AEW DARK: June 15, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 93 (“Enjoy Seeing Independent Tryouts While You Can”), June 15, 2021.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz.

TONIGHT! Ethan Page looks to match his partner’s win from last night by beating Danny Limelight! Dante Martin takes to the skies against Sonny Kiss! Chaos Project throws caution to the wind against the Gunn Club! And The Acclaimed have the Dark Order back in their sights – this time it’s Alan Angels and Colt Cabana!

PLUS – Tay Conti, Uno and Stu, Nyla Rose, Wardlow, KiLynn King, Frankie Kazarian, and Cezar Bononi!

Opening match: Danny Limelight (3-7) vs. Ethan Page (13-2). Great choice for the opener. Limelight got to show himself against Kenny Omega, although it didn’t seem to lead anywhere, which is too bad. Scorpio Sky is on commentary for this match. Page acknowledges Sky… who almost missed it because he was looking at the monitor.

Page with a kneelift to start. Limelight flips over a backdrop attempt and armdrags Ethan, then gets a dropkick and salsa. Ethan sends him to the apron, but Limelight with a high kick onto to springboard into a right haymaker. Ethan drags him back in with the draping butterfly backbreaker. Ethan mocks Limelight’s dancing for cheap heat, then slugs away on him. Hammer Throw, then another right to stop a comeback before Ethan throws Limelight sideways into the corner. Limelight falls out of the ring, so Ethan follows and smacks him around before throwing him back in. Suplex (complete with delay and flex), then he tells the crowd to support the guy knocked down. The stalling allows Limelight try to fight back, getting several kicks and avoiding a trunk pull with a Pele. Blind charge by Linmelight misses, but he gets the boot up and walks the middle rope to get a Blockbuster for two. He goes to the apron, but Ethan avoids the double-jump and runs Limelight over with a shoulder tackle. Ego’s Edge ends it at 4:23. Limelight is just SO much better than Ethan Page. *1/2

Welcome Back Tour in July! Miami, Austin, Dallas, Charlotte! Cody and QT in a Strap Match to kick it off! Fyter Fest and Fight for the Fallen! NATURE IS HEALING!

Dante Martin (8-3) vs. Sonny Kiss (8-8). Man, they’re pacing this like a Saturday Night’s Main Event. Two big matches to start. Now, there’s no sign of Joey Janela, but we were never promised him in the thumbnail. The good news is that this is face vs face, so I doubt there will be a beating that Janela won’t rescue him from. (This show is sponsored by State Farm.)

Knuckle lock to start, with Kiss winning with a single-leg for one. Martin is impressed, and in the ensuing lockup, Kiss follows on with a headlock into a hammerlock. Martin reverses, Kiss with a fireman’s carry takedown into an armlock, and Martin gets up to reverse with fireman’s carry and armlock of his own. Martin tries a back suplex, but Kiss flips out. Martin does the same, but Kiss rolls over the back and gets a step-up rana and splits armdrag. Muta handspring elbow by Kiss, then a snapmare and shotgun dropkick for two. Kiss with a front facelock, then they both do-si-do on a whip attempt, eventually leading to Martin getting a bottom rope springboard shotgun dropkick for two. Kiss avoids a slam, then Matrixes to duck a crossbody by Martin before getting a backflip kneedrop for two. Kiss to the abdominal stretch, but he’s a face so he doesn’t hold the ropes. Martin escapes only to get whipped into the corner, but this time the Muta handspring elbow meets knees. Martin with a double-jump moonsault press for two. Kiss with a splits jawjacker to rock Martin, then a forearm shiver to set up the Axes And O’s for two. He puts Martin up top and tries a handstand rana, but Martin pushes him off, leaps over him, and gets a trip into the FLIP OVER STUNNER OF DOOM from last time! This time it gets the three at 5:13. That move DESERVES to be a finisher. Very exciting sprint. **1/4 Code of Honor post-match as they HUG IT OUT.

AEW Games 2.Show! Thursday at 5PMET on YouTube!

Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero) (#3 women, 12-2) vs. Charlette Renegade (debut). Yes, this is her debut – you’re thinking of ROBYN Renegade, her sister. But first, we’re subjected to Vickie. For some reason. She also tries to bribe the ref, who instantly gives it away.

Charlette runs into a Vader attack from Nyla, who picks her up by the throat and goozles her into the corner. Suplex and floatover, into a guillotine on the top rope, and Nyla kneedrops her down for the pin… but picks her up at two. Beast Bomb ends the slaughter at 1:05. Nyla would be more fun to watch if Vickie Guerrero weren’t involved. NR

Evil Uno and Stu Grayson (19-5) vs. Shane Mercer and KTB (first time teaming). This is Mercer’s debut. I can safely say the folks who know of the two opponents were really excited about this match, as Mercer and KTB are a great team on the indies. We’ve seen KTB before, and he’s had some fun big/little matches with people like Jungle Boy Perry. John Silver goes to commentary.

Uno and KTB start. Lockup, and KTB gets a headlock. They exchange shoulderblocks until KTB goes for a big right. Uno with a step-up rana out of the ropes (!!), and Stu and Mercer check in. Stu with a headlock, but Mercer catches Stu with a pop-up fallaway slam (!), only for Stu to turn it into a small package for two (!!). Stu boxes down Mercer, but Uno is tagged in and gets the leg-catch hanging neckbreaker before standing on Mercer’s hands. Stu back in, and he avalanches Mercer before tossing Mercer in for a big boot and senton from Uno. Stu returns with a soccer kick and kneedrop for two. Uno back in, and he headbutts the ribs before Mercer blocks a suplex and rushes Uno into the corner. KTB tags in, but Uno fights out only to get press slammed by Mercer into a big boot by KTB. Shoulder ram by KTB and uppercut by Mercer in the corner, then Mercer with a flying uppercut into a running diving headbutt by KTB for two. Slick. KTB with a kneesmash, then he catches Uno into a Manhattan Drop/spinebuster/splash combo for two. Mercer in, and he slugs Uno before calling for the end. Stalling suplex gets two, though. Uno with a jawjacker to get separation before trying to knock KTB off the apron, but he walks into an elbow from Mercer. Double clothesline follows for the double-down. Hot tag Stu, and he gets a standing frog splash on KTB and a cross chop. Blind charge misses and KTB chops Stu, but gets pulled into an overhead suplex. KTB sends Stu to the apron, but Stu floats back in with a tornado DDT for two. Uno tags in, but KTB escapes only to get caught with a brainbuster/roundhouse combo, Mercer saves. Stu and Mercer tag in, with Stu sent to the outside where KTB suplexes him back up into Mercer’s hands IN THE RING for a Lygerbomb for two. That was a great double-team. KTB in, Stu ducks a double clothesline and gets a double Pele, with Uno sending Mercer out fo the ring and diving on him with a senton off the apron. KTB is legal, so Stu gives him Nightfall for the win at 6:54. That was FUN – Mercer and KTB had some great double-teams, and Stu was an incredible hot tag. Worth seeing! **1/2

Wardlow (13-4) vs. Chandler Hopkins (0-2). Wardlow will be in Friday’s main event in an MMA fight against Jake Hager. But first, this: he promised to choke out his opponent tonight. He usually does knockouts, so let’s see if that’s where they go. Hopkins looked all right against Joey Janela, but Janela makes lots of people look good. He won’t get that chance tonight, I’m thinking.

Lockup, and Wardlow just shoves Hopkins down. Hopkins tries a single-leg, but Wardlow picks him up and discards him. Lifting takedown by Wardlow, then he rushes Hopkins into the corner and gives him a right uppercut. Hammer Throw, but Hopkins avoids the charge only to run into a big boot. Steinerline follows. “Hager, this is for you!” And it’s a guillotine choke to TKO Hopkins at 1:35. Two down, only the promise of a first-round KO of Hager to go. NR

Cezar Bononi (w/The Wingmen) (3-5) vs. Dillon McQueen (0-2). Bononi will be facing Orange Cassidy on Dynamite. Unlike in prior appearances, McQueen gets no entrance. Bononi still has the shiner from training that he was sporting last week. Avalon and Nemeth imitate Orange’s half-hearted thumbs up.

Bononi piefaces McQueen, who slaps Bononi. This is a mistake, as Bononi roughs him up and gets a big boot. Running back elbow by Bononi and he lands body blows. Body toss by Bononi, then a middle rope shin choke. Avalon and Nemeth mess with his hair while Bononi has the ref occupied, then Bononi follows with a back suplex before imitating the HANDS IN POCKETS of Orange. Blind charge eats a kick, but on the second try Bononi catches it and drops him back-first. Pumphandle fallaway slam (with thumbs up) wins it at 1:59. NR

Frankie Kazarian (16-2) vs. Jake Tucker (debut). Kazarian has a match on Dynamite, teaming with Penta and Kingston against Matt Jackson and the Good Brothers. His new entrance video says he’s the Heavy Metal Rebel. Most of Kazarian’s wins on his record are in tag action, and since he and Daniels aren’t a team anymore, they don’t mean too much.

Lockup, and Kazarian with a waistlock takedown. Tucker reverses to a hammerlock, but Kazarian slips around the back, gets a drop toe hold, and holds a front facelock. He rolls with Tucker, who tries a Northern Lights suplex, but Kazarian gets a sunset flip for two. Big chops by Kazarian, then a hiptoss and armdrag. Drop toe hold goes back to the front facelock. Tucker tries to punch out of it, then blocks a suplex only for Kazarian to go CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY so that he can hit the suplex. Tucker catches Kazarian with a flying armdrag and backs him into the corner, getting a corner clothesline and bulldog. It gets one. Tucker with a shoulder ram, then a Hammer Throw. He gets a second Hammer Throw (with Taz noting he takes too much time between moves), and on cue, Kazarian avoids a charge and gets a lariat off the ropes. Crossface Chickenwing of all things gets the win at 3:31. Man, that came right out of nowhere. 1/2*

KiLynn King (12-4) vs. Valentina Rossi (debut). King has a spoken intro to her music, but I couldn’t understand. I do dig the blue stripe for her face-paint, mind you, and she’s all business without Swole or Red Velvet to dance with.

Lockup – Rossi is almost as tall as King – and King pushes Rossi to the corner and offers a clean break. A second time, and again King shoves Rossi to the corner as Rossi screams for a break. Rossi wants to compose herself as King shouts “WRESTLING”, then Rossi shoves the Italian hand gesture into her ear! Bad idea, as King gets a shoulder block and armdrags. Rossi runs into a shoulderbreaker for two. Armlock by King, keeping control from a stnading position, but Rossi fights out and floors King. Shoulders in the corner, then a chef’s kiss suplex for two. Rossi talks trash to King, then throws her into the corner and yells some more. King blocks another shot and fights back, but King walks into a back elbow. Rossi with boots to the midsection, then gets a boot choke and yells at the ref. Hammer Throw, but Rossi stops the boot on a charge and puts King up top. King kicks away and dives off, getting a shotgun dropkick on the landing for a double-down. Clotheslines cue the comeback. King kicks away a right hand and ducks a clothesline, catching Rossi with Kingdom Falls for the pin at 4:07. Mama mia, Rossi’s NOT ready for primetime! 1/4* King tried a couple of new moves here, and sure this is the place to try them. It just didn’t work out in terms of match flow.

Alex Marvez is with Joey Janela, asking for another medical update. Janela’s update: WHO CARES? It’s Bad Boy Summer! Last week they went to a go-go bar named the Nip Factory… but Sonny Kiss shows up and has Had Enough Of This Crap. He directly asks why, and Janela… admits he’s been a bad friend. Then he blames Alex – yeah, not even Sonny buys that one. Sonny says he’s done and walks off. Janela: “This is YOUR fault, Alex!” Really liked this segment – I wonder if there’s more to Janela’s change in behavior than just “it’s summer and I’ve waited a year and a half to be the Bad Boy”.

Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico) (10-13) vs. Gunn Club (Billy and Colten) (3-0 in this incarnation). Still no sign of Austin, who is looking for his liver after that fight with Anthony Ogogo. Why does Billy always dance with Aubrey Edwards when she refs his matches? Thankfully, the ref snaps out of it and demands they get serious.

Billy and Luther start. Billy with chains around and around Luther before giving him a love tap, which annoys the heck out of Luther (“[screams incoherently]” Billy: “What did he say??”). Billy goes for the same thing, but Luther slaps Billy before tagging in Serpentico and throwing him at Billy. It does nothing, as Billy tries an armdrag into a side suplex. Colten in, and Billy slams Colten onto Serpentico for two, with Luther trying to save but hitting Serpentico with an elbowdrop. Colten dropkicks Luther to the outside as Taz says he wishes he could slam Hook around. Blind charge by Colten misses as Luther pulls Serpentico away, and Serpentico adds a dropkick before bringing in Luther. They slug it out, but Luther turns a Hammer Throw into an enzuigiri. Luther tells Colten to SUCK IT (as funny as it sounds) before slamming down Colten and bringing Serpentico in for a slingshot double-stomp for two. Serpentico with a chinlock that Colten breaks, but Serpentico keeps the headlock and tags in Luther. Luther shoves Serpentico down to complete a Russian legsweep on Colten, then Luther adds a snap suplex for one. Kneedrop by Luther and he imitates the Smoking Gunns taunt to Billy. Side suplex by Luther – who knew Dino Bravo had a legacy – and Luther gives Serpentico an inverted suplex so Serpentico can splash Colten. It gets two before Billy emphatically saves. Serpentico runs back to the chinlock on Colten, then brings in Luther. Luther with a slam, then he drop toe holds Serpentico to headbutt Colten only nobody’s home. Luther tries to lawn dart Serpentico into Colten, but Colten moves and Serpentico hits post. Hot tag Billy, and he comes out of the corner with a clothesline to Luther and press slam on Serpentico, who should ask for hazard pay. Famouser set up, but Luther avoids it and gets a pump kick for two, Colten saves. Serpentico jumps in, but Colten sends him out and follows, leaving the old guys. This time the Famouser connects for the pin at 6:15. I think this match needed more comedy. *1/4

Tay Conti (#2 women, 15-3) vs. Willow Nightingale (0-4). Two of my favorites to watch improve. Their smiles could warm the Antarctic, too. Nightingale even gets caught dancing to Conti’s music, which Conti adores.

Lockup, and Coni with a headlock before Willow shoves her off. Conti approves and they lock up again, this time with Willow backing Conti onto the middle rope and catching her in a fireman’s carry. Conti slides into a sunset flip for one, but Willow ducks the Rainmaker and tackles down Conti for another one. Hammer Throw by Willow, but Conti rolls away from the charge and gets a running uppercut. Both women exchange waistlocks until Conti gets a release German suplex. Willow ducks a Yes Kick, but eats it to the back instead, allowing Conti the running PK for one. Conti curbstompss Willow and hooks a triangle sleeper for the… wait, no, Willow makes the ropes. Willow dodges a pump kick and kicks away at Conti’s hamstrings, then gets a schoolgirl for one before they take each other down with hairpull slams. Conti’s up first and unloads with forearms and clotheslines. Pump kick in the corner by Conti, then another one from the side as Willow is out on her feet. Judo hiptoss into another pump kick, and DDTay ends this one at 3:39. Great bit as Conti wants to dance to her music post-match, but her leg won’t let her because of Willow kicking hard at it. That’s a bonus quarter-star right there. 3/4*

Main Event: Colt Cabana (13-3) and Alan Angels (9-8) vs. The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) (#2 team) (10-3). Colt had a silly rap attempt on Twitter. This is one nice thing about the Dark Order – they have so many people that they can throw two of them out in a main event to give their foes credibility, but even if they lose, well, they don’t team all the time so of course they did. “Yo, Angels, I didn’t know you had more friends!” He then claims Angels wants to date Caster. “…oh, and Colt, your new podcast sucks, too.” That wasn’t part of the rap. That was literally all he said to Colt during the intro.

The Acclaimed jump the gun and go to work, but Angels has the edge on Bowens while Caster has the lead on Colt. They do the double-whip do-si-do, then each member of the Dark Order lifts the other into a dropkick – yes, Angels lifted Colt. Sort of. Colt then throws Angels into a rana on Caster and the Acclaimed bail. Colt chases them, and Bowens enters to be the legal man. We go International~!, with Angels and Bowens, ending with Angels getting armdrags and a dropkick. Then Colt adds one of his own to Caster, as the theme early on is “Yes, Colt can do flying stuff, stop laughing”. Colt tagged in and they get a double punch on Bowens. Bowens punches out and brings in Caster, who runs into a hiptoss from Colt. Colt with an armlock and VULCAN NERVE PINCH, then he avoids running into the buckle and gets a legsweep and splash on Caster for two. Bowens gets drawn in, which means he doesn’t see the tag to Angels, then while escorting Angels out, Bowens uses the JVC KABOOM BOX OF DEATH on Colt’s leg. Caster wraps Colt’s knee around the middle rope, then brings in Bowens, who drops an elbow and hammerfists on the knee. Colt tries to break a legbar, but he’s crawling the wrong way and Bowens kciks him back down. Caster back in as he kicks the leg, but Colt desperately tries to fight away Caster. Caster gets a dragon screw for two. Shinbreaker try, but Colt wants a sunset flip. Caster escapes, but the kneedrop misses only for Bowens to try to cut off the hot tag. Northern Lights by Colt, hot tag Angels. Discus clothesline on Bowens, then he avoids the charge and backs Bowens into the corner to get another clothesline. Caster jumps in and kicks Angels’ arm, only for Angels to get an enzuigiri. Both Acclaimed are now hung up in the ropes, so Angels gives them both This Is Gonna Suck. Shiranui by Angels gets two. Angels goes up, but in the Acclaimed corner, so Caster crotches him. Acclaim to Fame is set up, but Angels elbows out of the uranage before getting a rising knee on Caster, knocking him off the top rope. Bowens tries to strike down Angels, getting an arm-trap suplex and then kicking Colt’s leg to knock him off the apron. Bowens with a corner avalanche, and now the Acclaim to Fame gets the pin at 7:21. The Acclaimed just get more polished every time. **1/2

THE FOLLOWING WAS INDICATED TO BE ON DYNAMITE:

  • Penta, Kingston, and Kazarian! Matt Jackson, Doc, and Anderson!
  • Orange Cassidy faces Cezar Bononi!
  • Julia Hart takes on Penelope Ford!
  • Darby Allin goes 1-on-2 against Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky!
  • Cody Rhodes and Brock “son of Arn” Anderson take on QT Marshall and Aaron Solow!
  • JR interviews Andrade El Idolo!
  • And an MMA match pits Jake Hager against Wardlow!

HOW I’D BOOK DYNAMITE!

  1. Orange Cassidy pins Cezar Bononi. Wingmen beat him down, Best Friends make the save and Trent says he’s got Rocky’s phone number for backup, demanding an eight-man tag for next week.
  2. QT Marshall and Aaron Solow beat Cody Rhodes and Brock Anderson when Brock turns on Cody and joins the Factory.
  3. Darby Allin gets the upset over Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky (okay, by the numbers it’s an upset).
  4. Julia Hart over Penelope Ford.
  5. Matt Jackson and the Good Brothers over Penta, Kingston, and Kazarian when Anderson pins Kazarian with the Magic Killer.
  6. Jake Hager beats Wardlow by DQ when the Pinnacle swarm the cage for a 5-on-1 beating.

(By the way, normally I break my match recaps up into paragraphs because of how voluminous I get; this week I decided not to just to see if it’s a big deal. What do you think – paragraphs within matches or no?)

STATS

BELL-TO-BELL – 46:02 over eleven matches (average time 4:11)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Either Dark Order tag match – take your pick

FIVE STARS:

  1. Stu Grayson
  2. Sonny Kiss
  3. The Acclaimed
  4. Shane Mercer
  5. Tay Conti

Enjoy the week, and I’ll be back Thursday!