By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 51)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed September 8, 2020 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur and Taz welcomed us to AEW Dark hyped the card…
1. Shawn Legacy vs. Will Hobbs. Legacy made his AEW debut and is from Augusta, Georgia. Legacy hit Hobbs with a boot to the mid-section once the match started, but Hobbs laid Legacy out with a shoulder block. Hobbs picked up Legacy and took him down with a shoulder tackle. Legacy tried a crossbody, but Hobbs blocked the move and hit a delayed vertical suplex. Hobbs hit Legacy with another suplex. Legacy caught Hobbs with a back elbow and failed to hit a crossbody block. Hobbs hit the Oklahoma Stampede to win the match…
WIll Hobbs defeated Shawn Legacy via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: It’s obvious AEW is high on Hobbs. Both Taz and Excalibur laid it on thick in the commentary on how impressed they were with Hobbs, and how he had a great night at All Out. Will be interesting to see where AEW goes from here with him, as Hobbs picks up his first career victory. Legacy had very little chance to make an impact.
2. Tony Donati vs. Brian Cage. Cage quickly hit a release German suplex, which sent Donati across the ring. Cage then hit a double over-hook suplex. Cage picked up Donati and tossed him over the top. Donati got some punches in and a flying forearm, but Cage superkicked Donati. Cage hit a Buckle Bomb, then finished Donati with the Weapon X to score the victory…
Brian Cage defeated Tony Donati via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Cage did his job and quickly put away Donati, who stood no chance.
An AEW Full Gear ad was shown…
3. Griff Garrison vs. Angelico. Angelico put Garrison into an arm lock, while Garrison countered and did the same move Garrison tried putting Angelico into a submission hold, but Angelico countered the move by getting out of the submission. Garrison went for the school boy, but only got a two count. Garrison also hit an elbow strike to Angelico. Afterward, Angelico would send Garrison into the corner.
Angelico irished whipped into the turnbuckle. Garrison threw some elbow strikes, but Angelico caught Garrison with the shoulder and a drop toe hold, only to put Garrison into another submission hold. Garrison though took Angelico down with a couple of clotheslines and a high boot as well. Garrison then hit a big diving clothesline into one corner, he tried for another, but Angelico blocked it. Garrison followed that with a sit out powerbomb and almost got the victory, but could only get a two count. Angelico made Garrison tap out to the ankle lock to win the match.
Angelico defeated Griff Garrison via submission.
Briar’s Take: Not much to see here, other than this match was more of a submission style match up, with both guys using a lot of submission holds. it was interesting to see Angelico wrestle in singles competition, as he is normally in tag team bouts with his partner Jack Evans.
4. Skyler Moore vs. Anna Jay (w/Dark Order). Jay hit Moore with a knee to the mid-section after Moore tried going for a collar elbow tie up. Jay sent Moore into the turnbuckles with an Irish whip. Moore got some upside with an arm drag and a front slam. Jay rolled out to the outside when Moore went for the cover.
Once Jay was back in the ring, she hit a spinning kick to Moore in the corner. Moore put Jay down with a clothesline followed by a back elbow, and a gut-wrench suplex. Moore covered Jay for a two count. Jay put Moore in the corner and hit the jumping stomp. Jay put away Moore with a forearm-like submission hold to pick up the pinfall…
Anna Jay defeated Skyler Moore via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Another victory for Jay, who completely dominated the match and continues to look impressive in the ring. I would not be surprised if Jay gets a title shot soon, perhaps at the Full Gear pay-per-view?
An All Elite Heels ad was shown…
5. Lee Johnson vs. Eddie Kingston. Johnson put Kingston in a side headlock once the bell rang, but Kingston picked up Johnson and hit a T-Bone suplex. While down on the mat, Johnson tried throwing some strikes, but Kingston put him down again with chops. Kingston hammer tossed Johnson into the corner, but Johnson hit an elbow strike and a springboard dropkick. Johnson hit a Blue Thunder Bomb and went for the cover, but Kingston kicked out. Johnson tried running into Kingston, who hit the spinning back punch to lay Johnson out before pinning him…
Eddie Kingston defeated Lee Johnson via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: After losing his first match, Kingston picked up his first victory.
6. Serpentinco vs. Sonny Kiss. Kiss hit an arm-drag to take down Serpentinco when the match got underway. Kiss went for the splits, but Serpentinco saw the move coming and hit a kick to dodge the move. Serpentinco performed a diving foot stomp onto Kiss, who was on the mat. Serpentinco threw a kick to the back of Kiss. Kiss used the ropes for an assistance to hit the splits on Serpentinco. Kiss went for the cover, but Serpentinco kicked out. Kiss performed a suplex and a Flatliner. Kiss went for a moonsault, but Serpentinco countered the move and hit a low DDT. Kiss rallied to win the match with a front flip onto Serpentinco…
Sonny Kiss defeated Serpentinco via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: This match up felt very random and the outcome was unpredictable, which is good. The two wrestlers are definitely talented, no question. However, I don’t think any of them will gain anything from the match, other than more experience in the ring.
Another Full Gear ad was shown.
7. Ben Carter vs. Ricky Starks. Carter made his AEW debut and is from the United Kingdom. Excalibur noted that Carter is highly talented. Starks threw a hard right to Carter and a waist lock as well. Carter would follow with the same maneuver (waist lock). Starks executed a side headlock takedown. Carter had some momentum, but Starks caught Carter with numerous kicks. Carter came back with a dropkick to take Starks down.
Carter tried for a running move, but Starks picked him up in the air and planted him on the mat. Starks manhandled Carter with right hands and used an illegal submission hold on the rope. Starks hit a running back elbow to Carter. Starks applied a submission hold, but Carter broke it with a jawbreaker. Carter went for the schoolboy and a big superkick. Carter performed a frog splash from the top rope. Carter tried for a Phoenix Splash, but Starks dodged the move and speared Carter. Shortly thereafter, Starks performed the Roshambo to get victory…
Ricky Starks defeated Ben Carter via pinfall.
Excalibur hyped the TNT Championship match between Brodie Lee and Dustin Rhodes for Wednesday’s Dynamite…
Briar’s Take: Carter had his moments in this match, but it was ultimately Starks who wound up with the victory. Vickie Guerrero was shown cheering on Starks from the crowd. We will find out soon enough whether that will evolve into a new storyline.
Overall, the flow of this episode was nearly perfect, and this is how Dark should be every week with five to seven matches and clocking in under an hour. As expected, there wasn’t much that carried through from All Out other than the Anna Jay, Ricky Starks, Brian Cage, and Will Hobbs matches where the commentators spoke about what happened at the PPV.
Like the Friday Dark episode, nothing stood out other than the commentators were really high on Hobbs. Excalibur and Taz tried their best to hype up Hobbs as the next potential breakout superstar. Anna Jay continues to shine in her matches and is really smooth. I wouldn’t be surprised if she becomes number one contender at some point, perhaps later this year or early next year. I’m not sure if I had any favorite matches from this show as they were short in length, but if I had to pick one, I would say Hobbs vs. Legacy. Final Score: 7.0 out of 10. Episode 51 clocked in at 49 minutes and 59 seconds.