The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 78 (Saturday Night’s… Event), March 6, 2021.
From the AEW Arena.
Your hosts are Taz and Excalibur featuring Anthony Ogogo. Your adjective: “pivotal”.
TONIGHT! We get you ready for Revolution with some fun matches! Our feature bout sees Luther and Serpentico take on the Sydal Brothers! In addition, we have the Natural Nightmares of Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall squaring off against Peter Avalon and Cezar Bononi!
Also in action: Gunn Club, Lance Archer, Chuck Taylor, Jack Evans, Thunder Rosa, Tay Conti, Penta El 0M, Bear Country, Team Taz, and Angels/Vance! Let’s prep for a PPV!
Opening match: Peter Avalon and Cezar Bononi (2-1) vs. Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall (w/Nick Comoroto) (9-2). Bononi rolls Avalon out of the tunnel on a wheeled heart bed. That’s different. Taz: “For a second I thought it was Darby’s skateboard.” Ogogo, meanwhile, thinks Rhodes and Marshall have a better idea of just coming out because no frills, just business is how you win.
Rhodes and Bononi start. Bononi shoves Dustin out of a lockup, but Dustin comes back with a headlock. They run into each other for a stalemate, but Dustin ducks a clothesline to get an uppercut. He brings Marshall in, and Rhodes whips Marshall into the corner for a forearm before getting a powerslam. Marshall stops a whip and gets a boot, but Avalon with a clothesline on the apron and Bononi stomps away. Avalon in, and he chops away. Hammer throw and Avalon stomps Marshall down.
Bononi in, and he keeps Marshall in the corner with back elbows. He adds elbows to the skull , but Marshall handsprings out of a whip into a gamengiri. Avalon can’t stop the tag, and Dustin gets clotheslines and a back body drop to Avalon. Kneeling uppercut to Bononi and powerslam to Avalon. Bononi cuts off the Final Reckoning before dumping Marshall, but Dustin sends Bononi out and gives Avalon a bulldog for the pin at 3:37. Very quick match, but it felt like it ended too soon. 3/4*
Chuck Taylor (w/Orange Cassidy) (29-18) vs. JD Drake (0-2). This feels like a mismatch of styles, as opposed to the matches Drake had with Eddie Kingston and Stu Grayson. Drake is a brawler and striker, and Taylor is more of a traditional sports entertainer. But I’ve been surprised before.
Lockup, and Drake gets Taylor to the ropes. Taylor ducks a chop, though, and we reset. Taylor with a waistlock, but Drake switches to a top wristlock. Taylor can’t bring Drake down by stepping on the knees, so he reverses to a headlock. Drake throws him off into the corner but misses a charge, and Taylor gets an armdrag and lock. Drake fights to his feet and tackles down Taylor as we go International~!, ending with an armdrag and dropkick by Taylor as Drake bails.
Taylor tries to run around the ring to ambush Drake, but he gets caught and thrown with the rope rebound forearm. Drake smokes Taylor with a right hand, and back in, senton gets two. Drake stomps Taylor, who rests on the middle rope only to get choked around it. Headbutt by Drake and big chop floors Taylor. He steps on Taylor’s hand and whips him in, getting a clothesline and falling headbutt for two.
Kneeling camel clutch follows, then catches Taylor with a Manhattan Drop and Claymore for two. Drake with a big chop, and Taylor is ready to return fire. Taylor ducks a big chop and gets Sole Food to take over. Running boot and Taylor’s is fired up. Drake goes up-and-over in the corner, but runs into a flying knee. Standing uranage by Taylor and he goes up, but the moonsault misses. Drake with a back elbow and HE goes up, and a leg lariat gets a close two. Clothesline gets two. Drake gives the thumbs down and goes to the top, but Taylor crotches him from behind and pulls him off with the Awful Waffle off the top rope! That’ll end it at 6:25. Your answer: they had a very good indie match you’d love to see anywhere. **1/4
Penelope Ford distracts Orange on the outside, so Kip Sabian enters with a running dropkick and Miro gets a cobra clutch on Taylor. Miro then pours water on Taylor and tells him he could’ve been a man and talk to Miro, but Taylor was a boy and went to the office. He could have been something, but now Taylor is wasting Miro’s time. Miro should be world champion, but Taylor is wasting him time! So now, he’ll witness Orange’s destiny today and his for tomorrow. If they show up, they’ll get it twice as worse… and Miro gives the half-hearted kicks to Orange only to end with the Machka Kick. Miro and Kip stand tall. Very Good Professional Wrestling, baby!
Penta El 0 Miedo (23-14) vs. Azriel (debut). Tomorrow night, it’s Cody, Penta, Archer, Scorpio, Caster, and a player to be named later in a ladder match, where the winner gets a shot at Darby Allin. And yes, this is the Azriel from Jersey All Pro.
Penta shoves Azriel away before they lock up. Penta with a hammerlock trip, but he pulls Azriel up and they exchange armdrags. Penta clubs down Azriel and chops him down. Another chop in the corner, then a spinebuster, but Azriel with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Azriel tries a back roll into something, but gets kicked halfway through. He kicks Azriel’s leg out of his leg before chopping him against the ropes. Azriel ducks a clothesline and gets a step-up rana and armdrag. He dropkicks Penta but charges into a SUPERKICK.
Another charge misses, and Penta goes up top, only for Azriel to chop him to the floor and follow with a tope con hilo. Back in, Azriel goes up top but dives into another SUPERKICK. He calls for Cero Miedo, but Azriel with a series of knees to the gut to block. Cobra clutch slam by Azriel (though he lost his grip halfway through) gets two. Frog splash hits the knees, and Penta with the pumphandle sit-out driver for two. Penta Driver is escaped, but Penta with a back kick and Destroyer off the ropes. Armbuster ends it at 5:11. The spirits were willing in this match, but the chemistry was lacking. *1/4
Wrestling With the Week ad.
Big Swole is out to talk. They say she’s underutilizied or undervalued. She fought through active Crohn’s Disease to be #1 Contender, but then the tournament happened… for something she earned. Yes, the rankings reset every year, but she was still hot, so she took time off. She figured out it didn’t matter who won the tournament… well, it kinda does, and she’s happy for Ryo Mizunami. She wants everyone to watch the “#1 Contender” try to be a champion with a debt. Because she is owed, and no one wants to owe Swole who will fight through everyone to get what she deserves. So After Revolution, it’s time to get what’s due, and the price is gold.
Lance Archer (w/Jake Roberts) (17-5) vs. John Skyler (0-1 in 2021). Skyler races out of the ring when Archer enters, because of course he does; wouldn’t you? Archer wants him to come get it.
Archer throws Skyler down on the lockup and tosses him into the corner. Big right hand floors Skyler, and he adds a knee choke. Big CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY follows by Archer, and he tries a chokeslam, but Skyler grabs the hair and gets an enzuigiri. He chops away, but Archer just smiles as he’s hit. Skyer tries a headlock, then evades Archer and gets uppercuts in the corner before eating a big boot and a Pounce. Archer with running back elbows in the corner before he kicks Skyler away and smiles to the camera. Skyler with a headbutt to the gut, but he runs into a stiff right cross. Full nelson slam gets two (Excalibur was certain that was it). Overhead throw by the ears by Archer and he charges into the corner, but Skyler with an enzuigiri. Archer slugs him silly again, though, and the Blackout wins at 3:12. Skyler toying with his prey is kinda fun. 1/2*
And now Roberts has a mic. Look what we’ve gotten into, he says. Six men in a match, one unknown, but hey, we like surprises. If you put six men in the ring, but one of them will hurt everyone so bad they’ll scream. Roberts likes thinking about that. He’s not bothered by taking things away from people. Give them the chances! Archer emphasizes either you give it or they take it. It’s been a long year that Archer’s been in AEW, and the TNT title was always supposed to be his. He’s so happy Cody’s in this match because he will destroy him. There will be bodies in the ring, and Archer dares them to take the brass ring, because nothing will stop him from winning, killing Darby, and winning the TNT title. It doesn’t matter if you’re a qualifier or a surprise: everybody dies.
Brian Cage and Ricky Starks (w/Hook) (2-1) vs. Fuego Del Sol and Angel Fashion (first time teaming). Taz has to point out Cage’s FTW World Title. These two will face Sting and Darby Allin tomorrow. Opponents don’t even get an intro.
Fuego and Starks start, and Starks sends Fuego down with a waistlock. Fuego with a flying mare and spinning back kick, but Starks catches him with a spinout slam. Starks gets a stalling suplex as Cage tags in, and he takes over the stalling suplex as poor Fuego gets planted. Back elbow by Cage, then a fallaway slam (with five reps). Fashion tags in to try, but Cage no-sells his clothesline. Fasion ducks a return, but a leg lariat is caught and Cage dumps him and Fuego in turn. Starks spears away Fuego, and the Drill Claw finishes Fashion at 2:25. Cage is so much fun to watch when he murders a fool. 1/2* And yes, someone book Cage/Archer down the line.
Jack Evans (0-1 singles in 2021) vs. Jake St.Patrick (0-3 singles in 2021). No sign of Angelico. Evans has been a proxy to the Matt Hardy vs. Adam Page feud that blows off tomorrow with lots of cash on the line.
Lockup, and Evans takes the arm into an armbar, drop toehold, and front facelock combo. St.Patrick flips him out, but Evans recovers and gets a headlock as we go International~!, ending with a dropkick by St.Patrick for two. Running uppercut by St.Patrick, then a boot and double stomp gets two. Another uppercut, but Evans handsprings out of a cross-corner whip and nails the 540 kick. Knees to the face follow, then a leg lariat and standing Sky Twister for two. St.Patrick reverses a whip in the corner and gets an uppercut, but Evans trips him into the middle buckle and back rolls into a Pele. Kimura by Evans, but St.Patrick makes the ropes.
St.Patrick with a spinkick and legsweep, then the Dragon Whip for two. St.Patrick is frustrated, but follows him with a whip only to get dropkicked. Evans springboards into the Backslide Clutch for two. GTS big kick and Falcon Arrow gets two and St.Patrick is running out of ideas. He goes up top, but Evans follows him with a spider suplex and leaps off with a 630 to win at 5:18. Taz: “Damn near knocked his liver loose!” Evans gave him a lot and the match was better off for it. *3/4
And now, a Max Caster track about the ladder match. Bonus points for name-dropping Burt Bacharach. “Going for the gold, but my name is Platinum Max!”
Austin and Colten Gunn (1-0 as a duo) vs. D3 and M’Badu (first time teaming). D3 is from Italy, M’Badu from Nigeria. And the Gunn brothers are local.
D3 and Austin start. D3 with a waistlock, but Austin reverses to a headlock. D3 to a top wristlock, so Austin gets a hammerlock into an armbar. He goes up and over D3, nearly runs over the ref, and trips D3 into a flipping neck snap. M’Badu tags in, much to Austin’s chagrin, and throws Austin into the corner. Colten tags in to take this, and a lockup goes nowhere. They both go for a side grip, with Colten getting arm control on M’Badu as they criss-cross until Colten gets a dropkick. Colten whips Austin into M’Badu, but M’Badu catches him on the second try to a powerslam for two. D3 in with diving axhandles.
Austin fights back with body blows, but D3 gets a European uppercut and hangman’s neckbreaker. He kicks Austin in the corner, and M’Badu in with punches in the corner and a Stinger Splash. Austin’s out on his feet, so M’Badu lets him collapse and gets two. D3 in, but Austin stops on a whip and gets a backbreaker on D3 before low bridging M’Badu. Hot tag Colten, and D3 gets hit with clotheslines before a leaping neckbreaker falls M’Badu. Back-and-forth Stinger Splashes by Colten, and a tilt-a-whirl slam to D3. M’Badu is sent to the apron, and Austin sends him to the floor with a dropkick. 3:10 To Yuma gets the win at 4:05. Four rookies looked all right in the ring together given the limited time they had. *1/4
Thunder Rosa (9-4) vs. Tesha Price (0-3). After the last appearance, Price is back to the double pigtails and girl-next-door look. Rosa teams with Riho against Dr. Britt Baker and Rebel on the Buy-In tomorrow. Rosa was in the US Final of the women’s tournament.
Lockup, and Rosa with a deep waistlock. Price insists LOUDLY she won’t give up, so Rosa with headlock control into a pinning predicament for one. Full nelson out of that for Rosa, but Price with an armdrag to reset. Rosa with a chop to send Price to the corner, then another once there. She sends Price into a second corner headfirst, but Price blocks a whip and kicks Rosa. Lucha armdrag out of the corner follows, but Rosa with a lucha bridging cradle for two. Legsweep by Rosa and a shotgun dropkick sends Price into the corner. A straight right and Price is seeing stars. Rosa catches Price in the middle of an up and over and gets an electric chair for two. Rosa teases the Lockjaw of her own, but instead it’s… the Brutalizer? I think?
Price manipulates out by rolling into a pin for two. Rosa with chops in the corner, but a blind charge misses and Price gets the handspring roundhouse kick. Rosa shoves Price away on a bulldog try and gets a release German suplex. Mizline floors Price, and Rosa leaps over the top with knees to the chest. Shanna-style dropkick by Rosa gets two. Price is freaking out, but manages to hang Rosa up on the middle rope and gets a running right for two. Please stop shrieking, Tesha. Rosa with a flurry into a backfist, and the Thunder Driver ends it at 4:49. Price needs to go back to being a plucky underdog. She had the look, but she kept up the loud shrieking and arguing. Rosa, of course, looks ready for prime time. *
Bear Country (Boulder and Bronson) (3-0 in 2021) vs. Cameron Stewart and Ryzin (first time teaming). Bear Country is in the Tag Team Rumble tomorrow night. The winners of that rumble get a title shot. Stewart has the dweeb look, complete with wire-rim glasses.
Ryzin will start with Bronson. He ducks a lockup and mocks Bronson, which is an easy way to get your arm caught. Bronson no-sells a right from Ryzin and corners him, slugging away and CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN! Ron Simmons spinebuster from Bronson and he wants an elbowdrop, but Ryzin tags ot to Stewart. Stewart bounces off of Bronson, who gives him the elbowdrop instead. Another club and Stewart almost crying in pain. Boulder throws Stewart into the corner (airmail) and mugs him once there. BACK body drop by Boulder (.7 Warlord), and Bronson’s back in.
Bronson whips Boulder into Stewart, and Boulder whips him back into a back elbow. Stewart desperately tries to fight to his feet, but Bronson blocks a whip. Ryzin tags himself in, and the duo gets a double kick to Bronson, but he runs through their clotheslines and Boulder runs both men over. He slams both men at once (with Stewart landing on Ryzin), and the Totem Splash kills both guys at 3:55. Stewart has a future if they make him a manager. 1/2*
Hang on, though, because Bunny comes out to get Bear Country’s attention, and yep, Butcher and Blade emerge from the crowd to take them down with chairs. You think they would’ve learned from last time, you know? Bunny slaps around Boulder as referees chase Butcher and Blade away.
Alan Angels and Preston Vance of the Dark Order (1-3) vs. Labron Kozone and Vary Morales. And yes, the whole Dark Order comes out to join them in the entrance, with Brodie Jr staying at ringside. We’re old enough now to have kids named Labron become someone.
Vance and Kozone start. Kozone with a headlock, and he punches Vance to the ropes, but Vance with a receipt. Kozone tries a Pounce but it’s a stalemate, and Vance with a hiptoss. Kozone with a big right to rock Vance, but he runs into a pump kick. Morales and Angels in, and Angels gets the better of it as they exchange shoulder tackles. Angels is stopped with a headscissors, but comes back with one of his own. They exchange armdrags and simultaneous dropkicks as we go to a reset. Angels with a dropkick to corner Morales in the Dark Order corner. The five-punch countalong follows.
Vance in, and he throws Angels into Morales, who throws Morales back for a dropkick/fallaway slam combo. Vance with a stalling suplex, much to Brodie Jr’s delight. Vance with a hammer throw and running clothesline off the charge, but the second one hits the boot. Morales with a missile dropkick, and Angels and Lozone enter. Angels gets the better of this exchange with an enzuigiri. Crossbody into the middle rope by Angels and he takes Morales out with a tope. Back in, Angels with a Michinoku Driver for two, Morales saves. Vance gives Morales the spinebuster to end him, and the Wing Snapper into the back Rainmaker gets the win at 4:47. Lozone was pretty sloppy in there. 3/4* Brodie Jr wants to raise his team’s hands instead of the ref.
Tay Conti (w/Brodie Lee Jr) (#5 women, 5-2) vs. Leila Grey (debut). Now, as always, there’s no confirmation Conti is in the Dark Order, but that doesn’t stop them from letting the kid do what he wants. Although Jr and Tay doing the BFF pinkie thing is great, as is Conti giving him a hug.
Lockup goes nowhere to start as Grey thinks she’s impressive. So Conti gets a headlock on the second try, switching it to a standing armbar. Grey takes her down by the hair, but Conti springs up into a hammerlock/headlock combo. Grey reverses the headlock, so Conti shoves her off. That’s enough playing around as Conti gets kicks and an ipponzei. She keeps the arm control to get Yes Kicks, including one to the back. Gray bails, so Conti follows and slugs her down on the outside. Back in, Conti fires away with rights and sends Gray into the corner, but Gray moves and Conti’s arm hits the post.
Gray with a boot choke in the corner, then a snapmare and single-leg dropkick for one. Brodie Jr is flopping around onstage in the background, and even the announcers are distracted. Gray trash-talks Conti, which is a huge mistake as she slaps Grey and gets some saionagis. Conti avoids a charge and gets a right, then leaps over Grey and gets a pump kick in the corner. A flying knee follows, then a hammerlock DDT to win at 3:45. Conti’s wrestling is getting better, but her judo is still her strong suit. 3/4*
Main event: Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico) (7-9) vs. Sydal Brothers (0-3). Interesting development: Chaos Project and Top Flight have been removed from the Tag Rumble, with Jurassic Express entered to put the total at an even 30 guys. And yes, Taz tries to sing along to the Sydals’ theme. He misses Jungle Boy, I can tell.
Mike and Serpentico start. Luther gets in behind Mike and kicks him down, and all four men are in, but the brother duck some offense and dropkick Chaos Project. Luther bails, so the Sydals get a drop toehold into a running dropkick on Serpentico for two by Mike. Uppercut by Mike, and Matt in with the draping double stomp and snap side suplex for two. Serpentico fights to his feet but gets caught with a back elbow, and Mike does the double stomp this time. Snapmare and standing moonsault gets two.
Mike chops Serpentico in the ropes and sends him in, but Serpentico reverses and Mike hits Luther and the cameraman. Mike recovers with the Split Legged Driver for two. Serpentico sends Mike to the apron and Luther holds him in place for a Hotshot by Serpentico. Luther then throws Mike into the guardrail. Back in, Serpentico with a double axhandle for two. Luther in, and he pump kicks Mike and chokes him over the top rope. He stomps Mike and sends him into the Chaos Project corner, bringing in Serpentico for an assisted avalanche. Luther then crushes both men – yes, Mike and Serpentico – before throwing Serpentico for a cannonball.
Poor Serpentico crawls over to go for ground and pound on Mike, and Luther comes in to work him over. Butterfly suplex and kneedrop, and Serpentico is tagged in (not by his idea) for an assisted legdrop on Mike, then a facejam splash. Serpentico controls the head and tags Luther in, who stomps away. He goes CLUBBERIN and snapmares Mike as we HIT THE CHINLOCK. Mike elbows out, but runs into a pump kick as Serpentico is brought in. Luther clotheslines Serpentico to DDT Mike, and Luther gets two off of it. Now Serpentico is tagged in much to his chagrin, and Luther slams Mike before slamming Serpentico onto… Mike’s knees.
He escapes a back suplex by Luther, hot tag Matt. Big leg lariats to both men and Luther is knocked out of the ring. Fisherman’s brainbuster on Serpentico gets two. Serpentico tries for a TKO, but Matt gets the Slice and a standing corkscrew moonsault for two. Russian legsweep and cobra clutch by Matt, but Luther breaks it up with a big right. Mike with a SUPERKICK to Luther, and the Sydals are ready to end it as Mike goes up. Serpentico escapes, but Mike avoids it with a cartwheel and the Sydals recover for a double-team Saturn Driver to win at 8:53! FIRST WIN ALERT for Mike! Serpentico is doing the work of both guys in Chaos Project and it all worked for the best. **1/4
Sting comes back to the ring for the first time in years at REVOLUTION! Order now!
So with Revolution tomorrow, the key question is about to be answered – it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: HOW I’D BOOK IT!
- Britt Baker and Rebel over Thunder Rosa and Riho when Baker puts the Lockjaw on Rosa. Rosa is on her way back to NWA anyway probably, and the story here is Baker’s ascendance and treatment of Rebel culminating in a match with Shida.
- Adam Page over Matt Hardy, only to find out Hardy is such a bad huckster he’s broke and there’s no money to win. Page needs to be re-heated, and it’s amazing that he lost his way.
- Best Friends over Miro and Kip Sabian when Cassidy pins Sabian. The heat is gone on Miro, but he can be recovered the easiest, while Cassidy and Taylor need the win.
- The Face of the Revolution Ladder Match is won by Scorpio Sky. No prediction as to the sixth member, but if it were up to me, I’d go with Chris Hero for a one-off. Granted, I wouldn’t be surprised by the new person winning. Cody and Archer will cancel out, while Penta and Caster are tag guys.
- The Young Bucks over Chris Jericho and MJF after Sammy Guevara returns and costs his former teammates the match. They are clearly building to Bucks/Good Brothers as the Bullet Club USA continues to dominate the scene. Fortunately, there’s an “out” in Guevara.
- In a match that starts in the ring and ends in a cinematic, Team Taz beats Sting and Darby Allin with aid from Powerhouse Hobbs as Cage pins Sting to become a bigger monster. All Sting has left is his name, and it’s best to use it to make others. Allin having the TNT title means he needs to be protected for whomever wins the ladder match – and I wouldn’t be surprised if the win comes almost right away on Dynamite.
- Hikaru Shida beats Ryo Mizunami in a 20-minute classic. This match is all about giving Shida a patch to complete her resume.
- Jurassic Express win the Casino Rumble when Luchasaurus eliminates both of Private Party at once. Silver and Reynolds finish third. Brian Pillman Jr is the Iron Man, and Bear Country gets the most eliminations as a team. Jurassic Express is clearly the big deal among these 15 and are such heavy favorites it’s practically them vs. the field. Sliver and Reynolds are on their way up, so giving Silver the Final Four spot will keep the spotlight on him. Bear Country has momentum going against Butcher/Blade, and Pillman is someone they want to stick around.
- Kenny Omega defeats Jon Moxley with a One-Winged Angel into the barbed wire to retain the AEW Title. With the no-DQ stip, don’t be surprised if the Good Brothers take part. Moxley seems to be ready to take time off to become a father, so writing him out here is no big deal. (Not sure who Omega’s next challenger is, but we have two and a half months to figure it out.)
BELL TO BELL – 56:22 over twelve matches (average time 4:42)
MATCH OF THE NIGHT – Taylor/Drake
- Chuck Taylor
- Jake St.Patrick
- Lance Archer
- Austin Gunn
- FIRST WIN – Mike Sydal
Let the Revolution begin!