By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 21)
Taped February 19, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia at State Farm Arena
Streamed February 25, 2020 on the AEW YouTube Page
The broadcast team of Excalibur and Taz welcomed us from ringside and ran through the card lineup…
1. Jimmy Havoc vs. Marko Stunt. The match started off with Stunt hitting a springboard to Havoc and did a triple suicide dive onto Havoc on the outside, and ended it with a DDT spike onto the floor. Stunt tried for a huracanrana, but Havoc countered with a powerbomb into the turnbuckle. Havoc got a two count after attempting a brainbuster to Stunt.
The camera shot to Luther and Mel on the entrance ramp to distract Havoc. Havoc hit a swinging neckbreaker to Stunt. Havoc put Stunt in a submission hold, but Stunt got his foot for a break. Stunt started to get some offense with an enziguri and a running knee strike. However, Havoc rolled out of the ring to break Stunts’ momentum. Havoc hit an acid rainmaker and picked up the win.
Jimmy Havoc defeated Marko Stunt via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: I think we all knew Havoc was going to win this match. Nothing really to say about this one. It was just kind of there to get the crowd ready for the Dynamite episode. It is notable that Havoc is now 2-0 in his 2020 AEW run. Also, Luther is just super weird.
An AEW Shop ad aired… Tony Schiavone and Dasha Gonzalez welcomed us inside the arena to continue to promote the AEW Dark show…
2. “The Dark Order” Evil Uno and Stu Grayson vs. “The Strong Hearts” Cima and T-Hawk. T-Hawk and Uno started the match, but it didn’t take long for Grayson to tag in. T-Hawk hit Grayson with a base dropkick to take Grayson down. Cima is tagged in and put a submission hold on Grayson, but is easily broken. Uno did a chop to T-Hawk in the turnbuckle. Grayson made a blind tag and got a two count on T-Hawk. Grayson hit T-Hawk with a big knee strike and got a two count.
T-Hawk countered Grayson with a popup powerbomb off the ropes. Cima was tagged in and does a dropkick to Uno and followed up with double knees. Both Uno and Grayson were talking to each other on the outside and Cima, and T-Hawk hit both of them with a running suicide dive. Back in the ring, Cima hit a missile dropkick to Uno and then hit him with the perfect driver, but Uno kicked out. Grayson spiked Cima on the mat outside. Uno and Grayson performed their popup powerbomb on T-Hawk and went for a cover that resulted in a two count. Uno an Grayson hit T-Hawk with the Fatality finisher and picked up the win…
The Dark Order defeated The Strong Hearts via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Back and forth match on Dark with some great in ring action. With that said, I really do feel like The Dark Order is starting to get defined down just a little bit by only wrestling on Dark and picking up the wins there. Not only defined down, but it is also starting to get cartoony. Maybe, I’m just being picky. Either way, not a bad match, but one you could easily skip as well. Unless, you’re a huge Dark Order fan.
Schiavone and Gonzalez ran down the cities who will be holding AEW Dynamite in the weeks to come…
3. Kip Sabian with Penelope Ford vs Joey Janela in a Falls Count Anywhere Match. As soon as Justin Roberts finished with Sabian’s introduction, Janela came out and hit Sabian with a low blow, and tried for a quick pin. Penelope got involved in the match and attacked Janela. Sabian picked up Janela to do the helicopter spin, but Sabian’s knee ended up hitting Ford. Sabian spent too much time checking on Ford and Janela followed up by hitting Sabian in the back. Ford got back up and dove off the stage onto Janela. Sabian got up and hit Sabian with a superkick. Ford tried getting involved again, but missed and hit the barricade.
Finally, the match got back in the ring for the first time after the wrestlers fought by the fans for a bit. However, it didn’t take them to go back outside to fight to ringside where Janela hit a boot to Sabian, who went over the barricade once more. Janela tried jumping off the barricade to Sabian, but Sabian hit Janela with a chair. Sabian also tried to follow up with a dropkick while Janela was sitting on the chair, but Janela moved at the last second. Janela then picked up a prosthetic leg and hit Sabian in the head with it.
Afterward, Janela brings out the table, but Sabian countered by hitting with a suplex on the apron and only got a two count. With the table on the outside, Sabian managed to hit Janela with a twisting neckbreaker and sent Janela through the table. A “This is Awesome” chant broke out and Sabian brought out two more tables from underneath the ring. Sabian hung on desperately to the ropes.
Janela attempted to put Sabian through a table, but Ford got involved again by hitting a flying huracanrana. Janela picked up Ford and threw her outside the ring along with Sabian onto the tables. But, both botched the moves and none of them broke through the tables. Janela with a kendo stick in hand, wound up hitting Sabian in the back hard with it. Eventually, Janela got the win on the outside of the ring.
Joey Janela defeated Kip Sabian via pinfall in a Falls Count Anywhere match.
Briar’s Take: Easily the best match of the show by far. This kind of match really works into Janela’s hardcore style. If I’m not mistaken, this was AEW’s first-ever falls count anywhere match in the company’s history. The match was well executed and well done, aside from the botched move trying to put Sabian and Ford through the table. I enjoyed this match for what it was, but with that in mind, I hope we’re done with Sabian vs Janela for a while. It seems as though the rivalry has been run down at this point.
Backstage, Alex Marvez interviewed Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall ahead of their main event on Dark…
4. Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall vs Shawn Spears and Peter Avalon (w/Leva Bates). Avalon thew Marshall with a hip lock to start the match. Though, Dustin and Spears are tagged in. Dustin then hit his usual uppercut to Spears in the middle of the ring. Dustin and Marshall followed up with left hand jabs to both Spears and Avalon as those two went rolled to the outside. Marshall, who was distracted by Leva Bates, Avalon was able to hit with a dropkick that sent Marshall to the outside.
Outside of the ring, Spears grabbed ahold of Marshall and hit him with a backdrop to the ring apron. Avalon successfully hit Marshall with a leg lariat. However, Marshall is gaining momentum and countered with a kick to Spears head. Once Dustin was tagged back in, he managed to hit Avalon and Spears with a powerslam. Dustin tried with an inside cradle, but Spears kicked out. Later, Dustin followed up with a Code Red, but Spears again kicked out.
Bates gave a book to Spears and hit Dustin with it. Spears then leaped off the rope and then with a crossbody from the top rope, and got a two count out of it. Afterward, Spears got upset and left the match. Dustin was trying to do his finisher to Avalon, but Bates held onto his leg. Brandi Rhodes came in and delivered a spear to Bates. To finish the match, Dustin and Marshall hit a combination attack to pick up the win…
Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall defeated Shawn Spears and Peter Avalon via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Eh. The effort was there, but it just felt lackluster. Once Spears left the match (again), it was predictable that Rhodes and Marshall were going to win the match. It’s worth pointing out that QT Marshall finally picked up his first win on the AEW brand.
Other than the Sabian and Janela match, this episode of Dark is largely skippable. There was no hype for Dynamite and some of the matches on felt like we’d already seen them before at one point or another. The last few episodes of Dark were good, but this one is not that great. Without hyping up Dynamite, the steam from the first episode of Dark is starting to wear off. Generally going off a reference, episode four got over 753,000 views. Last week’s show has just over 241,000 views. Here’s hoping we start getting solid episodes as we once were. Final Score: 7.5 out of 10