AEW DARK: September 7, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 107 (“Stories! With a Blowoff! On YouTube!”), September 7, 2021.

Still in Chicago.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz.

TONIGHT! The Dark Order internal dissension comes to a head as Evil Uno is challenged by Alan Angels! Joey Janela steps in against former IWTV champion Lee Moriarty! The Acclaimed have returned, and they face Robert Anthony and Shawn Dean! And finally, everything is settled as Big Swole and Diamante face off in a 2 out of 3 falls throwdown – first fall pin, second fall submission, tiebreaker KO!

Throw in matches with Lance Archer, The Bunny, and Cabana/Grayson, and baby, you have a stew going! Let’s have some fun tonight!

All Out look-back. Order the replay.

Opening match: Lance Archer (20-3) vs. Jason Hotch (no intro). Today’s variant: Jason Hotch saw Archer coming and ran. Roberts: “Chasing his opponent to the ring…” And Hotch dives onto Archer mid-pyro! He tries again, only to get caught and chokeslammed on the apron!

So the bell rings now, and Hotch takes advantage of Archer gloating to get in some chops. Archer tanks them, clothesline, Helicoaster, release German suplex (flipping Hotch onto his face!), and Hotch is the walking dead. Three running corner elbows set up the Blackout to win at 1:24. Bonus point to Hotch, who shoots the camera a “THIS IS GONNA SUCK” look while up in the Blackout.

The Bunny (w/Penelope Ford) (20-11) vs. Laynie Luck (0-3). So is Penelope in the HFO? Suckas gots to know. Also, love seeing Laynie get over with her Party Unicorn routine. Crowd gives her a nice response.

Ford tries to trip Luck, which distracts her enough for Bunny to take over. She stomps a mudhole in Luck, and Ford chokes Luck against the bottom rope, which has Luck in position for the sliding forearm. Chop against the ropes, but Luck catches Bunny with her head down and gets a cradle for two. Oklahoma Roll gets two. Luck fires back with forearms only to run into a clothesline. Bunny rubs Luck’s face into the mat, then rakes the back hard before getting a kneelift. Bunny skips into position before hitting Down the Rabbit Hole to win at 2:14. Ford rolls Luck out of the ring so Bunny can skip around. After a couple of decent showings, seeing a squash is a disappointment, but I’m biased. 1/4*

AEW Elite GM app ad.

Evil Uno (20-7) vs. Alan Angels (18-30). According to the graphic, it’s Colt and Grayson in Uno’s corner, with Silver and Vance in Angels’. Crowd has no idea whose side to be on, as both wrestlers get mixed reactions. Let’s just hope this doesn’t lead to a split – especially since Angels, Silver, and Vance still did the salute. It’s not that they hate being in Dark Order… right?

Uno tries to reason with Angels and offers Code of Honor. Angels takes it, but Uno uses it to cradle Angels for two. Angels comes back with a dropkick and forearms, but Uno bails off of a whip and tries to compose himself. Grayson and Colt talk to him (“Look, he didn’t mean what he said about Princess Peach”), and Uno reluctantly returns. Lockup, and Uno chops Angels in the corner. Hammer Throw, but Angels goes up and over a blind charge and we go International~!. Angels finishes it with a leg lariat and he salutes, but Uno sends Angels to the apron. Gamengiri and Angels comes in with a crossbody for two as the crowd chants Please Don’t Fight.

Angels goes for the five-punch countalong, but Uno slips out the back and boots Angels out of the ring. Everyone outside checks on Angels, but Uno follows and throws him back in before apologizing to Silver and Vance for being too aggressive. Back in, Uno floors Angels with a chop, but Angels comes back with a sunset flip for two. Uno with a right cross to daze Angels and he thinks about following up before regaining his composure. Angels begs Uno to bring it, so Uno lays in the chops.

Angels is mad at being treated with kid gloves and goes ground-and-pound on Uno before making the comeback and landing the enzuigiri. Blind charge misses, though, but Angels with a DDT on Uno for two. Uno slips out of a fireman’s carry and loads up Something Evil, but Angels escapes into a Flatliner and Koji Clutch, adding shots to Uno’s mask. Uno gets to the ropes and rolls out, asking for some distance from Silver/Vance, so Angels with a twisting quebrada. He rolls Uno in, so Uno rolls to the other side to do something, anything, to stop the fight.

Colt and Grayson ask Angels to slow down, but Uno gives Angels a high kick and throws him into the stairs as he’s had enough of Angels’ behavior. Something Evil gets Uno the win at 6:13, but he’s NOT happy and walks away, not wanting to talk to anyone as he marches to the back. Two guys with masks did some of the best character work I’ve seen in AEW. **1/2 Now I really hope they reconcile.

The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) (14-3) vs. Captain Shawn Dean and Robert Anthony (first time teaming). “This rap has been approved by AEW management.” It’s a hilarious G-rated respect rap that Bowens interrupts. “Are they scripting our promos now, Max?” It even includes a plug for Rhodes to the Top. Bowens: “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!?” Finally, they agree to tear up the script and freestyle. Taz: “Oh no.” Caster: “This time I’ll TRY not to be too offensive.” This is immediately followed by a locker room joke, and STD joke, and mocking the Crying CM Punk fan. Nature is healing.

The Acclaimed rush their opponents at the bell and dump Dean, leaving Bowens to beat up Anthony as Caster high-fives a fan in the front row. Bowens goes up and over on Anthony and boxes him down, into a SUPERKICK. Dean enters, but Bowens catches him with the inverted Olympic Slam before tagging in Caster to a pop. Man, everyone should be horribly offensive, they’d all turn face! Acclaim To Fame into the Mic Drop ends it at 1:02.

Okay, admittedly, that bit pre-match WAS hilarious.

Joey Janela (w/the unnamed Kayla Rossi) (7-3) vs. Lee Moriarty (0-1). Commentary recaps her debut after she beat up Robert Anthony. Commentary notes they know nothing about Rossi because Janela won’t talk about her.

Lockup goes nowhere, but Moriarty gets Janela in the ropes on round two. Janela takes advantage of a clean break to kick Moriarty down and mocks the crowd. Moriarty reverses a Hammer Throw into a lucha armdrag and single-leg trip, then blocks an ankle pick by Janela and gets a crossbody for two. Janela bails to the apron, but when Moriarty chases Janela gets in some backfists. Moriarty, though, recovers with a hammerlock drop on the apron to Janela, then a forearm suicida that Janela intercepts.

Anyway, back in, Janela takes over with a nasty Yes Kick, but Moriarty recovers on the apron and drops Janela’s arm on the top rope. Janela recovers with a forearm and chokes Moriarty against the top rope, then Rossi yanks Moriarty down and whips him into the barricade. Back in, Janela gets one. Janela with a body-scissors as he checks his arm, but Moriarty pulls them apart and rocks Janela with elbows. Janela recovers with chops to floor Moriarty, then gets a Hammer Throw. Moriarty catches Janela coming in and trips him into the middle buckle, following with an arm wrench into a head spike.

Moriarty goes over Janela and gets a gamengiri in the corner, then throws Janela down and gets a standing Meteora-like stomp for two. Moriarty pulls himself up and goes up top, but Janela catches him with a running palm strike and follows as the crowd chants for both guys. Janela lands the superplex, but because he was out of position (he couldn’t use his favored arm) he’s down too and Moriarty bounces outside. Janela gets up and dives onto Moriarty, then throws him in and tells something to the camera… which just allows Moriarty a chance for another dive.

Back in, they slug it out, which is won by Janela thanks to a SUPERKICK. Moriarty is pulled up and nails an enzuigiri out of desperation, but Janela ducks the hammerlock lariat and gets a German suplex. Moriarty recovers first and gets an uppercut and leg trip, then kicks Janela’s arm only for Janela to use his good arm for a lariat. Piledriver gets two. Janela wants to end it, but Moriarty escapes the Wasteland and gets a keylock slam. Hammerlock lariat connects for a two-count, then catches Janela rolling up in a crossface as the crowd is getting into it!

Rossi helps Janela get his foot on the ropes. Moriarty knows Rossi did it and confronts her, so Janela gets a cradle with tights for two. Janela finishes with the Death Valley Driver in 8:36. And before Janela can celebrate, Sonny Kiss races in to take matters into his own hands! Rossi pulls Janela out and they walk off as Kiss wants to know if Janela wants some. Everything about this is great – Janela is the PERFECT person for Dark because he’s not afraid to be the “test case” for the indie wrestler getting a look on his biggest stage. **3/4

Stu Grayson (19-4) and Colt Cabana (17-6) vs. Travis Titan and Rickey Shane Page (first time teaming). Only Evil Uno comes out here, as the older members and younger members seem to be the battle lines.

Page and Grayson start as the crowd chants for Colt. Grayson reads the room and goes to tag him in… but Page cuts off the tag and knocks Cabana off the apron. Grayson recovers from a Hammer Throw with a clothesline, but Page holds the leg as Titan comes in and the heels double-team. Page with an uppercut, and Titan enters with a running gut punch. He boxes Grayson in the corner before stomping a mudhole in him. Page returns and slugs down Grayson, begging Colt to run in, before Titan returns and they keep up the stomping in the corner. At this point they’re just stalling for the hot tag, and when Grayson ducks a double clothesline and gets a double Pele, the crowd is ready.

BIG tag to Colt, who gets cross-chops and then some Flip Flop and Fly on Page (with Titan eating the elbow). Colt with a Lionsault on Page to knock him down, then the Flying Apple on Titan. Grayson tags in to get a springboard Demolition Decapitation, then Colt tags back in to give Titan the Chicago Skyline (with Grayson giving Page Nightfall for emphasis) to win it at 3:06. Man, a midcarder getting a win in his hometown to make the fans happy? What sorcery is this? 3/4* Excalibur then refers to the young guns rebelling as “Dark Order Wolfpac”.

A look at the Swole/Diamante rivalry, as we get ready for:

TWO OUT OF THREE FALLS (pinfall, submission, knockout): Diamante (16-9) vs. Big Swole (14-4). Now, Roberts may have been a little vague, as he applies you have to win in two different ways, but doesn’t say the falls are distinct. We’ll see how this goes, but as a blowoff of a 2 month or so rivalry on the B shows, this is suitable.

Excalibur clarifies: the falls must be won by pin, submission, or knockout, and no two falls can be won the same way. Which means the third fall will be pinfalls only, submissions only, or knockouts only.

FIRST FALL: Both go for big shots early, with Swole hitting a pump kick and kicking away on Diamante. Swole tries a hiptoss, but Diamante with a prawn cradle for two. Swole with forearms and a low Flatliner for only one. Swole kicks away on Diamante’s calf, then chops her in the corner. Diamante reverses a corner whip and catches Swole coming back with a Kitchen Sink. Big chop by Diamante, but Swole with cross-chops and the double-dodge headbutt. Running Blue Thunder bomb by Swole and the ref checks for a KO, but Diamante will continue. Running knee strike by Swole gets two. Dirty Dancing is reversed to a cradle with the tights for the pinfall win for Diamante at 2:37.

SECOND FALL: Diamante comes in with a running knee and tries for the KO, but Swole shoves her away. Diamante tries an axhandle, but Swole with a double-leg and she tries the Malenko Special. Diamante kicks her away and gets a back elbow, but the ref says Swole can continue. Swole rests in the corner, but Diamante sees her down and gets the shotgun dropkick. She covers for two, even though pinfalls are already done.

So Diamante goes for the nerve hold and straitjacket abdominal stretch, turning it into a cross armbreaker. Swole makes the ropes. Diamante drags her back and HITS THE CHINLOCK as the crowd tries to rally Swole and Taz is confused about the stips. Excalibur clears him up as Diamante goes for more crossface blows and back to the nerve lock. Swole escapes and reverses to a heel hook, and Diamante submits out of nowhere at 5:31 as the final fall needs to be by KO.

THIRD FALL: Diamante rolls out and looks under the ring, finding a kendo stick. Swole ducks and gets a palm strike, then steals the stick and works over Diamante’s leg with it. Diamante dodges and kicks the stick away, then lands a rana off the apron to the outside on Swole. Diamante then tosses Swole into the barricade and asks the ref to check, but we continue. Crowd chants for both women as we go back to the ring, Diamante with her fist wrapped in the familiar chain. She fakes out Swole and goes to the gut, then unwraps the chain and whips her with it! Announcers not Diamante is targeting Swole’s gut and back because of Swole’s illness history.

Diamante winds up for more shots to the back, but Swole gets FIGHTING SPIRIT and will not go down! She kicks the chain out of Diamante’s hand, and both women dive on the fumble before clanging heads. Both women can continue as Diamante rolls outside, and Swole crawls after her and brings the chain with her. Diamante cuts off the shot with a back elbow and sends Swole into the ringpost. Diamante looks under the ring and gets handcuffs, bringing them into the ring. She gives Swole a knee to the face before trying to cuff her to the ropes, but Swole shoves her away and pulls an extra chain out of her outfit. Dirty Dancing with the chain is the knockout blow at 10:03 as Swole wins 2-1. Very nice blowoff to a B-show feud. **1/4

HOW I’D BOOK DYNAMITE:

  1. Lucha Bros and Varsity Blonds over Young Bucks and Good Brothers when Penta pins Anderson. (Get the hometown kid Pillman on the card and establish the title change.)
  2. Malakai Black over Dustin Rhodes. (Keep the Cody/Malakai feud going.)
  3. Nyla Rose and Jade Cargill win a squash, but they nearly come to blows afterward. (They’ve been teasing this showdown for a while, so let’s keep it up.)
  4. Adam Cole over Chuck Taylor for his FIRST WIN. (Taylor is both a decent hand and expendable, and Danielson can wait to make his debut in Arthur Ashe.)
  5. Ruby Soho over Jamie Hayter, but Britt Baker and Rebel beat her down afterwards. (Straight-ahead booking for the future title match.)
  6. Jon Moxley over Minoru Suzuki in a brawl where seven people in the front row are treated for injuries. (I kid, of course; Suzuki beats up 10 front row fans before every match as warmup.)

STATS:

BELL-TO-BELL – 32:38 over seven matches (average time 4:40)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT – Janela/Moriarty

THREE STARS:

  1. Lee Moriarty
  2. Big Swole
  3. Evil Uno

What a fantastic show, and well worthy of being in the same venue as All Out!