By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 60)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed November 6, 2020 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur welcomed us to a special AEW Dark edition on a Friday night, with Anthony Ogogo and Taz joining him on commentary one night before AEW Full Gear.
1. Tesha Price vs. Big Swole. Price, who is from Michigan, made her AEW debut. The two started with an attempted collar elbow tie up, but Swole broke the hold twice. Price, and Swole would go behind each other, with Swole taking Price down and driving a knee down on Price. Price threw a slap to Swole, and got Price in the turnbuckle corner.
Price went for the cover early, but only got a one count. Price then put Swole in a submission hold, but then hit a single dropkick to Swole. After bouncing off the ropes, Swole hit a powerful clothesline, and headbutt to Price. Swole would follow with the tiger driver, and made Price tap out to the Texas cloverleaf.
Big Swole defeated Tesha Price via submission.
Briar’s Take: This match wasn’t too bad actually. Price was able to get some offense in, before tapping out to Swole. Both women looked good here, and I wouldn’t be surprised if AEW brings Price back more often.
2. Matt Sydal vs. Christopher Daniels. Sydal, and Daniels started the match with a handshake, and of course with a strong side headlock. Both wrestlers would counter each other’s move, before Daniels planted Sydal down on the mat. Sydal however took Daniels down with multiple arm drags. Sydal attempted an inside cradle, but Daniels kicked out before a count was even seen.
Sydal would hit Daniels with a shoulder tackle, but Daniels planted Sydal with a scoop slam. After dodging each other’s moves, Sydal hit the high flying kick to send Daniels down. Sydal then threw a kick to the back of Daniel’s spine. With Daniels on the ground, Sydal hit the standing moonsault successfully. Daniels lifted Sydal for a modified suplex, and a couple of clotheslines. Daniels followed with the STO, and a blue thunder bomb on Sydal only to get a two count.
Afterward, Sydal hit a huracanrana from the top rope on Daniels. After a failed attempt from the top rope, Daniels countered by planting Sydal on the mat. As Sydal was lying on the ground, TH2 of Jack Evans and Angelico came to the stage to provide a distraction for Daniels. Sydal popped up, and hit a rising knee strike. Daniels tried for the angels wing, however Sydal rolled him up and got the pinfall victory.
Matt Sydal defeated Christopher Daniels via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The TH2 distraction proved costly for Daniels who lost the match, and it appears as though we are continuing the storyline here on Dark. Hadn’t been for the distraction, this match would have been straight up fire, as the match itself was very good and extremely competitive. However, the inside cradle roll ups get so tiring because everyone does them. Think of something different for once, and stick with it. Whatever happened to a finisher just being a finisher? After the match, both Sydal and Daniels shook hands as a sign of respect.
3. Michael Nakazawa vs. Brandon Cutler. Before the bell rang, Nakazawa threw the baby oil outside of the ring. Nakazawa irish whipped Cutler in the turnbuckle, but Cutler threw a kick to plant Nakazawa down. Cutler then hit a reverse DDT on Nakazawa, and got a two count. Cutler tried another reverse DDT, but Nakazawa rolled out of the move.
The two went to the outside, and Nakazawa hit a double ax handle from the apron of the ring onto Cutler. Nakazawa drove Cutler into the barricade. (Unfortunately), Nakazawa brought out the baby oil, and wetted down the ropes. Back in the ring, Cutler hit a springboard elbow on Nakazawa. However, Nakazawa hit the spear, and got a two count on Cutler. Nakazawa tried following up on Cutler with an attempted suplex, but Cutler grabbed of hold Nakazawa after his hands slipped from the ropes due to the oil. Cutler shortly finished off Nakazawa with the TPK.
Brandon Cutler defeated Michael Nakazawa via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Unfortunately, this match was more comedy and not anything serious. Nothing against Cutler, but I wouldn’t even count this as a victory. So much eye rolling.
Backstage, Frankie Kazarian was interviewed by Dasha Gonzalez about his goals in AEW. Kazarian said ‘his goal was simple and that it was to prove for him to be elite.’ He says ‘he’s the best wrestler in AEW’… A Chris Jericho “Bubbly” ad was aired…
4. Ariel Dominguez vs. Griff Garrison. Dominguez made his AEW debut, and is from Miami, Florida. Garrison lifted up Dominguez by throwing Dominguez over his shoulders. Dominguez tried bouncing off the ropes, but Garrison hit a big boot. Garrison then made a big splash in the corner. Garrison attempted another big splash, but Dominguez countered the move by going to the top rope. Dominguez went for the crossbody, however Garrison landed the elbow strike and finished Dominguez off with the rack bomb.
Griff Garrison defeated Ariel Dominguez via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Garrison just completely dominated Dominguez in this match.
After the match, Lance Archer’s music hit, and Jake Roberts instructed Garrison to get out of the ring. Garrison didn’t get out of the ring, and threw punches to Archer. But, Archer sent Garrison outside of the ring with a kick. Archer then lifted up Dominguez, and sent Dominguez underneath the rope.
“We want one more shot at the AEW Championship,” Roberts said. He also told Eddie Kingston that if he wins, Archer wants his shot at the title. Roberts added that ‘we just want to have fun.’ Archer took the mic and said ‘despite Halloween come and gone. AEW is like “trick or treat” around here.’ Archer then targeted Kingston, and Moxley saying ‘they’re not paying attention to the predator in the weeds and when he pounces, we’re going to rip you apart.’
5. Sean Maluta and Ryzin vs. Evil Uno and Stu Grayson. Grayson started the match with fierce clotheslines, and Uno laying in some chops after tagging in. Maluta however started beating down Uno, and hit a shot to the midsection. Maluta then followed with a hanging neckbreaker on Uno. Maluta made the tag to Ryzin, and Ryzin hit a sledge ax to Uno.
Uno tagged Grayson in, but Ryzin countered his moves with kicks to the face, a northern lights suplex. Grayson though shoved Ryzin out of the ring. On the outside, Uno illegally drove Ryzin in the apron. Grayson eventually made the tag out to Uno, and Uno planted Ryzin down with the help of Grayson hitting an elbow from the top rope.
Uno tagged Grayson in again, and Grayson hit an over the top rope move. Ryzin would plant Grayson on his knee. Both Ryzin, and Gryson made the tag to Maluta and Uno. Maluta tried hitting a move on Grayson, but Grayson stopped Maluta with a knee to the face. Grayson, and Uno would hit a powerbomb combination on Maluta. Uno quickly won the match with the flat liner.
Evil Uno and Stu Grayson defeated Sean Maluta and Ryzin via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good match for what it was.
6. Trevor Read vs. Ricky Starks. Trevor Read made his AEW debut, and is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When Starks was making his entrance, Excalibur asked Taz who he was better friends with and Taz said ‘Starks.’ Starks just manhandled Read with strikes, and elbows thrown. Starks then hit a dropkick to Read, while Taz continued to be frustrated with AEW by not giving Starks a TNT title opportunity with Cody.
Meanwhile in the ring, Starks planted Read with a suplex. After the suplex, Starks hit the foot stomp to Read. Starks blocked a move from Read with an atomic drop. Afterward, Starks hit the ropes, and hit Read down with a spear. Following the spear, Starks won with the Roshambo over Read.
Ricky Starks defeated Trevor Read via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Your typical Starks match on AEW Dark. It will be interesting to see what happens during the TNT title match in Full Gear.
An AEW Games commercial aired…
7. Lee Johnson vs. Chuck Taylor. Johnson put Taylor in an arm wrist lock, but Taylor did the same maneuver. Johnson attempted a head-scissors, though Taylor broke the hold quickly. Taylor then planted Johnson with a shoulder tackle. Taylor sent Johnson to the corner with a tie up, but Johnson hit a dropkick to Taylor. After the hold, Taylor took Johnson down with a kick to the head. Johnson was sent to the corner, and Taylor began stomping Johnson on the ground.
After coming out of the corner, Taylor lifted Johnson for a backdrop slam. Taylor rolled through with the headscissors submission. Taylor broke the hold himself, as Taylor threw a kick to the back of Johnson. Taylor attempted a moonsault from the top rope, but Johnson countered the move by moving at the last second. Johnson then followed with clotheslines to Taylor.
Johnson went to the top rope, however Taylor dodged the move and hit a soul food. Despite the move, Johnson planted Taylor with the blue thunder bomb. Johnson would bounce off the ropes, and run into a sit-out powerbomb. Taylor would hit a falcon arrow, and attempted a pinfall victory with Johnson kicking out at two. Excalibur said ‘nobody kicks out of the falcon arrow.’
Taylor tried putting Johnson away again with a diving foot stomp, only for Johnson to kick out at two again. Johnson sent Taylor out to the floor with a missile dropkick, and followed with a sucidia. When the two got in the ring, Johnson was trying to finish Taylor off, but ran into the knee of Taylor. Taylor countered Johnson’s attempt, and hit the stuffed piledriver. Despite the piledriver, Johnson kicked out again. Finally, Taylor would put Johnson away with the Awful Waffle for the win.
Chuck Taylor defeated Lee Johnson via pinfall.
Excalibur ran down the AEW Full Gear lineup for to close the show.
Briar’s Take: Despite the annoying kickouts at two, this was a hell of a match from these two to close out at this episode of Dark. It was the best match of the night, since the match was so competitive. It’s also interesting to note that this episode of Dark was the second consecutive episode that Johnson closed out the show.
Overall, Episode 60 of Dark was just kind of there. I would say this episode was easier to follow because the show only had seven matches instead of their usual 15 like the last several weeks. Going to this kind of format, I think would help the show make it much easier to watch, since there wouldn’t be so much fluff to the episode. Speaking of the episode, it seems as though this show was kind of a one last attempt to get viewers to buy the Full Gear PPV and the show was definitely announced at the last minute. Unless I missed something, I did not see any hype or announcement on Dynamite this week for a “special edition” of Dark like they did during All Out week. A missed opportunity there, as the show was instead announced on their social media pages.
If you didn’t have social media or don’t pay close attention to it, you could have easily missed this episode due to the poor advertisement of the show. Nonetheless, that’s one of the few errors that AEW needs to work on moving forward. And speaking of which, I know I have harped on this many times but seriously. This format with seven matches, and the show running less than an hour is a good format. I only say that as that would leave the fan inside you wanting to see more, and having to wait until next week to tune and watch compared to the dragged out show of two hours of filler.
As for the show itself, there were a lot of debuts on this episode such as Tesha Price, Ariel Dominguez, and Trevor Read. I’d have to say the best match on this card was the closing of Lee Johnson vs. Chuck Taylor. There were no interruptions, or distractions. Just a straight up wrestling match, which was the best of the night as Taylor and Johnson are great. Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal follow behind in second, and I urge to watch that match as their match was great too. However, the distraction of TH2, and another inside cradle rolled up kind of brought down the match a little bit as we see distractions, inside cradles happen way too much.
Aside from the Lance Archer promo that we’ve seen before here on Dark, everything else is definitely passable. That’s no disrespect to the wrestlers, but the rest of the show in general isn’t really worth going out of your way to see as this show as your typical Dark of regular roster members winning over non roster members. Episode 60 clocked in at 56 minutes, and 55 seconds. Final Score: 6.5 out of 10.