AEW DARK: March 23, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 81 (“Holy Cow, a Title Match!”), March 23, 2021.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are Excalibur, and Taz, with others joining them as noted. Your adjective: “Massive”.

TONIGHT! Chaos Project steps up against Alex Reynolds and potential future TNT Champion John Silver! Ashley Vox looks for her first win, while Alex Gracia hopes to get her second! But we know someone will be given the First Win Alert, because Fuego Del Sol squares off with JD Drake! Jack Evans steps up against his younger doppelganger, Daunte Martin! And the FTW WORLD TITLE IS ON THE LINE as Brian Cage defends against Brandon Cutler!

You’ll also see: Team Nightmare of Aaron Solow and Nick Comoroto, QT Marshall, Gunn Club, Penelope Ford, Cezar Bononi, Janela and Kiss, The Bunny (yes, in the ring!), SCU, and a Dark Order trio of Uno, Grayson, and Colt!

Opening match: Chaos Project (8-10) vs. Alex Reynolds and John Silver (w/Brodie Lee Jr) (3-0). You know, all things considered given that its individual members are on the downswing of their career, they’ve found a way to gimmick the team that can be fun to watch, even if there’s a natural shelf life. I mean, at some point Serpentico HAS to get sick of it and run off, right? Speaking of teams that will inevitably break up, John Silver has a TNT Title shot tomorrow on Dynamite and it’s pretty clear he’s the breakout star of this group, much to the detriment of Reynolds.

Serpentico and Silver start. Silver with a waistlock takedown and he maintains control, but Serpentico slugs out of an armbar only to run into a BACK body drop. Serpentico switches Silver into the corner and kicks away, b ut Silver gets a Hammer Throw and uppercuts Serpentico mid-up-and-over. Reynolds in, and it’s a double drop toehold and double low dropkick. Luther tags in, but Reynolds gets in some shots and dodges an avalanche in order to get a pair of running elbows. He catches Serpentico coming in illegally off the top, then kicks Luther away, but Serpentico grabs the ankle and Luther gets a belly-to-belly.

Luther goes ground and pound before bringing Serpentico in, and Luther rushes Serpentico into Reynolds into the corner. Serpentico falls on top for two. Luther tags in now and keeps control on Reynolds, landing a corner clothesline and a short-arm lariat. He tags in Serpentico (who crawls in), then facejams Serpentico onto Reynolds for two. To be fair, Serpentico seemed to want that one. Luther back in, and he ditches Reynolds to the outside. Reynolds blocks a SUPERKICK from Serpentico and boots him, but back in, Luther puts Reynolds up for a back superplex. Reynolds elbows Luther off and lands a moonsault press on Luther, hot tag Silver.

Clotheslines for Serpentico, then a pair of Bradley beals. German suplex to Luther (!) and Silver lawn darts Serpentico into Luther before giving him a German suplex, Luther saves. Serpentico upends Silver and gets a SUPERKICK, then Luther slams Serpentico onto Silver and boots away Reynolds. Big boot to Silver and Chaos Project sets up Creeping Death, but Reynolds shoves Serpentico off the top and frees Silver. Reynolds with a tope suicida on Chaos Project, and back in, Silver gets Yes Kicks to Serpentico. Backslide by Serpentico, but Silver rolls through and the two exchange enzuigiris before Silver gets a lariat. Austin straddle and release German suplex by Silver and in comes Reynolds for the Dark Destroyer to win at 6:58. Sue me, I liked this. **

Alex Marvez interviews SCU about getting up to #1 even though Pac and Fenix have first dibs. Daniels doesn’t care about any of that. It’s not about the buzz, or about the complaining; it’s about wins and losses. SCU s on a winning streak and at #1. They’re not mad that Pac and Fenix get the title shot, because SCU is on a mission. Every time they go out, their team is on the line, and they’re quietly winning. It doesn’t matter what show – SCU will keep winning until they get that title shot. And at that point, they will make people realize why you should never forget them.

Kazarian adds that they’ve teamed for 10 years, and they’re putting it on the line to be champions. How much do you think they’ll sacrifice to keep their friendship? They will do everything and sacrifice everything, and they will be Tag Team Champions. I am so digging this story.

And with that.

SCU (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) (#1 team) (7-0 in 2021) vs. Joren Nelson and Royce Isaacs (0-3). Not sure what else there is to say about SCU, but as for their opponents, they are also California-based. I imagine these four have sparred before.

Kazarian and Isaacs start. Lockup, and they spin around the ropes before breaking in a stalemate. Shoving match leads to another lockup, and Kazarian gets a single-leg, kip up, and some armdrags. Kazarian controls the arm, but Isaacs reverses it and keeps control. Kazarian rolls through into a whip, but Isaacs blocks both a hiptoss and O’Connor Roll only to get armdragged. Isaacs backs Kazarian in the corner, and gets a sucker punch to the gut, but Nelson tags in and runs into an armdrag. Daniels in, and the duo get a series of shots (kick to lariat to double-stomp).

Daniels uppercuts Nelson and gets a Hammer Throw, catching Nelson coming back with a T-Bone for two. Daniels works a headlock, but Nelson escapes and gets a slam before bringing in Isaacs. Daniels kicks Isaacs away and gets another armdrag as Taz notes that Isaacs/Nelson aren’t keeping control of their opponents during tags and are paying for it. Flip neckbreaker by Kazarian to Isaacs and he follows with a back suplex. Daniels comes back in with a shoulder block and sunset flip into an enzuigiri for two. Daniels makes sure Nelson doesn’t try anything, but Isaacs escapes the fireman’s carry and gets a Hotshot into a big right from Nelson.

Fisherman’s suplex by Isaacs follows, and he goes ground and pound on Daniels, ending with a headbutt. Nelson in, and the heels get the Veg-O-Matic. Isaacs tauns Kazarian, then goes for more mounted punches as Excalibur admonishes the taunting. Nelson to a gutwrench, with Daniels elbowing out only to run into a fireman’s carry. Assisted clothesline gets two for Isaacs. Isaacs wants the finish on Daniels, but Daniels blocks the suplex and gets his gut worked over. Another suplex try is blocked as well, and now Isaacs pounds Daniels in anger and shoves him away. Daniels returns wth an STO on an unsuspecting Isaacs, and it’s hot tag Kazarian.

Everyone gets dropkicked, and Isaacs eats the flying jalapeno. Guillotine legdrop to Nelson, then a sunset flip on Isaacs for two. Slam by Kazarian and springboard legdrop, and Isaacs is in trouble. Best Meltzer Ever is loaded up, but Nelson stops Daniels. Nelson smacks Isaacs by mistake on a running lariat, and Kazarian gets thrown into a baseball slide into Isaacs in a neat bit of improv. Nelson tries to dive onto Kazarian, but Daniels cuts him off and they slug it out. Daniels gets cut off with a knee to the midsection, but Nelson runs into a Steinerline by Kazarian. Isaacs reutrns the favor, but Daniels with the uranage and Best Moonsault Ever wins it at 8:45. SCU is comfortable in their position where they can make everyone look good, and it’s so much fun to watch. **1/2 Excalibur says that once Pac/Fenix vs Young Bucks is done, SCU will get the next shot – you suppose that’ll be at Double or Nothing?

Penelope Ford (2-0) vs. Miranda Alize (0-2). If Alize looks a lot like Ivelisse physically, that’s not a coincidence – Ivelisse trained her and they call their group Las Sicarias.

Alize ducks a Ford charge and gets some armdrags to start, then a lucha armdrag. Step-up rana and Ford bails, so Alize goes for a baseball slide. Ford catches her and gives her a forearm shiver, then drags her back in and goes ground and pound. Alize blocks a suplex and gets a small package for two. Ford with a hard kick, but Alize reverses a corner whip. Ford slugs her down on the apron and does the double-jump double knees. Back in, it gets two. (Replays make the announcers wonder if Sabian missed a kiss of Ford.)

Draping big boot by Ford, then a choke on the middle rope – and NOW she gets the kiss before launching Alize backwards. Ford with a slap to Alize, but that just ticks her off and she starts a slugfest. Alize wants a running start for her last shot, and now the two chase each other off the ropes until Ford catches a charging Alize with a spin roundhouse kick for two. Handspring Stunner try, but Alize catches her and gives her a flying knee for two. Alize charges into a drop toehold and lands in the middle rope, and Ford adds a dropkick to the back. Gut Check and fisherman’s suplex gets the win at 4:06. They kept it fast and they kept it energetic. Ivelisse should be proud. *3/4

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Gunn Club (Austin, Billy, Colten) (4-0) vs. Adam Priest, Jake St.Patrick and Baron Black (first time teaming). I’ll give Austin and Colten this – they have the gaga down, as Pat Patterson would say. Always energetic in their entrance and in their moves. Ricky Starks is on commentary. Excalibur jokes about starting Knife Club.

Austin and Priest start. Priest with a waistlock takedown of Austin and he holds the control, getting a second takeodwn as Austin is frustrated. Austin breaks the grip but falls into a headlock, and after a back and forth whip, Austin trips Priest and flies over the top with a Hennig necksnap. Priest slugs Austin hard to get away, and Black and Billy are in. Black with a big chop in the corner, then another, but Billy goes International~!, ending with blocking a hiptoss into one of his own. Big chop follows, and Black is caught in the Gunn corner. Avalanche by Billy, and Colten leaps off Billy’s back to Slam Dunk Black (with Austin forming the hoop). Running neckbreaker by Colten, and Black escapes to tag in St.Patrick. Colten stops a tilt-a-whirl with another neckbreaker and EVERYBODY INTO THE POOL! Black and Priest try the double-whip do-si-do but get dumped to the outside, and 3:10 to Yuma ends St.Patrick at 3:06. Gunn Club seem to be going for quick squashes lately as opposed to semi-competitive matches. 1/2*

Jack Evans (1-2) vs. Daunte Martin (part of #5 team) (4-2). Styles make fights, and styles meshing make for WCW Nitro flashbacks… let’s hope. Much like last week when Evans wrestled solo, there’s no sign of Angelico… yet. Martin will team with the Varsity Blonds to take on The Pinnacle (Spears/Harwood/Wheeler) tomorrow.

Lockup, and Evans takes the arm. Martin flips out to reverse Scorpio style, so Evans cartwheels out and gets a heel kick to the gut. Martin goes up and over, and the two leapfrog each other until Martin lands a series of armdrags. Evans blocks an armbar out of a springboard armdrag attempt and fires away, but Martin ducks a clothesline and gets a spinning armdrag and dropkick. Hangman neckbreaker and Martin goes up, landing on his feet on a 450 try. Evans handsprings over a charge and nails a 540 kick. He clobbers Martin to keep him on the mat, then pounds him in the corner head-first. Hammer Throw and Evans gets the handspring elbow before leaping in off the apron with a springboard Rider Kick for two.

Starks: “Jack Evans must be made of Jell-O, with how he moves.”

Taz: “That’s some ugly Jell-O. Tapioca like.”

Evans pounds Martin in the corner, but Martin catches another handspring elbow try and flings him onto the stage. Martin chops Evans and brings him back in with a suplex try, but Evans flips out only to get turned inside out on a clothesline. Martin adds a dropkick and standing vertical step-up rana (!!), then gets sent to the apron only to land a double jump springboard moonsault press for two. Where do they get all these wonderful toys? Evans kicks Martin away and springboards in with a rana to send Martin to the outside, then goes to the apron. Martin ducks a 540 kick and gets whipped into the guardrail…

NEVER MIND HE JUST FLIPPED OVER THE GUARDRAIL AND LANDED ON HIS FEET! HOLY MOTHER OF RICOCHET WHAT DID I JUST SEE?

He catches Evans with a clothesline before getting a running start… DESTROYER ON THE OUTSIDE LEAPING OVER THE GUARDRAIL TO HIT IT! Back in, the 450 connects and it’s academic at 5:52. Angelico catches Martin while the latter is celebrating and tosses him onto the stage, but Darius – who isn’t medically cleared – still gets in the way and says go through me. We’re seeing the new Hardy Boys, and their names are Top Flight. **3/4

FTW World Title: Brian Cage (champion) (w/Hook) (15-2) vs. Brandon Cutler (challenger) (2-3). Taz says this is the main event, but he would. Come to think of it, there’s a lot of matches still to go, aren’t there? I didn’t fall asleep for an hour, did I? Anyway, champ comes out first because the FTW title isn’t official. Cutler is a very streaky fighter, as Excalibur notes, and Taz admits that Cutler can get going but Cage is capable of stopping him before he can start. Bryce Remsburg is your ref. Starks is still here.

Cage with a waistlock takedown to start and he works the arm, but Cutler handsprings out only to get nailed with an uppercut. Blind charge misses and Cutler gets a Fosbury gamengiri, but his springboard is caught into a Death Valley Driver. Cage corners Cutler and works the gut, adding a big chop that reduces Cutler to crawling. Powerbomb try, but Cutler flips over. Sunset flip is blocked, but Cutler gets a roundhouse kick and some forearms. Dragon Whip sends Cage to the outside, and Cutler nails a tope.

Back in, Cutler with the springboard crossbody for two. Starks is unimpressed with Cage’s bravado. Cutler with shots to Cage, but Cage catches him into a pumphandle facebuster for two. F-5 is escaped, and a discus clothesline is blocked by a Cutler big boot, but Cage comes back with a SUPERKICK. Cesaro superplex try, but Cutler hangs Cage up and gets a Cactus Jack sunset flip bomb for two. Springboard forearm by Cutler and he says he’s coming for Taz, and the big springboard elbow gets a close two. Taz is now furious and Starks is nervous. Cutler dives off the top, but Cage catches him in midair into the Drill Claw to retain at 4:24. These two had some good chemistry for a four-minute match. **

Ashley Vox (0-2) vs. Alex Gracia (0-4 in 2021). Here’s something interesting – both women are generally used in enhancement talent roles, but they both get entrances tonight. They have all of one win between them – Gracia over KiLynn King in 2020.

Lockup, and Vox leverages Gracia into a hiptoss. Gracia returns fire with multiple armdrags and an armbar. Vox sends Gracia into the corner, but she catches Vox and gets a sunset flip for one. Crossbody gets another one. Single-leg dropkick and she charges, but Vox goes over the top only for Gracia to roll through a sunset flip into a shotgun dropkick for two. Vox and Gracia exchange forearms, but Vox with a fish-hook and headbutt before getting a tilt-a-whirl into an armbar. Gracia escapes and they exchange legsweeps for one each. Crucifix by Gracia gets two and we get a pinfall reversal sequence, and Vox with another fish-hook armbar… and Gracia taps at 2:28! FIRST WIN ALERT! Not much of a match, but we all have to start somewhere. 1/4*

Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela (9-10) vs. Vary Morales and Seth Gargis (first time teaming). Janela tries to put over Kiss’s booty on commentary again, but Tony Khan thought ahead and cut off the headset. Excalibur mentions Janela losing his cool last week.

Janela and Morales start, as Janela makes a show of taking off his jacket and rocking the Nasty Boys graffiti look. Headlock by Janela, but Morales reverses via a top wristlock. Janela with a single-leg, but Morales jips up, which kind of impresses Janela enough to try it on his own. Spoiler alert: no, even after three tries. So Janela finds a laughing Morales and SUPERKICKs him before blowing kisses to the camera and bringing Kiss in. Morales misses an enzuigiri on Janela, who gets a Romero Special with Kiss adding a cravat. Gargis breaks the whole thing up.

Kiss and Gargis are legal, and Kiss dives in with a crossbody for two. Hammer Throw by Gargis, but a charge eats elbow and Kiss adds a spinning roundhouse kick. Gargis is on spaghetti legs, and Janela comes in to lands a boxing combo. Shoulderblocks aren’t enough to knock Gargis down, but a leaping start will do it. Kiss in, and the Jersey Boys do a double suplex. Janela with a SUPERKICK to Gargis, Kiss adds a rolling elbow, Janela catches Morales with a Falcon Arrow, two more SUPERKICKs (one apiece) to Gargis, and an inverted DDT / flying splits legdrop end Gargis at 4:29. Look, they’re not going to be workrate horses, but they have some fun in there and a good amount of charisma so I like it. *

Fuego Del Sol (0-5) vs. JD Drake (w/Ryan Nemeth) (0-3). For those wondering why Nemeth is here, last night Nemeth lost to Orange Cassidy. He attacked postmatch, so Taylor ran in for the save, but Drake evened the odds because Drake faced Taylor a few weeks ago on Dark. That said, Excalibur doesn’t understand why they are teammates. Anthony Ogogo is here.

Fuego with kicks, but Drake blocks one and catches a step-up rana off the ropes. Fuego backs out of a powerbomb and rolls over Drake’s backdrop attempt only for Drake to catch him with a mid-air hiptoss. Big chop by Drake and he flings Fuego into the ropes, but Fuego hits the satellite headscissors. Drake bails and Fuego dives, but Drake catches Fuego and throws him for a rebound right. Back in, Drake slams down Fuego and drops a headbutt for two. Drake chokes Fuego against the middle rope and adds an Austin straddle.

Forearm shiver by Drake and a chop, but Fuego ducks away and boxes Drake in the corner. Drake shoves Fuego away and gets an avalanche before tossing Fuego into the corner slam-style. Splash gets two. Kneedrop by Drake and he toys with Fuego. Drake absorbs some punches and chops Fuego down before taunting him for trying. Fuego slides out of a suplex and gets a La Mistica cradle for two. Drake charges into the boots, then Fuego goes over the top and gets a casadora facebuster. Quick kicks floor Drake, and a question mark kick has Drake rattled. Drake escapes a Shiranui, though, and a Claymore from Drake ends it at 4:26. FIRST WIN ALERT! Fuego needs to get his own first win soon or the moment will have passed – I don’t think QT Marshall realizes how much he did for Fuego. Also, Nemeth and Drake together? Still don’t get it. *1/4

Hey, speaking of:

Shawn Dean (0-7) vs. QT Marshall (6-0). I guess the Infantry team of Dean and Carlie Bravo isn’t permanent. It’s a shame, I thought they had great chemistry. Ogogo is still at commentary and either cannot or will not talk about what’s going through Marshall’s mind.

Lockup, and Dean gives a clean break and salutes. A second lockup, and we go International~!, ending with Dean landing a back elbow. Marshall catches Dean going slowly and takes back over, adding a corner whip and clothesline on the return. Big stomp as the crowd rallies for Dean. Marshall throws Dean to the apron, but Dean flips over Marshall and clotheslines him to the floor. Dropkick keeps Marshall from coming back in, but the plancha airballs and Marshall adds a clothesline.

Back in, Marshall with a series of elbowdrops before he steps on Dean’s throat. Dean fights back with shots to the gut, catching Marshall with his head down, but Marshall recovers with an uppercut and clothesline for two. We HIT THE CHINLOCK as he swings Dean back and forth, adding a clubberin when Dean stands up. Marshall tries whatever off the top and leaps into a dropkick. They slug it out, won by Dean until Marshall gets a Kitchen Sink, but Dean comes back with a spinning uppercut. Dean tosses Marshall to the apron and knocks him to the floor with a gamengiri, then adds a tope con hilo.

Back in, running dropkick to Marshall, then a second one as Marshall is on Dream Street, but Marshall anticipates a third and beats Dean to it. Diamond Cutter is signaled for, but Dean shoves him out and gets a floatover. Salute DDT is blocked, but Dean stops a charging Marshall and dives… right into the Diamond Cutter for the pin at 5:34. Note to Maffew: you need to pay attention to the commentary in this match as they joke about Marshall’s hair being WAY longer than it is. 3/4*

The Bunny (w/The Butcher And The Blade) (11-3) vs. Jazmin Allure (no chyron). Yes, Allie’s getting back in the ring for the first time – I think – since reuniting with Butcher and Blade.

Bunny charges at the bell and rakes Allure’s eyes across the top rope. She fires away, but Allure reverses and chops Bunny. Allure with a leg sweep and shotgun dropkick as Bunny bails to the apron. She gets Allure and Hotshots her before returning with a running clothesline and that awful laugh. Bunny slams Allure’s head into the mat over and over, then Hammer Throws Allure into the corner. Allure is seated, so Bunny gets a sliding forearm strike. Bunny stomps away on Allure and taunts her, Facebuster is teased, but Allure escapes and gets a jawjacker. Clotheslines cue the comeback, and Allure charges only to miss a tomahawk chop. SUPERKICK by Bunny, and the Eye of the Hurricane (Down the Rabbit Hole) wins at 2:41. If you’re going to put Allie/Bunny back into the women’s division, this is a good way to start. 1/4*

Colt Cabana, Evil Uno, and Stu Grayson vs. Carlie Bravo, Brick Aldridge, and Dean Alexander. The students come out to the Dark theme and the Nightmare Factory screen. Taz notes that his dojo doesn’t advertise because no one there wants anyone involved – they don’t like each other. Brodie Jr will stay at ringside for this one. Though unconfirmed, neither trio has teamed before.

Colt (after getting advice from Brodie Jr) and Alexander start. Taz: “Colt has singlets older than that kid.” Colt with a heel trip and he rolls into a front facelock, then transitions to a hammerlock. He keeps wrist control and gets a double-handed armdrag, and Bravo tags in, saying he admires Colt and thinks this is awesome. He spends too much time buttering up Colt and not enough time wrestling, so Colt floors him. Colt with chops in the corner, and Uno comes in with more chops. Brainbuster by Uno gets two. Grayson in, and Bravo gets tossed into the boots. Russian legsweep by Uno into a running knee by Grayson.

Hammer Throw, but Bravo escapes a spear and brings in Aldridge. Aldridge goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY, but Colt cuts him off. Aldridge tosses Grayson into the corner and brings in Alexander as they stomp a mudhole in Grayson. Bravo in now and he boxes Grayson. Aldridge returns with more stomps, and Alexander picks Grayson up for a TKO. Grayson escapes it, though, and gets an overhead suplex. Aldridge stops the hot tag and pummels Grayson, but a clothesline battle is a stalemate. Grayson catches Aldridge with a uranage, hot tag Uno.

Bravo gets bumped around and Alexander eats a swinging neckbreaker, then Uno boots Aldridge down. Bravo back, but Uno with a cradle into stomping Bravo’s hands, then a dropkick. Brodie Jr approves. Uno with an electric chair into an oshigoroshi, and Colt gives everyone bionic forearms. Fatality ends Bravo at 5:10. Dark Order have been so much more fun since their collective face turn. *1/4

Aaron Solow and Nick Comoroto (first time teaming) vs. Angel Fashion and D3 (0-1). Solow and Comoroto are part of Team Nightmare, which is about where their similarities end. Comoroto seems to have taken Marshall’s side while Solow takes Dustin’s side. Ogogo returns to commentary.

Solow and D3 start. Solow works the arm into a fireman’s carry takedown, only for D3 to reverse. Solow reverses back, D3 revseses that to a side headlock, and Solow rolls through a sunset flip to double stomp D3. Comoroto in, but D3 escapes and hastily brings Fashion in. Fashion wants a test of strength, but a sucker punch by Fashion gets him clotheslined. Comoroto wants the Oklahoma Stampede, but Fashion slides out the back and boxes the gut. Crossbody try by Fashion is caught, and Comoroto with a powerslam. Solow in, and he stops D3 from doing anything, then catches Fashion with a straitjacket Pedigree for the pin at 2:21. Total squash. 1/4*

Cezar Bononi (w/Peter Avalon) (3-3) vs. John Skyler (0-3). The best part of Bononi dragging Avalon to the ring every time is waiting for him to get sick of it. Today is not that day, though, as Avalon gets the ride on the Sleigh of Love. Roberts hams up his part to emphasize it. Hey, can we get some prayers for Bononi’s family – his wife needs a bone marrow transplant.

Lockup, and Bononi shoves Skyler. Skyler ducks under and gets a chop, then adds a headbutt to the gut and a kneelift. Clothesline does nothing to Bononi, nor does a second one, but Bononi corners Skyler and gets corner clotheslines of his own. Northern Lariat and Bononi stomps Skyler down, then distracts the ref so Avalon can add a receipt. Hiptoss by Bononi gets two. We HIT THE CHINLOCK, but Skyler elbows out only to get clubbed down. Bononi dumps Skyler, and Avalon gets the ref’s attention so Bononi can drop Skyler backfirst on the apron.

Question for the Brazilians out there: what does the NEGO on Bononi’s tights mean?

Bononi picks Skyler up by the hair only for Skyler to get a high kick and sunset flip try. O’Connor Roll is blocked, as is a prawn lock, and Bononi with a swinging chinlock to throw Skyler. Angle Slam wins at 3:03. Bononi strikes me as someone who would’ve done some decent work in the territory days, given his size compared to everyone else in AEW. 3/4*

TOMORROW ON DYNAMITE!

  • The Pinnacle debuts as a force, facing the Varsity Blonds and Daunte Martin!
  • The Young Bucks and Brandon Cutler face the Lucha Bros and Laredo Kid!
  • Nyla Rose and Tay Conti go at it one more time!
  • The TNT Title is on the line as John Silver challenges Darby Allin!
  • And in non-title action, the Champ, Kenny Omega, faces Matt Sydal!

It appears that some of the complaints about Dark being too long are being heard. No, they’re not cutting the number of matches, and this may be a controversial opinion but: nor should they! They’re giving independent wrestlers a chance for a quick buck and some YouTube exposure, and good on them. What they are doing, though, is moving the big matches earlier as though it’s two one-hour shows – one with important matches, the other less so. Nobody would blame you if you stopped watching after Cage/Cutler, is what I mean.

In fact, if they had just shown those six matches, that would’ve been TV-worthy as a B-show. But, of course, the point of this isn’t to make good TV. It’s to give people a chance. We’re in a new era here, where content and exposure mean everything and things like YouTube mean shows can be indefinite. As I said, this is a good thing because now you can give just about everyone you want a chance and don’t have to say “Sorry, there’s no room”.

It’s a luxury I wish I could see when I was working in Northern Virginia. I remember that the promoter would have a headache trying to get everyone he could on the show, and complaints came about that there were just too many matches. It’s different when it’s a live crowd you have to entertain – you need to keep them from getting worn out. But this? There’s no live crowd, and on YouTube you can skip and scan all you want. This is fine.

Oh, the matches?

Like I said, the first 6 matches of this show were a fine show in and of itself. Silver and Reynolds did well with Chaos Project and got a needed win. SCU are ring generals every promotion needs. Miranda Alize looked better than ever. Gunn Club were out to showcase. Daunte Martin made my jaw drop against Jack Evans. And Brian Cage and Brandon Cutler are two good veterans who put on a worthwhile David and Goliath match.

If you want to look at the extras, I’m always happy to see a first win, and Vox and Drake both got them. It appears Janela and Kiss weren’t doing a breakup but were just showing Janela being human in his frustration, which I can live with. Throw in the commentary during the QT Marshall match and some fun Dark Order multi-man action and the whole thing is a good use of a Tuesday night.

STATS

BELL TO BELL: 63:23 over fourteen matches (average time 4:32)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Evans/Martin

FIVE STARS:

  1. Daunte Martin
  2. Brian Cage
  3. Jack Evans
  4. John Silver
  5. First-time winners Ashley Vox / JD Drake

Light the fuse, everyone, and let’s hope tomorrow isn’t a dud!