This week’s AEW Dark was an emotional one, filmed right after the moving and unforgettable Dynamite that paid Tribute to Mr. Brodie Lee one week ago. Obviously this show wasn’t going to compare to that one, but in typical Dark fashion it was a lot of fun. Excalibur and Taz cracked jokes, a few smaller tributes to Brodie were made, Negative One (Brodie Lee Jr.) got a lot of shine in some absolutely heartwarming (and funny) moments and several of the matches were fun to watch. Can’t ask for much more than that on Dark. Well other than my glorious review, or so my family tells me. If you missed all this, I’ve got you covered.
Jungle Boy defeated Nick Comoroto after submitting Comoroto with the Snare Trap (STF). This was a newsworthy one and yes it’s because Jungle Boy came out to “Tarzan Boy”, his theme music from the indies. It was apparently a Christmas present from Tony Khan; hopefully it’s a full time thing. The match itself was borderline good. Jungle Boy has turned into a damn good worker and Comoroto has been impressive every time he’s appeared on Dark. They meshed well and the only issue was that they didn’t get a ton of time. Taz suggested on commentary that Comoroto would make a great member of Jurassic Express as their resident Caveman, and now I’m unable to think of a reason why AEW shouldn’t do this. Damn you Taz! ** ¾
Nyla Rose defeated Alex Gracia after pinning Gracia with a Beast Bomb. I’ve seen fidget spinners that have lasted longer than this match did. Nyla just anihilated Gracia (again) in a dominant squash. The post match was in fact more notable as Vickie cut a promo while standing on Gracia’s head, followed by Nyla putting Gracia through a table with the powerbomb. I was expecting a run in but alas no. Guess we’ll see if that leads anywhere going forward. NR
Scorpio Sky defeated Ariel Levy after pinning Levy with the TKO. It’s good to see Scorpio Sky back. Last time I saw him he was busy redecorating Britt Baker’s Waiting Room set by putting a fool through a wall. Naturally there’s no gif of this so here’s another Scorpio Sky gif to hold you over!
If only his return match had actually been impressive. Ariel Levy showed very little last week in his tag match against Chaos Project and somehow managed show less this week. He certainly did more and some of his offense was alright, but my goodness he was slower than the opening sequence of Spaceballs. Positively glacial. Scorpio Sky is great and has been a guy who has gotten the most out of everyone he faces on Dark, so it says a lot that he got nothing out of Levy here. You really wish El Cuervo could’ve been used in this position but alas. Bad match. -*
Marko Stunt came out to cut a promo and was interrupted by Negative One! Brodie Lee Jr. then cut a scathing promo on Marko, leading to a pull apart and Negative One laying out some security guys. Segment of the year. I was howling with laughter and AEW continues to go above and beyond to help out Brodie Lee’s family. I can’t imagine anyone not loving this.
Rey Fenix defeated Aaron Solow after pinning Solow with a Fire Thunder Driver. Man this was fun, as expected. Fenix was awesome in this (even if he was toned down), doing stuff that only he can do and pulling rolling cutters out of his ass that legit no one else could pull out of their ass. Solow stayed with him every step of the way, fed perfectly for Fenix’ offense and was given a lot to do himself; it’s easy to see why he’s become a trainer at the Nightmare Factory given how fundamentally sound he is. Well that and the fact that he puts on a good to great performance every time we see him on Dark (he and Danny Limelight really should have a “King of AEW Dark” match one of these days. Really good match. *** ½
Brandon Cutler defeated Louie Valle after pinning Valle with the TPK. Very entertaining, although that was largely because Taz and Excalibur corpsing at Valle saying he had fire breath in the middle of the match for reasons that only Louie Valle understands. The action was otherwise solid. Valle was the best I’ve seen him in AEW (which isn’t saying a ton unfortunately) and Cutler was solid as usual. Cutler’s post match promo saying he would be strive to be as good a father as Brodie Lee was really nice. **
Peter Avalon defeated Angel Fashion after pinning Fashion with the Marti-knees. Largely forgettable edition of the PPA Pageant Provocation. At least I believe that’s what it’s called. Note that I could look this up but I don’t want to. This is why they pay me the big bucks here at Lucha Central! Actually no; that’s because of the podcast, but still! Here’s now a picture of Dorian Roldan with a Vito Corleone bobblehead to distract you from that last exchange.
But yeah; Avalon’s had better matches than this. So has Fashion as well; he’s been around Dark for awhile now and has been impressive, but for whatever reason these two didn’t click. It happens. There wasn’t any bad action by any means but there just wasn’t anything of note. After the match Avalon left an 8X10 behind for Fashion, so at least he went home with that I suppose. * ¼
Diamante & Ivelisse defeated KiLynn King & Tesha Price after Diamante submitted King with the Cuban Lynch. Solid match and yes, you knew I was going to say this because Ivelisse is involved and I am incapable of thinking an Ivelisse match isn’t at least decent. They really didn’t get a ton of time to do much but Ivelisse and Diamante were their usual selves and Tesha Price continues to be one of those talents that looked totally lost in her first few AEW appearances and now looks better with each performance. I would’ve liked to have seen more from King (she pretty much just appeared at the beginning and end), but I also would like a year supply of Sunkist and that ain’t happening today either. Maybe next week! **
Austin, Billy and Colten Gunn (Gunn Club) defeated Bear Boulder, Bear Bronson (Bear Country) and Mike Verna after Austin pinned Verna with the Quick Draw. This may have featured the greatest match commentary of all time, as Taz mentioned the Bernstein Bears (after having to be reminded by production who they were) and then later sang Neil Diamond. Somehow Excalibur buckle over corpsing during all this, leading to the man being sent for him.
Anyhow, this match was pretty much solid, much better than the last Gunn Club match. Credit Bear Country for that; those guys are great, have been mightily impressive in their Dark appearances and hopefully are going to get more looks. Verna apparently has a feud going with the Gunn Club, the wrestling equivalent of every Queens Park Rangers rivalry in the last two decades. Nevertheless he had his best AEW performance to date as well, while the Gunn Club wasn’t too bad themselves. Forgettable in the long run but fun while it took place. ** ¼
Shanna defeated Vipress after pinning Vipress with a Double Arm DDT. First off, I have to get that Shanna shirt. It’s awesome, and also it would continue my collection of AEW shirts from my favorites (TH2, Lucha Brothers). Second, this was fine! Vipress is green and her offense didn’t really show a lot here, which is unfortunate because the middle part of the match was her in control. Things picked up once Shanna regained control with some really nice strikes and impact moves. This is Shanna’s third straight win since returning and I think it may be time to throw her to the wolves and give her something to sink her teeth into. Then again we should do that anyway because she’s one of the five best workers in the women’s division. **
Matt Sydal defeated Baron Black after pinning Black with the Lighting Spiral (the renamed Paige Turner). Breaking news; Matt Sydal rules. He is so good at pretty much everything and this was another standout performance in a stretch loaded of them (and strong work heading into what should be a fun match with Cody tomorrow). Baron Black was very solid as Sydal’s opponent tonight, showing off some nice technical ability and a really sick Backcracker. Coud’ve used more time but I saw enough to say this was good. ***
Thunder Rosa defeated Ashley Vox after pinning Vox with the Fire Thunder Driver. Second Fire Thunder Driver of the night! It’s big with the wrestlers these days. This was a tough one for me because I really like Thunder Rosa, but Ashley Vox is also one of the few wrestlers to actually come from Rhode Island (where I’m from), so I was thus contractually obligated to root for her in this situation.
Vox has been a really good worker on the independent circuit and thus my expectations were high here. I’m not quite sure they met them however, as there were moments where these two didn’t seem to click as much as you’d want. Both are really good performers though so there was enough to make this a solid match, with Rosa being especially vicious and Vox showing the great fire she’s shown on the indies. It could’ve been better but it wasn’t bad, and I hope we see more of Vox, who definitely has the potential to show more than she did here. ** ¾
Anthony Bowens & Max Caster (The Acclaimed) defeated Lee Johnson & Shawn Dean after Caster pinned Johnson followed Critically Acclaimed. This was really good. Lee Johnson and Shawn Dean wrestled this match as if they were shot out of the cannon, working with great pace and that included several dives. The Acclaimed were actually non factors early because Johnson and the Captain controlled the pace but once they into the flow they had their second straight super impressive performance. Bowens in particular clicked really well with both guys, and Caster showed off some sneaky athleticism, especially late. Very strong match. *** ½
Danny Limelight defeated Fuego del Sol after pinning Fuego with a Moonsault Side Slam. Limelight gets off the schnide and gets the win! Most feel good moment since the Browns made the playoffs this past weekend. Actually that’s a bad comparison; Fuego is more like the Browns whereas Limelight is like the Houston Texans, a very flawed team with a dynamic, electric leader who deserves more praise. Yes I just compared Limelight to Deshaun Watson and no I won’t apologize for that. You don’t like it; FIRE ME!
This was borderline great. Fuego and Limelight have been highlights on Dark, they work similar styles and they basically went full lucha in this one. Fuego was busting out super rana’s, an amazing Golden Moonsault variation and all sorts of other batshit crazy stuff. Easily his best work since appearing on AEW…and yet he still couldn’t hit that darn Tornado DDT! That turned out to be the difference; well that and Limelight was equally impressive, dialing down the athleticism to play the base for Fuego while also delivering some vicious heel offense. He earned this victory with his great performances in recent weeks it’s good to see him finally get a W; now it should be time for a Dynamite appearance! This was tons of fun and the best thing on the show that didn’t involve Negative One. *** ¾
Frankie Kazarian defeated Angelico, Darius Martin and Griff Garrison after pinning Garrison with the Scorpion Death Drop. This was wild, in both a good and bad way. The bad was that there were some moments where the action was a little rough. The good was that Darius Martin was just utterly spectacular here; he was the best guy in the match and easily the most active, trailed oddly enough by Jack Evans, who took many bumps and screamed often on the apron while everyone looked at him like an insect that needed to be squashed quickly. Everyone else was fine, with Angelico having some cool submissions while Kazarian and Griff Garrison had some nice brawling. It just didn’t feel like anyone really hit the next gear other than Martin, and too much of the action was a bit too choppy for me to call this great. It was still good though. *** ½
Sammy Guevara defeated Michael Nakazawa after pinning Nakazawa with the GTH. Very entertaining; who would’ve guessed?! Guevara provided the pace and wrestling, Nakazawa provided the laughs, and also threw in some nice wrestling as well! We forget but Nakazawa can work; he just decides to spray baby oil around instead most of the time. Whatever works for you I guess! Afterwards Guevara cut another strong promo, promising he will be a champion in AEW in 2021. **
Alan Angels defeated Serpentico after pinning Serpentico with the Wing Snapper. This would’ve been the match of the night…except Angels had to use the gorram Wing Snapper as the finisher! Didn’t he just have a much cooler finisher a few weeks ago? Why did he revert back to this?! It’s like M. Night Shyamalan becoming cool again by making Split and then deciding to capitalize on it by going back to making shit films. You know; the exact thing he did!
Besides that I enjoyed this. I especially enjoyed Negative One appearing before the match and then burying Luther in a promo after the match. Everything between that was good too. Angels was working his ass off to the surprise of no one and he was helped out by a typically reliable performance from Serpentico. Luther was also delightfully entertaining on the floor and the pairing of him and Serpentico continues to be a winner. Really if not for the weak finishing move this would’ve been the best match on the show, especially since it was preceded by a sequence where where Angels flipped out of an Avalanche Poison Rana to take out Serpentico and then Luther with a suicide dive. Really good stuff and I will say borderline great, though I liked Limelight-Fuego just a tad more. *** ¾
There you have it sports fans. I’m off to record a podcast. Till we meet again!
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RELATED NOTE: AEW Dark Episode 69 (01/05/2021)