By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 68)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed December 29, 2020 on the AEW YouTube Page
Dark began with a tribute graphic of Brodie Lee. Excalibur then welcomed us to Dark, and was joined on commentary by Taz…
1. Vary Morales vs. Rey Fenix. Fenix rolled up Morales as the bell rang, but Morales kicked out of a pinfall attempt. The two dodged each other’s moves before breaking again. Morales threw a right strike to Fenix, and a running knee strike. While Fenix was in the corner, Morales smashed his boot in Fenix’s face. Morales then hit the flipping senton on Fenix in the corner again. Morales put Fenix in a brief submission before Fenix broke the hold by escaping the maneuver.
Fenix tried building momentum, but was stopped by a dropkick from Morales. Fenix got the boot to the face of Morales, and followed with a spinning kick. Fenix attempted a moonsault, but landed on his feet. Despite landing on his feet, Fenix planted Morales and got a two count. Morales went to the top rope, and landed a huracanrana and even a spiked DDT on Fenix as well. Morales capitalized with a shotgun dropkick, however Fenix hit the step up enziguri and finished Morales off with a muscle buster.
Rey Fenix defeated Vary Morales via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Hot opening match for Dark in what would have been a tune up match for Fenix ahead of his championship match with Omega Wednesday. Unfortunately the New Year’s Smash schedule was changed due to the unfortunate passing of Brodie Lee.
2. Lindsay Snow vs. Penelope Ford (w/Kip Sabian). Both Snow and Ford attempted a collar elbow tie up, before Snow put Ford in an ankle lock. Ford broke the hold by getting to the ropes. Ford threw Snow into the corner, and landed a high boot to Snow. Ford then hit the double knees from the top rope onto Snow on the apron of the ring. Snow fired back with a clothesline, and went for a cover but Ford kicked out at two. Ford hit the back elbow, and then got the cutter for the victory.
Penelope Ford defeated Lindsay Snow via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Brief, and short match. Ford hit all of her moves here as she normally does in most matches.
3. Shawn Dean and Tyson Maddus vs. John Silver and Alex Reynolds. Reynolds put Dean in a side headlock, and then hit the shoulder block. Dean countered with a shoulder block of his own before tagging Maddus into the match. Maddus, and Reynolds would go back and forth until Maddus landed the powerslam to Reynolds. Maddus then continued with a delayed vertical suplex. Maddus went for the cover, but only received a one count.
Reynolds tagged in Silver, and Silver hit the european uppercut with assistance from Reynolds. Silver then threw multiple roundhouse kicks, and tagged Reynolds in again. Reynolds would stay on Maddus before tagging in Silver. Silver hit uppercuts, and tagged Reynolds. Reynolds attempted a pinfall, but Maddus kicked out at two. Dean is tagged in, and hits a clothesline and a belly to belly suplex to Reynolds. Dean then hit the DDT on Reynolds, and almost got an upset on Reynolds at two. Dean tagged Maddus in, but Silver and Reynolds doubled up on Maddus before taking the victory.
John Silver and Alex Reynolds defeated Shawn Dean and Tyson Maddus via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Great stuff here from both teams.
4. Jazmin Allure vs. Anna Jay. Jay hit the back elbow to Allure, and then followed with an arm drag. Jay then hit the running kick to Allure who was in the corner. Allure tried building momentum by throwing strikes, and stomps but Jay threw the Jay kick which planted Allure on the ground. Jay would hit another similar kick before making Allure tap out to the queen slayer for the victory.
Anna Jay defeated Jazmin Allure via submission.
Briar’s Take: Another short match here from Jay, but she did great with what she had to work with.
A Scorpio Sky Podcast ad aired…
The Waiting Room with Britt Baker aired. Baker opened up the segment by hyping the original New Year’s Smash schedule. Baker welcomed Matt Sydal to her show. Sydal said he still feels like Shockmaster when he debuted in AEW. Baker wanted to talk about Sydal’s win-loss record. Baker said to Sydal that he can’t seem to win the big one. Sydal said at New Year’s Smash, it’ll be his chance to open third eyes.
Briar’s Take: An untimed Waiting Room segment that aired on Dark. I realize this was taped last week, but surely on Monday, AEW could have edited this segment out and perhaps posted this on their social media pages when they returned to the original schedule to hype Cody vs. Sydal. Otherwise, this segment is one of the most pointless segments because there is so much eye rolling here and fake laughing from Rebel.
5. Ryzin, Nick Comoroto, and James Tapia vs. Ricky Starks, Brain Cage, and Will Hobbs. Hobbs and Comoroto backed in the corner after an attempted collar elbow tie up. Hobbs planted Comoroto with a clothesline. Hobbs would tag in Cage, and then hit the back body drop. Ryzin tagged in, and hit the leg lariat to Cage. However, Cage would hit the single leg dropkick. Cage tagged Starks into the match. Starks hit the swinging neckbreaker on Ryzin.
Ryzin tagged Tapia in for the first time. Tapia though got manhandled by Cage. Afterward, every member of each team hit their signature move. Cage planted Tapia with the Drill Claw for the team victory.
Ricky Starks, Brian Cage, and Will Hobbs defeated Ryzin, Nick Comoroto, and James Tapia via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A dominating victory by Team Taz.
A Young Bucks Book ad aired.
6. Fuego Del Sol vs. Griff Garrison. Del Sol threw a kick to Garrison when the bell rang. Del Sol tried leaping off the ropes, but was caught by Garrison who caught Del Sol in midair with a kick. Del Sol hit back with a dropkick, however Garrison hit multiple backbreakers. Garrison put Del Sol in a headlock submission, though Del Sol broke the hold by dropping the leg to Garrison.
Del Sol landed a moonsault on Garrison’s left arm. Garrison fired with a diving splash, and leaping clothesline which nearly took Del Sol out. Del Sol though drove Garrison’s arm on the ropes. Del Sol attempted a sunset flip, and Tornado DDT but Garrison knocked Del Sol to the ground with a powerful rolling elbow strike for the win.
Griff Garrison defeated Fuego Del Sol via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: While both men are talented, this match was more filler than anything.
7. Terrence and Terrell Hughes vs. Santana and Ortiz. Santana and Terrell started the match out with their respective teams. Santana took Terrell down with an arm drag before both got back to their feet. Santana attempted a shoulder tackle, but Terrell countered the maneuver. Santana hit a kick, and then multiple snap suplexes.
Ortiz tagged in and then both he and Santana hit the double suplex. Terrell tagged in Terrence, and Terrence hit a side suplex on Ortiz. Ortiz though planted Terrence with a DDT, and then hit the leg drop. Santana made the blind tag, and hit the springboard crossbody drop. Santana tagged in Ortiz again after Santana was briefly in the ring. Santana and Ortiz hit the Death Valley Driver to Terrence. Ortiz followed with left clotheslines to Terrence before tagging in Santana again.
Terrence finally got momentum with a belly to belly suplex on Santana. Terrell was tagged in, and dominated Ortiz. Terrell hit the powerslam on Ortiz, and got a two count. Terrell and Terrence hit the 3D and almost got the upset victory. Ortiz powerbombed one of the members of TNT and then Santana finished things off with a kick to score the pinfall.
Santana and Ortiz defeated Terrence and Terrell Hughes via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good solid match from both teams here. TNT continues to shine week in, week out.
A Chris Jericho Bubbly ad aired.
8. Aaron Solow vs. Sammy Guevara. Guevara planted Solow with the spin drill in the middle of the ring. Guevara went for the waist lock, but Solow countered with a submission. Guevara countered with a cross arm breaker of his own. Solow was caught with a dropkick from Guevara, who then attempted a jump from the top rope, but Solow hit Guevara midair with the dropkick.
Solow hit an over the rope move onto the outside of Guevara. Both rolled back into the ring, and fired shots back and forth. Solow stepped Guevara into a suplex, and got a two count in return. Solow went to the top turnbuckle, but found the knee of Guevara. Solow rolled to the outside of the ring. Guevara followed with a top rope springboard and landed on Solow. Guevara went for the 450 splash, but Solow countered with the double knees. Solow hit the screw high kick to Guevara. Guevara came back the GTH and won the match.
Sammy Guevara defeated Aaron Solow via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A great showcase from Guevara.
9. Ariel Levy and El Cuervo De Puerto Rico vs. “Chaos Project” Serpentinco and Luther. Serpentinco landed a huracanrana to El Cuervo. Cuervo fired back to Serpentinco with a small springboard. Levy was tagged in, as did Luther. Levy rolled through and hit the knee strike to Luther. Levy went for the pinfall and got a two count. Luther regained momentum with a clothesline, and then tagged Serpentinco in again.
Luther used Serpentinco by throwing him on top of El Cuervo. Luther then threw Serpentinco on Levy. Luther went for the cover, and got a two count. Following the pinfall attempt Luther hit the suplex on Levy, and tagged in Serpentinco. Luther lifted Serpentinco up, and had Serpentinco landed with a leg drop.
Luther and Serpentinco attempted a double suplex, but Levy countered and tagged El Cuervo in. El Cuervo hit the trust kick to Luther, and another kick to Serpentinco. El Cuervo fired away with more enzurigis, then covered Serpentinco for a two count. Luther tagged in and hit the punt kick to El Cuervo. Both Serpentinco, and Luther would finish the match with Creeping Death.
Chaos Project defeated Ariel Levy and El Cuervo Puerto Rico via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Serpentinco and Luther continue to be intriguing in the ring with the way they double up on their opponents.
Another Scorpio Sky podcast ad aired.
10. Madi Wrenkowski vs. Leva Bates. Wrenkowski landed a clothesline to Bates as the bell rang. Wrenkowski then rolled with a steam roller, and covered Bates for a two count. Wrenkowski continued to dominate Bates, but Bates rolled through with a missile dropkick and performed a splash in the corner. Bates then hit the running boot, and a northern lights suplex. Wrenkowski began stomping Bates in the corner, but was caught by a superkick from Bates, who rolled up Wrenkowski with the small package for the win.
Leva Bates defeated Madi Wrenkowski via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: This match was kind of there. Easily skippable.
11. Danny Limelight vs. Matt Sydal. Sydal went for the waist lock, but hit the fireman’s curry instead to Limelight. Sydal then hit a leaping arm drag on Limelight. Limelight though took down Sydal with the dropkick. Sydal followed with kicks to the back of Limelight, and a kick across the shoulder blades. Limelight would put Sydal in a front headlock until the hold was broken with Sydal on the ropes.
Sydal hit the leg lariat on Limelight, and the brainbuster. Sydal then planted Limelight with the slice, and hit the standing moonsault. Limelight tried firing back with a single leg crab submission, but Sydal fought out of the submission with a kick to the thigh of Limelight. Sydal fired with the third eye kick to Limelight. Sydal rolled Limelight in the crucifix pin to get the victory.
Matt Sydal defeated Danny Limelight via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Another impressive showing from Sydal. His match with Cody should be fantastic.
12. Vertvixen vs. Tay Conti. Conti hit a kick to Vertvixen, and followed with the big knee strike in the corner of Vertvixen. Conti then hit the overhead throw, and a kick as a follow up to Vertvixen. Vertvixen would throw kicks of her own before both women were dropped to the ground with high roundhouse. Afterward, Conti hit clotheslines to Vertvixen and laid out Vertvixen with a punt kick. Shortly thereafter, Conti finished Vertvixen off with the TCO.
Tay Conti defeated Vertvixen via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Conti shined here, and was great with every aspect of this match.
Another Young Bucks Book ad aired.
13. Royal Money, Baron Black, and Mike Verna vs. “Gunn Club” Billy Gunn, Austin Gunn, and Colten Gunn. Verna, and Billy began the match for their teams. Billy put Verna in a side headlock, and hit the shoulder tackle. Billy would hit the uppercut to Verna, while Billy then tagged in Austin. Austin hit the flipping neckbreaker to Verna. Black briefly tagged in, before tagging in Royal Money. Austin though swept Money to the ground. Colten tagged in, and lifted up Money with the full nelson slam. Colten then hit the Colt45 on Money to gain the victory.
Billy, Austin, and Colten Gunn defeated Royal Money, Baron Black, and Mike Verna via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Short, and sweet match that moved along nicely.
14. “The Hybrid 2” Jack Evans and Angelico vs. “SCU” Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian. Kazarian and Angelico countered back and forth with submission like moves. Angelico put Kazarian in a head scissors, before Kazarian countered with a leg lock submission. Kazarian planted Angelico on the ground with a clothesline, and followed a flipping neckbreaker before Daniels tagged in.
Evans was tagged in and dominated Daniels with a high kick that sent Daniels down. Evans went for another kick, but Daniels caught Evans and tagged in Kazarian, who covered Evans, but only got a two count. Kazarian fired off the middle rope with a leg drop. Evans caught Kazarian with the corkscrew kick until he tagged in Angelico. Angelico then threw a powerful kick to Kazarian.
Evans was tagged in and hit the suplex to Kazarian. Evans went for the pinfall, but only got a two count. Kazarian rolled up Angelico multiple times before being unsuccessful in gaining a pinfall victory. Evans put Kazarian in a crucifix like submission, however Kazarian broke through with a clothesline. Daniels was tagged in, and hit the STO on Angelico and the backbreaker on Evans.
Daniels landed Evans on Angelico, and then hit Evans with the blue thunder bomb. Kazarian though accidentally hit a clothesline to Daniels after Angelico dodged Kazarian’s move at the last second. Angelico and Evans hit the Flatliner, neckbreaker combination. Evans then hit the standing Skytwister Press, and almost got the victory with the two count. With assistance from Angelico, Evans hit the 450 splash before getting another two count. With assistance from Daniels, Kazarian hit the double clothesline to both Evans and Angelico. Daniels planted Evans on his knees and then scored the pin.
Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels defeated “The Hybrid 2” Jack Evans and Angelico via pinfall.
After the match, The Acclaimed came to the ring and attacked SCU. The Young Bucks ran in to save the day by running The Acclaimed out of the ring.
Briar’s Take: A highly competitive match up between SCU and The Hybrid 2 to close out the show. Overall, not a bad episode of Dark, as this show peaked with Rey Fenix facing Vary Morales and the show closing with SCU vs. The Hybrid 2. However, with events from the last couple of days, I think this should have been one of the week’s that AEW could have put Dark in a “Best of” mode to let everyone gather their thoughts and grieve with the passing of Brodie Lee. Ultimately, with the New Year’s Smash moving to the first week of January now, this episode of Dark would have worked out better had it also moved to the same week. Episode 68 clocked in at 2 hours, 5 minutes, and 22 seconds.