By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 69)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed January 5, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur welcomed us to Dark, and was joined by Taz on the commentary.
1. Nick Comoroto vs. Jungle Boy. Jungle Boy came to the ring with new entrance music. He went for a waist lock early, but Comoroto proved too powerful by planting Boy down on the ground. Comoroto put Boy on the top rope, however Boy leapt over the ropes and hit the dropkick. Boy followed through with the huracanrana, and hit the jumping sucidia to Comoroto on the outside.
Comoroto threw Boy against the ropes, and went for a cover and only got a two count. Comoroto suplexed Boy, and once again got a two count. Boy started fire back with a punt kick, and mule kick. Though Comoroto landed the backbreaker on Boy to stop his momentum. Boy threw shots at Comoroto and hit a clothesline. Comoroto hit the powerslam on Boy as a counter. Boy laid a dropkick to the knee of Comoroto, and a backflip landing the knees to Comoroto. Eventually, Boy made Comoroto tap out to a submission hold to score the win.
Jungle Boy defeated Nick Comoroto via submission.
Briar’s Take: Both men looked good here. I was surprised that this match went longer than expected as most Dark matches are brief.
2. Alex Gracia vs. Nyla Rose. Gracia hit a low dropkick and followed with another dropkick to Rose. Gracia was scooped up and planted. Rose threw a clothesline that laid out Gracia. Shortly thereafter, Rose hit the Beastbomb on Gracia to win the match.
Nyla Rose defeated Alex Gracia via pinfall.
Afterward, Rose got a table from underneath the ring, and then put Gracia through it with a powerbomb.
Briar’s Take: It’s a shame that most matches on Dark aren’t this brief.
3. Ariel Levy vs. Scorpio Sky. Sky planted Levy with a waist lock, and began throwing punches to Levy. Sky hit a Russian leg sweep. Levy rolled through Sky with a pin, then hit the driving knee strike on Sky. Both men then threw forearm strikes until Sky threw a kick and a rising knee strike that planted Levy on the ground.
Sky attempted a suplex, but Levy countered with a neckbreaker. Levy grew frustrated. Sky dropkicked him. Sky lifted Levy and finished him off with the TKO.
Scorpio Sky defeated Ariel Levy via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good competitive match for what it was. This match was intriguing to see Levy in singles competition, as he was in the tag team match last week against Chaos Project.
A Scorpio Sky podcast ad aired.
Marko Stunt came to the ring, and was going to address the crowd. -1 then came to the ring with a mic in his hand, and interrupted Stunt. -1 said Stunt only wins because he always has someone by his side. The two were going to come to heads, but Tony Khan, Cody, and referees came to the ring to break the fight up.
Briar’s Take: That segment was a nice touch following the Brodie Lee tribute night. It’s cool of Stunt to do this.
A Young Bucks book ad aired.
4. Aaron Solow vs. Rey Fenix (w/Penta El Zero Miedo). Fenix got the wrist lock early on Solow, but Solowo rolled up Fenix for a quick cover. The two would eventually escape out of the rest hold. Fenix used the ropes for a leaping move, which followed up in a kick to Solow. Solow tried covering Fenix for a pin, but Fenix kicked out. Solow stayed on Fenix by throwing punches and a suplex.
Solow tried suplexing Fenix again, but Fenix hit a downward knee strike, a powerful kick that sent Solow out of the ring. Fenix used the ropes for a huracanrana, but Solow fired back with a hook that planted Fenix. Solow almost got an upset victory with a two count. Fenix used the ropes and hit the area code that sent Solow out. Fenix followed with a cutter, and got another two count. Fenix eventually hit the fire thunder driver on Solow, and get the pinfall.
Rey Fenix defeated Aaron Solow via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A momentum victory for Fenix ahead of his AEW Championship match with Kenny Omega on Dynamite, which should be a fantastic match.
5. Louie Valle vs. Brandon Cutler. Excalibur noted that Valle and Brodie Lee competed on the same indy scenes together. Cutler went for a springboard elbow strike, and then planted Valle. Valle struck back with a double boot to the side of Cutler. Valle hit a dropkick from the top rope, but Cutler planted a kick to Valle. Valle went to the top rope again, but Cutler sent him to the outside after a kick. Cutler hit a backdrop on the apron of the ring. Cutler regained momentum with a boot to the side of the head, and hit the enzurigi from over the top. Cutler later hit the TPK on Valle to gain the victory.
Brandon Cutler defeated Louie Valle via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Make that eight wins in a row for Cutler. Who knows? After everything 2020, Cutler could win the AEW title this year.
6. Angel Fashion vs. Peter Avalon. Avalon got the side headlock takedown on Fashion as the bell rang. The two escaped each other’s moves, and attempted numerous pinfalls. Finally, Avalon hit the boot to the midsection of Fashion. Fashion threw the running knee strike to Avalon, and got the two count. Avalon caught Fashion with the misdirect, and hit the clothesline.
Avalon threw Fashion to the outside, and the ref started the ten count. Avalon suplexed Fashion once Fashion got back in the ring. Avalon missed a moonsault press, and Fashion capitalized with a roundhouse kick. Fashion followed through with a missile dropkick, and was close to gaining a victory. Despite Fashion’s attempt at a comeback, Avalon hit the Martinis to win the match.
Peter Avalon defeated Angel Fashion via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Avalon and Fashion had a strong enough outing to make the match an interesting watch.
7. KiLynn King and Tesha Price vs. Ivelisse and Diamante. Ivelisse and King began the match for their respective teams. King hit the gutbuster on Ivelisse before tagging Price, who used the ropes for an arm drag on Ivelisse. Price got caught in the ropes, and Ivelisse took advantage by dropping Price down on the mat. Ivelisse tagged Diamante for the first time in the match, and Diamante fired away with elbow strikes.
Later, King was tagged in and fired with shots to Ivelisse and had assistance from Price by firing multiple kicks. Ivelisse barely escaped the pinfall attempt from King after Diamante came in to save the day. Diamante tagged in and put King in a submission hold until she tapped out.
Ivelisse and Diamante defeated KiLynn King and Tesha Price via submission.
Briar’s Take: While Ivelisse and Diamante are talented wrestlers in the ring, both remain directionless storyline wise starting the new year. Here’s hoping something comes their way soon. Heck, I wouldn’t mind a Ivelisse and Diamante rivalry between the two if that storyline is intriguing for both of them, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon since they are not featured prominently on Dynamite.
8. Mike Verna and Bear Country vs. “Gunn Club” Billy Gunn, Austin Gunn, and Colten Gunn. Billy, and Bear Boulder locked up after Verna tagged in Boulder early. Billy got the leg up, but Boulder planted Billy with a powerslam. Verna was tagged in again, as Billy tagged in Austin. Verna would hit the shoulder tackle on Austin but Austin stopped Verna’s momentum with a clothesline. Colten is tagged in, and tried for the underhook but Verna tagged in Bear Bronson.
Later, Boulder tried the second rope moonsault, but missed in the process as Colten dodged the move. Colten finally tagged in Austin, and Austin came to the ring and hit the over the top move on Verna. In the middle of the match, every member began to hit their signature moves to each other, before Austin hit the quick draw on Verna to score the win.
“Gunn Club” Billy Gunn, Austin Gunn, and Colten Gunn defeated Mike Verna and Bear Country via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Your typical Gunn Club tag team on Dark. I’d love to see Colten and Austin challenge for the tag team titles soon since they are racking up victories on Dark.
9. Vipress vs. Shanna. Vipress and Shanna started the match with a collar elbow tie up. Shanna went for the roll up early, and then hit multiple arm drags. Vipress threw some strikes, and kicks to the back of Shanna. Vipress put Shanna in a submission lock, before Shanna fired back with shots to Vipress. Shanna stayed with her momentum, and hit the leaping clothesline on Vipress. Shanna then hit the running dropkick. Shortly thereafter, Shanna landed the double underhook and gained the victory.
Shanna defeated Vipress via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Short and sweet match. As noted by Excalibur, Shanna remains undefeated since returning to competition late last year.
10. Baron Black vs. Matt Sydal. Sydal put Black in arm lock submission, but Sydal hit the arm drag instead. Sydal went for the crucifix pin until Black kicked out at two. Sydal followed with a kick to the jaw of Black. Sydal hit a Russian leg sweep, and put Black in another submission hold. Black tried a scoop slam, but Sydal countered with the leg drop and the standing moonsault.
Black attempted the bow, and arrow submission but Sydal rolled with the sunset flip. Black then hit the atomic drop, and backstabber combination. Sydal then hit a huracanrana, a roundhouse kick, and a lightning spiral all in order before picking up the win.
Matt Sydal defeated Baron Black via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Sydal’s match with Cody could be a sleeper on New Year’s Smash, as both are great in mat styles.
11. Ashley Vox vs. Thunder Rosa. Rosa hit both arm drags and a dropkick to Vox not too long after the match began. Rosa threw Vox to the corner, but Vox hit the huracanrana into the dropkick. Vox was dropped on the top rope by Rosa, and Rosa went for the cover before Vox kicked out at two. Rosa drove the knees into Vox, and hit the leg drop as well.
Later, Rosa locked in a submission hold illegally after using the ropes. After the ref broke the hold, Vox hit a headbutt on Rosa and a thrust kick. Vox came through with a spinning Flatliner in the middle of the ring for a two count. Rosa went for the fire thunder driver, but Vox rolled through with a submission to Rosa. Rosa spun Vox into a neckbreaker, and still receive a two count. Rosa got the win by planting Vox in the ring.
Thunder Rosa defeated Ashley Vox via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A great match from both women, especially Vox who made her AEW debut.
12. Lee Johnson and Shawn Dean vs. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens. Several minutes into the match, Dean attempted a crossbody from the top rope. Caster countered with a clothesline. Caster tagged in Bowens, who covered Dean immediately only to get a two count. Bowens hit the olympic style slam. Caster tagged in and delivered a dropkick to the spine of Dean, who came back with a DDT on Caster, then tagged Johnson back into the match.
Johnson came to the ring with clotheslines, and neckbreaker on Bowens. Johnson then hit the Blue Thunder Bomb on Bowens. Johnson tried to go on top of the rope, but Caster hit the superplex. With assistance from Caster, Bowens hit the crossbody. Bowens rolled through with the elbow strike to Johnson before both Caster, and Bowens planted Johnson for the win.
The Acclaimed defeated Lee Johnson and Shawn Dean via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A hell of a match.
13. Danny Limelight vs. Fuego Del Sol. Del Sol threw a dropkick to Limelight, and fired with chops to the chest. Limelight was sent to the outside, and Del Sol flew to the outside after using the top rope with a moonsault. Back in the ring, Limelight powerbombed Del Sol, and got a one count.
Limelight put Del Sol in a single leg crab, but Del Sol forced Limelight out of the move. Del Sol hit a huracanrana and started hitting strikes and kicks to Limelight. Del Sol used the arms for a neckbreaker. Limelight planted Del Sol on the top rope. Limelight hit a modified Spanish Fly to Del Sol to pick up the victory.
Danny Limelight defeated Fuego Del Sol via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Both Limelight and Del Sol were solid here. Poor Del Sol though. Will he ever pick up a victory?
A Young Bucks book ad aired again.
14. Frankie Kazarian vs. Griff Garrison vs. Angelico (w/Jack Evans) vs. Darius Martin in a four-way. Garrison rolled up Kazarian, but Martin hit a diving crossbody block from the top rope. Martin performed an inside out arm drag before Kazarian threw a fierce chop. Kazarian followed with a Northern Lights Suplex on Martin.
Garrison hit the straight boot on Kazarian, and got a two count out of the pinfall attempt. Darius hit the dropkick to Evans after Evans tried interfering again. Afterward, Martin stayed on Garrison with a senton. Martin was attempting a jumping sucida, but Evans tripped the leg. On the outside, Kazarian laid out Garrison with a clothesline.
In the ring, Angelico dropped Martin with a backward body drop. Angelico then put Martin in a submission lock. As Garrison, Angelico, and Martin were on the ground, Kazarian came through with a leg drop on all wrestlers. Kazarian with momentum hit the cutter on Martin, and had a two count. Garrison fired with DDT flat liner combination on Angelico, and Kazarian. Kazarian tried going for the monkey flip, but was caught with a powerbomb. Kazarian eventually planted Garrison to score the victory.
Frankie Kazarian defeated Griff Garrison, Angelico and Darius Martin via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A fierce back and forth match from all men in the ring that probably could have been featured on a regular episode of Dynamite.
15. Sammy Guevara vs. Michael Nakazawa. Guevara jumped through the middle of the ropes for a corkscrew. Nakazawa grabbed the Turkish oil and sprayed the oil on Guevera, only to follow through with a senton.
Nakazawa hit the flying shoulder tackle from the top rope to Guevara. Guevara fired back with a hook kick. Guevara missed a spear, as Nakazawa hit the springboard and almost got the victory by getting a two count. Guevara hit a running knee strike, and finished off Nakazawa with the GTH.
Sammy Guevara defeated Michael Nakazawa via pinfall.
Afterward, Guevara cut a promo, and said he would be AEW champion in 2021.
Briar’s Take: While an impressive outing from Guevara, this match was more filler with Nakazawa using Turkish oil again.
16. Serpentinco (w/Luther) vs. Alan Angels. Angels stopped Serpentinco with the shoulder block and threw a kick to the midsection of Serpentinco. Angels got Serpentinco in the waist lock, but Serpentinco performed a huracanrana instead. Angels fired back with multiple dropkicks. Afterward, both went to the outside of the ring, Serpentinco was sent over the barricade onto Angels after assistance from Luther. Eventually, both men got back in the ring, and Angels came through with a dropkick.
Angels tried going for a wing snapper, but Serpentinco threw a thrust kick as a counter. Serpentinco hit the double axe handle on Angels. Serpentinco came from over the top with the diving foot stomp. Angels gained momentum back by hitting Sliced Bread. Angels powerbomb Serpentico. With Serpentinco on the top rope, Angels hit the rising knee strike, but Angels hit a Spanish Fly on Serpentinco. Angels used a wing snapper on Serpentinco and pinned him…
Alan Angels defeated Serpentinco via pinfall.
Afterward, Excalibur ran down the card for Night 1 on New Year’s Smash.
Briar’s Take: Obviously, Dark is taped after the airing of Dynamite, so technically this was a clean sweep for the Dark Order, who won all their matches last Wednesday night. That being said, it was a competitive match between the two who were back and forth. It was definitely a main event worthy match for Dynamite as well.
Overall, this episode of Dark wasn’t bad, but obviously you could still tell the heavy emotion in the air from the tribute show earlier in the night. Despite that, the show flowed smoothly. It definitely started becoming a chore to watch after the hour and a mark due to the show’s length. There were a few high points such as Rey Fenix vs. Aaron Solow, Lee Johnson and Shawn Dean vs. The Acclaimed, the four-way match, and Ashley Vox and Thunder Rosa.
The last match with Angels and Serpentinco was solid, and definitely well worth going out of your way to see. Finally, the -1 and Marko Stunt segment was really cool and major kudos for Stunt being awesome about it. I hope everyone has a safe, healthy, and Happy New Year. Episode 69 clocked in at 2 hours, 25 mins, and 56 seconds. Final Score: 7.7 out of 10.