By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 72)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed January 26, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur welcomed us to Dark and was joined alongside Taz and Ricky Starks on commentary…
1. Fuego Del Sol vs. Miro. Miro missed the round kick as the bell rang, which allowed Del Sol to fire away with his own kicks. Miro finally caught Del Sol with a clothesline. Del Sol then dropped kicked Miro’s knee and attempted a step up huracanrana, but Miro caught him and dropped Del Sol to the ground. Miro would follow through with a punt kick to the face of Del Sol and made him tap out to his signature submission.
Miro defeated Fuego Del Sol via submission.
Briar’s Take: This match simply somewhat forwarded Miro’s best man storyline with Chuck Taylor and nothing more. With that said, since Miro isn’t featured on a regular basis with Dynamite, Dark would be a good place for him to pick up wins for a while.
2. Lee Johnson and Aaron Solow vs. “Jurassic Express” Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus. Jungle Boy arm dragged Solow after Solow tagged in for Johnson, who was tagged back in and tried getting momentum with a cross body, but Luchasaurus caught Johnson planted Johnson on his knee. With assistance from Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy hit a delayed senton on Johnson and got a two count. Solow made a blind tag to Johnson and both landed a double team move on Jungle Boy.
Johnson would suplex Jungle Boy and had another two count. Multiple tags were made between Solow, and Johnson as Johnson hit the back elbow to Jungle Boy. Luchasaurus finally made the tag after being on the apron and fired on Solow and Johnson. Luchasaurus threw Johnson into the barricade and then hit the big knee strike and a chokeslam to Solow followed by a standing moonsault press. Johnson came back with a Death Valley Driver on Jungle Boy and almost got an upset victory. Jungle Boy locked Solow in a submission hold and got the tap out win.
Jurassic Express defeated Lee Johnson and Aaron Solow via submission.
Briar’s Take: A great quality match with both teams that are somewhat seen every week. So much so, I think this could have been on Dynamite and nobody would have known the difference. With that said, a basic preview of what’s to come with Jungle Boy vs. Dash Hardwood.
3. Terrence and Terrell Hughes vs. “SCU” Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels. Terrell and Kazarian started the match for their respective teams. Daniels tagged himself into the match after Kazarian was in for a brief period, while Terrence tagged in as well. Terrence came in with a clothesline to Daniels, but Kazairan tagged in once more and hit a flipping neckbreaker on Terrence. Kazarian followed with a snap suplex to Terrence.
Daniels tagged in an and hit a crossbody block on Terrence. Daniels tried a crossbody, but Terrence drove Daniels into the ground with a powerslam type move. Terrell was tagged in and started laying in chops to Daniels. Terrell made the tag to Terrence and both hit the rising knee strike combination to Daniels. Terrell hit a belly to belly suplex on Daniels and got a two count. Terrell and Terrence continued to make quick tags, while Daniels had the inside cradle and the exploder to Terrence. Kazarian and Terrence then threw back and forth right hands, as Terrell hit the leg drop with assistance from Terrence. TNT was looking to hit the “3D” move, but Kazarian hit a tombstone piledriver with help from Daniels to score the victory.
SCU defeated Terrence and Terrell Hughes via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A great match up here between a veteran and an up and coming tag team of TNT. Honestly, this could have gone either way with AEW playing the storyline if Daniels or Kazarian lose, they’re done as a tag team. Great match up nonetheless.
4. M’Badu and KC Navarro vs. The Butcher and The Blade (w/The Bunny). Anthony Ogogo joined in on commentary. The Blade powerhoused Navarro before tagging in The Butcher. who leg dropped Navarro in the process. The Butcher performed a backbreaker on Navarro, sending him to the outside. The Blade hit an avalanche chokeslam with help from Butcher, but Badu saved Navarro from being pinned. Butcher threw Navarro and wanted Badu to tag in which Badu did. Badu hit a leaping splash in the corner, but The Butcher clotheslined him. Blade and Butcher finished off Badu shortly with the powerbomb combination.
The Butcher and The Blade defeated M’ Badu and KC Navarro via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The match was just kind of there. A basic squash for Butcher and Blade. At least Allie (Bunny) dropped her obnoxious, annoying laugh.
5. Baron Black vs. Rey Fenix. Fenix went for a diving move from the top rope, but Black countered the maneuver with a suplex that sent Fenix to the outside. Black threw Fenix into the turnbuckle before rolling him back inside the ring. Fenix started regaining momentum by hitting simple round kicks to Black.
Black put Fenix in a bow and arrow stretch submission until Fenix escaped the hold. Black hit a Backstabber and got the two count. Fenix performed a jumping sidekick to Black and followed through with a hook kick. Black powerbombed Fenix and almost got the victory. Fenix ended Black’s chances with the Fire Thunder Driver.
Rey Fenix defeated Baron Black via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A fierce match between Fenix and Black, who put on a hell of a match. Easily a match of the night candidate. A sign of respect was also a nice touch from Fenix to Black after the bell rang.
6. KiLynn King vs. Shanna. Shanna started the match with fire from her side and multiple moves to stop King in her tracks. King caught Shanna in the ropes and started laying in chops along with foot stomps. King hit the running knee strike as a follow up. Shanna hit a jumping stunner on King, who kicked out at two after a pin attempt. Shanna delivered a diving foot stomp from the top rope to King and then finished her off with a backward suplex.
Shanna defeated KiLynn King via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Shanna continues to pick up momentum by gaining victories every week on Dark. Meanwhile, it’s strange that AEW was giving some wins to King last year, but now have her losing again. Either way, a good outing from Shanna.
A Go Big Show ad was aired…
7. Brooke Havok vs. Britt Baker (w/Reba). Havok and Baker attempted a collar elbow tie up before Baker slammed Havok to the ground. Baker followed with the side headlock takedown. Baker hit a suplex to Havok, who landed a dropkick of her own, but was thrown off the top rope by Baker. Baker rolled Havok into a Curb Stomp before Baker made Havok tap out to the lock jaw.
Britt Baker defeated Brooke Havok via submission.
Briar’s Take: There was no question that Baker would win, however this was Havok’s first match in pro wrestling, as mentioned by Excalibur. A tidbit – Havok trains at the Nightmare Factory. Excalibur did bring up a story where those trainees under the Nightmare Factory came to an AEW taping last year and Havok looked after Baker. So, at least there was some story here. With that said, Havok had a good showing for her first AEW match.
Santana and Ortiz cut a brief promo stating they have their eyes on the prize…
8. Vertvixen vs. Abadon. Vertvixen threw an elbow shot to Abadon, but Abadon planted Vertvixen with the boot. Vertvixen went for the clothesline, however Abadon caught her and hit an over the top move. Shortly thereafter, Abadon delivered the Cemetery Drive to pick up the win.
Abadon defeated Vertvixen via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Short and sweet, I guess. Abadon’s character is still too cartoony with the zombie-like feel. Meanwhile, this match was Vertvixen’s first match back with AEW since the December 23 Dark where she lost to Tay Conti. This match was more filler than anything.
The Walk-Off segment aired with Peter Avalon and Lee Johnson, and Aubrey Edwards, Brandi Rhodes, and Jerry Lynn serving as judges. After Avalon threw shade to the judges, Justin Roberts introduced Johnson. All three judges gave Johnson a nine out of 10 score following his “red carpet.” The judges were going to give Avalon a nine, but Lynn wanted to see a replay of Avalon’s walk. It turns out that Avalon somewhat messed up on his walk. Lynn gave Avalon a six. Roberts declared Johnson the winner. Afterward, Cezar Bononi came from the back, and laid out Johnson after Avalon was frustrated about the loss.
Briar’s Take: I mean, at least this segment was on Dark instead of Dynamite. While I try not to be one of those guys who hates everything, this segment definitely definies the “sports-entertainment” feel. While this segment wasn’t the worst, you could definitely take it or leave it if you’re a wrestling fan. Some may like the segment and some may not. I found the segment somewhat better than the “Waiting Room with Britt Baker” but that’s not saying much.
9. Ryzin and Mike Verna vs. Santana and Ortiz. Ortiz hit a backbreaker and underhook on Verna before tagging Santana in. Santana suplexed Verna. Ortiz and Santana hit the assisted senton Death Valley Driver to score the quick win.
Santana and Ortiz defeated Ryzin and Mike Verna via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Another quick win for Santana and Ortiz, similar to last week’s victory on Dark. Ryzin didn’t even have a chance to tag into the match. Poor Verna, he just got absolutely obliterated.
10. Davienne vs. Tay Conti. Conti put Davienne in a body scissors, but then locked a knee bar submission before Davienne broke the hold by reaching the ropes. Conti connected with a rising knee strike, which sent Davienne to the outside while asking for a “timeout.” As Davienne returned to the ring, Conti delivered another knee strike in the corner, only to turn around and hit another. Conti made Davienne submit for the victory.
Tay Conti defeated Davienne via submission.
Briar’s Take: A quick, painless victory for Conti and nothing more.
A Scorpio Sky podcast ad aired.
11. Ray Jaz vs. “10” Preston Vance. -1 sat in on commentary. Vance hit a backward suplex after using the ropes to Jaz. Jaz attempted a submission hold, but Jaz fired with a leg lift. Vance avoided a running move from Jaz and hit a punt kick. Vance laid out Jaz with a spinebuster. Vance won the match with the ripcord to the back of Jaz.
“10” defeated Ray Jaz via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The highlight of this match was -1 being on commentary and calling out Excalibur in the process.
12. Madi Wrenkowski vs. Red Velvet. Wrenkowski planted Velvet to the ground, but Velvet countered with a rising knee strike. Wrenkowski performed a backbreaker on Velvet and then covered her for a two count. Wrenkowski followed through with a crossbody, but Velvet flat lined her. Velvet hit a moonsault, but Wrenkowski kicked out at two. Finally, Velvet won the match with a boot to the head.
Red Velvet defeated Madi Wrenkowski via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A dominating match and victory by Velvet.
13. Sean Maluta vs. Danny Limelight. Limelight rolled up Maluta for an early two count. Limelight fired off the middle rope for an arm drag to Maluta. Limelight performed a standing torpedo over the top rope. Limelight put Maluta’s lights out with a powerful kick to score the win.
Danny Limelight defeated Sean Maluta via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The victory was Limelight’s first since the December 30 episode of Dark, where he defeated Fuego Del Sol.
14. Jazmin Allure vs. Ivelisse. Ivelisse manhandled Allure from the get-go and locked in a stretch hold to Allure. Ivelisse then hit a question mark kick to Allure that led to a two count. Allure hit back with a jawbreaker and a running elbow strike. Allure followed with a facebuster and only received a two count. Ivelisse threw a tornado kick to put Allure out.
Ivelisse defeated Jazmin Allure via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Ivelisse picks up another win after dominating most of the match. Allure got very little offense in.
15. Jake St. Patrick vs. Will Hobbs. Hobbs hit a shoulder tackle to St. Patrick when the bell rang. Hobbs followed up with a spinebuster to St. Patrick before winning quickly with a powerslam type move.
Will Hobbs defeated Jake St. Patrick via pinfall.
Excalibur ran down the card for Wednesday night Dynamite to close the show…
Briar’s Take: The match came off like St. Patrick never really stood a chance against Hobbs. The match was basically finished right when it started.
Overall, episode 72 of Dark wasn’t a bad show despite the 15 match card. There’s definitely a little bit of everything for everyone. Most of the card felt a lot like filler and was more predictable this week than other weeks. The matches were also pretty standard formula with the AEW regulars winning. I know an upset probably won’t happen anytime soon, but it would be nice if there was one every now and then on Dark. If AEW would have more upsets on Dark, it might make people tune in more often. There were a couple of good matches. Rey Fenix and Baron Black definitely had match of the night. Having -1 on commentary toward the end of the show was a cool touch and added a unique feel. His dissing of Excalibur was actually really funny. Kudos to AEW for being cool with it, especially Excalibur and Taz. Episode 72 clocked in at 1 hour, 54 minutes, 49 seconds. Final Score: 7.9 out of 10.