SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW DARK TV REPORT
MARCH 23, 2021
RECORDED AT DAILY’S PLACE, JACKSONVILLE, FLA.
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY RYAN HOWARD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Excalibur and Taz
Additional Commentators: Anthony Ogogo & Ricky Starks
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-Excalibur and Taz on the call, welcoming us to the show, giving us a rundown.
(1) CHAOS PROJECT (Luther & Serpentico) vs. JOHN SILVER & ALEX REYNOLDS (w/-1)
Silver & Serpentico kick things off as Silver connected with a big back body drop and uppercut onto Serpentico, who tried a float over in the corner. Double snap dropkick by Dark Order as Serpentico escapes, tagging Luther, who immediately gets dropped by Alex Reynolds uppercuts and back elbows. Serpentico tripped Reynolds up, which allowed Luther to capitalize and Chaos Project to double team. Very nice short arm clothesline connected by Luther as he is using his tag partner as a weapon to isolate Reynolds, who fought back with a moonsault. Hot tag was made to Silver, who hits a couple Bradley Beals (as Excalibur always likes to say) on Serpentico, before he lawn darted Serpentico into Luther. Once again Chaos Project cuts off Dark Order as Luther hoisted Silver up for Creeping Death, but Reynolds put a stop to that, as he connected with a Tope Suicida outside. Silver & Serpentico were left slugging it out until Silver let out a huge scream & connected with a big lariat. Double team kick in the ropes led to a release German suplex by Reynolds as they connect with a double Dark Destroyer DDT for the victory.
WINNERS: John Silver & Alex Reynolds in 7 minutes.
(Howard’s Analysis: Fun tag match to open the show as Silver gets a win before heading into Dynamite against Darby Allin for the TNT Championship. Luther’s offense was almost entirely Serpentico based in this one, meaning he used his partner as a weapon for most of it.)
– Backstage, Alex Marvez interviewed SCU about PAC & Rey Fenix getting a shot at the Bucks before them. Christopher Daniels said they will keep winning until sooner or later they get their tag title shot and remind people why people should’ve never forgot about them in the first place. Kazarian said he is willing to sacrifice any & everything to become champions again.
(2) SCU (Frankie Kazarian & Christopher Daniels) vs. JOREL NELSON & ROYCE ISAACS
Kazarian & Isaacs do a brief shoving contest before Kazarian takes Isaacs down with a series of arm drags. Nelson tags in, but suffers the same fate as Daniels tags in, leading to a nice clothesline/double stomp combo by SCU. Exploder suplex connects by the Fallen Angel for a two count as Nelson is able to hit a bodyslam, tag to his partner, only for Isaacs to get taken down immediately and isolated by SCU. Slingshot sunset flip was switched into a low enziguri to give Daniels another near fall. Isaacs reverses a whip to the ropes with a hot shot, allowing his partner to hit a stiff kick on the apron as they connect with a side suplex/leg drop combo off the second rope. Nelson & Isaacs take turns controlling Daniels, until he connected with a STO on Isaacs, making the hot tag to Kazarian. Flying elbow, shotgun dropkick, leg drop through the ropes while on the apron & sunset flip ends the combo for Kazarian to get 2 on Isaacs. Springboard twisting leg drop by Kazarian, as SCU signals for the Best Meltzer Ever, as Nelson put a stop to that, only to accidentally wipe out his partner with a punch. Slugfest by Daniels & Nelson leads to Kazarian turning Nelson inside out with a lariat, Isaacs wipes out Kazarian with a lariat of his own, but Daniels is able to connect with a Best Moonsault Ever to put away Isaacs for the win.
WINNERS: SCU in 9 minutes.
(Howard Analysis: We all know the story of SCU and the next time they lose, they will break up, so I sort of don’t see the point of their tag matches on Dark going almost 10 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Daniels & Kazarian and the Isaacs/Nelson team has worked well these past few weeks, but it just seems odd to me.)
(3) MIRANDA ALIZE vs. PENELOPE FORD (w/Kip Sabian)
Alize kicks things off with a nice springboard arm drag and step up hurricanrana, which sent Penelope outside. Miranda tried to follow up with a baseball slide, but Penelope caught her, swung her around & popped her opponent with a right hand. Back inside, Alize counters a suplex with a small package for 2, gets sent to the apron as Penelope caught her with a right hand and slingshot double knees onto the apron. One of the knees caught Alize right in the jaw as Penelope gives Kip a quick kiss before waking Alize up with a slap. Forearm exchange that saw both ladies hit the ropes, connecting with hard forearms until Penelope connected with a spin kick to the face for 2. Penelope tried the springboard stunner, but Alize caught her in mid air, drove her to the mat for 2. Drop toe hold into the ropes by Penelope, double knees to the back & fireman’s carry gut buster was the prelude as Penelope puts Alize away with a Northern Lights Suplex with a high bridge for the victory.
WINNER: Penelope Ford in 4 minutes.
(Howard’s Analysis: Impressive showing by Penelope and I laughed at Taz calling Rick Knox a creep for watching Kip & his wife make out after her victory. They didn’t mention this on commentary, but Penelope has been undefeated in singles action since Fyter Fest against Hikaru Shida last year. She’s now 11-0 since then.)
(4) THE GUNN CLUB (Billy, Colton & Austin Gunn) vs. ADAM PRIEST, JAKE ST. PATRICK & BARON BLACK
Ricky Starks joins us on commentary for the next few matches and Excalibur tells him he wants to create a group called Knife Club since he just bought a knife that slices tomatoes really well. It annoys Taz to no end as he turns down Excalibur’s invitation to join his Club. Austin & Priest kick things off with a fast start by the young Gunn as he got a nice take down before Billy & Black tag in. Baron gets chopped to the Gunn Club corner as they take turns hitting splashes on Black. Colton tags in and allows Baron to tag in St. Patrick before he drops him with a neckbreaker as the match breaks down. Colton & Austin hit a back drop/Quickdraw combo called 3:10 to Yuma for the victory.
WINNERS: The Gunn Club in 2 minutes.
(Howard’s Analysis: Well, this went a little longer than their match last week, but really not a whole lot happened aside from the finisher that Colton & Austin use, which I kind of thought looked cool.)
(5) JACK EVANS vs. DANTE MARTIN
Excalibur points out Jack Evans dance moves, while Taz said he wanted to fight a guy at a Jack Johnson concert with his wife. I would pay good money to see that. Series of arm drags for Dante starts this one, as he tries using the ropes as a springboard with the arm locked, but Evans rolled through. Dante popped up with a dropkick & neckbreaker before going up top, tried a 450, landed on his feet, clipping Evans side in the process. Evans up first and connects with a spin kick, then handspring back elbow before Evans hits a springboard kick off the top for 2. Evans tried another handspring corner elbow, but Martin caught him in the air & launched him with a back suplex onto the ramp. Back inside the ring, Evans gets turned inside out with a lariat and hurricanrana by Martin, who hits a double springboard moonsault for a close & impressive near fall. Evans baits Martin into the ropes & hits a head scissors to the floor before missing a wheel kick off the apron. Evans did an Irish Whip into the barricade, but Martin did a running 450 clearing the railing, jumped back over said railing, hitting a Destroyer before connecting with a 450 splash off the top back inside for the win. Post match, Angelico ran in and laid out Dante until Darius Martin made the save as commentary pointed out he himself is not 100% and this is a match to watch one he recovers from his injury.
WINNER: Dante Martin in 6 minutes
(Howard’s Analysis: The first ever singles win for Dante Martin was a mighty impressive one as this match was excellent, albeit pretty darn short. Martin got to really show off his hops in this one as clearing that railing, then clearing it again to hit the Destroyer was incredible.)
(6) BRIAN CAGE (w/Hook) vs. BRANDON CUTLER – FTW Title Match
Taz points out the issues Team Taz has had recently as Ricky Starks agrees and says he has faith in Cage. Hook wanted to give Cage a fist bump before the match, but Cage blew him off. Cutler tried to get that fast start in, but foolishly tried a springboard cross body, as Cage caught him in mid air, planting him with a Death Valley Driver. Cage already signals for the powerbomb, but Cutler got a sunset flip counter. Strikes connect by Cutler, as does an enzugiri, which leads to a Tope outside. Back inside, springboard cross body connected for a Cutler 2 count. Cage regains control with a pump handle face buster for 2, looked for a suplex from the apron back into the ring, but Cutler counters into a powerbomb out the corner for 2. Ricky Starks pointing out that this wouldn’t have happened to him as Cutler connects with a springboard elbow off the top for a near fall. Cutler tries to follow up with a dive off the top, but Cage caught him in mid air, hits the Drill Claw for the victory.
WINNER: Brian Cage in 4 minutes to retain the FTW Title.
(Howard’s Analysis: I have no idea why this wasn’t the main event of the show, simply due to the fact that the dissension between Team Taz is something you can end a show like Dark on as it at least translates over to Dynamite smoothly. Regardless, Cutler put up a good fight, but he was ultimately no match for Cage, his power, the Drill Claw.)
(7) ASHLEY VOX vs. ALEX GRACIA
Gracia is making her return to Dark after last appearing early February in a loss against Tay Conti. Vox is also looking to bounce back after last week’s loss to Conti. Series of arm drags by Gracia starts us off, roll up leading to a springboard cross body to follow. Vox tried a roll-up after Gracia missed a corner splash, but Gracia rolled through into a short dropkick. Both ladies trade forearms until Vox fish-hooks Gracia before applying a tilt a whirl arm bar. Gracia & Vox trade a near falls, but it leads to Vox applying the Fish Hook submission to net her first AEW victory.
WINNER: Ashley Vox in 2:30.
(Howard’s Analysis: Very quick match, but I hope you enjoyed that fish pun, because as long as Vox keeps appearing on Dark, there’s plenty more where that came from.)
(8) SONNY KISS & JOEY JANELA vs. VARY MORALES & SETH GARGIS
Joey tried yelling something to commentary during his entrance, but Excalibur tried telling him they couldn’t hear him, so I caught none of it. Joey started off with Morales as The Bad Boy failed miserably three times at trying a kip up, so he settled for a superkick before tagging Sonny. Even after the tag, Joey applied a surfboard and Sonny with a neck crank, but Gargis broke it up. Sonny connected with a few kicks before tagging back in Janela, who hit a flying shoulder tackle. Joey tried a suplex, but couldn’t do it himself due to the size of Gargis, so he tagged Sonny & they connect with a double suplex. Series of super kicks & rolling elbows as Morales ran in, suffered the same fate as Joey dropped him with a Falcon Arrow buster. Joey & Sonny hit a Reverse DDT/Split Out combo onto Gargis for the victory and get back on track.
WINNERS: Joey Janela & Sonny Kiss in 4 minutes.
(Howard’s Analysis: I didn’t really care for this match as not a whole lot happened as Joey & Sonny got about one or two moves off a piece before immediately making a tag to their partner. They didn’t show any signs of miscommunication or frustration like last week, so I wonder if that’s done already or Joey only gets frustrated losing to established teams?)
(9) FUEGO DEL SOL vs. JD DRAKE (w/Ryan Nemeth)
Anthony Ogogo joins commentary for this one as after Nemeth’s loss to Orange Cassidy on Elevation; Drake & The Hollywood Hunk put a beating on Orange & Chuck Taylor before walking off together, which explains their partnership. Taz said the only comparisons he can tell between the two are they are both male, have arms, legs & they both breathe. Thanks for that, Taz. Fuego tried a quick hurricanrana to start, but got rag dolled down to the mat by Drake. JD tossed Fuego into the ropes, as this time he was able to hit a tilt a whirl head scissors, sending JD to the floor. Fuego tried a dive through the ropes, but gets caught in mid air, thrown off the ropes and leveled with a forearm. With Fuego in the ropes, Drake draped a running leg over the back. Fuego tried fighting back, but the size of Drake allowed the big man to hit a bodyslam in the corner, standing splash & knee drop right to the face. Drake uses his size to clobber Fuego with a chop, looks for a bodyslam, but Fuego rolls through into a tilt a whirl school boy for 2. Springboard wheelbarrow facebuster led to a series a super kicks to chop the big man down as Fuego looked for a standing Sliced Bread, but ultimately got sent off the ropes and Drake hit a Claymore Kick for the victory.
WINNER: JD Drake in 4 minutes.
(Howard’s Analysis: This was a good showing for Drake, who got to rag doll Fuego around the ring to show off his power. The partnership with Nemeth literally started this week on Elevation, so I’m hopeful it lasts longer than Nemeth’s partnership with Pretty Picture, which went a few weeks.)
(10) QT MARSHALL vs. SHAWN DEAN
Both men trade shoulder blocks & taunts to start until QT is sent to the floor, Dean looked for a slingshot cross body, but QT side stepped, Dean landed on his feet, but QT charged & turned him inside out. The references Excalibur & Taz are making are too fast to keep up with, but Excalibur made a Treehouse of Horror reference, Taz had a Paul Roma name drop, then Excalibur thought he said Paul Lynde. As that is happening, QT applied a face lock, released it, charged in the corner, but Dean sent him to the apron, knocked Marshall to the floor as Dean followed up with a beautiful somersault plancha clearing the top rope. Back inside, Dean sent QT to the corner, charges, but eats a big time kick. QT signals for the Diamond Cutter, missed, Dean gave the salute, sprung off the second, but in mid air Marshall connects with a Diamond Cutter for the victory. Taz got in one more reference, a Peter Frampton one, for good measure.
WINNER: QT Marshall in 6 minutes
(Howard’s Analysis: This was a solid back & forth contest and I was laughing at the references commentary was making about QT Marshall’s hair.)
(11) THE BUNNY (w/The Butcher & The Blade) vs. JAZMIN ALLURE
Happy to see The Bunny back in the ring as this is her first match in about 6 and a half months, while Allure is still looking for her first win in AEW. Bunny showing a little ring rust to start as Allure avoided a takedown, hit a snap dropkick for 2, but she couldn’t follow up as Bunny clocked her with a clothesline before slamming her head into the mat repeatedly. Allure takes a hard corner buckle as the Bunny nails a sliding elbow strike to the throat. Bunny trash talks Allure, who responds with a jaw breaker, but missed with a corner splash. Allure stumbled back into a Bunny spin kick to the face, then gets planted with a spinning reverse DDT to send Allure down the rabbit hole (that’s either her finisher name or an excellent Excalibur pun) for the win.
WINNER: The Bunny in 2:30.
(Howard’s Analysis: I’ve definitely missed seeing The Bunny wrestle, so I’m happy to have her back on Dark. She looked impressive here and didn’t show much ring rust at all. Then again, it’s kind of hard to when the match barely goes two and half minutes.)
(12) DARK ORDER (Colt Cabana, Stu Grayson & Evil Uno)(w/-1) vs. CARLIE BRAVO, BRICK ALDRIDGE & DEAN ALEXANDER
Bell sounds and -1 gives some last minute advice to Colt Cabana, who starts off with Alexander as Excalibur points out Colt is a 20+ year vet taking advice from a 9 year old. Bravo quickly tagged in and this led to a merry go round of chops from Dark Order as Uno hit a vertical suplex for a near fall, then tagged Stu, who hits nailed a PK flush. Grayson charged in the corner, but Bravo moved & ate the post. Brick tagged in, trash talked Cabana, who jumps right in & popped Brick right in the face with a forearm. Stu is being isolated as Brick, Carlie & Dean making quick tags until Stu hits a release overhead suplex on Alexander. Aldridge tries throwing a lariat, but Stu met him with one of his own before nailing a uranage and tag to Uno, who cleans house on everyone. We then got a nice combo of a neckbreaker, big boot, sliding misdirect that led to a snap dropkick as -1 loves it on the ramp. Uno stacks up Bravo with a neckbreaker before Colt tags in, hits the Atomic Elbow, leading to Uno & Stu connecting with Fatality on Bravo for the win. -1 in after the match and puts the boots to Bravo as he raises the hands of the Dark Order trio, kipping up in the process. Joey Janela needs some pointers from -1.
WINNERS: Dark Order in 5 minutes.
(Howard’s Analysis: I was really hoping we’d get some -1 commentary on this match, but it was not meant to be. The roasting of Excalibur has become a highlight for me. Dark Order looked good in this one as the Fatality from Uno/Grayson is one of the best tag team finishers in wrestling and has been for years.)
(13) ANGEL FASHION & D3 vs. NICK COMOROTO & AARON SOLOW
Antony Ogogo rejoins commentary as a fast start from D3 & Solow led to a double stomp by Solow, tag to Comoroto as D3 quickly bails. Comoroto wants a test of strength, which would be foolish by Fashion, who tried a cheap shot, which was just as foolish as the big man lays Fashion out with a powerslam. Quick tag to Solow, who hit a kick low on Fashion (I audibly said ouch watching), drops D3 to the floor, then hits an arm trapped Pedigree on Fashion for the quick 3 count.
WINNERS: Nick Comoroto & Aaron Solow in 2 minutes.
(Howard’s Analysis: This was the quickest match of the night so far as Comoroto hit one powerslam and Solow did the rest. There’s really not much more to say about this. First time as a team for Comoroto & Solow and they looked impressive.)
(14) CEZAR BONONI (w/Peter Avalon) vs. JOHN SKYLER
Taz couldn’t figure out the name of Avalon’s “sleigh of love” as he made his entrance. Bononi showed off his power early by hitting a couple corner clotheslines before leveling Skyler in the back of the head with another lariat. Boots to the corner by Cezar, who connects with a hip toss for 2. Chin lock applied as Taz is bickering with Excalibur on commentary after Excalibur said it must be past Taz’s bed time. Bononi dumps Skyler to the floor & drops him back first onto the apron. Back inside, Skyler hits a jump kick on the apron, looked for a sunset flip, but Bononi powered him up into a swinging sleeper slam, then plants Skyler with a spinning Torture Rack Slam almost for the win.
WINNER: Cezar Bononi in 2 minutes.
(Howard’s Analysis: What an odd choice for a main event. This was just a super quick rebound victory for Bononi following his loss to Luchasaurus last week. I believe this was his first singles victory in AEW, so that’s the most noteworthy thing about this match.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was your standard episode of Dark with a few good matches and a lot of squashes. One of the positives is that this wrapped up in a little over 90 minutes. I’m a huge fan of having Dark & Elevation coming in at three hours total. The match of the night went to the far too short Jack Evans vs Dante Martin battle. We also had impressive showings by Penelope Ford, The Bunny, J.D. Drake and Dark Order as well.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S AEW DARK REPORT: 3/16 AEW DARK TV REPORT: Howard’s alt-perspective on Team Taz vs. Janela & Kiss, Skyler vs. Silver, Luchasaurus vs. Bononi, more