AEW DARK: May 18, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 89 (“PPV DEVELOPMENT!!”), May 18, 2021.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz. Excalibur calls tonight’s show “massive”. You have no idea.

TONIGHT! Kris Statlander appears in women’s action taking on Diamante! Marty Casaus is at it again, this time facing Matt Sydal! Brian Pillman Jr of the Varsity Blonds faces Luther of Chaos Project! Cezar Bononi looks to fling Marko Stunt into next week! Serpentico faces off against Sonny Kiss! And according to the preview, EVP Cody Rhodes will announce who is in the Battle Royal at Double or Nothing!

PLUS – Angelico, Lee Johnson, Nick Comoroto, Chuck Taylor, Will Hobbs, Swole and Velvet, Griff Garrison, Nyla Rose, Uno and Colt, Daunte Martin, and Preston Vance! SIXTEEN MATCHES! Buckle up and get your beverages, because we’re getting a marathon week!

Ricky Starks is on commentary for the first few matches.

Opening match: Will Hobbs (w/Hook) (11-1) vs. Dean Alexander. Starks admits there’s “some issues”, but he’s Ricky Starks so he’ll be fine.

Hobbs jumps Alexander during intros and won’t even let him get the fur coat off. He slugs him down repeatedly, then runs him over with a tackle. Hobbs toys around with Alexander, then gives him a Hammer Throw. Blind charge misses and Alexander fires back with rights. Finally the coat is off and Alexander fires away, but Hobbs blocks a corner whip only to run into a boot. SPINEBUSTER OF DOOM follows, however, and Hobbs wins at 1:16. Starks: “He shoulda kept the coat on.” NR Hobbs is in the Casino match.

Dante Martin (6-1) vs. Falco (0-1). There’s a non-zero chance as this continues that Darius Martin might be a Wally Pipp. Falco is from Boyle Heights – and oddly, he’s not the Lucha Underground alum on the show.

Lockup, and Falco with a headlock. We go International~!, with Martin getting his headscissors shoved away leading to both men blocking each other’s offense until Martin gets a lucha armdrag and dropkick. Martin follows with a plancha, and back in, Falco catches him with a kick to stop him from following. He pulls Martin in and gets a butterfly suplex, with floatover, for one. Top wristlock by Falco, but Martin with leg kicks to escape only to run into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Bow and arrow by Falco, then he breaks before being counted and stomps away.

Martin stops a boot and gets to his feet, and a strikefest leads to Martin getting an Eastern Lariat and dropkick. He stops a boot on a blind charge and does the gamengiri, then adds a double-jump moonsault press for two. He goes up, but Falco meets him and goes up with him. He headbutts Martin and tries a butterfly superplex, but Martin knocks Falco down in perfect position for the 450. It hits, and Martin wins at 4:16. I get the story here – technician Falco slowing down high-flyer Martin – but it needed more time to be perfect. *1/4

Matt Hardy is at the Compound, and says today is a great day (but when you’re Matt Hardy, aren’t they all?). Last night, Private Party beat up “the ass of the Dark Order”, and Hardy even exacted his own revenge. At Double or Nothing, three Dark Order members are entering the Casino match… so because the Hardy Family Office wants to embarrass them, they’ll get three entries as well. Hardy, Kassidy, and Quen in this case. The Dark Order has no direction, leader, guidance, or future. But the HFO has him as leadership, and everyone bends the knee for him – which guarantees Private Party will work hard to make HIM win. They will embarrass the Dark Order (apparently it’s Uno, Vance, and Colt), but Hardy will win the Casino match and get the guaranteed title shot. Yes, it’s a beautiful day, just like it will be at Double or Nothing. The truth… is the truth.

Speaking of Dark Order:

Preston Vance (15-2) vs. Ryzin (0-3). So Cody was on the preview thumbnail, making me think they’d run the entries through him, but it appears they’re just spreading them through the show. Taz complains about the entire Dark Order coming out together, and even Excalibur points out the hypocrisy of this one. No one from the Dark Order sticks around.

Lockup, and Vance backs Ryzin into the ropes before offering a break. Ryzin goes behind Vance, who blocks the O’Connor Roll and stares at Ryzin to make sure there’s no follow-up. This time, Ryzin gets a shot ot the back of the head off a go-behind, following with a headlock takedown. Vance to the headscissors, and Ryzin kips up to escape. Vance gives Ryzin a headlock takedown and we go International~!, ending with Vance giving Ryzin a second shoulderblock. Ryzin tries a casadora – it doesn’t quite work, but that’s not important because Vance was going to German suplex him anyway.

Hammer Throw by Vance and he follows with a clothesline as Starks messes up his line about calling a mortician then claims to speak Simlish. A second corner clothesline sets up the full nelson, but Ryzin blocks it and bails out. Ryzin Hotshots Vance and cradles him for two on his way back in. Leg lariat gets one. Vance with a series of lariats on Ryzin, then a corner pump kick. SPINEBUSTER OF DOOM (as Starks and Taz imitate Brodie Jr’s enthusiasm), but a corner charge eats boots. Ryzin goes up, but the senton bomb misses and the full nelson wins it at 4:07. Ryzin was trying to add some flying moves to his arsenal. It didn’t work, but we all gotta start somewhere. 3/4*

Chuck Taylor (w/Trent, Orange Cassidy, and Kris Statlander) (8-3) vs. Aaron Rourke (debut). Ooh, Aaron Rourke – I remember him from Beyond’s Uncharted Territory! He was the longest-running holder of the Discovery Gauntlet in Season 2! Taylor is doing an Adrian Street look-alike gimmick, but he’s a great grappler out of the Create-A-Pro Academy.

Lockup, and Taylor takes the arm. Rourke reverses after a front roll, but Taylor breaks down the legs and gets a headlock. He runs over Rourke with a tackle as Starks and Taz argue about giving Taylor credit. Taylor works into a hammerlock, reversed by Rourke, who then flips out of a back suplex and nails a dropkick and kip-up. Taylor lets him preen before running him over, then the back suplex connects for real. Fistdrop clubs from Taylor before he stomps the small of the back. Snapmare by Taylor and he works the shoulders.

Taz: “If I were a woman, I’d fight Statlander.”
Starks: “If YOU were a woman, Taz…”
Excalibur: “Let’s not finish that line of thought!”

Meanwhile, Rourke fights to his feet and avoids an enzuigiri to kick Taylor out of the ring. On the outside, Rourke nearly whips Taylor into Trent, but they HUG IT OUT instead before Taylor clotheslines Rourke. Back in, a Taylor charge misses and Rourke throws Taylor face-first into the middle buckle. He tries to splash Taylor like that, but Taylor moves and Rourke crashes and burns. Rising knee by Taylor, and the Awful Waffle finishes at 4:07. Commentary overshadowed the match. 1/2* The GROUP HUG comes with a team pose this time.

Lance Archer says Bear Bronson went down, and now he calls out Miro. Archer’s supposed to be TNT Champion, with everything going full circle. At Double or Nothing, Archer’s destiny will be fulfilled… once Tony Khan or SOMEONE makes it official. He can’t wait to do it in front of a sold-out crowd with two big bad men killing each other. Last week, Miro said he wasn’t afraid to kill the man who wasn’t afraid to die… but Everybody Dies. Notably, no sign of Jake Roberts here.

Lee Johnson (w/Cody Rhodes) (2-1) vs. Fuego Del Sol (0-10). Ah, so that’s why Cody was front and center. Each time Fuego appears, I wonder if this is his night, but then I see his opponent and realize, no, not today. Johnson could be, but with Cody coming out with him, forget it. Of note: both Excalibur and Taz call Cody the American Nightmare anyway. Also, Cody doesn’t stick around. Ricky Starks has left commentary.

Code of Honor to start. Lockup, and Johnson does a takedown of Fuego. They lock up again, and this time Fuego gets the armdrags and kip-ups. They trade more armdrags, with Fuego reversing one to a headscissors, but Johnson kips up out of it and the two of them exchange words. Fuego with a headlock takedown, Johnson with a headscissors; Johnson with a headlock takedown, Fuego’s return is blocked so he stacks Johnson for one., THEN gets the headscissors. Johnson pops up and feigns a superkick, with Fuego flinching, so Johnson re-assures him and lets him get up.

They go Interantional~!, with Fuego ending it on a pair of step-up ranas. Johnson with a dropkick to reply, and he poses. Johnson sends Fuego into the corner and boxes him away, adding a chop. Hammer Throw, and Johnson gets a running chop and suplex for two. Johnson sends Fuego into the ropes, but Fuego fakes a rana into a cradle for two, which he transitions to a single-leg crab. Johnson gets to his back and kicks him away, but Fuego rolls into a jack-knife cover for two. Backslide by Johnson gets two, then Johnson blocks a monkey flip and gets a Death Valley Driver, soccer kick, and standing moonsault in about 3 seconds… for two.

Johnson waits for Fuego to pull himself up by the ropes, then snapmares him into a surfboard. Fuego gets to his feet and uses a knee strike and jawjacker to get out, then catches Johnson with a back elbow. Johnson returns the favor, but Fuego flips out of a back suplex and gets a Victory Roll into a Stunner for the double-down. Both men pull themselves up in separate corners, and they charge with Fuego getting the better of it with five-arms before sending Johnson to the outside.

Springboard quebrada (with Fuego only getting one foot on the rope as he flies over for pushing off!), and back in, Fuego goes up with a diving bodypress… but Johnson with the Cena counter into Fuego getting a crucifix cradle for two. Shining Wizard gets a very close two. Fuego pulls Johnson up and tries to get him to stand before running in to try a tilt-a-whirl DDT, and that’s his mistake because Johnson gets the Blue Thunder Bomb out of it for the win at 7:29. There were some longer pauses than you’d see on Dynamite or PPV, but they’re both inexperienced so that’ll happen. When they went at it, THEY WENT AT IT. **1/2

The Acclaimed with a battle rap against Mox and Kingston. About Mox: “Beat your face so hard, you wish you had a shield.” About Kingston: “I’m gonna send you to the hospital or CHIKARA.” Mox and Kingston are all talk. “Tegan and Sara thinkin’ you should call it off!” Basically, Mox and Kingston keep yapping, but they can’t back it up. There were some funny visuals in this one, too.

Dark Order (Evil Uno (12-1) and Colt Cabana (10-3)) vs. Duncan Mitchell and Tamilian Vineesh (debut). Excalibur confirms these two are in the casino match. I wonder if Stu Grayson is hurt – there’s no sign of him tonight.

Dark Order fake charging the other corner to… give them the Code of Honor. And give it to the ref, too. Okay, I laughed. Colt and Vineesh start, with Vineesh doing a special yoga pose. Colt tries the Crane pose, but catches Vineesh with the kick and slams him down. Uno in, and he drops an elbow on Vineesh’s head before Dark Order give him a double hiptoss and double hand stomp into a double cross-chop. Vineesh crawls to the corner, so Mitchell tags himself in only to fall for Uno’s single-leg neckbreaker. Colt back in, and it’s a double shoulder block into an inverted atomic drop / big boot combo (Mitchell thought he could run them together, but nope).

Mitchell with a right cross to Colt, and Vineesh gets a Russian legsweep, but Colt refuses to let him cover. Vineesh keeps working him over as Mitchell comes in, but Colt ducks and the jobbers collide. Colt then tanks Mitchell’s chop only to return with one of his own. Uno tags in and runs over Mitchell before tossing him into the corner with clotheslines. Vineesh returns, so Uno catches him and gives him a neckbreaker as he gives Mitchell a DDT. Colt with the Flying Apple to Mitchell into a boot by Uno, and Uno with the senton bomb into Colt’s Billy Goat Curse as poor Mitchell taps out at 4:05. Colt tries to roll into Uno to celebrate and accidentally kicks him, cracking up commentary. This match was WAY more fun than the star rating would indicate. 1/2*

Cezar Bononi (5-8) vs. Marko Stunt (15-23). Justin Roberts slowing down his intro with a “what the hell is Bononi doing” even though by now of course he’s pulling the Love Sled that Avalon’s on.. well, it’s good comedy. All the Wingmen (which appears to be the stable’s name) come out with Bononi/Avalon, while Stunt comes out alone and pretends to SURF ON THE SLED. Oh, it’s ON now!

Bononi corners Stunt to start, but Stunt goes through the legs and tries to kick away. Bononi shoves Stunt aside, then on the next try yeets him into the corner. Stunt ducks the clothesline and tries a sunset flip, but Bononi picks him up only for Stunt to slide out the back and keep kicking the legs. A chop finally gets Bononi mad enough to catch the next kick and choke throw him to the ropes. He then sends Stunt into the corner with a bearhug run, but stops to gloat and Stunt tries to kick away. Bononi just picks him up and lawn darts him to the opposite corner, complete with overhead replay to show distance.

Suplex by Bononi, but Stunt knees out of the stalling part and backs Bononi to the corner so he can get on the top. From there, a diving rana sends Bononi to the opposite corner, and Stunt dropkicks him before cutting the legs out to send Bononi to the middle buckle. Stunt climbs over him and gets a diving elbow on a bent-over Bononi, but Bononi recovers with a military press that Stunt turns into a DDT for one. Shiranui try, but Bononi stops it and does an Angle Slam to win at 2:50. The Wingmen do a mass beating after the match, with Jurassic Express running them off. Avalon and Nemeth threatening Luchasaurus with a shoe is different. I could’ve stood more of this – it was fun. *

Earlier Today, Jungle Boy Perry says he wanted to be TNT champion, but it didn’t happen. So now he has to keep moving forward for the next opportunity… which is the Casino match. It’s the first one for him since, well, the first one. But back then, he wasn’t ready for a World Title match. Things have changed (to say the least) since two years ago, and Perry feels it’ll be different this time. He’s ready.

Nick Comoroto (w/QT Marshall, Aaron Solow, and Anthony Ogogo) (4-3) vs. Adrian Alanis (first singles match). Alanis, as a reminder, is Leon Ruff’s former buddy in the Skulk in EVOLVE. Yes, Comoroto warms up by lifting the stairs for Marshall to sit on and watch the match. There may be Factory people in the Casino match, but Ogogo won’t be one of them – he has Cody Rhodes. Excalibur says U Oughta Know Adrian Alanis. Yes, really.

Alanis with a go-behind to start, into a headlock, but Comoroto blocks the takedown and throws Alanis off. Alanis tries a single-leg takedown, but Comoroto no-sells and chucks Alanis. Alanis goes up and over and nails a dropkick, then catches a charge with a back elbow and boot, following up with a missile dropkick. Alanis slugs away, but Comoroto shoves him aside before catching him in a Dr. Death style powerslam.

Comoroto slugs away on Alanis, adding a crossface blow. He slams Alanis’ head into the turnbuckle for two. Comoroto with a suplex, and he gets the press, but Alanis slides out the back and tries an O’Connor Roll. Comroto blocks, but Alanis gets a big elbow strike and boxes away. Discus lariat is tanked by Comoroto, who wallops Alanis with one of his own. Last Ride (nearly pantsing Alanis) wins at 3:43. Alanis was game and I liked the fire he showed. 3/4*

Sonny Kiss (w/Joey Janela) (3-1) vs. Serpentico (w/Luther) (9-27). You’d think Serpentico would have a better record if he let himself not be a lawn dart by Luther. Meanwhile, Taz goes on a tangent about birds being rats with wings… presumably meaning pigeons as he rules out most birds of prey. Janela pretends to call up Miley Cyrus to praise Stupid Sexy Sonny Kiss.

Luther grabs Kiss’s foot during the circling, and Serpentico takes advantage with stomps. Serpentico with a right hand and he sends Kiss into the ropes, only to be caught with a standing rana and splits armdrag. Serpentico stops a second one, though, but Kiss takes over with a wheelbarrow walk into headscissors. Kiss goes up and over the ropes, but his springboard coming in is blocked by Serpentico and Kiss splats. Serpentico with a snapmare and soccer kick, then an axhandle for two. Serpentico sends Kiss hard into the corner, then stomps a mudhole in him but neglects to walk it dry.

Serpentico wraps Kiss around the post on the outside until the ref physically stops it. Back in, another axhandle gets two. Surfboard by Serpentico, but Kiss butts out with his… uh, butt. Serpentico with a clubberin to stop the momentum before tossing him out of the ring right at Luther’s feet. Janela races over to make sure Luther can’t get in any cheap shots, while back in, Kiss gets a sunset flip for two. Serpentico with a lariat to regain control, getting two. Kiss catches a charge with a boot, but Serpentico adjusts the mask… only to crash into the buckle again.

Kiss with the comeback, getting something between a belly-to-belly and Northern Lights suplex, then adding a twerk moonsault for two. Rapid Kissmissal (handspring into a slap) misses, and Serpentico gets a SUPERKICK and DDT for two. To the top, but the double stomp misses and Kiss kicks away, ending with a standing enzuigiri. Luther enters the ring, as does Janela, but the ref stops only Janela. Luther gets a pump kick on Kiss, and the SOS gets Serpentico a shock win at 6:09. Janela apologizes feverishly to Kiss in the background. There was some good here, but it felt disjointed at times. *3/4

Big Swole and Red Velvet (#5 women) (4-0 as a team) (w/KiLynn King) vs. Vertvixen and Jazmin Allure (0-2). Tomorrow night, Velvet faces Serena Deeb for the NWA Women’s Title, and yes, Deeb is in the audience scouting. She seems amused by Velvet’s prematch routine.

Allure and Velvet start, with Velvet getting a headlock takedown. Allure gets one of her own, and much like the first one, it ends with a headscissors. They exchange armdrags and try to dropkick each other to applause. Velvet offers Code of Honor, so Allure kicks her. Velvet with a back kick and crossbody off the ropes, then a leg lariat and everyone tags out. Swole and Vixen now, and Swole gets a hammerlock into a headlock. Vixen tries to fight out, so Swole switches to a knee strike and runs Vixen over. They mistime a snapmare grab, but Swole gets it, a soccer kick, and a sliding uppercut to get two. Swole with a big stomp and Velvet tags in, leading to a double leg kick and double Flatliner for two.

Vixen and Velvet slug it out, with Vixen blocking the big blow and yanking Velvet down by the hair. She carries Velvet to the corner and hangs her up, getting a very convoluted stomp in the corner for one. Allure in, and she gets a corner clothesline and back elbow before bringing Vixen back in. Double hiptoss, double cartwheel, and double dropkick gets two. Vixen taunts Velvet, who starts swinigng back and gets enough separation to bring in Swole. Swole runs over Allure and pump kicks Vixen, then a Blue Thunder Bomb on Allure gets two. Driving knee gets two, Vixen saves. Vixen keeps pounding on Swole and tags herself in, but Velvet spears Allure away and Swole gets Dirty Dancing to win at 4:42. Booking seemed a little backwards considering Velvet is the one they need to build up for tomorrow. The enhancement team seemed pretty good all things considered. 3/4*

And now, from Road to Dynamite, we see Red Velvet talk about her NWA Women’s Title match. Of note, they talk about how every woman who’s held the title has held it at a high caliber… but the only one they have photos of is Fabulous Moolah (given how long she held it hostage, it’s not a surprise, but juxtaposing her with “high caliber” is kind of ironic).

Griff Garrison (with Brian Pillman Jr and Julia Hart) (11-6, part of #2 team) vs. Deonn Russman (debut). The Blonds and Hart now have color-coordinated jackets/uniform. The Blonds will face the Bucks tomorrow night. Russman is from Wasilla, Alaska, and yes that town should sound familiar.

Lockup, and Garrison with a headlock. Russman reverses, Garrison reverses and takes him down, and Russman uses the hair to break. Russman with a shot to Garrison, but Garrison knocks him down off the ropes and slams on the brakes to stop a leapfrog before clotheslining him. Russman goes to the eyes before landing an uppercut, then it’s the abdominal stretch. Garrison hiptosses out of it, as you do, and gets a push kick to send Russman into the corner. Stinger Splash misses, but Russman leaps… onto the middle rope and goes up and over to land a powerslam and 180 twist splash for two. Hammer Throw and corner clothesline, then Russman follows with a kneedrop into an elbowdrop for two.

Fireman’s carry, but Garrison slides out the back and gets the clotheslines for the comeback. BACK body drop and now the long-distance Stinger Splash connects. Falcon Arrow gets two. Garrison is frustrated, allowing Russman to back him into the corner. Again, Russman’s leap lands on the middle rope, but this time when he leaps it’s right into the Discus Punch for Garrison to win at 3:51. Commentary says Garrison was a little out because he’s not used to singles competition, but once he got into the groove he was good to go. Russman looked pretty good – let’s hope he gets a callback. *

Matt Sydal (w/Mike Sydal) (6-2) vs. Marty Casaus (0-2). You know, the Sydal Brothers would’ve been at home in Lucha Underground now that I think about it. Casaus has a Mortal Kombat inspired robe. Taz explains what his team has against the Sydal Brothers.

Sydal ducks under Casaus and gets the leg, but Casaus grabs a headlock and runs him over. Another Casaus headlock, but this time Sydal catches him with a running cradle for two. Casaus fakes out a test of strength and kicks Sydal, who returns it in triplicate. Casaus goes to the eyes and slams Sydal into the turnbuckle repeatedly, but Sydal blocks the fourth try and kicks away. Casaus no-sells going into the turnbuckle like he’s Koko B Ware, then just goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY in the corner.

Hammer Throw try, but Sydal hangs on and drop toe holds Casaus into the middle buckle. Bronco Buster follows (only one impact, though), but Casaus regains his bearings and boots down Sydal for two. Neck crank by Casaus, but Sydal fights up to his feet only to get smashed. Sydal with a head kick out of nowhere and he tries to floor Casaus with kicks, finally succeeding with a spinkick. Casaus walks into an ankle pick and twisting moonsault, but Sydal doesn’t cover. Casaus with a cradle throw and curbstomp out of the corner, though, then he picks Sydal up by the hair. Full nelson try, but Sydal elbows out and, after some struggle, nails the headscsissors and roundhouse kick. He goes clubberin, and the Lightning Spiral wins it at 4:25. Decent big/little matchup. 3/4*

Diamante (10-5) vs. Kris Statlander (with Trent, Chuck Taylor, and Orange Cassidy) (4-0). The story here is that Diamante saw all the excitement surrounding Statlander’s comeback and hated it. So tonight, she can shut up the hype train once and for all. In theory. Taz recalls that on Statlander’s first appearance on Dark, Taz said she’d be a future women’s champion… but even so, too much fanfare considering she’s with Orange Cassidy.

Diamante bites Statlander’s booping finger to start, so Statlander knocks her over only to get hiptossed. Statlander with a legsweep and double legdrop, but the senton misses and they exchange two-counts on a crucifix. Diamante points at Statlander and swings wildly, allowing Statlander a waistlock. Diamante chops away, but Statlander knocks her over and catches a leapfrog attempt into a powerslam (that gets a thumbs up). Diamante bails, so Statlander with a baseball dropkick to send her to the guardrail. Big chops exchanged, which Statlander gets the best of. Statlander yanks Diamante’s bandana off and tosses it to Taylor, which allows Diamante to clothesline her.

Statlander recovers by slamming Diamante into the apron, then rolls in and rolls out to splash Diamante. Back in, it gets two (as Taylor ties the bandana to his head). Diamante with a Black Widow legsweep out of the ropes, and she stomps on the throat. She goes ground and pound on Statlander, then tosses her into the corner and chops away. Statlander fights back with elbow strikes, but a roundhouse kick misses and Diamante dropkicks Statlander into the corner. Charging shotgun dropkick gets two. Diamante with cross-face blows to Statlander for two.

Diamante to the armbar with a chin crank, but Statlander gets up and gets a lariat into a backbreaker when she gets to her feet. Corner charge uppercut and running knee strike nearly knocks Diamante out of the ring, but she drags Diamante back in and gets a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Diamante escapes a suplex and gets the casadora Stunner to rock Statlander, then it’s a huracanrana for two. Diamante throws a wristband at Statlander and slaps her, whoch just wakes Statlander up and it’s a slugfest. Diamante tries a Shiranui, but Statlander catches her IN MIDAIR to adjust her to Big Bang Theory for the pin at 6:51. Great counter-wrestling here. **

Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero) (8-2, #4 women) vs. Reka Tehaka (0-3). Hang on, let me adjust the volume for Vickie. This has to end with one of the women imitating Vickie Guerrero for an introduction. It’s just good wrestling if they do that. Vickie tells Justin to take a hike, as per usual. I wonder if Rose can headbutt Tehaka.

Tehaka charges and gets caught by Rose, who clubs her down and gets a jumping leg lariat. Tehaka tries to fight to her feet, but Rose just smacks her down and chokes her against the middle rope as Vickie adds some slaps. Tehaka makes it clear Vickie needs to stop RIGHT DAMN NOW, which allows Rose to jump her from behind and get a gutwrench slam. Legdrop follows, then a Samoan Drop try, but Tehaka fights out of it and headbutts the tar out of Rose. She runs into a SUPERKICK, however, then Bradley Beals Tehaka to the corner before adding a cannonball. Hammer Throw and hip check leads to a lariat. Beast Bomb wins it at 2:28. Just another day at the office for Nyla. 1/4*

Angelico (2-1) vs. Vary Morales (0-2). Well, if I’m going to get a ton of matches, I might as well be able to vibe with the Angelico dance. Angelico comes out wearing a neon yellow bucket hat, which is fantastic. Morales has no idea what to make of this.

Angelico droops down to emphasize his height advantage, then gets a go-behind and waistlock into a snapmare. Morales gets his own go-behind, but Angelico reverses and just throws him down. Morales with a lucha armdrag to get his attention. Angelico with a single-leg takedown, but Morales gets his own armdrag and imitates Angelico. Angelico with a leg sweep, but Morales gets satellite headscissors when Angelico tries to pick him up. Angelico bails but avoids the pescado, adding a baseball slide dropkick (Morales landed on his feet).

On the outside, Angelico with some left jabs, then he drops Morales on the apron. He stands on Morales’s neck on the apron, then back in, he gets a Calf Crusher with an anklelock. Morales makes the ropes. Morales fights out of the corner, but Angelico cuts is off with a kneesmash. Hammer Throw, but Angelico takes his time following in and eats boot. Morales with a sunset flip into a huracanrana and Angelico bails again, this time catching a diving crossbody by Morales (who does Angelico’s dance to the camera). Back in, Morales goes back up, but dives into a dropkick from Angelico. Navarro Death Roll ends it at 4:59. Boy, they gave Morales a lot and it worked to get the crowd into the match. *1/4

Main event: Luther vs. Brian Pillman Jr. (w/Julia Hart) (part of #2 team, 11-5). I was busy deleting some matches that were promised by the preview I saw, so I didn’t see Luther’s singles record. Yeah, you’re all broken up.

Luther clubs away on Pillman to start, getting a forearm and kneelifts. Headlock, and we go International~!, with Luther blocking a hiptoss and sending him into the corner. A charge misses, and Pillman gets a hiptoss and dropkick on Luther. Pillman with a corner clothesline and back elbow, then he chops away. Pillman goes over on a back body drop attempt, landing on his feet, then gets an armdrag and wristlock. He holds the hammerlock on Luther, who throws him off and lands a pump kick. Release German suplex and Pillman rolls out, with Luther following to drop him on the guardrail.

Luther then stalks Hart, allowing Pillman to come back with chops, but Luther tosses Pillman into the guardrail – and the guardrail collapses under him! Luther kicks Pillman and throws him back in, and once inside, Luther grabs the mullet and uses it to choke Pillman against the ropes. Chop in the corner, then another, and Luther gets a Hammer Throw and corner clothesline. He does it again in the opposite corner, adding more clotheslines in the corner. Blind charge eats boot, twice, and Pilman fires off with rights and chops.

Clothesline knocks over Luther, then Pillman with a slam for two. Three-point stance by Pillman, but Luther catches him and sets him on the ropes. Pillman knocks him down when he follows, and Pillman with a diving crossbody for two. Crucifix by Pillman gets two, thought it took a while to get him over. Backslide by Pillman gets two as we see Serpentico hiding in the crowd. Pillman with a big slap and he wants Air Pillman, but Serpentico grabs the leg. Pillman kicks him away, though, and Air Pillman wins anyway at 6:16.

Serpentico races in and pounds away on Pillman as Hart races to the back to get Griff Garrison. He shows up in time to stop Creeping Death from happening. You know, I wouldn’t mind all this “Wrestlers A and B attack Wrestler C, Wrestler D saves” stuff if it led to tag matches the next week – continuity experts are available everywhere for this. Heck, I’ll do it for a nominal fee. This was pretty basic stuff from Luther, but Pillman made the most of it. *1/4

DYNAMITE!

  • Moxley and Kingston square off against the Acclaimed!
  • Will the Inner Circle accept the Pinnacle’s ultimatum?
  • Christian Cage faces Matt Sydal as Taz calls it!
  • Anthony Ogogo faces Austin Gunn!
  • Hikaru Shida gives Rebel a non-title match!
  • The Varsity Blonds get a title shot against the Young Bucks!
  • Red Velvet looks to be NWA Women’s Champion against Serena Deeb!

Only two hours is amazing given all the content they fit in there. We learned about more of the Casino entrants (Hobbs, Hardy, Private Party, Uno, Colt, and Jungle Boy), though I guess asking for all of them was asking too much. Still, they put over the guys who needed putting over, and they actually provided material for Double or Nothing, so I call that a win.

HOW I’D BOOK DYNAMITE!

  1. Christian Cage beats Matt Sydal, only for Will Hobbs to smash both guys afterwards.
  2. Anthony Ogogo punches out Austin Gunn.
  3. Moxley and Kingston over the Acclaimed, after which they accept the Bucks’ invitation to Double or Nothing.
  4. Serena Deeb over Red Velvet to retain the NWA Title.
  5. Chris Jericho says that, despite being injured, he and the Inner Circle will accept the Stadium Stampede challenge.
  6. Hikaru Shida squashes Rebel, after which Britt Baker puts her in Lockjaw
  7. The Young Bucks retain against the Varsity Blonds, but by disqualification when Moxley and Kingston destroy them with weapons. Pillman, Garrison, and Hart race off, wanting nothing to do with those two wildcards, as Kenny Omega and the Good Brothers race in to save… until the Best Friends stop them and we have the Elite laid out to end the show.

STATS

BELL TO BELL – 71:34 over sixteen matches (average time 4:28)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT – Johnson/Fuego

FIVE STARS:

  1. Fuego Del Sol
  2. Kris Statlander
  3. Lee Johnson
  4. Brian Pillman Jr.
  5. Serpentico

Enjoy tomorrow, everyone!