By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 42)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed July 14, 2020 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur and Taz welcomed us to the “Super Sized edition of Dark.” Excalibur hyped the AEW Championship match between Jon Moxley and Brian Cage for Wednesday’s Fight for the Fallen…
1. Rache Chanel and Diamante vs. Brandi Rhodes and Allie. Allie and Diamante started the match with a headlock, while Allie was able to put Diamante down with a shoulder block. Allie later hit a rising knee to Diamante. Diamante had enough and tagged Chanel in the match. Brandi made the tag and Allie, and Brandi worked together to take down Chanel. Brandi kicked Chanel to the face. Diamante distracted Allie, which allowed Chanel to take advantage. Diamante and Chanel then doubled up on Allie to prevent her from tagging Brandi. Diamante locked in a chin lock to Allie and went for a pinfall attempt, only to get a two count.
Diamante went for a move, but Allie countered it. Though, Allie took forever to try and make the tag. Diamante prevented her again from making the tag to Brandi and planted Allie on the ground. Diamante tried for a running move, but Brandi pulled Allie out of the way at the last second. Brandi made the tag and began to take Chanel down. Brandi did a punt kick and won the match with a spear.
Brandi Rhodes and Allie defeated Rache Chanel and Diamante.
Briar’s Take: A fine match for what it was, but I’m confused by this whole thing. Literally, just a month ago, Allie was trying to break up The Natural Nightmares, but now they’re all friendly and trying to work together as a team with Brandi being happy that Allie is her tag partner? I really just don’t get it. By the way, Chanel’s character is just so cartoony. On the bright side, at least the first match of the night.
2. Robert Anthony vs. Ricky Starks. Anthony laid out Starks with a waist lock take down, before Anthony put Starks into an arm bar. Both Starks and Anthony would go back and forth on putting each other in an arm bar. Starks finally got out of the arm bar with a forearm. Though Anthony had a big clothesline to Starks, but Starks did a clothesline of his own.
Starks planted Anthony with a northern lights suplex. Anthony didn’t notice Starks until the last second, when Anthony speared him on the mat. Starks followed with a swinging neckbreaker. Anthony got some offense in and put Starks into a leg stretch. Despite the little offense Anthony had in the match, Starks hit the Buster Keaton to win the match…
Ricky Starks defeated Robert Anthony via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good solid match. This match was pretty technical from the get-go. Starks has an early Rock-esque look and might be popular, should the fans come back at some point.
A Shawn Spears and Tully Blanchard promo was shown…
3. Shawn Dean, Will Hobbs, and Joe Alonzo vs. “The Dark Order” Alan Angels, John Silver, and Alex Reynolds. Hobbs threw Angles into the corner when the bell rang. Hobbs picked up Angels and tossed him into the corner. Joe Alonzo tagged in and with an assist from Hobbs got planted onto Angels.
Reynolds is tagged in and went for a pinfall attempt, but only got a two count. Shawn Dean is also in the match and laid out a dropkick. Dean fought out of the Dark Order corner and sent Reynolds to the outside. Dean successfully hit a jumping suicida onto the team of Dark Order. Angels is back in the match and laid out Dean with a swinging neckbreaker. A few tags are made back and forth, and Dark Order helped each other with combination moves.
With the assistance of Silver and Reynolds, Angels hit a backward moonsault onto Dean. He almost got the victory, but Dean kicked out at the last second. Hobbs got into the face of Angels and Dean took advantage to try for the quick roll up, but was unsuccessful. Afterward, Hobbs is in the ring and starts plowing everyone over with a spinebuster and powerslam. Angels hit a Spanish Fly on Dean, but Alonzo does a punt kick to break the momentum. Dark Order got their momentum back and hit a flipping destroyer on Alonzo, and got the victory.
Dark Order defeated Shawn Dean, Will Hobbs, and Joe Alonzo via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The match started out slow, but it really picked up as the match neared its finish.
4. Michael Nakazawa vs. Marko Stunt. Nakazawa said at the beginning of the match, ‘he doesn’t need this baby oil.’ He then throws the bottle out of the ring. When the bell rang, Stunt started laying fists onto Nakazawa, but Nakazawa was too powerful and planted Stunt down with a shoulder block. Stunt finally got Nakazawa down with a dropkick and fierce kick. Stunt continued with more dropkicks to Nakazawa. Stunt then jumped to the outside of the ring with an elbow suicida. Nakazawa took over and body slammed Stunt to the ground.
Nakazawa (unfortunately) brought out the baby oil and covered Stunt all over it. He went for a senton and pinfall count, but Stunt kicked out at two. Stunt laid out Nakazawa with a diving shot to his back. However, Nakazawa followed with a big samoan drop. Nakazawa also hit a spear and went for the attempted pinfall. He was unsuccessful in doing so, which Nakazawa then pulled out his underwear and tried putting on Stunt’s face. But, he countered, managed to get the underwear to Nakazawa’s face instead. Thankfully, Stunt rolled up Nakazawa for the victory…
Marko Stunt defeated Michael Nakazawa via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: This match was back and forth, but I continue to roll my eyes at Nakazawa’s character with the baby oil and the damn underwear. I’m not trying to be mean, but can we seriously drop Nakazawa’s character? Pretty please? The character is such a disgrace to pro wrestling. I would be pretty embarrassed (as a wrestling fan) if I was watching this with my friends.
5. Brady Pierce and Pineapple Pete vs. Serpentico and Luther. Luther just began the match with a lot of fist being thrown to Pete. He then followed with several kicks. Pete tried for a move off the ropes, but Luther punt kicked Pete to take him down. Serpentico is tagged in and put Pete in an arm lock. Luther made the tag back in and so does Pierce. Pierce only stays in for a short amount of time in the match. Pete is in the ring again and trying to get the upper hand, but Serpentico grabbed the boot and pulled him into the turnbuckle.
Serpentico and Luther continue to dominate Pete throughout the match. Luther drived his knee right into Pete’s face, while he picked up Serpentico and threw him on Pete. Despite the domination, Pete face planted Serpentico onto the mat and made the tag to Pierce. Pierce laid a punt kick and spine buster to Serpentico. However, Serpentico got the standing sliced bread on Pierce. Luther and Serpentico did a double team move to finish off Pierce.
Luther and Serpentico defeated Brady Pierce and Pineapple Pete via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The pairing of Luther and Serpentico seemed very random, but they got the job done. Pete did most of the falling for the team, as Pierce didn’t really wrestle too much in this match.
6. “Jurassic Express” Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus vs. Brandon Cutler and Peter Avalon (w/Leva Bates). Jungle Boy and Avalon put each other in a headlock, before Boy dropkicked Avalon on the ground. Cutler and Avalon continued to work with each other to double team on Jungle Boy. Boy did a hurricanrana on Cutler and later tagged Luchasaurus in. Luchasaurus picked Boy up and planted Cutler on the ground.
Luchasaurus hit a monsterous kick to Cutler. Boy tagged in and did a double knee stomp to Cutler. However, Cutler gained a little momentum and hit a flying springboard. Avalon hit a suplex on Boy and tried for a pinfall. Avalon tags Cutler in and Cutler goes over the top with a senton to the midsection on Boy, and a leaping leg drop.
Near the end of the match, Luchasaurus got the best of Avalon and Cutler with plenty of kicks. Luchasaurus successfully hit a chokeslam to Cutler and went for the moonsault, but Cutler got his knees up. Cutler rolled Luchasaurus into an inside cradle, but Luchasaurus kicked out. Cutler and Avalon had fierce momentum, and Cutler hit a diving springboard onto Luchasaurus. He tried for the ultimate upset, but Jungle Boy broke the pin at the last second. Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy got Avalon into the cutter to end the match…
Jurassic Express defeated Peter Avalon and Brandon Cutler via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A very competitive match between these two teams. Unfortunately, Avalon and Cutler remain winless, but there were a couple of close moments that they almost got the upset on Jurassic Express, which probably would have been a big moment. I’m starting to wonder if Avalon and Cutler will win a big time match up whenever fans are allowed back.
7. Brian Cage vs. Brain Pillman Jr. for the FTW Championship. Quickly, Pillman Jr went for a dropkick to catch Cage off his game, but Cage was unmoved. Pillman Jr had a short burst of flying kicks, though Cage countered and hit a release german suplex.
Cage was on the outside, which allowed Pillman Jr to hit a diving dropkick and it seemed as though he botched the move. Pillman Jr went for a cannonball senton, but Cage dropped Pillman Jr on the ground with a suplex. Cage swiftly planted Pillman Jr down on the mat to retain the championship.
Brian Cage defeated Brian Pillman Jr via pinfall to retain the FTW Championship.
Briar’s Take: This match lasted a little longer than I anticipated. I have to wonder why Cage wrestled on Dark the night before he challenges Moxley for the championship, and why did it take five minutes or so to finish Pillman? If they really wanted Cage to be a credible contender, he should have finished Pillman in 30 seconds or so. Speaking of Pillman Jr, I know we’re only two matches in his AEW career but I continue to be disappointed about the amount of time he gets in the ring. Pillman Jr. is great in MLW, but I guess I understand AEW has a stacked roster right now and only has so much time for a character. I do hope however, Pillman starts getting some more in ring time and shows off his great wrestling talent.
Overall, this episode was Dark was a pretty basic and a standard show. None of the matches really stood out, because they continue to be predictable which is kind of an issue with me. If you keep the same guys on Dark every week, going up the same opponents every week, the matches start to get a little repetitive. I get the victories are added to their win-loss record, but are they really meaning something other than a statistic down the road? This is something AEW needs to work on. Looking at the previous episodes, it appears AEW continues to get some solid viewers for Dark. However, the show just feels like lackluster and unexciting, as random wrestlers come and go every week.
With that said, if I had to choose match of the night, it would probably be Jurassic Express vs. Peter Avalon and Brandon Cutler. The match was very competitive and back, and forth as it looked like both teams got more time than the other previous matches. Both teams had a good outing. Final Score: 6.5 out of 10. Episode 42 clocked in at one hour and 11 minutes, 44 seconds.