AEW DARK: November 23, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 118 (“It’s Just a Little Stale, It’s Still Good!”), November 23, 2021.

From the All Elite Zone.

Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz.

TONIGHT! Someone gets their first win when Anthony Greene faces Jameson Ryan! Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson have brought a glock to a word fight as they take on the Acclaimed! Carlie Bravo wants his first win while teaming with old military buddy Shawn Dean against Alex Reynolds and John Silver! And Lee Moriarty is ready to go solo as he hopes Taiga can tame a tiger in Nick Comoroto!

PLUS – 2point0 and Daniel Garcia, Matt Hardy, Kiera Hogan, Emi Sakura, Wardlow, Bear Country, Riho, and Joey Janela!

Opening match: Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo (0-3 as a team) vs. Alex Reynolds and John Silver (w/Preston Vance, Alan Angels, and BRODIE LEE JR!) (6-0). Bravo and Dean call themselves The Infantry as both are military vets. While they haven’t won as a duo, Dean has won some singles matches. Junior stays at ringside as Angels and Vance head to the back.

Bravo and Silver start. Silver with a single-leg high takedown, and he goes to a waistlock. Bravo breaks into an armlock, but Silver with a fireman’s carry and he gets a top wristlock. Bravo breaks it and gets a solid right, but Silver comes back with an uppercut. Reynolds in, and Dark Order get a double reverse hiptoss. Silver with a Yes Kick to Bravo as Taz says he flies Above First Class (so, what, in the cockpit?), and Silver amuses himself until Bravo catches the kick and slugs back. Silver blocks a clothesline and gets a waistlock takedown into a front facelock, but Dean gets a blind tag and the Infantry deliver a series of moves ending in a Dean elbowdrop for two.

Bravo back in, and a double suplex try follows, but they think better of it and slug away before stomping on his hands. Double thrust kick, but Silver falls into the ropes. Dean back in, but a blind charge eats boot and Silver gets a shiranui. Hot tag Reynolds, and he boots Bravo off the apron before getting a flying uppercut on Dean. Dropkick and kip-up, then a discus right leads to a swinging neckbreaker for two. Dean gets his forearm up on a charge and hits a spinning Stroke for two, Silver saves. Bravo dumps Silver out and tags in, but Reynolds runs them together and gets a pop-up knee on Dean. Bravo back with a pump kick, but Silver catches him and the Beaver Boy Express (or whatever they call that finishing sequence) wins it at 5:13. Dean and Bravo looked decent. *3/4

Riho (10-2) vs. Karma Dean (debut). I swear, if this match gets 5 minutes and they only gave Trish Adora 2, I am writing a very sternly worded letter to someone. Probably Scott. He deserves it. Karma looks like a high school teacher.

Karma with an armlock, but Riho reverses. Karma to a hammerlock, then a headlock, and she knocks down Riho. Karma pulls Riho to the corner by the hair, but Riho has had enough and fires away before Karma goes to the eyes. Karma stomps a mudhole in Riho, then chokes her against the top rope. Riho runs into a back elbow and Karma poses. There’s a word for how Karma’s behaving to Riho… can’t think of it right now. Riho elbows out of a hairpull, then catches Karma with boots on a charge. Flying knee in the corner by Riho, then she suckers Karma in for a drop toe hold into an Area Code Kick. Northern Lights suplex gets two. Double stomp off the top ends it at 3:21. Okay, I’ll write Scott a nice letter instead. Karma was very slow on offense. 1/4*

2point0 (Matt Lee and Jeff Parker) (7-3) and Daniel Garcia (7-6) vs. Gabriel Hodder, Adrien Soriano, and Matthew Omen (first time as a trio). Garcia being called the son of 2point0 still makes no sense. Soriano and Omen have matching tights.

Garcia and Soriano start. Garcia with a big chop and Kitchen Sink, and 2point0 come in as Garcia dropkicks Soriano into a double Russian legsweep. Lee wants someone new and Hodder obliges, but Lee knocks him down with a shoulderblock and clothesline. Garcia with knees int eh corner, Parker with an elbow, and the drop toe-hold into a step-up elbowdrop follows. Omen tags in, and he gets a few elbows, but Lee gets a blind tag only for Omen to fight back… until he walks into Two For the Show. Sharpshooter from Garcia wins at 1:57. I think I may have mixed up Soriano and Omen, but it’s a 2point0 match so I don’t care.

Post-match, Tony Schiavone interviews the winners. Garcia says they’re not longer newcomers, and they’ll bring the fight to everyone. Lee says it can be anyone – Punk, Sting, Allin, Moxley, Kingston – they’ll all get a taste. Parker says they’re going straight to the Promised Land.

Kiera Hogan (2-4) vs. Notorious Mimi (0-1). Mimi’s promo photo has her wearing angel wings. I think that’s probably going to be the most interesting thing about this match, especially since Mimi isn’t wearing them in the ring.

Hogan with an armlock to start, but Mimi stomps the foot and reverses. Hogan into a headlock takedown, but Mimi yanks the hair on a whip. Okay, face and heel are established. Hogan returns the favor – or not – and lands a dropkick. Crowd is on Hogan’s side, but her blind charge misses and Mimi with a boot and side suplex for two. We HIT THE CHINLOCK, with Hogan fighting back only to get clubbered. Hogan with an armlock slam and step-up legdrop (Taz: “Hey, Hogan did a legdrop!”) before getting a shotgun dropkick. Sliding dropkick in the corner sets up a roundhouse kick to win at 2:13. Eh. 1/4*

Bear Country (Bear Boulder and Bear Bronson) (9-2) vs. Chad Lennex and Caine Carter (debut). Taz is very enthusiastic for Bear Country. Admittedly, a Bear Country vs Team Taz tag match would be a fun hoss fight, with poor Ricky Starks beign lawn darted before Hobbs picks up a pin through cheating. I think Lennex is one of Dustin’s trainees.

Lennex pummels Boulder off the bell, but Boulder no-sells and gets a big boot. Boulder picks him up by the throat and press slams him down about nine feet. Bronson in, and he goes CLUBBERING, THEY BE CLUBBERING TONY before Lennex escapes and tries a sunset flip. Carter tries to help, so Bronson gives Carter a Michinoku Driver while sitting on Lennex. Boulder in, a double slam sets up the Totem Splash to pin both at once in 2:05. SQUASH

FIRST WIN ALERT!: Anthony Greene (0-2) vs. Jameson Ryan (0-1). Greene really impressed in a tag match against FTR, so I’m betting on him. And yes, he’s from Dangertown, wears two jackets sewn together, and borrowed Magnum TA’s mustache (according to Taz).

Ryan backs Greene into the corner, but a cheap shot misses and Greece gets a headlock. A shoulderblock goes nowhere, and Greene reverses an armdrag attempt into a cover for one. Ryan yanks Greene down by the hair, and a criss-cross leads to Greene getting a forearm and suplex. Running chop in the corner, but Ryan catches him going up and over. Greene escapes and gets a teardrop suplex before going up. Flying crossbody sets up a crucifix driver to win at 1:51! FIRST WIN ALERT! I… can safely say I haven’t seen that finisher before.

Schiavone interviews Greene and asks what he has to say to the fans. Greene puts over AEW and the fun he’s having, and Schiavone has news: next week on Dark, Greene will face ADAM COLE! Greene is excited about this. He’s not a one-and-done, and he can take it from anyone. The Alternative (that’s Greene) is ready to top the charts.

Joey Janela (w/Kayla Rossi) (10-4) vs. Zack Clayton (0-2). The Janela/Rossi pairing reminds me of HHH and Chyna circa 1997. That’s a compliment to both of them. Janela just oozes heel slimeball and he can wrestle well enough to justify it. And Rossi looks like she can hurt just about anyone.

They exchange armlocks to start until Janela bails to the ropes. Clayton with a hammerlock, but Janela elbows out and gets a hammerlock legsweep. He runs into a Steinerline, though, and Clayton follows with a dropkick. Rossi jumps on the apron and Clayton argues, so Janela with a cradle and tights for two. Clayton with a stalling suplex that the crowd pops for, but Rossi trips Clayton and Janela with a running uppercut. He tosses Clayton into the middle rope throat-first to take over. Big chop in the corner, then a right haymaker.

Hammer Throw by Janela sets up a running elbow. He gets Clayton seated and goes up… a different turnbuckle… but he fakes Coast to Coast, drops down, and just chokes Clayton around the turnbuckle. Clayton wins a slugfest, but Janela goes to the eyes and gets a back suplex. Diving whatever misses and Clayton comes back with a powerslam. Clothesline follows, then a corner elbow and running uppercut. Discus lariat is prepped, but Janela stops him with a SUPERKICK for two. Janela bails and draws the ref while getting the ring bell, so Rossi moonsaults Clayton. Janela returns with the Heartbreak Elbow to win at 5:30. Janela has zero qualms about making anyone look good. *1/2

Backstage, Lexy Nair interviews Bear Country about their crushing win. Boulder says that was what Bear Country is all about, but why just see it when you can sense it? They’re the biggest, baddest, strongest, and hungriest – and they want to take out everyone in AEW. Bronson says he can snap the limbs of the technical wrestlers, swat away the high fliers, and be unlike anything ever. They’re the best big man team on earth, and they want championships. General “everyone on notice” promo.

Emi Sakura (w/Lulu Pencil) (8-2) vs. Valentina Rossi (0-4). Pencil has since gone back to Japan, which should tell you how long ago these matches were taped. Sakura knocks Pencil over with her robe.

Crowd chants for Valentina to start, so Sakura tells them to shut up. She then swats away a Code of Honor before grabbing an armlock. She rakes the hand and chops Valentina, screaming all the way like she’s Tesha Price or something, before getting a hairpull slam. She does some call and response with the crowd setting up the Romero Special, then she stomps away. Butterfly backbreaker try, but when Valentina blocks Sakura rakes the back instead. Sakura lets Valentina get up, then absorbs a few blows and chops her REALLY HARD.

Valentina tries again, but another big chop stops her dead before a suplex try. Valentina reverses it, then gets a Stinger Splash and straitjacket neckbreaker for a VERY close two. Dragon sleeper try by Valentina, but Sakura rakes the eyes to break. This sets up the We Will Emi corner crossbody and pose. Spinning elbowdrop, but Sakura pulls her up at two. Butterfly backbreaker ends it at 4:04. Sakura toyed with her, and I appreciate that it almost backfired. 3/4*

Matt Hardy (w/Jora Johl) (20-10) vs. Brick Aldridge (0-1). Hardy continues to get the “it’s that guy” pop from Universal. A guy named Brick shouldn’t be only 10 pounds heavier than Matt Hardy. Just saying. BUT FIRST, Matt introduces himself and Brick on the mic. Matt then calls himself Big Money Matt and says Brick will say it with reverence.

Aldridge backs Hardy into the corner and gives a clean break, getting a punch for his trouble. Hardy chokes him in the corner, so Aldridge reverses and kicks away. Bradley beal by Aldridge, and Hardy begs off only to get Aldridge to the outside. Johl sends Aldridge into the post on the outside, and Hardy tosses him to the apron and gets a 12-6 elbow or two. Back in, Hardy with a pair of swinging hangman neckbreakers and he wants REVERENCE ON HIS NAME. Aldridge fights back, but Hardy with a sleeper.

Aldridge backs Hardy into the corner, but Hardy keeps it locked in until the second crush. Blind charge misses, but Hardy runs into an elbow and Aldridge goes up. Hardy with a right hand to stop him and he follows, but Aldridge shoves him off and gets a diving headbutt (PLEASE STOP DOING THAT, WRESTLING) for a delayed two. Hardy looks for the Side Effect, but Aldridge with a shoulderbreaker. Johl on the apron and he’s knocked off, but Aldridge’s Lionsault misses. Side Effect and Twist of Fate is asked for (“DELETE!”), and it connects for the pin at 4:58. Hardy is there with Janela – not afraid to give some offense. *1/4

The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) (19-5) vs. Team Nightmare (Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson) (w/Arn Anderson) (4-1). Taz: “Look out for the glock!” And now, some diss lines. “2005 wants their hairstyle back!” “I bet you [Brock] only get with 50-year-old ladies!” And at this point, Arn jaws back, so Caster wisely stops the rap early.

Brock and Caster start. Brock with an armlock, and he stomps the arm. Knee to the gut and he does a Rocker Dropper on the arm for one. Caster goes up and over, but misses a corner attack and Brock with shoulders into the midsection. Double-leg into a backdrop by Brock, and Johnson comes in for a wishbone. Bowens in, but Johnson gives him an armdrag and rides the arm. Bowens with a right forearm to stop it, then some chops against the ropes. Bowens misses a dropkick, though, and Johnson gets one of his own instead.

Chop in the corner by Johnson now, and Brock in as the Nightmare crew gets a double back elbow for one. Bowens goes to the eyes and tries to dump Brock, and with Caster’s help a dropkick does the trick. Caster runs Brock into the apron before Johnson chases him off. Back in, Bowens with a kidney punches and an Olympic slam for two. Big chop to Brock right in front of Johnson, and Caster in to stomp a mudhole. Bowens chokes Brock in the corner, and Caster gets one off of it. Brock fights up but runs into a backbreaker.

Bowens in, and we HIT THE CHINLOCK. Knee to the gut stops a Brock comeback, but Brock low-bridges Bowens to the floor. Caster distracts the referee so the hot tag doesn’t count, and Caster drags Brock away from the corner for some double-teaming. The Acclaimed work him over in the corner, but Brock fights back and gets a DDT out of nowhere for the double-down. Caster stops the hot tag again and cuts off Johnson, but Brock with a SPINEBUSTER and nothing’s stopping him from the hot tag this time. Neckbreaker to Caster, big boot to Bowens, and he leaps over Bowens to get an enzuigiri.

Caster returns to cut him off and get a flying forearm, but both men kip up and Johnson gets an enzuigiri. Velveteen Driver and frog splash by Johnson gets two, Bowens saves. He’s tossed out, but Caster with a dropkick to Johnson and Bowens has the chain. Brock runs over Caster after the tag, working him over in the corner, but Bowens introduces the chain and Caster slugs Brock with it for the pin at 8:44. Match was much sloppier than they were capable of. *3/4

Wardlow (21-3) vs. Rolando Perez (debut). Yeah, I don’t think this’ll last long. Excalibur agrees, noting Wardlow doesn’t get paid by the minute. Also, the size difference here is almost comical!

Perez doesn’t care and wants a fight, slugging away on Wardlow… who just stares at him. Perez realizes it’s not working and begs off (Taz: “Run! I’ll warm the car up!”), then kisses Wardlow’s feet to apologize. Wardlow just powerbombs him from that position, then gives him a triple powerbomb for good measure. Press slam into the Casualty of War gets the KO at 1:28. Wardlow adds an F-10 for good measure, chucking him halfway across the ring. Then he does another one, getting 10 feet of air this time. Excalibur isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry at this point.

Main event: Nick Comoroto (w/Aaron Solo) (14-12) vs. Lee Moriarty (1-6). Moriarty needs some good singles performances. Taz thinks Exaclibur should do the Mil Mascaras gimmick and double bag his face. There’s a big/little look to this one, although Moriarty is less a high-flier and more a tactician.

Moriarty gets an armlock, but Comoroto shoves him into the ropes to break and wants more. They exchange waistlocks, leading to Comoroto getting a takedown and Moriarty regroups. Moriarty with a calf kick and he keeps his distance as he fires off more, but Comoroto refuses a whip and gets a slam try. Moriarty escapes and goes back to the legs, but Comoroto corners Moriarty and gets shoulders in the corner. Moriarty goes up and over, then looks for a Fujiwara armbar. Comoroto stops him, but Moriarty gets a tilt-a-whirl into a standing armbar.

Comoroto just picks him up into a backbreaker. Hammer Throw and backbreaker by Comoroto gets two. He dumps Moriarty, allowing Solo a cheap shot on the outside. Back in, Comoroto steps on Moriarty’s head, then adds a right hook when Moriarty gets up. Press slam with five reps by Comoroto gets two. Comoroto toys with Moriarty, who gets an armbuster out of nowhere and tries another armbar. Comoroto just slams him and gets a neck twist with his feet. Powerbomb try, but Moriarty goes dead. So Comoroto does a suplex instead for two.

Moriarty kicks Comoroto away, then chops Comoroto to wake him up. Bad idea, as Comoroto tosses him head-first into the ropes and chokes him. Solo adds a forearm behind the ref’s back, but a suplex attempt is escaped and Moriarty kicks the arm. Charge by Comoroto eats elbow and Moriarty with clotheslines to rock him. Comoroto with a kneelift, but Moriarty’s Torpedo Moscow out of the ropes sends Comoroto packing. Moriarty with a diving stomp to the wrist of Comoroto, and he uppercuts the bicep.

Comoroto picks Moriarty up, but Moriarty escapes and Comoroto eats post, shoulder-first. Moriarty then yanks the arm so that Comoroto’s arm is hammerlocked around the post. Back in at 9 and Moriarty goes up, but Comoroto meets him there. Moriarty with SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION into a divorce court off the buckles for two. Kimura by Moriarty and he hammers the arm while holding it, but Comoroto fires up and gets an Oklahoma Stampede out of it for two. Comoroto tries to pick Moriarty up, but his arm won’t let him.

Moriarty seizes on this and does a wristbreaker kick from his back, then stops a blind charge and goes up. Comoroto cuts him off and picks him up with his one good arm, but Moriarty grabs the bad arm and comes down in a small package for the pin at 9:30! BRAVO! I can safely say this is the best match Comoroto’s had to date. ***1/4

Schiavone congratulates Moriarty and calls it his biggest win. Moriarty says he’s not 100%, but since he first got there, he’s faced every style – catch style, strong style, lucha style, you name it. And every time, he adapted. And now, he beat a brick wall. His next step is building on it with his own style, Taiga Style. He’s going to show why he’s the future. Crowd likes the babyface promo as we’re out.

HOW I’D BOOK DYNAMITE:

  1. Bryan Danielson over Colt Cabana. He challenges any Dark Order member to step up, and Alan Angels obliges for next week in Atlanta.
  2. Andrade El Idolo, Malakai Black, and FTR over Cody Rhodes and Death Triangle when Black kicks Pac into next week.
  3. Jamie Hayter over Thunder Rosa with Rebel’s help to advance to the semifinals of the TBS tournament. But, when bragging about it later backstage, Hayter is chased off by a furious Thunder Rosa, who just beats up Rebel as a consolation prize.
  4. After a challenge laid out and accepted, Gunn Club defeat Darby Allin and the Varsity Blonds when Colten cradles Garrison with a handful of tights.
  5. Ruby Soho and Kris Statlander, despite a few mis-steps, defeat Kiera Hogan and Diamante.
  6. CM Punk ends the night off right over QT Marshall. The Pinnacle attack after the match alongside the Factory, but Dark Order races in to even the odds. Danielson returns to turn them back, but Hangman Page cleans house to end.

STATS:

BELL-TO-BELL – 50:54 over twelve matches (average time 4:14)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT – Moriarty/Comoroto

FIVE STARS:

  1. Lee Moriarty
  2. Joey Janela
  3. Nick Comoroto
  4. Wardlow
  5. Anthony Greene for the first win

Enjoy tomorrow’s show, and remember: you can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.