AEW DARK: January 19, 2021

The PG Era Recap for AEW Dark, Episode 71 (No Doomies, No Problem), January 19, 2021.

From the AEW Arena as always.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz, also as always. Ricky Starks joins the opener. Your adjective: “Gargantuan.”

TONIGHT! Chaos Project has a unique style they use to play headgames but can it work on the Lucha Bros, a team whose motto is “Cero Miedo”? And Brandon Cutler hasn’t lost since his first AEW win – can he keep it going with his toughest singles challenge yet in Luchasaurus?

In addition, we have Private Party, Sammy Guevara, Butcher and Blade, Shanna, Ivelisse and Diamante, Sonny Kiss, Big Swole, Scorpio Sky, Top Flight, Gunn Club, The Acclaimed, and Santana and Ortiz in action!

Opening ma… wait, there’s no Dark Order on this show? When was the last time that happened?

Opening match: Luchasaurus (30-10) vs. Brandon Cutler (7-3-2). But first, Saurus wants to address the ele… I mean, woolly mammoth in the room. There are no dragons in AEW (trust the talking dinosaur). So we all know it’s Cutler and not a dragon, just get out here. Cutler is very not amused and glares at Saurus with his mask still on.

Saurus checks on Stunt and Jungle Boy, allowing a cradle by Cutler for two. Cutler escapes to the outside and catches Saurus with a kick, and he returns with a gamengiri. Saurus wants the goozle, but Cutler blocks. He tries a lucha armdrag, but Saurus holds his ground and puts Cutler up top. Big boot sends Cutler to the outside as the match gets to breathe a little. Outside, Saurus chops the bejabbers out of Cutler (with Stunt freaking out at their brutality in a neat background visual). Saurus throws Cutler into the railing by the leg, then no-sells a Cutler chop and boots Cutler over the railing into the “crowd”. (Saurus has been jumping in and out to reset the count).

Saurus tosses Cutler back to ringside, and as Cutler crawls in, he catches Saurus with a high roundhouse kick and Hotshot. Saurus drops outside, so Cutler nails a tope suicida to Saurus. Back in, slingshot senton and legdrop gets one (brother). Saurus sits up, and speaking of brother, he shrugs off Cutler’s rights and gives him a headbutt. Cutler is tossed into the corner and punched until he flies over the top to the apron, then Saurus throws him back in. Steinerline by Saurus and he wants the goozle, but Cutler escapes and low-bridges Saurus before adding a plancha.

He rolls Saurus in and gets the springboard elbowdrop, but he’s too hurt to follow up and Saurus sits up. Meteora puts him back down, and a second springboard elbowdrop gets two. Cutler goes up top, but Saurus pops up to try a chokeslam. Cutler escapes but runs into a hook kick, and NOW the chokeslam connects, for two. Spinning tailwhip kick ends it at 5:55. Stunt and Jungle Boy feign CPR on Cutler. A nice big/little match, but it never felt like Saurus was going to lose. **1/4

El (Suicida) Australiano (0-1 overall) vs. Sammy Guevara (14-12 career). Yes, Australiano is from Mexico City. What of it. He comes to the ring in his lime green tassled suit and carrying two masks, neither of which he wears. Guevara’s record could use some pumping up given his ambitions. Taz uses this time to whine about Sting.

Guevara with a waistlock and takedown before spinning on him and going Tranquilo! He then poses on the top rope. Australiano cuts off a second lockup and does some salsa, then catches Guevara with some shots after blocking Guevara’s offense. A pump kick is blocked, an enzuigiri ducked, and Australiano with a twisting senton then a merry-go-round headscissors. Guevara reverses in the corner and the two exchange chops before Australiano goes over the top of Guevara, sending him into the middle turnbuckle. Area Code leads to a double corkscrew crossbody connecting and Guevara bails. Australiano follows with a somersault senton with a half twist. These aren’t wrestling moves, they’re Olympic dives!

Back in, dragonrana by Australiano gets a close two. Guevara bails out again, so Australiano goes to the apron and tries a shooting star press… and Guevara lands a SUPERKICK on him mid-flight! Guevara tosses him into the barricade, then gives him a snap suplex on the floor. Back in, back suplex into a DDT in mid-flight gets two. Given his argument with Dijak, maybe make that your finisher instead, Sammy – it just looks awesome.

Guevara goes up top, but a shooting star press misses. Australiano goes up instead, and it’s a sideways star press, but he lands it awkwardly and by the time he covers, Guevara grabs the ropes on two. Australiano lifts Guevara, who elbows out and sends him into the turnbuckle. Australiano elbows him away and goes up top, but is caught in his leap DIRECTLY into Feast Your Eyes for the pin at 6:02. Tough match for Sammy all things considered. ** Australiano seems a little sloppy in there, but if they want to make trios, re-uniting him with TH2 isn’t the worst idea in the world.

And now, Guevara speaks. He makes it quick – look at his shoulder. Wait, you can’t see it any more, but he can feel it. It’s the chip on his shoulder – but that’s okay, because that chip will be replaced with gold. Sammy carries Dark, Dynamite, and all the Pay-Per-Views because he is the best worker in AEW. And then someone heckles Guevara, planted or not, and things go in another direction.

Oh, you think he’s “just” Chris Jericho’s friend? Yeah, Jericho got him hired, but not as a favor – Jericho saw him busting himself before Guevara met Jericho and stumped to get him hired. Got it? He’s not here because of Jericho, he’s here because he works hard, and that’ll get him every single title there is. Darby or Kenny, he’s coming for gold.

Wrestling With the Week ad. Speaking of:

Nick Comoroto (0-6) vs. Scorpio Sky (11-4). Well, this has “entertaining battle of wills” written on it. Sometimes, you get a styles clash and it detracts – I get a feeling this will add to it. Starks and Taz sing along with Sky’s entrance music.

Lockup, and Sky gets the headlock only to get shoved off to the mat. Another headlock try, and Comoroto blocks a takedown and shoves him off before staggering him with a tackle. Test of strength lock next, but Sky suckers him into taking the Kobe. Sky corners Comoroto and uppercuts him, escaping a reversal attempt and trying a drop toehold on him. Comoroto blocks but a blind charge eats boots, and Sky comes off the middle rope with a rana for one.

Elbow smash on the grounded Comoroto, but Sky can’t send him into the ropes. Sky goes to the apron and catches Comoroto, but Comoroto recovers and drops Sky with a reverse Hotshot to the stage. Back in, Comoroto gets a flying stomp on Sky, then works the kidneys in the corner. Hammer Throw follows, and Comoroto kneels on Sky’s face. He drags Sky to the ringpost and gives him a bow-and-arrow around the post. Sky begins fighting back with punches and elbows, but his crossbody is caught into a backbreaker for two. Starks: “Didn’t Bane do that to Batman?” (Not quite.)

Pendulum backbreaker by Comoroto and he holds the back in position. He drops his weight on Sky’s lower back, then catches Sky trying to kick him away and switches to a single-leg crab. Sky almost taps, but finds the strength to make the ropes. He kicks Comoroto away and bridges him to the outside, getting a Cactus clothesline when Comoroto returns. He adds a plancha right away. Back in, Sky goes up, nailing a missile dropkick to fire himself up. Spinning back kick and double stomp follows.

TKO try, but Comoroto’s too big and picks Sky up for an oshigoroshi for two. Comoroto goes ground and pound on Sky before signaling for the finish. Sky falls out the back of a slam and gets a pair of big boots, then powers through the pain for the TKO to win at 7:13. We are absolutely on a roll tonight. **3/4 This, folks, is why if I ever get one match on AEW Dark, I want Sky to carry me. And kudos to Comoroto, too; this is how you do a styles clash and make it work.

Marti Daniels (0-1) vs. Shanna (4-4). Excalibur calls Shanna “Portugal’s perfect athlete.” Justin Roberts calls her “From Nimes, France.” I realize this isn’t contradictory, but it’s still funny. Taz says some wild things can come out of Salt Lake City (Daniels’ hometown). For the record, he’s kidding. Taz then goes a step too far by calling Roberts “The REAL JR”.

Lockup, which Daniels wins. Big boot, but Shanna ducks it and dropkicks the plant leg. Back elbow to a kneeling Daniels, then a crucifix for two. Shanna with a snapmare, then the Power Drive elbow and legdrop for two (brother). Shanna wants the tiger suplex, but Daniels fights out and yanks Shanna by the hair. Big boot follows (Starks: “Doc Martens to the mouth!!”) and she steps on Shanna. Back elbowsmash to Shanna and Daniels mocks the crowd.

Hairpull slam on Shanna and she keeps stomping. She yells at Shanna, who elbows to make a comeback. Pump kick is caught, but an enzuigiri follows. Charging elbows in the corner and a flying jalapeno as Daniels is down. Split stunner by Shanna and Daniels falls into the bottom rope as Shanna calls for your spirit. Dropkick to the prone Daniels and the tiger suplex… but Daniels can’t keep her end of the bridge. So Shanna gives it to her again for the pin at 3:41 and holds her in it for good measure. Yeah, Daniels is not in Shanna’s league or close to it. 1/2*

Mike Verna and Baron Black (first time teaming) vs. The Butcher and The Blade (w/The Bunny) (12-7). Ricky Starks leaves and Anthony Ogogo steps in. Excalibur notes that Ogogo calls a lot of matches in which Black is the “other guy” in the ring. I’d rather Eddie Kingston be their second than the Bunny, but no one asked me.

Blade and Verna start. They roll around in a lockup along the ropes, wich the referee finally forcing a break. Blade with a headlock into a hammerlock and he slaps the back of Verna’s head, which angers Verna enough to get a tackle and a headscissors takedown. Big chop to Blade, then another in the ropes, leading to Blade reversing a whip and stopping another headscissors attempt with a powerbomb. Verna quickly tags Black in, so Butcher enters as well.

They fight over an Irish whip, eventually leading to Butcher stopping an O’Connor Roll only to get uppercut and chopped. Butcher catches Black in a uranage backbreaker and throws him into the corner before tagging in Blade. Blade chokes Black in the bottom rope – with Bunny doing the same as the ref is distracted – and Blade goes back to punching and choking in the corner. Butcher in with big chops and a throw into the corner. Eye ropeburn follows, and Blade is in as they do a double arm wringer chop.

Kitchen Sink try is reversed by Black into a cradle for two, which Black transitions into a single-leg crab. Bunny breaks it up (Butcher had the ref’s attention), and Butcher and Blade keep control as Butcher kicks away on Black in the corner. Blade in, and a Manhattan Drop into a neckbreaker by Blade follows. Black is kicked outside, and Bunny lays in the shots before doing her weird laugh for like the tenth time in this match. Butcher tosses Black back in, and they try a double suplex, but Black escapes and rolls under them to bring in Verna.

Blade gets dropped and it’s chops for everyone. Enzuigiri to Butcher and powerslam to Blade (before saying Bunny’s next with the Italian beard salute), and he gets a missile dropkick on Butcher. Running punch to Butcher and he holds Blade up, but Bunny distracts the ref and Blade rakes the eyes to break. Blade throws Verna into a flying bear from Butcher, and a double-team Nodowa Otoshi ends Black. DWI pins Verna at 6:44. Butcher and Blade seemed off tonight – I wonder if that’s why the Bunny got so much offense. *1/4

The Dynamite Awards are coming! Cast your vote!

Young Bucks book ad.

Ryzin, Vary Morales, and Adam Priest (first time teaming) vs. Gunn Club (Billy, Austin, and Colton) (6-0). All three of the enhancement talents have looked pretty decent in competition. Gunn Club is Exhibit A for how much the Trios Title will make AEW fun. Two constants in Billy Gunn matches: Aubrey Edwards will referee, and Billy will try to win her affection.

Billy and Morales start. Lockup, and Billy throws him down. Priest enters and tries, but his lockup fares no better. Billy wants to go 3 for 3, so Ryzin obliges… by kicking him in the gut and slugging away. Billy with a side suplex after a corner whip reversal, and in comes Austin. Gut punch from Austin into boot from Billy into dropkick from Colton gets one. Austin back in, and Gunn Club work the arm. Ryzin catches Austin with a hook kick and brings in Morales, who (after some running back and forth) gets tripped by Austin. Austin adds a flying neckbreaker and tries the Quick Draw, but Morales escapes and takes Austin down.

Priest with a blind tag to clothesline Austin into face in peril mode. Ryzin in, and he and Priest stomp away on Austin. Morales returns and sends Austin into the corner, getting a flying senton and basement clothesline for two. Arm wringer by Moreales and Ryzin is back in. Ryzin taunts the other Gunns, but his charge eats boot only for Ryzin to recover… until Austin reverses a suplex to one of his own. Hot tag Colton, and he runs over Morales with clotheslines. Morales and Priest are both taken down and eat Stinger Splashes in turn. Running powerslam to Morales gets two, Ryzin saves. Billy with a Cactus clothesline to Ryzin, and Austin/Colton end Morales with the 3:10 to Yuma (back body drop by Colton into the Quick Draw) at 4:50. Austin is the best of the trio, and I would like to try him in a singles run – Colton and Billy are more or less holding him back. 1/2*

Jon Cruz and Danny Limelight (first time teaming) vs. Santana and Ortiz (#5 team) (9-5). Earlier on Twitter, Limelight was excited about this match because all four men have Puerto Rican heritage. Commentary puts over how Limelight and the Varsity Blondes looked against The Bullet Club. Santana and Ortiz will be defending their place as “The Inner Circle’s Tag Team” tomorrow.

Santana and Limelight start, and Limelight charges with a rush before getting slammed down UFC style by Santana. Limelight gets an armdrag from his back and dropkicks Santana, adding Yes Kicks in the ropes. Santana races behind Limelight and catches him with a Claymore kick when he turns around. Ortiz in, and a double-team neckbreaker follows. Santana catches Cruz coming in with a SUPERKICK, and a double-team bulldog dispatches of him. Powerbomb into the kick pins Limelight in 1:31. I get the feeling that’s not what Limelight was hoping for when the match was announced. NR – too short

AEW Awards ad #2.

And now, Pretty Peter Avalon. (Sorry for the delay, I had to stop cringeing after Taz turned a high school band joke into an oral sex joke.) Anyway, Avalon says he’s the man on AEW Dark. He’s been on a winning streak, beating the most handsome men there have been with his Pageant Provocation. But now, let’s kick it up a notch! It’s time for PPA to have a career-making match: it’s time for the Walk-Off. Now, Lee Johnson is a handsome man, and Avalon was impressed with him. Johnson accepted an 8×10 of Avalon, but also his challenge for the Walk-Off. By the way, what’s a Walk-Off? Three judges, both men wear a similar outfit, and it’s working it on the runway. Anyone can win at wrestling, Lee, but only a real man can win a Walk-Off! So next week, Avalon will prove to everyone that PPA is All Day. I’ll forward the footage straight to RD Reynolds when it’s over.

AEW Awards ad #3.

Lee Johnson and Aaron Solow (0-2) vs. Private Party (Isaiah Kassidy and Marq Quen w/Matt Hardy) (10-9). Johnson even mimics Avalon’s “facial beauty” taunt on the way to the ring. Excalibur implies they may be a full-time team soon. Excalibur compares Matt Hardy to Taz as a mentorship role, though he questions Hardy’s financial stake. He claims 30% is too much.

Solow and Quen start. Quen with a floatover headlock, Solow reverses to a wristlock, Quen floats back, and we go International~!… wait, no, Quen just gives Solow a shooting star press to the back. In the first minute. Solow stops Quen coming in, and during the chaos Matt trips Solow (not even Quen is happy with that and he offers an apology). Solow now with the headlock and he gets a dropkick on the comeback, allowing Johnson to tag in as they get a double back elbow for one. Kassidy in, and he gets a tilti-a-whirl headscissors on Johnson to send him outside. Kassidy follows with… no, he stops and makes sure Hardy isn’t in the way of the dive.

Kassidy and Hardy argue, allowing Kassidy to walk into a dropkick from Quen. Private Party bail and get pepped up by Hardy before returning. Kassidy returns with a forearm and chop, but Johnson reverses an arm-wringer into a headlock. Kassidy and Quen do a double-team as Quen catapults Johnson into the corner and ducks down for Poetry in Motion. Quen adds a knee to Johnson as Kassidy knocks Solow off the apron, and Quen slams down Johnson for Kassidy to do a senton onto… wait, no, Hardy doesn’t want that. So Kassidy drops an elbow that misses, Quen gets caught in a back body drop, and Johson hits Kassidy with the Blue Thunder Bomb for two.

Solow back in, and he gets an Exploder on Kassidy for two. Solow with a headlock in an attempt to cut off the tag, but Kassidy with a jawjacker and Quen is in. Leg lariat by Kassidy gets Quen two, and Quen stomps away on Solow. Quen puts his head down and gets kicked, and Solow/Johnson get a back suplex/neckbreaker combo for two. Who’s the face in this matchup, anyway? Quen avoids a double suplex and ranas both men at once, and it’s “hot” tag Kassidy.

Spinning kick to Solow and he Hotshots Johnson off the apron. Kassidy rolls Solow through and gets a hiptoss into Quen’s springboard crossbody, Johnson saves. Single-leg dropkick by Kassidy, but he seems to hurt his knee. Solow slides out the back on Quen and the O’Connor Roll CONNECTS for two, but Quen kicks Solow off into a big right from Hardy (none of the wrestlers saw it). Kassidy in, and a double enzuigiri wins at 7:00. There’s a reason you do formula in the tag match – it felt like they were disjointed and struggling. Also, this shows why you can’t hook a heel and a face for long without turning one or the other. *1/4

Alex Gracia (1-7) vs. Big Swole (14-4) (#1 women). You know, I’m not a fan of everything WhatCulture does, but they suggested Swole would be a bigger fit in WWE than AEW and given her charisma and build, it’s hard to argue.

Lockup, and Swole works the arm until Gracia rolls through and gets a wristlock. Swole reverses to a hammerlock into a headlock, with Gracia reversing it as Taz mentions he can see Dean Malenko’s influence in Swole. The go International~!, with Swole getting a running elbowsmash to send Gracia to the apron, but Gracia fights back to get separation and send Swole into the middle rope. Area Code (and a much better one than the last time she did it) gets one. Gracia works the arm and drops a leg on it. Then does one to the other arm, because the first one was to the RIGHT arm and everyone knows you work the LEFT arm.

Top wristlock as Swole gets up, but Swole goes up and over only to get caught in the corner with a big elbow and running kneelift. It gets two. Swole fights back to cut Gracia off and adds back elbows, only for Gracia to try a hangman’s neckbreaker. Swole escapes and gets a SUPERKICK to take over. Cross chops follow, then forearms into the double-dodge kick headbutt combo. Dirty Dancing ends it at 3:33. Even Taz notes the irony of talking about Swole’s technical prowess when she goes back to the power game. Gracia has a few nice moves, but the switch hasn’t flipped yet. 1/2* Look, I really want to rate these women’s matches higher, but they need better-quality enhancement talent in that division. Either that or give us a featured bout with the women.

Zack Clayton (0-3) vs. Sonny Kiss (12-20). No sign of Joey Janela. He may still be selling the injuries from fighting Omega. Kiss’s outfit reads “BABE”, leading to a few obtuse Adam Cole references from Taz.

Kiss with a drop toehold into a front facelock. Clayton powers out, but a charge misses and Kiss gets a roundhouse. Handspring elbow misses, but Clayton walks into a rana and 540 kick. Clayton recovers with a clothesline and adjusts his jaw before hitting a delayed suplex. Kneedrop gets two. Kiss is pulled up and instantly unloads with forearm shivers. Both men charge, and Kiss gets a dropkick to send Clayton to the corner. Step-up enzuigiri follows, then Kiss turns a whip into a flip over the top rope and a high roundhouse from the apron. Springboard splits legdrop folows, then a rolling elbow. Spin kick into a high kick, then a Complete Shot as Kiss is on a roll. Splits legdrop from the middle rope ends it at 2:56. Nothing to see here. 1/2*

AEW Awards ad #4.

KC Navarro and AJ Kirsh (first time teaming) vs. Top Flight (Darius and Daunte Martin) (2-4). Kirsh was tried out as the boyfriend of Tesha Price last week, but that went nowhere. He’s also known for his voice – if you’ve played WWE 2K19, you’ve heard him speak. Taz mocks the fact that Will Hobbs by himself almost outweighs Navarro and Kirsh combined. Commentary thinks Top Flight would fit in with any faction in AEW, which segues into the Inner Circle tag match.

Kirsh and Darius start. Kirsh with a headlock, but Darius shoots him off into… another headlock. Darius rolls away, but we go International~!, with Darius getting an inside-out hiptoss and bringing him over to bring in Daunte. Flip snapmare into a shoulder dropkick on Kirsh, and Navarro tries to even the odds only to be taken down into a series of moves so fast I can’t keep up. It ends with front and back Yes Kicks. Kirsh intercepts Daunte and tags Navarro in legitimately, but he runs into an armdrag. Navarro flips over Daunte’s back and chops him, then pulls up short on a Daunte dropkick.

Navarro runs into a somersault dropkick only to get Daunte into a back suplex out of a headlock. Kirsh back in, and he works Daunte in the corner, but taunts too much and Daunte recovers. Daunte dives into a Manhattan drop, though, and an elbowdrop follows. Kirsh gets a front facelock and CLUBBERIN, TONY, THEY BE CLUBBERIN, adding a corner clothesline and Northern Lights suplex for two. Kirsh kips up and brings Daunte back to his corner, where Navarro chokes him against the middle rope with his leg. Kirsh adds a Hotshot behind the ref, and Navarro cradles for two.

Daunte backflips into a blind tag by Darius, who interrupts a piledriver attempt with a crossbody. Navarro eats boot on a blind charge, and Darius with a C4 for two, Kirsh saves. Darius dumps Kirsh and Daunte adds a quebrada to him. Back in, Navarro wants a swinging DDT, but Darius reverses to a cradle for the pin at 4:47. They packed so much into those five minutes – Kirsh was fourth-best and didn’t embarrass himself AT ALL in this match. **1/2

Tesha Price and Katalina Perez (first time teaming) vs. Ivelisse and Diamante (9-2). You know, they can’t keep these two teaming forever, can they? With no Women’s tag belts, you’d think one will turn on the other. Price and Perez try to organize their entrance, though commentary is more into the wacky robe Perez has.

Everyone’s ready for a hot start – they’ve seen these matches before – but Diamante and Price start at the ref’s insistence. Price with a knee strike out of a hiptoss block, but Diamante blocks a lucha armdrag until Price gets a prone kick. Another armdrag follows, and Perez and Price get a double suplex (eventually – took a while to get into position) for one. Perez with a hiptoss and dropkick, then she drops an elbow for one. (Commentary covers for the double-team by talking about familiarity.)

Price charges and gets dropped by Diamante, who catapults her into the corner. Ivelisse in with a lifting reverse DDT for two, and she slams Perez’s head into the mat from the mount. Ivelisse with a suplex floating over into a guillotine on Perez. She keeps the positioning on Perez until the latter stacks her for two, and Ivelisse gives her a kick to the back of the head. Diamante and Ivelisse work over Perez in the corner, ending with a snapmare by Diamante into a chinlock/armbar combination.

Perez fights out, but Diamante adds forearms until Perez responds with a back kick and sliding elbow. Hot tag Price, who gets back elbows on both women and a cartwheel roundhouse kick into a facebuster on Ivelisse for two. Ivelisse cuts her off and shoves her into the corner (knocking down Diamante), and Price with a shotgun dropkick on the comeback. Perez back in, and a Price enzuigiri into a Perez swinging neckbreaker gets two, Diamante saves. Diamante sends Price out and beats her on the floor, while Ivelisse with an enzuigiri to end Perez at 4:36. Perez doesn’t seem ready for prime time, but Price is coming along nicely, as if to prove what I’m saying – get good enhancement talent. *1/4

AEW Awards ad #5. No, I’m not kidding.

Fuego Del Sol and Shawn Dean (0-1) vs. The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) (9-2) (#4 team). One of these weeks, Fuego and Dean will get wins. This is probably not that week. Taz thinks they should be a regular team. Excalibur: “The Acclaimed should have pyro, but there’s none left after Cody’s entrance.” Max Caster’s rap is good, though the Go Big Show reference was forced.

Caster and Fuego start. Fuego flips out of a wristlock only for Caster to get a kneesmash. Suplex is blocked by Fuego and he tries the Tornado DDT, but Caster shoves him off and needs a breather. Dean in, but Caster gets a big boot and side headlock. We go International~!, with Dean trying a crossbody, but settling for a series of cradles for two. Dean goes up and gets a crossbody on Caster, then a lariat for one. Caster with a jawjacker on Dean, and Bowens tags in with a neckbreaker on Caster’s legs for two.

Bowens with a forearm, then a series of chops in the Acclaimed corner. Caster in with a back suplex double-team, but Dean causes the Acclaimed to run together. Hot tag Fuego with a double dropkick on the way in, and he headscissors Caster into Bowens in the corner. Shiranui off of Bowens on Caster gets two. It’s TORNADO DDT TIME, but Caster blocks into a suplex. He boots down Dean and brings in Bowens, and the Critically Acclaimed (uranage and flying elbow) ends it at 4:08. I expected better out of this match – Caster didn’t have it tonight. *1/4

AEW Awards ad #6!

Main event: Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico) (7-5) vs. Lucha Bros (Penta El 0M and Rey Fenix) (w/PAC) (6-4). Serpentico is pulling double duty here, though given how quickly Santana and Ortiz disposed of him as Jon Cruz, he’s not exactly on fumes. Death Triangle gets all sorts of pyro as Excalibur praises PAC’s match with Eddie Kingston as well as Omega’s match with Fenix.

Penta and Luther start. Mind games with Luther’s third eye and Cero Miedo to the face, and Serpentico and Fenix leap in and everyone talks to each other. Penta with a big kick and headlock, but Luther gets a big boot and throws Penta (almost into the ref) in the corner. Serpentico tags in off a Hammer Throw to Luther, and he gets a crossbody on Penta. Fenix in as we get a standoff. Fenix shoves Serpentico, who chops back and rushes in. Fenix blocks an armdrag as the two jockey for position, with Serpentico turning a casadora attempt into a sunset flip for one as we quickly get another standoff.

Fenix offers Code of Honor, but Serpentico is clearly declining so Fenix chops him and kicks the back of his head. Penta in, but Fenix runs into a SUPERKICK by Serpentico and Penta is slugged down by Luther. Short DDT by Serpentico gets two. Luther in, and Serpentico kicks Penta before getting an assisted legdrop. Luther gets one off of it. He screeches at the ref to count faster, then drags Penta over to the corner. Luther wants to drop Serpentico onto Penta, but Serpentico flips out of it, so Luther facejams Serpentico into Penta’s gut over and over again. It gets one, as Serpentico is so dazed he can’t cover properly.

Luther returns and slugs down Penta, and Serpentico returns to try a running monkey flip on Penta. Penta stops it, then sends Luther into Serpentico before giving Luther a Sling Blade. Desperation hot tag to Fenix, who dropkicks down Luther and pump kicks Serpentico. Fenix with a Gory Bomb to Serpentico while he legdrops Luther, and it gets two on Serpentico. Fenix runs into a SUPERKICK, though, but Penta blocks Serpentico and puts him up top.

Powerbomb by Fenix and Wazzup Dropkick by Penta follows, Luther saves. He’s disposed of, and the Cero Miedo Driver is set up, but Luther hangs Fenix on the top rope. Serpentico tries to recover but Penta SUPERKICKs him before Fenix does the tightrope walk to kick down Luther. Cero Miedo Driver finishes it at 6:41. Luther was just so out of place in this match and had no hope of keeping up. Pretty good when Serpentico was in there, though. *3/4

TOMORROW ON DYNAMITE!

  • Santana and Ortiz! Jericho and MJF! Guevara and Hager! Who is the true team of the Inner Circle?
  • Brodie Jr’s birthday, and he wants Page/Reynolds/Silver/Colt vs TH2 and Chaos Project!
  • At the end, we’ll find out if Hangman wants to join the Dark Order!
  • Penelope Ford steps in for Nyla Rose to take on Leyla Hirsch!
  • Matt Hardy and Private Party will face Matt Sydal and Top Flight!
  • Jon Moxley will beat someone up in a match!

Okay, well, they can’t all be winners. The show started off hot, but there was a lot of people off their game near the end. Oddly, I think if you ran the matches in reverse order, it would be a lot better. Lucha Bros in a hot opener (mostly working with Serpentico if they were smart), some decent tag action peaking with Top Flight, then slow it down a bit with less competitive matches, building to the three big ones in Sky/Comoroto, Guevara/Australiano, and Saurus/Cutler. But that’s just me overthinking this.

I mentioned during the review that they need better female enhancement talent. Part of it is that any woman who starts to get good begins to look like they belong on the other side of the match – KiLynn King is the best example, but you can include Leyla Hirsch in that. At this point, the best you have may be Tesha Price – and she’s stil very basic when on offense. The obvious solution is to include a women’s feature bout at some point to give the women’s midcard a higher role. Heck, put it on 90 minutes in if you have to – just have it! Over the past month or two, I can only think of Leva vs Red Velvet fitting that role. And no offense to either of them, but it didn’t work.

(Think about this: wouldn’t Tay Conti and Shanna mesh well? How about having Ivelisse and Big Swole pound each other upside the head? Heck, get crazy and have Rebel get thrown in over her head as a way to get heat on Britt Baker – she’s carryable by someone like Thunder Rosa.)

I know it’s Dark and the main thing you’re doing is padding records (since wins and losses matter) while giving everyone a payday, but you still have two or three feature bouts every week. Mix it up some – give us more women’s contenders since you don’t feel compelled to use them on Dynamite outside of one match. You have a loaded roster, sure, but each division is loaded – men’s, women’s, and tags. Feature each one at different times. It’s not rocket science.

And by the way, Mr. Khan or whomever in AEW reads my reviews (if anyone) – those ideas for feature bouts up top? You can have them for free, as Scott would say. (Hey, if you’re the #3 talent on the site, might as well steal from #1.)

STATS!

BELL-TO-BELL: 69:37 over fourteen matches (average time 4:58)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Sky vs Comoroto

FIVE STARS:

  1. Top Flight
  2. Scorpio Sky
  3. Sammy Guevara
  4. Brandon Cutler
  5. Nick Comoroto

Hey, I think they want us to vote in the AEW Awards! I hear if you’re voting while watching a YouTube video, the ballot will go Picture-in-Picture!