AEW DARK: July 20, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 98 (“On the Road Again”), July 20, 2021.

From Cedar Park, TX.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz.

TONIGHT! Thunder Rosa goes after KiLynn King! It’s a double-tag extravaganza as the Varsity Blonds and Angels/Vance take on Private Party and the Acclaimed! Big Swole looks to give The Bunny a lesson! And in the main event, it’s Dustin Rhodes defending Team Nightmare against Team Factory’s Aaron Solow!

PLUS – Abadon, The Blade, and Wardlow!

Cold open with Dustin Rhodes: he tells Aaron Solow he’s been in the industry for 5 decades, and he knows there’s a time when you have to choose sides. Solow chose poorly – the Factory isn’t it. He hasn’t forgotten being hit with a chair, but now Solow comes to his backyard in Texas. Tonight, Solow needs to strap up and look Dustin in the eye and know… Solow’s going to school.

Opening match: The Blade (w/The Bunny) (13-3) vs. Ryan Mantell (0-2). Crowd pops huge for Butcher/Blade’s pyro. Tomorrow, Blade faces Orange Cassidy. Mantell is from nearby Austin. I imagine this was taped prior to Dynamite because the crowd is READY.

Blade with a quick kick to start and he works Mantell over in the corner before dragging the eyes on the ropes. Chops in the corner and he slugs away. Hammer Throw, and Blade with a running chop. He stomps a mudhole in Mantell (and, this being Texas, walks it dry), then distracts the ref so Bunny can rake Mantell’s back. Clothesline by Blade (as the crowd finally settles in and boos him), then a Doctor Bomb to win at 1:49. NR

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KiLynn King (12-8) vs. Thunder Rosa (#3 women, 18-2). Crowd gives King a nice reception, which is heartening, but it’s NOTHING compared to Rosa’s. Taz even calls it a Warrior pop (Ultimate, not Road, but still really good).

Lockup, and they exchange waistlocks. Rosa with armdrags, but King gets a few back and poses… to boos. King’s caught off-guard, so Rosa gives her a drop toehold and rope choke before dropkicking her against the middle rope. King with a small package for two as Rosa celebrates, so Rosa chops away only to get run over by King. King tries a Majistral armlock, but Rosa escapes and tries the Peruvian Choke. King escapes quickly and gets a sleeper out of it, but Rosa escapes with a jawbreaker and goes back on offense.

King tries a chokeslam, but Rosa turns it into a HHH facebuster and gets double knees in the corner. Shotgun dropkick in the corner follows, then a butterfly suplex for two. King slugs Rosa away and kicks away a lariat to get a release German suplex. Rosa flips out of Kingdom Falls and lands a Backstabber, and the Peruvian Choke ends it at 2:44. Crowd loves every bit of it. This was all about Rosa. 3/4*

Varsity Blonds (Pillman/Garrison, w/Julia Hart) (#1 team, 16-4) and Dark Order (Angels/Vance) (4-3) vs. The Acclaimed (Bowens/Caster) (#2 team, 14-3) and Private Party (Kassidy/Quen) (#4 team, 11-4). The Blonds get a standing O during their entrance. The Dark Order still join on the stage, but no longer follow to the ring. Lots of claws up – even from the Blonds and Julia in the ring. “Yo, 10, tell 5 stop callin’ me!” “How you all adults and you still on Varsity?” “I wanna bounce like your Democrat lawmakers!” “Julia – the Acclaimed got you a present!” …it’s French Bread. Which references that tasteless comment Bowens made last week.

Vance and Kassidy start. Lockup, and Kassidy with a headlock. Vance shoves him off and runs him over. Kassidy tries a waistlock and O’Connor Roll, but Vance holds on to the ropes. Vance catches Kassidy coming in and runs him over again, then picks him up for a suplex. Quen pulls Kassidy down, so Angels dives onto Private Party. Vance with a pump kick, then Garrison sets up Kassidy for the Hart Attack dropkick from Pillman. The Acclaimed refuse to tag in, so Kassidy runs into an armdrag and lock from Pillman, who gets a chant.

Kassidy makes the ropes, then cheap shots on a break, so Pillman chops away. Quen grabs the foot, and Private Party take advantage to nail Silly String on Pillman. Caster in now, and he dares Garrison to run in (bait not taken). Bowens joins Caster in stomping down Pillman in the corner, then Quen tags in for a double axhandle off the top rope. Knees against the ropes by Quen, then Kassidy enters and Private Party gets a double back elbow into a fistdrop/SSP combo for two. Quen back in as Kassidy corners Pillman, and a Hammer Throw leads to Quen running in…to Pillman’s boot. Kassidy tries Poetry in Motion, but Pillman catches him and throws him onto Quen.

Hot tag Garrison, and he destroys the Acclaimed and gives Bowens a BACK body drop (.8 Warlord). Long-distance Stinger Splash leads to a spinebuster by Vance, and Angels goes up top to lands the moonsault on Bowens for two, Quen saves. Vance sends Quen packing, but Kassidy gets the RVD enzuigiri only to turn around into Garrison’s Discus Punch. Caster dropkicks Garrison, so Pillman SUPERKICKs Caster, so Bowens chops down Pillman and gets a brainbuster. Angels returns to land a double clothesline with Bowens and everyone’s down.

Bowens leverages Angels into the buckle and grabs the JVC KABOOM BOX OF DOOM, but Julia Hart yanks it away. Angels cradles an angry Bowens for two. C-4 by Angels gets two, somehow. Crowd is INTO this one. Angels goes up, but Caster catches him. He knocks Caster down, but Private Party runs in for Gin and Juice. Caster then drops the Mic to win at 6:54. Sprint-tastic! ***

Then Bowens has the mic again. He says he felt bad about what he said to Julia Hart last week, so from the bottom of his heart… he doesn’t give a $#!%. He doesn’t want to play second fiddle to a tag team with a cheerleader who… c’mon, Bowens, let it go. They won’t stop til they go through the Blonds for tag title shot. Hart wants to murder someone, and can you blame her?

Abadon (11-1) vs. Promise Braxton (debut). Abadon gets a nice face pop. Being different works, what can I say? Braxton is more confused than scared.

Braxton ducks a charge and looks for the lockup, but Abadon drops her and slugs her in the temple. Running hip check misses, and Braxton chops Abadon. Hammer Throw try is reversed into a Bret bump, and Abadon adds a Northern Lariat and smashes Braxton’s head into the mat repeatedly. Braxton tries to fight back, but she runs into a pop-up powerbomb. Leg-hook DDT ends it 1:37. NR

All Out. September 5. Already sold out, so you can only get it on PPV.

The Bunny (17-9) vs. Big Swole (5-0). We’ve already seen Bunny earlier tonight, and Blade and Bunny interrupted a celebration by Orange Cassidy on Elevation… I wonder if there’s a receipt coming here. Excalibur notes that both women are on a hot streak and could make the Top 5. So if you’re wondering what the point of this match is – it’s to win to get title shots.

Lockup, and after a struggle, Swole sends Bunny to the corner and gives a clean break. Bunny piefaces Swole and bails through the ropes to avoid retribution, but Swole ducks a cheap shot and chops away in the corner. She goes up and over Bunny, then rolls through a cradle attempt. They switch to the International~!, with Swole getting knocked over but returning the favor and adding an uppercut to the back.

And now we interrupt this match for Diamante to talk. It allows Bunny to chop block Swole and take over as Diamante heads to ringside.

Bunny stomps a mudhole in Swole and gets the boot choke before skipping away and adding a sliding forearm. It gets two. Swole fights her way back up and lands a cross-chop to get the advantage, then a few more for the comeback. Double dodge into the headbutt follows, then a corner clothesline. Alley-oop follows and the Cloverleaf is set up, but Blade gets on the apron. Diamante adds an enzuigiri as Swole misses a charge, and Bunny cradles Swole for the pin at 3:32. With a handful of trunks, just to be safe. NR – all angle.

Wardlow (13-3) vs. Chad Lennex (first singles match). Lennex is one of the Dustin Rhodes grads, and Dustin accompanies him to ringside. He’s been in a few tag matches, and Dustin appearing with him gets a decent pop… that doesn’t last when he goes to the ring alone. Lennex adopts a good This Is Gonna Suck face for Wardlow’s entrance.

Lennex understandably isn’t sure where to start, but he decides to charge… straight into a Simmons-style spinebuster from Wardlow. Descending Knee Kill finishes for the KO at 33.9 seconds. You expected more? NR

Backstage, Big Swole cuts to the chase. Diamante messed with her pay and her winning streak. But this match Diamante wants, she can do at any place and any time. Just name where/when.

Main event: Aaron Solow (10-13) vs. Dustin Rhodes (7-1). But first, QT Marshall has a mic. He says Aaron Solow used to live in Austin – USED to. The fact they’re booing him is why he left Austin to go to the Factory in Atlanta. But Marshall’s no glory hog, so Solow can speak for himself. Solow says it’s a big night for him – he’s facing a living legend in his hometown. And it’s the biggest stage he’s been on – it’s usually the crappy bars or stupid cinemas in Austin. He asks the crowd to cheer Dustin Rhodes when he comes out, because Rhodes is almost done and Solow’s in his prime. So hit Dustin’s music – for the last time in Austin when he’s done.

Side note: I’m pretty sure The Natural Dustin Rhodes is a WCW and therefore WWE name, so “Well, they call him the Natural” is a workaround. It’s like how he was the man THEY call Vader in the WWF – Leon White was, that is. Not Dustin. Although Goldust doing a Vader impression probably would’ve been funny.

Solow jumps the gun and beats on Dustin before the bell, but Dustin recovers and clotheslines Solow out. On the outside, Dustin with an uppercut and he sends Solow into the timekeeper’s table as the crowd chants for him. Chops against the guardrail as they go around the world, but Dustin pulls up short as he gets near Comoroto and throws Solow back in. He then sees Marshall and glares, which allows Solow to recover and whip Dustin across the apron into the ringpost. Marshall and Comoroto are told to stand back, and Solow rolls out to beat on Dustin and chop him against the guardrail.

Back in, Solow with a Kitchen Sink for two. Solow with forearm shots to drape Dustin on the middle rope, and Marshall adds a suckerpunch behinds the ref’s back. Solow with a Broncobuster – didn’t Goldust do that a few times? – for two. Dustin fights back with rights, but Solow goes to the gut only to run into a Manhattan Drop. Bulldog is blocked, though, and Dustin bounces off the turnbuckle as they clang heads for the double-down.

Both men up at 6, and Dustin gets the comeback. Kneeling uppercut on Solow – with a Hook’em – and a powerslam follows. Solow reverses a Hammer Throw but runs into a boot, and Dustin gets Code Red for two. Solow escapes the Final Cut and lands a SUPERKICK, then a flying knee. German suplex follows. 540 kick by Solow gets a very close two. Pedigree try, but Dustin trips Solow and catapults him… onto the middle rope, from which Solow does the double-stomp for two. Solow rocks Dustin with rights, but Dustin escapes a slam and gets the bulldog (on the second try – Solow legitimately avoided the first) for the pin at 6:02. Nice ovation for Dustin. **1/4

TOMORROW! FYTER FEST NIGHT 2!

  • Jericho does his first labour!
  • Britt Baker faces Nyla Rose for the AEW Women’s Title!
  • Jon Moxley and Lance Archer run it back – a Texas Death Match for the IWGP US Title!

HOW I’D BOOK DYNAMITE:

  1. Frankie Kazarian over Doc Gallows, but the Bucks try to blind him with the cooling spray afterwards.
  2. Chris Jericho completes his first labour by beating Shawn Spears.
  3. Britt Baker fends off Nyla Rose to retain the Women’s Title… and Thunder Rosa says she’s next.
  4. Orange Cassidy over The Blade, and a brawl breaks out with the HFO and Best Friends going at it.
  5. After a long match with many falls for both men, Jon Moxley finally keeps Lance Archer down for the 10-count to retain the IWGP US Title.

STATS:

BELL-TO-BELL – 23:12 over seven matches (average time 3:19)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT – The eight-man tag

THREE STARS

  1. Max Caster
  2. Dustin Rhodes
  3. Thunder Rosa

If one show is about 90 minutes and the other 45, I think that would be ideal. So let’s hope AEW has the groove. But first, enjoy Fyter Fest Part 2 tomorrow!