AEW DARK: December 8, 2020

(Double digit matches will mean double logos.  Deal with it.)

The PG Era Recap for AEW Dark: Episode 65 (“We’re Competing Against Ourselves”), December 8, 2020.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are Excalibur, Taz, and Anthony Ogogo. Excalibur’s adjective this week: “gargantuan”.

TONIGHT! We have men’s division action with Preston Vance, Peter Avalon, Brandon Cutler, Brian Cage, and Sonny Kiss! Women’s action gives us Ivelisse, Diamante, Big Swole, Nyla Rose, Shanna, and Red Velvet! Tag team action sees Gunn Club, TH2, Jurassic Express, and The Acclaimed… as well as our feature bout, as Colt Cabana and Alex Reynolds face the Varsity Blondes!

(Hey, you think maybe they’re not trying to upstage Impact? Wonder why.)

Baron Black (0-2) vs. Sonny Kiss (w/Joey Janela) (10-19). An interesting matchup, says Excalibur, as both men have been on Dark in mostly a tag team capacity, but will now get a chance to test themselves in singles competition. Janela oversells Kiss’s entrance, flying back five feet.

Kiss does the Matrix to block a Black charge, does the splits to duck a clothesline and gets a cradle for two. Casadora into an armdrag follows, then the handspring into a back heel kick. Atomic drop by Black, into a lungblower, and Black stomps to take over. T-Bone suplex out of the corner gets Not Even One. Black goes to a single-leg Liontamer, but Kiss is too flexible to get hurt by it so Black switches to a Romero Special. He breaks to cover, getting one. Kiss fights back, but Black cuts him off with an uppercut and THE STRAP IS DOWN.

Discus lariat, but a second T-Bone ends in a cradle by Kiss for two. Spinning jalapeno and dropsault by Kiss begins the comeback. Kiss gets a boot up on a charge and hits a swinging rana out of the corner into a step-up legdrop. Kiss goes up, but Black catches him and pulls him into the splits. Powerbomb try, but Kiss ranas him into the bottom corner before getting a rolling elbow. Splits legdrop off the ropes gets the win at 3:25. They showed a lot in three minutes, and Black has some really good technical skill for someone built like a power wrestler. *1/4

Non-title: Danny Limelight (0-1) vs. FTW Champion Brian Cage (#4 men) (11-1). Just gonna guess the title’s not on the line. Also going to guess Limelight won’t do as well as he did against Cutler last week. You’d think after being corrected the first few times, Roberts would remember to call him FTW World Champion without being prompted by Cage. C’mon, Justin.

Limelight goes for a front facelock and lands on his feet when shoved off, then flips out of a suplex and dropkicks Cage, who no-sells. Limelight quickly sticks and moves before going up top and getting a rana as Cage bails. Limelight follows with a corkscrew plancha, then makes the mistake of dancing instead of following through. When he does follow through, Cage gives him an F-5 on the apron. Back in, Cage sends Limelight to the corner and uppercuts him before getting shoulder rams. Spinebuster is reversed to a sunset flip try, but Cage picks him up and delivers a Flatliner with massive elevation.

Press into an Oklahoma slam follows, and Cage is ready to end it. Weapon X try, but Llimelight escapes and gets a knee strike and enzuigiri. Cage is up and turns Limelight inside out with a lariat, but his blind charge hits the boots. Limelight walks the ropes to escape, then hits a Destroyer off the middle rope (!!) on Cage. It gets two. Double jump DDT try, but Cage catches him into a double powerbomb into the buckles. Drill Claw finally ends it at 3:41. I’ve said it before, but if Brock Lesnar showed up to do Raw matches, they’d look like this and that’s a compliment to Cage. *3/4

Alex Gracia (0-3) vs. Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero) (12-3) (#2 women). Alex is Miss Pink. Ogogo says this match is a “big ask” for Gracia and man does that British accent make it sound suspect. They’re still calling Rose the Vicious Vixen. Meanwhile, Vickie cajoles the crowd.

Rose throws Gracia down to start. Gracia goes behind and aims shots at the back, but Rose is just mad about that. A side headlock doesn’t make her happier, so Rose shoots her off and blasts her down with a shoulderblock. Gracia with more forearms that do nothing, and Rose with a headbutt and she stands on Gracia’s neck. More stomping on the back, then a big chop in the corner. Rose continues working over Gracia in the corner, getting a running hip check and Braun powerslam. Beats Bomb ends this at 2:06. Murder. DUD

Oh, geez, they gave Vickie a mic. “EXCUUUUUUSE MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” Three times. She’s gone full Raw. She says she is a true businesswoman, and therefore when she talks, people listen. (Tazz: “We have no choice.”) Vickie says she’s so smart she has Nyla Rose as her client. She educates Brandi, the “Chief B------- Officer”. And now, we bring entertainment in destruction. APPLAUD ALREADY! She then tells Rose to take this “pink, pathetic popsicle stick” and kick her out, which she does. Felt like regression on Vickie’s part.

And now: THE WAITING ROOM! Rebel and Britt dance along to the entrance music (“Go doctor, go doctor!”) Baker notes it’s time to congratulate Kenny Omega. Britt always loved Kenny, and let’s be honest, he’s great on the mic (thunk). And Sting is here to keep Tony Schiavone relevant, so Britt doesn’t have to do that anymore. Sting will be on the Waiting Room soon, right Reba? Coming soon. Speaking of talented wrestlers with epic facepaint – we don’t have Thunder Rosa. She’s lucky that the refs save her every time she comes out or things would get uglier than half of her face. (Rebel laughs – Britt glares).

And now, our guest, the best coach in the game, Dustin Rhodes! Hey, the suit matches the facepaint! They talk about the new action figures – Cody and Dustin from their war! Question: why is Cody’s contract bigger than yours? Dustin: “Hang on, I pay more in taxes than you make in dentistry and wrestling combined.” Yeah, Dustin’s action figure is taller, but that’s the way it is. And by the way, Britt, did YOUR boyfriend win Match of the Year? No, we did. So think before you speak, Miss. “Doctor.” Dustin to Rebel: “You gonna say anything? C’mon, you’re my favorite!” But Britt cuts him off and moves on. (When Rebel finally grows a spine, the pop will be BIG.)

Britt mentions that Dustin is in a bad mood to her. He’s a little grumpy; is that because he’s been involved with the Dark Order too much? Dustin: “Matter of fact, tomorrow, I step in the ring with 10.” Vance (10) may be big, but so is Dustin. There have been serious issues between the Family and the Order, but for five decades he’s traveled the world, and he will go to any part of the world to take out the Dark Order, starting with 10. He’s gonna bring it all to Vance. “This 80 year old man still has something in the tank.” Britt cuts off the interview as we go to our musical guest – Marko Stunt playng acoustic guitar! Honestly – he’s all right. They give him a whole song to perform – put it this way, he wouldn’t get gonged off the stage. Baker wants that on iTunes. And we’re out.

Aaron Solow (0-5) vs. Preston “10” Vance (3-3) (w/Alan Angels). Given that Solow has been getting a chance to look good even in defeat, I can imagine it’s only a matter of time before he gets that First Win, although given Vance is facing Dustin Rhodes tomorrow, don’t expect it tonight. The rest of the Dark Order leads Vance onto the stage. Taz says he saw Vance squat 500 pounds earlier that day.

Lockup, and Vance gives a clean break and the Dark Order salute. Test of strength forced by Vance, and he wins easily driving Vance to the mat. Solow goes for a hammerlock and gets elbowed down. Dropkick by Solow gets one, and he tries another headlock. Vance powers him into the corner and chops away. A forearm follows, but he puts his head down on a whip and Solow kicks him. Vance recovers with a spinebuster. Back suplex follows by Vance and he toys with Solow. Pump kick by Vance follows.

Vance chokes Solow on the bottom rope, and while the ref admonishes Vance, Solow takes a swipe at Angels to shut him up. He gets pulled back by Vance and given a stalling suplex. Solow with a desperation forearm to get separation™, then a corner uppercut, but he can’t follow up. He ducks a clothesline and gives Vance a 540 kick for the double-down. Casadora try, but Vance reverses to a slingshot wheelbarrow suplex. Northern Lariat / Rainmaker hybrid finishes at 3:53. Vance seemed lost on offense at times – not a good sign for tomorrow. 1/2*

Young Bucks’ book ad.

Louie Valle (0-2) vs. Peter Avalon (2-4-2). As I’ve been told by one of you in the comments (sorry, I’m drawing a blank, no disrepsect meant), Valle was a CHIKARA veteran who was part The Batiri. Taz claims he asked Joey Numbers to tell Valle to change his attire. There is a lot less orange and black this time around, to be fair. (Have we mentioned that Valle looks like someone left Miro in the washing machine for about a week?)

Lockup, and Valle offers a clean break. Avalon shoves Valle, who shoves back, so Avalon gets a headlock and we go International~!, ending with Valle kicking Avalon but running into a back elbow. Avalon goes ground and pound on Valle before being asked to keep the fists open. Avalon chokes Valle on the middle rope before mocking Valle’s face. Suplex by Avalon gets one. Valle tries to fight back, getting shots to the face to put Avalon on tilt, but he runs into a leg lariat and more pounding. Big chop by Avalon, but Valle escapes a charge and gets a back elbow. Shotgun dropkick off the middle rope follow, then a clothesline. Valle ducks the third leg lariat and tries a slam, but Avalon escapes into a flapjack. Martiknees (and a goofy face) gets the duke at 3:11. 3/4*

Avalon gets on the mic and celebrates his 3-match win streak. To celebrate, he issues an open challenge – but only if you’re good looking. It’s Pretty Peter’s Pageant Provocation! Avalon is PPA All Day.

Shawn Dean, Sean Maluta, and Ryzin (first time teaming) vs. Gunn Club (Billy, Austin, and Colten) (3-0). Excalibur: “Is Ryzin’s first name also Sean?” It’s also noted that Shawn Dean is apparently a favorite of the Best Friends. This time, the Gunn Club arrives in a golf cart they’ve renamed the Taz Taxi. Taz: “I USE UBER! I GOT BETTER MONEY THAN THAT YOU IDIOTS!” I sincerely hope this ends in a six-man on Dark down the line. Billy getting thrown left and right by Cage will be great. Austin has a Team Nightmare jacket on. Excalibur: “This ring entrance is lasting longer than Judas.”

EVENTUALLY, Colten and Dean start. Lockup, and Dean sends Colten down. Another lockup, and Colten gets a side headlock. He goes up and over Dean and gets an armdrag and dropkick. Dean is stuck in the wrong corner, so Colten dunks through Austin’s arms onto Dean. Austin then returns the favor with a reverse jam. They want Billy to do it too, but Billy says the heck with that and just covers for one. Dean elbows away and brings Maluta in, but Billy trips Maluta and gets a front facelock. Austin in, and Billy and Austin double-team with Austin getting two.

Ogogo: “Is that the Brooklyn Boot?”
Taz: “He’s stealing my offense.”

Austin charges Maluta but is caught with a Samoan drop for one. Maluta works the arm on Austin, keeping him on the mat, but Austin rolls through and goes through the ropes to send Maluta shoulder-first into the ropes. But Ryzin with a lariat on the outside, and back in, Maluta with a falling headbutt for one. Maluta chops away on Austin before sending him into the boots of Ryzin and Dean in the corner. Dean tagged in, and he stomps away on Austin. Billy goes to a neutral corner to encourage Austin and is sent back, allowing Dean to get a series of knee strikes.

Dean knocks Colten off the apron before going after Austin, but Austin hammer throws Dean into the buckle and we get a double clothesline for a double-down. Hot tag Billy, and he cleans house with right hands. Avalanche to Ryzin as Maluta is sent packing, and the Make Him Famous try follows. Ryzin avoids it and SUPERKICKs Billy out, but Austin gets a Hennig necksnap. Dean gives Austin a hurricane DDT, but Colten comes back in with a full nelson slam on Dean. Maluta with the Knee Plus to Colten, but Billy returns with a big boot. Ryzin tries a flying cradle into a thrust kick as the legal men return to the ring, but the moonsault airballs and Make Him Famous ends Ryzin at 6:27. This was what it was. *1/4

A Little Bit Of The Bubbly ad.

Dani Jordyn (0-6) vs. Red Velvet (3-10). Dani has her Burn Book with her and does the Mean Girls Christmas dance during her entrance. Taz says his burn book would be more of a burn encyclopedia, then has fun with Straight Outta Your Momma’s Kitchen (Red Velvet’s official hometown), assuming the kitchen is somewhere in Parts Unknown. And yes, Velvet is in the Burn Book.

Lockup, and Jordyn with a headlock, and we go International~!, ending with Velvet getting a leg lariat. Jordyn whips Velvet into the corner, but Velvet sticks and moves with a Flatliner into the corner and stir it up boot choke. Velvet tries… something… and gets small packaged by Jordyn for two. Jordyn sends Velvet to the apron, but her charge misses and she gets axe kicked. Jordyn avoids the follow-up and gets a leaping hangman DDT for two. Jordyn with an uppercut in the corner, then a rolling snapmare into a dropkick.

She shows off the page with Velvet in the Burn Book, then mocks Velvet’s stir-it-up signal. Velvet charges into a SUPERKICK, but she falls into the ropes and comes back with a clothesline to cue the comeback. Spinning heel kick on Jordyn, then a casadora bulldog. Standing moonsault follows, for two. Jordyn charges into a Northern Lights throw by Velvet, who follows with the Austin straddle and Just Desserts to win at 3:22. I can see why Cody talked up this match on Twitter – this is the best Velvet’s looked on offense that I’ve seen. *1/2

Falco and Mike Magnum (first time teaming) vs. Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt) (w/Jungle Boy) (2-0) (Saurus/Perry #3 team). Magnum is covered in house paint and carries a paintbrush to the ring. And you didn’t misread the intro – Jungle Boy gets the night off and the other two go at it. Perhaps Jungle Boy is getting time off after a rough landing he and Sammy Guevara had.

Falco and Stunt start. Stunt promises to overpower Falco, but on the lockup… no. Stunt tests a contact lens as he gets up, and Falco mocks Stunt’s dance. Stunt charges in and gets aa tilt-a-whirl headscissors and lucha armdrag before standing on Falco’s shoulders and falling into the DDT! Stunt with a double stomp and he grapples Falco, who escapes and tags in Magnum. This is a bit of a size mismatch, so Stunt escapes and brings in Saurus, who throws Stunt into Magnum for a dropkick. Big chop by Saurus to knock down Magnum, but he gets up and chops Saurus. Saurus glares before blasting Magnum with a right cross.

Slam follows, and Stunt does the Chaos Project style casadora splash and throwing senton. Stunt takes Falco down in the corner only to get lariated by Magnum. Falco tags in, and he catches Stunt (sort of) off of a back body drop. Stunt escapes and leaps off of Falco to a rana to Magnum, and Saurus comes in to clean house. Saurus with a punch combo on Magnum in the corner, but a blind charge misses everyone.

Saurus gets a double clothesline anyway, but Falco escapes a slam. Saurus recovers with a forearm shiver and AA for two, Magnum saves… and instantly regrets it. Saurus grabs a double chokeslam, but the heels escape and double dropkick Saurus. Stunt tags himself in and dives, but he’s caught and cornered. Stunt and a returning Saurus have a SUPERKICK PARTY on Magnum before Saurus chokeslams Falco. Hook kick into a Meteora gets the pin for Stunt at 5:02. Seemed disjointed – I think that’s not a team going forward. 3/4*

Fuego Del Sol (0-5) vs. Brandon Cutler (5-3-2). Taz calls this a “YouTube/vlog competition” during the preview but doesn’t explain himself. Taz says Fuego’s tornado DDT is the best in the world, but he’s not sure he buys it. Excalibur explains Taz’s comment: Cutler is always on BTE, and Fuego is often in Sammy Guevara’s vlogs.

Fuego dives at Cutler, but Fuego avoids the TPK and goes for the Tornado DDT, but that’s blocked. Fuego with a satellite headscissors to send Cutler packing, but Cutler leaps back in as Fuego falls out and gives Fuego a huge tope suicida. He mugs for the camera, allowing Fuego to come off with a corkscrew pescado. Back in, springboard twist crossbody and rana gets two for Fuego. Cutler goes up and over on a corner whip and gets an overhead suplex and hiptoss. Back body drop follows. Running legdrop gets two, brother.

Cutler is sent to the corner but escapes to the apron and kicks Fuego. Cutler with a big right, but Fuego stops him only to miss the enzuigiri. The two fight over a waistlock and Cutler blocks an O’Connor Roll to get a Phenomenal Forearm. Total Party Kill is tried again, but Fuego reverses to a casadora armdrag and Lionsault. Thrust kick to the jaw of Cutler and a Lethal Combination gets two (although Fuego was off-balance on the backbreaker part). Cutler escapes the Tornado DDT and blocks the Shiranui, but Fuego lands on his feet and gets Cross Rhodes for two. Amazing chess match on that sequence. Fuego tries a hurricane DDT, but Cutler catches him in Total Party Kill for the pin at 4:11. They packed a lot into those four minutes. *3/4

Skyler Moore (0-6) vs. Ivelisse (11-3). Moore is from Doormont, PA (outside of Pittsburgh), leading Excalibur to ask Taz if ECW ever did a show there. Ivelisse still has her gold medal and has done nothing with it, which is good.

Ivelisse slaps Moore to start and mocks her, then off a lockup throws Moore to the mat. Hiptoss try is reversed by Moore to a crucifix for one, but Ivelisse with a headbutt. Moore gets the Brisco cradle for one, then a dropkick. Charge runs into a roundhouse kick off the top rope, then Ivelisse curb stomps Moore into the middle turnbuckle for two. Overdrive gets two. Dragon sleeper by Ivelisse, but Moore fights out of it and gets La Majistral for two.

Ivelisse with a lariat for two. She goes for a ground sleeper, but Moore fights to her feet before armdragging out of it. Jawjacker and hangman’s neckbreaker gets a double-down. Ivelisse is up first, but Moore with the comeback. Strongest Slam by Moore gets two. Moore pulls Ivelisse up, only to get hit with a back heel kick. Moore catches Ivelisse in a fireman’s carry, but Ivelisse reverses to the Black Widow for the tapout at 3:56. Good finish, not sure about the rest. *

Lindsay Snow (0-2) vs. Big Swole (13-4) (#1 women). You notice how Shida has already defended against Swole and #2 Nyla Rose? Might be time to boost someone else up the rankings. Snow’s first two matches were very much MMA-influenced against Thunder Rosa and Ivelisse – while I doubt MMA style is Swole’s wheelhouse, we’ll see if they gel tonight.

Lockup goes nowhere to start. A second round gets Swole a hammerlock and shot to the back, allowing her to transition to a headlock takedown. Swole with the wristlock, but Snow escapes and does a Calf Crushes into what kinda resembles a Tazmission. Swole elbows out and stomps straight on Snow’s back before getting an amateur ride and knees to the back. An elbow attempt spins Snow around into a bearhug by Swole. Snow claps the ears to break and the two shove each other, leading to the International~!, but Swole blocks Snow’s hiptoss and gets her own.

Falling senton misses and Snow runs over Swole. Snow runs into a back elbow, but Swole is a little groggy and her kicks to the back don’t have the same oomph. Snow with the kitchen sink and uppercut, then a push kick into a clothesline. Swole refuses to be covered, then fights back with gut shots and a straight headbutt. Swole is dazed too, so Snow with a running knee. Swole blocks a whip and shoves Snow away, so Snow gets another knee strike into a running facewash. It gets one.

Swole with a small package for two as she regains her bearings, then she Matrixes away from a Shining Wizard and gets cross chops for the comeback. Snow picks Swole up, but Swole elbows out and gets a cradle into a crucifix try for the pin at 5:19 – would’ve been sooner, but Swole was almost in the ropes. Bold prediction: Lindsay Snow’s getting her first AEW win by March. **

Southeara Chhun & VSK (first time teaming) vs. The Hybrid 2 (Jack Evans and Angelico) (6-5). Chhun is a Cambodian-American from Portland. TH2 face the Bucks tomorrow in what may or may not be a title match – they keep saying one, then the other. Taz: “I wish I could’ve danced at my wedding the way Angelico just did.” Excalibur confirms: it’s non-title but a title shot is possible if the non-champs win.

TH2 jump the gun and attack their foes in the corner. Angelico punches down Chhun and tosses him, then kicks away on VSK. Evans adds a shot in, and TH2 try a double clothesline, but VSK rolls under and Chhun knocks both men down. VSK with Very Skilled Kicks to both men, and he and Chhun get stereo suplexes. VSK with a dropkick to Evans and TH2 bail, so Chhun and VSK go to dive, but Angelico cuts VSK off and Evans springboards in on Chhun. Double-team backbreaker on VSK on the outside, and Evans with a handspring elbow into an Angelico back suplex aided by an Evans double-stomp on Chhun.

Assisted 450, but TH2 stop the count. They HIT THE BUCKS POSE before Evans gives a SUPERKICK to VSK, then a 540 kick off the apron. Thrust kick to Chhun by Angelico, and the Navarro Death Roll gets the tap at 3:01. Evans adds a few extra shots after the bell. TH2 needed this win to look like they had half a chance against the Bucks. 3/4*

And on that note, here’s Young Bucks book ad #2.

Tesha Price (0-4) vs. Diamante (10-5). Price looks like she may be someone some day, as I like to note, but she’s also looked better than she did in her debut. Excalibur notes the same thing, saying her record doesn’t reflect her skill. Taz says that Ivelisse and Diamante try to one-up each other on the mean streak.

Diamante piefaces Price, who charges into a lockup. Diamante gets the arm, pulling her down when Price tries to punch out, but Price armdrags out of it. She flips out of a Rocker Dropper into a double-arm armdrag, then gets a clothesline on Diamante. Handspring roundhouse misses, and Diamante with a release German out of the corner. Diamante goes ground and pound on Price until the ref says to stop, then she sends Price into the corner and stomps a mudhole in her. Hesitation dropkick by Diamante gets one.

Diamante glares at the referee before we HIT THE CHINLOCK. Price gets out to her feet and they slug it out, with Price surprisingly holding her own before getting a reverse neckbreaker. Diamante runs into a back elbow, then into the middle turnbuckle (with Price’s help), and this time the handspring roundhouse connects into a facejam for two. Price is feeling it and looks to finish, but Diamante with a knee strike and Shiranui for two. Price cradles Diamante during an argument for two. Code Red gets Diamante the pin at 3:51. See? Price is getting better by the match. *3/4

Alex Marves talks to TH2 about their opportunity. Evans says tonight was a massacre, and he hopes the Bucks saw that. They were thrown to the wolves, but they lead the pack. Tomorrow night, TH2 strikes. Angelico dances out.

Freya “The Slaya” States (debut) vs. Shanna (1-3). States is from Alaska and is dressed like a Norse queen. Clarification needed here: Excalibur says Shanna’s from Portugal, but her intro says France. Anyway, Shanna came back last week after being quarantined for some time and is now trying to get back into the groove.

Lockup, and Freya shoves Shanna away. Another one, and Shanna gets a waistlock only for Freya to shove her away. Freya then piefaces Shanna, who says “oh, so that’s how it is” and forearms away on Freya. Freya blocks a whip and gets a tree slam try, but Shanna fights out of it and gets a back heel kick. Flip neckbreaker follows, but Freya catches a tilt-a-whirl DDT try and throws Shanna into the turnbuckles twice.

Backbreaker by Freya and she bends Shanna over the knee, adding the stomach claw (Classie Freddie Blassie style!), but Shanna escapes and gets a forearm and roundhouse kick. Shanna leaps at Freya and is caught, and Freya hangs Shanna into the Tree of Woe. Cannonball try, but Shanna picks herself up to doge it. Shanna with kicks to the head to rock Freya and keep her on her knees. Roundhouse kick and Stunner follow and Shanna wants the tiger suplex, but Freya blocks. Shanna comes back with a basement dropkick and tilt-a-whirl DDT. Freya’s out on the bottom rope, so Shanna dropkicks her there and gets the tiger suplex with a bridge for the pin at 4:15. This didn’t look good early, but Shanna saved it as it went along. *1/4

Jon Cruz and Michael Naka – Naka – Naka – Nakanakanakanakanakanakanakanaka naka naka – Nakazawa!! (first time teaming) vs. The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) (5-1). Justin Roberts was SLIGHTLY over the top in this intro. And once again, does the combined weight of 556 pounds include all the bling on Caster’s neck? “Knocking you out like your name’s Nate Robinson.” “Jon Cruz, you so ugly you should prolly wear a mask!” Actually a very good rap by Caster, and yes, Cruz is probably better off with a mask. Nakazawa hides some baby oil in a neutral corner, so the ref doesn’t find anything on him.

Nakazawa and Caster start. Nak with a headlock, and we go International~!, ending with Caster getting the armdrag and stomping on the shoulder. Bowens in, and the two wrench up Nakazawa’s arm before Caster kciks the arm. Bowens knocks Nakazawa into the baby oil corner, and Nakazawa sprays it in Bowens’ path before getting a spear and Slip’N’Slide senton for one.

Referee tosses out the baby oil bottle, so Cruz comes in and (after avoiding the oil slick) gets a low crossbody on Bowens for two. Bowens punches out Cruz and drops him face-first before drawing in Nak for a double-team on Cruz. Bowens tags in Caster, but Cruz fights out only for the sunset flip / neckbreaker into the knees combo. Caster punches down Cruz and pleads innocence to the ref re closed fists, allowing Bowens one last shot. Back suplex by Caster and he shows off before stomping away on Cruz.

Bowens in and he stomps away in the corner, then Caster follows as they keep double-teaming. Cruz tries to dive for the hot tag, but Caster cuts him off and throws him into the corner. Bowens with a running elbow, back elbow from Caster, clothesline from Bowens, dropkick from Caster, and Bowens covers, Nakazawa saves. Bowens sends Cruz into the corner and brings in Caster, who kicks an open Cruz.

Cruz flips out of a back suplex and gets a bulldog, though, and it’s hot tag Nakazawa. He gets a couple forearms before being whipped in, and his attempt at a double clothesline double misses. He does shove the Acclaimed together and spears down Bowens for two. THE THONG IS OFF… almost, because Bowens traps Nakazawa in the thong and kciks him in the head. Critical Acclaim on Cruz as Nakazawa gets himself free, but the brainbuster / diving elbow combo (Acclaim 2 Fame) gets the win at 6:09. Oh yeah, this team is the FUTURE. *1/2

MAIN EVENT: Varsity Blondes (Brian Pillman and Griff Garrison) (3-6) vs. Dark Order (Alex Reynolds and Colt Cabana) (first time in this iteration). The Blondes have matching gear (which Garrison shows off and some 80s music that opens with a Bengal roar in honor of Pillman Sr. Colt thanks John Silver for letting him take part before the group gives the salute (although Colt’s looks much more like a wave). Taz wonders if Colt knows who he’s teaming with in terms of their aggression.

Reynolds and Garrison start. Reynolds with an armlock, but Garrison back rolls into a headlock and we go International~!, with Garrison knocking over Reynolds a second time and getting a stalling slam.Big kick by Garrison into a swinging neckbreaker by Pillman into a legdrop by Garrison onto both men (Pillman having tripped up Colt) and the Order bail only to get tossed back in the hard way. Corner clotheslines, a chest bump, and big boots by the Blondes, and Pillman gets two on Reynolds. Chop by Pillman to Reynolds, and he comes in for a clothesline but gets tossed to the apron.

Pillman looks to do Air Pillman, but Colt breaks it up and Reynolds takes over. Colt in, and the Dark Order chop Pillman away before Colt stomps a mudhole in Pillman. Forearm in the corner, but Colt runs into a boot only for Reynolds to stop Pillman by the hair. Reynolds tags in, and a double stomp to Pillman and he throws knees before bringing Colt in. Double Kitchen Sink by Dark Order, and Colt drops the bionic elbow for two. Three times in a row.

We HIT THE CHINLOCK, but Pillman fires out only to be caught by Colt. Reynolds in, and Colt throws Pillman into a falling rib kick by Reynolds for two. Garrison gets knocked off the apron, and Reynolds tags Colt in for a right cross. Pillman escapes a slam and checks Reynolds beofre avoiding a blind charge. Hot tag Garrison, who boots Colt and gives Reynolds a back body drop. Stinger Splash to Colt, then a second one, leading to a Michinoku Driver, Reynolds saves.

Pillman kicks Reynolds out of the ring, but Colt runs Garrison into Pillman and delivers a huge elbow. Ripcord into a Reynolds forearm gets two. Reynolds is frustrated, but Colt is ready for the double flip DDT… but Pillman hits Colt with Air Pillman and Garrison jack-knifes Reynolds for two. Rolling elbow and Hart Attack Blockbuster gets the duke at 6:26. I kinda like the “macho 80s jock” routine they got going, and they play it with just enough energy to avoid being the heels with that gimmick. **1/4

Dasha asks Dustin Rhodes about Preston Vance. Dustin says he’s a big boy, but so is Dustin. There’s real history with the Dark Order and the Nightmare Family. But Dustin has beaten everyone, everywhere, and he’s willing to go to the ends of the earth to destroy the Dark Order – Vance is just the first one. So let it be written in stone: tomorrow night, Vance better be ready.

Alex Marvez congratulates the Varsity Blondes for their win, but says FTR will be tougher. Garrison acknowledges that, but says they can handle it. Pillman says to look around and see the best tag team wrestlers on the planet. And sure, the Blondes are young, but they’re athletic and genetic. Pillman introduces the team and says if you give them the ball, they’ll run with it.


  • FTR vs. the Varsity Blondes!
  • Dustin Rhodes vs. Preston Vance!
  • The Inner Circle will get along or die trying!
  • The Young Bucks face TH2 in non-title action!
  • MJF puts his Dynamite Diamond on the line against Orange Cassidy!
  • Abadon is in action!
  • We will hear from our NEW World Champion, Kenny Omega!
  • Archer, Penta, Fenix! Kingston, Butcher, Blade!

Okay, I’m not gonna waste your time. This show was about getting the lower carders more experience, but we saw some of the future here. Pillman and Garrison have been getting their teamwork down, and now they’re an official team and ready to move forward. The Acclaimed continue to be awesome in the ring and on the mic. Lindsay Snow didn’t get the win against Big Swole, but she impressed against the #1 contender – in kayfabe, that’s gotta be worth something.

One good thing about Dark: if a person or team needs a win because of what’s going to happen on Dynamite, they don’t just get it, they look good doing it. Brian Cage got chased off by Sting, so they have him throw someone around to look big and strong. The Blondes are facing a monumental task in FTR, so they get a win over two ring veterans (who, incidentally, are not the usual partners – thus saving Reynolds/Silver for later!). TH2 looks like fodder for the Bucks, so they steamroll their competition.

Also, you got Peter Avalon now doing a Thing on Dark – which sounds like it’s going to further his Adonis Wannabe gimmick – while Marko Stunt showed off some hidden talents and got a win for his team. As always, you don’t have to watch the whole thing, but there’s tons of highlights to go around.

Okay – when Omega’s win happened and he was announced as appearing on Impact, I talked myself into a What If. Suppose Hard to Kill in January is a 100% AEW/Impact crossover show. What would it look like, and who would win each match? Here you go, Tommy and others who asked – my Quick and Dirty results of AEW/Impact Hard to Kill!

  1. A Casino Battle Royal to open. Representing Impact: Eddie Edwards, Rhino, Moose, Willie Mack, Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Eric Young, Johnny Swinger, TJP, and Rohit Raju. Representing AEW: Cody Rhodes, Joey Janela, Sonny Kiss, Jungle Boy, Brian Cage, Ricky Starks, Darby Allin, Eddie Kingston, Jack Evans, and Angelico. The Joker? Nick Aldis. Your winner: Edwards, last eliminating Cody.
  2. Sammy Guevara over Chris Bey with Feast Your Eyes (11 minutes).
  3. Taya, Rosemary, Kimber Lee, Havok, and Nevaeh over Big Swole, Nyla Rose, Penelope Ford, Ivelisse, and Diamante when Taya pins Ford following a double-team with Rosemary (8 minutes).
  4. FTR over The North when Wheeler pins Alexander after the Goodnight Express (15 minutes).
  5. Hikaru Shida over Jordynne Grace with the Tomashii (13 minutes).
  6. Ace Austin and Madman Fulton over MJF and Wardlow when Austin Folds up Wardlow (10 mintues).
  7. In the only match NOT strictly divided on promotional lines, Susie and Abadon beat Deonna Purrazzo and Britt Baker when Abadon pins Baker (5 minutes – total squash).
  8. Ken Shamrock over Chris Jericho in the Lion’s Den (a cinematic match) after the ankle lock (11 minutes).
  9. Lance Archer over Sami Callihan with the Blackout (13 minutes).
  10. The Young Bucks and the Good Brothers go to a 20-minute draw, meaning the last match decides which promotion wins the night.
  11. Kenny Omega pins Rich Swann (23 minutes) after interference from Don Callis, which leads to Callis being fired from Impact (and signed by AEW, which is bound to happen anyway).

Your total wrestling on the main show – assume the battle royal is pre-show – is 129 minutes, so expect this to be an AEW four-hour show with stuff happening backstage to show the two locker rooms not getting along. It’s more than probably most would want, but it’s my booking and I want it to be good.


BELL TO BELL: 68:15 over sixteen matches (average match 4:16)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: The tag main event


  1. Brian Pillman Jr.
  2. Lindsay Snow
  3. Marko Stunt
  4. Anthony Bowens
  5. Danny Limelight

That’s a heck of a Dynamite tomorrow. By the way, was anyone watching Impact? (Note: I’m posting this without seeing what was said.)