By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 77)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed March 2, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur welcomed viewers to Dark and was joined on commentary by Taz and Anthony Ogogo. Excalibur hyped Shaq and Jade Cargill vs. Cody and Red Velvet for Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite, and the AEW Revolution pay-per-view for Sunday night.
1. Louie Valle and Chris Peaks vs. Lee Johnson and Aaron Solow (w/Arn Anderson). Solow and Valle started the match for their respective teams. Solow took Valle down with a side headlock takeover. Johnson tagged in and hit a double axe handle on Valle before quickly tagging in Solow. The duo continued to make numerous tags and beat down Valle.
Peaks finally tagged in briefly, but Valle made the blind tag and hit the double stomp to Solow. Valle suplexed Solow and went for the cover, but only got a two count. Johnson then hit a dropkick to Valle. Johnson finished the match with a Blue Thunder Bomb on Valle to pick up their win.
Lee Johnson and Aaron Solow defeated Louie Valle and Chris Peaks via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Johnson and Solow picked up their first tag team victory as a stable, as Excalibur noted. This wasn’t a bad match by any means. Both teams did great work and were intriguing to watch.
Excalibur hyped the AEW Revolution PPV and ran down the card.
2. Ivelisse and Diamante vs. Red Velvet and KiLynn King. Diamante and Velvet threw strikes back and forth when the bell rang. Velvet took down Diamante with a leg lariat. King and Velvet made tags to prevent Ivelisse from tagging Diamante again. With the help from King, Velvet was planted on Ivelisse, who then tried locking in a triangle submission hold, but the submission hold was broken with the referee’s five count.
Diamante landed a diving dropkick to King. Ivelisse covered King, but got a two count in the process. King countered with a clothesline to stop Ivelisse’s momentum. Velvet hit a standing moonsault press on Diamante, but her cover was broken up by Ivelisse. Velvet threw a hook kick and a running boot to the side of the head of the Ivelisse to win the match.
Red Velvet and KiLynn King defeated Diamante and Ivelisse via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: There was no question Velvet’s team would win considering her big matchup on Wednesday night. Wit that in mind, you could somewhat consider this match a rematch, as Diamante and Ivelisse faced KiLynn King in a tag team match a couple of weeks ago on Dark.
3. Fuego Del Sol and Jon Cruz vs. “Top Flight” Darius and Dante Martin. Darius hit a shoulder block to Del Sol once the match started and then a dropkick that sent Del Sol down. Dante tagged in and hit a running clothesline in the corner. Dante followed with an over the top rope move on Del Sol. Cruz and Dante fought each other briefly before Cruz tagged in Del Sol again. Del Sol performed a shooting star press on Dante. Darius came into the match once more and executed a Spanish Fly on Cruz.
Del Sol and Cruz hit a combo tag team move, then Cruz performed a jumping sucidia on Dante onto the outside. Del Sol jumped off the top rope with a Cancun tornado on both Martin brothers. Top Flight finished off Del Sol with a bulldog to score the win.
Top Flight defeated Fuego Del Sol and Jon Cruz via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: While the outcome was predictable, this match was competitive and both teams put on a heck of a show. Excalibur hyped numerous times that Top Flight is ranked No. 5 in the tag team rankings and are undefeated so far in 2021.
4. Tony Vega, Aaron Frye, and Angel Fashion vs. “Gunn Club” Austin, Billy, and Colten Gunn. Austin hit the flipping facebuster on Frye before tagging Colten in. Colten hit a hanging neckbreaker on Frye and got a two count. The Gunn Club triple teamed Vega, but Vega laid out Austin with a clothesline. Fashion Irish whipped Austin hard into the corner.
Austin finally made the tag to Billy after being dominated by Vega, Frye, and Fashion. Billy planted Vega that sent him to the outside. Billy would hit a Fameasser on Fashion, but Frye broke the pinfall up. Colten and Austin landed a backdrop on Fashion, which allowed Billy to win the match.
Gunn Club defeated Tony Vega, Aaron Frye, and Angel Fashion via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: This was the first time in a few weeks that we saw the Gunn Club wrestle on Dark. That said, the team continues their winning streak dating back to their debut.
5. Renee Michelle vs. Abadon. Abadon stopped Michelle with a clothesline and threw her across the ring. Abadon hit the Cemetery Drive on Michelle to score the victory.
Abadon defeated Renee Michelle via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Well, at least that match was quick and painless.
Another Dynamite ad was aired.
6. JD Drake vs. Stu Grayson w/Dark Order and -1). Drake and Grayson traded chops and then fought to the outside. Drake rolled Grayson back into the ring and hit a senton. Drake followed with a snapmare and drilled a knee into the back to Grayson, who came back with a springboard move. Drake hit a diving leg drop off the middle rope and got a two count. Grayson rallied with a huracanrana from the outside. Grayson hoisted Drake onto his shoulders and hit the Nightfall to end the match.
Stu Grayson defeated JD Drake via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: This match started out slow, but eventually picked up toward the end.
An Acclaimed rap video was shown…
7. M’ Badu and Baron Black vs. “Bear Country” Bear Bronson and Bear Boulder. Bronson hit a standing diving elbow on Black. Bronson continued to beat down Black and then knocked Badu to the floor. Badu planted Bronson on the apron for payback. Black followed through by grabbing the left shoulder and running it into the turnbuckle. Badu made his way into the match and performed a big shoulder block on Bronson.
Badu planted Bronson with a powerslam. Bronson hit Black with a sit-out suplex. Boulder tagged in and back body dropped Black. Boulder followed up with a double Samoan drop. With the help from Boulder, Bronson landed on Black to win the match.
Bear Country defeated M’ Badu and Baron Black via pinfall.
Following the match, The Butcher and The Blade jumped Bear Country.
Briar’s Take: It’s obvious that AEW continues to be high on Bear Country, as theyy continues to rack up victories every week.
8. Levy Shapiro, John Skyler, and Ryzin vs. Evil Uno, Alan “5” Angels, and Colt Cabana. Skyler threw a shoulder to the midsection of Uno. Skyler quickly tagged in Shapiro, but Uno hit the Manhattan Drop on Shapiro. Angels tagged in and dropkicked Shapiro. Cabana performed a diving elbow on Shapiro.
The Dark Order team continued to dominate Shapiro without letting him tag out. Shapiro found an opening by hitting a fist drop from the rope. Angels hit a backward frog splash on Skyler, but Shapiro broke the pinfall count. Skyler tagged in Ryzin, but Uno hit a Flatliner on Ryzin to win.
Evil Uno, Alan “5” Angels, and Colt Cabana defeated Levy Shapiro, John Skyler, and Ryzin via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Poor Ryzin. He tagged in, never got much of a chance, and was quickly put away by Uno. The Dark Order showed good tag team chemistry.
A Young Bucks book ad aired…
9. JJ Garrett vs. Max Caster. Garrett performed an area code shot on Caster and a running spear in the turnbuckle. Caster performed a shoulder tackle to Garrett. Caster hit a knee drop on Garrett, then went for a suplex from the top rope, but Garrett countered with a moonsault press. Garrett followed through with a running senton and made the cover for a two count. Caster went for a low blow while the ref was distracted and hit the brainbuster. Caster went to the top rope and performed a Mic Drop to score the victory.
Max Caster defeated JJ Garrett via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A simple spotlight for Caster ahead of his Ladder Match qualifying match on Dynamite. Garrett got more offense in than expected.
10. Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo vs. “TH2” Jack Evans and Angelico. Bravo went for a dropkick, but missed it in the process as Angelico waited on the ropes. Evans and Dean tagged in with Dean trying to get the upperhand on Evans. Dean swept Evans’ leg and performed an arm drag. Bravo was put in a quick illegal submission by Evans.
Dean dropkicked Angelico and Evans. Dean followed with a spike DDT on Angelico and then covered him. Dean and Bravo almost got a quick upset victory on TH2, but Evans came in to save the day. Angelico kicked Bravo and then made him tap out to his submission finisher.
TH2 defeated Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo via submission.
Briar’s Take: The match was kind of thrown out there. TH2 dominant for the most part.
11. Steven Stetson vs. Orange Cassidy. Cassidy tried putting Stetson in a Scorpion Death Lock, but Stetson got to the ropes to break the hold. Cassidy dropkicked Stetson, who came back with a high boot. Cassidy came back with the Orange Punch and the Beach Break to score the pinfall.
Orange Cassidy defeated Steven Stetson via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Somewhat of a comedy match, but the victory gave Cassidy momentum heading into Sunday night’s tag match against Miro and Kip Sabian
A Scorpio Sky podcast ad was shown.
12. VSK vs. Chuck Taylor. VSK planted Taylor with a bodyslam and went for the cover that resulted in a two count. Taylor hit Sole Food on VSK and a high boot to stop VSK’s momentum. Taylor performed a vertical suplex on VSK, who countered by throwing kicks and a swinging DDT. VSK followed up with a jumping sucidia on Taylor on the outside. However, Taylor quickly turned the tables by hitting a falcon arrow and went for the pin, but VSK kicked out. Taylor performed a jumping piledriver to put VSK away.
Chuck Taylor defeated VSK via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Like the Cassidy match, this match was a tuneup for Sunday’s tag match. VSK and Taylor went back and forth for a short while to make this an enjoyable match.
13. Daniel Joseph vs. “10” Preston Vance. Vance sent Joseph to the apron with a clothesline. Vance followed with a punt kick. Vance followed up with a spinebuster and a powerbomb on Joseph to score the quick victory.
10 defeated Daniel Joseph via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Definitely one of the brief matches of the night. 10 get some momentum going into his ladder match qualifying match against Caster.
14. Mike and Matt Sydal vs. “SCU” Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels. Mike hit a diving foot stomp to the midsection of Kazarian and a standing moonsault press. Kazarian fired back and then tagged in Daniels. Mike dropkicked Daniels, then Matt followed with a dropkick to the side of the head of Daniels as well. Matt hit a Northern Lights Bomb on Daniels and went for the pin, but Daniels kicked out at two.
Daniels and Kazarian performed a low sweep clothesline on Mike. Daniels hit an elbow drop on Mike. Kazarian hit a flipping neckbreaker on Mike. Kazarian delivered a German suplex to Mike, who stopped Daniels’ momentum with a DDT and then tagged in Matt.
Matt executed a huracanrana on Kazarian and followed with a leg lariat. Mike hit a step up enziguri on Kazarian, who kicked out again at two. Kazarian hit the cutter on Mike, but Matt made the save. SCU then finished the match with the Best Meltzer Ever.
SCU defeated Mike and Matt Sydal via pinfall.
Excalibur ran down the card for Wednesday’s Dynamite to close out Dark.
Briar’s Take: An unpredictable match from both teams, but I think it was quite obvious that SCU would pick up the victory due to their continuing storyline that if they lose then they are done as a tag team. Despite that, this was one of the best matches of the night, as both teams are quite talented.
Overall, this episode of Dark was one of the better produced episodes in quite some time. I’m not sure if that had to do with the Revolution PPV coming up on Sunday, but this show was definitely better. Some of the matches were just kind of out there to fill up time, but others were built around Dynamite and Revolution.
Speaking of Revolution, I get that Excalibur’s job to hype the show, but I don’t think you could have gone five minutes without him saying the show is on Sunday. That said, I think the match of the night contender definitely goes to SCU and The Sydal Brothers. Both teams consist of veterans and they had a hell of a match. The opening bout with Lee Johnson and Aaron Solow vs. Louie Valle and Chris Peaks was also a decent. Episode 77 clocked in at 1 hour, 55 minutes, 04 seconds. Final Score: 7.5 out of 10.