By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 38)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed June 16, 2020 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur and Taz welcomed us to Dark.
1. Jon Cruz and “Capital Vices” Sin and Money vs. “Jurassic Express” Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, Marko Stunt. Capital Vices made making their AEW debut. Jungle Boy and Money started the match with a tie up into the corner. Boy rolled up Money into a few early pins. Money tagged Cruz in, while Stunt is tagged in. Stunt takes Cruz down with a roll up and hits a senton on Cruz following up with a dropkick. Luchasaurus tagged in and hits some round kicks to Money. All three members of Jurassic Express are in the ring and do some combination moves.
Sid came in to help his partner Money, but Luchasaurus countered with a knee and roundhouse kick. Luchasaurus easily continues to manhandle Money. With assistance from Luchasaurus, Stunt hits a diving body press, while Jungle Boy hits a 450 splash. Cruz broke up the pinfall attempt and as he distracts the ref, Sin comes in and uses Money for a low blow on Boy.
After being tagged in, Luchasaurus comes in with a dominating pace and chokeslams Cruz. Jungle Boy tags in and does a double pin hook on Cruz, but Cruz kicks out. Stunt does a couple of suicida dives on to Capital Vices, while Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy take care of Cruz in the ring to get the victory by using a combination move.
Jurassic Express defeated Capital Vices and Jon Cruz via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Nothing to say about this match. There really wasn’t any story to the background. The match was just kind of there. It’s hard to get behind wrestlers who come in with no story or video package.
2. Brandon Cutler and Peter Avalon vs. “SCU” Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels. Avalon and Kazarian started the match. Kazarian took Avalon down with some arm drags and arm holds. Daniels is tagged in as is Cutler and does a collar elbow tie up. Cutler plants Daniels down with a springboard. Daniels dropkicked Cutler to put down his momentum.
Back in the ring, Kazarian planted Cutler with a gutwrench suplex. Avalon is tagged in and tries for a quick roll up on Daniels. Cutler hits a jumping enzuigiri on Daniels and tries for a pinfall. Avalon dived onto Daniels, while the ref is distracted by Leva Bates and Cutler. Cutler and Avalon tried to do a tag team move on Daniels, but Daniels ducked at the last minute, causing Cutler to accidentally hit Avalon with a clothesline.
Kazarian comes in with a head of momentum and hits a combo of moves on both Avalon and Cutler. Cutler hits a springboard on Kazarian and only gets a two count. Kazarian tags in Daniels to take out Cutler, while Kazarian hits a cutter on Avalon. SCU then follows up with one of their tag moves on Cutler, but as Cutler rolls out of the ring, Avalon rolls Daniels up for another pinfall attempt. Eventually, SCU hit the Celebrity Rehab on Avalon to score the victory.
Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian defeated Peter Avalon and Brandon Cutler via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A decent match for what it was, specifically by SCU. Avalon and Cutler continue to remain winless and we continue to wonder if they will ever get a victory in the record book. I suppose it’s a good hook for Dark, but becoming kind of predictable. By the way, I am a huge fan of Kazarian’s work. He has a great upside and is so fun to watch.
3. Dani Jordyn vs. Big Swole. We had a “crowd” for this match compared to the other two previous matches. Swole planted Jordyn down with a step up leg lariat after the two missed each other’s moves. Jordyn then brought the fire and started landing punches to Swole. Swole hits a right hand and a cutter on Jordyn. Swole quickly finished Jordyn with the Dirty Dancing to win the match…
Big Swole defeated Dani Jordyn via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: I continue to remain confused as to why there are wrestlers acting as crowd members for some matches on Dark, while the other matches have nobody at ringside. As for the match, it a showcase for Swole.
4. David Ali vs. Lance Archer (w/Jake Roberts). David Ali made his AEW debut. Prior to the match, Archer beat up one of AEW’s video production assistants. Archer put a boot to Ali to plant him down. Archer followed with several forearms. Archer performed a series of running shoulder tackles. Archer tried for a chokeslam, but Ali got to get a couple of strikes in. However, his comeback was cut short as Archer planted Ali on the mat. Not too long after, Archer hit the Blackout and while going for the pin, he stopped the count himself. Instead of winning by using the Blackout, Archer used the EBD Claw to win the match…
Lance Archer defeated Ali via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Welcome back, Lance Archer! A side note, I don’t really care for the ref reacting with shock to every move that Archer did in the ring. It just leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Act like a real ref and call the match straight down the middle…
5. Musa and Shawn Dean vs. Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss. Kiss started the match by laying a kissimal to Musa. Kiss tagged in Janela and both hit a clothesline combination and a Boston Crab into a leg drop to Musa. Kiss did a big leg lariat while he and Janela doubled up on Musa to land a double missile dropkick.
Kiss was planted with a backbreaker by Shawn Dean and Musa who does a dropkick. During the match sequence, Archer tried coming down to the ring, but Roberts talked sense into him to go back. Janela performed several clotheslines and a senton to both Musa and Dean. Kiss hits an axe kick to Musa, as Janela does a suicida to Dean on the outside. Janela lays out Musa with a huracanrana, while Kiss finished Musa off with the leg splits…
Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss defeated Musa and Shawn Dean via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A quick showcase victory Janela and Kiss to continue their New Jersey storyline. It was interesting to see Archer try to interfere in the match and it looked as though he appeared to point at Janela as Roberts was holding him up. So it will be interesting to see if these will be involved in any storyline moving forward. I have a feeling Archer will be picking up some enhancements wins over the next few weeks until they move in him in a meaningful program.
6. Red Velvet and Kenzie Page vs. Allie and Brandi Rhodes (w/Dustin Rhodes, QT Marshall). Red Velvet made her AEW debut and was billed as being straight out of your momma’s kitchen… Yes, you read that right. Allie planted Page down with an elbow. Allie follows with a couple of kicks to the midsection to Page and a running knee lift. After Velvet is tagged in, she tried to do a move on Allie, but Allie counters with a swinging neckbreaker.
Allie tagged in Brandi, who delivered a vicious kick to Velvet. After Velvet kicked out of a pinfall attempt, Brandi used one of Dustin’s signature moves. Brandi had Velvet up on her shoulders to finish her off, but Allie screamed “tag me, tag me.” Brandi got distracted, which allowed Velvet to push Brandi into Allie, and then caused Allie to fall off of the ring post.
As Allie sat on the outside, Velvet and Page hit a series of tag moves. Brandi hit a jawbreaker on Page and climbed over to hopefully make a tag on Allie. However, Allie sat on the ground while claiming she was hurt. After Brandi laid out Page with a spear, Allie made a blindside tag. Brandi went for the cover without ever realizing Allie made the tag. Allie walked in like nothing ever happened to get the win herself…
Allie and Brandi Rhodes defeated Red Velvet and Kenzie Page via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: I can’t say anything in this match made me excited to see this storyline continue. The Allie “knee injury” was too cute. We all know she is going to be the reason The Natural Nightmares break up, so just end it already.
7. Lee Johnson vs. Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard). Spears and Johnson started with a tie up and arm lock. Johnson put Spears on the mat with a submission. Johnson tried going for an arm drag, but it was blocked by Spears, who threw Johnson onto the outside of the ring.
Johnson got back in the ring and went for the suicida. Spears countered with an elbow strike, suplex on the apron and kick to the head. Spears also follows up with a backdrop on the apron. Johnson however, was able to get a few strikes in and a single leg dropkick to Spears. Johnson then hit a running leg lariat. Johnson went to use the ropes for an assisted move, but Spears caught Johnson and finished him with a submission hold…
Shawn Spears defeated Lee Johnson via submission.
Briar’s Take: I thought we would never see a winner by submission on this episode. Anyway, a showcase for Spears and not much else.
8. Brady Pierce and John Skyler vs. Evil Uno and Stu Grayson (w/other Dark Order members). As the match got underway, Grayson and Uno dominated Skyler. Uno hits Skyler with chops to Skyler. Grayson plants down Skyler in the middle of the ring. Uno tagged back in and used Grayson for combination moves. Skyler makes a tag to Pierce to get momentum on their side. However, Grayson hit a powerslam on Skyler, and Uno with a senton from the top rope. Shortly after, Dark Order hit the Fatality move for the victory…
Evil Uno and Stu Grayson defeated Brady Pierce and John Skyler via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: An okay match, but it was really short to get invested or get going. Just enough for Grayson and Uno to kick the rust off.
9. Griff Garrison vs. Jimmy Havoc. Griff Garrison made his AEW debut. A collar elbow tie up got the match underway. Havoc twisted the elbow of Garrison and put Garrison into a submission hold. Havoc laid a forearm to Garrison and stomped Garrison down on the mat. Havoc then threw Garrison into the barricade.
Havoc sent Garrison into the corner with a suplex. Havoc went for the acid rainmaker, but Garrison ducked. Garrison got in a leaping lariat, which caught Havoc off guard. Garrison went for the cover, but Havoc kicked out at two. Despite getting caught off guard, Havoc was able to hit the acid rainmaker and sing the sorrow to Garrison for the victory.
Jimmy Havoc defeated Griff Garrison via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good victory for Havoc, who completely dominated Garrison.
10. Skyler Moore vs. Penelope Ford (w/Kip Sabian). Ford and Sabian made their entrance with what looked like their dog. Moore got the leg of Ford as the bell rang and while she did so, Ford moved to the ropes to break the hold. After the ref got to the four count, Ford kicked Moore down. Ford used the turnbuckles to plant Moore’s head on them. Ford sent Moore into the corner and used a shoulder to Moore. Ford went for the trifecta, but Moore dodged it for a two count.
Moore though managed to layout Ford with a gutwrench suplex. Moore went for a count, but was only able to get a two count. Ford used the ropes to drive Moore’s head into the canvas. After that move, Ford won using the fisherman suplex.
Penelope Ford defeated Skyler Moore via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: I guess as long as Sabian has a dog at ringside with him, maybe, just maybe we won’t see any interference from him. Wishful thinking?
11. Robert Anthony vs. Scorpio Sky. Anthony put Sky into a collar elbow tie up and an arm lock. Sky uses a full nelson to counter, but Anthony puts Sky into a headlock submission. Another submission move was seen by Anthony, as he put Sky into a hammer lock. Sky rolled up Anthony into a cradle, but Anthony kicked out. Sky then got Anthony on the ground with a shoulder tackle. After arguing with the ref, Anthony gets planted down by Sky with a clothesline and a back elbow. Afterward, Anthony drove an elbow to Sky.
Sky used the ropes for what was a shoulder tackle, but Anthony countered to put Sky into a chin lock. Sky did a dropkick on Anthony and went for a pinfall, but Anthony kicked out again. Anthony got Sky on his shoulders for a flat belly driver. He went for the win, but Sky kicked out. As Sky kicked out, he used a running boot and a tko to put Anthony away…
Scorpio Sky defeated Robert Anthony via pinfall.
Excalibur ran down the lineup for Dynamite Wednesday night to close the show…
Briar’s Take: This was a lot of submission moves and a lot of holds, but mainly, this was more of a mat based match. If you can get past that, then this is a relatively good match for Dark and a good match in general. A nice way to end Dark.
As Excalibur and Taz put it, this was indeed another “super-sized edition of Dark.” I get that most of the wrestlers were gone during the pandemic and hiatus, and needed to use Dark to knock off some ring rust. But eleven matches is a lot just for a basic episode of Dark. I love the characters, I really do. However, it is hard to get behind any of these matches, where they feel predictable. I know I have mentioned this a few times, but the matches continue to feel predictable.
I get they don’t want to use two Dynamite regulars in a match on Dark, just for the sake of having a match on Dark. But if you have Dark regulars on the show every week who lose, it’s hard to get invested. Imagine building up Peter Avalon or Brandon Cutler to get pinfall victories every now and then? That would be nice for a change instead of them just losing all the time.
I’ve also said this before too, but video packages would be nice for the ones who come in and we don’t know too much about. I remember a while back in the first few episodes, there were video packages of wrestlers we didn’t know much about. One I can remember vividly is Shanna. I also remember Cody having a sit down with a wrestler each week to get to know them a bit more. That would be nice to see those again.
All in all, this show was so-so. If you’re a diehard fan and got nothing else better to do, then give it a watch. But, I will warn you this show was almost two hours long. I hope at some point, we can get back to some consistency on Dark with a good match count and perhaps episodes running right at an hour. This show clocked in at an hour and 36 minutes. Final Score: 6.8 out of 10.