By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 52)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed September 15, 2020 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur, Taz, and Veda Scott welcomed us to a “Super Sized Edition of Dark.”
1. Red Velvet vs. Brandi Rhodes (w/Dustin Rhodes). Both started by reversing each other’s submission holds and arm locks. However, Brandi hit a kick to the midsection and followed with a shoulder tackle. Velvet took Brandi down with a high leg lariat. Afterward, Brandi hit the shot of Brandi with a kick to Velvet, which took her down. Brandi then hit a kick to the side of Velvet’s head and a swing blade as well.
Anna Jay of the Dark Order came out on top of the entrance way. Brandi was set to hit her signature move, but was distracted by Jay’s appearance, which allowed Velvet to hit a spike DDT. Velvet followed up with clotheslines to Brandi and hit a pair of knees as well. Though, Brandi hit a spear to Velvet and made Velvet tap out to Jay’s own finisher to win the match…
Brandi Rhodes defeated Red Velvet via submission.
Briar’s Take: Even with the Anna Jay distraction, I never had any doubts that Brandi would win this match. If Brandi would have lost, the loss could have definitely been played in the continuation of the Dark Order/Rhodes storyline. Otherwise, not much to see here, other than Brandi carrying around her own action figure is just too cartoony.
2. Daniel Garcia and Kevin Blackwood vs. The Butcher and The Blade (w/Eddie Kingston). Garcia and Blackwood made their AEW debut. Once the Butcher and the Blade came to the ring, they began their beat down toward Garcia and Blackwood. However, Garcia and Blackwood managed to get some offense in with a big boot to the Blade. But, both Blade and Butcher eventually made their comeback, with Butcher hitting a release suplex to Garcia.
The Butcher picked up Garcia and planted him down on the knee. Butcher then tried lifting up Garcia again, but Garcia escaped and made the tag to Blackwood. Blackwood came in and hit a dropkick to the Blade, but the Butcher hit a spear to Backwood. Garcia made the blind tag, but Butcher hit a backbreaker to Garcia and eventually, Butcher and Blade hit the full death for the win.
The Butcher and The Blade defeated Daniel Garcia and Kevin Blackwood via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Both The Butcher and The Blade dominated much of the match, with Blackwood and Garcia getting very little offense in. However, Garcia’s and Blackwood’s story is interesting as noted by Veda Scott, as both wrestlers were involved in a car accident last year and both wondered if they would ever wrestle again.
3. Dani Jordyn vs. Penelope Ford (w/Kip Sabian). Jordyn threw some shots to Ford in the corner and hit a small dropkick to Ford in the process. Jordyn then tried for a jumping suicida, but Ford blocked the move by throwing a punch. Ford went for the cover, but only got a two count.
Ford picked up Jordyn and hit her knees to the midsection of Jordyn. Jordyn then hit numerous clotheslines to take Ford down, followed by a thrust kick. However, Ford hit a stunner to Jordyn followed by a bulldog into the corner, and a shotgun dropkick. Ford landed the fisherman suplex for the eventual victory.
Penelope Ford defeated Dani Jordyn via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The commentators spent more time talking about Sabian’s Twitch Channel and who’s putting who over rather than the match itself. I just eye roll at the Twitch stuff.
4. Megabyte Ronnie vs. Brian Cage. Megabyte Ronnie made his AEW debut and Ricky Starks joined the commentary team for the match. Cage tried picking up Ronnie as the bell rang, but Ronnie rolled through and tried going for the schoolboy early. Despite his efforts, Cage made his way out of the move, and took down Ronnie with an uppercut. Cage continued his dominance with kicks, but Ronnie hit a kick of his own to Cage.
Cage then hit a powerful clothesline with a left arm lariat. However, Ronnie hit a sitout powerbomb. Ronnie then hit a modified version of The Rock’s “People’s Elbow” with a hot dog in his hand. Though, this would make Cage furious and laid out Ronnie with a powerbomb, a kick to the face. Cage hit the drail claw for the win.
Brian Cage defeated Megabyte Ronnie via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Megabyte Ronnie is the most random wrestling name I’ve heard of yet. The only background in on Ronnie was that he can eat several hot dogs in one setting, and that he served for the United States military.
5. Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Santana and Ortiz. Santana and Pillman Jr started the match for their respective teams, and arm locks to each other. After countering each other’s moves, Santana hit a big back elbow and a kick to the back of the head of Pillman Jr. Garrison made the tag and hit a leg drop to Santana.
Santana laid out a chop to Garrison in the corner. Garrison then made a big splash in the corner, but Santana followed with a big kick. Santana eventually tagged Ortiz in the match. Santana hit a leaping bulldog before exiting the ring. Ortiz then hit a leaping kick to Garrison followed by a gutwrench suplex. Garrison hit a boot to the midsection of Ortiz, but Ortiz countered quickly with a kick and a tag to Santana.
Santana made the tag to Ortiz again, while both would hit a double team suplex. Ortiz threw a right-hand to Pillman Jr. Garrison hit his own strike, which laid out Ortiz. Pillman Jr is tagged in and comes in with tons of momentum. Santana hit a jumping suicida to Garrison, with Pillman Jr hitting a kick to Ortiz. Pillman Jr tried hitting a delayed vertical suplex, but Ortiz countered with a sit-out powerbomb and Santana hit a kick to the back of the head of Pillman Jr. The double team combo would be enough to win the match for Santana and Ortiz.
Santana and Ortiz defeated Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Garrison and Pillman Jr have essentially become Dark regulars, which I suppose is fine, though as I have mentioned before, Pillman’s Jr run so far is quite disappointing. I was a fan of his work in MLW, but so far it seems that AEW doesn’t have anything for him.
6. Jessy Sorensen vs. Will Hobbs. Hobbs laid out Sorensen with a clothesline and splash to the corner. Sorensen tried a move of his own, but Hobbs dodged it by throwing Sorensen across the ring. Hobbs then hit a spinebuster and quickly put Sorensen away with the Oklahoma stampede.
Will Hobbs defeated Jessy Sorensen via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: AEW continues to be high on Hobbs, as the commentary team continued to lay it on thick on how impressed they are with Hobbs skills.
7. Skyler Moore and Rache Chanel vs. Diamante and Ivelisse. Moore and Ivelisse started with a collar elbow tie up, with Moore hitting a couple of arm drags. Moore tried for another one, but Ivelisse escaped the move and hit a knee to Moore. Ivelisse made a tag to Diamante, but Chanel came into the match and hit a spinning back elbow. Diamante though hit a diving back elbow to get some offense in. Diamante made the tag to Ivelisse, and Ivelisse hit a DDT with the assistance of the ropes.
Ivelisse then hit a kick to the spine of Chanel, and followed with a submission hold. Ivelisse tagged Diamante back in and Diamante hit a diving dropkick to Chanel in the corner. Chanel fought back with a kick to the head of Diamante.
Moore is tagged in again and hit a head-scissors takedown to Ivelisse. Moore then hit a front slam and went for the cover, but Diamante broke the pinfall attempt up. After throwing Chanel out of the ring, Diamante hit a backstabber, while Ivelisse followed with a kick to the face of Moore to score the victory.
Diamante and Ivelisse defeated Skyler Moore and Rache Chanel via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: This match was basically a continuation of the Diamante and Ivelisse tag team, and gave some momentum to Ivelisse ahead of her matchup with the NWA women’s champion Thunder Rosa for Dynamite.
8. Colt Cabana (w/Dark Order) vs. QT Marshall (w/Allie). Marshall put Cabana in a hammerlock once the bell rang, and the two continued to exchange holds, with Cabana hitting a huracanrana move. Stu Grayson was frustrated with the clean style of wrestling that Cabana was doing throughout the bout. After Grayson walked away, Marshall hit a running elbow strike to Cabana. Marshall followed with a dropkick and went for the cover, but only got a two count in the process.
Cabana hit some old school splashes to Marshall afterward, only to get a two count himself. Cabana then hit a biconic elbow after the hammer throw to Marshall. Cabana put Marshall into a submission, but Marshall kicked out the move and hit a big tackle to Cabana. Marshall would follow with a slam to the mat of Cabana and fly off the top rope to hit a diving top elbow. Marshall would try for the diamond cutter, but Cabana countered the move by hitting a flat liner combination. Cabana went for the flying apple, however Marshall countered with a move.
After the counter, Evil Uno would come to the ring to provide a distraction to the ref, which allowed Stu Grayson to hit a running knee strike to lay out Marshall. Cabana then hit a rolling clothesline to win the match…
Colt Cabana defeated QT Marshall via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The referee distractions are just so eye rolling anymore. I get that it’s a part of the story, but there have been just too many of them over the years. Either way, Cabana picks up the pinfall victory with the help of Stu Grayson.
9. Peter Avalon (w/Leva Bates) vs. Brandon Culter.
Avalon and Cutler went at each other when the bell rang. Avalon threw strikes to Cutler and hit a butterfly suplex. Though Cutler followed with a suplex of his own. Cutler then hit a flying springboard to Avalon, and a jumping suicida to Avalon on the outside. Avalon hit a punt kick after Cutler tried irish whipping Avalon in the ring post. With the distraction of Bates, Avalon followed with his own jumping suicida and a modified chokeslam.
Avalon tried taking Bates’ book to use it as a weapon, though Bates took the book out of Avalon’s hand which then allowed Cutler to hit a driving reverse DDT. Cutler went for the pinfall victory, but Avalon kicked out. Avalon then hit a sit-down tiger driver to Cutler. Afterward, Avalon hit a split leg to Cutler, went for another cover, but Cutler kicked out again.
Cutler then would strike with a leaping elbow with assistance from the ropes. Both Cutler and Avalon fought each other on the top turnbuckle, but would fall to the outside of the ring. This caused the ref to begin his 10 count. While the ref was counting, Cutler and Avalon would keep each other from entering the ring. Neither Cutler or Avalon made it back to the ring, and was counted out.
Peter Avalon fought Brandon Cutler to double count-out.
Briar’s Take: Man, all that work for nothing, and Cutler, Avalon still remain winless in AEW. I was thinking at least one of those two would finally get their breakthrough. I guess we’ll have to wait until next time.
10. Maxx Stardom and Donate Smiley vs. “Best Friends” Chuck Taylor and Trent. Taylor kicked Stardom once the match got underway. Smiley tagged in, as would Trent, and Trent then hit a side headlock takedown to Smiley. Smiley though hit a dropkick to Trent. Despite Smiley’s offense, Trent took Smiley down with a running knee strike.
Trent made the tag to Taylor and Taylor hit Smiley with a backdrop to plant him on the mat. Trent is back in the ring again, and continued his beatdown of Smiley. Trent followed with rapid forearms to Smiley. However, Smiley hit a flipping neckbreaker, and tagged Stardom in the match.
Stardom would hit a boot and a bulldog to Trent. Stardom went for a lariat, but Trent tagged Taylor in while Stardom tagged Smiley into the match. Taylor sent Smiley into the barricade, as Stardom was sent into a spear by Trent. Taylor made the tag again to Trent, while Taylor hit a stuff piledriver with Trent hitting a jumping piledriver to get the victory…
Best Friends defeated Maxx Stardom and Donate Smiley via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A momentum victory for Best Friends ahead of their parking lot brawl with Santana and Ortiz. On a side note, Stardom worked as Ricky Martinez in MLW and elsewhere.
11. “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isaiah Kassidy and “Gunn Club” Billy and Austin Gunn vs. “The Dark Order” Stu Grayson, Evil Uno, John Silver, Alex Reynolds in an eight-man tag team match. Billy and Reynolds started the match, with Reynolds hitting a boot at the midsection. Billy then hit Reynolds with a shoulder tackle after the irish whips. Kassidy and Quen hit a sunset flip and dropkick combination after tagging each other back, and forth multiple times.
Austin Gunn is in the match and hit a leaping clothesline to Reynolds, and sent Reynolds over the top. Reynolds found a break, while members of the Dark Order made numerous tags to beat down Austin Gunn. Eventually, Reynolds was back in the ring, but Kassidy threw strikes to Reynolds. Quen and Kassidy hit a combination move to Reynolds. Quen hit an elevated dropkick to plant Reynolds on the mat. Though, the numbers game of the Dark Order caught up to Quen, and Uno was tagged in and hit a couple of foot stomps to Quen.
With assistance from Uno, Grayson hit an elbow drop from the top rope. Silver is tagged in and put Quen into a rest hold. After entering the match briefly, Reynolds and Uno made tags between each other, with Uno hitting a delayed vertical suplex. Uno went for the pin, but Kassidy broke the pinfall.
Grayson tried for the German suplex, but Quen fought out of it and tagged Billy in. Billy would hit his elbows to almost every member of the Dark Order except for Grayson. Grayson picked up Billy for a short while, but Billy countered by trying to hit the Gunnslinger. However, Billy tried to follow with his signature the fameasser, but was unsuccessful as Uno tripped Billy on the apron.
Numerous finishers were seen from every individual as the match neared its end. Austin Gunn hit a diving uppercut to Uno. Austin tried for a hip toss to Uno, but could not do so as Uno and Grayson hit the fatality to win the match.
The Dark Order defeated Private Party and The Gunn Club via pinfall.
After the match, Excalibur hyped the Dynamite lineup for Wednesday Night…
Briar’s Take: The action was definitely fast and furious toward the end, with everyone trying to get their spots in, which is annoying since it happens so much in wrestling. Speaking of which, eight-man tag matches have also happened frequently in AEW, and can have a lot of random teams especially this match involved. I’m not sure what they’re trying to accomplish, as eight-man tags don’t do much for me. I think the eight-man tags don’t really do anything for the match, as there is really no story behind it. Veda Scott said, ‘she loves eight-man tag matches because it shows the depth of their tag roster.’ Okay sure, but what are we trying to accomplish when the match becomes a spot-fest, and some of the teams are not used regularly or prominently featured on Dynamite?
Episode 52 is in the books, and we are back to the 11 match card again. I’ve tried several cases to make my point to lower the match count, but since that goes unheard, I’ll roll with the flow. Honestly, nothing stood out from this episode, as most matches were really random. There were a few interesting talking points such as Anna Jay interrupting Brandi Rhodes match up and almost costing her the pin, Dark Order continuing to be frustrated with how Colt Cabana continuing to wrestle cleanly and not as a “bad guy”, and quite possibly the most disappointing match was Avalon vs. Cutler. I actually thought and I’m sure many others would think either wrestlers would get the pinfall against one another.
Unfortunately, AEW dreadfully decided to continue their losing streak storyline. I seriously have no idea what they are trying to accomplish here by having Avalon and Cutler lose every match? No joke, I was actually thinking to myself while watching the match, ‘what if the match ends in some kind of count out?’ Sure enough, it did, and the match was also AEWs first count-out in company history. So, I guess Avalon and Cutler have that accomplishment going for them. All in all, this episode is definitely skippable if you don’t have the time to watch it, and even then, AEW is putting separate matches on Dark into separate videos on their YouTube Page. Final Score: 5.0 out of 10. Episode 52 clocked in at 1 hour, 34 minutes, and 34 seconds.