AEW DARK: September 28, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 110 (“The Revolution Is Not Televised, But Rather On YouTube”), September 28, 2021.

From the All Elite Zone.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz.

TONIGHT! We have a FIRST WIN ALERT as Cezar Bononi teams with countryman Adrian “Arturo Ruas” Jaoude to face Jake St.Patrick and Ryzin! Indie superstar Darius Lockhart faces Absolute Ricky Starks in non-title action! And in our feature bout, QT Marshall and Aaron Solo of the Factory take on Matt Sydal and Dante Martin!

PLUS – Kiera Hogan, Thunder Rosa, Julia Hart, Lance Archer, Preston Vance, Grayson and Uno, Private Party, and Bear Country!

But first, Santana Garrett is All Elite! Alex Marvez invites her in (“This place looks familiar”). Garrett says she’s been wrestling for 10 years, and she wants to make her dad proud and show she’s All Elite. But then Diamante interrupts and says she smells fresh meat. If Garrett’s so excited to be here, she can face Diamante next week. Garret agrees and the brawl is on (“She started it!”).

Opening match: Thunder Rosa (#1 women, 28-2) vs. Nikita Knight (debut). Yeah, if Thunder isn’t the next AEW Women’s champion, they’ve goofed.

Rosa with a waistlock, reversed by Knight, reversed to a hammerlock and headlock takedown by Rosa and she hangs on. Knight escapes and reverses, but Rosa gets a cradle for one before hooking a single-leg crab off the kickout. Knight kicks her away and backs off (WRESTLING!), but Rosa returns with another waistlock into a standing half-nelson into a front facelock. Knight uses the hair against the ropes to annoy Rosa, so Rosa gets some armdrags and a dropkick. Rosa sends Knight into the corner and chops away, but Knight reverses a whip into a kneesmash and hairpull.

Forearms in the corner by Knight, and she rakes Rosa’s eyes against the ropes. Double-knees in the corner airballs, and Rosa chops away hard in the corner. Forearms in a neighboring corner, then Rosa sweeps the leg to set up the shotgun dropkick for two. Knight escapes a fireman’s carry and fires away, but Rosa with a Russian legsweep to set up the Peruvian Choke for the win at 3:52. One of these days they’ll find someone who can keep up with Rosa. 1/2*

After Dynamite, stick around for Rhodes to the Top!

Private Party (Isaiah Kassidy and Marq Quen) (#4 team, 10-2) vs. Carlie Bravo and JDX (first time teaming). As a reminder, Matt Hardy has put Jack Evans in a hair vs hair match against Orange Cassidy. No sign of Hardy, by the way. Bravo, a military veteran, has the US flag with him.

Quen and JDX start. Quen with a side headlock and we go International~!, ending with JDX getting the hiptoss. Kassidy whispers an idea to Quen (“Hey, aren’t you glad we got Evans to put his hair on the line?”), and Quen gets a hold of JDX before bringing in Kassidy. JDX sticks and moves to run Private Party together, and Bravo gets the tag as EVERYBODY INTO THE POOL! Private Party tries the do-si-do, but they run into elbows and Bravo and JDX get a chop block/dropkick combo for two.

Bravo works the arm on Kassidy and brings JDX in, as he enters off the top with a double axhandle. We get a USA chant as Quen trips JDX, but JDX has a fireman’s carry on Kassidy only for Quen to kick the leg out of his leg as Kassidy falls on top. Quen in after some stomps, and Kassidy tosses JDX so that Quen can chop him against the guardrail. Back in, Kassidy tags in to set up the atomic drop into enzuigiri into Steiner Recliner into Broken Arrow stomp. Quen tags in, and he gives JDX a double axhandle only to run into a powerslam.

Kassidy can’t stop the tag, and Bravo cleans house on him. Low pump kick and Bravo is amped, but Kassidy with a jawjacker and Quen tags himself in. Sunset flip means nothing by Bravo, so Quen gets a slingshot splash and brings in Kassidy. JDX is sent off the apron, and Gin and Juice to Bravo wins it at 4:38. JDX and Bravo got to look pretty good, and the match benefitted from it. *1/4

You heard they’re gonna be in Long Island? This is almost as big a deal as Full Gear now.

Kiera Hogan (1-3) vs. Leila Gray (0-9). Hogan made the thumbnail on the YouTube channel, and we had to explain to some newcomers that, no, Alicia Fox did NOT sign with AEW. Gray is very quickly approaching Shawn Dean status.

Hogan gets the waistlock into a headlock takedown, but Gray with the headscissors until Hogan escapes them. Gray goes to the gut before getting a side headlock and tackle, but runs into a dropkick. Gray with a big forearm, but Hogan ducks a boot. Gray ducks the Polish Hammer and gets a back heel kick and hairpull slam. Suplex gets two. Hogan recovers enough to slug it out, then gets Polish Hammers for the comeback. Dropkick sends Gray to the corner to set up the sliding dropkick. Roundhouse kick wins at 3:00. Hogan played heel in earlier matches, but the crowd took her side and both women adjusted. 1/2*

AEW Elite GM App ad.

Preston Vance (w/Alex Reynolds, John Silver, Alan Angels, and BRODIE LEE JR) (27-4) vs. Brandon Gore (0-1). I kind of like that both Angels and Vance, who must have graduated from wearing masks by now, have been given reasons to keep them – Angels because it was a gift from Brodie Lee, and Vance because Brodie Jr loves it and has a similar one.

Vance backs Gore into the corner, but Gore shoves him away and ducks out. He gets a cheapshot and headlock on Vance, but a shoulderblock goes nowhere and Vance runs him over instead. Gore chops Vance, but Vance tanks the shots and floors Gore with one of his own. Back suplex and Gore is woozy, so Vance gets a corner clothesline and Hammer Throw. Blind charge misses and Gore goes with gut shots in the corner, then his own Hammer Throw… but Vance with clotheslines out of it to get the comeback started. Corner pump kick, but Gore stops an Irish Whip only to walk into a SPINEBUSTER. Gore goldbricks on a powerbomb try and shoves Vance away, but runs into a pop-up powerbomb. Full Nelson ends it at 2:32. I appreciate the effort from Gore, but Vance is just too good. And yes, Brodie Jr kicks Gore out of the ring post-match. 1/2*

FIRST WIN ALERT!: Cezar Bononi and Adrian Jaoude vs. Jake St.Patrick and Ryzin. Neither duo has teamed before, and in face Jaoude is making his AEW debut. You know him as Arturo Ruas from Raw Underground. No sign of the Wingmen, as this is just two Brazilian wrestlers teaming up to see what happens. Taz tries to beatbox with the heavy metal of Jaoude’s theme.

Ryzing and Bononi start. Ryzin goes behind, but Bononi tosses him down and gets a bodyslam throw. He chokes Ryzin on the bottom rope, and Jaoude comes in for a lightning legdrop off a backbreaker by Bononi. Jaoude tries an overhead throw, but Ryzin escapes and St.Patrick tags in. Jaoude does some capoeira posing or something, then gets a quick hiptoss and faceplant on St.Patrick. He toys with St.Patrick before crossing the arms and getting a kneesmash and arm throw. St.Patrick tries to fire back, but Jaoude with gut shots and a kneelift.

Bononi catches Ryzin with an uranage, and Jaoude gets a suplex before bringing Bononi in. Pumphandle overhead toss by Bononi, then another is tried but St.Patrick escapes and it’s hot tag Ryzin. He tries to cut off Jaoude, but Bononi catches him with a flying knee and St.Patrick with a capoeira kick. Olympic Slam by Bononi to Ryzin ends it at 3:10. FIRST WIN ALERT! Bononi is such a good hoss on these shows. 1/2*

Lance Archer (35-5) vs. Arjun Singh. Archer is nice enough to accompany Singh out of the back before tossing him off the stage for fun. Singh is tossed in, but wisely rolls out as Archer enters. So Archer nails him with a right and throws him into the guardrail. Chop against the apron and Singh eats stairs. Another right by Archer (“You having a good time? I’m having a good time!”), then a slam on the floor. Another chop against the guardrail, then another, and Singh eats a chokeslam on the apron. No, the match hasn’t started yet, why do you ask? Archer sets Singh against the stage, but the big boot misses and Singh rolls in. Singh dropkicks the knee and tries to rock Archer off the apron, but gets shoved back.

Archer enters the ring with a cannonball off the middle rope to set up the Blackout for the win at (officially) 21.7 seconds, though bear in mind AEW policy is you don’t start the match until they enter the ring. You don’t rate Archer matches anyway; you just watch them and wince every so often.

Non-title: FTW Champion Ricky Starks (12-2) vs. Darius Lockhart (debut). Okay, I’m hoping this one gets time. Lockhart is a big name in the eastern Indies, doing a civil rights oet warrior gimmick. Starks has the FTW title under a blanket and hands it to Hook, guaranteeing it’s not the belt itself.

Starks fakes Code of Honor and laughs, so the fist goes in the air from Lockhart. Starks takes the arm off a lockup, reversed by Lockhart, but Starks switches to a side headlock. Starks switches to a wristlock, so Lockhart bridges out and reverses to one of his own, taking Starks down and getting a keylock with it. Starks gets back up only to be taken back down with an armbar into a leg hammerlock. Lockhart adds an armbar on the other arm thanks to SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION, and he bridges back to get Starks on his shoulders for two before going back to the hammerlock. Starke gets back up and clocks Lockhart to get the break. WRESTLING!

Starks works Lockhart over in the corner and clubs him down. Knee choke on the middle rope, but Lockhart with a back elbow and diving back elbow for one. Lockhart goes back to the armbar to stay in control. Starks backs Lockhart into the ropes and gets a cheap shot to the gut, but Lockahrt ducks under a lariat and they fight over a suplex. Starks goes with a kneelift instead and tosses Lockhart throat-first into the top rope, stomping away as he’s now very angry. Starks chokes Lockhart against the bottom rope and poses to regain himself, then tosses Lockhart to the outside.

Starks follows and tosses Lockhart into the guardrail, then sends him into the apron back-first. Another trip to the guardrail and Starks jaws to the crowd, but Lockhart recovers and they trade chops. Back in, Starks goes up top (as the crowd gives Starks the Cena treatment), but Lockhart catches him up there and follows, trying a superplex. Starks bites Lockhart to stop him, then gets a Hotshot as they fall down. Starks is back up, and a missile dropkick gets two. Slam by Starks, but a big elbowdrop misses (he’s this close to doing the People’s Elbow).

Lockhart catches the ankle and gets a backslide for two. Running cradle gets two. Starks stops him with a jawjacker and adds a running kick for two. Starks is losing his cool and yells at the crowd, but he again stalls too long and Lockhart gets separation. Blind charge by Starks misses and Lockhart gets some cross chops to cue the comeback. Starks tries to catch Lockhart for a slam, but Lockhart gets the pile over for two.

Now Lockhart plays to the crowd and Starks sends him to the apron, but Lockhart with a back elbow and he goes up. Diving crossbody gets a really close two. Running elbow off of a Hammer Throw by Lockhart, then another, but Starks reverses an Exlpoder into a sunset flip for two, reversed for two. Lockhart sends Starks into the ropes, and Starks is back with a vicious spear to win at 9:03. See, I told you Lockhart was good. **3/4 Starks’ facial expression shows he was caught off-guard by how tough that match was.

OG Dark Order (Evil Uno and Stu Grayson) (w/Colt Cabana) (22-6) vs. The Skulk (Liam Gray and Adrian Alanis) (0-7). Okay, the Skulk aren’t named as such, but they were a good trio with Leon Ruff in EVOLVE, so why not. Colt does not stick around.

Grayson runs Gray over at the bell, adding a slam into the turnbuckle. Uno whips Grayson in for an avalanche, and Grayson tosses Gray back for a big boot. Uno puts Gray’s headband on over his mask and bites Gray’s hand before giving the referee the headband. Grayson tags in, and Demolition Decapitation gets two, Alanis saves. Grayson asks Alanis if he wants some of that, so Alanis leaves only to pull Gray out of the corner and clock Grayson. He tags himself in, and the Skulk double-stomp Grayson down before Alanis goes ground and pound.

Gray back in as the crowd wants a hot tag to Uno, and Grayson tries to fight back only to walk into a Manhattan Drop and dropkick combo for two. Alanis back in, and Grayson again tries to fight back, so Gray chokes Grayson and Alanis knocks Uno off the apron. Gray tags back in, and it’s a suplex/crossbody try, but Grayson escapes and gives Gray an overhead suplex. Double Pele to the Skulk sets up a uranage to Gray, and Uno is tagged in. He boots Alanis between the eyes, then lifts Gray up for the PK Piledriver for the win at 3:13. I really hope Uno gets his mask on straight – maybe Brother Windham will help him? Hangman Page? Bueller? 3/4*

Julia Hart (w/Varsity Blonds) (6-8) vs. Reka Tehaka (0-9). So after being asked if the Blonds actually got any reaction AT ALL for interacting with the Acclaimed and Khan, I went back and watched. The crowd was confused who to root for during the brawl, but when it was over the Blonds got a good ovation. So… kind of?

Hart with a headlock takedown on Tehaka, hanging on after a hairpull, but Tehaka with a shoulderblock. Hart comes back with one of her own before getting a hiptoss. Dropkick (sort of) connects, setting up the moonsault knees… but Tehaka roll saway. Hart with a hook kick and STO to get the moonsault for real for two. Tehaka fights back and gets the SAMOAN HEADBUTT OF DOOM, then another. Gut punches in the corner, then she stomps a mudhole in Hart. Hart stops a Hammer Throw and gets a back elbow, setting up the clotheslines for the comeback. Running forearm in the corner sets up a snapmare, and Hart goes up. Sparkle Splash, but she won’t cover. Front cartwheel forearm and back elbow set up the Splits Bulldog to win at 3:15. You can tell watching Hart that she hasn’t flipped the switch yet. It’s coming. 1/4*

Bear Country (Bear Boulder and Bear Bronson) (6-2) vs. Jameson Ryan and Brick Aldridge (first time teaming). Oh we got some big boys in this one, don’t we? Taz: “We got some big cats in here!” Excalibur: “You know they’re bears, right?” We have a combined weight of 1100 pounds in this match.

It’s a big brawl to start, with Bear Country shoving their opponents away. Tackles go nowhere, but clotheslines knock them down and Bear Country stand tall. Bronson works on Ryan in the corner with rights and tags in Boulder. Avalanche by Boulder into a back elbow by Bronson, leading to a splash from Boulder. Bronson back in, and he slugs down Ryan and tries the Island Driver, but Ryan escapes and brings in Aldridge for a double-team spinebuster. Aldridge with a one-hand cover for one. He chokes Bronson against the ropes as Taz and Excalibur joke about Bear Country fishing for salmon.

Ryan in with shoulder shots, and Aldridge returns only to charge into an elbow. Ryan eats boot, and Bronson off the middle rope to give them both a crossbody. Hot tag Boulder, and he runs everyone over and slams them next to each other. Ryan is dragged to the corner, but Boulder’s middle-rope moonsault (!) misses. They clear Bronson off the apron, and Aldridge gets a belly-to-belly suplex on Boulder (!!) for two.

Ryan in, but Boulder slams down Aldridge and throws Ryan onto him from the middle rope. He sets up the opponents and brings in Bronson (as Boulder can barely walk), so Bronson cannonballs both men at once, getting the pin on Ryan at 4:16. Hope Boulder’s okay – he was clearly in pain even after the bell and I’m sure Bronson took it home early to get him out of the match. NR – injury

MAIN EVENT: QT Marshall and Aaron Solo (w/Nick Comoroto) (3-1 as a duo) vs. Dante Martin (11-6) and Matt Sydal (17-6). The faces come out to Martin’s music. I think they weigh less combined than Comoroto individually. Martin/Sydal will face Shotty/Cody tomorrow.

Solo and Sydal start with some trash talk. Lockup, and Solo takes the arm. Sydal goes under and gets wrist control, into a hammerlock, into a headlock takedown, then another, then a Gorgeous snapmare into a crucifix for one. Martin in, and Solo eats a double dropkick for one. Martin works the arm (not sure where to hold it at first), but Solo drags Martin by the hair and Marshall enters. Marshall with a huge waistlock takedown as the crowd hates Marshall. Front facelock, into a side headlock, and we go International~!, ending with Martin turning a hiptoss into a rana. Blind charge misses, but Marshall eats boot.

Solo distracts Martin, and in the chaos Solo with a clothesline on Martin to allow Marshall to take over. Right hands by Marshall and Solo in, getting forearms. Suplex follows, for one. Hammer Throw by Solo, but the charge eats boot and Martin gets Sydal back in. Jumping heel kick to Solo sets up the fisherman’s buster for two. Solo calls in Marshall and has a slam on Sydal, but Sydal escapes and gets the Slice and mariposa on Solo for two, Marshall saves. He gets sent to his corner after beating up Sydal, and Solo gets a legbar to drag Sydal to the Factory corner. Marshall with a right hand and he drags Sydal by the hair into the middle rope to choke him. Solo kicks away as the ref admonishes Marshall.

Backbreaker by Marshall gets two. Solo in, and he gets a shot to the ribs only to run into a slugfest. Solo wins by yanking Sydal down by the hair, and a double stomp follows for two. Hammer Throw is reversed, but Solo gets the elbow up and goes up. Sydal brings him off the middle rope with a Frankensteiner, but Marshall cuts off the tag only for Sydal to reverse a suplex into a rana. HOT tag Martin, and dropkicks abound. Solo is sent packing, and Marshall tries a pop-up who knows because Martin gets a dropkick out of that, too. Marshall bails, so Martin dives onto him as Sydal nails a Meteora to Solo for good measure.

Martin stops Sydal from bringing them in, because he sees the stage and has an idea. The idea, moonsaults off the stage onto their opponents! Crowd approves. Back in, Martin goes over Marshall, but Solo stops the double-jump moonsault and adds a 540 kick. Powerbomb by Marshall gets two. Marshall brings in Solo and orders him to end it, but Martin flips over Solo, twice, and gets the flying cutter. Knee strikes by Sydal and Martin to Marshall, and Sydal adds the Lightning Spiral. Doublejump moonsault by Martin gets the pin at 9:40. Comoroto was just there, which is good. This match felt disjointed at first but really got cooking after the hot tag. **1/4

HOW I’D BOOK DYNAMITE:

This was a really hard one, because I have no idea where to go for Full Gear and a LOT of it hinges of if Hangman Page is coming back soon. So…

  1. Adam Cole over Jungle Boy with interference from the Young Bucks.
  2. ADDED: Butcher and Blade over Chuck Taylor and Wheeler Yuta. (It puts Best Friends on the back foot entering the hair match on Friday.)
  3. Cody Rhodes and Lee Johnson over Dante Martin and Matt Sydal, but Rhodes uses underhanded tactics to win and seems to be not himself. (Could the black mist have corrupted him? I mean, I’ve seen dumber stories…)
  4. After weeks of arguing, the Dark Order seems to have given up on Evil Uno’s leadership when an old friend – Brother Windham if he’s signed, Hangman Page otherwise – tells the group that it’s time to heal themselves the way they healed others. They promise to give it a chance, for Brodie’s sake.
  5. Anna Jay and Tay Conti over Penelope Ford and The Bunny; the Dark Order shows unity to hold off the Hardy Family Ofice.
  6. ADDED: A match between Men of the Year and Varsity Blonds never starts, as The Acclaimed attack from behind. But before the Men of the Year can gloat, Inner Circle swarm them and a huge brawl breaks out involving Americna Top Team.
  7. Sammy Guevara captures the TNT Title from Miro.

STATS:

BELL-TO-BELL – 47:01 over eleven matches (average time 4:16)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT – Starks vs. Lockhart

FIVE STARS:

  1. Darius Lockhart
  2. Dante Martin
  3. Ricky Starks
  4. Matt Sydal
  5. Adrian Jaoude

It’s very hard to see where they’re going from here, and Full Gear is wide open; let’s see where the ride takes us.