AEW DARK: January 5, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark Episode 69 (A Nice Hill to Fight On), January 5, 2021.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts remain Excalibur and Taz.

Tonight, SIX feature bouts for you! Nyla Rose faces off against Alex Gracia! Alan Angels goes one on one with Serpentico! KiLynn King teams with Tesha Price to battle Ivelisse and Diamante! Sammy Guevara goes at it with Michael Nakazawa! Someone’s “0” has to go as Fuego Del Sol battles Danny Limelight! And the tag division explodes in a four-way singles match as Darius Martin of Top Flight, Griff Garrison of the Varsity Blondes, Angelico of TH2, and Frankie Kazarian of SCU collide!

Also in action: Gunn Club, Matt Sydal, Peter Avalon, Rey Fenix, The Acclaimed, Jungle Boy, Scorpio Sky, Brandon Cutler, Shanna, and Thunder Rosa!

Opening match: Nick Comoroto (0-2 record in 2020) vs. Jungle Boy (31-13). Rather than give their new records – which are all 0-0 – the final 2020 records are given. Jungle Boy has music to differentiate himself from the rest of Jurassic Express. Marko Stunt (with mask) is dancing along to it as Excalibur explains it is Tony Khan’s Christmas present to Jungle.

Jungle with a go-behind, but Comoroto controls with a top wristlock to shove him into the ropes. Comoroto with a waistlock takedown, but Jungle floats over to a front facelock. Comoroto sets him on the top rope and teases him, so Jungle leaps off, sticks, moves, flips over, slides out, and gets a dropkick to stagger Comoroto. Standing rana sends Comoroto to the outside, and Jungle follows with a tope suicida. Comoroto tries to control back in, but again Jungle slips out the back and gets a waistlock. Comoroto elbows him and tosses him neck-first into the middle rope for one. Forearm grind gets two. Hammer throw by Comoroto, and he takes a slap from Jungle to give him a suplex for two.

Elbow to the head, but Jungle fires back only to escape a back body drop. Comoroto catches him with a backbreaker, though, and to the corner for some back elbows. Blind charge eats elbow, then boots, and Jungle gets a lariat to power himself up. Yes Kicks to Comoroto (who tries and fails to catch them in a good bit), but Jungle runs into a powerslam for two. Knee in the corner airballs, and Jungle dropkicks that leg before getting a SUPERKICK. Moonsault kneedrop leads to the Snare Trap (STF) for the tapout at 5:07. Perfectly good big/little match. **

Feature Bout #1: Alex Gracia (1-5) vs. Nyla Rose (14-3). Yeah, I don’t like Gracia’s chances, although the fact she has a win on Dark means you should keep her in mind for the future. Excalibur says Rose may be the next challenger after Shida/Abadon, which makes me wonder how many shots she’s going to get.

Gracia goes right at Rose but gets tossed aside repeatedly. A dropkick to the leg and follow-up dropkick, and now Gracia goes ground and pound. She runs for more attacks, but Rose catches her with a Samoan Drop and stomps away. Choke throw into the corner and an avalanche leads to a lariat. Beast Bomb ends this one at 1:10. So much for being competitive. NR – too short

And now Vickie’s going to talk. Or cackle. Vickie is so confused – why didn’t Gracia learn from losing the first time? Now she’s going to be destroyed again, because the pain keeps on giving. So what happens when you spit out some Bubblicious? Well, Nyla gets a table. Vickie taunts Gracia while stepping on her hair, and Nyla sets the table up and gets Gracia. Powerbomb through the table follows as Vickie laughs. Was this necesssary?

Ariel Levy (0-1) vs. Scorpio Sky (16-9). Boy, talk about someone who was up and down in 2020. He seemed on the cusp of a TNT title appearance, then got shoved aside to be dragged down by Shawn Spears. Who, now, has stopped being managed by Tully Blanchard. So who knows what’s next. Taz: “Will the Levy break?”

Lockup, and Sky goes behind into a waistlock takedown, holding a front chancery and rolling Levy over for two. They exchange waistlocks, but Levy with a shot to the face. Sky uppercuts Levy down twice, then a gut punch into a Russian legsweep (Taz covers for a readjustment for saying Levy was fighting it). Levy with an eye poke and he fires away, then gets the arm drag crucifix for one. Meteora gets two. Sky tries to fight up from his knees, staggering Levy enough to stand but not win. Levy runs into a nasty right hand (he forgot to duck a clothesline), then a rising knee and Flatliner. Levy flips out of a back suplex and gets a swinging neckbreaker for two. Levy slaps Sky around and stops a back body drop, but Sky slips away from a left cross and gets the Kobe dropkick. TKO finishes at 3:26. Levy was sloppy in this one but Sky covered for him. 3/4*

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And now, Marko Stunt comes out to address the problem he has with Brodie Lee Jr. But before he can even say one word, the Dark Order music plays and Brodie Jr has a mic. Brodie says Marko’s wins are only because of someone bigger than him bailing him out. When Brodie grows up, he’ll be bigger than Marko. Stunt sets down the mic and shoves Brodie, who shoves back, and CODY AND TONY KHAN JOIN SECURITY IN A PULL-APART as Excalibur says this could be a horrible situation. And then Brodie Jr escapes and attacks Stunt before they’re separated again. Then Brodie fights out of Bryce Remsburg’s grip and drops QT Marshall! He races after Marko! And you can tell everyone’s having way too much fun with this one.

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Aaron Solow (0-7) vs. Rey Fenix (19-11). Tomorrow night, Fenix faces Kenny Omega for the big gold – assuming he’s not injured again. I need to time how long Justin Roberts rolls that “r” in Rey. Has Fenix ever successfully made it from corner to corner?

Lockup, and Fenix gets the arm control to ground Solow. Solow cradles him for one, so Fenix switches to a front facelock. Solow turns that into a pinning predicament too, so Fenix resets. They exchange waistlocks, duck clotheslines from each other, and fake out at the same time. Code of Honor offered by Fenix – PSYCH! So Solow shoves him and they go back and forth, ending with Solow turning a backslide into an armdrag. Another armdrag try, but Fenix lands on his feet and cradles Solow for one. Fenix with a huge chop to Solow and he grabs the arm to do a triple jump lucha armdrag. Spinning heel kick follows, and Fenix tries a TKO, but Solow pulls Fenix down by the mask and stomps him for… not even one. Solow stomps on Fenix to stay in control, then he chokes him on the middle rope.

From this angle Solow looks a bit like Juvi Guerrera. No? Just me?

Fenix tries to fight up with chops, but Solow floors him with a kick for one. Solow with a suplex for two. Solow looks to suplex Fenix to the floor, but Fenix knees out and dazes Solow. Rope-bounce rotation kick sends Solow all the way out of the ring, and Fenix does a tiger feint and catches Solow coming in. He follows in with a headscissors, but Solow catches him with a forearm and Exploder suplex for two. Solow tries a double-arm DDT, but Fenix recovers with a hook kick. Solow rebounds with a 540 and cradle for two. Blind charge eats SUPERKICK, and Fenix yanks Solow into the turnbuckle face-first before giving him the Area Code and rolling cutter twist for two. Fenix Driver wins it at 5:54. Oh, yes, this was fun. **1/4

Louie Valle (0-1 singles) vs. Brandon Cutler (7-3-2 singles). Wait, is it “Valle” or “Vallie”? The graphic says one thing and the wall says another. Excalibur says this is taped after Dynamite and from the Brodie Lee Celebration of Life night, which segues into this being an emotional night for Valle, who competed against Brodie a lot (in Chikara, before you ask). Taz notes that Cutler must have a horseshoe in his pocket because he’s gone from a loser to a winner basically overnight.

Taz: “You said Cutler has a big ego now, didn’t you?”

Excalibur: “I said eagle! He bought an eagle statue with his winner’s purse!”

Valle goes for an O’Connor Roll, but Cutler springs in with a forearm. Slam and legdrop gets one, brother, and Valle fires off with rights. He jumps into Cutler’s arms, but Valle fights out of the TPK and suckers Cutler into a drop toe hold into the middle rope. Slingshot dropkick to the apron, and back in, shotgun dropkick. He makes the mistake of cutting a promo to the camera, and Cutler gives him a big boot. Cutler than responds to Valle’s promo with one of his own, and a blind charge misses. Valle with a shot in the corner, then a low dropkick. He goes up, but Cutler dropkicks him off to the floor and follows with a back suplex onto the apron. Back in, Valle pokes the eye to escape a suplex, but can’t get an Irish whip on Cutler (who is about 9 inches taller). Cutler with a kick to the back of the head, then a kneelift, and he flies back in with an enzuigiri. Total Party Kill ends it at 3:14. Nothing as a match, but commentary loved both guys talking to the camera. 1/2* Cutler: “I’m gonna be the best father I can be, Brodie. If there’s anything you left us, it’s how to be a good father. And I hope to live up to that.”

Pretty Peter Avalon’s Pageant Provocation!!! Avalon (4-4-2) has a mic and is ready to bring out his next challenger. I’ll give him this: that is a very punchable face. As a reminder, he only allows good looking people to challenge – but hey, if someone called Angel Fashion (0-4) doesn’t qualify, who would?

Avalon is impressed with his look and makeup as they circle. Avalon with a waistlock into a headlock takedown, with Fashion getting the headscissors to break and force a reset. Avalon uses the knuckle-lock to get a top wristlock, and both men sweep the legs for quick covers for not-one. Avalon just slugs away, but Fashion reverses and gets Avalon to cover the face… which means Fashion chops away. Running knee strike gets two. Spinning heel kick by Fashion, but Avalon ducks a second one and gets a Stun Gun. Running lariat gets two. Backrake by Avalon as commentary mentions Avalon wanting Griff Garrison in the Pageant. Avalon dumps Fashion to the outside and rests on the top rope. Avalon pulls him back in for a suplex for two. Wasteland by Avalon, but the double-jump moonsault misses. Fashion boxes the gut and whips in Avalon, and after a few reversals Fashion charges and gets a high kick. He goes up and lands a shotgun missile dropkick for two. Fashion tries a spear but hits the post instead, and Marti-Knees ends it at 4:04. Match was very sloppy and by-the-numbers. 1/4* Avalon leaves a signed 8×10, as he does.

Feature Bout #2: KiLynn King and Tesha Price (first time teaming) vs. Ivelisse and Diamante (8-2). Unlike most matches on Dark, we have a case where one wrestler on a team has wins (3-14 for King) and the other doesn’t (0-6). And yes, I like all four people in this match, so let’s see what we got. Excalibur: “A lot of smiles on one side and a lot of mean mugs on the other.” I’ll let you figure out which is which.

Huge shoving match before the bell, but eventually King and Ivelisse start. King blocks a kick and gets a gutbuster before tagging in Price. Slam by King, and King hiptosses Price onto Ivelisse for one. Price with a middle-rope lucha armdrag, then a knee smash into a Rocker Dropper armdrag (close enough). Ivelisse sends Price into the ropes, where she’s hung up. Diamante adds a shot, and Ivelisse with a swinging slam for one. Diamante in, and she chops away on Price. Diamante with forearms and a clothesline for two. Ivelisse back in, and the Latinas get running uppercuts in locomotion. Diamante returns and jaws at the ref, but that allows Price to fight back. Belly-to-belly suplex by Diamante gets two. Kneeling Crossface by Diamante, and as Price fights out, a blind charge is caught.

Price backflips out of a backslide, then follows with a corkscrew elbow. The Race to Tag begins, and it’s hot tag King. Strikes to both women and a big boot to Ivelisse, following with a roundhouse. Price adds an enzuigiri into a German from King for two, Diamante saves. Kingdom Falls try, but Ivelisse reverses to the Black Widow. Diamante tags herself in and kicks a wide-opn King, then gets a straitjacket abdominal stretch (Cuban Lynx). Ivelisse cuts off Price and King taps at 4:21. Some people are very good in short matches, and Ivelisse/Diamante seem to fit that description. *3/4 I would’ve bet on Price taking the fall, mind you; this had “New Japan tag match” written all over it.

Mike Verna and Bear Country (Bear Bronson and Bear Boulder) (first time as a trio) vs. Gunn Club (Billy, Austin, Colten) (5-0). While it’s their first time teaming so there’s no record given, both Verna and Bear Country went 0-2 in 2020 separately. Verna has fought Gunn Club before, in a time where he got on the Club’s bad side and was mauled. So why not bring in Bear Country for backup? Gunn Club doing the “fire the six-shooters” entrance for Austin and Colten.

Austin and Verna start, but Verna wants and gets Billy instead. The two compare physiques (Verna: “I’m Superman!” Billy: “Suck it.”) before Boulder comes in. Lockup, and Boulder backs Billy into the turnbuckle before adding elbows. Blind charge eats boot, but Billy gets bowerslammed. Sorry, powerslammed; too much alliteration. Verna in, and now he works over Billy, but disrespects Billy and gets kicked down. Austin escapes a fireman’s carry and we go International~!, with Austin getting a massive clothesline. Running uppercut and Colten’s in, getting the Slam Dunk avalanche. Butterfly suplex attempt by Colten, but Verna escapes and brings in Bronson. Bronson works over Colten, but Colten fires back with rights. Colten tries to go out-and-in, but Verna stops him long enough for Bronson to load up a clothesline.

Bronson mauls Colten as Taz goes off about Paddington and the Berenstain Bears. Boulder in, and he headbutts Colten’s short ribs to set him up for a triple-team in the corner. Boulder with elbows and clotheslines in the corner, then a Hammer Throw and avalanche as Colten’s half-dead. Verna tags in (not sure why), and het gets a suplex for one. Bronson back in, and he punches down Colten as commentary goes on a sidebar about Neil Diamond. (Don’t ask.) Straight right gets one and we HIT THE CHINLOCK.

Colten fights to his feet and elbows out, but he runs into a back elbowsmash as Bronson intimidates Austin. Bronson slugs down Colten in the corner and brings Verna in, but Colten blocks a suplex. Verna clubs him down and nails him with an enzuigiri, but a charge gets sent to the apron. Verna back in by jumping over Colten, and he gets a powerslam for two. Huh, maybe Verna can hold his own with Bear Country. Boulder in to stomp away on Colten, and he knocks Billy off the apron. Second-rope moonsault airballs, and Colten gets the hot tag to Austin.

Everyone goes flying and Bear Country is sent out, then Austin trips Verna and gets a Hennig neck snap for two, Boulder saves. Billy returns and is caught by Boulder, but Colten dropkicks the pile over. Bronson with a uranage to Colten, so Billy Makes Him Famous. Boulder returns and gets low-bridged, and Billy shoves him into the barricade. This leaves Verna and Austin, and Verna with a huge running punch. Austin goes up and over on a hammer throw, and the Quick Draw wins it at 8:29. Probably the best Gunn Club match I’ve seen. **1/2 It’s fun to see Colten and Austin improve by the week, and Billy just does his stuff and gets out. Throw in Bear Country and an inspired Verna, and this was FUN.

Vipress (0-1) vs. Shanna (2-3). Taz is taken in by Vipress’ jacket, which includes a collar that a Disney wicked queen would love to wear. I believe Shanna is wearing the Brodie Lee memorial shirt.

Lockup and they mess around in the corner, with Vipress doing a clean break. Vipress with a waistlock, but Shanna gets a drop toehold and La Majistral for two. Armdrags follow from Shanna, then a dropkick. Tiger driver is hooked up, but Vipress races to the ropes and yanks Shanna down by the hair. Ground and pound gets one. Vipress with kicks to Shanna’s back, and a shin choke on the middle rope before adding a pump kick. It gets two. Kneeling abdominal stretch by Vipress, but Shanna fights her way up and snapmares Vipress over. Shanna with foreams and chops to back Vipress into the corner, and she psyches up to work over Vipress. Running forearm in the corner, then another, and a flying jalapeno in the middle of the ring. Vipress is out on the bottom rope, which is where you REALLY don’t want to be with Shanna because she’ll dropkick you like that. Tiger facebuster gets the win at 3:33. Shanna seems to have gotten the ring rust off; she looked good enough for TV on that one. 3/4*

Baron Black (0-4) vs. Matt Sydal (10-3). Baron Black is someone commentary puts over as having good technique, and given that Sydal has been getting more ground-based lately, they expect a technically proficient match. Sydal points to the third eye as Black just stares back in confusion.

Trash talk to start as they poke away. Lockup, and Sydal gets the headlock into a hammerlock into a snapmare into a cover for one. Black resets, then goes for the arm. Sydal wins the arm contest and controls with a keylock, though. Black fights out, but Sydal cartwheels off a snapmare and gets some armdrags into a crucifix for two. Sydal tells Black to open the third eye, so Black slugs away. Sydal returns with a running headscissors and spinkick. Sydal kicks away on Black, then throws him into (the vicinity of) the corner and gets an enzuigiri. Cobra clutch legsweep and hold, but Black makes the ropes. Black uses some rights to get separation, then adds a clothesline.

Sydal escapes a slam and gets the Slice for two. Standing moonsault twist follows, and he delivers some Yes Kicks. Black catches a try into a dragon screw, following with a bow-and-arrow, but Sydal slips out and falls on top for two. Sydal with a sunset flip for two, into the Koji Clutch. Black stacks him for two. Sydal with more kicks, but he misses a roundhouse right and Black gets an atomic drop into a backstabber for two. Black with an uppercut to control Sydal, then a running forearm, but he goes for another run only to get hit with a leg lariat. Sydal puts Black up top, getting a Frankensteiner off the mat (!), then a roundhouse and Saturn Driver gets the win at 5:19. For the record, Sydal calls that finish the Lightning Spiral. All Sydal – I was expecting a slightly more balanced match, but then again Sydal faces Cody tomorrow. *1/4

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Ashley Vox (0-0) vs. Thunder Rosa (5-2). It’s an NWA reunion on AEW Dark! Vox is one-half of Team Sea Stars and hails from “The Ocean State”. That’s Rhode Island, by the way. Excalibur even namedrops Team Sea Stars, as Vox has worked for NWA, Impact, and AEW basically within two months. Rosa will face Dr. Britt Baker on Night 2 of the New Year’s Smash.

Rosa with a waistlock and they work to the ground as Vox reverses. Rosa reverses back and goes to a crossface into a front facelock. Vox switches to a hammerlock, but Rosa switches to an armlock. Vox reverses to one of her own, but Rosa ends that WRESTLING with some shots to the gut. Armdrags by Rosa, then a dropkick, getting two. Rosa tosses her bobby pin and gives Vox a hammer throw, but Vox avoids the charge and gets a lucha bounce off the top into a rana. Dropkick follow-up gets two.

Rosa catches Vox with a Stun Gun and hangman’s neckbreaker for two. Rosa with a snapmare and she drops knees into Vox’s throat. Running legdrop gets two, brother. Rosa gets the Oklahoma Stampede and a figure-four neckscissors, adding elbow strikes. Vox with a rolling drop toe hold to stun Rosa, but Rosa catches Vox coming in and hooks the Tarantula variation with elbow strikes. Rosa tosses Vox into the corner, but runs into an elbow, then a boot. Slugfest, but Rosa kicks Vox into the ropes from the middle of the ring.

Vox recovers with a headbutt and fish-hook into a SUPERKICK. Nobody home as Vox charges to the apron, but she returns with a spinning Flatliner for two. Rosa slips out the back and trips Vox into an STF (with Vox bent upward into a camel clutch), then smokes her back with a forearm for two. Tombstone try, but Vox cradles for two. Vox with a seated armbar, but Rosa picks her up into a shoulderbreaker for two. Island Driver finally ends it for Rosa at 6:44. Vox acquitted herself well here – I want Team Sea Stars vs Ivelisse/Diamante in the future. **1/4

Lee Johnson and Shawn Dean (first time teaming) vs. The Acclaimed (8-2). Yeah, Johnson and Dean had a combined record of something like 0-35 in 2020, so they’re due for a win, but don’t expect it here. Big Shotty Lee has the Nightmare gear on. Dean is wearing his frat jacket – Phi Beta Sigma, which celebrates 106 years as a frat this week. Taz: “That’s as old as Tony Schiavone.” Caster is particularly nasty in his opening rap, calling Dean “Captain Crunch” and Johnson “the guy who carries Cody’s bags”. Tomorrow, it’s Acclaimed/TH2 vs Bucks/SCU.

Bowens and Johnson start. Bowens gets a quick armhold and they exchange hammerlocks, with Bowens getting a headlock takedown. Johnson holds headscissors, but Bowens kips up to escape. Johnson goes for the wrist control, but Bowens slips under to reverse. Johnson rolls through to get a side headlock and we go International~!, with Johnson getting his O’Connor Roll blocked. Bowens with a single-leg, but Johnson kicks out of it and they exchange armdrags before Johnson hits a dropkick for two. At the 1:30 mark – they’re FLYING through this.

Dean tags in now, and it’s a double hiptoss, then a double Japanese armdrag to Caster. Dean holds arm control on Caster, then gets a dropkick on the run before going for a headlock. Dean with an armwringer into an enzuigiri, then he sends Bowens flying. Plancha to Bowens, then a tope con giro to Caster and Brodie salute. Back in, uranage backbreaker gets two. Dean with a corner clothesline, but Caster throws Dean to the top rope. Dean dives into Caster’s arms, so Caster gives him a Hotshot and clothesline for two. Big stomp in the midsection, and Bowens in for a double legsweep and consecutive elbowdrops for two. Bowens mugged for the camera, much to Taz’s dislike.

Bowens with a big chop to Dean and he stomps a mudhole in Dean before walking it dry. Dean tries to fight up, but Bowens goes to the gut and gets an Olympic Slam for two. (Excalibur: “More of a Goodwill Games slam.”) Caster in as Bowens kneebars Dean and Caster stomps repeatedly. It gets two. Caster with a ground cobra clutch on Dean, but Dean escapes and gets a backslide for one. Caster rolls through with a Majistral into a dropkick to the spine for two. Bowens in, and the Acclaimed send Dean into the ropes, but Dean with an enzuigiri to Bowens into a hurricane DDT to Caster!

Bowens can’t stop the hot tag to Johnson, who runs over Bowens and gets a leaping neckbreaker into a kip up. Running chop in the corner, then he goes up and over Bowens to get a Blue Thunder Bomb for two, Caster saves. Caster dumps Dean, so Johnson gets a running knee to send Caster out. O’Connor Roll by Bowens gets two, reversed by Johnson for two, and Johnson follows with a SUPERKICK. Caster sends Dean into the barricade and returns as Johnson goes up top, giving Johnson a superplex into a suplex/crossbody from Bowens combo for two, Dean saves. Cross chop by Caster as we get a replay. Caster with a mule kick and Bowens has Dean up for the Dropkick Flapjack. Big right staggers Johnson from Bowens, and the Acclaimed get the Magic Killer for the win at 9:03. Oh yes, give me more of this! ***1/4

Feature Bout #3, and someone wins for the First Time: Fuego Del Sol (0-7) vs. Danny Limelight (0-5). You all know I’m all about those first wins on Dark, and Excalibur also talks about how this is a big opportunity for both men to get that first AEW win. Both men have looked impressive in defeat, so it’s not farfetched for either one to win this one.

Lockup, and they exchange armdrags. Fuego puts on the breaks, but still gets sent over. They play some human chess, each dodging the other and getting cradles for one. Jack-knife by Limelight gets two before Fuego bridges up and gets a single-leg, and both men kip up for a reset. Limelight responds to a Code of Honor offer with a slap, so Fuego dropkicks him and chops away in the corner. Fuego catches Limelight in the corner with a front headscissors and Limelight bails, so Fuego gets an inside-out quebrada.

Back in, La Mistica connects, but Limelight rolls through and tries a powerbomb. Fuego rolls through for two, but gets caught in a powerbomb into a backstabber. Limelight’s not 100% from the collision either, so he only gets two. Kicks to the back by Limelight, and he wraps Fuego in the ropes with a standing Romero Special. Guillotine double stomp to the apron follows, getting two. Fuego boxes Limelight to get his momentum back, but runs into a back kick and prawn hold into a single-leg crab. Limelight tries to make it a Liontamer, but Fuego twists the hips to break. Limelight goes to the middle rope, but Fuego leaps up with him to land a rana!

Running elbow strikes for the comeback, then a series of kicks ending with a hook kick. Straitjacket neckbreaker gets two. Limelight catches Fuego in the torture rack and tosses him onto the top rope, then sets him up for a superplex. But he keeps climbing, and it’s a Spanish Fly!! That’ll win it at 5:58! FIRST WIN ALERT! Limelight has the better variety in his moves, and Fuego’s time is coming. *3/4

Young Bucks book ad #2.

Feature Bout #4: Angelico (with Jack Evans) (9-11) vs. Griff Garrison (with Brian Pillman Jr.) (6-16) vs. Darius Martin (with Daunte Martin) (1-5) vs. Frankie Kazarian (with Christopher Daniels) (6-5 singles). Angelico still has the swag, but he’s decided to go with a full beard for tonight. Taz mocks the Blondes for doing the chest bump in their entrance before Excalibur reminds him that’s one of the few things Taz doesn’t think is gimmick infringement. A reminder: SCU/Bucks vs. TH2/Acclaimed tomorrow night. So I don’t like Garrison’s or Martin’s chances.

Evans talks trash at everyone as the bell rings, so everyone glares at him until Kazarian turns and knocks down Angelico. Martin adds a dropkick, so Garrison rolls up Kazarian for one. Martin dives onto Kazarian, but Garrison and Martin block hiptosses until Martin gets an inside-out armdrag and a bicycle kick. Angelico is tossed out, but Kazarian chops away on Martin. Martin and Kazarian do some criss-crossing, but Martin slams on the brakes and we get a reset. Kazarian quickly with a Northern Lights suplex for two. Angelico runs in and is disposed of again, and Kazarian ducks a Garrison boot and tries an inverted DDT. Garrison with a snapmare and snap boot for two.

He picks Kazarian up, but Martin leaps over both guys and everyone catches someone’s kick. They all then kick Angelico again, abnd Martin kicks Evans off the apron. Kazarian hammer throws Angelico and is sent to the apron while Martin forearms Garrison. Martin goes up and over Garrison before throwing him into a guillotine legdrop on Kazarian. Martin leaps off Garrison’s back to dropkick Kazarian, and he and Garrison bail. Martin tries a dive but Evans trips him and Angelico gets two off of it. Now Kazarian and Garrison slug it out on the floor into a hockey fight while Angelico chokes down Martin. Double clothesline on the outside ends both Kazarian and Garrison’s fight, while back in, Angelico with a Hammer Throw and back suplex for two.

Martin fights back against Angelico and tries an armbar, but Angelico reverses into a standing stretch. Garrison charges and is caught in a leglock, and Kazarian legdrop everybody to break. Evans is back on the apron, which annoys everyone, but Kazarian gets a boot on Angelico and lariat on Martin. Angelico is kept in the corner, and Kazarian with a flying jalapeno to Garrison. Slingshot cutter on Martin by Kazarian gets two, Garrison saves. Angelico recovers and goes for Garrison, who boots him down and gets a Stinger Splash. He then adds one to Kazarian and gets a DDT to Angelico as he gets a Flatliner on Martin. It gets two on both guys. Martin stops Garrison and goes up top, but Garrison catches Kazarian and Martin does a sunset flip bomb for two on Kazarian. Garrison with a crucifix in Martin for two.

All the seconds start fighting on the outside, so Martin dives onto all the partners. Discus Punch by Garrison to Angelico, but Kazarian escapes a fireman’s carry and gets the inverted DDT for the pin at 7:55. For those of you wondering why indie shows always have scrambles on them, this is why. *** For real, can we have a four-way tag match on Dynamite? Even if SCU has to win, I want to see it.

Feature Bout #5: Michael Naka Naka Nakazawa!!!! (2-6) vs. Sammy Guevara (12-8). Or, as Excalibur calls him, “Michael Nakanawin but he’ll be in action.” Say it out loud. The ref removes one BABY OIL BOTTLE OF DOOM, so Nakazawa hides another one in the turnbuckles. I need to talk to whomever did Sammy Guevara’s hair and ask them never, ever to do it that way again.

Guevara with a waistlock takedown into a rotating chickenwing and he does push-ups on Nakazawa. He goes to a side headlock and cuts Nakazawa off, but Nakazawa with the PURPLE NURPLES OF DOOM and a headlock. We go International~!, with Guevara backflipping over Nakazawa and hitting a dropkick. Take a bow, Sammy! Nakazawa bails to the outside and Guevara with a corkscrew tope to knock him out. Guevara poses for the camera before sending Nakazawa into the post. Guevara chops Nakazawa on the outside and throws him in. Nakazawa tries a chop to the stomach, so Guevara chokes him against the middle rope and chews him out. Hammer throw and clothesline and he adds a boot choke. But it’s in THAT corner, so Nakazawa finds the BABY OIL OF DOOM and hides it behind his back.

He sprays the mat so that Guevara slips, and Nakazawa with the Slip and Slide senton and something resembling a Blockbuster for two. Olympic Slam try, but Guevara gets out and lands a spin kick. Feast Your Eyes try, but Nakazawa with an O’Connor Roll with bridge for two. Blind charge misses, and Guevara gets an enzuigiri before preening for the crowd. Guevara leaps over Nakazawa, who comes back with a spear for two. Now the Olympic Slam connects (mostly on Guevara’s shoulder) for two. THE THONG IS OUT, but Guevara avoids the Claw and gets a flying knee. Feast Your Eyes ends it at 5:12. Why was Guevara trying to get a good match out of the comedy guy? Total styles clash, and Nakazawa looked real bad on top of it. 3/4*

Guevara says his back hurts from carrying the show, so he cuts a promo while seated. “Don’t boo me cuz you know how good I am and how good you’re not.” Guevara says it’s a new year, and let’s be honest, screw 2020. It’s so good to get out of that year! But now, they say a new year means a new me and people have Resolutions. But for Guevara, there’s no new him – he doesn’t need a calendar change to work hard. All he knows is giving his all and doing the work. He’s not good at kissing ass, but he is good at being in the ring. No one can be Sammy Guevara, and he’s a different animal – he’s this, now, forever, the best. No one is better, and if anyone thinks they are, come and prove it next week. Is this an open challenge? Who cares? Just come get it from him! Here’s a spoiler for 2021: Sammy Guevara will be a champion in AEW. Sammy’s mic skills are getting better, but it’s hard to tell given he’s usually a little tired when he talks.

Feature Bout #6 and our main event: Alan Angels (4-7) vs. Serpentico (with Luther) (7-14). Angels was the only member of the Dark Order not to appear on the Celebration of Life, so here he is now main eventing Dark. Alan, though, had an important job that night, keeping Brodie Jr company for the night and making sure Brodie Jr smashed a kendo stick over MJF’s head. Both men applaud Angels for doing that. The entire Dark Order – yes, including Brodie Jr and his new weight belt – accompany Angels to ringside. Brodie Jr taunts Luther on the way to the back.

Taz: “Mask vs Mask. Excalibur, jump in to make it a three-way!”

Angels grabs a quick front facelock and floats into a hammerlock, but Serpentico goes behind only for Angels to reverse to a headlock. We’re going International~! One more time tonight, with both men tumbling away from the other and Serpentico escaping a back suplex. Angels finally connects with a gut kick and big chop, and Serpentico slides away from a big chop only to be caught in a waistlock. Angels charges into boots, and Serpentico with a rana out of the corner. Angels avoids a blind charge but runs into a back elbow. Angels is back with a rolling elbow, running elbow, and dropkick. Serpentico bails, and Angels dropkicks him to keep him on the outside as Excalibur makes it canon that Brodie Lee invited Angels into the Dark Order because of the Omega match.

On the outside, Angels sends Serpentico into the barricade, but Serpentico backdrops Angels over and out. Serpentico wants to return to the ring, but Luther drags him back out and – after some arguing – Luther backdrops Serpentico into Angels (and into Peter Avalon’s bed). Luther distracts the ref as the two competitors fight on the bed (Taz: “It’s my honeymoon all over again”), and a pillow swing misses for Serpentico to take him off-balance. “Where’s Michael Nakazawa when you need him?”

Back in, Angels with a dropkick on Serpentico for two. Angels lifts Serpentico up by the mask, but Serpentico backs Angels into the ropes. Luther distracts Angels, and Serpentico with a SUPERKICK to take over. Angels gets spun around and tossed out by Luther, who adds a running stomp and Hotshot to the barricade. Back in, Serpentico with a double axhandle and he back rolls onto Angels for two. Angels gets distance with chops, ducking one from Serpentico in the process. Snapmare and soccer kick from Serpentico and he gets the slingshot foot stomp for two. Blind charge hits the elbow, twice, and Serpentico adjusts the skull only for Angels to begin the comeback.

Shiranui by Angels, but Serpentico with a back elbow and O’Connor Roll try. Angels escapes and catches Serpentico with a powerbomb for two. Angels goes up (Taz; “Angels to the heavens!”), but the double-stomp is rolled through and Serpentico gets a thrust kick and low DDT for two. Serpentico goes up top, but Angels races up and delivers a VICIOUS knee strike. He follows back up for a superplex try, but Serpentico headbutts and enzuigiris him before going back up. Poison rana try, but Angels lands on his feet and gets the C-4 on Serpentico and a tope on Luther. Angels pulls Serpentico to the middle, and the Wing Snapper gets the win to complete the Dark Order sweep on the overall night at 9:15. Started a little disjointed, but as soon as Luther was a non-factor it picked up fast. **1/4 Brodie Jr cuts a promo on Luther, saying he has a brain in his head and not a “stupid red ball on your face”. Luther “just looks stupid”. Dark Order will always beat you. Brodie Jr for the new Exalted One. Make it happen.

TOMORROW! NEW YEAR”S SMASH NIGHT ONE!

  • Snoop Dogg in the house!
  • Kenny Omega defends the big gold against Rey Fenix!
  • Jon Moxley is back!
  • Hikaru Shida defends the Women’s Title against Abadon!
  • Young Bucks and SCU team up to face TH2 and The Acclaimed!
  • Jake Hager and Wardlow decide who the enforcer of the Inner Circle is!
  • And, sponsored by the Go Big Show, Cody Rhodes faces Matt Sydal!

So, first thing first – the show was 2½ hours this week. But, given it was taped alongside the Brodie Lee Celebration of Life, I’ll let it slide. Everyone wanted to put on a match to honor Brodie, and each one in their own way did that – even Rose and Gracia, because a big wrestler squashing a small wrestler is something Brodie did very well.

Tonight was just a fun night of wrestling. They brought in the big guns for “other” wrestlers, with a lot of them getting the ability to shine a little even while losing. When I saw the lineup for this, I knew it was going to be a fun night of wrestling. People like Nick Comoroto, Lee Johnson, Shawn Dean, Bear Country, Ashley Vox, and Aaron Solow are proven commodities in the minor leagues, and now they’re getting a chance to up their profile by being a regular on Dark. They’re making the most of their minutes, which is what matters.

Nothing much else to say. As the coda to the Brodie Lee Celebration of Life on Dark… it couldn’t be much better.

STATS

BELL TO BELL: 88:44 over sixteen matches (average time 5:33)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Acclaimed vs Johnson/Dean

FIVE STARS:

  1. Rey Fenix
  2. Lee Johnson
  3. Ashley Vox
  4. Brodie Lee Jr.
  5. Danny Limelight (First Win Honors)

New Year’s (fill in the blank: Smash/Evil) is tomorrow! Enjoy it!