The PG Era Recap for AEW Dark, Episode 72: Literally Anyone Can Do Commentary In AEW, January 26, 2021.
From the AEW Arena.
Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz. They are joined at the start by Ricky Starks. Your adjective: “Super-sized.”
TONIGHT! Fifteen matches, but the real feature is Peter Avalon and Lee Johnson in a WALK-OFF as part of Pretty Peter’s Pageant Provocation! Plus, Brodie Jr is in the house with Preston Vance and Tay Conti in separate matches as he looks to finish the recruitment of the judoka! Shanna looks to keep her winning streak going as she steps up in competition against KiLynn King! Also, SCU look to pick up a win, because if they don’t, they’re done as a team!
Also on tonight’s show: Miro, Jurassic Express, Butcher and Blade, Rey Fenix, Dr. Britt Baker, Abadon, Santana and Ortiz, Red Velvet, Danny Limelight, Ivelisse, and Powerhouse Hobbs!
Opening match: Fuego Del Sol (0-1 in 2021) vs. Miro (w/Kip Sabian, Penelope Ford, and Charles Taylor) (1-0). I got a bad feeling we’re not seeing the Tornado DDT tonight. Excalibur wants to know if Brian Cage could beat Miro (Taz thinks so). Taylor is Miro’s butler because he lost a bet… but only until the wedding.
Fuego ducks a roundhouse and gets a calf kick, but Miro barely feels it. Fuego adds more, but he gets caught. He slides out of a slam attempt and keeps kicking, but eventually gets too close and is Steinerlined. Big elbowdrop from Miro, then the roundhouse connects to the gut. Miro calls Taylor up to applaud him before charging… straight into a basement dropkick that tweaks Miro.
A second one follows, then a question mark kick. Miro shoves off the Tornado DDT and catches the rana, reversing it into a Samoan Drop. Starks calls it the Bulgarian Brute Drop and has to be corrected. Miro with a SUPERKICK and Game Over ends this at 2:41. Miro has Taylor roll Fuego out of the ring and raise his hand. Match was a slaughter, only there to bring you the Taylor angle. 1/4*
Lee Johnson and Aaron Solow (0-3) vs. Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy Jack Perry w/Marko Stunt) (17-6) (#2 team). A bit of a busy night for Johnson – he’ll be doing Pretty Peter Avalon’s Walk-Off later tonight. Commentary notes that they have good chemistry and have been improving, which raises the question: why isn’t Solow in the Nightmare Family? Tarzan Boy makes its triumphant return tonight!
Perry and Johnson start. Lockup, and Johnson gets a wristlock. We go International~!, ending with Perry knocking over Johnson before the two dropkick each other and kip up in unison. That earns a Code of Honor, and now Solow comes in. Solow blocks an O’Connor Roll, but is caught with a Frankensteiner into an armdrag and lock. Saurus in, and he gets a kick to Solow’s head before throwing him in the corner. Solow escapes and brings in Johnson, and Saurus no-sells a blind charge block and back body drop reversal. Johnson with a crossbody, but he’s caught in a gutbuster for two. Slam into a Perry assisted senton for two.
We HIT THE CHINLOCK, but Johnson pushes Perry into a tag to Solow. Back suplex/neckbreaker combo gets Solow two. Solow stomps away on Perry, backing him into the corner and bringing in Johnson. Suplex by Johnson gets two. Perry tries to avoid being dragged to Solow, but a clubbing blow brings Solow in for a slam and kneedrop for two. Excalibur starts a running gag of comparing everything in the match to Taz. Double back elbow gets Johnson two. Solow back in, but a blind charge eats boot, followed by a lariat to Johnson.
Hot tag Saurus, and Johnson eats push kick and Bradley Beal. Saurus boxes down Solow and gets a German before kipping up. Johnson low-bridges out Saurus, who merely pulls him out and chucks him into the barricade. Solow charges into a SUPERKICK from Saurus, then the pop-up GTS and chokeslam into a moonsault, Johnson BARELY saves. Saurus chucks him back outside, but Johnson pulls Perry away and goes after Saurus.
Solow helps Johnson send Saurus into the buckles shoulder-first, but Perry with a small package for two. Solow tags himself in, and Johnson powerbombs Perry into Solow’s knees. Finlay Roll/Double Stomp combo by Johnson/Solow gets a VERY close two. Perry escapes a back suplex, and Saurus returns to kick Johnson into next week. Snare Trap ends Solow at 7:38. They had me on the near-fall. Good stuff. **1/4
TNT (Terrence and Terrell Hughes) (0-4) vs. SCU (Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels) (5-5). As a reminder, if TNT win, SCU will disband as a team. Also as a reminder, the Hughes Brothers are D-Von Dudley’s twin sons, and they look similar enough to pull the twin switch if necessary.
Kazarian and Terrell start. Lockup, and Kazarian with a drop toe-hold into a facelock. Kazarian maintains the headlock on Terrell, then flips out of a break and chops away. Kazarian goes up-and-over, then blocks a hiptoss into two of his own, into an armlock. Daniels in, and it’s a Yes Kick into a back lariat into a double stomp. Daniels sends Terrell into the buckle, but Daniels airballs a leg lariat and Terrence clotheslines him down. Terrence boxes him in the corner, but a blind charge eats boot and Daniels throws Terrence into Kazarian’s boots. Kazarian with a flip neckbreaker (Terrence didn’t rotate on it) for two.
Sidebar: at one point, Kazarian ducked a suplex from Terrell, but before Terrell threw the clothesline, he clapped his hands. Taz and Excalibur picked up on it and said it was a sign of inexperience that you have some calling card for a big move, and that there’s no way Kazarian didn’t suspect something was happening upon hearing the clap. That is some good commentary. Back to the match:
Suplex by Kazarian gets two. Daniels in again, and it’s a high kick into a Manhattan Drop into a twisting crossbody for two. Daniels takes Terrence down and works over his neck. Terrence catches Daniels’ crossbody and gets a Strongest Slam. Terrence tags out to Terrell, who works Daniels over in the corner. Big chop to Daniels, and another. Hard hiptoss gets one. Terrell tags in Terrence again, and a spear and high knee combo leads to a double Japanese armdrag for two.
Terrence with an overhead suplex for two. Terrell back in, and a slam leads to Terrell Finlay Rolling Terrence onto Daniels for two. Terrence returns off the top to drop an axhandle on Daniels’ shoulder. Terrence tries a suplex but is caught in a small package for two, then Daniels gets a T-Bone for a double-down. Hot tag Kazarian, who gives cross chops to Terrell and a flying jalapeno. Heel kicks and a clothesline to Terrence, then Terrell gets slammed and hit with a springboard legdrop. Daniels back in, and it’s a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo, Terrence saves.
Terrence and Kazarian back in and they slug it out. Quick tag by TNT, and the Veg-o-matic gets Terrell two. Both brothers pound away on Kazarian in the corner, so Daniels breaks it up and takes his lumps. TNT stomps mudholes in SCU, but the double-whip results in Terrell knocking over Kazarian. 3-D try on Kazarian, but Daniels gives Terrence the STO and Kazarian gets a sunset flip on Terrell for two. Best Meltzer Ever saves SCU’s team at 8:41. Minus a bit for the neckbreaker thing, but otherwise this was a great way for SCU to make TNT better by osmosis. **1/2
Wrestling With the Week ad.
M’Badu and KC Navarro (first time teaming) vs. The Butcher and The Blade (w/The Bunny) (14-8). M’Badu is a Nigerian wrestler and a decent power guy. Ricky Starks is subbed out for Anthony Ogogo. Eddie Kingston isn’t out here, preparing for his match tomorrow with Lance Archer as Taz says it will be a Battle.
Blade jumps Navarro to start, not even taking his jacket off. Clothesline from Navarro as Bunny distracts the ref, allowing Blade to choke Navarro with his jacket. Butcher in, and it’s a side suplex/legdrop combo. Pumphandle backbreaker (took a while to set up) and Butcher hangs on to a slam. Now Butcher gets the ref’s attention so that Bunny can strike Navarro. Blade rolls Navarro back in, and Butcher throws him into the corner. Double headbutts follow (Ogogo: “What a psychopath.” Excalibur: “Which one?”) as Blade chokes Navarro with his shin.
Butcher back in, and an avalanche chokeslam by Blade (out of a Butcher powerbomb) gets two, M’Badu saves. Butcher says if M’Badu wants in, come on, and tosses Navarro to the corner for the tag. Butcher backs M’Badu to the corner and slugs away, but M’Badu reverses a whip and gets a Stinger Splash. M’Badu boxes down Butcher and gets a second Stinger Splash, but Butcher slides out of a powerslam and gets a big boot and lariat. DWI – renamed Drag the Lake – ends M’Badu at 3:23. I could do with less Bunny at ringside laughing in her shrill way, but this made Butcher and Blade seem like a juggernaut. 1/2*
Baron Black (0-1 in 2021) vs. Rey Fenix (10-4). Excalibur says that Anthony must be excited about this match, as he trains with both men. Ogogo: “Styles make fights, and this fight will be a corker.” Black is highly technical with some speed, so putting him against Fenix feels like a good match. Roberts rolls the R for what must be five seconds in Fenix’s intro. A reminder: Penta is on the shelf thanks to the Bullet Club.
Lockup, and Black with an attempt at a waistlock, but Fenix holds the arm straight. Black gets a wristlock, but Fenix cradles for two, reversed by Black for one, and both men try to get the other’s leg as they fall into the ropes. Staredown as they get up. Test of strength follows, with Fenix getting a headbutt and wrist control. Majistral into an abdominal stretch follows, and after some reversals, Black gets a schoolboy for one before Fenix kips up.
Black refuses Code of Honor from Fenix, but after getting asked why, he offers it back… only to slap Fenix. Fenix is ticked off and charges into a chop, but Black taunts him and Fenix chops back. Black charges into a boot, but Fenix dives into a Manhattan Drop and suplex for one. Fenix bails, and Black follows, throwing Fenix into the post. Back in, Black stomps away and tries to grab the leg, but Fenix escapes and kicks Black down. Black catches a kick into a dragon screw into a half-Boston crab. Black turns it into a bow-and-arrow, but Fenix falls on top for two.
Fenix chops Black hard and gets a forearm in the corner. Black with a series of Hammer Throws into an atomic drop and Backstabber for two. These two are LAYING IT IN here. Black taunts Fenix to get up and drags him by the legs, picking him up for an Alley-Oop Bomb try. Feniz escapes and chops Black into next week. Black throws Fenix out, but Fenix somersaults on the stage and comes back with a springboard head kick. Fenix goes inside out in the middle rope and nails a hook kick to Black, who is seeing stars. Fenix is blocked on a lucha armdrag, but he recovers into a fireman’s carry and Mutalock. Black makes the ropes.
Fenix chops him for having the insolence to make the ropes, going around the world before Black gives him the receipts. THE STRAPS ARE DOWN on Black, and they’re just exchanging chops that can be heard in Tampa! Black with a snap German suplex to end that sequence, then a powerbomb for two. He holds the legs Samoa Joe style and gets a Cloverleaf. Fenix ties to kick out, then gets turned around to get a sunset flip for two. Black charges into a SUPERKICK from Fenix, who goes up top and gets a backflip Cutter for two. Fenix Driver ends it at 8:40. DAMN. ***1/4 Ogogo: “We just witnessed an AEW Dark classic!” He’s not wrong. Fenix gives respect to Black post-match, well earned. Those two made ME hurt hitting each other. Beautiful brutality.
KiLynn King (3-15) vs. Shanna (2-0 in 2021). This is the closest thing the women’s division has to a feature bout tonight. King has new face makeup around her eyes. Both women come out the face tunnel, for those who care about this sort of thing.
Lockup, and Shanna gets a lockup armdrag, then pulls King up. King breaks and goes for round two, but Shanna cartwheels out of an Irish Whip and gets some armdrags. Shanna with a headscissors and enzuigiri for two. King throws Shanna into the ropes, but Shanna goes TRANQUILO and dodges to send King to the outside. King pulls Shanna out, only for Shanna to block an apron shot and get one of her own. Forearm on the apron follows, and back in, she walks into some gut punches. King leverages Shanna’s throat into the top rope for one. King sends Shanna into the corner and chops away on her. She stomps a mudhole on Shanna, adding running knees against the bottom rope for two. Dragon sleeper by King, but Shanna bridges up and knees King.
King goes for a powerslam instead, but Shanna has a sleeper on her back. King backs Shanna into the corner, but her blind charge misses and Shanna chops away in the corner. Roll into a forearm, then a clothesline and Stunner for two. King stops Shanna with forearms before the finish, but Shanna sends King into the corner. She runs into a roundhouse kick and King goes up top, only for Shanna to drop her into the Tree of Woe. Now Shanna goes up, and it’s the DOUBLE CORNER STOMP OF SEVERE CHOREOGRAPHY. Low dropkick in the ropes sets up the Tiger Suplex for the pin at 4:55. I hate that corner stomp with a passion. This one felt like it could’ve had another gear in it. 3/4*
Go Big Show ad.
Brooke Havok (debut) vs. Dr. Britt Baker, DMD (w/Rebel) (16-11). Or is it Reba? This is their running gag, isn’t it? Brooke Havok isn’t just debuting in AEW, but this is her first match ever. Baker gets all sorts of pyro, and only after it goes off is Rebel allowed to follow and touch up Baker’s make-up. Excalibur notes that Havok was mentored by Baker at a recent Dynamite, and guess how that went.
Baker throws Havok down off of a lockup. She slowly picks Havok up, who shoves her away. Lockup again, and Baker gets the wristlock into a hammerlock into a headlock takedown. Baker stops a headscissors and pulls Havok up, but Havok (awkwardly) gets one of her own and a takeodwn. Baker instantly gets the headscissors, though. Baker soaks in Rebel’s cheers before blocking a handstand from Havok to get a suplex. Baker slowly picks Havok up, so Havok slugs away. Baker is not happy at this, but Havok gets a tilti-a-whirl headscissors off the ropes, following up with a dropkick.
She goes to the second rope, but Baker yanks her off to the mat and kicks away at the leg. Rolling heel hook into a double-arm curbstomp follows. THE GLOVE IS ON, and Lockjaw ends it at 3:26. As first matches go, this wasn’t bad at all. 1/2* Announcers note Rebel put the glove on Baker’s left hand instead of her right, but Baker adapted and applied the hold anyway. That said, Baker’s going to chew Rebel out and we all know it.
Santana says it’s a popular trend to say “new year, new me”… but he and Ortiz have had their eyes on the ball the whole time. So wake up and smell the coffee, because it’s time to feast. Fair warning, everyone. Uh… didn’t Jericho and MJF make it so that they can’t win the titles or how did that work?
Vertvixen (0-2) vs. Abadon (6-2). Vixen looks like a Spice Girl. Anthony just lays out as Excalibur and Taz joke about Vixen’s hometown of Irvine. There’s no more camera effects for Abadon’s entrance, but she spits blood during it. Weird fact: Abadon is 0-2 against Hikaru Shida and 6-0 otherwise.
Abadon catches Vixen with a knee and clubs away before scaring the ref. She drives her shoulder over and over into Vixen’s gut before adding double knees. Jawbreaker by Vixen is no-sold, and Abadon gets a backhanded slap. Vixen with a running forearm that does nothing as Abadon drives knees into the ribs. Vixen with a sunset flip in desperation, but Abadon headbutts her to get up before getting a double-arm stomp. Abadon goes CLUBBERIN, SHE BE CLUBBERIN TONY, but runs into a pump kick. Abadon catches a clothesline into an Exploder suplex and does the zombie situp. She smashes Vixen’s head into the mat over and over as even the ref is freaked out. Cemetery Drive (Widow’s Peak) ends it at 2:44. A very Fiend-like match, and I mean that as a compliment because that’s what they were going for. 1/4*
LET’S WALK IT OFF! Peter Avalon and Lee Johnson (judged by Brandi Rhodes, Jerry Lynn, and Aubrey Edwards). Justin Roberts goes over the rules while acting like he can’t believe he’s announcing this. BUT WAIT! Avalon says he’ll announce the judges instead. First, Brandi Rhodes – she used to be on magazine covers, but she’s a MILF (Mother I’d Like to Forgetabout). Second, Aubrey Edwards – who deserves to be in the Kentucky Derby and not this. And finally, Jerry Lynn – who is like Spinal Tap taking it to 11. (The judges have no idea what Avalon was thinking.)
So Johnson comes out in a very good magenta three-piece suit as Taz notices that Brandi Rhodes may not be an unbiased judge. Yes, they ring the bell for this. Taz thinks it’s an 8. Judges say: Edwards 9, Rhodes 9, Lynn 9. Now Avalon comes out in a bright silver smoking jacket and does his walk. He adds the unbuttoning on the turn. WHY AM I RECAPPING THIS? To the judges: Edwards 9, Rhodes 9, Lynn… asks for a replay.
And on the replay, we see Avalon may have staggered on his walk. Even Avalon realizes he made a mistake. And yes, Lynn gives him a 6 as Johnson gets the duke, 27-24. Does this count as a FIRST WIN ALERT? But while Johnson celebrates, Cezar Bononi decks him and Avalon adds a cheapshot before Lynn tells them not to. I hate to say it, but Lynn nearly blew the ending, forgetting which end of his score was up.
Go Big Show ad #2.
Ryzin and Mike Verna (first time teaming) vs. Santana and Ortiz (14-9) (#5 team). Does the fact that they’re #5 in the rankings matter given that Jericho and MJF are the official Inner Circle tag team? Verna has no clue what to do with Ryzin.
Ortiz and Verna start. Ortiz with a shoot-off and gets a leg lariat on Verna, before adding a backbreaker and butterfly suplex. Ortiz with an avalanche, and Santana adds a leaping uppercut and suplex. Big chop from Santana, and Ortiz returns. Verna tries to fight out, but he runs into a fireman’s carry/neckbreaker combo for the pin at 1:18. Ryzin didn’t tag in, which is kind of cool – it’s like in NXT where someone they had plans for would be in a tag squash and stuck on the apron the whole time. NR – too short
Davienne (debut) vs. Tay Conti (w/Anna Jay and Brodie Lee Jr) (7-3). I’ve seen Davienne in Beyond – she does a good heel routine. She comes out wearing a leather jacket upside-down while the video wall says she’s Not America’s Sweetheart. This checks out. Conti waits on the apron… and the Dark Order follows her out! It’s not clear if Conti has joined, but Jay and Junior stay at ringside. Anthony Ogogo bows out.
Davienne runs into a big boot and an armdrag into a bodyscissors with double-arm control, basically doubling Davienne over. Davienne pops out into a sunset flip for two, but Conti with a tomanaki for two. Conti into a kneebar, but Davienne makes the ropes. Davienne kicks out the leg and knocks Conti over, adding a sliding clothesline for two. Davienne shows off, but Conti is up and Very Angry. She catches a kick and gets a high knee, followed by a ripcord into three tayatoshi (throws). Davienne bails, but rolls in when Conti follows.
Conti gets on the apron and catches Davienne with a pump kick, then ties her up in the ropes and stretches her. Clotheslines follow, then a flying knee in the corner. Conti goes to the middle rope to stop a Hammer Throw, then leaps over Davienne and gets a pump kick. She rolls Davienne through into Bite of the Dragon (I think?), getting the tap at 3:10. Remember how I talked about the switch a couple weeks ago? The switch has flipped for Conti. *
Wrestling With the Week ad #2.
Ray Jaz (first singles match) vs. Preston Vance (w/Alan Angels and Brodie Lee Jr) (11-10 overall). Ah, lots of Dark Order – it’s like we’re home again. Now, following on from the previous match, Conti does not come out with the rest of Dark Order, but everyone else does. Junior and Vance even do the Jurassic Express entrance on the way out! Angels goes to ringside while Junior goes to… commentary.
Lockup, and Vance gives Jaz a clean break. A second lockup, and Jaz shoves Vance away. Vance tackles down Jaz, then catches Jaz in a slingshot German suplex. Junior loves Team Taz and Taz is his favorite – Excalibur, not so much. Vance goes up and over on a whip and tweaks his knee, which Jaz takes advantage of (Junior: “What the hell!?”). Jaz works the leg as Junior wonders why Vance isn’t murdering Jaz. Jaz continues working the leg as we confirm Junior is the new Dark Order leader. He tries a half-bow-and-arrow, then drops his weight on the leg. Vance fights up on Jaz, who clubs him back down and stomps the leg. It gets two.
Junior is basically every eight-year-old at a wrestling event, ever.
Jaz drops his weight on Vance’s leg, then throws his knee to the mat. Commentary is barely keeping a straight face as Junior talks. Jaz wraps Vance’s leg around the ropes, but a blind charge misses. Big forearms cues the comeback, then a pump kick (with the good leg). Clotheslines by Vance (Junior: “This is what Hell looks like”) and a BACK body drop (.7 Warlord). Junior stands on the desk to salute as Jaz runs into a spinebuster. Reverse Rainmaker ends it at 5:00. NR – too busy laughing at Jr’s commentary, sorry. Junior gives Jaz a couple of kendo stick shots for good measure, then Brian Pillman Jr enters with a lacross stick for a DUEL OF THE FATES! Brodie Jr wins and chokes Pillman Jr before Vance restrains him. Barely. Excalibur: “We are officially off the rails!”
Go Big Show ad #3.
Madi Wrenkowski (0-2) vs. Red Velvet (1-0). Oh, geez, let’s start the Jade Cargill hype train. Junior stays on commentary, practically Lawlering as the women enter. Excalibur tries to recap the whole Waiting Room bit on Dynamite – and Junior tries to help out, but forgets Cargill’s name!
Lockup goes nowhere. A second lockup, and Madi backs Velvet into the corner. She escapes, but we go International~!, ending with Velvet getting a leg lariat. She boxes Madi in the corner and gets the stir it up boot choke. Madi bails on an avalanche try, then catches Velvet and drops her on the middle buckle for one. Wasteland by Madi gets two. Junior is openly rooting for Velvet. A second cover gets reversed by Velvet for one.
Madi with a Hammer Throw and avalanche, then a crossbody in the corner before kicking Velvet in the kidneys. Snapmare by Madi, but Velvet ducks a clothesline and gets the Complete Shot for the comeback. Junior: “I think the oven is on!” Clotheslines by Velvet for the comeback, and she ducks some rights to get a spinning back kick. Casadora bulldog by Velvet, then a moonsault press for two. Jarrett straddle in the corner, then Just Desserts (more of a Claymore as Madi wasn’t bent over) gets the win at 4:04. Sidenote: Excalibur now owes Junior five bucks as a result of this match. 1/2* Junior speculates that Red Velvet may enter the Dark Order… if Anna Jay would be okay with that.
Sean Maluta (0-2) vs. Danny Limelight (1-0 singles in 2021). Look, Junior, if you’re going to be on commentary, you have to learn to lay out during Roberts’ ring intros, okay? Junior says there’s no doubt Limelight is going to win. Someone keep the script away from this guy, he’s spoiling the matches.
Limelight with a double-leg takedown and whip, eventually trying a monkey flip, but instead getting a cradle schoolboy for one. Maluta with a gut kick and chops in the corner, then he slugs away in the corner. Limelight gets an enzuigiri from the apron, then leaps off the middle rope with an armdrag. Maluta bails, so Limelight with a corkscrew tornillo (Junior: “That’s what I’m talking about with athleticism!”). Back in, soccer kick ends it at 1:50. NR – too short
Jazmin Allure (0-2) vs. Ivelisse (2-0). Taz puts over Allure’s exuberance and athleticism. Sadly (?), Junior’s bedtime has arrived and he’s off commentary for the time being. There’s a Women’s World Championship Tournament coming up – details yet to be disclosed.
Ivelisse gets through Allure’s guard and chops her in the throat, but Allure with a basement dropkick. Ivelisse smashes her shoulder into Allure’s gut in the ropes, then gets a T-Bone suplex for two. Ivelisse takes the mount and just slams Allure’s head before kicking her in the ribs (with Diamante adding an uppercut). Ivelisse chokes Allure with her boot, then kicks the back and gets a seated abdominal stretch. Allure fights out when Ivelisse is distracted by the crowd, but Ivelisse knocks her down and gets a question mark kick for two.
Ivelisse keeps toying with Allure, adding a suplex with bridge for two. Double underhook by Ivelisse, but Allure fights out and gets a jawjacker. Running forearm by Allure and she boxes away. Allure with a casadora facebuster and cover for two. She wins a slugfest at first with Ivelisse, but Ivelisse catches a shot and gets a cravat knee strike. Tornado soccer kick ends it at 3:45. Ivelisse looks good when she’s on offense most of the time – I want to see her in more competitive matchups. 3/4*
Alleged Main Event: Jake St. Patrick (debut) vs. Powerhouse Hobbs (w/Hook) (1-0 in 2021). St. Patrick hails “from beautiful Champaign, Illinois” – and having Big Ten alums in my family, I can assure you Champaign is NOT beautiful. Hobbs looks good in the orange and black. If this is the main event, there has to be a twist at the end somehow.
St.Patrick tries a dropkick, but Hobbs shrugs it off. A hiptoss is blocked and Hobbs blasts St.Patrick with a shoulder tackle. Hobbs chucks him outside, where Hook adds a leg and waist suplex, and Hobbs throws St.Patrick back in. Hobbs stalks St.Patrick, shrugging off shots, then catching him in the SPINEBUSTER OF DEATH. THE STRAPS ARE DOWN as St.Patrick pulls himself up in the corner, and an avalanche leads to his new finisher – a pumphandle driver – ends this one at 2:04. Murder. DUD That finisher is called the Town Business. Hobbs acknowledges Taz on the way to the back. And… that’s it.
- Eddie Kingston brawls with Lance Archer!
- Cody Rhodes wants to talk to Shaq!
- Dax Harwood faces Jungle Boy as FTR and Jurassic Express surround the ring!
- Chris Jericho and MJF try to climb the ladder against the Varsity Blondes!
- Dr. Britt Baker takes on Shanna!
- Bullet Club face the Dark Order!
- AND MORE!
Well, I had no expectations for this show, and indeed, there were five matches that Tommy wouldn’t touch for being under three minutes. That said, this wasn’t a waste of time: this was about rebuilding in a lot of ways. Look at some of the wins – Butcher and Blade, Abadon, Powerhouse Hobbs, and Tay Conti all needed a win to get back on track, and this served that purpose.
And this is before we get to the fun of the evening as AEW continues to look out for Brodie Jr by putting him on commentary. I don’t want to critique it – it was actually about what you’d expect from an 8-year-old on commentary – because really, the point was to let the kid have fun on the night they celebrated his birthday (Dark is always recorded after a live episode of Dynamite). Though if you want to know what it’s like, I’ll say he was no better or worse than Chris Jericho’s excesses… and you can decide whether that’s a slight on Jericho or praise of Junior.
Let me get back on the women’s division. You had some decent talent on display here, with Shanna and KiLynn King, Tay Conti, Britt Baker, Abadon, Ivelisse, and Red Velvet. The thing is, Shanna/King got the most time of the women’s matches… at five minutes. I’m sure there will be some who will say that that’s for the better given the state of their women’s division, but you’re not going to get better unless you get the time. Just look at Dynamite and how Serena and Conti did well. Let’s get some feature bouts on Dark for the women’s division and give them 8 minutes the way you do for the men.
Look, I don’t have to sell you on SCU vs TNT, Fenix vs Black, or Jurassic Express vs Johnson/Solow, do I? They got time and they rocked. At the level AEW is, I can tell you 6-8 minutes is not that hard to put together for a decent match. I’m not asking for a 15 minute Dynamite main event (yet). But how hard would it be to mix up your feature bouts? I can tell you that I haven’t seen a long women’s match on Dark the way the men get… this needs to be rectified. Are you reading, Mr. Khan? I don’t ask for much.
BELL-TO-BELL: 63:19 over fifteen matches (average match time 4:13)
MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Rey Fenix vs Baron Black
- Rey Fenix
- Lee Johnson
- Commentary in general (Excalibur and Taz deserve props for working around Junior)
- Britt Baker (always am impressed when you can cover for a debutant)
Almost time for Beach Break! Let’s get ready to rum… wait, wrong company.