AEW DARK: April 13, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 84 (“Look, A Lot Of Indie Wrestlers Were In Town And We Had A Building Available”), April 13, 2021.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz. Your adjective: “Tremendous”.

TONIGHT! Two up and comers in the women’s division clash as KiLynn King meets Madi Wrenckowski! Ryan Nemeth looks to show JD Drake what he’s worth by beating the Dark Order’s Alex Reynolds! Fuego Del Sol continues to search for the elusive first win, but he’s facing a man with a new attitude in Aaron Solow! And Matt Sydal prepares for his six-man tag with Kenny Omega by facing the Original Death Dealer, Luther!

PLUS: Dr. Britt Baker, SCU, Nyla Rose, Varsity Blonds, Matt Hardy, Team Taz, Lance Archer, Velvet/Swole, Gunn Club, and three more Dark Order matches (Uno/Stu, Vance/Angels, and Colt Cabana)! Sixteen matches and I have my energy drink LET’S GO!

Opening match: Mane Event (Jay Lyon and Midas Black) (0-1) vs. SCU (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) (#1 team, 8-0). As always, we note that SCU is unbeaten in tag team competition this year, which is good, because they’ve promised to go their separate ways if they lose before getting the tag titles. Lyon and Black should have more luck than last night, when FTR ripped them and their mask up. Black is dressed like a circus ringleader and Lyon has a lion’s mask, and yes this is important.

Black and Kazarian start. Kazarian with a go-behind and takedown, floating over to the front facelock, adding a hammerlock as he pulls Black up. He switches to a side headlock, and we go International~!, ending with Kazarian blocking a hiptoss into one of his own and adding a cross-chop. Big chop by Kazarian, then another in the corner. He throws Black into Daniels’ boot and tags him in, as Daniels gets a gutwrench suplex. He tries another, but Black escapes and tosses Daniels into Lyon. Lyon in with a stalling slam, then in the indie highlight of the match, Black holds a hula hoop up as Lyon’ jumps THROUGH it into a splash on Daniels for one.

Daniels recovers as announcers laugh, getting an STO. Kazarian in, and he throws Lyon into a boot from Daniels. SCU goes high/low on Lyon before getting a neckbreaker combo on Black. Best Meltzer Ever wins at 3:23. So much for doing better than against FTR. They got their signature spot in, but this was all SCU. 1/2* Daniels checks his watch, because their time is coming.

Luther (0-1 singles) vs. Matt Sydal (3-2 singles). You have to wonder how Luther will be able to perform without having Serpentico to toss around. Where did Justin say he was from? The Kingdom of Nigh? (Wikipedia says it’s “Nye”, but whatever.) Excalibur points out the obvious: it’s a Third Eye Battle tonight. EVERYBODY POINT!

Luther slugs away at the bell, but Sydal cartwheels out and dodges a boot to begin kicking at the hamstrings. Standing mariposa press gets two. Eye taunt and Sydal remains in charge. Luther reverses a whip but is caught in a sunset flip for two, then goes to a Bite of the Dragon. Luther stacks him to break, then gets Sydal to bump and feed for him. Forearms to the back in the corner, then Luther gets a Hammer Throw and corner clothesline. He chokes away in the corner, then over the middle rope while saying he has the only third eye in this match.

Kneelift from Luther, but Sydal catches a clothesline into a wacky cradle for two. Short clothesline by Luther misses and Sydal tries a waistlock, but Luther elbows out only to walk into a leg lariat. Back and forth kicks by Sydal floors Luther again, then a fisherman’s buster gets two. Luther sits in the corner to rest, so Sydal races in with double knees and Luther can barely stand. Sydal tries a Lionsault, but Luther (who’s inches from the ropes from the beginning) shoves Sydal out.

On the outside, Luther sends Sydal into the barricade a couple of times. Luther then slams Sydal on the barricade before breaking the count. He throws Sydal into the barricade again, this time in front of Mike in the front row, and back in, a pair of kneedrops lead to a fistdrop to the kidneys as Luther works the back. Backbreaker follows, with Luther stretching Sydal over his knee. Now Luther tries to do Sydal’s kicks back to him, but Sydal fires up and wins the battle. Roundhouse kick is ducked, and Luther with a German suplex and pump kick. Leg lariat by Luther is ducked and Sydal responds in kind, then lands the Lightning Spiral to win at 6:29. Luther held his own in this – wasn’t a total carry job or drag-down. *3/4

Kit Sackett and Hayden Backlund (first time teaming) vs. Alan Angels and Preston Vance (w/Brodie Lee Jr) (2-0). Get used to the Dark Order; they have four matches tonight. Junior is able to springboard into the ring, which Excalibur pops for.

Vance and Sackett start. Vance with an armlock into a headlock takedown and he keeps control on the mat, picking Sackett up. Sackett reverses after a rope break, but Vance shoves him off and knocks him down. Vance stops after a Sackett leapfrog and gets another headlock takedown, picking him up into a wristlock as Angels tags in. Back body drop into a missile dropkick by the Dark Order, but Angels plays to the crowd and allows Sackett to get up. It’s okay, htough, because Angels slugs him loopy and nails a Yes Kick to floor him. Sackett goes to the eyes, though, and Backlund’s in. Double Hammer Throw, but Angels avoids both men and ranas Backlund into Sackett.

Angels follows with a spinning cradle back suplex to Backlund, then grabs him off the apron and tries to suplex him back in. Backlund escapes and Sackett gets the blind tag, allowing him a shot from behind. Angels escapes a back suplex, though, and Vance enters with clotheslines and a high corner boot. SPINEBUSTER OF DOOM follows, popping Junior in the background, but Backlund pulls Vance out. Angels drops Backlund with a SUPERKICK and Vance boots down Sackett into the ropes. Angels with the running back splash (called This IS Gonn Suck) and Vance with the full nelson to win at 3:42. Dark Order’s in a weird place – you want to make Junior happy when he stops by, but at the same time, there’s only so far you can go beating jobbers. I guess that’s what other Dark Order members are for. 1/2*

Hey, speaking of:

Colt Cabana (w/Dark Order) (7-1) vs. Jake Manning (debut). Okay, you know how when people are too nice to others we jokingly say they’re “overgrown Boy Scouts”? Jake Manning’s gimmick is literally an overgrown Boy Scout. He’s from Troop 83, he’s reading the Manual in the ring, all the goods. Meanwhile, Junior is filming for Sammy Guevara’s vlog.

Manning is hesitant to start, wanting to check on the Manual more, but he locks up only for Colt to slam him. Manning checks the Manual for how to fix a bad back before heading back to the match. Another slam try by Colt, but Manning goes behind and shoves him off before Colt cartwheels over and gets another slam. Colt shrugs as Manning checks the Manual again (“Chapter 29: How to Beat a Nine-Year-Old’s Favorite Wrestler”). Colt then steals the book, and the chase is on outside the ring. Colt tosses the book up high in the ring, then cradles Manning for two as Manning tries to catch it. The ref has had enough and gets rid of the book, allowing Manning to attack Colt from behind and pound away.

Colt wins the slugfest, though, but Manning throws Colt into the corner and gets a sunset flip bomb into the middle buckle for two. Manning goes up, but leaps into an uppercut from Colt before charging into some double chops. Flip Flop and Fly follows and Manning is dazed, so Colt gets the Flying Apple and middle rope double-jump splash for two. Chops from Colt, but Manning ducks one and gets a backbreaker into Flatliner for two. Manning goes up, but Colt grabs his legs and yanks him down into the Billy Goat’s Curse for the win at 4:18. Junior gives Colt the Manual after the match for fun. As a match designed to entertain an nine-year-old, this was fine. I think they could’ve gone further with the comedy – I’ve seen enough of both guys to know that they had a lot of ideas. 1/2*

Red Velvet (#2 women) and Big Swole (w/KiLynn King) (1-0) vs. Amber Nova and Queen Aminata (debut). Wait, a Star Wars character is in the ring? Oh, sorry, Aminata. Nova will be facing the returning Kris Statlander tomorrow. Velvet, meanwhile, is facing Jade Cargill.

Nova and Swole start. Swole shoves down Nova on the lockup, so Aminata tags herself in and tells the peasant to go to the apron. Swole, unimpressed, gets a drop toe hold and side dropkick. They exchange strong forearms, but Swole gets the better of it and lands a corner uppercut before tagging in Velvet. Swole with a back elbow, and Velvet gets one off of it before Aminata’s had enough and brings Nova back. Nova with the headlock and we go International~!, ending with a leg lariat from Velvet. Nova recovers with an uppercut and Northern Lights Suplex for one as commentary is off on a tangent and laughing at themselves.

Aminata with a bad snapmare in the corner, then a spinning soccer kick for one. Aminata throws Velvet into Nova, who uses headscissors to slam Velvet into the top buckle. Velvet slumps down, so Aminata gets the Rikishi hip attack for two. Velvet sticks and moves, getting the hot tag to Swole. Swol eruns Aminata over with chops and roundhouse kicks Nova down, then it’s the double-dodge headbutt by Swole. Spear follows, Nova saves. Everyone is a little unsteady, but the faces get stereo uppercuts and stereo low Flatliners on their opponents. Aminata kicks Swole away, so Nova and Velvet are back and Velvet gets the Chef’s Kiss to win at 4:12. Kind of a disjointed mess. 1/4*

BUT WAIT! Jade Cargill comes out to taunt Velvet, so Swole and King make sure Velvet goes to the other side of the ring… so Velvet can get a running start and leap THROUGH THE ROPES WITH A SPEAR! Referees separate them as Cargill walks off, her heels still on her feet for some reason.

Aaron Solow (0-4 singles) vs. Fuego Del Sol (0-8). Any other circumstance and I’d say Del Sol had a prayer, but this is hot off Solow’s new identity, and that never ends well for the other opponent. QT Marshall and Nick Comoroto come out with Solow, just to prove the point. Excalibur says this could be the biggest opportunity Fuego has had in some time. Whilst Solow is winless as a singles, he has tag team wins, so there’s only one First Win Alert here.

Solow knocks Fuego down before the bell and stomps away. He throws Fuego into the middle buckle across the ring and taunts him. Slam by Solow, then a kneedrop as he blows kisses to the crowd. Solow stays on Fuego, chopping him in the corner, then gets a T-Bone suplex. Leg choke against the middle rope follows. Fuego fights to his feet, but Solow just slams him into the corner. Solow toys with Fuego, kicking away at his mask, but Fuego boxes Solow and gets an enzuigiri to stagger Solow.

Running uppercut in the corner, then a spear, and Fuego follows with a small package into a fisherman’s suplex. Fuego leaps over Solow off the middle rope, but recovers to try the Tornado DDT… but Solow blocks and lands the 540 kick. Cross-arm pedigree gets the win at 3:15. He had to win. 3/4* Anthony Ogogo, the other Factory member, will be on Dynamite.

Ryan Nemeth talks to us. He says that every time he’s out there, he proves he’s a dominant force. By the numbers, Alex Reynolds can’t win against Nemeth because he’s not a winner. It doesn’t matter who joins him, because even though he’s a winner usually, he’s no Hollywood Hunk.

Gunn Club (Austin, Billy, Colten) (11-0) vs. Mike Magnum, Stone Rockwell, and Andrew Palace (first time teaming). Wait, hang on – Stone Rockwell… I recognize that Indiana Jones ripoff. He had a tryout with TNA, didn’t he? We saw Palace for the first time last night, and Magnum is the guy doing the painter gimmick.

Colten and Rockwell start. Rockwell offers Code of Honor, but after getting advice from his family (and the crowd), he catches Rockwell trying a cheap shot and gets a wristlock. Rockwell reverses, but Colten reverses back only for Rockwell to rush him into the corner. Right hand by Rockwell staggers Colten, but he reverses and knocks over Rockwell with a tackle. He crosses up Rockwell and gets a running neckbreaker, then Austin in with Palace as they do-si-do until Austin trips Palace into a Hennig necksnap.

Billy in, and the gut punch/big boot combo floors Palace enough that he brings in Magnum. Billy knocks him down with a clothesline, too, then argues with the ref to stall for time. Jackhammer follows, Rockwell saves and Austin leaps off the pile to knock him over. Colten takes the tag and gets the Colt 45 on Magnum to win at 3:14. They just ate these guys for dinner. DUD Some day the Gunns will have to face someone of substance, right? Anyway, Billy chases Audrey Edwards out of the ring.

AEW Casino app ad.

Madi Wrenckowski (2-2) vs. KiLynn King (5-3). Now here’s a concept: take two hot prospects who need a little more ring time in front of the cameras and put them against each other. Wow, it’s almost like this is what you do on B-shows! All snark aside, I am looking forward to this match because both women have shown flashes of brilliance, so let’s see how well this is put together.

Madi charges King, who ducks and fires away. Deep armdrag by King, then another, before she gewts a kick and sliding boot as Madi bails. King tries to pull Madi back in, but Madi trips King and pulls her out. They slug it out on the floor, but Madi muscles King into the apron, then the barricade, then the apron again. A couple of chops before Madi tosses King back in, and inside Madi gets some kicks and a running swinging neckbreaker. Kitchen Sink and X-Factor gets two. Madi pulls King up by the hair and clubs away, but misses a pump kick and King is back with clotheslines and a roundhouse kick.

Release German suplex by King, and she follows with a shotgun dropkick to corner Madi. Blind charge misses, though, and Madi follows in to try a monkey flip. King catches her and carries her to the middle of the ring, blasting her with Kingdom Falls to win at 2:51. Wow, that was decisive. I’m not sure I blame them – King seems like she’s further ahead than Madi. Solid, technically mistake-free match. *1/4

Alex Reynolds gets the rebuttal: the Hollywood Hunk against himself, the Handsome Devil. Junior wants to start the fight right now and has to be restrained by everyone else. Reynolds: “That’s just the camera!” Reynolds says he’s not taking it lightly – in fact, he has new tricks to show off. He’s going to win this for the Dark Order, superfan Aaron, and most importantly State Farm. Hit the jingle.

Matt Hardy (with everyone) (5-2) vs. Ken Broadway (debut). Tomorrow, Matt Hardy faces Darby Allin in a Falls Count Anywhere match for the TNT Title, which is crucial because it means no disqualification – and Allin is outnumbered. Broadway makes it rain for his entrance (Excalibur: “Right in the face of Big Money Matt!” Taz: “What would the Young Bucks think?”) Darby Allin is in the rafters, duh.

Lockup, and Hardy works the arm. Broadway reverses and plays to the crowd, allowing Hardy to re-reverse and get a headlock. Hardy holds the hair to avoid being shoved off, but Broadway punches out only to get run over. Hardy sends Broadway into all three buckles in the corner. He keeps Broadway in the corner and slugs him, but a blind charge misses and Broadway unloads with a chop. Hardy returns in kind and adds forearms, but Broadway fires back and pounds Matt with a ten-punch countalong try. Hardy stops it and gets a Hotshot as Taz chastises Broadway for showboating.

Hardy with a choke against the middle rope and more forearms in the corner, but a charge eats elbow, then another eats boot. Broadway goes up top, but the Money Rain moonsault misses and Hardy with the Side Effect. He glares at Allin and taunts him, but unlike Broadway it doesn’t backfire as Hardy lands the Twist of Fate. Allin tells Hardy to bring it as Hardy ends with the Leech at 3:49. Weird as it sounds, I like this Broadway guy. I hope he gets a chance in a more competitive situation. 1/2* Allin and Hardy stare down from 100 yards away, then Hardy gets the mic. He tells Allin to listen carefully, because tomorrow night Hardy will show Allin how extreme he still is. He promises to to leech away the TNT Title.

Evil Uno and Stu Grayson (w/Brodie Lee Jr) (18-4 total) vs. Vary Morales and Spencer Slade (first time teaming). Everyone comes out with the leaders. Even John Silver, who has to be getting close to a comeback. Slade has the amateur headgear on and is making his debut.

Grayson runs over Slade with clotheslines, but Slade escapes a slam and brings in Morales. Morales dives onto Grayson, who catches him and rushes him to the Dark Order corner. Uno in, and he whips Grayson into Morales before adding a big boot. Morales escapes to get Slade back, but Uno catches the boot and drops Slade on his face before stomping on his hands. Right jab and Grayson comes in via Demolition Decapitation. Morales runs into an Uno boot and is given the toss powerbomb, and Fatality ends Slade at 1:33. When this team’s on, they are ON. Grayson has to hold Junior by the ankles to make sure he doesn’t attack anyone. NR

Doctor Britt Baker (w/Rebel – hey Excalibur gets it right!) (#4 women, 6-1) vs. Shawna Reed (debut). Baker has said she’s going to get enough wins to force AEW to make her #1 contender for Shida’s title, and this is part of that. Reed looks like a poor man’s Christy Hemme, so I approve.

Reed jumps on Baker at the bell and they fight, but Baker with a running neckbreaker and butterfly suplex. She chokes Reed in the corner and slams a forearm to her chest but Reed refuses to back down and fires away. They try to misdirect each other, and Baker gets the better of that with a Sling Blade. Baker spells out DMD, so Reed cradles her for two and gets a dropkick for two. Fisherman’s suplex try, but Baker escapes and reverses to a Saturn Driver. Baker mugs for the camera again before nailing a low thrust kick to Reed, then another. It’s GLOVE TIME, and the Lockjaw finishes at 2:14. That’s called maximizing your minutes there. 3/4*

Brian Cage and Ricky Starks (w/Hook and Powerhouse Hobbs) (3-1) vs. Carlie Bravo and Dean Alexander (0-2). This is your reminder that EVERYTHING IS FINE in Team Taz. Excalibur asks what the latest is about Christian Cage joining the team. Taz is certain it’ll happen.

Starks and Bravo start. Starks works the headlock, but Bravo shoves off only for Starks to dump him out of the ring. Hook lariats Bravo on the outside, and as Bravo gets up, Hobbs adds one of his own. Hook tosses Bravo in (as Alexander protests), and Cage tags in for a fallaway slam after five curls (Starks literally hands Bravo to Cage). Alexander in, but Starks picks him up, hands HIM to Cage, and Cage with a powerbomb. Starks holds Bravo over the top so Cage can deliver the Cesaroplex. (Bravo’s dead-eyed sell is amazing.) Starks says “Wait, have another one” and passes Alexander to Cage for an F-5. Starks isn’t done feeding the machine (much to Taz’s confusion), and he gives Bravo to Cage for the Drill Claw to win at 2:47. Has anyone ever been a wrestling teammate sarcastically? Because that’s kind of where we’re going here. 1/2*

Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero) (#5 women, 5-2) vs. Leila Grey (0-3). No, we don’t even get intros because Vickie Guerrero interrupts. She bullies Roberts and tells him to leave so she can do it herself. She’s no Ricardo Rodriguez.

Right at the bell, Nyla floors Grey before cornering her and slugging her down. Grey tries to go up and over, but Nyla catches her in a powerslam. Grey bails to the apron, draping Nyla’s throat on the top strand, but running clotheslines don’t knock her down. Neither does a dropkick to the knee. Nor a kneelift. And Nyla’s had enough of that and lariats down Grey. Short clothesline follows, then a Bradley beal out of the corner. Running hip attack in the corner leads to a spear by Nyla. Beast Bomb finishes it at 1:50. Nyla covers her for 30 or so just to make a point. NR

Varsity Blonds (10-9 total) vs. Prince Kai and Will Allday (debut). Okay, the YouTube chat was saying Allday was someone they were excited about from Booker T’s school, so let’s see what we have. I dig his purple jacket.

Pillman and Allday start. Lockup, and after a prolonged struggle, Allday gets the leverage on a surprised Pillman. Pillman stops a go-behind with a wristlock, but Allday rolls around and cartwheels to reverse. Pillman answers in kind to get a Pele kick before armdragging Allday and holding the arm. Garrison drops an elbow on the arm and fires off an armdrag and lock. Pillman back in, and the Blonds with a double hiptoss and Yes Kick/legdrop combo for one, brother. Pillman goes for a top wristlock on Allday, who tries to get the tag only to get chopped. Allday reverses a whip and Kai adds a shot from the apron, allowing Allday a five-arm for two.

Kai in, and he throws Pillman into the corner and stomps a mudhole. Blind charge is blocked, but Kari recovers with a neckbreaker for two. Kai says he’s got this covered and loads up a butterfly lock, but Pillman fakes a SUPERKICK to make Kai duck so he can get the hot tag to Garrison. Big boot to Kai and back body drop (.7 Warlord) to Allday. Stack Stinger Splash by Garrison and he picks up Kai, but Kai slides out and cradles for two before landing a forearm. Garrison ducks a return and gets the Discus Punch, and Air Pillman wins it at 3:54. Yeah, what little I saw I thought looked all right. Commentary notes Kai and Allday weren’t on the same page. 3/4*

Cole Karter vs. Lance Archer (w/Jake Roberts) (19-6). Roberts is on commentary. In a twist, Archer doesn’t beat up anyone backstage. He does, however, boot down Karter to pose on the turnbuckle.

Karter tries to fight back, but Archer no-sells a crossbody attempt and boxes him in the corner. Hammer Throw on Karter as Roberts talks about his strategy of handling Archer: hide a lot. Suplex by Archer, throwing Karter across the ring, and he absorbs some forearms before knocking Karter down. Corner running elbows leave Karter dazed as Archer stands over him and slaps him around. Karter tries in vain to fight back, so Archer knees him down and gets the short-arm clothesline.

Blackout is set up, but Karter fights out and leaps off the ropes… into a goozle. Karter escapes and catches a charging Archer with a back elbow, then dodges and gets forearms. Rolling elbow finally gets Archer at less than 100%, but Archer catches him coming in with a receipt. Chokeslam and Ripcord Black Hole Slam ends it at 3:13. I know I’ve gotten on more than a few acts here for only facing lesser competition, but Archer clowning lower level talent works for him. 3/4*

(Guest commentary by John Silver) Ryan Nemeth (w/JD Drake) (3-4) vs. Alex Reynolds (w/Preston Vance and Brodie Lee Jr) (7-2). Apparently, Peter Avalon is injured, thus explaining his absence. Drake is dressed like he’s going to mow the lawn, while Nemeth is as always impressed with his own physique. Excalibur jokes he bribed the Dark Order to make sure it wasn’t Junior.

Nemeth attacks Reynolds from behind and gets a back suplex for one. He hooks the nose on Reynolds and slugs him, then works the gut in the corner. Hammer Throw, but Reynolds bounces back with a clothesline. Nemeth dumps Reynolds, though, and on the outside he sends Reynolds into the apron. Back in, forearm from Nemeth, but Reynolds fires back from his knees and lands uppercuts. Nemeth’s sunset flip try is rolled through, and Reynolds with a Cloverleaf/Liontamer combo called the School of Fort Knox by Silver. Nemeth makes the ropes.

Cross-chop by Nemeth, then a dropkick. He gets the hammerlock and headstand on Reynolds, dropping the knees on the back. Arm and chin lock by Nemeth, but Reynolds hiptosses out of it and clotheslines him. Blind charge by Nemeth misses and Reynolds with a running arrow and corkscrew uppercut. Dropkick and kip up follows, then the Brodiebomb (complete with tribute) leads to a legdrop for two, brother. Nemeth sends down Reynolds with a clothesline, but Reynolds escapes the Rude Awakening and gets Catatonic to win at 4:17. I’m assuming the references to Aaron and to State Farm are some BTE thing, though if this is how you do corporate synergy, I’ll live with it. *1/2

TOMORROW!

  • Jade Cargill faces Red Velvet!
  • Matt Hardy against Darby Allin for the TNT Title!
  • Kris Statlander is back!
  • The Young Bucks defend against PAC and Fenix!
  • Anthony Ogogo is ready for his first match!
  • And with Mike Tyson at ringside, it’s Dax Harwood vs. Chris Jericho!

Well, after Elevation was a loaded show, this felt like a dump show. Fortunately, you can get away with that on YouTube. Thing is, you can skip this episode unless one of your favorites is on it. No matches really reached Dynamite level, and a lot were under 3 minutes. Not every show can be a winner. Still, if you’re an aspiring wrestler (like me) and want to learn how to do a sprint, there are matches to watch that show how to get everything in even during a very short match. That’s a valuable skill to learn, because promoters will be happy to add you if your matches are short and still keep the crowd’s attention.

STATS

BELL-TO-BELL: 55:01 over sixteen matches (average time 3:26)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Sydal/Luther

FIVE STARS:

  1. Matt Sydal
  2. Alex Reynolds
  3. Ricky Starks
  4. KiLynn King
  5. Shawna Reed / Ken Broadway (they earned callbacks)

Keep it here for more AEW Dark results, as I watch so you can yell at WWE programming! Enjoy Dynamite tomorrow!