AEW DARK: August 31, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 105 (“Strictly Come Dancing”), August 31, 2021.

From Chicago, IL.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz.

TONIGHT! Serpentico hopes to take a break from Luther beating him up by having Frankie Kazarian beat him up! Leaders square off as Dark Order’s Evil Uno faces the Factory’s QT Marshall! And a battle of high-fliers goes down as Matt Sydal takes on PAC!

PLUS – The Bunny, Leyla Hirsch, Tay Conti, Joey Janela, Emi Sakura, 2point0, Men of the Year, and Kris Statlander!

(Note: this version is being done picture in picture as opposed to on my TV, so hopefully I don’t miss anything.)

In the Casino battle royal: Hikaru Shida, Emi Sakura, and now Kiera Hogan!

Opening contest: Kris Statlander (#1 women, next challenger, 16-0) vs. Selene Grey (debut). In an interesting twist, Taz says Hobbs and Hook will be in action tonight when they wrestled last week. Meanwhile, this match was advertised last week and is happening now.

Lockup, and Grey takes the arm. Statlander with a single-leg trip, but Grey avoids being BOOPed twise and slaps Statlander. Statlander with a hard forearm, but a blind charge misses and Grey goes for a monkey flip… only to get caught and lifted in a stalling vertical suplex. Then, BOOP. Fisherman’s Falcon Arrow ends it at 1:16. That’s what your next challenger should do, really. Well, minus the BOOP.

Hey, CM Punk came back! He’s facing Darby Allin at All Out!

Joey Janela (6-3) vs. Robert Anthony (0-5). Anthony is infamous for being given all sorts of offense against Jon Moxley on an episode of Dark last summer, and we were all better off for it.

Janela jumps the bell and boxes away on Anthony, adding a chop and a right. Janela dances, which allows Anthony a big boot. Janela bails and Anthony gets a somersault senton onto him. Back in, delayed suplex (with the camera getting a HILARIOUS closeup of Janela’s “Oh crap” face) gets two. Anthony backs Janela into the corner and puts him up top, but Janela clubs him down, then takes him down with a sunset flip bomb for two. Janela pounds away and draws heat before chopping Anthony in the corner. Hammer Throw by Janela, but the charge misses only for Janela to recover with a SUPERKICK. Flying elbow hits the knees, though, and the crowd fires Anthony up.

Clotheslines cut the comeback, into a gutwrench facebuster. Romero Special by Anthony into a faceplant gets two. Janela elbows out of an AA and gets a rolling elbow into a brainbuster, then a soccer kick sets up the Death Valley Driver to win at 3:59. Janela had his bumping boots on to get the hometown boy over a little. *1/4 Some woman enters the ring post-match and gives Anthony a powerbomb before leaving with Janela. I don’t recognize her and neither does Excalibur.

Punk. Allin. All Out. Etc.

Emi Sakura (3-1) vs. Laynie Luck (0-1). As this was taped a week ago, there’s no sign of Lulu Pencil for this match. Let’s see if Laynie gets as much shine as she did with Thunder Rosa.

Lockup, and they exchange waistlocks before Sakura gets an arm wrench and bite. Luck with a waistlock of her own, and Sakura can’t use the hair to break, so she grabs the ref’s arm and Luck sends an arm wave through Sakura to the ref! Sakura is unamused and tosses Luck around by the hair. Romero Special follows. Luck tries to fight back, but she gets chopped.

Enzuigiri rocks Sakura, though, and Luck with corner attacks and double knees in the corner. Suplex try, but Sakura stomps the foot to block and reverses to the Flatliner. Queen cadence to fire her up, then a corner crossbody and butterfly backbreaker. Vaderbomb-style elbowdrop ends it at 2:47. I hope they see something in Luck because she looked all right against Rosa and Sakura. 3/4*

Men of the Year (Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page) (8-1) vs. GPA and Mat Fitchett (debut). If the jobber team seems a little weird, you’re not alone in thinking that – Fitchett is one half of one of the top Midwestern tag teams, Besties in the World, but with Davey Vega. GPA, meanwhile, is more of a singles act. Commentary talks about how Men of the Year are in league with Dan Lambert against Lance Archer. And yes, GPA is doing an “I’m smarter than you” gimmick.

Sky and GPA start. Sky with a kick to stop a lockup, but GPA fires back only to be caught with a snapmare and facerake. Backbreaker follows, and Ethan comes in. He also gives GPA a backbreaker, this time holding him and bending him over the knee until GPA gets knees to break. Sky in, and the Men of the Year just stomp a mudhole in GPA before Ethan walks it dry. GPA with two jawjackers into an Ace Crusher, but Ethan comes in to cut off the tag… until the enzuigiri connects.

Hot tag to Fitchett, who knocks Sky off the apron and gets a flying knee on Ethan. He goes to the apron and gets a Pele on Sky before trying a dropkick on Ethan… but Sky holds Ethan on the whip so Fitchett airballs. Shoulder tackle and back elbow by Ethan, then a slingshot cutter by Sky. GPA is sent off the apron, and Ethan with the Ego’s Edge on Fitchett to win at 2:59. This was what it was. 1/2*

AEW Elite GM app ad.

Serpentico (11-42) vs. Frankie Kazarian (23-4). Well, at least Serpentico will have some moments to breather without Luther around. Although Taz notes that Serpentico seems to be disoriented without Luther around to “guide” him. Excalibur talks about the Bucks/Luchas match in the cage – it’ll keep the others out, including Kazarian.

Lockup, and Kazarian with a waistlock takedown and front facelock. Serpentico into a hammerlock as he gets up, then a sunset flip try, but Kazarian rolls through and keeps the headlock. Kazarian runs over Serpentico, who falls out of the ring, and on the outside, Kazarian with chops. Back in, back suplex by Kazarian gets two. Hammer Throw, but Serpentico with boots up on the charge and he gets a rana and dropkick. He goes ground-and-pound on Kazarian, adding a push kick before… well, he has to throw himself into a headbutt with no Luther around. It gets one.

Kazarian up with chops, then he tosses Serpentico hard into the ropes before catching Serpentico coming back in with a Famouser. Serpentico recovers with a Hotshot and slingshot double-stomp for two. Serpentico then piefaces Kazarian, who doesn’t understand how something that dumb could be taking place. Kazarian with the comeback, ending with a flying Jalapeno and slam to set up the springboard rotation legdrop.

Big chops in the corner, but Serpentico avoids a blind charge only to be slingshotted back in into a cutter for two. Serpentico is playing dead, which suckers Kazarian in for him to try a Shiranui. Kazarian stays on his feet before avoiding a blind charge and lariating Serpentico. Crossface Chickenwing wins it at 4:32. Serpentico is one of the best JTTSes ever, in that he has a great character, great expressions, and strong selling and offense. This was fun! *1/2

Leyla Hirsch (17-4) vs. Blair Onyx (debut). Okay, I’ve heard about Onyx but never seen her before. Hirsch almost won the NWA Women’s Title on Sunday.

Lockup, and Hirsch gets a waistlock on the much larger Onyx. Onyx reverses and does the Bray Wyatt spiderwalk, so Hirsch kicks her arms away and gets one. Onyx goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY and gets an avalanche in the corner, then some shots to the chest. Hirsch fights back by blocking an elbow strike, then grabs the arm and that’s about it at 57.5 seconds. A little sloppy on the finishing spot.

2 Point 0 (Matt Lee and Jeff Parker) (3-1) vs. Travis Titan and Jason Hotch (first time teaming). Ah, people were praising Hotch’s work during the pandemic, so it’s good to see him get a callback.

And then 2.0 jump them before the bell and knock Titan out of the ring. Lee grabs Hotch’s arm and brings in Parker, who stomps away. Lee returns, but Hotch runs both men over with a shoulderblock and Titan with a middle rope springboard elbow to Parker. Lee catches Titan with a release German suplex and brings Parker in for an enzuigiri. Drop toe hold into the elbow drop by 2.0 and Parker kicks Hotch off the apron. Double Hotshot (Two for the Show) ends it at 1:37. Whatever.

The Bunny (w/The Blade) (19-11) vs. Sierra (debut). No, not Allysin Kay – that’s Sienna. Bunny attacks the cameraman pre-match.

Bunny attacks the back of the head to start, taunting Sierra before getting a kneelift. Blind charge misses, and Sierra with a back elbow and palm strike. Then Sierra’s blind charge misses and she tweaks her knee, so Bunny curbstomps Sierra into the bottom buckle and chokes away at her. Sliding forearm smash sets up Down the Rabbit Hole to win at 1:33. Taz’s soliloquy on Bunny’s tongue piercing was funnier and more informative than the match itself.

Tay Conti (#3 women, 23-4) vs. Heather Reckless. Conti will face Penelope Ford on Dynamite in the token women’s match that will most likely end in a brawl to set up the Casino match – not that it shouldn’t, mind you.

Reckless attacks Conti mid-entrance, kicking the knee. It doesn’t work, as Conti comes back with a SUPERKICK as Reckless bails. Conti is furious and gives chase, and back in, Conti stops a sunset flip try by Reckless into the Seoi Nage Trio. Spinning gutbuster follows, but Reckless with a jawjacker. Conti says that was a mistake as Reckless pulls herself up in a corner, because Conti gets consecutive pump kicks and a DDTay to win at 1:21. Conti is a star in the making. Taz surmises that Reckless may have gotten hurt on the DDTay, while the replay makes sure to get the camera angle all of you were hoping for. Pervs.

QT Marshall (w/Aaron Solo and Nick Comoroto) (21-4) vs. Evil Uno (20-6). There’s at least a 40% chance Uno told the rest of them to respect his wishes and not come to ringside. Marshall is facing Paul Wight on the main show on Sunday, while the Casino match is on the pre-show, for some reason. Speaking of the Casino match, don’t hold your breath on Anna Jay being the Joker – she’s not ready yet.

Uno tells Solo and Comoroto to get off the apron, and Marshall attacks from behind. Uno ducks a lariat and gets a headscissors on Marshall, into a chop. He goes around the world on Marshall with chops, but Marshall cuts off the fourth one with a knee only to get chopped coming off the ropes. Uno with a forear, then he catches Marshall’s boot and throws it to the ref so he can get a leaping neckbreaker. Back elbow in the corner, but Solo grabs Uno’s boot, allowing Marshall to get a pop-up forearm (in theory) and running back elbow.

Marshall with a straight right as he mocks the Dark Order salute, drawing a huge chant. The distraction allows Uno the comeback with forearms, then the Flip Flop and Fly, but Marshall cuts it off only to take a clothesline. German suplex follows, then a rolling elbow into a swinging Flatliner for two. Uno tells Solo and Comoroto not to start anything before going up top, but Marshall with a gamengiri to stop Uno and Marshall with a superplex and nonchalant cover for two, reversed by Uno for two. Marshall with a SUPERKICK and Lygerbomb for two (and a well-earned Shock Face).

The elbowpads are off and Marshall wants the Diamond Cutter, but Uno fights out and gets a big boot. Uno back up top, but Comoroto pulls Marshall outside. So Uno with a full senton to both of them on the outside. Uno tosses Marshall in and catches Solo with Evil Intentions, but Comoroto clubs Uno as Marshall had the ref distracted.

Back in, Diamond Cutter is reversed to a backslide for two. Big forearm and Uno sets up a powerslam, but Marshall drops out the back and nails the Diamond Cutter for the win at 6:03. The story, in case you didn’t get it: Uno is used to having people watch his back, and when he didn’t, he fell to the numbers game. Uno’s heat carried this one to a fun match. **1/2

Andrade El Idolo is out with Chavo Guerrero. Both men join commentary.

Main event: Matt Sydal (21-8) vs. PAC (w/Penta El Cero Miedo and Rey Fenix) (8-1-1). Pac, as you know, faces Andrade in the latter’s first AEW PPV match, but Sydal was Andrade’s first opponent of any sort in AEW. Sunday is absolutely Put Up or Shut Up for Andrade – if he loses, he’s a bust given the buildup. Chavo: “I look forward to Matt Sydal exposing Pac here.”

Lockup, and Pac sends Sydal into the ropes before they trade armlocks. Pac rolls to kick away and gets his own, into a headlock. Some criss-crossing and Pac leaps over a monkey flip attempt, but Sydal escapes a tilt-a-whirl and gets a headlock takedown and flying kick. Slice follows for one, then a standing mariposa. Pac bails as the Lucha Bros talk to him (“If you see a dude in a lucha mask claiming to be a time traveler, we don’t know him.”).

Sydal follows, and Pac catches Sydal and sends him into the guardrail. Andrade stands up to get a better view (he wasn’t saying much anyway), while Pac drags Sydal around the ring by the neck and sends him into another guardrail. Now Andrade moves down the ramp, getting Pac’s attention and Pac wants a confrontation. Andrade THROWS HIS SHADES at Pac, but the Luca Bros make sure Andrade walks back to commentary.

Back in, Pac stomps Sydal and toys with him, adding a kneelift. Sydal kicks the calves and gets a leg lariat to Pac (who you’d think they would say is distracted or something), then they exchange waistlocks until Sydal lands on his feet on a German suplex. Pac charges and leaps to the middle rope when Sydal moves, but Sydal with a leaping rana and he goes up. Pac charges and catches Sydal, but Sydal shoves him off and gets the Meteora for two.

Pac sends Sydal into the turnbuckle as Excalibur finally brings up a potential distraction issue. Sydal with a snapmare spike for two. Andrade can’t even be bothered to learn Sydal’s name. Pac rolls to the apron, then low bridges Sydal out and follows with an Asai moonsault. Pac decides now’s a good time to glare at Andrade, who offers him to come forward, but the Lucha Bros remind him there’s a match going on. Back in, powerbomb gets two.

Excalibur: “Pac is one of the few people in AEW to beat Kenny Omega.”

Chavo: “Big deal. Andrade just hasn’t faced Kenny Omega yet, but if he did…”

Excalibur: (breaks out in laughter) “Let’s not go there.”

Meanwhile, Pac teases the Black Arrow to sucker Sydal in, but Sydal leaps over Pac and gets a poison rana and roundhouse kick. Slice attempt by Sydal allows Pac to hook the standing Brutalizer for the win at 8:17. Pac says he’s ready for Andrade on Sunday, and Andrade offers a toast to the eventual match. A little too much stalling due to the Sledgehammer of Plot, but the bumping held it together. **1/4

HOW I’D BOOK DYNAMITE!

  1. Jurassic Express and Lucha Bros beat the Elite when Jungle Boy submits Anderson.
  2. Orange Cassidy over Jack Evans.
  3. Brian Cage beats Powerhouse Hobbs, but Ricky Starks smashes him with the FTW belt after the match.
  4. Tay Conti over Penelope Ford, but then Bunny runs in, then Big Swole, then Nyla Rose, then let’s just throw everyone together for the huge brawl.
  5. Santana and Ortiz over FTR, but MJF and the rest of the Pinnacle beat them down as commentary wonders if this is what’ll happen if the Inner Circle loses their leader.

STATS:

BELL-TO-BELL – 35:22 over eleven matches, five long enough to rate (average time 3:13)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT – Marshall/Uno

FIVE STARS:

  1. Evil Uno
  2. PAC
  3. Joey Janela
  4. QT Marshall
  5. Serpentico

All Out is almost here! I wonder if anyone important is wrestling on that show…