By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 65)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed December 8, 2020 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur welcomed us to AEW Dark, and was joined alongside by Anthony Ogogo and Taz on commentary. Taz said ‘he was not prepared for the Sting debut that occurred last week. Excalibur also noted that they would take a look back at last week’s title change with Kenny Omega…
1. Baron Black vs. Sonny Kiss (w/Joey Janela). Black attempted a few strikes, but Kiss countered with a hip toss. Kiss then followed with a boot to the midsection, but Black got the atomic drop to change the momentum. Black then planted Kiss with an overhead throw, and received a one count. Black would put Kiss in a single leg crab submission, and then a stretch submission. However, Black broke the submission hold, and went for another cover only to get a one count again.
Black successfully hit a clothesline in the corner to Kiss, but Kiss followed through with a single leg lariat and a huracanrana. He then hit the leg drop on Black. Kiss went to the top rope, but Black pulled Kiss from the top rope to counter his move. Despite not getting the move, Kiss hit the rolling elbow strike, and eventually put Black away with the splits.
Sonny Kiss defeated Baron Black via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: No disrespect to either wrestlers, but this match was kind of there. Not much to the match in general. Was interesting to see Black in singles competition though, as he is normally in tag team competition on Dark.
2. Danny Limelight vs. Brian Cage. Limelight threw a kick as the bell rang, and a dropkick to Cage. Limelight followed with a diving huracanrana on Cage, and hit with an over the top rope move. Even though Limelight tried using his speed early, Cage planted Limelight on the apron of the ring. Cage then hit Limelight in the corner with shoulder tackles. Cage would flat line Limelight, and lifted him in the air for the powerslam. Limelight tried coming back with kicks, but Cage shut him down with a clothesline. Afterward, Cage hit the buckle bomb, and spiked Limelight with the Drill Crawl to the ground for the victory.
Brian Cage defeated Danny Limelight via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Another victory for Cage who continues to be ranked fourth in the AEW Men’s Rankings.
3. Alex Garcia vs. Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero). Garcia attempted a collar elbow tie up, but Rose threw her to the ground. Garcia went for a waist lock, but Rose proved too powerful as she planted Garcia with a shoulder tackle. Rose then hit the running Oklahoma stampede on Garcia. Shortly thereafter, Rose dropped Garcia with the powerbomb to score the pinfall.
Nyla Rose defeated Alex Garcia via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: This was Rose’s first match back following her title loss to Shida at Full Gear.
“The Waiting Room” with Britt Baker aired. She was joined by Marko Stunt and Dustin Rhodes. Baker congratulated Kenny Omega on his title victory in what is called her “monologue.” Baker welcomed her first guest which was Dustin Rhodes. Baker said she wanted to talk about his first AEW action figure. Dustin asked Baker if her boyfriend won match of the year? Dustin said no, he and Cody won the match of the year. Dustin promoted his match with 10 for Dynamite, as Baker questioned if this was the Dark Order bringing out in him. Dustin followed by saying the takedown of the Dark Order starts Wednesday night…
Marko Stunt sang to the crowd…
Briar’s Take: Dark would be much shorter if we didn’t have to deal with these eye rolling segments that don’t amount to much. I also went to check the Kansas State men’s team score during this segment only to find out the game had not started yet.
4. Aaron Solow vs. Dark Order’s 10 (a/k/a Preston Vance). The two started with a lock up, but was eventually broken as Vance and Solow went to the corner. Vance put Solow in a knuckle lock, but Solow stopped Vance in his tracks with a dropkick. Vance however put Solow in the corner, and started striking him with chops and right hands. Solow attempted a maneuver, but Vance countered with a spinebuster. Vance lifted Solow up for a back body slam.
Vance continued to dominate Solow by hitting the punt kick, followed by putting Solow in an illegal submission by using the ropes. After the break up by the ref, Vance hit the delayed vertical suplex. Solow hit the high round kick that got Vance grogged, though Vance followed through with a wheelbarrow suplex. Vance went for the cover, and got the victory.
Dark Order’s 10 defeated Aaron Solow via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A momentum victory going into his match with Dustin on Wednesday night.
A Young Bucks book ad was aired…
5. Louie Valle vs. Peter Avalon. Avalon planted Valle down with a shoulder tackle, and an elbow strike as well. Avalon then used the ropes illegally on Valle, though the ref broke the hold using a five count. Afterward, Avalon followed through with a suplex. Avalon followed with a leg lariat to Valle which sent him down on the mat. Valle would go to the top rope, and hit a dropkick to Avalon. Following the dropkick, Avalon planted Valle down with the martinis to pick up the victory.
Peter Avalon defeated Louie Valle via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Chalk that up as another victory for Avalon, who scored his third consecutive victory in a row. Avalon then took the mic, and introduced us to Pretty Peter’s Paceant Provocation. He says PPA is all day, and then drops the mic.
6. Shawn Dean, Sean Maluta and Ryzin vs. “The Gunn Club” Billy, Austin, and Colten Gunn. Dean, and Colten began the match for their respective teams before Colten landed the arm drag, and dropkick. Colten then tagged Austin into the match, with Austin planted Maluta. Billy was in the match, and rolled Dean for a one count. Maluta was tagged in the match, while Austin planted the clothesline to Maluta. Austin put Maluta in a side headlock, but Maluta hit the lateral press on Austin.
Austin was dropped to the outside, only to get hit with a clothesline from Ryzin. Maluta then threw Austin into the boots of Ryzin, and Dean. Dean tagged in, and threw a right kick to Austin. Austin fired back with a clothesline, only to run into a clothesline from Dean. Billy went for the Fameasser, but Ryzin countered with a thrust kick. Every member of every team got their stuff in by hitting every move. Ryzin kicked Billy to the ground, but missed a moonsault on Billy. Billy eventually finished Ryzin with the Fameasser.
The Gunn Club defeated Shawn Dean, Sean Maluta, and Ryzin via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Same stuff, different week by The Gunn Club.
A Chris Jericho Bubbly ad was aired…
7. Dani Jordyn vs. Red Velvet. Velvet planted Jordyn down with a lariat as the bell rang. Velvet then caught Jordyn with a kick, but Jordyn landed the DDT on Velvet. Jordyn would follow with a dropkick to Velvet, and a thrust kick. However, Velvet fired back with multiple kicks, and a u-kick on Jordyn. Velvet would hit Jordyn with a standing moonsault, and get a two count. Velvet won by using the single boot to the jaw of Jordyn.
Red Velvet defeated Dani Jordyn via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: As in most cases on Dark, this match was really nothing more than just a match.
8. Falco and Mike Magnum vs. “Jurassic Express” Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt (w/Jungle Boy). Falco, and Stunt attempted a collar elbow, but Falco threw Stunt across the ring. Stunt then planted Falco down with a DDT. Stunt continued putting pressure on Falco, but Falco made the tag to Magnum. Stunt tagged in Luchasaurus, and Luchasaurus sent Magnum down on the mat with a chop. Luchasaurus then dropped Magnum with a right hand.
Stunt was tagged in, and with assistance from Luchasaurus planted Stunt on top of Magnum. Falco tagged back in, but Stunt took down Magnum with a huracanrana. Luchasaurus was back in the match, and hit both Falco, Magnum with a double clothesline. Luchasaurus then cratered Falco on the mat, only to get a two count after Magnum broke the pinfall. Luchasaurus hit the chokeslam on Falco, with Stunt following using the leg lariat to win the match.
Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt defeated Falco and Mike Magnum via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Not much to this match either, just another victory for Jurassic Express.
9. Fuego Del Sol vs. Brandon Cutler. Del Sol sent Cutler to the outside with a flipping huracanrana, but Cutler got back in the ring and hit a jumping suicida on Del Sol. Del Sol though would hit the twisting crossbody, and go for a pinfall but got a two count. Cutler however lifted Del Sol over to stop his momentum, and hit the long distance leg drop.
Del Sol missed a step up enziguri, as Cutler landed the diving elbow strike. Del Sol jumped off the middle rope for a moonsault and a facebuster. Del Sol followed with a Crossrhodes on Cutler, and almost got the upset victory. Cutler missed the swinging DDT by Del Sol, and planted him with a TPK for the win.
Brandon Cutler defeated Fuego Del Sol via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Cutler has now extended his winning streak to seven victories in a row.n
10. Skyler Moore vs. Ivelisse. Ivelisse countered Moore’s hip toss by rolling her over for a one count. Moore hit the dropkick to Ivelisse. Ivelisse fired back with moves of her own, and put Moore in a sleeper. Moore broke the hold by putting Ivelisse in an inside cradle. Ivelisse kicked out, and put Moore in another submission. Moore got out of the submission, and planted Ivelisse with a neckbreaker. Moore continued with multiple clotheslines, and slammed Ivelisse down on the mat. Moore attempted a pinfall, and got a two count. Moore tried putting Ivelisse in a fireman’s curry, but Ivelisse made Moore tap out to a submission lock.
Ivelisse defeated Skyer Moore via submission.
Briar’s Take: Ivelisse has seemingly changed her style to more of a submission type wrestler now, as she used more submission holds in this match than previous matches.
11. Lindsay Snow vs. Big Swole. Snow put Swole in a modified submission once the match got underway. However, Swole fired with a boot to the back section of Snow. Swole then put Snow in a bear hug submission, only for Snow to clap her hands on Swole’s head to break the submission. Despite countering the move, Swole hit a hip toss to Snow.
Swole also hit the back elbow to Snow, but Snow countered with a clothesline to Swole. Snow went for the cover, but Swole kicked out at one. Snow hit the knee strike to Swole in the corner, and the boot across the jaw of Snow. Snow tried lifting up Swole, but Swole rolled Snow into the pinfall victory.
Big Swole defeated Lindsay Snow via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Snow was impressive, and was intriguing to see if there would be a possible to Swole since she is the No. 1 contender for the women’s championship.
12. Southeara Chhun and VSK vs. “The Hybrid 2” Jack Evans and Angelico. Angelico fired shots to Chhun once the match started, then both members of TH2 targeted VSK. Chhun would fire back by planting TH2 with a diving crossbody, and VSK hit double dropkicks to Evans and Angelico. VSK, and Chhun attempted a diving sucidia, but TH2 cut them off with a rider’s kick.
Evans tagged in Angelico, and Angelico planted down Chhun with Evans hitting the diving stomp. With assistance from Angelico, Evans landed the standing moonsault. Angelico made Chhun tap out to the reverse figure four leg lock.
TH2 defeated Southeara Chhun and VSK via submission.
Briar’s Take: A momentum victory ahead of Hybrid 2’s match with the Young Bucks on Dynamite. This match was action packed, and fast from the get-go. Chhun and VSK got very little offense in, if any at all.
13. Tesha Price vs. Diamante. Price went for the hip toss, but hit the arm drag takedown instead to Diamante. Price also hit the clothesline to Diamante as well. She attempted a roundhouse kick, but Diamante countered with a back suplex. Diamante fired with left hands to Price. Diamante then began stomping Price with multiple kicks, and then followed by using a dropkick. Price, and Diamante then began throwing strikes back and forth with each other until Price hit the hanging neckbreaker on Diamannte. Price hit the roundhouse kick, and then a running bulldog to get a two count. Diamante countered with an over the top move. Diamante eventually put Price away with the Code Red.
Diamante defeated Tesha Price via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: While the match was short and sweet, it lived up with hard hitting action between Diamante and Price. A solid and competitive match, definitely the best of the night thus far.
Backstage, Alex Marvez interviewed TH2 about their chances against The Young Bucks on Wednesday night…
14. Freya States vs. Shanna. Shanna attempted an arm rag, but States proved too powerful for her as she lifted Shaana up. However, Shanna successfully hit the flipping neckbreaker to States. Following the neckbreaker, States drove Shanna into the turnbuckle to stop her momentum. States would plant Shanna on the right knee, and put Shanna in a claw hold. States continued to drive Shanna into the corner, but missed the running senton.
Shanna got her momentum back by hitting kicks to States, and a stunner. Shanna went for the tiger suplex, but States got out of the hold. Shanna landed States down with a DDT. Shanna then hit the dropkick on the ropes to States, and finally got the tiger suplex on States for the pinfall win.
Shanna defeated Freya States via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: An impressive win by Shanna, who continues to be on a winning streak after returning to action last week.
15. Jon Cruz and Michael Nakazawa vs. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens. Caster and Nakazawa began the match for their respective teams. Nakazawa took down Caster with a shoulder tackle, but Caster fired back with an arm drag to tag in Bowens. Nakazawa then sprayed baby oil on Bowens, and covered him for a two count. Cruz was tagged in and hit the diving crossbody to Bowens.
Bowens, and Caster would double up on Cruz. Caster then planted Cruz down with a back suplex before tagging Bowens again. Caster, and Bowens continued to double team Cruz with back elbow strikes. Cruz though fired with a bulldog to Caster. Caster made the tag to Bowens, and Cruz to Nakazawa. Nakazawa hit a spear on Bowens, and got the two count. Nakazawa tried getting the thong, but Bowens hit the superkick to him and a rolling elbow to Cruz. Bowens planted the suplex, while Caster won by hitting the diving elbow.
“The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens defeated Jon Cruz and Michael Nakazawa via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The Acclaimed continue to be some of the best stuff on Dark every week.
16. “The Varsity Blondes” Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison vs. Colt Cabana and Alex Reynolds. Reynolds put Garrison in an arm lock as the bell rang, with Garrison planting Reynolds using a scoop slam. Garrison tagged Pillman, who hit the swinging neckbreaker. Pillman and Garrison hip tossed Reynolds and Cabana back into the ring. Pillman and Garrison continued to work with each other to dominate Reynolds and Cabana.
Pillman threw a right hand, but was stopped by Cabana on the outside illegally following the strike. Cabana tagged in and began stomping Pillman in the corner. Pillman tried attacking Cabana, but Reynolds grabbed the hair and stopped him in his tracks. Reynolds tagged Cabana back in again, and both hit the double knee to Pillman. Cabana went for the cover, but Pillman kicked out multiple times. Cabana put Pillman on top of his shoulders, and then dropped him down to the knee of Reynolds.
Reynolds sent Garrison off the apron to the barricade, and tagged Cabana in again. Cabana threw a couple of strikes, while Pillman fought his way out of the hold by tagging Garrison in. Garrison hit two high boots to Cabana, Reynolds and followed with a splash to Cabana. Garrison drive Cabana down with a hold, but Reynolds broke the pinfall. Reynolds went for the cover after throwing a strike, though Garrison kicked out at two. Pillman came through with a diving clothesline on Cabana, and hit the assistance blockbuster to pick up the victory.
“The Varsity Blondes” Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison defeated Colt Cabana and Alex Reynolds via pinfall.
Dasha Gonzalez interviewed Dustin Rhodes about his match up with Preston “10” Vance. Dustin said “he would go to the end of the earth to destroy each member of the Dark Order, and it starts with Vance”…
Alex Marvez interviewed both Pillman and Garrison about their tag team victory and asked about their chances for their match up on Dynamite. Pillman Jr said, “If you give us the ball, we’ll run it”…
Excalibur ran down the card for Dynamite Wednesday night…
Briar’s Take: A great match to close the show. It was great to see Pillman and Garrison continue to pick up victories after losing for so long.
Overall, this episode of Dark felt like a chore to get through with tons of meaningless matches with a couple that have some interest. It’s great AEW is trying to put forth the effort of their show, but when Dark is barely mentioned on Dynamite itself, what’s the point of having 16 or 17 matches a week let alone 10? Most of these matches are not even mentioned on Dynamite, and are just shown with a ticker down on the bottom with the results.
It was also weird that we did not get a follow up from Excalibur hyping Kenny Omega’s big title change only for it to not be shown at all during the show. It makes you wonder how many Dynamite regulars were watching Impact this week, and waiting Dark for another day? For this special occasion, Dark would have been okay to stream on a Friday or another day later in the week to give viewers the opportunity to watch what Omega has to say on Impact instead of picking and choosing what to watch first. Or better yet, keep Dark under an hour on Tuesday night’s, which would allow people to watch the other program if AEW and Impact continue to work together.
Otherwise, the 16 match card was definitely passable this week. Most of the matches were simply filler, and didn’t amount to much. I’d say the only intriguing matchup was The Acclaimed facing Jon Cruz and Nakazawa, and Pillman and Garrison facing Cabana and Reynolds. For The Acclaimed, they continue to do great stuff in the ring, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have their first match on Dynamite before the year closes or perhaps the first of the year in 2021. The main event was fine, as it appears AEW is finally moving forward with Pillman and Garrison by giving them a tag team name and allowing them to have a segment to themselves following their victory. Episode 65 clocked in at 2 hours, 10 minutes, and 58 seconds. Final Score: 5.0 out of 10.