By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 73)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed February 2, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur welcomed us to Dark. He was joined by Taz and Anthony Ogogo on commentary…
1. M’ Badu and “TNT” Terrence and Terrell Hughes vs. Dustin Rhodes, QT Marshall, and Nick Comoroto. Comoroto denied both Terrence and Terrell at the start of the match, only to point at M’ Badu as he wanted Badu to enter the match. Comoroto had his back turned for a split second and TNT took advantage, but were taken down by Comoroto with a double clothesline. Terrence then hit a side slam on Marshall and followed through with the Death Valley Driver with the assistance from Terrell.
Dustin tagged in, but Terrell hit a clothesline and nearly got a pinfall. TNT then started double stomping Dustin in the corner. Badu took over after tagging in and threw strikes to Dustin. After being manhandled by TNT, Dustin power slammed Terrell and finally tagged Comoroto back in. Comoroto body slammed Badu and then hit a double move on both Terrell, Badu. Comoroto finished Badu off with the military press slam to win the match.
Dustin Rhodes, QT Marshall, and Nick Comoroto defeated TNT, and M’ Badu via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The story behind this match was really the size and power difference between Comoroto and Badu, nothing more. It’s obvious AEW is high on Comoroto since he has been featured more prominently over the last few weeks.
2. KC Navarro vs. Rey Fenix. Navarro and Fenix dodged a series of moves throughout the early stages of the match, before Fenix threw chops to Navarro and hit him with technical moves. Navarro delivered boots to the side of the head of the Fenix, who caught Navarro in mid-air after a failed crossbody attempt. Navarro hit a millionaire stun gun as a counter. Afterward, Fenix powered through with a kick. Navarro hit a running slice on Fenix and get a two count. After the count, Fenix won the match by hitting a frog splash on Navarro.
Rey Fenix defeated KC Navarro via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: These two are great in their own right, but the match took a little while to get going since both men can’t dodge each other’s moves. With that said, the match picked up toward the end and Excalibur played up some parts to where Navarro could have upset Fenix on Dark, but that never came to fruition with Fenix ultimately picking up the win.
3. Tesha Price vs. Tay Conti. Conti hit a Flatliner right out of the gate to Price, who countered with a roll up and received only a two count. Conti used the ropes illegally by stretching Price’s arm before the ref broke the hold. Conti performed a series of clotheslines and a leaping kick in the turnbuckle. Eventually, Conti hit the TayKO to put away Price for the win.
Tay Conti defeated Tesha Price via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A simple squash win for Conti, who ended Price pretty quickly.
The Waiting Room with Britt Baker aired with Ricky Starks as guest. As Starks was introduced, he hyped up the Street Fight match with him and Brian Cage facing Darby Allin and Sting at the AEW Revolution pay-per-view. Baker told Starks he was a shining star when he came to AEW. Starks was sweet talking with Baker before Tony Schiavaone interrupted and said, “Fans, we are out of time”…
Briar’s Take: What the hell was the point of advertising or even showing The Waiting Room if the segment was going to be less than five minutes? Nothing really happened here at all. At this point, the “Walk Off” is a better segment and that’s not saying much.
4. Dani Jordyn vs. Thunder Rosa. Rosa performed a bodyslam and a sit-out senton. Jordyn countered with an uppercut and a dropkick to the face of Rosa. Rosa fired back with a dropkick of her own, and then a running clothesline. Rosa drove a knee to Jordyn and hit a low missile dropkick as well. Rosa ended up planting Jordyn down on the ground to pick up the victory.
Thunder Rosa defeated Dani Jordyn via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A quick pinfall victory by Rosa and somewhat of a momentum win heading into her match with Britt Baker at “Beach Break.”
5. Fuego Del Sol and Vary Morales vs. Santana and Ortiz. Del Sol dropkicked Ortiz, but Ortiz fired back with a backbreaker before flattening out Del Sol with a slam. Santana and Ortiz executed a powerbomb and neckbreaker combination on Del Sol. Santana went for the pin, but Morales came in to make the save. Santana and Ortiz followed with a fireman’s carry to Del Sol and won the match.
Santana and Ortiz defeated Fuego Del Sol and Vary Morales via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: As soon as I saw Del Sol and Morales facing Santana and Ortiz, I knew Del Sol and Morales stood no chance. Unfortunately for them, that proved true, as Santana and Ortiz powered through them with ease.
6. Katalina Perez vs. Leyla Hirsch. Hirsch took Perez down a few times with a waist lock as the match started. Hirsch threw a knee to Perez and made her tap out quickly to the arm bar to gain the victory.
Leyla Hirsch defeated Katalina Perez via submission.
Briar’s Take: Another quick squash match here with Hirsch winning. It’s hard to really get invested into a match where they are short to begin with.
An Acclaimed rap video aired…
7. Ryzin and Danny Limelight vs. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens. Limelight performed a leaping moonsault on Caster to the outside. Ryzin performed leg lariat on Caster, who caught Ryzin’s crossbody attempt. Caster hit an elbow drop and dropkick combination to Ryzin.
As things settled down, Caster and Bowens continued to beat down Ryzin. Bowens lifted up Ryzin and slammed him down with a back body drop. Ryzin made a tag to Limelight, who hit a step up kick on Caster. Limelight followed with the flying double knees. Caster powered back with a clothesline to Ryzin and then hit the Claim To Fame for the victory.
The Acclaimed defeated Ryzin and Danny Limelight via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A quality matchup between The Acclaimed and Ryzin, Limelight. Both teams had the opportunity to score victories here with Ryzin, Limelight getting some offense throughout the match. More good stuff here from The Acclaimed as they start their build back to the top in the tag team division.
8. Shawn Dean, Baron Black, Aaron Solow, and Mike Verna vs. Bear Country, Sonny Kiss, and Joey Janela. Janela hit a snap German suplex on Solow, then Kiss performed a crossbody from the top rope. Verna tagged in and delivered a snap powerslam on Kiss. Black put Kiss in an abominable stretch and performed Backstabber on Kiss. Dean entered the match and hit a sit0out spinebuster on Kiss. Solow eventually returned to the match and followed with the diving stomp on Kiss.
Later, Bear Bronson finally entered the match after tagging in. With assistance from Boulder, Bronson performed a splash from the top rope. Janela won the match for his team with an elbow drop.
Bear Country, Sonny Kiss, and Joey Janela defeated Shawn Dean, Baron Black, Aaron Solow, and Mike Verna via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A dominating victory by Bear Country, Kiss, and Janela and nothing more.
A Scorpio Sky podcast ad aired.
9. Vertvixen and Jazmin Allure vs. Ivelisse and Diamante. Diamante and Ivelisse quickly fired away on Vertvixen and Allure as the bell rang. Vertvixen threw kicks to Ivelisse, but Ivelisse countered by tagging in Diamante. Later, Diamante, and Allure were tagged in and Allure delivered a flipping neckbreaker t Diamante. However, Diamante and Ivelisse landed the double kicks to Vertvixen to score the win.
Ivelisse and Diamante defeated Vertvixen and Jazmin Allure via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Another week, another win for Ivelisse and Diamante.
10. John Skyler and Ray Jaz vs. “Gunn Club” Billy and Colten Gunn. Austin Gunn sat in on commentary. Colten put Jaz in a scissors lock and hit the arm drag as well. Colten planted Jaz down with a dropkick and did the same to Skyler after he tagged in. Billy made the tag and forearm shivered Skyler’s kidneys. Skyler fired strikes to Billy until Jaz tagged in and locked in the front headlock on Billy. Skyler tagged in quickly again to capitalize on Billy and hit the leaping spear through the ropes to Billy. Billy fired back with a spiked DDT. Colten hit two big splashes on Skyler and Jaz in the corner. Colten lifted over Skyle, as Billy planted him down for the victory.
Gunn Club defeated John Skyler and Ray Jaz via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A solid matchup from Billy and Colten here. Was definitely intriguing to see Colten and Billy team up without having Austin in the match, as I believe this was the first time both Colten and Billy teamed with each other without Austin in the ring.
A Chris Jericho Bubbly ad aired.
11. Alex Gracia vs. Red Velvet. Velvet performed an arm drag from the top rope and followed a leg lariat. Velvet rolled through with a sunset flip, but Gracia locked in a quick crucifix submission on the ropes illegally to Velvet. Gracia hit the senton to Velvet. Shortly thereafter, Velvet executed a standing bulldog and moonsault for a two count. Velvet struck with knees to the back and then to the face of Gracia for the victory.
Red Velvet defeated Alex Gracia via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Velvet continues her recent winning ways on Dark by picking up her seventh consecutive victory.
12. Jake St. Patrick vs. “10” Preston Vance. Vance caught Patrick for a delayed suplex and a powerful kick to the back. Patrick tried firing back with a running dropkick to Vance. Vance dropped Patrick with a clothesline and a back body drop. Vance followed with a spinebuster to Patrick and a lifted powerbomb for the pinfall.
“10” defeated Jake St. Patrick via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Vance came off as unstoppable during this match.
A Young Bucks book ad aired.
13. “Chaos Project” Luther and Serpentinco vs. “SCU” Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels. Kazarian dropped Serpentinco on the mat as Kazarian had Serpentinco’s wrist locked in. Kazarian followed up with a flying arm bar before tagging out. Daniels threw a small dropkick until tagging Kazarian, who flew over the top with a leg drop. Luther slammed Kazarian on the ground, but tagged Serpentinco in and started using him on Kazarian.
Luther made the tag again and picked up Serpentinco to drop him on Kazarian. Serpentinco performed swinging DDT on Kazarian and got a two count. Daniels and Luther tagged in, but Daniels hit the back heel trip to Luther, who came back with a leg lariat. Daniels fired back with the Angel’s Wings for a two count. Serpentinco missed a step-up enzuigiri, which allowed Daniels and Kazarian to hit Celebrity Rehab for the win.
Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels defeated Luther and Serpentinco via pinfall.
Excalibur hyped “Beach Break” for Wednesday’s Dynamite to close the show…
Briar’s Take: A good closing match with two caliber teams with years of experience. There was no question that SCU would get the win, but Chaos Project continues to do their thing and looks great in every match.
Overall, this episode of Dark was a mix bag. There were some high spots, but the matches were too short to amount to anything and be invested in. There was really no story to most of the matches. The Waiting Room segment was a disappointment due to how short it segment was. If KC Navarro and Rey Fenix had more time, they would have a standout match, as both are nearly similar in styles. I would definitely go out of your way to watch Navarro vs. Fenix since both are so good, and especially go out of your way to see the SCU vs. Chaos Project match. The Acclaimed facing Ryzin and Danny Limelight was also okay in its own right. Otherwise, everything else was simply filler. Episode 73 clocked in at 1 hour, 51 minutes, and 43 seconds. Final Score: 7.0 out of 10.