By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 40)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed June 30, 2020 on the AEW YouTube Page
Dark started with Brandon Cutler and Peter Avalon arguing. Cutler said teaming with Avalon is awful. The Young Bucks showed up and said, “We’re going to teach you about tag team wrestling, we’ve done it for years.” They talked more about their match, but mainly promote the Young Bucks book that comes in November…
Briar’s Take: A needless segment, which didn’t make any sense. Why did Cutler and Avalon need someone to tell them they were wrestling on Dark? Are they honestly that “forgetful?” Honestly, too cartoony to me.
1. Max Caster vs. Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard). As Spears made his entrance with Tully Blanchard, Blanchard had a mask and put it on for COVID-19 purposes. Spears planted Caster with a back return on the mat and then put Caster into an arm lock, before Caster broke the hold. Caster put Spears in a side headlock, but Spears tripped him and hit a backdrop suplex. Throughout the match, Aubrey Edwards checked Spears glove. Spears hit a spinebuster and then hit a C4 to win the match.
Shawn Spears defeated Max Caster via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: At least Edwards was suspicious enough to check the glove, before the match started this time.
2. Lance Archer (w/Jake Roberts) vs. Pineapple Pete (aka Suge D). As Pete was making his entrance, Archer came from behind and attacked Pete. Pete came back and tried taking out Roberts in return. The bell rang and Pete threw some kicks and did a dropkick to send Archer to the outside. When Archer was outside the ring, Joey Janela threw his shirt at Archer, which caused a distraction. Pete took advantage by attempting a sucidia, but Archer caught him and did a chokeslam on the ring apron. After the chokeslam, Archer took his shirt off and threw it at Janela.
Archer jumped from the rope and only got a two count, as Pete kicked out. Archer then laid a powerful clothesline to Pete, sending him to the ground/outside. Archer stared at Janela and said, “Pay attention, at Fyter Fest, this could be you.”
Archer suplexed Pete to the middle of the ring. He then used the ropes for another jumping move, only for Pete to kick out again. Archer put Pete in the corner and tried for one of his signatures, but Pete fought out of the move. Pete ran against the ropes to try a last minute effort, however, Archer hit the Blackout to put Pete away for the victory.
Lance Archer defeated Pineapple Pete via pinfall.
After the match, Archer attempted to attack Pete, but Janela ran with a leaf blower to save Pete and made Archer leave the ring…
Briar’s Take: Mainly a showcase/momentum win for Archer heading into Fyter Fest. They gave some more story by having Archer and Janela interacting with each other throughout the match. One small problem with this match is that Archer should have put away Pete quickly to give him a dominating win. It shouldn’t take Archer five minutes to defeat an opponent.
3. Griff Garrison vs. Ricky Starks. Starks put Garrison into an arm lock to start the match, but Garrison tried suplexing Starks, only for Starks to counter his move. Starks then went for an arm drag and a dropkick to Garrison. Garrison went to run toward Starks, but Starks laid out Garrison with a big elbow.
Garrison did a big splash in the corner to Starks, but Starks followed up with a missile dropkick from the top rope. Garrison went for the fireman’s carry, but Starks put Garrison quickly with the flying spear…
Ricky Starks defeated Griff Garrison via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: So it looks like the flying spear is Starks’ finisher. This match was okay, as it was basically a showcase for Starks to start his AEW career. It is also apparent they might be going toward a heelish route, as Starks went over to fist bump Taz, but ignored Excalibur in the process.
4. Brady Pierce vs. Scorpio Sky. Sky put Pierce in a waist lock after the bell rang, but then Pierce picked Sky up to put him on the top rope. The two traded slaps with each other, until Sky leaped, frogged from the rope and laid some punches, and a dropkick. Sky followed with an arm drag takedown.
Sky tried picking Pierce up for a move, but Pierce countered and threw Sky into the corner, and hit the big boot. Pierce went for the pinfall attempt, but Sky kicked out. Pierce tried for an Oklahoma stampede, but Sky escaped the move. Sky then did a jumping cutter to win the match.
Scorpio Sky defeated Brady Pierce via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Sky continues to shine and I can’t help but wonder why he isn’t on the main show fighting for the title. I know they are locked and loaded right now with Brian Cage, but I hope at some point, Sky gets another chance and potentially a title run. He’s got a great upside to him and matches are fantastic.
5. KiLynn King and Skyler Moore vs. Brandi Rhodes and Allie (w/Dustin Rhodes). Allie and Brandi argued as to who would start the match for the team, which ended up being Brandi. Rhodes did a jumping arm drag to King to begin the match. Rhodes then went for a running shoulder tackle in the corner, but as she did so, Allie made a blind tag and did the move herself. Allie then went for a running knee. Meanwhile, Allie got on the rope for a move, but took much time and Brandi tagged herself in. After arguing, Brandi got clotheslined by King.
King and Moore picked up momentum, and did some combination moves, while Brandi sat in the corner. Moore planted Brandi down and went for a count, but Brandi kicked out. Though, Moore continued to dominate the match, as she picked up Brandi and planted her down. After getting overworked, Brandi did a stunner and tagged in Allie. Allie did a running bulldog to Moore and planted Moore on the mat. Brandi tagged in and went for the cover, and got the pinfall victory.
Brandi Rhodes and Allie defeated KiLynn King and Skylar Moore via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: I really hoped this storyline was going to be on the sideline until QT Marshall came back. Alas, I was wrong. I am really just not interested/engaged with this story and want to be over with. They are really dragging this story out.
6. Low Rida and Fuego Del Sol vs. The Butcher and The Blade. The Blade threw Del Sol on the mat as soon as the bell rang. The Butcher made the tag and both members threw Del Sol to the other side of the ring. Rida tagged in, but The Butcher literally planted Rida on the ring.
The Blade is back in and hits a clothesline to Rida, and does a knife edge chop as well. Blade managed to hit a backdrop driver (and it appeared Rida landed on his head in the process). Del Sol made the tag and hits a step up enziguri to The Butcher, but it didn’t take long for The Butcher to counter. Butcher put Del Sol into the cloverleaf submission. In doing so, Rida tried breaking up the hold with kicks to the head of Butcher. However, the Blade came into suplex Rida in the corner. Not too long after, Butcher made Del Sol tap out to the cloverleaf…
The Butcher and The Blade defeated Low Rida and Fuego Del So via submission.
Briar’s Take: Man, that was a scary moment when Low Rida landed on his head. There was a split second when Aubrey Edwards checked to see if he was okay and the match stopped for a brief second. Rida was most likely sore the next day. I don’t necessarily like seeing guys land on their head in wrestling, as it can be devastating. As for the match itself, the victory gave The Butcher and The Blade momentum heading into Fyter Fest.
7. Peter Avalon and Brandon Cutler vs. “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson. Matt and Cutler attempted to put each other in submission holds. Cutler put Matt in the arm lock, with Matt breaking the lock, and hit a dropkick and an arm drag. Nick tagged in and jumps from the top rope onto Avalon. Matt tags back in and both members hit a flapjack into a cutter combination. Nick is back in the ring, while both hit a Hardy boy like tag combination.
Avalon tagged in without Cutler knowing. Cutler went for a suplex, but Avalon stopped him because he ‘legal man.” The two argued, which allowed The Young Bucks to perform a double dropkick combination and an outside dive. Avalon went for a move to Nick, who was in the corner, but Matt laid Avalon out with a spear. Avalon walked over to Cutler’s corner to put his hand out for a tag, but ignored Cutler anyway. As Avalon was distracted, Nick capitalized on a running knee. Nick went for the pinfall, but Avalon kicked out at two.
Matt went for a superkick on Avalon, but Avalon got a hold of his leg to counter. Avalon tagged Cutler back in. Cutler hit a backdrop to Matt and a flying springboard to Nick. Both of the Bucks were on the outside to catch their breath, but Cutler manages a jumping suicida. Avalon and Cutler argued more on who tagged who. Despite the arguing, both did teamwork and got the Bucks on the ground. Cutler hit another springboard on Matt and almost got the upset, but Nick made the save. Matt hit a northern lights suplex on both Avalon and Cutler.
Avalon was froggy in the ring, which allowed both of the Young Bucks to lay a superkick combination, and a superkick combination to Cutler who was on the outside. The Young Bucks won the match with the Golden Trigger…
The Young Bucks defeated Peter Avalon and Brandon Cutler via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good competitive tag team match from The Young Bucks, who I think this is their first match back from the pandemic. The match was basically just a showcase to allow them to knock whatever rust they had off. Nothing too special. As for Avalon and Cutler, I continue to roll my eyes every time they have a disagreement and continue their losing streak. Here’s hoping someday they can finally get the victory.
This episode of Dark was pretty standard and basic, and as expected with Fyter Fest today. The expected people went over and the expected people lost. It’s really hard to imagine one of these wrestlers would get the upper hand on an AEW regular, since they lose all the time on Dark, which has become predictable. There was barely any hype for Fyter Fest on the episode, which was kind of surprising. The only thing AEW continued to build a story around was, The Butcher and The Blade, and Archer, who faces Joey Janela next week. Other than that, The Young Bucks came back for their return, which will probably be their only Dark appearance and they looked decent in their outing.
I continue to be disinterested in the breakup of The Natural Nightmare story and Brandon Cutler and Peter Avalon. We all know Allie is married in real life, so why would we believe she is so interested in QT Marshall? I guess the only bright spot is that she didn’t have to drool all over him since he is gone for a short while. Ricky Starks looked great in his match against a sizable Griff Garrison and it appears he is going into a heel direction, but we’ll have to wait and see on that aspect. I only had one problem with his match and it was the way he celebrated afterwards. Starks played air guitar to celebrate the victory, which kind of made me roll my eyes. I sincerely hope he’s not headed down to a cartoonish direction, rather a serious badass heel.
If I had to pick my favorite match of the night, it would have to be Scorpio Sky vs. Brady Pierce. As I said last week, Sky continues to be an impressive wrestler who now has 19 wins to record and somehow, is featured on Dark every week. I hope at some point, AEW looks at him again and considers Sky a credible challenger for the title, as he is such a good technical wrestler. This episode of Dark clocked in at exactly one hour. Final Score: 6.5 out of 10.