AEW DARK: January 12, 2021

The PG Era Recap for AEW Dark, Episode 70 (Vote For Me In The Doomie Awards Edition), January 12, 2021.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz, with Anthony Ogogo. Your descriptor: “Moderately-sized”!

TONIGHT! We cut it to 12 matches, with three feature bouts according to the graphics! Top Flight bring their high-flying offense against the bizarre Chaos Project! Red Velvet is back and taking on Leva Bates! And there is a First Win Alert for tonight’s show – Baron Black and Nick Comoroto face Bear Country!

PLUS: Varsity Blondes, Jurassic Express, Silver and Reynolds, Anna Jay, Tay Conti, Serena Deeb, Ricky Starks, Powerhouse Hobbs, and a special 10-man tag featuring the rest of the Dark Order!

Opening match: Mike Verna (0-3) vs. Ricky Starks (w/Hook) (16-2 in 2020) (#5 men). Verna is dressed like a cross between Gladiator Maximus and Captain America. Taz is clearly on Team Edna Mode in mocking Verna’s star-spangled cape. Tomorrow night, it’s Allin vs Cage on New Year’s Smash Night 2. Taz dodges whether Starks would challenge Cage for the title.

Lockup, and Starks lands a right and poses, only to get nailed with one from Verna. Enzuigiri from Verna, but Starks dodges the running Superman punch and gets a running dropkick. Boot choke along the bottom buckle (“Too easy!”) and he chops away. He drops an elbow on the neck, then shrugs off Verna’s comeback to get more chops in the corner. Verna gets a desperation chop, but Starks gets mad and slugs Verna to the floor.

Starks sends Verna’s back into the apron, and back in, Verna tries to fight back. Starks with a suplex to stop it. Hammer throw by Starks, but he stalls too much and his blind charge misses. Verna with clotheslines to come back, then a powerslam for two. F-5 try, but Starks gets out and runs over Verna with a shoulder block. Spear ends it at 3:26. I like Verna, but I love Starks. *1/4

Ryzin and Fuego Del Sol (first time teaming) vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus) (w/Marko Stunt) (16-5 in 2020) (#3 team). Fuego and Ryzin come out from opposite tunnels and have absolutely no co-ordination on their entrance. Excalibur imagines at some point, Jungle will accidentally hit Saurus with a poison rana during their entrance.

Jungle and Fuego start. Jungle chains into a headlock, and some rope running leads to some gymnastics and exchanging quick one-counts. Both men dropkick and kip up on each other at the same time as we reset to applause… which dies as soon as Ryzin tags himself in. He says he’s got this under control, then runs into an armdrag from Jungle. Saurus tags himself in and kicks down Ryzin before chopping him to the mat. Jungle back in with the assisted senton for two as Excalibur and Taz discuss local politics in Hellgate, Florida (don’t ask).

Jungle misses a clothesline, and Ryzin yanks him by the hair into a neckbreaker. He refuses to bring in Fuego and keeps on the offense with a slam and legdrop for one, brother, before we HIT THE CHINLOCK. Jungle fights out but leaps into a Strongest Slam from Ryzin, who again refuses to bring Fuego in. Middle-rope moonsault misses, and NOW Fuego gets the tag to cut off Jungle. Jungle with the comeback lariat, though, and Saurus gets the hot tag and runs everyone over. Big boot to Ryzin, and he tosses Fuego into the corner and uppercuts him. Alley-oop flapjack to Fuego and he runs both men over.

Jungle back in as they work on Fuego, but Ryzin disposes of Jungle and the jobbers get a double dropkick. Saurus is sent out and Ryzing with a hesitation dropklick to keep him out, but Fuego with a poison rana on Jungle out of nowhere for two. Ryzin holds Jungle up for Fuego to dive onto, but Saurus pops onto the apron and chokeslams Fuego onto Ryzin. Fuego’s tossed back in, and the backflip powerbomb connects. Hook kick to Ryzin by Saurus, and Jungle gets the Snare Trap on Fuego for the tap at 5:14. I kinda like the story the enhancement team had going – I mean, if the established stars don’t care because they’re winning decisively, why not? *1/2

Wrestling With The Week ad.

Marti Daniels (debut) vs. Tay Conti (4-1 in 2020) (w/Anna Jay). Daniels has some good size to her. Conti comes out with Anna Jay, except they too use different tunnels. Conti’s also wearing a Brodie Lee shirt and does a formal bow during her entrance.

Quick cradle by Conti gets two. Arm throws into a judo hiptoss follow, then she maintains the arm control to set up a roundhouse kick. She walks into an overhead right by Daniels, who then yanks her down by the hair. Conti senses a kick coming and moves, and Daniels is stuck in the middle rope. Conti gives Daniels a rope-hand kneebar, holding for four only much to Daniels’ chagrin. Daniels slaps Conti over that, and Conti says “Oh, that’s how it is” and unloads with forearms and a Northern lariat. More clotheslines and an overhead suplex follow. She avoids a charging Daniels in the corner and catches her with a flying knee. Conti with Gory 2 Sleep (renamed the TayKO) to end it at 2:26. The finishing move missed, but I don’t want knee-to-skull contact anyway. Total exhibition for Conti. 1/2* Conti tells the camera “See you soon, Serena!”

Shawn Dean, Zack Clayton, Adam Priest, Danny Limelight, and Vary Morales vs. Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Colt Cabana, Alan Angels, and Preston Vance. Whew – got them all. Neither team has performed in this iteration before. Reynolds and Silver join them in the entrance, as does Anna Jay. Taz wants to know when Colt gets his number. Buy the commemorative T-shirt, please.

Grayson runs over Priest to start, but Priest goes for a rollup for one. Armdrag by Priest and a big chop, then an Atlantis legsweep. Grayson with a running cross chop, and Clayton and Angels take over. Clayton shoves Angels, who smiles and fires back with forearms and calf kicks. Dropkick to the knee, but he runs into a Steinerline. Clayton and Angels fight over a suplex, but Angels escapes and gets a dropkick. Another one to Morales, and Vance is in. Vance sends Angels into Morales, who sends Morales into Vance for a dropkick/fallaway slam combo. Hammer throw by Vance, and a corner clothesline. Morales goes up-and-over, then gets a back kick and missile dropkick. He mocks the Dark Order salute, but he can’t take down Vance.

Pump kick by Vance misses, but he catches Morales in the slingshot German suplex. Uno enters and chops Morales, adding a butterfly suplex. Colt in with a gut punch and swinging neckbreaker, which he over-celebrates. Dark Order tell him to focus, and Colt gets a hammer throw, but blind charge leads to a sunset flip and enzuigiri. Hot tag Limelight, who takes down Colt and gets a neckbreaker on Vance. Forearms to Grayson, but Uno tags himself in and catches Limelight mid-leapfrog with a German suplex. Cabana tags in, and Uno sends him in with a Flying Apple. Colt throws Limelight into a back elbow by Angels for two.

Big lefts by Angels, but Limelight fires out only to walk into a swinging neckbreaker for two. Dean and Colt get in an argument while Angels backs Limelight into the corner. Vance in with a spinebuster, and Angels gets a double-jump moonsault (but Vance is legal so no count). Uno in, but Limelight fights out of the corner only to run into a hangman’s neckbreaker by Uno. Grayson returns, and he and Angels double-team before Angels goes to a front facelock. Limelight with a backfirst and Exploder suplex, and it’s hot tag 2 to Dean.

Clotheslines to everyone, and he dropkicks both Grayson and Uno before cannonballing Grayson and catching Angels in a hurricane DDT. Grayons knees out of a vertical suplex and gets the Pele, but Priest tags in and everybody rushes the ring. Dark Order uses big boots to clean house, and Angels/Vance do the combo ripcord clothesline into a Bionic Elbow from Colt to the Fatality to pin Priest at 8:19. The way the entire group aids each other out is great, and Angels and Vance are improving daily under Uno/Grayson/Colt. **

Louie Valle (0-5) vs. Powerhouse Hobbs (w/Hook) (7-6 in 2020). Okay, they fixed the typo in last week’s video graphic. Excalibur: “Who’d you pay off to get this match made?” Taz: “I know people.” C’mon, no Joey Numbers reference? Hobbs’ final record is misleading – he basically lost them all before he won them all.

Hobbs charges on the bell and gets an avalanche on Valle (who was adjusting his kneepads). Clothesline follows as Hobbs stands over Valle. Bradley Beal follows halfway across the ring, and Valle gets a cut over his eye. Hobbs with a bearhug, and he ragdolls Valle down. Hobbs tosses Valle to the outside… and Hook stalks Valle as Hobbs talks to the ref. Hook with an ipponzei and he tosses Valle back in. Strongest Slam ends it at 1:46. NR – too short Hobbs adds a second Strongest Slam after the bell.

Leva Bates (4-1 in 2020) vs. Red Velvet (5-10 in 2020). Leva has Justin Roberts’ book with her. Justin Roberts has a book? Excalibur notes it’s Red (Velvet) vs Blue (Leva’s hair), and if I know this place, everyone’s focusing on the Caboose. Ogogo wonders where this particular Yo Mama’s Kitchen is.

Code of Honor to start as these two get along. Lockup, and Velvet with a fireman’s carry takedown into an armlock. Leva reverses, so Velvet kips up to get a hammerlock and roll into a cradle for one. Leva with a one-count of her own, but Velvet bridges out (sort of) and gets a pinning predicament for two. Bates with a neckbreaker for one, then a Northern Lights suplex for one. They go International~!, which ends with Velvet getting a flying leg lariat for two. Velvet with a splash in the corner and the stir it up boot choke. Leva avoids a secone splash and trips Velvet into a seated position, getting double knees off of a run and vault for two. SUPERKICK is caught by Velvet, but Leva drops Velvet to the splits and hits the SUPERKICK on the second try for two. Hook kick by Velvet, then a sort-of Rocker Dropper for two. Leva catches Velvet, but the Samoan Drop is escaped and Velvet gets the Stroke and Just Desserts to win at 3:40. Nothing wrong with this match, but you could tell the switch hasn’t flipped yet for Velevet. 1/2*

KC Navarro and El (Suicida) Australiano (first time teaming) vs. Alex Reynolds and John Silver (3-6 in 2020). Australiano’s outfit… I have no idea what to say. Ogogo leaves and Scorpio Sky jumps in on commentary. If you know Australiano, you’re wondering whether he’ll join TH2 down the line as he does in AAA. Entire Dark Order out again to show support. Did I mention buy the T-shirt to help the Huber family?

Reynolds and Australiano start. Lockup, and Reynolds escapes an armlock to get a headlock and wrist control. Australiano breaks it and knocks down Reynolds before getting a corkscrew senton. Headscissors try, but Reynolds cartwheels out and catches Australiano in a pinning predicament for one before dropkicking him out of the ring. Silver and Navarro take over with a posedown, so Silver uses Navarro as a free weight to slam him down. Navarro tries to get a sucker kick on Silver, but Silver catches it and we go back and forth.

Navarro celebrates backflipping off of Silver’s back, then turns around into a roundhouse kick. Bradley Beal across the ring on Navarro and a double bicep, then Reynolds comes in. Military press slam into a cutter for two, Australiano saves. Uppercut by Reynolds, and Silver back in to slug him down. BACK body drop (.9 Warlord) follows. Reynolds back in, and it’s a double hiptoss faked out of, and Navarro escapes to bring in Australiano. Enzuigiri to Reynolds, and he flips over Reynolds and avoids a double-team to get a Skytwister on both guys.

Navarro assists with a ropewalk moonsault by Australiano to Reynolds, and Navarro adds a tope to Silver. Back in, Australiano with a top rope monsault that misses and Reynolds gives him the Big Rig. Missile dropkick by Navarro to Reynolds and he fires off on Silver, but Silver trips him into the middle rope and it’s a double-knees/Drive By combo. UFO Slam to Navarro, and Reynolds with the small package driver to pin Australiano at 5:11. Reynolds looked real good here. *1/2 I mean, I get that Silver has the character to be the star, but he and Reynolds are a perfect team.

And we follow Scorpio’s appearance with another Wrestling With the Week ad.

Lee Johnson and Aaron Solow (0-1) vs. Varsity Blondes (Brian Pillman Jr and Griff Garrison) (4-7 in 2020). And to continue the story from a few weeks ago, Peter Avalon heads to commentary with his robe and martini. Plus another 8×10, presumably for Garrison. You know, if Johnson is part of the Nightmare Family, you’d think one of them would team with him one of these days. But then Avalon sees Johnson and is IN AWE. In fact, Garrison is yesterday’s news to Avalon.

Pillman and Johnson start. Lockup, and Pillman goes to the hardlock and holds on. Takedown, but Johnson with the headscissors and a takedown of his own. Now Pillman with headscissors, but Johnson bridges for one, so Pillman bridges up into a backslide attempt. Johnson blocks and they go International~!, ending with Johnson sweeping Pillman for one and having it return. Pillman dodges a dropkick, but Johnson kips up and even Pillman is impressed.

Solow and Garrison tag in, and everyone tries to get everyone. SUPERKICK by Solow to Pillman, big boot to Garrison to Johnson, and Solow with a headscissors and dropkick to Garrison. Garrison rolls away of a charge and gets a Stinger Splash and Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Garrison works the arm, and Pillman in with a swinging neckbreaker into a legdrop by Garrison that gets Pillman one, brother. Pillman works over Solow and throws him down for two. Pillman to a seated abdominal stretch and works the short ribs. Solow tries a hiptoss, but Pillman fights out and chops down Solow to stop a tag. Clothesline by Pillman in the corner and Garrison in, but his Stinger Splash misses and Pillman gets dumped.

Hot tag Johnson, who sends Garrison to the outside and dives onto both men with a tope. Back in, springboard dropkick and kip up, then a corner clothesline to Garrison. Solow in, and a back suplex/neckbreaker combo gets two. Garrison tries the Discus Punch, but Solow ducks and gets the 540. Garrison falls to Pillman, who tags himself in and gets Air Pillman to Solow. Johnson gives Garrison an enzuigiri, but Pillman with a SUPERKICK to Johnson. Solow tries to cradle Pillman, but Garrison gets the Discus Punch. Missile dropkick/powerbomb combo by the Blondes ends Solow at 5:42. Fun bit: right after doing the powerbomb, Garrison shuffles aside and is seen telling Pillman to cover. Ring awareness, folks. Johnson and Solow were allowed to look real good in this one, and the Blondes were able to keep up with the faster duo. **1/4 Avalon heads to the ring and talks up Johnson, handing him the 8×10. Johnson keeps it but doesn’t know what to make of it.

Alex Gracia (1-6) vs. Anna Jay (w/Tay Conti) (6-4). Excalibur cracks up Taz with an inside joke about a ham and Swiss sandwich. Jay comes out with Conti (from different tunnels), and the Dark Order appears later to salute. Conti does not salute with them, in case you’re wondering about that.

Lockup, and Gracia takes Jay down with an armdrag. Jay returns the favor, then keeps the arm, only for Gracia to get a back leg sweep for one. Jay does the same for one, then Gracia gets an armdrag of her own only to miss the dropkick. Jay with forearm strikes to Gracia, and she dodges a running Gracia to get a roundhouse kick. Clotheslines follow, then she gets Gracia seated and does the reverse Hennig neck snap. Booker T hook kick follows, then a running hip check into a somersault low kick. Gracia kicks Jay away and tries a clothesline, but runs into the Queenslayer sleeper for the tap at 1:55. NR – too short

Tesha Price vs. NWA Women’s World Champion Serena Deeb (4-2). Price doesn’t get an entrance for some reason. Tomorrow, the title’s on the line as Deeb faces Tay Conti in a match Scott will be guaranteed to underrate. Wait, Price is getting advice from some guy in her corner – I guess that’s why they cut the entrance.

Price tries to focus on the match, telling the guy to calm down. Big lockup, and Deeb gets a waistlock into a takedown and front facelock. She cartwheels to keep it on Price, then covers for one. Headlock takedown and she keeps the lock on, even as Price stacks her for a pair of one-counts. Deeb keeps the hair and uppercuts Price repeatedly out of the headlock, then trips Price into PinupStrong, but Price escapes. Tequila Sunrice, but Price makes the ropes before it can be fully locked in. Price with a big forearm and back elbow strike, then she goes ground and pound for two.

Price yells at the guy at ringside, and Deeb takes advantage, turning the whip into a leaping clothesline. Spinning neckbreakers in locomotion by Deeb, into a snap suplex. Deeb sets Price up top, hooking her from behind into a Gory Special wrapped around the turnbuckle that causes Price to fall into the Tree of Woe. Deeb pulls her out and hits the Implant Buster to win at 5:44. Just an exhibition for Deeb, and whatever they were trying with the guy at ringside for Price, it failed so badly they never gave him an entrance or introduction. 3/4*

Young Bucks book ad.

FIRST WIN ALERT: Baron Black and Nick Comoroto (first time teaming) vs. Bear Country (Bear Bronson and Bear Boulder) (0-2). Note that Black and Comoroto have never won individually either, so someone’s getting that first win. Excalibur says calling this match big is underselling it – it’s extra-large. Between the masks and Comoroto’s hair and straitjacket, this might be the single wildest collection of crazy looks in the entrance ever.

Black and Bronson start. Bronson gets Black back in the corner and adds a shot to the gut on the break. Black goes up and over in the corner and gets an armdrag, then goes for a waistlock. Bronson elbows out. Black catches Bronson with a knee to the gut off a whip and hooks the abdominal stretch. Bronson breaks, but Black ducks a clothesline and gets a Codebreaker to the arm for one. Comoroto and Boulder tag in, and they’re HUGE!

Lockup goes nowhere. A second one and Comoroto seems to be winning but no one can go down. Third try, and Boulder pushes Comoroto to the ropes as a shoving match breaks out. Slugfest follows, and Boulder takes Comoroto down with a knee. Comoroto CATCHES BOULDER’S CROSSBODY and tries a Strongest Slam, but Boulder elbows out and sends Comoroto to the corner. Charge eats elbow, and Black comes in with chops to Boulder that just wake him up. Big boot by Boulder to Black, and he clotheslines Black over and over in the ropes. Black runs into the knee, and Boulder adds a kneelift as Comoroto is begging to come back in. Bronson in, and he gives Black a kidney puch before ripping at the face.

Bronson slugs Black down in the corner and gets a boot choke. He brings Black back into the ring and stops the hot tag, but Black somersaults under a clothesline and in comes Comoroto. Bronson goes flying with clotheslines and uppercuts, and Comoroto runs the team together before sending Boulder out of the ring with a clothesline. Powerslam by Comoroto to Bronson, then an oshigoroshi for two. Black is ready to return, and it’s a double-whip, with Black sending Comoroto in only for Boulder to pull Bronson away. Bronson throws Black into Comoroto and Boulder tags in to splash both men. BACKPACK CANNONBALL OF DEATH follows, and Comoroto is tossed out. Electric Chair Splash (“AEW IS BEAR COUNTRY!”) ends it at 6:01. FIRST WIN ALERT! That was a FUN hoss fight, and while Black isn’t awful, it would’ve been better with a fourth who was just as physical. **

MAIN EVENT: Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico) (7-4) vs. Top Flight (Darius and Daunte Martin) (1-4). But first, we get footage of Snoop Dogg pinning Serpentico. Ogogo’s back on commentary. Taz notes an odd aroma after Snoop’s appearance as they make veiled marijuana references. Top Flight appeared late in 2020, but still had time to be in a wild match with Chris Jericho and MJF on Dynamite.

Luther throws Serpentico into Top Flight and we start hot, with Luther whipping Serpentico into first Daunte, then Darius. Luther slams Darius, then slams Serpentico onto Darius, but Darius gets the knees up and Top Flight recover to give Chaos Project stereo dropkicks. Bell rings (about time), but Serpentico intercepts Daunte with a SUPERKICK. Darius throws Luther into the barricade, but Serpentico hits a knee to Darius. Luther throws him back in, and Serpentico and Darius start officially. Darius is sent head-first into the Chaos Project corner, and Luther kicks away. Side boot by Luther, then a reverse mat slam. Serpentico in, and Luther helps Serpentico give Darius a legdrop (Serpentico was not ready for that) for one.

Serpentico keeps the arm and slugs away, sending Darius into the corner, and Luther returns to kick the ribs. Suplex by Luther gets two, as Darius bridges out instead of kicking out. Luther adds a legdrop and tags Serpentico. Luther slams Darius and picks up Serpentico (“NO, NO!”), back suplexing him onto Darius for two. Serpentico goes for a camel clutch, but his back isn’t into it. Darius elbows out, but Serpentico controls and more double-teaming ensues. Luther clubs away and chokes Darius in the middle rope, with the referee forcing a break.

Serpentico returns and takes out Daunte, but Darius tries to fight back only to have the numbers game be too much. Hammer throw and Luther gives Serpentico a fallaway slam onto Darius, who rolls out of the ring. Luther picks Darius up and wants a dive, and Serpentico eventually agrees… only for Darius to escape and Serpentico to hit Luther. Darius races to the corner and tries to stop Daunte, but Daunte slugs him and Darius gets the hot tag.

Daunte flips in and gets running forearms, then a big shot in the corner. Up-and-over headscissors out of the corner and he goes to the apron, hanging up Serpentico before getting a springboard uppercut for two, Luther saves. Luther sends Daunte into the corner and whips in Serpentico, but Daunte escapes and gives Luther a jawjacker. Daunte throws Serpentico into Luther, then does a flip neckbreaker on Luther to cause a DDT to Serpentico! It gets two.

Darius returns and the brothers double-team Luther, but Darius runs into a SUPERKICK and Daunte is disposed of. Luther whips Serpentico into a spear on Darius for two. Luther tosses Daunte again and gets a cannonball senton off the apron(!). Daunte sends Luther into the crowd, and in the ring, Darius gives Serpentico an enzuigiri. Daunte in, and Darius sends Daunte into a corner dropkick on the tucked-in Serpentico for the pin at 6:53. Daunte’s only 19!? Are you kidding? Holy cow, they’re so good for that age. **1/2

TOMORROW, SMASH II!

  • Darby Allin defends the TNT Title against Brian Cage!
  • The NWA Women’s Title is on the line as Serena Deeb faces Tay Conti!
  • The Elite, led by Kenny Omega, will have a six-man match!
  • Pac faces Eddie Kingston, and you know everyone will be at ringside!
  • The Waiting Room with Cody Rhodes!
  • Jurassic Express face FTR in a top contenders’ match!
  • AND MORE!

Less is more sometimes. Only twelve matches this time around, two of which were so short rating them would be a disservice, but everyone had energy and didn’t overstay their welcome. I like these matches, and even though they won’t make any Best Of compilation, it helps that no one is exposed by being in for too long. The only person who looked off tonight was Red Velvet, and that’s just experience.

So I mentioned the switch hasn’t flipped yet. Let me expand on that: after a few months of training, you probably know enough wrestling to have matches in training, and after about six months, you will probably be good enough to perform in front of a small crowd. But when you do, odds are there will be gaps in your performance where an eagle-eyed fan can watch the synapses from the brain fire to the body to say “Here’s the next move”. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but at some point, the little things become second nature.

Compare it to soccer/football here. When you play at low levels or in academy ball, you can see the thought process with passing and shooting. The player will take a couple dribbles, slow down slightly, look where they’re going, wind up to pass, etc. An experienced player can read the body language and intercept it. Now compare to the best of the best: they can do all those things out of order because they’re second nature, which leads to no-look passes and outside boot shots. It’s not just the footy: in basketball, the most experienced can start the layup motion before knowing how they’ll end it, and on the gridiron, inexperienced quarterbacks will stare down their receiver because they’re thinking about throwing.

This kind of thought process manifests in wrestling. Back in 2016 or so, Asuka and Eva Marie met on an NXT TV show. The match was fine – Eva’s best overall, match no surprise there given the opposition – but they were going at two completely different speeds. Eva Marie would pause between moves and run the ropes slowly to build up the conviction for the next move. Asuka would transition from strike to move to attack almost instantly, and she was running much faster because she knew what was coming next (it’s not because she’s faster than Eva – you’re trained not to go full speed when running the ropes in wrestling).

And let’s be fair: there’s a different levels of switch. KiLynn King, for example, works at a certain speed and is very proficient at that speed. It’s perfectly acceptable for Dark, and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing – she’s able to look good and comfortable there. But put her against Hikaru Shida, and Shida’s reflexes and thought process is noticeably faster. As you become more comfortable in the ring, you move faster, more naturally, and you just get better.

It’s part of why younger wrestlers are put in spotfests and scrambles: more people in the ring means you notice their thought process less, and you get used to just doing moves one after another. As you get more experience – and experience can be gained through osmosis with veterans – you stop doing moves for moves’ sake usually and think about how to string moves together logically. That’ll slow you down for a while, but when the mental process becomes subconscious, you’re on your way to your peak.

All of which is a way of saying that the more you’re around wrestling and the more you practice doing things, the faster you’ll go. Yeah, when I put it that way it’s obvious, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to see. When a wrestler leaps from “right, which move is next on my checklist” to “obviously I follow with this”, the improvement is instantaneous and glorious. Remember how much Braun Strowman was praised after leaving the Wyatts and doing squashes? He learned how to think three moves ahead, and the switch got flipped.

(Incidentally, this is why family wrestlers have an advantage in the ring: not only do they train at a young age with their family and thus have experience belying their age, but they figure out early how to put a match together through watching their parents and playing around in the ring they likely have. Look at Brian Pillman Jr, for example: he’s got a great understanding of how to tell a story, and Garrison is getting better through being around him. Heck, Cody and Dustin Rhodes have forgotten more about wrestling than I know – how do you NOT learn from seeing Dusty every week?)

So, for the two of you still reading this, thanks. The bottom line is that Dark is fun to watch people get better by the week that I’ve never seen before (Alan Angels, Preston Vance, Garrison, King, you name it) while also seeing people who might make a big mark on Dynamite. And hey – even if you don’t have all night, find a match and enjoy it. It’s wrestling comfort food for someone who’s trained like me, and I hope you all like it too.

STATS:

BELL TO BELL – 56:17 over 12 matches (average length 4:41)

BEST MATCH – Top Flight vs. Chaos Project, and no, I wasn’t expecting that either.

FIVE STARS:

  1. Alex Reynolds
  2. Lee Johnson
  3. Nick Comoroto
  4. Serpentico
  5. FIRST WIN HONORS: Bear Country

Enjoy Dynamite and/or NXT tomorrow, and I’ll stop by if DC isn’t on fire tomorrow.