That’s right sports fans; for one week only I am back on the AEW Dark beat! Why is that you may be asking? Well it’s simple; last night I was making dinner and by the time I was done AEW Dark: Elevation was already a few matches in! I don’t like to review things from behind, so I decided to take the week off from that and review Dark tonight instead. See; simple. And probably a good decision as Dark tonight, while featuring many matches I’ll forget by the time the song I’m listening to ends, was a better overall show. But don’t just take my word for it…gah you know how this joke goes. Let’s review.
Powerhouse Hobbs & Ricky Starks (Team Taz) defeated Aaron Frye & Brick Aldridge after pinning Frye with the Emerald Frosion. This match was so short that I was on the verge of finishing my fries when it began and still hadn’t finished them when it was over. Now that’s quick work! I’m not even sure Ricky Starks did anything either, as Hobbs just went in, wrecked both Aldridge and Frye and then sent the guys to the back to celebrate Hook’s birthday! Wish I had gotten that invite; I have a feeling Hook gets the best birthday cake for his special day. Anyways; this was quick but well done for what it was. * ½
Leyla Hirsch defeated Diamante after submitting Diamante with the Cross Armbar. That Cross Armbar is deadly; Leyla gets it in and whether it’s Diamante, Tesha Price or whoever that person is tapping out quicker than me when a Lil Ziggler match occurs. Wait…there’s a Lil Ziggler match later on this show?!
This was a decent match. I thought it would be a little better than it wound up being, but those are the breaks with Diamante. Sometimes she can be really good and other times she’s just okay, and this was one of those times where she was the latter. Leyla remains very good, the Cross Armbar out of nowhere finish remains strong; she’s just in need of some quality opponents and opportunities. This was fine, there was nothing wrong with it (if I can turn into Dave Meltzer for a moment) but that’s all it was. ** ¼
Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison (Varsity Blondes) defeated Adrian Alanis & Liam Grey (Skulk) after Garrison pinned Alanis following a Pillman Jr. Springboard Clothesline. Pretty cool seeing that springboard from Pillman Jr. after I watched his dad do that earlier in the day while watching WarGames 1991. This match was nowhere near as good as that one (it’s one of the three best WarGames matches ever so that be a tough sell), but it was solid stuff. Alanis and Grey are a solid team, even if they never seem to get out of that gear, and the Blondes continue to improve. Pillman in particular showed off a few more things here (the springboard crossbody to the floor), which hopefully bodes well for their Dynamite match tomorrow. Nothing you need to go out of your way to see but a perfectly fine math that lived up to expectations. ** ½
Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian (SCU) defeated Jake St. Patrick & Spencer Slade after Daniels pinned Slade with the Best Meltzer Ever. Basic squash here. St. Patrick and Slade got a little bit in, but overall this was Daniels and Kaz finishing things off quicker than usual as they head towards their collision course with the Young Bucks. One of those matches that did its job while being completely unmemorable at the same time. * ¼
Big Swole defeated Megan Bayne after submitting Bayne with the Swolverleaf. Did you see what I did there?! I know Swole isn’t calling it that yet but it’s money and she totally should. Then again she’s probably still just getting over fighting one of the Amazon’s from Zack Snyder’s Justice League this evening.
This was much better than I expected because that Justice League character, Megan Bayne, is a lot better than I was expected. She’s big, she’s committed to the Amazon gimmick, she’s got some nice ability and she worked very well with Swole, who had one of those performances that will make the Reddit morons look bad the next time they say she can’t wrestle. She even seems to be getting better, adding some variations to her usual spots, showing off a cool arm drag variation and boy does that Swolverleaf look vicious. Just a matter of time before she gets a shot to show this on a wider level. Between that and Bayne proving to be a good fine, I thought this was a good match. ***
Joey Janela & Sonny Kiss defeated Justin Law & Kit Sackett after Kiss pinned Sackett with a Split Leg Drop/Scorpion Death Drop combo. Janela was on fire here, both in the ring (I believe he nearly kicked out all of Law’s teeth at least twice) and out of the ring, where he declared before the match that you can’t be a vegetarian if you like Sonny Kiss. Why? Because Sonny’s ass has got a whole lot of meat. I’m only repeating what the Bad Boy said here! Strong stuff for Joey there, Sonny looked good as well and Sackett and Law…well they got their asses kicked gloriously. Can’t take that away from them. Entertaining squash. * ¾
KiLynn King defeated Julia Hart after pinning Hart with Kingdom Falls. Fun fact; today is KiLynn King’s birthday! Also fun fact; pretty sure Julia Hart isn’t a member of the Hart Family, if only because they all wear pink and I saw no pink in Julia’s outfit.I could be wrong though! This was fine. Hart didn’t show as much as Megan Bayne did a few matches before but I think we can chalk that up to her being a bit green. She has something though and the cheerleader gimmick is at least different, so it’ll be interesting to see her develop. King was thus trusted to carry this match and overall did a good job, another sign that she’s ready for some big things. And keep in mind she was already decent when AEW brought her in; that she’s gotten even better is pretty damn cool. Her work made this watchable, if maybe not essential. **
PAC defeated Serpentico after submitting Serpentico with the Brutalizer. Would you believe me if I told you this started well for Serpentico? He hit a Shotgun Dropkick and a tope in the first minute, looked poised to have a competitive match and then was eaten up like that Eddie guy in The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
The good news is he was eaten up by PAC so it was overall enjoyable. You have to love PAC; he’s basically great at everything, he’ll have quality matches whether he’s wrestling Kenny Omega, Serpentico or (and I may be tempting fate here) Luther and there’s always at least one thing he does in a match that gets you. Today it was him CACKLING as he kept Serpentico locked in the Brutalizer while Pentagon and Fenix hovered around him, almost too afraid to touch PAC cause he’s like that damn Hansel. SO HOT RIGHT NOW! And on that note I’ll say this was an enjoyable squash and we’ll leave it at that. * ¾
The Bunny defeated Leila Grey after pinning Grey with Down the Rabbit Hole (Eye of the Hurricane). This match fascinated me, mainly because I’m pretty sure Bunny spent the entire match trying to break Aubrey Edwards with jokes and was unable to do it because no one can break Aubrey. She’s indestructible. This was another good squash. The Bunny looked really impressive with Tay Conti a few weeks ago and continued her string of good work here, while Grey sold well and did okay when she got some offense in. Did exactly what it should’ve done. * ¾
PAC cut a quick promo basically saying the Death Triange is coming for everyone, whether it’s Serpentico, Best Friends or Kenny Omega. You hear that Serpentico; Snake Man may be getting another shot! Probably not, but maybe!
Anthony Bowens & Max Caster (The Acclaimed) defeated David Ali and Vary “No I Will Not Back My Juventud Lookin’ Ass Up” Morales after Caster pinned Morales and his Juvy lookin ass with the Claim to Fame. If you’re wondering why I went double on the Juvy reference, that’s because the highlight of this match was Bowens stealing Platinum Max’s thunder by telling Morales to back his “Juventud Guerrera lookin’ ass” up. I’m still laughing. The more we acknowledge Vary and Juvy’s uncanny resemblance, the better off we’re all going to be. The rest of the match was okay. Bowens has looked really crisp since returning, so it’s only a question of seeing what he does once he’s in there with better competition (the four way tomorrow will be telling). Caster was Caster, Morales didn’t do a ton and Rhode Island wrestling legend David Ali made the most of his minutes, hitting a really great springboard uppercut at one point. More David Ali! More Rhode Islanders in general honesty; where are the damn Sea Stars at?! **
Ethan Page & Scorpio Sky defeated Terrell & Terrence Hughes (TNT) after Scorp submitted Terrell with that dastardly Heel Hook of his. Ask Sting about that one; he’ll tell you how much it hurts.
This was another solid match. I always like seeing the Hughes Brothers on Dark and while they’ve show more than they did here, this was another solid piece of work for them. The best thing about them being here is that they’re an easy win for Scorp and Page, but a good enough team that it wasn’t just going to be a simple squash. As such Page and Scorp got to strut their stuff and overall did a good job; they’re starting to gain some steam between this and the stuff with Sting and Darby. Another match, another thing that you don’t necessarily need to see but was a solid enough watch. ** ¼
Alex Reynolds, Evil Uno and Stu Grayson (Dark Order) defeated Cezar Bononi, “Just Delicious” JD Drake and Lil Ziggler after Grayson pinned Lil Ziggler after Fatality! Hysterical moment at the finish where Peter Avalon, back by popular demand, tried to distract Grayson, was scared off the apron by Reynolds and fell into Bononi’s arms, thus preventing Bononi from making the save. Great moment. This was a lot of fun and easily the best AEW match Bononi and Lil Ziggler have been involved in. The latter didn’t do a whole ton but Bononi did get more time than expected a looked solid. Overall though the team was carried by Drake, who’s hilarious new nickname (coined by Excalibur) didn’t stop him from being a bad ass. And Reynolds, Uno and Stu were all really strong, with Reynolds selling well, Uno providing the power and Stu bring the explosiveness. A good six man tag with some nice comedy thrown in. *** ¼
Dante Martin defeated Danny Limelight after pinning Limelight with that gravity defying 450 Splash. This match looked good on paper and wouldn’t you know it, paper translated into real life in this one. Boy this was good, and in a completely different way than you’d expect. You see Danny Limelight vs. Dante Martin and you’d expect dive after dive after dive after dive. Instead the story of this one was the veteran Limelight turning this, as Excalibur and Taz called it, a scrap. He slowed things down, bullied Martin around and basically forced him to work a slower style than the ultra athletic Martin is used to. Fortunately Dante Martin is really good and getting better, and he gelled well with Limelight in creating a really well rounded bout. They even convinced me Limelight was going to win at one point with that Triangle Sleeper of his. Credit to both guys here for switching things up from usual, and especially to Limelight for leading this one. This was very good, and best of all they left you wanting to see it again, where they may just go completely nuts like we know they can. What else do you expect from the King of AEW Dark, Danny Limelight. Search your feeling JD Drake, you know it to be true! *** ½
Lance Archer defeated Luther after pinning Luther with something called the Hellacoaster. Am I to understand now that Lance Archer, man who can wipe you off the face of the earth in ten million different ways, now has another finisher? That be like giving Conor McDavid Wayne Gretzky to play with on the wing; he’s already deadly enough as is!
This was, like most of the matches on this show, solid if forgettable. As great as Lance Archer is you know there’s only so much one can get out of Luther, and to Archer’s credit he basically got the high end of that. They had some help with Serpentico (selling the PAC beating still) getting involved, getting beat up by Archer and then getting beaten up by Fuego Del Sol. That’s right; Fuego helping out Lance Archer! This is either leading to the weirdest tag team ever, Fuego vs. Serpentico where Serpentico gets a win or Fuego vs. Serpentico where Fuego gets that first win. Good thing Dark isn’t for another week so I can mentally prepare myself for that actually happened. In any event this was fine, Archer won, Fuego got some shine; to quote The Academy Is…, what more could you ask for? ** ¼
And I’m spent. Till the next ChocoPro I’m able to catch sports fans!
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RELATED NOTE: AEW Dark Episode 87 (05/04/2021)