By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 71)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed January 19, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur welcomed us to the show, and was joined on commentary by Taz and Ricky Starks…
1. Luchasaurus vs. Brandon Cutler. Cutler tried rolling Luchasaurus up from the get-go, but he was unsuccessful in getting the pin. Luchasaurus threw a kick that sent out Cutler to the outside. The two then fought on the outside for a brief while. Cutler flew through the ropes with a sucidia on the outside, but then hit a long distance leg drop onto Luchasaurus on the inside.
Luchasaurus began firing back with clotheslines, but Cutler hit a springboard elbow drop, failing to cover Luchasaurus in the process. Luchasaurus hit a modified chokeslam, only to get a two count. Shortly thereafter, Luchasaurus threw a deadly kick that finished Cutler off.
Luchasaurus defeated Brandon Cutler via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: After scoring eight wins in a row, Cutler’s consecutive winning streak has ended. The match itself wasn’t much, as it felt too cartoony with the dinosaur vs. dragon type feel.
2. El Australiano vs. Sammy Guevara. Australiano hit the twisting senton on Guevara and then followed with an area code to Guevara. Australiano continued to dominate Guevara by flying off the top rope onto the outside to Guevara. Australiano almost got the upset by hitting a Dragonrunna. Guevara finally gained some momentum by hitting a kick to the back of the head of Australiano off the apron.
Guevara received a two count after putting Australiano into a flipping DDT. Australiano almost put Guevara away again before Aubrey Edwards caught the hand of Guevara’s on the rope. Guevara hit the TKH on Australiano to gain the win.
Sammy Guevara defeated El Australiano via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good, solid match for what it was. Some flashy moves and Guevara ultimately ended up getting the victory.
A Scorpio Sky podcast ad aired…
3. Nick Comoroto vs. Scorpio Sky. Comoroto and Sky fought back and forth early until Sky hit Comoroto down with a leaping move from the top rope. Afterward, Comoroto started taking control of the match by stomping on the back of Sky and Irish whipping Sky into the turnbuckle.
Sky tried a crossbody, but Comoroto performed a backbreaker instead. Comoroto turned Sky into a single leg submission, but Sky reached the ropes to break the hold. Sky turned the tables after hitting a missile dropkick on Comoroto. Eventually, Sky hit the TKO and pinned Comoroto.
Scorpio Sky defeated Nick Comoroto via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Nothing more here than a squash win for Sky. With that said, Comoroto provided some moments where there could have been an upset.
4. Marti Daniels vs. Shanna. Shanna hit a back elbow to Daniels and then rolled her over with a two count. Shanna hit the leg drop on Daniels, and attempted an overhook but failed to do so as Daniels proved to be too powerful. Daniels then threw Shanna over the ring. Shanna fired with an enzurigi and multiple elbow strikes that sent Daniels down. Shanna planted Daniels with the tiger suplex for the pinfall.
Shanna defeated Marti Daniels via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: There was no question Shanna would get the victory. She continues to look impressive every week she wrestles. Daniels also had her small moments.
Anthony Ogogo would join the commentary team after Starks left.
5. Mike Verna and Baron Black vs. The Butcher and The Blade (w/The Bunny). Blade and Verna began the match for their respective teams. Verna took Blade down with a shoulder tackle. Verna tried continuing his momentum, but Blade planted Verna down on the mat with Verna tagging in Black as Blade tagged in Butcher too. Butcher hit Black with a knee breaker and then tagged Blade in once more. Blade hit some shots to the face of Black, spending a short time in the ring.
Butcher and Blade made multiple tags with Black putting Blade in a submission lock. Though Allie interfered with the ref distracted and broke the submission attempt. Blade and Butcher attempted to double suplex Black, but Black powered through and tagged Verna in. Butcher speared Verna, and then both Butcher and Blade hit the neckbreaker and powerbomb combination to score the victory.
The Butcher and The Blade defeated Mike Verna and Baron Black via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Verna and Black showed some offense, but the match was dominated by The Butcher and The Blade in the end. Allie (a/k/a The Bunny) also has an annoying laugh now anytime The Butcher and The Blade hit a signature move. Major eye roll.
An AEW Wrestling Awards ad aired along with The Young Bucks book as well.
6. Ryzin, Adam Priest, and Vary Morales vs. “The Gunn Club” Austin, Billy, Colten Gunn. Billy threw Morales down on the ground after a collar elbow tie up. After multiple tags, Ryzin tagged in but Billy planted Ryzin down with a side slam. Colten and Austin made tags and Austin hit the face plant on Morales. Priest tagged his way back into the match and began stomping on Austin before tagging in Ryzin again.
Morales hit the senton and covered Austin for a two count. Austin made the tag to Colten and Colten fired away on Morales, Priest. The Gunn Club gained the victory on Morales after Colten and Austin hit their signature move to move to 7-0.
The Gunn Club defeated Ryzin, Adam Priest, and Vary Morales via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Another week, another victory for The Gunn Club, who somewhat have the same formula matches every time they wrestle.
7. Jon Cruz and Danny Limelight vs. Santana and Ortiz. Limelight tried gaining the upper advantage on Santana, but Santana hit the single leg dropkick. Ortiz was tagged in and executed a cutter on Cruz. Meanwhile, Ortiz hit a powerbomb on Limelight and then scored the victory.
Santana and Ortiz defeated Jon Cruz and Danny Limelight via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Short, sweet, and right to the point. Almost a needless match since the match was so quick.
Another AEW Awards ad aired.
8. Lee Johnson and Aaron Solow vs. “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy (w/Matt Hardy). Quen hit a leaping standing moonsault onto the back of Solow as the match began. Solow came in with a dropkick to Quen before he tagged Johnson into the match. Kassidy was also tagged in the process. Johnson sent Kassidy to the outside with a dropkick. With Hardy frustrated, he tried giving motivation to Private Party.
With the help from Quen, Kassidy hit Poetry In Motion on Johnson in the turnbuckle. Johnson came back with a blue thunder bomb on Kassidy before tagging in Solow again. A short time later, Quen performed a crossbody on Solow. Hardy threw a right hand to Solow illegally, which allowed Private Party to hit double enziguri’s to win the match.
Private Party defeated Lee Johnson and Aaron Solow via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: This match was simply to simply forward the storyline with Matt Hardy and Private Party and nothing more.
9. Alex Gracia vs. Big Swole. Swole landed the shoulder tackle on Gracia immediately following the bell ringing to start the match. Gracia came back with the the area code on Swole to gain some momentum. Gracia put Swole in a submission wrist lock before Gracia kicked Swole in a corner of the ring. Swole delivered a punt kick to Gracia and hit multiple chops before knocking Gracia to the mat with Dirty Deeds.
Big Swole defeated Alex Gracia via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A return victory for Swole, who was last seen on the December 16 edition of Dark.
10. Zack Clayton vs. Sonny Kiss. Kiss threw kicks to Clayton and hit another spinning kick before Clayton took him down with a clothesline. Clayton executed a delayed vertical suplex and drove a knee to Kiss after using the ropes. Despite Clayton trying to gain momentum, Kiss hit the roundhouse kick followed by a splitting leg drop over the top rope. Kiss followed up with a diving leg drop to Clayton to win the match.
Sonny Kiss defeated Zack Clayton via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Kiss looked good here and did what he needed to do. Clayton had very little offense in the match.
11. KC Navarro and AJ Kirsch vs. “Top Flight” Darius and Dante Martin. Darius and Dante doubled up on Kirsch and even did on Navarro. Navarro avoided a dropkick from Dante the first time, but failed to do so the second time. Navarro though laid out some shots to Dante, but tagged Kirsch into the match following the sequence. Kirsch hit a Northern Lights suplex on Dante and only got a two count.
Dante eventually made the tag to Darius, who performed a crossbody block on Navarro. Darius hit a standing Spanish Fly on Navarro. Darius rolled through Navarro with the high stack and scored the victory.
Top Flight defeated KC Navarro and AJ Kirsch via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Another good outing here by Top Flight, as AEW continues to be high on them.
12. Tesha Price and Katalina Perez vs. Ivelisse and Diamante. Price and Perez hit a double suplex on Diamante with Perez doubling up on Diamante. Ivelisse tagged in and Ivelisse DDT’d Perez. Ivelisse followed up with a kick before tagging in Diamante. Diamante spent a bit of time in the ring before Ivelisse returned, and Price was tagged in too. Price bulldoged Ivelisse and hit her with a shotgun dropkick. However, Perez fired back with a swinging neckbreaker, and received a two count. Ivelisse put Perez away with a spinning kick shortly thereafter.
Ivelisse and Diamante defeated Tesha Price and Katalina Perez via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: I enjoy watching Ivelisse and Diamante every time they wrestle, but both women feel like they’re spinning wheels without having somewhat of a direction.
13. Shawn Dean and Fuego Del Sol vs. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens. Caster used shoulder block on Dean, whoe rolled through multiple times trying for a pinfall attempt. Dean hit a diving crossbody to Caster from the top rope and came through with a clothesline. With the help from Caster, Bowens hit a neckbreaker on Dean. After being dominated by The Acclaimed, Dean found a breakthrough and tagged Del Sol.
Del Sol used his speed to get the best of Caster. Del Sol attempted a Tornado DDT, but Caster stopped him and then Caster hit the diving elbow to hit the Critically Acclaimed to score the victory.
The Acclaimed defeated Shawn Dean and Fuego Del Sol via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: More great stuff here from The Acclaimed. I wouldn’t be surprised if both Caster and Bowens end up winning the tag titles at some point this year, since AEW is so high on them.
14. “Chaos Project” Serpentinco and Luther vs. “The Lucha Brothers” Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix. Luther and Penta worked each other shortly from the bell ringing, but Fenix came flying into the match after tagging in. Serpentinco also tagged in, which allowed for a fast paced style between the two. Serpentinco and Fenix went for side headlocks but both failed in the process. Serpentinco would hit the DDT on Penta before tagging in Luther. Luther used Serpentinco by planting him on Penta.
Luther slammed Penta on the ground and Luther used Serpentinco for the running bulldog. Penta tagged in Fenix, who dropkicked Luther. Fenix covered Serpentinco, but only got the two count. The Lucha Brothers finished off Serpentinco with a double underhook powerbomb combination.
The Lucha Brothers defeated Chaos Project via pinfall.
Excalibur ran through the card for Wednesday’s Dynamite to wrap up this edition of Dark.
Briar’s Take: A really solid match to close out the show. Both teams did great. I could definitely watch Lucha Brothers and Chaos Project go all day, as both teams have different styles.
Overall, this episode of Dark was so-so, but it featured a little bit of everything from a mixture of different style clashes to single matches to tag team matches. For about the first half of the show, Dark consisted of single matches before getting tag team heavy toward the end. I can’t say there was one match that you should go out of your way to go see, but some suggestions are Sammy Guevara vs. El Australiano, KC Navarro and AJ Kirsch vs. Top Flight, and Shawn Dean and Fuego Del Sol vs. The Acclaimed. Episode 71 clocked in at 1 hour, 58 minutes, 19 seconds. Final Score: 7.8 out of 10.