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AEW Dark Dork Review, Week of 10/11

Hello from the City of Brotherly Love, where they throw batteries at Santa! Our Elevation episode this week is from Philadelphia, and Eddie Kingston and Paul Wight are there to start off but Tony Schiavone is not. I only expect chaos from this.

Notorious Mimi vs Penelope Ford w/The Bunny: We’re less than 90 seconds into the show, and Paul Wight has broken kayfabe to ask if Penelope’s wrestling as a babyface tonight. Eddie Kingston has shouted “NO RULES!” The Wrestling Angel takes on Penelope Ford, and while she gets some blows landed, Mimi submits to the Muta Lock.

Adrien Soriano & Matthew Omen vs Santana & Ortiz: Schiavone has returned to the booth, and both of them call Tony “Dad” and honestly, I love all of AEW’s dad content. Our jobbers for the evening brought a manager, maybe in hope of getting a contract, but they’re not going to need it. Proud and Powerful picks up the quick win in less time than it took me to write this paragraph.

Lee Moriarty & LSG vs FTR w/Wardlow: Lee Moriarty makes his first appearance post-contract signing teaming with LSG against FTR. We get some good fun mat work on this, and LSG even gets a pin on FTR while referee Paul Turned is distracted. Cash is able to kick out once the referee’s attention is regained, however. FTR nearly get a tag combo off on Lee, but he’s able to reverse it! Unfortunately, FTR is able to overcome the rookie and Lee’s pinned after the brainbuster.

Dani Mo vs Tay Conti w/Anna Jay: Mark Henry jumps onto commentary while Penneylvania local Dani Mo takes on Tay Conti, and Tay gets a quick an easy win.

Joey Janela w/Kayla Rossi vs Crowbar: Joey Janela comes out before the match to say that Philly isn’t the tough place it used to be that birthed extreme wrestling, and scores the cheapest heat in the universe by praising Ben Simmons for wanting to leave Philadelphia. Joey says he’s never going to do another hardcore match in AEW, but then….Crowbar comes out. He rushes to the ring, and in doing so becomes the first performer to have appeared in WWE, WCW, ECW, TNA, and AEW. That is a lot of letters. After a little brawling, Joey tries to leave the ring but the Blue Meanie emerges to corral Joey and force him back to the ring. The match spills on, and Kayla Rossi is able to get in a sweet hurricanrana while the referee is distracted. Crowbar’s able to sneak a chair-assisted Northern Lights Suplex, but Joey is able to squeak out the victory in the end. After the match, Sonny Kiss rushes the ring but Joey and Kayla are able to take Sonny out and leave the ring.

Emi Sakura w/Lulu Pencil vs Ruby Soho: Emi Sakura and Ruby Soho? Is it my birthday? Wait, yes, it was on Monday. This is a real fun match, with some nice back and forth action. At one point Ruby’s laid out on the canvas and Lulu tries to attack her and it’s the funniest ineffectual thing. Ruby’s able to escape with the win here, narrowly escaping several near falls from Emi.

Crowbar and the Blue Meanie have a statement thanking AEW for the opportunity, especially to perform in Philly. It’s very sweet and from the heart.

The Butcher, The Blade & Private Party w/The Bunny vs Lee Johnson, Brock Anderson, Chuck Taylor & Wheeler Yuta: The Nightmare Family and Best Friends? I’m not sure how to feel about this pairing. I like a lot of the pieces here, and there’s fun spots. Matt Hardy isn’t even here, and it’s all fought without a lot of distractions. I’m into it. The HFO gets the win here to close out Elevation.

On Tuesday, we have ended up with…a rather petite sized episode of Dark, only 22 minutes from Orlando this week.

Andrew Lockhart vs “The Captain” Shawn Dean: Shawn Dean, not jobbing? He’s able to get a quick win here in a good show against Lockhart.

Ashley D’Amboise vs Kilynn King: Hey, Ashley D’Amboise, welcome to the ten-timers club on Dark! Pick up your gift basket and your loss via a Kingdom Falls at the door.

Darian Bengston vs Wardlow: Darien Bengston: Great look, I’m sorry for your soul which Wardlow has separated from your body. During the match, they discuss how Darby Allin was recently attacked by masked assailants. One of which hit a F10 on Darby remarkably similar to the one Wardlow just hit on Darian. Just coincidence, we’re sure.

Anthony Greene vs Evil Uno: Anthony Greene (from Dangertown) has a great mustache, but he’s going against the masked maestro of the Dark Order. Well, okay, the Dark Order is democratic now. Green’s able to get some good offense in, but a crossbody dive gets evaded by Evil Uno and hits Something Evil for the pin.

Tangent of the night: Taz claimed that Mickey Mouse went over from Disneyworld to Universal Studios just to stunt on Team Taz in orange and black gear. Sadly Taz cannot provide proof.

Well, uh, that wasn’t a lot this week! But hey, we’ve got more Youtube content this week. It’s technically not Dark, but you know, watch freaking Bryan Danielson and Minoru Suzuki. It’s my match of the week. Hell, it’s my match of the month. And this month’s already had Jon Moxley fight Nick Gage. If you haven’t watched that, it’s technically a Rampage match so it’s outside the purview of this column but you should definitely put that in your eyeballs.

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AEW Dark Dork Review, week of 10/4

It’s Monday, and you know what that means! We’re recapping your past week in the world of Elevation and Dark!

We start off with Wednesday’s Elevation taping in Rochester, with our new usual trio of Tony Schiavone, Eddie Kingston, and Paul Wight:

Skye Blue vs Emi Sakura w/ Lulu Pencil: Eddie Kingston marks out for Emi Sakura’s assistant, Lulu Pencil, and it’s honestly great. Lulu even gets a little outside stomping action during the match before tossing Skye Blue back into the ring. Emi Sakura picks up the win, though Skye Blue ends up getting a few near falls.

Shane Stetson, Justin Corina & The 1ManThrillRide vs Daniel Gracia & 2point0: Daniel Garcia coming out to the ring with a towel makes him look twenty years older than he is. Also, the 1ManThrillRide is wearing a pink bow tie, trunks, and boots. It’s a choice. In a rather dominant performance, Daniel Garcia gets the win for the team by submission.

Match of the Night: Marko Stunt & Fuego Del Sol vs Wardlow & Shawn Spears w/ Tully Blanchard: It’s not often you get a tag team with a combined listed weight of less than 300 pounds. Marko and Fuego is a fun team, and Marko trying to stand up in front of Wardlow is hilarious. The two of them do a good cat and mouse of speed and strength. It’s a fun match, showing how styles can make great fights, but the blog boys take the loss as the Pinnacle dominates.

Louis Bruno vs Lance Archer w/ Jake “The Snake” Roberts: You know when we tell someone to pick on their own size? Well, Louis Bruno’s even bigger than Lance Archer. Bruno, however, goes after Jake Roberts! This does not go well for him, as both Jake the Snake and the Murderhawk Monster get hits in. Lance hits the Blackout and pockets the win.

Davienne vs Abadon: Happy Halloween! Eddie is about as creeped out as I am by Abadon. Her new look after the Casino Battle Royale with the red mohawk is real cool, and – oh hey before I even finished this sentence Abadon won.

Gunn Club Promo: The Gunn Club talk about how they’ve been overlooked, both for their records and their devotion to AEW. They want recognition, and they’re not going to lose. Okay. Ugh, wake me when the Trios Division starts.

Obariyon & Kodama vs Santana & Ortiz: Mark Henry joins the commentary both for this match as we have an all-face paint match! Kodama and Obariyon both have a neon yellow look that looks like something out of the 90s. It’s a quick match, and Santana and Ortiz pick up the win.

B3CCA vs Kris Statlander w/ Chuck Taylor & Wheeler Yuta: Usually Kris Statlander has the more colorful outfit on any given match but B3CCA has an outfit that looks like it’s from the Lisa Frank pallette. B3CCA spent the first few minutes of the match trying to avoid it, but she eventually gets booped, and gets pinned after a Big Bang Theory. There’s also the obligatory Best Friends Hug, which always warms my night.

The Acclaimed vs Colin Delaney & Cheech: In Max Caster’s intro rap, Colin Delaney gets compared to an extra for Slim Shady and Cheech’s head gets compared to a penis. The two local talents rush the Acclaimed as they enter the ring, but the Acclaimed rally. The Acclaimed get some good tag offense in, and with a Mic Drop, go to the pay window.

Zach Nystrom & Elijah Dean vs FTR w/ Tully Blanchard: FTR has a great new disco-y theme that a friend of mine pointed out is a tribute to the tag team Midnight Express. The match opens with FTR pulling out the Big Rig, and that might be the shortest match I’ve ever watched. They don’t even take their jackets off.

Sonny Kiss vs KM: KM starts off the match with some shows of force here, and lands some nasty blows on Sonny’s back, which was recently targeted by Joey Janela and Kayla Rossi. But Sonny is able to rally and is even to lift the giant and slam him (WHILE DOING THE SPLITS!) for the win. After the match, Kayla Rossi comes out and distracts while Joey Janela sneaks in behind with the chair, but Sonny catches on and she gives Janela some well-deserved revenge!

—-

And now, onto Dark! Welcome back to the All Elite Zone in Orlando. Today we don’t even get the Dark intro on this pre-taped show, and we’re going straight into an 8-man tag match!

Baron Black, Austin Green, Aaron Frye & Dean Alexander vs The Pinnacle (FTR, Wardlow & Shawn Spears): The Pinnacle has gotten so much more fun once they’ve been freed from their Inner Circle feud. Each member of the group gets some time to showcase, and this is a good back and forth match. Longtime Dark competitor Baron Black even got a two-count on Wardlow, but the Pinnacle wins off a combo finished from all four members.

Valentina Rossi vs Abadon: Our favorite horror movie monster returns to the ring against our aggressively Italian jobber. During the match, Taz talked about the funny mental vision of Abadon visiting Universal Studios or hair salon enroute for the Living Dead Girl to get the pin.

Michael Martinez & Vary Morales vs The Acclaimed: Ahead of their tag team championship match against the Lucha Bros, the Acclaimed get a win despite Max Caster getting himself into a spot of trouble with some missed moves.

Kal Herro vs. Sonny Kiss: Sonny Kiss goes up against the Fanny Pack Kid, and honestly, who doesn’t love a guy who wears tassles? May Kal Hero should tag with Nick Comoroto. Sonny’s all business, though, and she picks up the win off that new splits finisher.

Zada Zhang vs Kris Statlander: Stat takes on Zada Zhang and gets an awesome finish in this one with a cool spider crab submission hold!

Madi Wrenkowski vs Skye Blue: Skye Blue has been getting more play recently, and she’s the one getting the full intro now on Dark against Miss Reality. Wrenkowski starts off on the offensive, but Skye gets the win off an impressive Fisher’s suplex.

Anthony Henry vs Eddie Kingston: Anthony Henry makes his AEW debut on ark here against the Mad King, and he makes an impressive showing here. He’s able to dominate early in the match, but Henry plays with his food a little too much. Kingston is able to rally and get a win over Henry. This was a fun match, and I hope they bring back Henry for more.

Hunter Knott, Rosario Grillo & Cameron Stewart vs Gunn Club: The Gunn Club returns, and Taz compares their new intro music to music he’d hear at the background of a dispensary. I require approximately five times as much context as Taz provides. We also get Taz singing American Pie, and the Gunn Club get another win.

Santana Garrett vs Diamante: Building off last week’s interrupted interview, Santana Garrett goes off against Diamante. It’s telling that Garrett’s already in the ring when Diamante comes in. This rivalry that is carried over from the independent circuit leads to a fun match, and Diamante grabs the win in a hard fought context.

Varsity Blondes w/Julia Hart vs The Wingmen (Pretty Peter Avalon & Ryan Nemeth): According to Taz and Excalibur, the Wingmen’s music is played live by a hidden band. I want to believe. Avalon and Nemeth jump the Varsity Blondes at the bell, and Cezar Bononi and JD Drake assist with some outside interference through the match. Depsite the difficulty, the Blondes win in style with an Air Pillman drop.

Erik Lockhart vs Daniel Garcia w/ 2point0: Daniel Garcia comes in with his dads ahead of his match with CM Punk to take on Erik Lockhart. This week, Garcia fights on Rampage (pre-taped on Wednesday) but at practically the same time is fighting Minoru Suzuki on an indy promotion. He had four matches in four days. Indie wrestlers are just built different.

Serpentico w/ Luther vs Marko Stunt: Serpentico in rare singles action! Even outside of tag team action, Serpentico can’t be saved from Luther tossing him around. However, Luther does get a cheap shot in on Marko and Serpentico rolls him up! It…may be Serpentico’s first singles win on Dark, ever?! I’m shocked, stunned. I love it.

Nick Comoroto (w/ The Factory) vs Orange Cassidy (w/ Best Friends): The Factory’s Giant takes on recent Apuestas winner Orange Cassidy. Orange Cassidy does some good work to fight against Comoroto’s size, and a tope suicida leads to a fight between the Factory and the Best Friends ring side. In the confusion, QT Marshall gets into the ring to try to interfere and…Kris Statlander tosses her knee brace to QT and Orange grabs Aubrey Edwards’ attention. After the commotion, Cassidy chains an Orange Punch into a Beach Break and gets the pin.

Tangent of the night: During the Gunn Club match, Taz described the “stretch Escalade” and his driver Jeeves, that he drives around Long Island with.

Overall, it’s a relatively breezy week of Dark and Elevation with some good matches scattered around and some progress on the Sonny storyline. We’re all done here, until next time where we get more of your favorite after dark action.

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Wrestling

AEW Dark Dork Review: Week of 9/27

Elevation this week is from Grand Slam! It’s an odd episode, as it’s mostly promos and interviews, but we’ve got three matches. Mark Henry and Eddie Kingston join Tony Schiavone on commentary for this show.

Kayla Sparks vs Thunder Rosa: Thunder Rosa opens the pre-show with a fun match, and closes the win with a wonderful Fire Thunder Driver.

T.J. Crawford, Eric James, Kevin Tibbs & Dean Alexander vs Jon Silver, Alex Reynolds, Alan “5 Angels & 10: Whew, that is a lot of names. The younger parts of the Dark Order take on some jobbers, and the pop for the Dark Order is legitimately great. We get some fun spots included a stereo quadruple shoulder tackle from the Dark Order and John Silver pinballing around the floor to knock down every single member of the opposition. As if to strike a knife into my heart, Eddie Kingston acquired after the win if the other members of the broadcast team thought that Hangman was watching. How dare you, sir.

Match of the Night – CPA, VSK, & RSP vs Paul Wight: Paul Wight is fighting on his own show against three opponents who do not have enough vowels in their names. CPA, however, is just an… accountant who looks rightly terrified of Paul Wight? However, as the bell rings, the Gunn Club comes out. This is a fun match, Wight’s great at putting on a show as an absolutely overpowering face, and our hapless victims sell it amazingly. Even the Gunn Club applauds Wight’s win!

We then get a post-Grand Slam interview with Dr. Britt Baker, where she declares that she’s going to keep adding onto her legacy as a champ.

MJF’s Grand Slam interview includes him slamming the idea that this is his hometown. He’s from Long Island, not the “rat-infested” Queens. He wants a new challenge, and then, conflicting with the previous interview, insists that the only three letters that matter in wrestling are MJF. Can we get a DMD/MJF mic feud?

After the Dream Match, Bryan Danielson says he feels alive after that match, and the entire experience felt like magic. He wants the Championship next, as Omega won’t give him a rematch.

Then, we get the Men of the Year, who are there to gloat over their win over Jericho and Jake Hager. They want more, and honestly? I want that for them. Apart from the Darby feud, Page and Sky have been underutilized, but I do not want them with this Dan Lambert angle. Let’s get them in the tag team championship conversation.

The rest of the episode is behind the scenes interviews from Grand Slam, not proper promos, but are some fun segments.

Dark, meanwhile, continues from the All Elite Zone in Orlando.

We start off with Alex Marvex, interviewing Santana Garrett, a new signing. As Alex Marvez is interviewing, I am timing how long it lasts until someone interr- oh, there we go. Diamante interrupts thirty seconds in and challenges Santana to a match next week. The two brawl, and have to be separated.

Nikita Knight vs Thunder Rosa: Thunder Rosa opens up the festivities, securing a win with the Peruvian neck tie after a well-fought match.

Charlie Bravo & JDX vs Private Party: I’m not a huge fan of the military trappings from Carlie Bravo, but Private Party are one of my favorite tag teams. They get some fun spots in and pick up the win with the Gin and Juice.

Leila Grey vs Kiera Hogan: Kiera Hogan just recently signed with AEW, and she’s getting her Dark time in. Leila Grey starts off with the momentum, but Kiera’s able to rally and get the pin.

Brandon Gore vs Dark Order’s “10” w/ Dark Order and -1: The big man of the Dark Order gets some action in ahead of the big Dynamite show in Rochester. I do love Pres10’s finisher with the Ragdoll Full Nelson. Like Wardlow’s Casualty of War, it’s just very memorable.

Jake St. Patrick & Ryzin vs Cezar Benoni. & Adrian Jaoude: Adrian Jaoude, formerly a WWE performer under the name of Arturo Ruas, makes his debut with Cezar Bononi for an all-Brazilian tag team. Jaoude has a strong performance, and the new tag team get the win convincingly.

Arjun Singh vs Lance Archer: It’s funny to me that, for a man who drags his opponents to the ring, Lance Archer came out of the face tunnel. It took nearly three minutes of Archer beating Arjun Singh like a drum before both men were actually in the ring and the bell rang. Easy win for the Murderhawk Monster.

Match of the Night – Darius Lockhart vs Ricky Starks w/Hook: The FTW champion takes on indie standout Darius Lockhart, and this one’s a pretty good match! Lockhart’s able to get a few good moves in, and even gets a nearfall or two. This one’s a hard fought match, but Absolute Ricksy Starks is able to get the win.

Adrian Alanis & Liam Gray vs Evil Uno & Stu Grayson: Evil Uno, after accidentally unmasking Alan Angels last week, returns to action with Stu Grayson. Evil Uno steals one of his aopponent’s headbands, and Uno and Grayson get the win, with Colt Cabana watching from the stage.

Reka Teheka vs Julia Hart: Our favorite wrestling cheerleader takes on Reka Tahaka, and we get some fun J-U-L-I-A chants led by the Varsity Blonds enroute to Julia getting the win.

Jameson Ryan & Brick Aldridge vs Bear Country: There’s a lot of big beef here in this match. Taz insists that he has seen Bear Country searching for fish in the East River when AEW was up in New York which is certainly an image. Bear Country pick up the win here, though Bear Boulder seems to sustain a leg injury during the match.

Matt Sydal & Dante Martin vs Aaron Solow & QT Marshall w/Nick Comoroto: I’m enjoying the pairing of Sydal and Martin, that pairing of experience and youth. As Nyla Rose tweeted this week, when God made Dante Martin, he forgot to install gravity, and him and Sydal have a great stereo moonsault spot in this match. They pick up the win off an amazing Dante finisher.

Tangent of the Night: Taz went off for a moment about how big of a metal fan he is during the Bononi/Jaoude match. Then, while doing an ad read for AEW Elite General Manager, Excalibur started, said “There is no way I am reading these two paragraphs of copy,” and went on with the match.

Overall, a pretty solid week of matches, but not a lot of story stuff. Still very enjoyable!

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Wrestling

AEW Dark Dork Review: Week of 9/19

Well, welcome to week 2 of Dark Dork Review. This week, I…oh no, what’s this on the schedule? Oh my god. Please. Anything but the Dark Order fighting. Alright, onto Elevation to start us off.

Elevation

Thunder Rosa vs. Kaia Mckenna: Paul Wight growling THUNDERRR RRRROSA is always a delight. Rosa picked up the win in a fun opening match, with a great piledriver setting up the win.

Gunn Clubb vs Anthony Bennett, Ray Jaz, and Leon St. Giovanni: The Gunn Club has turned heel. They say that it’s because their records are not getting respect, but I think it’s because they’re scared of Malakai Black and want distance from Cody. They’re coming from the heel tunnel now, and they’ve got a nice new intro song! I’m really not sure how to process Billy Gunn wearing a choker. Google tells me this is a thing he has done since the 90s, but it’s still a lot.

Onto the match. Paul Wight refused to speak during this match. The Gunn Club wins.

Evil Uno and Colt Cabana vs Alan “5” Angels and Pres10 Vance: The Dark Order Civil War has hit Elevation. 5 and 10 came out with John Silver and Alex Reynolds, while no one came out with Uno and Colt. I’m not sure how to process any of this. After Silver accidentally hit Uno on Dynamite a few weeks ago, my favorite group of misfits is fighting on Elevation.

Paul Wight (RIGHTLY) said that this kind of infighting is destructive. Even as Alan Angels and Evil Uno fought, 10 and Colt tried to separate them and help keep the match from boiling over. The common theme on commentary was that the Dark Order needs leadership, and while I personally don’t agree with that, they do need direction. Without Hangman, they’re a mess and this is a true tragedy.

The Dark Order know each other, they know each other’s moves, and even as enemies, their match work is perfect. Then, tragedy strikes: Evil Uno unmasked Alan Angels. Enraged, Angels struck out and got the pin on Evil Uno. In the aftermath, Angels donned his mask again and offered Uno a hand: Uno instead rolled out of the ring.

Orange Cassidy vs Mike Verna: A very short match, so much so that Tony couldn’t even ask why Matt Hardy wants to cut Orange’s hair.

Private Party vs Teddy Goodz and Jorge Santini: Private Party’s been, in my opinion, a little buried on the roster lately, but they’re always great. They pull off an easy win here and look fantastic doing it.

Hikaru Shida vs Masha Slamovich: The former women’s champ took on Masha Slamovich, who just the previous weekend hosted Beyond Wrestling’s Borscht at the Beach. Shida’s been off TV for a while, but her work on YouTube the last few weeks has her being a little more mean recently. Tonight, she even headbutted Masha! She picks up the win, though she seemed to struggle at times against Masha, who got some big moves in.

Sonny Kiss vs Joey Janela w/Kayla Rossi: Hey, the lady who’s been accompanying Joey gets a name! The grudge match between these two after Joey back-stabbed Sonny finally comes. Sonny comes out with a new intro and comes out swinging, getting Joey on the ground and going on the offensive. Kayla Rossi delivered a big spear to Sonny while Joey was distracting the ref. Sonny took some heavy pile drivers but kept kicking out. She then reversed a top-rope elbow drop from Joey into a pin! However, after the pin, Kayla Rossi hit Sonny from behind and pinned her down. Joey then hit Sonny with a steel chair and laid it across Sonny’s back for Kayla to do an impressive standing moonsault onto Sonny.

Sonny wins, but I get the feeling we aren’t done with this rivalry yet.

Santana and Ortiz vs. Avery Good and JT Dunn: Ahead of their big 8-team match against the HFO Wednesday, they get a nice warmup against these boys. Santana and Ortiz were on fire, moving in sync like a violent ballet. Good stuff.

QT Marshall vs. Dustin Rhodes: Wait, you mean this isn’t a Dynamite segment? How did a QT segment get moved to Dark? Did QT lose his blackmail material? I am grateful that the Factory/Nightmare Family stuff has moved on to greener pastures, and these guys work a ring well together. Dustin Rhodes pick up the win, with a little assistance from Shotty Lee Johnson doing some ringside protection.

Tangents of the evening: Tony Schiavone, who has been told by Adam Cole (Mandatory BAY-BAY) to stay away from Britt Baker, remarked “…Adam Cole can kiss my ass.” Bless Tony for standing up to Adam. Eddie Kingston also formally apologized to Bryce Remsburg for being mean to him last week on commentary.

Dark

This is our second part of the Orlando studios taping at the All Elite Zone, and for the second part, we have Taz back at the announcers’ table.

Wardlow vs. JDX: Wardlow and his absolutely tiny singlet pick up the easy victory here, with five consecutive powerbombs followed by a Casualty of War finisher for the TKO.

Allie Katch vs. Big Swole: Allie Katch! An awesome wrestler on the indies and half of the iconic tag team BUSSY, Allie Katch’s first entry into AEW ended with Swole getting a running elbow on Katch to set up the pin.

Santana & Ortiz vs. Chaos Project: I feel for Serpentico. A human being is not meant to be a thrown weapon. On 3 different occasions in this match, Luther threw him at their opposition. Chaos Project gave Proud and Powerful a few near falls but Santana and Ortiz pick up the win.

Joey Janea w/Kayla Rossi vs. Dillon McQueen: Joey Janela gets the win here, with Kayla Rossi providing some outside assistance.

Tay Conti w/ -1 & Anna Jay vs. Marina Tucker: The return of -1 to Dark does not feature any bullying of Excalibur but these three Dark Order members are at least on the same page. Anna Jay is victorious over Tucker, and at least one part of my favorite cult is happy.

Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson vs. Luke Curtis & Cameron Stewart: Brock Anderson’s a nice wrestler so far. I just wish he had better ring gear than an AI-generated wrestler in a video game. The Nightmare Family boys get the job done and get their win.

FTR vs. Stallion Rogers & Anthony Greene: Taz celebrated FTR’s attack on Darby and Sting last week, and they get a good warmup for their match against them at Grand Slam with a win here in a fierce tag team match.

Xtina Kay vs. The Bunny: Xtina Kay takes a trip down the Rabbit Hole, and the Bunny gets the pin here.

Marcus Kross vs. Lance Archer: I wonder who the most high-profile wrestler that Lance Archer has dragged to the ring. Marcus Kross is spared that indignity this week but still gets the Black Out from Archer ahead of him taking on Moxley and Archer on Rampage with Minoru Suzuki.

Ryan Nemeth & Peter Avalon w/ the Wingmen vs. John Silver & Alex Reynolds w/ The Dark Order: Half of the Wingmen pair off against two of the Dark Order, and the Dark Order has a new video intro package! The Dark Order gets a hard-fought order against the evil pretty boys.

Daniel Garcia w/ 2point0 vs. Alan “5” Angels: Would you believe both Alan Angels and Daniel Garcia are under 25? AEW’s got such ridiculous young talent. Garcia’s able to score the victory here with some help from 2point0, the Evil Dads of AEW.

The Factory vs. Darian Bengston, Cole Carter & Sean Mulata: I’m not going to be negative with regards to the Factory, so uh…Nick Comoroto is impressive. The Factory wins.

JD Drake w/ the Wingmen vs Colt Cabana w/ -1 and Evil Uno: The Blue-Collar Badass takes on Boom-Boom Cabana, and important to note for our Dark Order stans: Despite the fact that Evil Uno is presently on the outs with the Dark Order, it looks like that -1 is still hanging out with him. This is a nice match between two big dudes, and Colt Cabana wins with the moonsault. However, after the week, Colt Cabana rejected Uno’s hug with a look of disgust on his face.

Match of the Night – Bear Bronson vs Eddie Kingston: Well, if you thought that last match was a lot of beef, this one’s a real hoss fight! Bear Bronson gets some good offense in, but Eddie is able to rally and get the win! After the match, Eddie takes the mic and thanks the fans for coming out, but then calls out Suzuki-gun, saying that they may be best, but in New York, he’s number one. Lance Archer runs into the ring and the two brawl as the show ends.

Tangent of the Evening: Taz went off on a tangent this evening on the names of some women he has dated with unusual names during the Bunny match.

Before I go for this week, I want to share a video Eddie made this week, talking about his journey ahead of competing at Arthur Ashe on Wednesday. It’s wonderful, and if you ever needed more proof that Eddie Kingston is a legend with his words, just go watch it.

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Wrestling

AEW Dark Dork Review: Week of 9/12/21

It’s your host Justen with your first installment of AEW Dark Dork Review!

Let’s send it over to Elevation first, for our Monday night action!

Emi Sakura (w/ Lulu Pencil) vs. Queen Amanita: We start off with some royal on royal violence! Emi Sakura took on Queen Amanita, and came out on top.

Frankie Kazarian vs. Ren Jones: Tony Schiavone wished Frankie the best in his match against Adam Cole, and Frankie got the win via submission.

Penelope Ford (w/ The Bunny) vs Layna Lennox: Penelope got a win with her absolutely wild back-bending submission muta lock. Eddie also took some time to take some snipes at referee Bryce Remsburg for missing some cheap shots.

The Butcher and the Blade, reunited, against Turbo Floyd and Truth Magnum: Two delightfully violent dudes are back in action after the Butcher was busy recording an album for the last few months, and even taking some time to rescue a squirrel from drowning. Special note to Turbo Floyd and Truth Magneum, who had some great matching pants and had amazing names. You may have gotten your asses kicked, but you looked great doing it.

Jade Cargill (w/ Smart Mark Sterling) vs Shawna Reed: The absolute epitome of a squash match. Jade wins.

Anna Jay and Tay Conti vs. Ella Shay and Jaylee: We get the return of the ladies of the Dark Order! Ana and Tay got a win, and it’s nice to see such a fun tag team back.

Match of the Night – Daniel Garcia (w/ 2point0) vs Lee Moriarty: I had a sense of deja vu watching this, and then I realized that I had watched Lee Moriarty and Daniel Garcia fight before in indie matches. These two technical wrestlers are great against each other. Red Death picked up the win, but I don’t think this will be the last time we see them fight each other: After the Elevation taping, Tony Khan offered Lee Moriarty a contract, so we’ll be seeing more of Taigastyle in AEW! I’m excited.

Skye Blue vs. Nyla Rose: We get the return of Vickie Guerrero interrupting Justin Robert’s introductions, and while Skye got some good hits in, Nyla Rose came out on top.

Tangent of the Show: For Elevation this week, the theme of the night was bullying Bryce. Eddie called out Bryce for missing Miro’s Nuts Redemption during their match at All Out, and Eddie had a little salt throughout the show about it.

Our first Dark episode had some serious deviations from the previous formula. First, Dark has moved to tapings in an Orlando studio, and with Excalibur out for his wedding, Tony Schiavone is joined with Taz this week.

Our opening for Dark is an interview segment between Leyla Hirsch and Jade Cargill with Alex Marvez ahead of their Wednesday match. Leyla called out Jade, and said that she was going to bring home the win in front of her home crowd in New Jersey, but Jade brushed it off and Smart Mark Sterling called Leyla delusional.

The Butcher and the Blade vs. Rosario Grillo and Hunter Knott: The violent Victorian villains took care of business in a quick fashion. There were a few hints dropped that the Butcher and the Blade are going to make a title run, and I’m fanning myself at the thought of them going against the Lucha Bros.

Anna Jay vs Ashley D’Amboise: It’s nice that in the turmoil of the Dark Order, with the boys fighting over Hangman, Anna Jay’s a stable force. She gets the win easily. However, after she got the win, she was ambushed by the Bunny, with Tay Conti running out to chase the Bunny off.

2point0 vs Erik and Andrew Lockheart: An easy win for the Canadian tag team.

Jade Cargill vs Angelica Risk: A quick win for Jade Cargill to get a little tune up. After the match, Smart Mark cut a promo comparing Leyla to a bug who was going to be squashed by Jade, and made fun of Leyla’s height. Taz, a short king, took objection to this. Sterling also referred to Leyla’s recent loss to NWA Women’s Champion Kamile at the NWA Empowerrr event, and called Jade Leyla’s Everest.

Diamante and Swole, coming off last week’s Three Strikes match where Swole got the knockout, talked about the outcome, reiterated that this rivalry isn’t going anywhere. Can this replace Dan Lambert’s wheezy screaming on Dynamite please?

Fuedo Del Sol versus Mysterious Movado: Movado got off to a hot start, but Fuego rallied. He hit the Tornado DDT and got his first single’s victory! I’m stunned and estatic.

Shawn Spears vs Khash: AEW’s local chair fetishist has a new intro(Or maybe it’s just been long enough with the Pinnacle business I don’t remember it), and he came out to the match with a personalized chair with a picture of Darby on it. Spears had Khash pinned, but pulled his shoulders up at the two-count, and told the camera “Darby, this is for you” before finishing Khash off.

Sonny Kiss recalled the start of her partnership with Joey Janela, saying it was fun, but it’s hard for her to tell where it went wrong. After Joey’s betrayal, Sonny promises to remind everyone that Janela is “a piece of shit and a loser.” Joey responded by saying that the romance is over, and next week is going to be the end of her. Sonny challenges both Joey and his new muscle, a lady with impressive arms, saying that she’ll end Joey’s career.

Jora Johl and TH2 vs Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, and Wheeler Yuta: Ah, I see the Best Friends are in action again this week! Are we seeing anything new, or…Oh. They are fighting the Hardy Family Office again. I see. I love everyone in this match, but I want them in more interesting stories. Fun match, still, and a Best Friends win means a Best Friends hug. Also, have a picture of Kris Statlander in Chuck Taylor’s denim jacket. 

Match of the Night – Kilynn King vs Leyla Hirsch: Leyla Hirsch has been paired up with a lot of tall opponents recently, and keeping to recent patterns, Kilynn King is her opponent this week. Leyla does great as the David going against Goliath, and she never looks like she’s in over her head, and it makes for great spots when she suplexes them. We had a fantastic moment in the match where the two ladies did a flex-off, and this is a great longer match for the main event. After the match, Jade Cargill came out and the two of them brawled and had to be broken up by the refs.

Overall, a much busier episode for Dark this week. Dark’s next episode was also recorded in the same studio at a later session, and I think this new setup works pretty well. The ring is miced up so you can hear the wrestlers more clearly, and it makes for a fun experience. 

That’s all we’ve got for this week. Next week, we’ll be in the build up for Grand Slam, so until next time, stay a little weird.

Categories
Television Wrestling

AEW Dark Dork Review: Introduction

It was Thanksgiving 2020, and I was sitting in my sister’s living room. After a disastrous evening with our father where we had bailed on the family gathering early, we were hanging on her couch eating mini-churros. 

“Hey, you wanna watch some wrestling?”

My sister had started watching AEW as a pandemic hobby, brought into it by her partners. While we were on her couch, she started pulling up matches on YouTube on AEW Dark. She started explaining wrestlers to me, their gimmicks, and which ones were her favorites. That branched off into other AEW-adjacent YouTube shows, like BTE and the other vlogs. The night was great fun, just searching through videos for fun matches and unique characters.

It’s where my love for wrestling started. Over the last few months, I’ve found a group I do watch parties with, but even with three hours of TV between Dynamite and Rampage, I find myself coming back to Dark and its newer sister program Elevation. A part of that is that Dark and Elevation are in their own weird niche. Kenny Omega doesn’t show up on Dark, and the Inner Circle and the Pinnacle don’t make more than the odd appearance(Unless it’s WARDLOW WEEK, baby). Instead, it’s where the truly weird personalities hang out.

Especially in the first half of 2021, in the Daly’s Place era, Dark became something of a mainstay for me. I would watch past episodes to just absorb more wrestling. Dark episodes on youtube tended to be longer than Dynamite shows, and while there may not have been as many stories that were outright being told as those that were on TV weekly, it had its share of heroes and it was great to have on in the background.

The patron saint of AEW Dark is none other than Fuego del Sol: Alabama’s third-favorite luchador, the master of the Tornado DDT. Fuego showing up in a Dark match and losing to a heel padding their win totals is a tradition like any other. The perennial underdog, Fuego Del Sol is your favorite C-List comics character who you pop for when they show up in a splash page. Watching as many Dark matches as I could, of thirty-four consecutive losses, was like watching the platonic ideal of wrestling, of the perennial underdog who keeps coming back to fight. You know how a Fuego Del Sol match will end, but you still love them.

Most of the time on the Youtube shows you can make a pretty good guess as to who’s going to win before the match starts. There are squash matches that exist to support AEW’s internal canon of wins and losses, to get their rankings. Thunder Rosa’s fought in thirty singles and tag matches this year, and the majority of them are on Youtube. But how does a group like the Wingmen, a mix of hot guys hanging out and forcing himboification on their opponents, form with a guy like JD Drake sliding in? In between the random match where Baron Black or the local indie talent take the pin, you get these stories that occupy the lower half of the card.

Is it for everyone? Absolutely not. It’s hours of new content each week. But I would be lying if I said that watching Jungle Boy on Dark every week grinding out matches didn’t make me even more of a fan of his once he’s started getting big matches on TV. 

It’s also where, unfortunately, a lot of the women’s competition is. AEW has a problem – they show two women’s matches on TV a week, one per show. If we’re lucky, we might get an additional angle or promo sprinkled in there. The talent there is real, though outside of a few feuds, it’s not something you see on television too often. Most often it tends to be limited to, in recent times, whatever feud Britt Baker is in. Don’t take this the wrong way, I love my favorite dentist, but there is a lot of other talent there, which most often ends up on Dark. Recently, Big Swole and Diamante had a great feud that ended in a “Three Strikes” match as Dark’s main event. It was great! Go watch it now. I’ll wait.

Great. Wasn’t that fun? That’s what I want to share with readers. Don’t have the time to watch a show? I’ll share the relevant story bits, share a fun match or two that shows off some talent on the roster, and I’ll occasionally plug a fun guest wrestler who appears on the show.

Lastly, there’s one part of the Dark experience that cannot be understated: the announcing. Elevation’s pair of Tony Schiavone and Paul Wight had a bumpy start, though they have settled into a more familiar rhythm, though Eddie Kingston making regular appearances at the desk is always a welcome treat and brings the show to another level. But where the show really shines is on Dark with Excalibur and Taz. The pair have an effortless rapport, mixing Excalibur’s encyclopedic knowledge of all things wrestling and put-upon straightman bit with Taz’s heelish opinions and chihuahua attitude. The two can slide anyone into the booth with them, even to the point where Negative One, a nine year old, occupied the third chair in some matches to bully Excalibur earlier this year. 

It’s an experience that feels wholly like the rest of AEW’s product, though dialed down from the often frenetic jam-packed marquee events to the equivalent of an easy podcast to have on in the background. It’s my goal to share it with you readers, and hopefully, get at least some of you in on the unhinged fun of Taz threatening wrestlers because they stole his color scheme.