AEW DARK: December 1, 2020

(Yes, another double-size edition, but this one felt better.)

The PG Era Rant on ARE Dark: Episode Field of 64, December 1, 2020.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz, with Anthony Ogogo joining them early. (Excalibur’s description: “Frankly ridiculous.” You don’t know the half of it…)

Tonight we have a lot of matches, but (sadly) one feature bout. In that bout: the Dark Order team of Alan Angels and Preston Vance, Jurassic Express, and the team of Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela collide in three-way tag action!

In other matches, we’ll see the returning Shanna, Best Friends, Pillman and Garrison, Brandon Cutler, Uno and Grayson of the Dark Order, Leva Bates, Matt Sydal, Shawn Spears, Gunn Club, The Acclaimed, Peter Avalon, KiLynn King, Ivelisse, Red Velvet, Chaos Project, and Ricky Starks!

Seventeen matches. Scott needs to pay me twice what he usually does.

Opening match: KTB (0-1) vs. Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard) (16-2). KTB has a non-standard hometown: The Woods. Excalibur: “What woods?” Taz: “The dark woods.” “So it’s always dark and rainy in KTB’s Woods?” “Exactly.” Where else can you get this kind of commentary? Spears’ glove checks out pre-match.

Spears gets to the arm to start, with KTB reversing. Spears drops down to a drop toe hold and cartwheels (no “10”, but a high five for Tully).

Wait, that’s Scorpio Sky’s music! Spears looks on to see if Sky is going to run in… but Sky calmly walks out with the METAL SLUG OF DOOM in his hand. Spears is certain Sky is about to attack, but Sky merely sits down to watch.

KTB gets one, and the two (KTB and Spears) slug it out with KTB winning. KTB avoids a charge and gets a rolling shoulder ram to Spears, but a second one sends him through the ropes so Spears can give KTB a kneelift right in front of Sky (the two stare at each other). Spears drops KTB on the ramp and glares at Sky, who doesn’t react. Back in, snapmare and crossface blows as Spears all but dares Sky to interfere. He even holds the ropes open, but Sky refuses to move. Spears looks for the Sharpshooter, glaring at Sky as KTB taps at 3:38. NR – more angle than match. But as Spears mugs for the camera, Sky enters the ring. The two stare, with Spears ready to act… but Sky gives KTB a TKO and leaves. Commentary says this is very unlike him.

Damian Fenrir (0-1) vs. Ricky Starks (13-2, #5 men). The graphic for this match even includes a “#5” by Starks’ name. Good stuff. Excalibur described Fenrir’s hair as “the Justin Roberts cut”. Tomorrow, Starks and Hobbs will face Darby Allin and Cody Rhodes.

Lockup, and they exchange waistlocks until Starks puts Fenrir down and pats himself on the back. Starks gets a wristlock into a headlock on the next round, then does a drop toe hold and MESSES WITH THE HAIR! Fenrir leapfrogs Round 3 and gets an armdrag and armlock. Starks spins up and fights out, adding a back elbow to floor Fenrir off a whip. Starks takes time jawing to the crowd, allowing Fenrir to fight back until Starks knocks him over with one chop. Starks corners Fenrir and smashes the gut while blowing a kiss to the camera, then gets a snapmare and soccer kick. And mugs to the camera again.

Fenrir escapes a military press, Starks escapes an O’Connor Roll, and Starks gets a dropkick. Cover by the grinding forear gets two. He then chokes Fenrir by the ropes in front of the camera before throwing him into the ropes and smoking him with a body attack. He mugs for the camera and gets another chop, but Fenrir ducks a clothesline and fires back. Dropkick by Fenrir, but Starks pops out of it and gets a big boot. Rochambeaux ends it at 4:00. They seem to be playing up that Starks is too into the camera but could get away with it because of his natural skill. I wonder if that’ll be a wrinkle going forward. 3/4*

Danny Limelight (0-2) vs. Brandon Cutler (4-3-2). Limelight is from Brooklyn and is wearing his Puerto Rican heritage in his gear and video wall. Ogogo: “Cutler’s looking like Charizard today!” Ogogo goes on about how Cutler’s winning streak has been a huge confidence boost, but Taz thinks it’s a stuck-up attitude.

Lockup, and we go International~!, with Cutler tumbling out of it but getting caught with a rana cradle for two. Limelight bounces to the middle rope, but Cutler avoids the stomp and Sweeps The Leg into a slingshot senton. Legdrop gets one, brother. Limelight slows it down and offers the Code of Honor… then slaps Cutler. An angry Cutler blocks a casadora and does a facejam for two. Limelight leverages Cutler into the post and goes to the apron to work Cutler’s arm. He then wraps the arm around the bottom turnbuckle before kicking the forearm and jawing at Cutler. Cutler tosses Limelight into the guardrail with one arm, but Limelight kicks the arm before dropping it on the apron.

Cutler fights, one-armed, but Limelight catches Cutler into a cross armbar. Cutler tries to stack him, then does the Backlund powerbomb counter. Limelight trips Cutler into the ropes and dives through them, grabbing the arm along the way and dropping it on the middle rope. Limelight continues the arm work and begs for a fight, which Cutler does as well as possible with one arm. The larger Cutler gets up, but Limelight turns a sunset flip into a rear choke with half-leg grapevine. Cutler gets to his knees and struggles to his feet, backing Limelight into the corner. The

sleeper’s reapplied, but Cutler again fights him to the corner and elbows out. Limelight tries a crucifix, but Cutler swings it into Catatonic for two. Blind charge eats turnbuckle, and Cutler goes over the top with a roundhouse kick, following with an enzuigiri. Cutler can’t do the Total Party Kill because of the arm, so after being run into the ropes, he improvises and hits a springboard clothesline. Cutler dives onto Limelight, but Limelight CATCHES THE ARM and gets the Disarmer on the outside! The ref demands a break to get them back in, and Limelight does a double-jump… into Cutler’s arms. TPK connects on the second try to win at 7:15. I’d have gone for a different finish myself, but some great psychology in this match. **1/4

Killing the Business, by the Young Bucks. Buy it. Read it. On sale now.

Jon Cruz (0-4) vs. Peter Avalon (1-4-2). As a reminder, Jon Cruz is doing double-duty tonight, as he is also Serpentico. The way he spins his hat on the way out is awfully familiar. Commentary, though, pretends they’re two different people AS THEY SHOULD. Avalon’s music is now less yacht rock and more cheesy romance.

Lockup, and Cruz backs Avalon to the corner, but Avalon covers the face and demands a clean break. Avalon continues stalling (and reacts to a rather direct chant in the crown) before locking up and backing Cruz in the ropes and getting an armdrag. Cruz pulls the brakes on a leapfrog and winds up a right, and again Avalon screeches to a halt. Avalon then runs into some hiptosses, which Cruz follows up with a rana. Cruz vaults to the middle rope, but Avalon yanks him down and clotheslines him out of the ring before posing on the corner. Back in, Avalon stomps away and chokes him against the bottom rope. He slugs down Cruz in the corner before getting a suplex for two (with a very weird face for the camera).

Cruz fights to his feet, but Avalon knocks him back down. Leg lariat by Avalon gets two. Avalon is now annoyed it’s not over and chokes Cruz against the middle rope as commentary argues over the pronunciation of “cognac”. Avalon with more rights, but Cruz avoids a slam and avoids an avalanche. He starts fighting back with clotheslines, and a flying Jalapeno HITS AVALON IN THE FACE! You’d think the crowd would react to that, but no.

They do when Cruz gets a running right hand, then an uppercut in the other corner. Crowd wants one more time, but Avalon catches Cruz in a flapjack. Martiknees ends it at 4:51. You know you’re doing something right when a punch in the face gets a pop. That said, Avalon’s offense is just so basic it seems out of place in AEW. 3/4*

Tesha Price (0-3) vs. Shanna (0-3). Welcome back, Shanna! AEW missed you. Shanna was in France when everything went down, and now she’s looking for her first AEW win of 2020. Comentary plays this as Shanna needing to work off ring rust. Ogogo has left commentary.

Shanna with a lockup armdrag to start. Price returns with one of her own, which Shanna is mildly impressed with. Price attacks off of a Code of Honor, but Shanna gets armdrags and a running headscissors into a crucifix pin for two. Shanna trips Price into the middle rope, but an attempted dropkick airballs and Shanna’s legs are tied up in the ropes. Price stomps away as the ref makes sure it’s not a legit injury, then sets Shanna in the ropes and pulls the hair to tie her up. She goes to the apron and kicks at Shanna’s exposed gut, and back in, she drags Shanna into the corner.

Big chop to Shanna, then another, and she kicks away in the corner. Handspring into a roundhouse kick, then a facejam, gets Price two. Price mounts Shanna and gets haymakers for two. Straitjacket chinlock by Price, but Shanna reverses it to a rollup for two. Price controls with a kick, but Shanna catches a second one as Price gets the “oh no” face. Shanna with a flurry of strikes leading to a Stunner that hangs Price in the bottom rope. This time, the running dropkick hits, and the tiger suplex ends it at 4:37 (with a camera angle I’m sure all of you will appreciate). FIRST WIN (OF 2020) ALERT! Shanna needed a quick match with some selling to get her form back, and Price has potential but had a lot of “trainee” offense. Nothing wrong with that. 3/4*

Meanwhile, Alex Marvez tells Scorpio Sky that Spears refuses a rematch. Sky simply walks out of the interview.

Katalina Perez (0-1) vs. KiLynn King (2-13). Perez calls herself the Queenpin of Strong Island. She also has hair that looks like it was ripped off of a Raggedy Ann doll. King’s wave and wink is pretty cool for her entrance. Please join AEW Heels.

Lockup, and King drags Perez down and overpowers her for one. King with a headlock takedown, but Perez reverses to a headscissors. King does a front roll to get the headlock back and we go International~!, with King blocking a clothesline to slam Perez for two. King tries an atomic drop, but Perez yanks King down by the hair. Uppercut by Perez gets two. Perez goes to the mount with punches for two. Perez kicks King over in the corner, but King kicks her away and gets a missile dropkick (!!).

She lets out a war cry and fires herself up, then gets a roundhouse and German suplex. King demands Perez get up, but Perez with a jawjacker and spinning back kick. King recovers instantly with an atomic Hotshot, then the Kingdom Come ends it at 3:19. The Hotshot spot was sloppy as heck, but there’s something to King in the future. I’d say drop the Queen of Crazy bit – she more resembles a Drew McIntyre “all-comers brawler” type, and not just because she could be Becky Lynch’s younger sister. 1/2*

Adam Priest and Sean Maluta (first time teaming) vs. Best Friends (Trent and Chuck Taylor) (w/Orange Cassidy) (18-7, #2 team). Both of the enhancement talents have put on decent performances in the past kayfabe-wise, but they have no experience together and are going against what I believe is the most experienced team in AEW history.

Taylor and Maluta start. Lockup, and Taylor works a headlock. Maluta switches to an armbar, which Taylor reverses to a hammerlock. He avoids the snapmare tries, but Maluta switches to a drop toe hold and front facelock. Taylor gets up quickly and reverses to a headlock takedown, Maluta the headscissors, Taylor escapes and we reset as Trent and Priest take over. Trent with a waistlock throw and he looks at Priest, who runs the ropes only to get caught by Trent into a gutbuster. Northern Lights suplex gets two.

Taylor in, and Best Friends with a double back elbow and gentlemen’s elbowdrops. Taylor follows up with a back suplex for two. Trent back in, but Priest gets a quick shot to the windpipe and an enzuigiri into a German suplex. Maluta in now, and he gets a Samoan Drop and charges Trent with a big boot for two. Maluta with a big chop to Trent and he knocks Taylor off the apron. Blind charge misses, though, and Trent gets the tornado DDT. Despite Maluta being Samoan, being dropped on his head DOES hurt.

Hot tag Taylor, and Priest eats boot and gets hit with a uranage. Maluta trips Taylor in the ropes, so Trent spears Maluta into next week. Taylor knocks Priest down, but misses a running elbow. Taylor gets a quick knee to retain control, and Trent gets the Knee Plus. Sole Food / Half-nelson suplex follows, and we HUG IT OUT! Locomotion piledrivers and Taylor pins Maluta at 5:12. Trent showing a more vicious side to compare to Taylor’s light-hearted early attitude is either a sign of a Trent heel turn (Taylor and Orange have teamed before, so why not) or another sign that opposites attract. *3/4 One more group hug as we head to the back.

A Little Bit Of The Bubbly ad.

Alex Gracia (0-2) vs. Leva Bates (1-5). Gracia is the All Pink everything gal. Meanwhile, Ricky Starks replaces Ogogo on commentary. And to the shock of no one, Bates has the Young Bucks’ book with her. Everyone applauds her playing up to the Bucks.

Code of Honor to start. Gracia backs Bates into the corner and gives a clean break. Bates with an armdrag, and this time a test of strength is offered. Gracia torques the arm and trips Bates, but Gracia runs into an abdominal stretch. Batest then shushes Gracia from yelling in pain! Gracia hiptosses and gets a running elbow, then the Broski Boot for two. Bates is sent into the corner headfirst, and Gracis slugs her down. Bates charges but is sent to the apron. She kicks Gracia and does a tumbling spear through the ropes, followed by a roundhouse kick and running boot.

Northern Lights suplex gets two. Hammer throw into a Backstabber gets two. (Would’ve been three if Bates just covered instead of spinning around for the hard camera.) Gracia with a rolling snapmare into a leg waistlock into a neckbridge into a cradle for two. Bates with a three-quarter nelson for the pin at 3:38. Bates says no hard feelings and gives Gracia a copy of the Young Bucks’ book as a consolation prize. Bates is a great character, but she seems a step slow in the ring. 1/4*

VSK, Angel Fashion, and Shawn Donovan (first time teaming) vs. Gunn Club (Billy, Austin, and Colten) (2-0). Good news: Angel, VSK, and Donovan look nothing alike. In fact, I’m not sure how they could look LESS alike. And in the highlight of the night, all three members of the Gunn Club imitate Taz on their way to the ring – towel over the head, slumped walk, snarl, arms out, all of it. Taz and Starks are MORTIFIED. Starks: “They’re not even using terrycloth towels!!”

Apparently VSK tries to jump the gun and gets SUPERKICKed by Austin. Colten and Donovan start proper, with Colten working the arm. Donovan with the headlock, but Colten knocks him over for one. Austin in next, then Billy, and everyone works the arm. Austin in next as they continue the armwork on Donovan. VSK (who has fully recovered) enters to get even with Austin. VSK backs Austin in the corner and smacks him around, but Austin escapes a charge and gets a series of armdrags. VSK gets his own, but Austin counters to a headlock in mid-air!

VSK gets a knee to escape, but Fashion enters and gets armdragged as well. Billy in, and he gets a kick to set up a dropkick by Colten for one. VSK with a cheap shot to the back of Colten and Fashion gets a clothesline to take over. Fashion works over Colten in the corner with kicks and a boot choke. Hammer Throw to the corner and Fashion brings in Donovan. Donovan with a snapmare and big elbow for one. VSK in next, and he gets a shot at a wide open Colten before setting him up in the corner.

A charge eats boot, Colten fights out, and we get a double clothesline. Hot tag Austin, and Donovan gets the worst of it. Cesaro Express to Donovan and Fashion, then a flip neckbreaker, Fashion saves. Billy cleans house as VSK tags in, but Austin gets the Quick Draw for the pin at 5:05. It kind of looked like VSK forgot to kick out or something. Match was maybe *1/4, but all the bonus points for the entrance.

Young Bucks book ad #2.

Aaron Solow (0-4) vs. Matt Sydal (6-3). As is obligatory whenever he appears, we mention that Ricky Starks and Aaron Solow were former tag partners before Starks clearly outshone him and went solo. Commentary talks about Sydal vs Brian Cage from a few weeks ago.

Sydal and Solow go nose-to-nose as we start, then lock up on the ref’s request. Sydal with a headlock takedown, then a snapmare, and a second one for a one-count. Gorgeous flying mare and Solow needs a reset. Solow recovers with knees to the gut and the camera cuts to Starks, missing a Sydal armdrag but not Solow’s dropkick. Solow slugs away on Sydal, who avoids a dropkick and gets a roundhouse kick. Standing twist moonsault gets two. Solow kicks Sydal’s leg out of his leg on a whip, sending Sydal into the ropes awkwardly.

Solow capitalizes and works Sydal over in the corner. Solow sends Sydal into the turnbuckle and works the crowd, then keeps firing. Running clothesline in the corner and he gets the HAIR WHIP OF DOOM. Sydal comes back with calf kicks, but Solow catches the kick and gets a cradle suplex. A second one follows, getting two. Sydal with right hands, but he runs into a flying heel kick. Blind charge eats elbow, but Sydal recovers with a rana and leg lariat. Sydal kicks Solow into the second rope, and Sydal gets a fisherman’s buster for two.

Solow cuts off a Sydal charge with a flying small package, double stomp, and 540 kick for two. Sydal escapes a fireman’s carry and, after a somersault, gets a crucifix cover for two. Flying knee, then La Mistica into a cobra clutch by Sydal. Solow gets to his feet and fights out, but Sydal ducks a pump kick and gets a roundhouse. Saturn Driver ends it at 6:23. Some really good near-falls in this one. **1/4

Fuego Del Sol and Baron Black (first time teaming) vs. Dark Order (Evil Uno and Stu Grayson) (13-2) (#5 team). We’ve seen quite a bit of Fuego and Black, and both look decent as singles. Fuego rushes to the ring, and Black is a little frustrated they didn’t do a team pose for longer on the stage. As usual, everyone accompanies Uno and Grayson – including Colt Cabana this time.

Grayson and Fuego start, but Fuego quickly escapes to the outside and Grayson gives chase. Fuego reverses an armdrag into a headscissors, then gets a tilt-a-whirl variety of same. Black in, but Grayson dumps Fuego and sends Black into the corner. Uno in, and mudholes are stomped all around. Black gets an abdominal stretch out of nowhere, following up with a back suplex for one. He works Uno’s arm, then Fuego leaps in off the top rope onto the arm. Uno with a cross chop on Fuego, but he needs to bring Grayson in.

Grayson with a powerslam on Fuego as Uno knocks Black off the apron. Grayson rushes Fuego into the corner as Uno tags in, whipping Grayson into Fuego before adding a big boot. Grayson with a kneedrop as Uno toys with Fuego. We get some Small Joint Manipulation™ from Uno, then a huge chop and backbreaker. Grayson returns with double boots, with Uno getting a Russian legsweep into a soccer kick from Grayson. (Starks refers to Fuego as Fogo da Chao.) Grayson with a diving cross chop as he taunts Black, then runs Fuego into Uno’s boot.

Uno throws Grayson into Fuego, who escapes and gets the hot tag (sort of) to Black. The ref allows it as Black cleans house, getting an atomic drop into a backstabber on Grayson. Tornado clothesline and T-Bone onto Uno gets just one somehow. Fuego tags back in, and Black holds Uno up. Grayson stops Fuego on the top rope, and Uno gets a neckbreaker on Black. Fuego tries a 450 but rolls through when Uno moves. Uno blocks a Tornado DDT and runs Fuego into Black, who falls into Grayson, who gets the Nightfall. Uno with the Flatliner to finish at 5:59. That match fell apart near the end. *

Cesar Bononi and Ryzin (first time teaming) vs. Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison (2-6). Ryzin with the full-on Dark Priest outfit on the way to the ring, which unsettles Bononi. (CULTURAL NOTE: Brazil, where Bononi’s from, is heavily Catholic, which likely explains Bononi’s hesitance.) Garrison and Pillman have a unified entrance now. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention Pillman is wearing a black and white variation of his dad’s Cincinnati Bengals trunks.

Ryzin and Pillman start. Pillman gets a headlock and hangs on out of the ropes. Headlock takedown by Pillman and he keeps it on until Ryzin uses the hair to reverse. Shoulderblock goes nowhere as we get a couple of standoffs, and Ryzin slaps Pillman. Pillman finally knocks him over for that, then kicks the back and works the arm. Slam by Pillman, and Garrison in with a slingshot legdrop, then Pillman gets a slingshot senton. Big chop by Pillman on Ryzin, but Bononi low bridges on a whip and throws Pillman into the guardrail. Ryzin adds a plancha to Pillman. Back in, it gets two.

Bononi in, and he works the gut of Pillman before adding a knee. Big overhand chop follows, then a back elbow for two. Another knee to the gut and Ryzin comes in, but Pillman escapes a slam and throws the opponents together. Hot tag Garrison, and Bononi eats a discus elbow. High jump into a belly to belly superplex on Ryzin gets two, Bononi saves. Pillman and Garrison both SUPERKICK Bononi out of the ring, and the Hart Attack Blockbuster pins Ryzin at 4:09. Look, I like all four guys, so if you think this overrated, I understand, but everything looked smooth. *3/4

A Little Bit Of The Bubbly ad #2.

Lindsay Snow (0-1) vs. Ivelisse (2-2). Okay, it’s clear they have their eyes on Snow, and they should – she got a lot of hype at Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport event and looked incredible against Thunder Rosa. I wonder if Ivelisse can do strong style as well in singles action.

Ivelisse ducks a lockup and gives a calf kick. Both women aim kicks and demands a charge, and Ivelisse runs into Snow’s fireman’s carry and dropkick. Ivelisse catches a boot on the apron and tangles up Snow, getting an elbow. Snow picks Ivelisse up on the apron, but Ivelisse with a front kick to the jaw and somersault kick off the apron. Big chop by Ivelisse, and back in, it gets two. Ivelisse to the rear choke and she grinds her forearm into Snow’s eyes. Snow elbows out, but Ivelisse knocks her down and kicks her back with a hook kick.

Push kick keeps Snow down, but Ivelisse showboats and Snow gets calf kicks as the two kick each other hard. Snow blocks a forearm, but they both forearm each other’s arms, then knock each other down with a roundhouse kick. Both get up and Ivelisse charges into boots in the corner, with Snow getting lariats to follow up. Second rope crossbody by Snow takes Ivelisse down, then a Shining Wizard gets two.

Snow looks for a pumphandle capture, but Ivelisse flips out of it and gets a heel kick from over her own head to the face. Snow blocks a snapmare and goes for the Celtic Cross, but Ivelisse escapes, kicks out the knee, and gets a roundhouse kick to the back of the head. Now the rolling snapmare into a front kick connects for the pin at 3:50. These two should have gotten more time. *1/2

George South Jr and Bobby Wayward (debut) vs. The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) (4-1). Yes, George South Jr, and for all you old-school fans, he looks JUST like his dad did. Lines from Caster: “You like a broke MC Hammer” “I called up your girl, she called you a shrimp / saw you in the locker room, why you so limp?” Catster dares the opposition to rebut.

Caster and South start. Caster with a knee smash and headlock, and we go International~!, ending with the traditional hiptosses by South. Caster gets one of his own, though, and works the arm. Bowens in, and the duo work South’s arm with Caster getting a boot to it. Bowens gives South space to tag in Wayward, and he and Bowens exchange strikes. Bowens goes up and over, then leapfrogs into a headlock, then leapfrogs into a series of kicks. Big elbow to Wayward, then Bowens with the hurricane DDT (in theory; Wayward botched it twice – yep, they repeated the spot too).

Caster in, and the Acclaimed work Wayward over in the corner before Caster gets a back suplex and preens. Caster slaps Wayward around, which wakes Wayward enough for a backslide for one. La Majistral into a dropkick by Caster and again he shows off. Wayward lands on his feet out of a back suplex, “hot” tag South. Slams for everyone, but Caster cuts him off only to get back body dropped. Caster hangs on and To Great Acclaim connects (that’s a neckbreaker to the knees). Wayward is disposed of, Caster goes up, and a suplex into a diving elbow pins South at 4:12. Wayward looked bad. 1/2*

Young Bucks book ad #3.

Alex Chamberlain and Seth Gargis (first time teaming) vs. Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico) (5-3). Chamberlain and Gargis couldn’t look much less alike. One looks like a preppy amateur wrestler (Chamberlain), and the other looks like a lumberjack (Gargis). Taz has words about that. Serpentico has the STREAMERS OF DOOM in the entrance, which slows things down.

Everyone stares everyone down to start, with both Chaos Project members wanting a piece of Gargis. So all four men brawl and the Project double-teams Gargis, who runs thorogh a double clothesline and dropkicks both men. Slam on Serpentico, and Chamberlain in with forearms. Hammer throw as Serpentico nearly flies out of the ring, and Chamberlain with a back suplex for two. Chamberlain blocks interference from Luther only for Serpentico to kick Chamberlain’s leg out of his leg. Gargis is sent off the apron, and Luther tags in to kick Chamberlain hard.

Choke against the ropes, and Serpentico with a kick to the jaw as Luther distracts the ref. Running kick by Luther, and an assisted splash by Serpentico follows. Then Luther slams Serpentico’s head into Chamberlain’s gut four or five more times. It gets two. Luther returns with a dropkick (whoa), and Serpentico tags in (even though he isn’t 100%). Luther slams Serpentico onto Chamberlain twice, then Serpentico lifts Luth…

no, I can’t say that with a straight face.

Luther does a third one, getting two. Luther back in, and a Dino Bravo side suplex follows. He tags in Serpentico and tells him to go up, but they argue over how Luther will torture Serpentico next until they compromise on a Quebec Cannonball to Chamberlain. Serpentico with right hands as his back is shot from… well, everything… allowing Chamberlain a spinebuster on Serpentico. Hot tag Gargis, and he runs over Serpentico a bunch. Back body drop on Serpentico, then a gutwrench slam try, but Luther stops it and Serpentico gets a rising knee and SUPERKICK. Luther tagged in, and he hits a pump kick on Gargis. Creeping Death ends Gargis at 5:54. Look, I know Luther is thoroughly shot in the ring, but this team left me sports-entertained tonight. *1/2

Lady Frost (0-1) vs. Red Velvet (3-11). Excalibur opens by calling this “a song of ice and fire”. For the record, I get along well with Frost and we are both CRAB wrestlers, so I’m rooting for her here.

Lockup, and Frost with a headlock as we go International~!, ending with a leg lariat by Velvet (but not after some great tumbling). Velvet works over Frost in the corner as the ref doesn’t bother to count to five even though he could, then the stir it up boot choke which is totally illegal. Snapmare and dropkick gets two – Frost was clearly resting – and Velvet with forearms in the corner. The ref finally does his job and stops this vicious assault, and Velvet misses a charge as Frost with an axe kick to the midsection and kneedrop. Standing moonsault misses by Frost, then she generously allows Velvet to hit one for a two-count.

Frost recovers with powerful knee strikes to the gut, then a running spear in the corner and a roundhouse kick. Snapmare and side soccer kick somehow only gets two. Clearly a slow count. Frost with a surfboard – er, toboggan – but Velvet comes back and slides through Frost’s legs before beginning the comeback. Casadora bulldog (undoubtedly with some hair) follows, then a Northern Lights throw. Velvet with the Bossman knees to the back, and Just Desserts tragically ends this match at 3:25. *

…okay, apologies for how that recap went; how does Scott keep that gag up for every single Hulk Hogan match and not sound obnoxious?

MAIN EVENT (finally): Dark Order (Alan Angels and Preston Vance) (1-2) vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy Jack Perry and Luchasaurus) (w/Marko Stunt) (13-5, #4 team)vs. Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela (8-7). Everyone accompanies Angels and Vance to the ring but heads to the back. Janela acts overwhelmed by Kiss’s body, which is a neat bit. Jurassic Express has a little TOO much pyro, which Perry needs to clear away. This is Perry’s 50th AEW match, which is a high score.

Vance takes out Janela, so Kiss fights Angels and gets disposed of. Casadora Flatliner on Angels by the Express, so the Jersey duo get missile dropkicks on Saurus. Perry and Kiss go at it, but Kiss catches Perry and we get a Hart Attack into a Boston Crab/legdrop into a Mutalock/dropkick. Kiss and Janela pose before Janela charges Vance, who dumps him onto Perry and the cameraman.

Bell finally rings as Vance and Janela start hot, with Vance getting a spinebuster after Janela flipped back in. Janela is worked over in the Dark Order corner, with Angels getting a forearm shiver and snapmare into a standing frog splash for one. Janela re-emphasizes it was just a one count (shall we say), so Angels beats him up as a receipt. Vance in, and he gets a corner clothesline and suplex, getting one. Vance knocks Kiss off the apron before going back to Janela, who fights out and… sees he has no one to tag. He leaps into Vance’s arms, so Angels tags himself in and the Dark Order get a dropkick / fallaway slam combo for two.

Vance back in, and he slugs Janela down while Jurassic Express leave the apron to check on Marko Stunt for some reason. Janela falls on the apron and runs the Dark Order into each other, then gets a diving crossbody onto both. Hot tag Kiss as Jurassic Express watches from outside, and Kiss gets a rana on Angels into the handspring slap (Rapid Kissmissal). Vance clotheslines Angels by mistake before being sent to the outside as the Express return to the apron. Perry tags himself in and gets a dropkick for one. Chop by Angels, and he kicks away on Perry’s legs as Vance tags himself in. Perry with a cradle out of nowhere for two, but Vance with a slingshot wheelbarrow suplex for two.

Vance with a stalling suplex on Perry for two. Angels tags in and kicks away on Perry in the corner before going to a front facelock. Perry can’t tag in Saurus, or Janela or Kiss, and Angels shoves him off into a standing C-4 for two. Angels sends Perry into the corner, but a charge eats boots. Angels cuts off Perry with a thrust kick only for Perry to return with a lariat out of the ropes. Hot tag Saurus, and he beats up Kiss, then Janela, then Vance, then Angels. Kicks for everyone, and he gets a fireman’s carry buster for two, Vance saves. Saurus knocks Vance out of the ring and catches Angels, chokeslamming him into Vance’s arms.

So Vance tosses Angels into a DDT on Janela only to be hit with a tope suicida by Perry. That leaves Kiss with the Express, and the ELE gets two (much to everyone’s surprise). Angels captures Perry and sends Saurus to the outside, but Janela gets a shotei on Angels and catches him into a Death Valley Driver on Perry on the apron! Saurus gives him a Tailwhip kick and everyone’s done on the outside as we get replays. Vance then gives Janela an apron bomb, but Kiss with a quebrada onto Saurus and Vance. Kiss rolls Saurus back in (Excalibur: “That’s not the one I would pick”), but Saurus with a headbutt and fireman’s carry.

Janela tries to stop it, but Saurus no-sells until Perry flies off of Kiss’s back to give Janela a Destroyer! Kiss with a forearm to Perry, but Angels is in and gives Kiss an enzuigiri. Wing Snapper to Kiss into a spear by Vance, then Angels with the frog splash. The Dark Order grab Perry, but he runs them together and SUPERKICKs Vance. Assisted powerbomb ends Angels and gets Jurassic Express the pin at 10:19. Everything after the second hot tag was wild. ***

WINTER IS COMING!

  • Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal!
  • Allin and Rhodes vs Starks and Hobbs!
  • Chris Jericho faces Frankie Kazarian!
  • And Jon Moxley defends the big gold against Kenny Omega!

Well, they cut half an hour out of the show, which makes a world of difference. No matches overstayed their welcome and only a few of them got to dragging. Matches that didn’t have much to them ended quicker, which is what you need. You still had some good B-show matches to watch, but the big thing was that there was work on character here.

Think about it: Peter Avalon has the pretty boy gimmick and is all about protecting his face, so that was the story of the match. Gunn Club has heard Taz talking trash to them, so they mock him in the entrance. Chaos Project is all about Serpentico regretting his decision to team with Luther, and that didn’t change here. KiLynn King is starting to round out her match style, The Acclaimed got their rap in and some double-teams… there was a lot of embryonic ideas here.

Another thing: they claim to have three “divisions” in AEW – men’s, women’s, and tag. Look carefully at the count here: there were five men’s, five women’s, and seven tag matches. One of the complaints that AEW faced was that, given their bad luck and missing stars in the women’s division, they were choosing to ignore it rather than build new people up. You can’t say they’re not trying now – KiLynn King and Red Velvet are getting winning streaks. The return of Shanna also looks like it’ll help; once she gets herself back to being comfortable in AEW’s ring, things can only go up.

Now, the interesting thing tomorrow will be Moxley/Omega,. Lots of people are predicting Omega to win, and certainly it would make sense – not that Moxley needs to lose, but Omega has all the momentum and winning wouldn’t hurt Moxley. However, there’s an interesting wrinkle to this: TripleMania has advertised Omega being on their show in Mexico City on December 12. If he works AAA – and all indications are he will – he’ll have to miss 2-4 weeks of AEW television depending on how long he quarantines. Would AEW have enough promos and vignettes to fill up the lost time? (Remember: December 16 and 23’s shows will be taped together, as will December 30 and January 6.) It certainly wouldn’t be wrong, nor would it be unprecedented – heaven knows Moxley did a bunch of promos while isolating – but I wonder if AEW would risk having their world champion locked out of the US after what happened to Impact.

Anyway, come for the Cutler/Limelight, Solow/Sydal, and main event matches, stay for Gunn Club and Chaos Project being funny.

STATS

BELL TO BELL: 85:46 over seventeen matches (average match 5:03)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Main event triple tag

FIVE STARS:

  1. Brandon Cutler
  2. Aaron Solow
  3. Jon Cruz/Serpentico
  4. Preston Vance
  5. First Win honor: Shanna

Brace yourselves: tomorrow’s double feature is coming.