AEW DARK: May 4, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark Episode 87 (“Twelve, Fourteen, Who Can Keep Track Anyway?”), May 4, 2021.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz. Excalibur: “We’re so looking forward to this week’s matches that we wore the same clothes as last week!”

TONIGHT! Daunte Martin takes to the skies as he faces fellow high-flyer Danny Limelight! Chaos Project goes solo – Serpentico draws the bad luck of facing the Bastard PAC! Meanwhile, the original Death Dealer, Luther, goes against the Murderhawk Monster Lance Archer! And in a match set up last week on Elevation, it’s Diamante taking on Leyla Hirsch!

PLUS – The Acclaimed, SCU, Big Swole, Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela, The Varsity Blonds, The Bunny, Will Hobbs and Ricky Starks, and Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky! Wait, that’s only 12 matches and the YouTube video title promises 14 – will we have some surprises?

Opening match: Will Hobbs (9-1) and Ricky Starks (10-2) (w/Hook) vs. Brick Aldridge and Aaron Frye (no chyron).

Aldridge gets no intro and jumps Hobbs, who knocks him over from a standing position. Hobbs then grabs Frye and gives him a shoulderblock, following with Town Business for the win at 32.9 seconds. Starks literally let Hobbs do all the work and sat on the stage watching. NR

Diamante (5-2) vs. Leyla Hirsch (7-3). Much like yesterday, I would’ve pegged this match as the main event, given the buildup. Story: so I hang out in the YouTube chat before the show, and the folks were looking forward to this match, with one saying he wanted “the pint-sized powerhouse” to win. Diamante is 5’1 and Hirsch is 4’11. Yes, I asked for clarification.

Shoving match to start, with Hirsch leaping ver Diamante and getting waist control. Diamante reverses and takes Hirsch down, adding a single-leg trip, but Hirsch nearly gets the arm and Diamante retreats to the ropes. Diamante with a single-leg and she stares at Hirsch, but Hirsch trips Diamante and tries a deadlift German. Diamante reverses to a casadora Stunner and shotgun dropkick for two. Short-arm clothesline by Diamante, but Hirsch blocks the second one and goes for a Gory Special.

Diamante escapes, but Hirsch catches her with multiple release German suplexes. Shining Wizard by Hirsch, then double knees in the corner with a dropkick follow-on. Hirsch with a Greco-Roman throw for two. She checks with the ref to mae sure, then slaps Diamante, leading to a slugfest. Hirsch gets inside Diamante’s guard and trips her (Taz: “an osoragare”) , grabbing the arm for the cross-armbar and the win at 2:38. All about Hirsch, as Diamante looked like a nobody,. *1/4

Varisty Blonds (Brian Pillman Jr and Griff Garrison) (#3 team, 9-2) vs. Liam Gray and Adrian Alanis (0-2). Garrison brings his team’s shirt with him. Gray and Alanis are known as The Skulk in EVOLVE.

The Skulk mug the Blonds to start and go for a double suplex, but the Blonds reverse. Double shoulderblocks and Alanis/Gray bail. Pillman chops Alanis and throws him back in, where Garrison gets a big boot. Dropkick/spinebuster combo gets Pillman two. Pillman with a ground headlock, but Gray attacks Pillman off of a whip and Alanis gets a Hotshot and Sling Blade. Big chop and forearm staggers Pillman, and both men hit running back elbows before getting a backbreaker cutter double-team that gets Gray two.

Gray drives a knee into the back to keep the back work up, then grabs Pillman’s outstretched arm to try a cobra clutch. Pillman snapmares out of it, hot tag Garrison. Clotheslines to Alanis, then a big slam. Long jump Stinger splash follows, into the Falcon Arrow, Gray tries to save but Garrison moves. Pillman back in to dispose of Gray and follow with a spinning axhandle, and in the ring, Garrison with the discus punch into Air Pillman to win at 3:40. I was hoping for a longer match, but this is a team in the #1 contenders match, so it’s to be expected. 3/4*

Lexy Nair will interview Nyla Rose on Outside the Ring Friday.

SCU (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) (#1 team, 11-0) vs. Jake St.Patrick and Spencer Slade (first time teaming). Okay, now for the #1 team to give a rebuttal to the #3 team. Taz wants to know where in Southern California they’re from, and Excalibur explains they’re from different suburbs of LA. FUN FACT: Slade wears amateur headgear to protect his hearing aids, as he is legally deaf.

St.Patrick and Kazarian start. Kazarian with a fireman’s carry out of a lockup, into a top wristlock. St.Patrick reverses, but Kazarian reverses back and nearly bridges St.Patrick down. He trips him instead, keeping the wrist control, but St.Patrick rolls out only to be caught in a hammerlock, then a drop toehold, then a ground headlock. St.Patrick reverses to an armlock, but Kazarian uses the ropes to flip it and reverse it. St.Patrick tries to reverse, but Kazarian with an Oklahoma Roll for two (WRESTLING!) and some armdrags and lock.

Kazarian chops St.Patrick in the corner, then Daniels comes in for a back suplex / Baba lariat combo. He works over St.Patrick in the corner, getting a Hammer Throw, but a blind charge misses and Slade aids in a double-team. Slade in with an overhead suplex (somewhat dangerous), then runs him into the corner. Follow-up charge eats boot and Daniels gets an STO. Kazarian in to spell for Daniels, and he gives Slade a flying jalapeno and springboard twist legdrop. He catches St.Patrick coming in with a Famouser on the ropes, and Daniels returns for a T-Gimmick, St.Patrick saves. St.Patrick eats Celebrity Rehab, and the Best Meltzer Ever pins Slade at 4:21. Daniels looks like he’s okay overall, but Kazarian seems a bit miffed at Slade. 1/2*

Big Swole (7-0) vs. Megan Bayne (debut). Bayne is currently OVW Women’s Champion according to my sources. Swole is crazy over. Bayne is dressed like Athena and is billed from Athens. Yes, that Greek name, MEGAN.

Lockup, and both try to get the other down in a top wristlock which ends in a stalemate. Swole shoves Bayne into the ropes and we go International~!, with Bayne hanging onto the ropes and both getting in each other’s face. Bayne charges into a back elbow, and Swole with calf kicks. Bayne avoids a charge and catches Swole coming back with a Kitchen Sink, but she spends too much time showboating and only gets one. Bearhug follows, but Swole escapes and reverses a tilt-a-whirl slam into an armdrag. Corner uppercut follows and Swole comes off the apron through the ropes for a cutter.

Bayne is too tired to get in position, so Swole kicks her hard in the head and chews her out. This time, Bayne is ready and fires off a big boot on a charging Swole for two. Swole fights back with chops and forearms before getting the double-dodge roundhouse kick. Powerbomb try, but Bayne backdrops her. Swole rolls through and gets the Malenko Special to win at 3:35. Three minutes and Bayne still blew a big spot. DUD

Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela (11-11) vs. Kit Sackett and Justin Law (0-1). Janela: “You’re not a vegetarian if you like Sonny Kiss, cuz that ass has a whole lotta meat!” Taz is getting sick of Janela’s proclamations, but that makes one of us. Excalibur gets his headset back and we begin.

Janela and Law start. Janela with Ultimate clotheslines on Law, ending by sending him over the top headfirst to the apron and then the floor. Janela throws him back in and forces him to tag in Sackett, then clotheslines HIM out as Sackett hits the apron. He tags in Kiss and tosses in Sackett, so Kiss gives him the handspring slap, then a snapmare and dropkick. Sackett fights back with rights and a headbutt before bringing in Law, but Kiss brings the two together and tags in Janela. An angry Law charges right into Kiss’s boot in the corner, and Janela adds a German suplex and SUPERKICK. Janela tosses the foes together and gives Law another SUPERKICK, then calls in Kiss. Inverted DDT and splits legdrop combo gets the pin at 2:36, with Janela celebrating with a handstand. As a match it was nothing; as a look into Joey Janela’s psyche, it was incredible. 1/4*

KiLynn King (7-3) vs. Julia Hart (debut). Okay, there’s ONE match they didn’t advertise on the sheets. Also, put your index cards away; Julia isn’t related to anyone from Calgary. Oh, happy birthday, KiLynn! Hart gets into an argument with Willow Nightingale in the crowd, so I hate her.

Hart keeps shouting at the crowd before prancing about like Alexa Bliss only taller. Lockup, and King takes Hart down and holds her down for one. Headlock follows, with Hart breaking by using the hair. A cheap shot kick follows, but after a criss-cross King levels Hart with a tackle. She then reverses a hiptoss into three of her own, then slams Hart down. That gets two. Hart boxes King and tries a cradle, but King grabs the arm and just kicks Hart in the chest for two. Hammer Throw, but Hart dodges the charge and kicks away.

She gets a forward handspring clothesline, then a snapmare and splits splash for two. Hart charges but is caught against the ropes and chopped by King, who catches Hart in a headscissors attempt and gives her a Hotshot and lariat. Big boot follows, then a shotgun dropkick to the corner. King goes up and over after a charge is dodged, and she gives Hart a release German suplex. Kingdom Falls ends it at 3:46. This may be the closest thing King has had to a squash win on Dark. 1/2*

Serpentico (w/Luther) (0-2 singles) vs. PAC (w/Lucha Bros) (4-0). Good thing this match is first – I don’t trust Serpentico to survive Luther/Archer later tonight. Taz mentions he started his career in Puerto Rico (where Serpentico is from). I wonder if they’re building to PAC/Omega down the line to play off of their All Out match and Iron Man match. Everyone’s going to stick around for this one.

Serpentico with a shotgun dropkick to send PAC out of the ring, and he follows with a tope suicida. Back in, he goes up top and leaps over PAC, but gets caught with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. PAC is less than amused and stomps Serpentico into a gooey paste in the corner, then steps on his throat. PAC with a snap suplex and Fenix taunts Serpentico. PAC gets a running uppercut in the corner and glares into the hard camera. Excalibur claims PAC is focused, which makes you wonder why he doesn’t finish the match. Serpentico with shots so weak PAC just stares at him, and PAC adds a sole kick and VERY heartfelt Tombstone. Brutalizer ends it at 2:16. PAC holds on until Fenix tells him to let go. Just a murder. 1/2*

The Bunny (13-5) vs. Leila Grey (0-4). Back to the YT chat – I asked the lurkers if Bunny’s laugh had become as annoying as Vickie’s screech. Answer: not yet. In an interesting twist, Bunny comes out alone, though Excalibur is certain the HFO is around here somewhere.

Bunny ducks a lockup and piefaces Grey before laughing at her. She catches Grey with a kick and hairpull slam, then stomps a mudhole in Grey before picking her up and forearming her. Chop in the corner as she glares at the ref, then she adds knees to the midsection, keeping Grey cornered. The ref tries to allow Grey time to recover, and recover she does, reversing and getting shots on Bunny. Running uppercut follows, then a snapmare and dropkick. Bunny sends Grey into the middle rope by the throat, then gets a sliding lariat and yells at the camera and audience.

She chokes Grey on the bottom rope before skipping around, and back in, more kicks to keep Grey down. She picks Grey up and gives her knees to the gut, adding a running kneelift. She rolls Grey around and stands over her to laugh at her, which allows Grey a sunset flip cradle for two. Bunny gives her a SUPERKICK for having the gall to do that, then Down the Rabbit Hole ends it at 3:28. Too much stalling, not enough ass-kicking. DUD

Backstage, Alex Marvez holds the microphone for PAC. He doesn’t care who his opponent is, because Death Triangle will mow them all down.

The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) (#4 team, 5-1) vs. David Ali and Vary Morales (first time teaming). Caster’s rap puts over that Bowens is back and asks for applause for their return. But why aren’t his opponents clapping? They should be happy!

Bowens and Morales start, with Morales getting chopped into the corner with gusto. Bowens brings Caster in, and the do a double legsweep into an elbowdrop by Caster then a dropkick by Bowens. Caster with a Hammer Throw, but the charge eats a boot. Morales escapes and comes back in with a dropkick before tagging in Ali. Ali charges right into a boot from Caster, and Caster follows with a back suplex. Caster works the arm and brings in Bowens, who headbutts it. He goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY to floor Ali, adding a Hammer Throw.

Bowens misses a clothesline before Ali springboards off the middle rope with a back elbow. Hot tag Morales, but he runs headfirst into a lariat from Bowens to stop that before it starts. Ali is knocked off the apron, and Acclaim To Fame ends it at 2:51. So of the four tag teams going tomorrow, they’ve looked the most impressive. 1/2* Caster makes Morales applaud after the match in a funny bit.

Wrestling With The Week ad.

Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky (4-0) vs. Terrence and Terrell Hughes (0-2). Ethan and Scorpio just feels like a team meant to implode, as it’s a talking point that both men are self-centered egomaniacs. Commentary talks about how Page and Sky beat up Sting and Darby Allin after the show. And yes, the Hughes Brothers are D’Von’s twin sons. I’m required to say that.

Sky and Terrence start. Lockup, and Terrence forces Sky into the corner, where he ducks out for a break. Sky brings Page in, and he stalls before tagging Sky back in with no contact. Then he jumps Terrence from behind with a cheap shot to allow Sky to take over with stomps and a snapmare. Facewash by Sky, and Ethan returns for real to sends Terrence into his own boot in the corner. Ethan slugs away in the corner, getting a boot choke as Sky boxes Terrence down. Uppercut by Sky gets two. Ethan chokes Terrence in the corner as Terrell protests, but Terrence fights back on Ethan and elbows down Sky.

Hot tag Terrell, and Sky eats clotheslines and a back suplex. Ethan’s knocked down, and Terrell gives Sky a powerslam for two. Ethan stops Sky from being whipped in, and Sky boots Terrence down. Ethan back in to clear the apron and give Terrell a shinbreaker. Sky with the heel hook to get the tapout at 3:46. Decent four-minute TV match. 3/4*

MAIN EVENT (already?): Evil Uno & Stu Grayson & Alex Reynolds (1-0) vs. JD Drake & Ryan Nemeth & Cezar Bononi (first time as a trio). Ah, there’s the other unadvertised match. Bononi pulls Avalon out on his sensual sled, and Justin Roberts is so thrown off that you can hear the gears in his head grind to a halt during intros. Colt, Angels, and Vance join the Dark Order in the entrance as commentary talks about them being allies of Hangman.

Reynolds and Nemeth start. Lockup, and Nemeth with a headlock as we go International~!, ending in a dropkick by Reynolds. Bononi and Drake floor the Dark Order from behind, and Nemeth with a fireman’s carry and he works the arm. Drake in as Nemeth throws Reynolds to him, and it’s a slam and double fistdrop for one. Drake poiunds away on Reynolds in the corner and chops him, then drags him back to the Pretty Picture corner to bring in Bononi. Reynolds tries to escape, but Bononi with a lariat and he taunts the crowd. Sledgehammer forearm in the corner, then a Hammer Throw and BACK body drop (Warlord would be proud of that one).

Bononi holds the wrist of Reynolds and pulls him up, flooring him with a forearm and standing on his hand. Reynolds with a jawjacker, but Bononi grabs the foot and ducks the enzuigiri to bring in Drake, who clears the Dark Order off the apron. Fallaway slam by Bononi into a cannonball by Drake for two. Reynolds is half-dead as Drak throws him into the corner and puts him up top, pummeling away and following. They fight it out and Drake is dropped down, allowing Reynolds to get a moonsault press on Drake.

HOT Tag to Grayson, who destroys Nemeth and boots away Bononi. Diving forearm to Nemeth, and he catches Drake with a uranage. He kicks Bononi off the apron and dives onto him with a somersault senton as Uno tags himself in and boots down Drake. He goes up top, getting the senton bomb, then catches Nemeth with a Flatliner for two, Drake saves. Drake tags himself in and works over Uno with chops, but Uno catches the leg and faceplants Drake before stompiong the hands. Reynolds back in for a ripcord elbow, then Grayson comes in for Demolition Decapitation, Bononi saves.

EVERYBODY INTO THE POOL as Bononi cleans house and Nemeth gets tagged in to finish Reynolds. Rude Awakening try, but Reynolds shoves Nemeth into Bononi and cradles for two. Big boot by Reynolds, and Uno hooks him up for Fatality as Reynolds chases Avalon away. That gets the pin at 7:10. Nobody does trios matches like the Dark Order. **1/4

AEW Casino App ad.

Daunte Martin (4-1) vs. Danny Limelight (3-4). Okay, I didn’t think we were at the main event yet. They must have shuffled the order between tapings. This is going to be good – two high-flying rookies (well, relative to most of the roster) getting to go at it. Let’s hope they get time. Also, it’s too bad this is Limelight’s next match after the Omega six-man.

Lockup, and Limelight backs Martin intot he corner and gives a clean break. Round two sees Limelight pushed into the corner, and Martin returns the clean break. Round three sees Limelight duck it and get a waistlock, which Martin reverses to a headlock. Limelight switches to a wristlock, which Martin reverses, so Limelight rolls out into a headlock. We go International~!, with Martin leaping over a STANDING Limelight and getting an armdrag and dropkick. Charge eats boots, but Limelight runs into a Gut Check try before blocking it by landing on his feet. Limelight with a dropkick of his own and he dances, allowing Martin to return the favor.

Cradle by Martin gets two, and Limelight tries a backslide, but Martin flips through and sweeps out Limelight’s leg. Limelight tries to return it, but Martin leaps over it and dropkicks Limelight before saying he was this close. Limelight offers the Code of Honor before slapping Martin, who comes back with a headscissors out of nowhere to send Limelight packing. Martin follows with a plancha, and back in, he tries a springboard only for Limelight to hang him up and kick him in the head. It gets one. Limelight with a forearm to stun Martin, and he nails a running Martin with a back cross-chop elbow. Right hands stagger Martin into the corner, and Limelight charges in with a Mizline.

He adds more corner clotheslines before pulling Martin out into a lariat for two. Limelight with a neck crank, but Martin gets the legs up and cradles for two. Limelight with a snapmare and soccer kick to get back in control as he slides into the de facto heel role for this match. Limelight corners Martin and slugs away, flooring Martin before charging into a boot. Another charge gets elbow as Martin recovers and gets the comeback with a dropkick and standing rana. Limelight sends Martin to the apron, but Martin just kicks Limelight in the head and nails the double-jump moonsault press for two.

Fireman’s carry, but Limelight elbows out and gets a pump kick. Three Amigos follows, with the Shake Rattle and Roll replacing the third suplex, and Limelight goes to the apron. Slingshot senton eats the knees and Martin goes up now, but the 450 crashes and Limelight gets a gogoplata. Martin stacks him for two, so Limelight gives him a Steinerline. Limelight toys with Martin, who fights back to his feet as they slug it out. Limelight with a back elbow to the throat, but Martin recovers and boxes Limelight before getting a shotgun dropkick and Gut Check. This time, the 450 connects for the win at 9:27. That makes up for what was a lackluster episode thus far. ***1/4

Lance Archer (6-2) vs. Luther (w/a very reluctant and hurting Serpentico) (0-2). Luther tells Serpentico he can watch from the stage as Jake Roberts is on commentary. Of course, this puts Serpentico in firing range of Archer’s entrance, but Serpentico gets the jump on Archer… who just carries him to the ring and throws him onto Luther.

Archer slugs away on Luther in the corner, then clubs him down into the ropes. Archer with more CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY, but Serpentico grabs the leg. Archer literally drags Serpentico into the ring and tells him to stay out of this match, which allows Luther to clothesline Archer to the outside. Luther follows as Serpentico runs away, slugging down Archer and tossing him intot he guardrail. They go to the timekeeper’s table, where Luther picks up something and hits Archer over the head with it. This just wakes Archer up, and when Serpentico tries to attack, Archer glares at him to scare him off.

Back in, Luther stomps away and kicks at Archer, draping him on the ropes before trying a suplex. Archer reverses the suplex and powers himself up, catching Luther’s charge with a back elbow, then a boot. Archer then runs over Luther and gets a facebuster and lariat for two. Serpentico is back on the apron, so this time Fuego Del Sol of all people jumps out of the crowd and fights him to the back.

Archer had nothing to do with that, and after everyone stares in confusion, Archer delivers three straight running back elbows into the corner. Archer puts Luther on the turnbuckle and tries Blackout, but Luther escapes and drop toe holds Archer into the top rope. Powerbomb try by Luther, but Archer shoves out and glares at Luther before getting a ripcord spinning uranage (the Helicoaster) for the pin at 4:08. I mean, it’s Luther, what do you want? 3/4* Serpentico’s antics were fun, though; I almost wish he was killed more.

DYNAMITE!

  • Blood! Guts! Guts! Blood! Gudd! Bluts! Ten man enter! One man surrenders! Et cetera!

So as this was a lackluster episode saved from nothingness by the last three matches, let’s do something else. HOW I’D BOOK IT – BLOOD AND GUTS!

  1. SCU vs. Varsity Blonds vs. Jurassic Express vs. The Acclaimed:
    1. Caster pins Garrison after Acclaim To Fame.
    2. Bowens pins Jungle Boy after shenanigans involving the chain.
    3. Kazarian pins Caster after the Best Meltzer Ever.
  2. QT Marshall beats Cody Rhodes when Anthony Ogogo sneaks in a liver punch. It turns into a massive brawl with Marshall’s Factory, Gunn Club, and Cody.
  3. Dr. Britt Baker wins a showcase match; after the match, Hikaru Shida accepts Baker’s challenge for Double or Nothing.
  4. Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston over Kenny Omega and MT Nakazawa when Moxley chokes out Nakazawa. The Good Brothers and Young Bucks attack after the match, but in an unforeseen development, it’s Eddie Edwards, Willie Mack, and Rich Swann to save.
  5. And then, Blood and Guts:
    1. Sammy Guevara and Dax Harwood start.
    2. Cash Wheeler enters for the advantage.
    3. Santana enters.
    4. Shawn Spears enters.
    5. Ortiz jumps in and takes the loaded glove away.
    6. Wardlow bats cleanup.
    7. Chris Jericho brings Floyd in to even it out.
    8. MJF assigns himself last.
    9. Jake Hager is last in…
    10. …and the Pinnacle win when MJF submits Guevara with the Salt of the Earth armbar. BUT, Jericho had Spears in the Walls at the same time… so while the Pinnacle win this one, we need to go Double or Nothing.

Yeah, I’m not a fan of this Blood and Guts not being a blowoff either.

STATS

BELL-TO-BELL – 52:15 over fourteen matches (average time 3:53)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Martin/Limelight

FIVE STARS:

  1. Daunte Martin
  2. Alex Reynolds
  3. Danny Limelight
  4. Serpentico
  5. Joey Janela

Until next time, BLOOD! GUTS! BLOODY GUTS!