The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 108 (“Japanese Numerologists Rejoice”), September 14, 2021.
WHAT IS EXCLUSIVELY FIRST-CLASS SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT DOING IN THE IMPACT ZONE?
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Taz.
TONIGHT! Leyla Hirsch prepares to face Jade Cargill by taking on another person with a foot of height on her in KiLynn King! Fuego Del Sol’s been on the wrong end of many one-sided Dark matches, but now he’s the featured performer! And it’s a six-man tag main event, as Wheeler Yuta, Chuck Taylor, and Orange Cassidy battle Jora Johl, Angelico, and Jack Evans!
PLUS – Anna Jay, 2point0, Shawn Spears, Jade Cargill, and Butcher and Blade!
But first, Alex Marvez interviews both Leyla Hirsch and Jade Cargill at the same time about their Dynamite match. Cargill tells Hirsch she should be thankful. Hirsch counters by saying she’s putting Cargill’s bitch ass in place in her hometown. Cargill laughs it off, and Mark Sterling doesn’t know how delusional Hirsch is for thinking she can beat Cargill AND for being proud of being from New Jersey. Hirsch isn’t laughing, even though Cargill and Sterling are.
Opening match: The Butcher and The Blade (#3 team, 6-0) vs. Hunter Knott and Rosario Grillo. Knott and Grillo want to be called up together and team regularly in the Nightmare Factory. Dasha Gonzalez is doing ring announcing. Excalibur would normally be doing this show, but he’s preparing to get married from what I’ve heard.
Butcher and Blade jump them from behind, and Knott is tossed quickly. Double shoulderblock to Grillo, and Butcher takes over with a slam attempt. Grillo escapes to bring in Knott as the referee tries to get everyone in the right corners. Butcher ducks a clothesline and does his deep squats before flooring Knott. Corner clothesline, and Blade is in to stomp a mudhole. Butcher taunts Knott as Blade chops him and gives him a front suplex. He knocks Grillo off the apron, and Butcher’s in to Drag the Lake for the win at 1:46. Even a small crowd that we have here is improved by being at capacity. Let this be a lesson: don’t get too ambitious with your venues.
We’re in Belmont, Long Island for December 8!
Anna Jay (10-5) vs. Ashley D’Amboise (0-8). For those who keep track of this, Jay still considers herself a part of the Dark Order – salute, video wall, the works.
Lockup, and they exchange headlocks. Jay with a takeover only for D’Amboise to stack her for one. They go International~!, with Jay blocking a hiptoss and getting a Northern Lights release suplex. Blind charge misses and D’Amboise stomps a mudhole in the corner. But HER blind charge misses and Jay lands forearms before a Hammer Throw and running leg lariat. Snapmare and Hennig neck snap leads to the Queenslayer for the win at 1:28. By the way, that’s two straight times they’ve rung the bell late. Fire the tmekeeper. And then Bunny returns and attacks Jay from behind, only for Tay Conti to run her off.
2point0 (Matt Lee and Jeff Parker) (w/Daniel Garcia) (5-1) vs. The Lockhart Brothers (Erik and Andrew) (debut). Not much of a reaction to 2point0 on their entrance.
Lee starts by running over Erik with a clothesline before hitting a suplex. Erik fights back from beneath before being knocked down, and Parker enters to do the do-si-do into a drop toehold into a launch elbowdrop. He taunts Andrew in the corner, then rakes his boot on Erik’s eyes. Backbreaker follows, and Lee returns to add a punch to the gut. Backbreaker follows, and Parker is back to stomp on Erik’s ribs.
He then adds more stomps around the upper body, but Parker taunts Andrew and Erik gets a jawjacker before fighting his way for the hot tag. Andrew with a dropkick to Parker, but Lee comes in and 2point0 get the double Hotshot to win at 2:29. 2point0 and Garcia beat up the Lockharts post-match for no reason. 1/4*
Jade Cargill (w/Smart Mark Sterling) (13-0, #5 women) vs. Angelica Risk (0-2). As a reminder, Cargill will face Leyla Hirsch tomorrow night, and that match HAS to be competitive after the interview portion earlier in this show. Risk is, shall we say, unimpressed with Cargill.
Cargill gets a quick waistlock throw and toys with Risk. Shot to the corner, but Cargill’s charge eats elbow and Risk goes up. The dive is caught, though, and Cargill gets a fallaway slam and kip-up. Pump kick to Risk, and Jaded ends the slaughter at 1:10.
And now Mark Sterling has a mic (still preferable to Vickie Guerrero). He mentions the sound you hear when you step on a large bug (graphically imitating it) before saying that’s what it’ll sound like when Cargill squashes Leyla Hirsch. (If only they didn’t have to do it in Hirsch’s hometown of New Jersey… ah, just kidding, they don’t feel bad.) They’re not sure why Hirsch showed up – don’t you have to be this tall to enjoy Universal Studios? (Taz: “Not a fan of height jokes.”) Sterling then addresses Leyla: they’ve watched her high-profile losses, and they know she can’t climb the mountain, and Cargill will be her Everest. In New Jersey, they will eliminate her like she’s Jersey trash, and you know why.
Meanwhile, We look back at Big Swole knocking out Diamante. But Diamante makes a point: it was with a chain, and she can’t let that slide. But Swole says she’s moving on to the top because she did knock her out. Diamante promises This Is Not Over, though.
Fuego Del Sol (2-29) vs. Mysterious Movado (debut). Crowd seems to react well to the tornado siren in his music. Taz: “I have dogs that weight more than him.” Movado is from “Parts Unknown, Detroit”.
Movado attacks Fuego from behind and dances over him, slugging him down. Fuego fights back with a jawjacker and dropkick, then adds a corner spear. Movado reverses a Hammer Throw, but a charge eats boot. Fuego leaps over Movado only to get hit with a lariat. Movado with rights as the crowd gets behind Fuego, who tries to fight back. Big slam by Movado and falling headbutt gets two. Movado with backrakes that Hogan would be proud of, then he chops Fuego before ending with an uppercut. Sliding dropkick and handstand senton get two.
Movado to the surfboard, and Movado beats up Fuego with kicks when Fuego tries to break. Fuego ducks a leg lariat and gets dropkicks to start the comeback, adding a moonsault DDT and low kick. Tornado DDT gets the win at 3:14. Fuego’s an interesting case – his highlight is how good he is at selling, but in matches like this he should look dominant. 3/4*
AEW Elite GM App ad.
Shawn Spears (10-3) vs. Invictus Khash (0-1). No sign of Tully Blanchard or anyone else in the Pinnacle. Also, I think they found the whistling from James Storm’s Revolution stable music lying around and adopted it at the front of Spears’ music. Spears has a chair with Darby Allin’s name on it, literally. Khash is Iranian, btw.
Long lockup and jostling in the corner leads to a forced break by the referee. Spears gives a half-hearted clap before getting the arm and working it over. Khash with a unique spinaround counter to an armbar, but Spears rolls through and gets a snapmare only for Khash to get a hammerlock. Spears backs Khash into the corner and gets a break, then back elbows Khash. Khash runs into a kneelift and uppercut, but Spears sends Khash outside and follows to throw him into the guardrail. Actually, several guardrails.
Spears drops Khash on the apron back-first, and back in, he lowers the kneepad to strike Khash in the face repeatedly. One-legged Codebreaker, but Spears picks him up at two. Spears then yells at the camera to make sure Allin knows what’s next is for him… and what’s next is the C-4 (“Wednesday, Darby; history repeats itself!”) for the pin at 3:34. Spears keeps yelling at the camera. Khash got a minute or so of offense, but that’s about it. 1/2*
Let Us Take You Back to look at the history of Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss. Kiss had a feeling something wasn’t quite right with Janela, and when Janela attacked him he didn’t know what to do next. But Kiss is ready to remind everyone Janela’s a loser. Janela makes it clear: next week, the romance is over and it’s the end for Kiss. Kiss tells Janela to stop the bull and bring it – and Kiss will give it to both him and the muscle. Janela says it’s the end for Sonny and the beginning for them.
Jora Johl & Angelico & Jack Evans (first time as a trio) vs. Chuck Taylor & Wheeler Yuta & Orange Cassidy (w/Kris Statlander) (4-1 – Cassidy #1 men). There’s no sign of Matt Hardy, so who knows whether Johl’s attitude will remain. Taz asks if Tony and his wife will dance to TH2’s theme “at their 75th wedding anniversary, which is in one month”. Tony: “No, but I do plan to dance like [Angelico].” There’s a problem with reverb during intros, but they fix it quickly. Taz says that he and Hook think Cassidy’s hair is horrible, which is part of setting up an apuesta between Cassidy and Hardy.
Yuta and Angelico start. Yuta ties up Angelico’s arm and gets an Oklahoma Roll for two, reversed for two as both men reset. Another lockup, and now Angelico works the arm only for Yuta to fight out and get a snapmare and facelock. Angelico slips out and flips over Yuta to get a front facelock, and then both men try waistlock takedowns before Angelico’s attempt is broken by an armdrag by Yuta for one. Yuta jumps the legsweep and gets a dropkick for one. WRESTLING!
And now Taylor’s in as Best Friends get a double suplex. Angelico with a cheap shot and he brings in Evans to throw knees at Taylor. Taylor reverses to stomp a mudhole in Evans (his leg stomps five or six extra times as he walks it dry), then get a back elbow for two. Cassidy tags in – okay, Cassidy is tagged in, it’s not like his arm was out – and Taylor does a suplex with Orange barely doing his half of it. It gets two anyway. Orange then takes a look at Evans’ long hair and imitates cutting it, which brings Johl and Angelico in for a triple-team.
TH2 with an assisted handspring elbow, Johl with an avalanche, and Angelico with a fakeout into a right cross. Johl in now, and he gets a stalling suplex for one. Johl imitates Orange’s SHIN KICKS OF DOOM to stomp away on Orange, then adds a full-speed kick to the head for two. Evans in, and he fires off to the gut before getting a leaping leg lariat and standing skytwister for two. Angelico punches down Orange, and the whole HFO is in to do the corner sequence again. But this time, Evans is tossed over the rope, Orange avoids Johl, and Angelico goes for a waistlock. Orange escapes via HANDS IN POCKETS, hot tag Yuta.
He clears the ring, ending with an Olympic Slam on Johl, then backdrops Evans while in a full nelson from Angelico. Snap German suplex on Angelico gets two. Taylor in now, but his charge misses and Angelico brings Johl in. Tandem backbreaker by TH2 into a powerslam by Johl gets two, Orange saves. Evans in again, and they try to whip Orange into Taylor, but Orange slides out and tags himself in. Yuta off the apron to take out Evans, and Johl pump kicks Taylor out, leaving Orange to fire up with the Orange Punch to win at 8:08. I know that Best Friends vs HFO is all but played out at this point, but the matches have been high-quality. **3/4 And we HUG IT OUT to send ’em home.
KiLynn King (12-9) vs. Leyla Hirsch (18-4). King is a foot taller than Hirsch, as is Cargill, so this is a good warmup for Leyla. Both women come out of the “face tunnel”, so don’t expect shenanigans.
Crowd chants for Leyla at th ebell, and King doesn’t seem to mind too much. Lockup, and King takes down Hirsch while still tied up before backing her into the corner. Hirsch reverses and offers a clean break. They then pose off, with the crowd CLEARLY favoring Hirsch much to King’s chagrin. Another lockup, and King gets a waistlock takedown on Hirsch, who reverses. King with a side headlock, Hirsch with a waistlock, King with a headlock takedown for one into a front facelock, Hirsch switches it to a hammerlock, then a side headlock, but King reverses to another takedown of her own. Hirsch with neck-scissors and she blocks King’s kip-up, but King switches to a front facelock again and pulls her up. Clean break in the ropes, but when King tries a spinning side slam off of a whip, Hirsch turns it into a side headlock takedown. King stacks her for one, then shoves off Hirsch, who grabs the ropes and low-bridges a charging King.
Hirsch tries a low dive and runs headfirst into a forearm from King, and back in, suplex gets two. King goes back to the front facelock, establishing the neck work, but Hirsch breaks with a corner rush only to run into an STO into the middle turnbuckle. King wants a suplex, but Hirsch keeps blocking until she gets a small package for two. King with a clothesline to cut her off, but Hirsch fights out of a fireman’s carry only to fall into a bearhug. Taz is in his glory analyzing this match.
Hirsch elbows out and lands a forearm to the chest as they slug it out. They go from forearms to chops, and Hirsch wins this only to run into a big boot. Kingdom Falls is escaped and Hirsch gets a pair of release German suplexes. Corner meteora and Thunder Rosa stomp follow and King bails, meaning this time the low dive connects from Hirsch. Back in, Saito suplex and Hirsch goes up as the moonsault connects for two. King fought to keep her shoulder up before the pin, wasting enough time.
King comes back with a spinkick and big chop, but the roundhouse kick misses. King catches Hirsch in a fallaway slam, and this time the roundhouse enzuigiri connects, for two. King makes the rookie mistake of being too frustrated to follow up, and when she does, the powerbomb try is countered to a sunset flip for two. Shining Wizard gets the pin at 7:41. See, Hirsch didn’t waste time before following up the way King did, so she got the win.
But before we can analyze the match further, Jade Cargill comes out for the size staredown, so Hirsch double-legs Cargill and they grapple on the mat. Cargill holds a front facelock as the Usual Idiots break it up and the crowd says Let Them Fight. Hirsch even wants a piece of Mark Sterling, who’s only out to tell Cargill to walk away from it! Good match, good ring psychology, good body work, good finish, good post-match angle – this is how you do it! I think it’s fair to say this is King’s best match of her AEW career. ***
HOW I’D BOOK DYNAMITE:
- Darby Allin over Shawn Spears, only for the Pinnacle to come after him post-match. (Full Gear program begun: MJF vs Darby Allin)
- Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston over 2point0. After the match, Moxley says that if Suzuki-Gun wants to make something happen, they can do it in Queens.
- Jade Cargill over Leyla Hirsch.
- BONUS MATCH: Christian Cage and Varsity Blonds over MJF and The Acclaimed when Pillman Jr makes Caster submit to the Fujiwara armbar – MJF’s finisher. MJF himself walks out on the match a minute early.
- Bryan Danielson calls his shot against Kenny Omega, only for Omega to remind Danielson that that isn’t how things work in AEW and he has to fight his way to the top. Danielson offers to start in Queens, and Omega says he can face the Young Bucks, assuming he can find a partner… oh, hey, CM Punk’s on commentary for this show and volunteers.
- ANOTHER BONUS MATCH: Anna Jay and Tay Conti over The Bunny and Penelope Ford. After the match, both halves of Dark Order try to celebrate with Jay, only for the women to tell the men to get it together and walk off without them.
- Adam Cole over Frankie Kazarian, and the post-match beating is cut off by Danielson and Punk, who mop the floor with the Good Brothers.
BELL-TO-BELL – 29:30 over eight matches (average time 3:41)
MATCH OF THE NIGHT – Hirsch/King
- Leyla Hirsch
- Wheeler Yuta
- KiLynn King
As always, I fantasy book because I love; AEW certainly doesn’t need my advice. Although I’m willing to talk if you want to bring me on board, Tony.