AEW DARK: August 6, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark Episode 101 (“Special Bonus Episode, Tape Delay”), first aired August 6, 2021.

From the AEW Arena.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz. Your descriptor: “Moderately large.”

THIS SHOW! Peter Avalon’s back in action, but his first test is a doozy – Frankie Kazarian! It’s Nightmare vs Factory as the Gunn Club face Aaron Solow and Nick Comoroto! And Jora Johl continues his trial by fire as he goes one-on-one with Orange Cassidy!

PLUS – Lucha Brothers, Kris Statlander, Jurassic Express, Julia Hart, Lance Archer, Abadon, a trio of Dante Martin and the Sydal Brothers, and Ethan Page!

Opening match: Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy Perry and Luchasaurus w/Marko Stunt) (#4 team, 7-1) vs. D3 and Ryzin (first time teaming). And we open with Taz butchering the music again. To make things more complex, Jungle Boy is the #1 men’s contender too. D3 and Ryzin don’t even get a combined weight.

Perry and D3 start. Perry with a hammerlock out of the lockup, which D3 reverses to a top wristlock. Perry bridges out and rolls through for the armlock, who flips around but can’t escape it. D3 gets out and jumps on Perry’s back for a sleeper, then gets a takedown and crucifix to kick off a series of two-counts by both men. Perry with an armdrag and dropkick, and Ryzin brought in. The Other Guys argue, then Ryzin runs into a Perry armdrag. He backs Perry into the corner by the hair and fires off a right, then goes up-and-over before getting his own armdrag. Perry springs up to get one of his own, then holds the armlock.

Saurus in and he chops Ryzin into next week. Ryzin fires back, but that does nothing and Saurus clotheslines Ryzin in the corner before giving a bradley beal. D3 gets tossed into the Express corner and Saurus uppercuts him off his feet, and Perry comes in to get a German suplex for two, Ryzin saves. Saurus chases Ryzin off, and the race comes back in where Ryzin is nailed with a Gory Special / Tailwhip / Brainbuster combo by the Express. D3 eats the backflip throw into a powerbomb to give Perry the win at 3:32. Typical Jurassic Express B-show match. 1/2* And somebody gong Taz.

AEW Rampage ad.

Kris Statlander (w/Orange Cassidy) (#4 women, 13-0) vs. Leila Grey (0-8). Grey could be the next one in a line of trainees like KiLynn King, Julia Hart, and of course Red Velvet who graduate to winner – but not tonight. Statlander boops Justin Roberts on the way to the ring. And one more for the ref. Ricky Starks joins us.

Lockup, and Statlander with a headlock and takedown. Grey reverses to neck-scissors, but Statlander escapes (not QUITE kipping up) before getting a waistlock and ride. Grey switches, but Statlander breaks the grip and takes Grey down with an armdrag and keylock. Another set of armdrags follows, then BOOP. Statlander with an STO-like clothesline/backbreaker combination, but a blind charge misses and Grey kicks away.

Corner splash and Grey with the Kevin Nash boot choke (though she does have to stand on the bottom rope to do it), and then she returns the BOOP. That’s a mistake, as Statlander gives her a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Or GREEN Thunder, if you’re Starks. Electric chair facebuster and deadlift German suplex sets up Big Bang Theory to win it at 3:07. The moral of the story: never mock an alien. 1/2*

Dynamite comes to Houston August 18!

Lucha Brothers (Penta El Cero Miedo and Rey Fenix) (w/Alex Abrahantes) (14-8) vs. Sage Scott and Jake St.Patrick (0-2). So, are we just supposed to pretend Eddie Kingston was Rey Fenix or something? It’s like Fenix and PAC came back and they hit a reset button. To make matters weirder, Excalibur notes that they haven’t been “a consistent tag team”.

Scott and Penta start, and the gloves are already off. Scott shoves Penta in the face, but Penta notes he has CERO! MIEDO! As he shoves him right back. Scott tries to return it, but Penta catches his hand and shows him how to do it right. Then gives him a SUPERKICK. Both brothers are in and they run over Scott, then add a casadora team cradle slam thing. Fenix gets two. Scott with a jawjacker and St.Patrick comes in, but Fenix does the tiger feint and grabs the knuckles for an overhand chop. Scott with a shot to the back off the apron, and St.Patrick with a leg lariat for two.

Hammer throw and unppercut, and Scott comes in to give Fenix a snapmare. St.Patrick with a sliding lariat and legdrop for two, brother. Hammer Throw and corner splash, but St.Patrick goes for another and eats boot. Fenix with the springboard spinkick for a double-down. Hot tag Penta, and he takes both men down with a crossbody and a pair of Sling Blades. CERO! Fear Factor Zero (and a tightrope gamengiri to cut off St.Patrick) ends Scott at 3:21. If the Luchas can remain healthy, watch out. 3/4*

Mark Henry talks to both Big Swole and Diamante as we get a recap of their mini-feud. Swole says that Diamante called her out and that’s an issue. Diamante started it, calling her a sidekick, and then she cost Swole a match – and with it, some purse money. Her winning streak was stopped because Diamante messed up the match with Bunny. But wait, Diamante says it’s over because she won… but Henry says it’s still Swole’s time to talk. About that head-to-head match? Diamante cheated to win. NOW Diamante speaks, and says it doesn’t matter that she cheated – winning is winning. And if Diamante took Swole’s money, come get it back. Diamante throws her hat at Swole, and the Usual Idiots come out to separate them. Henry says they should settle it in the ring.

Julia Hart (w/Brian Pillman Jr and Griff Garrison) (4-7) vs. Angelica Risk (0-1). Excalibur says that this trio may be the biggest success story in AEW Dark history.

What little crowd there is is in on the “JULIA” chant. Lockup, and we go International~!, with Hart ending with a hiptoss and headlock takedown as Excalibur promises more about the Acclaimed later. Risk stacks her for one, then backs Hart into the corner and fakes a clean break before chopping her and kicking her. She then twerks at Hart, but the hip check misses and Hart slams Risk’s head into the corner.

Arm twist and back hook kick by Hart leads to a legsweep, but the moonsault eats knees. Hart fights her way back up with the comeback (from what?), then gets a Hammer Throw and impressive forearm smash (Starks: “Get her in Team Taz!”). Sparkle Splash gets two. They slug it out as Risk tries to fight back, but Risk trips Hart into the middle rope and nails the Area Code kick. She goes up, but leaps into a SUPERKICK from Hart. Front handspring corner clothesline sets up a running back elbow and bulldog with splits for the pin at 3:20. Hart had some good fire in this one. 3/4*

Pittsburgh double shot ad. Interestingly, Cody Rhodes is named specifically as being there, despite the beatdown from Malakai. Well, card subject to change and all.

Ethan Page (17-3) vs. Baron Black (0-14). Ethan Page may have the most punchable face in AEW. No? Just me? Meanwhile, for once no Scorpio Sky on commentary. Ricky Starks is still here.

Ethan with a quick kick instead of a lockup, but Black with a snapmare and La Majistral for one. Ethan does not like that, but he runs into an armdrag and floating double-arm hook into a backslide for one. Now Ethan is on tilt, allowing Black the Manhattan Drop and spinning chop. Black sets up a Romero Special as the crowd wants a tap, but Ethan escapes. Blind charge eats boot, though, and Ethan throws Black down and runs him over with a shoulderblock.

Running back elbow follows, and Ethan poses. Black with a chop, but Ethan slugs him down and stomps a mudhole in the corner. He picks Black up by the hair, but Black blocks the Ego’s Edge… so Ethan CLUBBERS him. Black slides out of the Edge and gets an atomic drop into a backstabber. He wants a Cloverleaf, but Ethan kicks out. Ethan’s blind charge eats boot and Black goes up, but Ethan with a cross-arm throw and the Ego’s Edge connects for real to win at 3:47. It’s not that hard to make someone look good even though you win. *1/4

Nick Comoroto and Aaron Solow (w/QT Marshall) (2-0) vs. Gunn Club (Billy and Colten) (7-0). So what happened to Anthony Ogogo? Did he get injured in training? We haven’t seen him since Double or Nothing. Then again, I’d think Comoroto is the star of the group. Ricky Starks is gone, so QT Marshall joins commentary. That reminds me: did Marshall apologize to Tony? Excalibur asks the same thing.

Solow and Colten start. Lockup, and Solow gets the armlock. Colten reverses, and Billy comes in to axhandle the arm and keep on it. Colten back to keep working the arm, then he goes to a headlock. Solow with the hair to shove him off and they go International~!, with Colten leaping over Solow and getting a headlock takedown. Marshall asks why he’s not going for a pinning predicament out of it. Solow backs Colten into the corner and cheap shots on the break. Colten comes back with a kneelift, and Billy enters for a big boot followed by a diving clothesline by Colten.

Billy gets one and races off to bring in Comoroto. BIG staredown between Billy and Comoroto, and Comoroto kicks Billy out of a knuckle-lock fakeout. He hooks the headlock, and we go International~!, with Billy getting a back elbow in the ropes. Comoroto follows with one of his own, but Billy with a shin kick and SUPERKICK for Not Even One. Colten in, but Solow cheapshots Colten and allows Comoroto a clothesline to take over. Comoroto fires off on Colten in the corner and stomps a mudhole in him, then gets a knee choke. He chokes Colten on the middle rope, and when the ref admonishes him, Solow gets a Hotshot off the apron.

Solow is tagged in now, and he gets a running uppercut into an Oshigoroshi from Comoroto. It gets two for Solow. Crowd (to Solow): “No One Likes You!” Solow with a suplex for two, and Comoroto comes in. Both men miss blind charges on Colten in turn, and Colten kicks Solow away, but it leaves him open for a sliding lariat from Comoroto for two. Neck crank follows, but Colten fights out and has to be held back for the tag. (Excalibur answers my question: Billy Gunn injured Ogogo.) Comoroto knocks Billy off the apron and brings in Solow, but Colten sends the two togeher and it’s hot tag Billy.

Solow pinballs for him while Comoroto falls out of the ring. Tilt-a-whirl slam to Solow, but Comoroto returns the favor to Billy and puts Solow on top for two. One and Only by Billy gets two, Comoroto saves. Colten with a sky high dropkick on Comoroto, but Solow gives Colten a 540 kick. Billy cradles Solow – with the tights, oddly enough – for the pin at 7:36. So it appears Gunn Club are desperate to remain undefeated and may be leaning heel. Although QT Marshall complaining makes me think he had it coming. Good tag match otherwise. **1/4

AEW All Out ad.

Peter Avalon (w/Cezar Bononi and JD Drake) (4-3) vs. Frankie Kazarian (20-4). Tragically, Drake is in street clothes rather than being dressed up like Bononi is. Also tragically, there’s no HEART SLED OF DOOM. But we do get a really fancy robe for Avalon and pinkies up. Kazarian has been running through the Door lately, winning a six-man tag on Impact.

Lockup, and Kazarian spins a hammerlock into a side headlock. Avalon escapes with a top wristlock, but Kazarian spins around Avalon and re-applies it. Avalon with a hammerlock into his own headlock, but Kazarian gets a back suplex to break for two. Kazarian with an armdrag and headlock takedown, but Avalon tries to shove Kazarian off only for Kazarian to hold on. Avalon tries again, but Kazarian just switches to a front facelock, then a snapmare, and back to the headlock. Finally Avalon shoves Kazarian off only to get knocked out of the ring by a shoulderblock.

Avalon asks for time on the outside and clears the cobwebs, but Kazarian gives chase as the Wingmen let him go. Kazarian fakes out Avalon into giving an elbowdrop to air, and Kazarian follows with a slingshot legdrop. Avalon holds the corner to keep Kazarian from coming in, then leverages him into the middle buckle before adding a running dropkick for one. Avalon goes to an armbar, but Kazarian breaks and chops away. Avalon catches Kazarian running in with a leg lariat for one, then returns the chops.

He sends Kazarian into the middle corner, but Kazarian comes back with the Flying Jalapeno. Back elbow, slam, and springboard legdrop, but Bononi has the referee’s attention on the fall. Kazarian goes after them, but his blind charge eats Avalon’s knees. Flair Pin by Avalon gets two. Marti-knees is missed, and Kazarian gets the Cross-Face Chickenwing for the win at 4:53. No one does the basics like Frankie Kazarian. *1/2

AEW Elite GM app ad.

Dante Martin (12-5), Matt Sydal (11-4), and Mike Sydal (1-7) vs. Darian Bengston, Vary Morales, and Aaron Frye (first time as a trio). Oh, there’s gonna be some flying in this one. Taz talks about how Matt Sydal was Dante’s idol growing up. Both teams are together for the first time.

Matt and Frye start. Lockup, and Sydal gets a snapmare for one. Fireman’s carry and armlock follow, and Mike comes in to get a guillotine double-stomp. Matt with the flying mare and Mike with a standing moonsault press for two. Frye with a jawjacker and he brings in Morales. Morales charges into a Falcon Arrow from Mike for two, and Mike brings in Martin. Torpedo Minnesota from Martin, and Bengston enters only to get run over. Martin cartwheels over a trip and nails a dropkick, then goes up and over only for Bengston to catch him and get an Electric Chair Hotshot for one.

Raven Effect is escaped, and Martin with a big roundhouse kick to bring in Matt. Matt cleans house, and a fisherman’s buster gets two on Bengston. He kicks away on both Frye and Morales, setting them up for a double-jump moonsault from Martin. Osaka Street Cutter by Martin sets up a double-team Lightning Spiral to end Bengston at 2:57. Even in just three minutes and in a six-man, you can tell Dante Martin is a future star. 3/4* I wonder if Darius is going to be Jannetty’d when he comes back. I hope not – if he’s half of what Dante is, that team is a cornerstone for years.

Non-title: IWGP US Champion Lance Archer (w/Jake Roberts on commentary) vs. Tre’ Lamar.

No intros here, as Archer jumps Lamar outside the ring and slams his head into the camera in the crowd. Back in to start the match for real, and Archer stomps a mudhole in Lamar and walks it dry. Lamar does the Flair Flip in the corner and runs away from Archer, but a pair of five-arms just make Archer mad and he replies with the Pounce (which even makes Roberts laugh). Short-arm clothesline by Archer, and he goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY. Lamar tries to fight back, but Archer tanks his shots and floors him with a forearm. Release vertical suplex by Archer and he just smiles as Taz tells Roberts to watch out for Tanahashi. NASTY right hand from Archer, but a blind charge eats boot and Lamar goes up. Archer cuts him off with a right haymaker, though, and Blackout ends it at 2:34. Archer murdering fools = never old. 1/4* Lamar stays unconscious as we go to black. That’s worth another quarter-star.

Adabon (13-1) vs. Kelsey Heather. Taz: “If you’ve never seen Abadon before, you’re in for… I don’t want to say a treat.” Heather is creeped out and really doesn’t want this match.

Heather is hesitant to lock up, then goes behind a charging Abadon and fires away with rights. This calms her down until Abadon glares and screams, then she runs for it. Abadon grabs the hair, but Heather races to the ropes. When Abadon shrieks at the ref, Abadon attacks and back her into the corner before landing a front handspring forearm. She takes a bow… as Abadon adjusts her head. Cue the horror movie scream from Heather as Abadon throws Heather into the corner and boxes her down. She then throws Heather through the ropes, into the post, and to the floor. Heather is dazed and can’t run, so Abadon lariats her on the floor. Abadon then slams Heather’s head into the ring apron, and back in, Abadon crawls to her prey. Heather escapes the grip and throws kneelifts, but runs into a Sky High. Abadon stalks Heather and picks her up, headbutting her before the Leg DDT ends it at 2:55. Look, if you don’t have time to tell a story with wrestling, tell it with character work, and they did. 3/4*

Main Event: Jora Johl (w/Private Party) (0-4) vs. Orange Cassidy (w/Chuck Taylor, Wheeler Yuta, and Kris Statlander) (#4 men, 12-1-1). I assume this is the main event – it’s how AEW advertised it. The Best Friends and Hardy/Private Party will face off on Dynamite, so Johl is here to soften Orange up. Statlander has a snack with her as she comes to the ring. By the way, congratulations to Wheeler Yuta, as his IWTV Title has been given Official Status by PWI.

Orange wants to put HANDS IN POCKETS, but Johl intercepts one and gets a hammerlock into a headlock into a hammerlock into a headlock, into a drop toe-hold… try, but Orange blocks and it’s HANDS IN POCKETS time. Orange rolls through a clothesline and gets the dropkick and kip-up, so Johl bails and talks to Private Party. Orange threatens to dive, so Johl racves back in and cuts him off with a dropkick. Johl with a fireman’s carry, but Orange escapes only to run into a powerslam for one. Okay, “run” is relative.

Johl with a corner clothesline to Orange, and he reminds Private Party that he got this. Hammer Throw, but Orange runs out and goes for a tilt-a-whirl DDT. Johl cuts it off and lands a fireman’s carry into a Falcon Arrow, but Private Party has conflicting ideas on what to do next and Johl is very confused. Orange gets up during the chaos, and the Orange Punch lands to win at 2:39. NR – angle over match. Everyone runs into the ring to make sure nothing happens after the bell, and Private Party just helps Johl to the back. Best Friends makes sure there’s no extra-curriculars before they HUG IT OUT as we go to the end.

(Before you ask, no, there WAS no update on the Acclaimed.)

Well, now we’re caught up. Sorry about that. I know you all wait for my reviews. (tongue in cheek)

STATS:

BELL-TO-BELL – 38:41 over eleven matches (average time 3:31)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT – Gunn Club vs Factory

THREE STARS:

  1. Nick Comoroto
  2. Ethan Page
  3. Frankie Kazarian

Enjoy Rampage tomorrow!