By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 39)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed June 23, 2020 on the AEW YouTube Page
The broadcast team of Excalibur and Taz welcomed us to Dark…
Briar’s Take: Whatever happened to the AEW Dark opening video?
1. Robert Anthony vs. Brian Cage. Anthony laid in shots to Cage when the match started, before Cage powerbombed him into the turnbuckle. Cage suplexed Anthony off the top rope. Cage planted Anthony on the mat and won the match in quick fashion.
Brian Cage defeated Robert Anthony via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: At least, this was the first match on Dark, and Taz got his obnoxious commentary out of the way early. It was a Quick paced match, as it should be for Cage.
2. Musa and David Ali vs. “SCU” Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian. Daniels and Musa started with a collar elbow tie up. Musa also got a shoulder block, before both of them hit with arm drags. Musa went with a dropkick, but Daniels countered. Musa then power slammed Daniels after the ref distraction. Ali was in the ring and suplexes Daniels, before tagging Musa back in the ring.
Musa tried attacking Kazarian on the outside, but Kazarian distracted him and Daniels planted Musa down. Kazarian is tagged in and hits a forearm on Ali and a powerful clothesline. Both Daniels and Kazarian did some double team work on Ali and Musa. Kazarian and Daniels hit the best Meltzer Driver to win the match…
SCU defeated Musa and David Ali via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Not a bad match, but fairly predictable. The action was quick and action packed for this outing.
3. Pineapple Pete vs. Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard). A rest hold from Spears started the match followed by a shoulder block. Spears then put Pete in a waist lock, before Pete broke the hold and another side lock was seen by Spears. Pete laid out Spears with a crossbody. Pete got Spears in a jackknife pin, but Spears kicked out. Spears, who was frustrated, walked out of the ring to take a breather. Spears got back in the ring and hit the knee to the midsection of Pete.
During the match, Aubrey Edwards checked the glove of Spears to see if anything was in the glove. Spears picked up Pete and laid him out with a spinebuster. Though, Pete kicked out of the pinfall attempt. Spears then followed with a blue thunderbomb, which saw Pete kick out again. Spears picked up something metal like from Blanchard and put it in the glove and knocked out Pete to get the win.
Shawn Spears defeated Pineapple Pete via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A showcase for Spears. I could care less when Aubrey checked Spears glove during the match. If she was that concerned about the glove, why didn’t Aubrey check the glove before the match started? Also, Pete is kind of cartoony, and can we get Spears some new entrance music?
4. Griff Garrison vs. Lance Archer (w/Jake Roberts). Before the match started, Archer had someone on his shoulders, and planted him on the outside ring. As the match got underway, Garrison was able to get some big rights to Archer, until Archer took Garrison down with a powerful shoulder block and sent Garrison flying.
Garrison got back up and started laying some chops, as Archer planted him down with a modified chokeslam. Archer himself laid in several shots to Garrison. Garrison tried something from the top rope until Archer caught him and hit Garrison with the blackout. Like last week, Archer finished his opponent with the claw.
Lance Archer defeated Griff Garrison via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good showing from Garrison, who got more time than I expected. As for Archer, if they’re trying to build him as a big monster, he should be able to finish his opponents quickly.
5. John Silver and Alex Reynolds vs. “The New Jersey Connection” Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss. Janela took down Reynolds with an arm drag and a backdrop. Kiss tagged in and both Janela hit a combination move. Silver tagged in, but Kiss still had the advantage and hits Silver with the Kiss My Sass. Afterward, Janela was the legal man, and lays some right hand chops, before Reynolds kicks Janela in order for Silver to get the upper hand.
Both members hit a press slam and attempted a pin by Reynolds, but Janela kicked out. Silver is back in the ring and gets a round kick to Janela. Janela tags Kiss back in and has great momentum. Janela tried for a jumping suicida on the outside on Silver, but Reynolds laid out Janela with a dive instead. Silver tried finishing off Kiss, but Kiss kicked out. Both members of The Dark Order tried taking down Kiss, before Janela got in a flipping neckbreaker and Kiss, Janela hit both dropkicks. Kiss finished Dark Order with a death valley driver.
The New Jersey Connection defeated The Dark Order via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good competitive match from Janela and Kiss. I’m very surprised they knocked off The Dark Order, which is good. It’s nice to have an upset every now and then. I’m intrigued as to how Brodie Lee will respond on Dynamite, as that was questioned by Taz on commentary.
6. KiLynn King vs. Mel. Mel returned to the AEW ring after having months off. A lockup from both women got the match going. Mel went for a shot on King, but King countered until Mel got King into an arm lock. King tried going for a reversal move, however Mel stopped King from doing so. Mel then did a hip toss to King from the corner.
King tried for an arm drag, before Mel stopped King’s attempt. King hit a kick to Mel and finally got the arm drag to Mel, which leaves Mel shaken in the corner. King has momentum on her side and got some right hand chops to Mel, and hits a crossbody. King went for a dropkick, but missed Mel in doing so. Mel won by using a chokeslam into a spinebuster.
Mel defeated KiLynn King.
Briar’s Take: Welcome back, Mel! It’s nice to see you again. This was a showcase win for her and she was solid for the most part. King was as well. A decent match for what it was.
7. Lee Johnson vs. Scorpio Sky. Johnson and Sky showed a sign of respect before the bell rang. A couple of waist locks were seen from both competitors. Sky hit a shoulder tackle on Johnson and went for a roll up, but Johnson kicked out early. Sky also got a dropkick onto Johnson after a short offense from Johnson.
Sky laid in a backbreaker to Johnson and tried for another pinfall. Johnson was able to hit Sky with a blue thunderbomb and almost got the upset. Sky hit a sunset flip, but Johnson went for a pin. Shortly after, Sky hit the TKO to win the match.
Scorpio Sky defeated Lee Johnson via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A great technical match from Johnson and Sky. Probably, my favorite one of the night, as there was some great wrestling action from the two. Sky continues to breakout in a singles run.
8. Luther, Sepentico, and Max Caster vs. “Jurassic Express” Jungle Boy, Marko Stunt, and Luchasaurus. Stunt and Caster started the match, with Caster pushing Stunt to the ground and taunted Stunt. Stunt fired back with several punches. Stunt also got some kicks to Caster and a dropkick to Caster in the corner.
Jungle Boy is tagged in and hits a running knee to Caster. Boy plants Caster on the ground and does another running knee strike. Caster finally tags in Serpentinco. Serpentinco turned his back on Boy and Boy hit a dropkick. Luther is tagged in and so Luchasaurus. Luther tagged Serpentico again.
Luchasaurus hits a powerful knee to Serpentinco. Jungle Boy is back in and Boy hit a DDT on Caster. With assistance from Luchasaurus, both Boy and Stunt hit combo moves on Caster, as Luchasaurus hit a moonsault as well. Luther came in to break the pin.
Luther is the legal man and lays a belly to belly on Stunt, and a suplex. Luther argued with Aubrey Edwards for not counting faster. Stunt rolled up Luther into a pin, but Luther kicked out. He tags in Caster, but Caster gets taken down by Luchasaurus with several chops.
Luchasaurus hit Serpentinco with a roundhouse kick. Luchasaurus tried going for a pin on Caster, but Luther broke the pin again. Luther and Serpentinco leave the ring, while Stunt hits the chokeslam with assistance from Boy and Luchasaurus. Jungle Boy finished Caster with the STF submission.
Jurassic Express defeated Luther, Serpentinco, and Max Caster via submission.
Briar’s Take: I thought this was a good outing from Jurassic Express. They brought in fast and furious action from the get go. It’s a shame they can’t get more air time and perhaps challenge for the tag titles.
9. Peter Avalon (w/Leva Bates) vs. Orange Cassidy. Avalon got Cassidy into a side headlock takedown. Cassidy kept trying to put his hand into his pockets, but Avalon kept him from doing so. Cassidy finally got both hands into his pockets and escaped the waist lock from Avalon. Cassidy then hit Avalon with a dropkick. Cassidy tried for a suicida on Avalon but missed, as Avalon jumped from the ring to the outside. Avalon planted Cassidy on the ground and went for numerous pinfall attempts, and was unsuccessful.
Avalon hit Cassidy with a leg lariat to send him on the ground. Avalon followed up with a double hook suplex. After some offense moves in from Avalon, Cassidy took Avalon down with a DDT. Cassidy went to the top and landed a crossbody, but Avalon went for more pinfall attempts. Cassidy finally finished Avalon off with the Knockout Shot…
Orange Cassidy defeated Peter Avalon via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A momentum win for Cassidy heading into Fyter Fest in his match with Chris Jericho. In addition, will Avalon ever win in an AEW setting?
Overall, this was a solid episode of Dark and quite possibly, the best one I seen in quite some time. The in-ring action was better and for the most part, and the matches were decent than what they have been as well. I’m not really sure what it was, but something just clicked to make this an enjoyable episode. We were action packed from the get-go and the matches were short, and sweet which I think that’s what Dark needs to be. Fast and furious action from the start, instead of stalling and standing.
There were a few matches that were dull and comedy (see Orange Cassidy vs. Peter Avalon, Mel vs. KiLynn King). Even then, those matches were okay to a degree. I would have to say my favorite match on this card was, Scorpio Sky vs. Lee Johnson. Sky continues to shine in his singles run/effort. I hope they continue to build him up more and give him another chance at the AEW title. He’s a great technical wrestler and somewhat of a throwback. If Dark can be like this every week, then it would make for an exceptional show and one to go out of your way to watch. With that said, I’m not holding my breath, as they can be inconsistent at times. I’m intrigued to what kind of lineup we will get when Fyter Fest rolls around for these episodes. Final Score 8.0 out of 10. The show clocked in at an hour and 12 minutes.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...