The PG Era Rant for AEW Dark, Episode 115 (“You Want a Battle, You Got It”), November 2, 2021.
From the All Elite Zone.
Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz.
TONIGHT! Tiger Ruas wanted better competition, and now he gets it from PAC! Tony Nese wants to see what AEW has, and he’s starting with Fuego Del Sol! And Santana Garrett hopes to get her first win, but has to go through The Bunny to do it!
PLUS – 2point0, Bobby Fish, The Acclaimed, Daniel Garcia, Santana and Ortiz, Red Velvet, Silver and Reynolds, Nyla Rose, and Shotty and Brock!
NOTE: My apartment is under repair right now, so I’m in a hotel and don’t have my stopwatch. As such, instead of stars, I’ll use Scott’s point system. If he wants to review Dark instead of hurting himself with NXT, he’s welcome to do so and show whether I know what I’m talking about.
We begin with FTR in their house in Asheville. Harwood says he doesn’t wake up every morning on his back porch drinking coffee and wearing his AAA title – he’s just doing it because he’s a living lucha legend to show all of us. Wheeler agrees, and says Tully Blanchard is talking to Tony Khan, and on Wednesday they will have an open challenge to any luchadors (besides the Bros) who think they have a chance.
Why no Bros? Well, FTR has beaten the Bros 2 out of 2 times, and so they have nothing to prove. To be true AAA champs, they have to face fresh challenges, which is what they’ll do Wednesday. Harwood asks for world-renowned luchadors that they can defend against to prove they’re lucha legends. BUT: no flips, because this is Professional Wrestling, so that’s what they’re going to provide. Top Guys, out. 1 for 1
Opening match: Santana and Ortiz (12-3) vs. Joe Coleman and Idris Abraham (debut). Justin Roberts rolls the HECK out of that R in Ortiz. Abraham is one of the few people with hair bigger than Ortiz’s. A Little Bit Of The Bubbly is back.
Santana and Abraham start, and it looks like Abraham and Coleman are a regular team with matching tights. Santana with a drop-step and a shot to the back, then an uppercut into a snapmare. Santana wears down Abraham and dropkicks him, then gets a big chop. Three Amigos follows, with Ortiz tagging in and assisting on the third. Ortiz tosses Coleman in and gives him a short clothesline, then brings Santana back in for a double powerbomb on Coleman. Ortiz returns, but Abraham with an enzuigiri to Santana. Santna comes back with a kneelift and rolling lariat, allowing Ortiz to cover with one foot for the win. The one-foot cover earns this a point. 2 for 2.
Full Gear ad.
Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero) (#5 women, 21-5) vs. Viva Van (0-1). I am very tempted to say no point because Vickie does Nyla’s intro, and one of these days someone’s going to pay off Vickie by imitating her or clocking her during intros. Please. Vickie calls AEW Dark a pathetic show before demanding appreciations for Nyla. Rose faces Hikaru Shida in the quarterfinals of the TBS tournament.
Rose elbows out of a waistlock and tosses Van before booting her down. Big toss out of the corner as Vickie shrieks instructions. Blind charge misses and Van with a dropkick to send Nyla to the corner. She kicks away to keep on top, but Nyla goes to the throat and gets a pair of standing leg lariats. Now the hip check connects, into a clothesline. Beast Bomb ends this. Not fun enough to overcome Vickie Guerrero. 2 for 3.
AEW Elite GM App ad.
Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson (3-1) vs. Eli Knight and Malik Bosede. Notably missing: Arn’s glock. Brock Anderson looks so vanilla it’s a minus for him – like, I know Arn Anderson never looked like a tough guy, but Brock looks like a generic CAW. Bosede and Knight are a tag team on the indies as Culture Inc.
Brock and Bosede start. Bosede with the arm, but Brock reverses, so Bosede reverses and (in the ultimate of irony considering Arn) yanks him down by the hair. Brock recovers with an awkward-looking slam (seriously, it looks like mine) and he stomps away. Johnson in, and he chops away before getting a snapmare and soccer kick. Knight in, and he handsprings away from a rana before getting one of his own, with Johnson handspringing as well. Knight gets in Johnson’s face, so Johnson with a lariat to Knight and he dumps Bosede. Brock in, and the SPINEBUSTER sets up Johnson for the frog splash to win. Lee Johnson is so far ahead of Brock Anderson that we might as well rename him Brock Jannetty. 2 for 4.
Daniel Garcia (w/2point0) (6-6) vs. Rickey Shane Page (0-3). I’ve seen Rickey Shane a bunch and I know he’s very respected on the independent circuit, so how this match goes will tell a lot as to whether AEW wants him as a random jobber or sees slightly more in him. Garcia’s entrance music sounds like something I’d expect from JTG rather than a technical magician.
Page backs Garcia into the corner and has to be pried off by the ref. Garcia catches a smirking Page with a basement dropkick before stomping away. An elbow to the back of the head keeps control, then Garcia adds an uppercut. Page is favoring his leg, but he cugts Garcia off on a blind charge. Page tries a roundhouse kick, but Garcia catches it and gets a dragon screw. Garcia drops his weight on Page’s leg, then chokes away on the bottom rope. Crowd gives a mild RSP chant as Garcia stares at him trying to get up. Garcia with a fistdrop, then a shotgun dropkick, both delivered with some great snap, and he chokes Page in front of 2point0. Page with an enzuigiri out of nowhere to come back, and he tries a chokeslam, but Garcia leaps into a guillotine choke. Page breaks it with a suplex toss. Avalanche follows, then a snap slam for two. That was one CM Punk would be proud of. Chokeslam is tried again, but Garcia leaps out and gets the guillotine out of a tilt-a-whirl. Page tries the same reversal, but Garcia switches to a rear naked choke to get the submission (and hold on for a few extra seconds). Yeah, let’s give them 12 minutes in a Beyond ring. 3 for 5.
John Silver and Alex Reynolds (w/Preston Vance, Alan Angels, and BRODIE LEE JR!) (5-0) vs. Sean Carr and Markus Kross and his hair (first time teaming). I tell you, when Jr grows into his frame, he’s going to look JACKED. I totally mark out for Kross and his Dragon Ball Z look.
Carr and Reynolds start. Reynolds gets the arm, only for Carr to punch out and work hinm into the corner. Reynolds reverses a whip, but eats elbow on a blind charge. Carr dives off the middle rope, but Reynolds casually walks off and gets a dropkick. This set needs a name – like we call a move that eats the foot the Flying Whatever, but what do we call it when the guy just walks away Samoa Joe style? Silver comes in, and Dark Order get a double drop toehold and double dropkick for two. Silver with a headlock, and with his biceps that can be a deadly hold, and we go International~!, ending with Silver cartwheeling through Carr and getting a rana and dropkick. Reynolds and Silver ping-pong Carr with uppercuts before Reynolds boots Carr down. Kross gets the tag and nails a driving crossbody, but a suplex fails and Reynolds with a back body drop. Silver in with clotheslines, then a Bradley beal out of the corner, twice. He snapmares Carr into the turnbuckle and pulls out Kross, only for Reynolds to get a German on Kross. Reynolds with a running boot, and he tosses him to Silver, who backdrops him onto Carr. Dark Destroyer wins it for Silver. These two make a squash fun. 4 for 6.
The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) (#5 team, 17-4) vs. Dontae Smiley and Ishmael Vaughn (first time teaming). We’re going to consider the rap separate from the match. “The Acclamied is here, back in Universal / Beating y’all til your back is turning purple.” “You need magic to make it out alive / so go out and head to the Harry Potter ride!” To be fair, Caster didn’t have much to go on, but it felt kind of lazy. 4 for 7.
Bowens and Vaughn start. Bowens works the arm, and he brings Caster in to boot the outstretched arm. Caster with Armbar #4 from the WWE 2K games and he brings Bowens in for a gamengiri. Caster with a back suplex to set up a slingshot elbowdrop from Bowens. Vaughn fights out with a SUPERKICK and it’s hot tag Smiley. He knocks Caster off the apron and boxes Bowens, ending with a spinning enzuigiri. He runs into an elbow and Bowens gets the SUPERKICK, though, and Caster in as Smiley holds his arm up as if to say “drag me to your corner”. Rookie. Double Russian legsweep sets up a pair of kicks from The Acclaimed. Vaughn gets tossed into Smiley – why not steal from Silver and Reynolds – and Acclaim to Fame ends it. Was hoping for more from Smiley. 4 for 8.
The Bunny (w/The Butcher but not The Blade) (22-14) vs. Santana Garrett (0-2). It should be noted that Dynamite is in Kansas City and Rampage in St. Louis, so we may be getting more Dark matches. Santana Garrett gets an entrance. Garrett has nice charisma.
Bunny slugs Garrett on the bell, tossing her into the turnbuckles over and over. She then dropkicks Garrett to jam the neck into the corner before choking her against the middle rope. Bunny taunts Santana, begging her to fight back, so Garrett complies only for Bunny to get the running kneelift. Bunny with a backrake and sends her into the corner, getting the Nash boot choke. A chop to Garrett and Bunny charges, but Garrett moves and gets a back elbow, then a boot on a second charge. Garrett tries an O’Connor Roll, but Bunny holds on only for Garrett to kip up and lands a big forearm. Handspring elbow and SUPERKICK follows, but the Tajiri handspring moonsault airballs. Bunny sends her Down the Rabbit Hole to win. The crowd was behind Garrett, so as basic as most of the match was, it works. 5 for 9.
Jon Moxley book ad.
2point0 (Matt Lee and Jeff Parker, w/Daniel Garcia) (6-2) vs. Bison XL and Toa Liona (first time teaming). Liona really impressed people against FTR, and now he’s teaming with someone his own size. We’ll see if this team looks good enough that you’d want to see them on your local indie. Taz: “I think Bison XL may be Bison XXL… maybe Bison XXXL.”
Parker dropkicks Bison on the bell, but Bison comes back with a big slam and elbowdrop. Parker escapes and brings in Lee, who asks for time and calls a huddle with Garcia (“Okay, I know a guy as big as this, goes by Puf; I think I can tell you how to win”). Back in, Lee and Bison fight for a whip, with Bison getting a short lariat off of it. Parker distracts Bison, so Parker tags in only for Bison to clubber both guys. Garcia trips Bison so Parker can get a slingshot elbowdrop, and Parker adds some kicks in the ropes. Lee with kicks and a chop in the corner, adding a Hammer Throw. Parker back in to work over Bison, and he works the eyes before he HITS THE CHINLOCK. Bison backs Parker into the corner, but Lee tags himself in and kicks Bison before working the back. Parker returns, but Bison shoves him away and tosses Lee aside, and it’s hot tag Liona. Big boot to Lee, Samoan Drop to Parker, and he tosses Lee into next week. 2Point0 is stacked in the corner, but Liona’s blind charge misses only for him to recover and tackle both men down anyway. Bison back in for the finish, but Garcia’s on the apron. Liona knocks him down, but 2point0 toss Bison into Liona and give Bison Two For the Show to win. Very nice, and it followed the template of Garcia/Page – the annoying heels outsmarting and outdoing the powerful faces. 6 for 10.
ON RAMPAGE – The Bunny vs. Red Velvet! John Silver vs. Adam Cole! Speaking of…
Red Velvet (27-7) vs. Sholance Royal (debut). We have our Taz-ism of the week as Taz stumbles over the phrase “even keel”, confusing it with “evil and keen”.
Lockup goes nowhere. Royal with a headlock, and we go International~!, ending with Velvet getting a leg lariat. Velvet with wrist control and a chop before getting a lucha armdrag. Velvet with kicks in the corner and the Stir It Up choke. Royal comes back with a kneelift and snapmare, then a basement dropkick for one. Elbowdrop follows, then a twisting splash for one. We HIT THE CHINLOCK as Royal sings OPERA during the chinlock (she’s been warming up her vocal cords all match), but Velvet fights out only to run into a forearm. Velvet returns with clotheslines and a flying knee in the corner, and a bulldog by Velvet follows. Double knees to the back of Royal, and a standing moonsault gets two. Velvet ducks a clothesline and sets Royal up for the Final Slice to win. Royal’s “opera soprano” war cries got over with the crowd and if she were more experienced I’d be BEGGING Impact to sign her up to join with Aiden English. Bunny knocks out Velvet with brass knuckles after the match. A fun jobber, a decent back and forth, and angle advancement? Solid Dark segment! 7 for 11.
Bobby Fish (3-3) vs. Ryzin (0-5). “This particular bout…” Keep mixing it up, Justin. I miss Ryzin – he had a good look and was fun to see in the Daily’s Place era of Dark.
Fish with a snapmare and sleeper off the bat, but Ryzin backs him into the corner only to run into a big boot. Fish with a gut punch and roundhouse kick, but he misses a second one only for Ryzin to run into a cross-chop. Fish boxes Ryzin down before getting a snapmare and slingshot senton for two. Ryzin with a Manhattan Drop to stun Fish, but Fish dodges a boot and catches Ryzin with an Exploder for two. Another right hand by Fish sets up a standing enzuigiri into a Saito suplex for two. Fish instantly catches Ryzin in a sleeper, with the crowd behind Ryzin, but Fish lets go so he can get the Buzzsaw kick to win instead. Fish doesn’t do it for me as a squasher. 7 for 12.
Tony Nese (debut) vs. Fuego Del Sol (4-31). No sign of Fuego Dos, before anyone asks. The nice thing about Fuego is that he’s gotten over despite almost never winning, which means that you can wait until he’s a complete wrestler before making him a part of the Dynamite rotation. Nese’s entrance music has a good strong drumbeat – sounds a little like Pour Some Sugar On Me or Hangin’ Tough.
Crowd is 100% behind Fuego on the bell. Nese backs Fuego into the corner and gives a clean break, but shows off his physique. Nese with a slam attempt, but he hangs on too long and Fuego escapes and attacks in the corner, ending with a spear. Fuego adds a snapmare and middle-rope dropkick, so Nese shoves him away. Fuego runs into a back elbow and Nese climbs, but lands on his feet on the moonsault for a stalemate. Nese kips up under a lariat and kicks away on Fuego, getting a legsweep for one before stomping the head. Big chop by Nese and they exchange, but Nese tosses Fuego to the apron. Fuego catches Nese coming in before adding a slingshot rana to send Nese to the outside. He looks to dive, but Nese races back in with a five-arm for two. Suplex by Nese gets two. Fuego punches him in the eight-pack to get separation, but Nese with a solid right to set up a Stun Gun. Nese with a double-jump moonsault for two. Bodyscissors by Nese, with Fuego using his elbow to pry himself free. Nese switches to an amateur ride and picks him up in a waistlock, but Fuego elbows away only to get chucked into the corner. Nese catches a kick from Fuego, and you know he’s begging for an enzuigiri and that’s what he gets to cue the double-down. Flying jalapeno by Fuego and he kips up, kicking Nese to the floor and following with an inside-out quebrada! Back in, step-up double-stomp gets Fuego two. TORNADO DDT OF DEATH is countered to a cradle for two, into a Hunico powerbomb in the buckle! Running knee to a seated Fuego finishes him off for the FIRST WIN ALERT! This was a legit *** match on top of being a good intro to Nese. 8 for 13.
PAC (10-3-1) vs. Tiger Ruas (2-0). I wonder if Cezar Bononi is still with the Wingmen, because he hasn’t come out with Ruas since that first match. No sign of the rest of Death Triangle for this match. It takes the crowd a while to warm up during intros, but they get behind Pac soon enough. Massive staredown before the bell.
The two are hesitant to lock up as Ruas wants to attack capoeira-style. He does, but Pac ducks the kick and gets a headlock takedown. A second headlock takedown follows, but Ruas backs Pac to the corner. Pac ducks another high kick and gets a tackle for one before keeping the headlock on the ground. Ruas tries to lift Pac, so Pac gets a punch to keep control. They fight over wrist control, with Pac rolling through and winning the battle to get another headlock takedown. WRESTLING! Ruas breaks with the hair, but that just allows us to go International~!, with Pac running into a series of judo throws followed by a front legsweep. Suplex by Ruas, and a double-leg throw sends Pac to the outside. Ruas follows but runs into a boot from Pac, who sends him into the railing. Pac rolls in and out, then sends Ruas into the guardrail again. Back in, Pac stomps away as Taz makes a good point: Ruas is a better MMA-style fighter, but there are things you can do in wrestling that will allow Pac the advantage. More stomps and we HIT THE CHINLOCK, with Pac making it a ground sleeper. Ruas pulls Pac up and fights out, and they slug it out. Ruas with a flying knee, but Pac comes back with a big boot. Ruas fights through it and floors Pac, adding a sliding knee strike. Ruas boxes Pac and gets a corner clothesline, adding a Saito suplex for two. Ruas with palm strikes on a grounded Pac, and he tries a cross armbar, but Pac blocks it and stacks Ruas. They fight over control in the stalemate, ending with Pac lifting Ruas for the powerbomb and double-down. Is that the Bob Backlund counter? Pac with a big kick and spinning heel kick to take over. Running boot sets up Ruas for the rebound German suplex. Brutalizer quickly wins it. Good enough for a point, but Pac is much better suited to be a heel than a face at this point in his career. 9 for 14.
LET’S BOOK DYNAMITE!
- Jon Moxley over Orange Cassidy to set up the match for Full Gear.
- FTR beats up on two unknowns in masks.
- Sammy Guevara says Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky will be joined by Jorge Masvidal, Junior Dos Santos, and Dan Lambert in the ten-man tag.
- Anna Jay over Jamie Hayter to advance in the TBS Tournament when Tay Conti stops Britt Baker from interfering.
- Adam Cole over Alan Angels.
- Andrade El Idolo over Cody Rhodes after interfernce from Malakai Black. PAC makes the save to set up a tag match at Full Gear.
MATCH OF THE NIGHT was Nese/Fuego.
- Fuego Del Sol
- Daniel Garcia
- Tony Nese
Belt The Hangman!