to Jordyn, but Bates stops momentum with shots to the gut. Crucifix roll into a crossface, but Jordyn stacks her for one. Bates resets it, and Jordyn again stacks for two to get a break.

Bates with a headlock takedown and she works it on the ground. Jordyn fights out to a wristlock, but Bates rolls with it into a Northern Lights suplex for two. Jordyn bails to the outside and RIPS APART LEVA’S BOOKS! You meanie! Back in, Jordyn swings with the Burn Book to a horrified Leva, but Leva blocks, steals the book, and now Jordyn is asking for mercy. Bates removes the book, so Jordyn with an eyepoke and clothesline for two. Jordyn with a suplex as Starks references “Farenheit 51”. That’s not a typo.

Uppercut and snapmare, then a dropkick by Jordyn. Jordyn mocks Bates, who fights to her feet, but Jordyn grabs the hair and adds another forearm. Swinging facejam gets two. Jordyn works Bates over in the corner, but she blocks on a Hammer Throw and kicks out of the corner. Blind charge by Jordyn misses and she trips over Bates, and Bates gets a prawn cradle for the pin at 5:05. FIRST WIN ALERT! At least one librarian can win. Leva celebrates with the referee after the match. Taz and Starks, despite being heels, feel good for Leva getting the win. There’s a reason Leva is all character when she wrestles, but darned if she isn’t entertaining. 3/4*

Fuego Del Sol (0-3) vs. Alan Angels (with the entire Dark Order minion crew) (6-10). Fuego is no longer wearing orange, switching to gold and white. Excalibur: “I guess he got your Cease and Desist, Taz.” Angels now has a white jacket with a V on the back.

Fuego goes for a quick cradle for one, with both men exchanging quick one-counts before Angels gets a headlock takedown. Fuego reverses to one of his own and kips out of a headscissors and we reset. Angels with a half-nelson, then he does a single-leg and controls the leg. Fuego spins out and gets arm control, but Angels kicks away and gets a spinning back kick. Fuego with a floatover armdrag and he goes to back and forth over the ropes to confuse Angels before slingshotting in with a monkey flip.

Fuego tries a dropsault, but Angels bails and Fuego sticks the landing. Angels runs back in as Fuego kicks him, but Angels interrupts Fuego’s slingshot attempt and dropkicks him to the floor. Angels rams Fuego into the apron, then the guardrail as the match finally slows down to a normal human pace. Slam on the floor and Angels goes to the apron, getting a frog splash to the floor. Back in, it gets two. Angels stomps away on Fuego and slams him, adding a standing frog splash for two. Angels kicks at Fuego’s calf, but Fuego gets to his feet and slugs away.

Angels slides under Fuego and pumphandle flips him over into a diving foot stomp for two. Angels kicks Fuego’s leg so badly Fuego nearly flips onto his head, over and over, before slamming his head into the buckle and slugging away. He stomps a mudhole in Fuego and walks it dry, but Fuego fights back only to get leveled.

Vadersault misses, though, and Fuego with a casadora into a Stunner, then a moonsault press and SUPERKICK. Tornado DDT (Starks marks out), but Angels escapes and gets a big head kick and Clothesline From Hell. Wing Snapper ends it at 6:54. They couldn’t keep up the pace of the first two minutes, and it felt like Angels was going half-speed as a result. Too bad, because I was loving the first half of this match. **1/4

A Little Bit Of The Bubbly ad.

Dreamgirl Ellie and Jennacide (debut) vs. Ivelisse and Diamante (6-1). Okay, so Dreamgirl Ellie is wearing a huge futuristic purple-and-gold outfit and has this 80s techno music, while Jennacide has facial makeup like something out of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Taz likes it, whatever it is. Ivelisse and Diamante are not fans, however.

Ivelisse and Jennacide start as Ivelisse asks if she’s facing a robot or what… and Jennacide bowls over Ivelisse before grabbing her fist and holding it. Ivelisse gets an armdrag out of it, but Ellie tags herself in and gets a dropkick for one. Diamante in, and a double back suplex folds Ellie in half. Ivelisse tackles Jennacide off the apron, and Diamante with a fisherman’s suplex for two. She kicks at Ellie’s back, but a Ellie grabs a waistlock off a miss only to get hip checked.

Running sliding clothesline gets two. Snapmare and surfboard by Diamante. Ellie fights to her feet and punches away, but Diamante with a knee to the gut and she trucks Ellie into the corner. Ivelisse in with a butterfly suplex for two. She goes ground and pound before stomping away as Taz puts over Ellie’s toughness. Bow and arrow by Ivelisse, but Ellie Matrixes into a cover for one. Ellie fights back and tries for Sole Food, but Ivelisse blocks into a fisherman’s buster for two. Kicks in the corner by Ivelisse, but Ellie cuts off a charge and goes up, getting a flying facebuster.

Hot tag Jennacide, and Diamante is roadkill. Ivelisse flies off the apron, and Diamante is caught in a fallaway slam. Firemans’s carry, but Ivelisse tags herself in… only to be caught and added to the fireman’s carry! Ivelisse escapes as Diamante eats a Samoan drop, Ivelisse saves. Jennacide shrugs off some offense and goes for a Falcon Arrow, but Ellie tags herself in as Ivelisse and Diamante double-team and dispose of Jennacide. Diving crossbody by Ellie onto both and she goes back up, but Diamante intercepts her with an uppercut. Diamante dives onto Jennacide, and Ivelisse gets a Haas of Pain for the verbal submission at 6:04. Diamante has to pull Ivelisse off before the decision is reversed. That was a great effort, and the story (while not exactly covering new ground) was told very brilliantly. **1/2

Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela (8-5) vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Luchsaurus) (w/Marko Stunt) (10-5, #5 team). Janela is back after having spent time in quarantine because The Collective was a spreader event. Janela tries to do Kiss’s splits on the top rope. Tries. Marko Stunt is dressed like a high school nerd as Taz freaks out over seeing Stunt’s glasses. Excalibur accuses Taz of accusing Stunt of being illiterate. This team, y’all.

Kiss and Perry (Jungle Boy) start. Knuckle lock, but Kiss sweeps the leg for one, with Perry returning it. Kiss with a step-up rana, but a charge misses. Kiss rolls over Perry’s back and gets a split armdrag, but Perry cartwheels out of it and gets some fireman’s carries for one before controll the arm. Perry with a backflip lucha armdrag attempt, but now Kiss cartwheels out and the two stare at each other.

Janela and Saurus take over now, and a tackle attempt by Janela does nothing but hurt him. Janela asks to try again, but again Saurus doesn’t move. Saurus allows him a third try, and this time Kiss and Janela start staggering Saurus. But Saurus comes back with a double clothesline. Saurus tosses Kiss into the Jurassic corner and brings in Perry, and it’s a slam into a delay senton for two. Kiss escapes a suplex and throws Perry into the Jersey corner, adding a handspring elbow. Janela in, and it’s a Kitchen Sink into a big boot into a clothesline onto an outstretched knee.

Janela stays in control with an arm wrench, and Kiss axhandle’s the arm. Slam and Kiss with a standing split legdrop for two. Janela back in, and Kiss goes for something in the corner only to fly to the floor. Janela sends Saurus to the floor and chases Perry, who dives onto Kiss. So Janela dives onto Saurus (Starks: “Marko, make yourself useful!”). Back in, Perry and Janela exchange running strikes in the ropes, with Perry avoiding an uppercut and getting a big lariat for the double down. Saurus in, and he kicks down Kiss before booting both men.

Hook kick to Kiss, then an inside-out AA to Janela for two. Chokeslam try on Kiss, but he flips out and ducks the hook kick. Janela with a rolling elbow and the Jersey boys get a double shoulder tackle to Saurus to send him to the outside. Kiss with a baseball slide and Janela… tries to give him a rana to the guardrail, but Saurus catches him. Perry kicks Janela from the apron, which completes the rana. Kiss with a quebrada to Saurus, then Perry charges Janela and gives him a Destroyer on the floor.

Everyone’s down on the outside, but Saurus and Janela get thrown in. Kiss goes up top as everyone staggers to their feet, but Saurus catches him with a chokeslam. Janela with a SUPERKICK, but Perry tags in. SUPERKICK by Perry, Tailwhip by Saurus, and a back suplex / powerbomb combo ends it at 7:43. Janela tries to kick out at four, which amuses Perry and the announcers. I’m 100% certain Janela agented this match, and that’s okay. It was just fine as a face/face tag team matchup. Everyone exchanges pleasantries after the match. **1/4

TOMORROW!

  • MJF and Wardlow enter the Inner Cirlce!
  • Penta and Fenix, one more time!
  • The road to Moxley/Omega begins!
  • Tay Conti faces Red Velvet!
  • Cody speaks on his future after losing the TNT Title!
  • And more!

If you’re a fan of tag wrestling, this is for you! If you want to learn how to do variations on the tag team formula, this is also for you. You had face showcases, heel showcases, some Andre style storytelling, matches where the losers still looked good, matches where the winners took all the spotlight as they should have… something for everyone.

Plus, you can see the benefit to being an incredible seller. You may not in the classic sense get the crowd to buy into you – hey, you’re not getting offense – but if you do your part, then the match itself gets the fans into it. When that happens, they’ll want you to come back and back until you get your wins. Shawn Dean did a great job of this, as did Dreamgirl Ellie and Terrrence Hughes. If you can sell well, you’ll get invited back by promotions. And if you can’t sell well – well, you’d better be Road Warrior Hawk in your charisma or you won’t find yourself sticking around long.

Now, while we normally mock Dark for showing off its depth – sometimes to a fault – this was showing the tag division as their strength. Six men’s tag matches showed that even a low-level team like Top Flight, The Acclaimed, or Chaos Project can look credible. That’s where bringing in outside names helps – they’re just Some Guys to your fans, and when the home guy wins, he gets to look good. And if the person you bring in is a name, beating them means something.

All in all, tonight was tag team wrestling chicken soup. I loved it.

STATS

BELL-TO-BELL – 53:49 over nine matches (5:59 average)

BEST MATCH – the women’s tag (really)

THREE STARS:

  1. Shawn Dean
  2. Dreamgirl Ellie
  3. Daunte Martin

(Yes, I’m giving the rookies love in my star watch tonight. What’s it to you?)

Enjoy the double feature tomorrow! Let’s see if we can get more polygons for Chris Jericho.  Huh.  I feel like someone was supposed to be here and didn’t show up, though…