By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 86)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed April 27, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur welcomed us to Dark and was joined by Taz on commentary…
1. Fuego Del Sol and D3 vs. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens. D3 performed a huracanrana on Caster, but Caster fired back with an elbow strike. Bowens and Caster then performed a neckbreaker combination on D3. Bowens lifeted D3 and planted him over the top rope to the ground. D3 found a breakthrough with a leaping enzurigi and tagged in Del Sol, who performed a step up enzuigiri on Bowens. Bowens came back with a suplex on Del Sol in the corner. Eventually, Caster hit The Claim to Fame to win the match.
The Acclaimed defeated Fuego Del Sol and D3 via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good match for Caster and Bowens, who won on back-to-back nights (first on Elevation and tonight on Dark). Bowens looked good after returning from his injury.
2. David Ali and Aaron Frye vs. Matt and Mike Sydal. Mike put Ali in a strong side headlock and then executed multiple arm drags. Matt tagged in and snap mared and rolled Ali in a crucifix pin for a two count. Mike hit a leg lariat and a standing moonsault press on Ali, but Frye came into the match to break the pin. Both Ali and Frye attempted a double maneuver, but the Sydal brothers sent them to the outside. Frye performed a popup powerbomb on Mike for the two count, but Mike kicked out at two. Matt executed a fisherman buster on Frye. The Sydal brothers hit the lightning combo to win the match.
Matt Sydal and Mike Sydal defeated David Ali and Aaron Frye via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: This match was simply a preview for the Sydal brothers ahead of their match with the Young Bucks on Dynamite.
3. Andrew Palace vs. Dante Martin. Martin hit an exploding dropkick that sent Palace to the ground. Martin leapt from the rope with a crossbody on Palace, who came back with a suplex and a backdrop driver. Martin regained momentum and hit a 450 splash to put Palace away for the victory.
Dante Martin defeated Andrew Palace via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: It sure has been interesting to see Dante in singles action. Despite being in singles action rather than tagging with his brother, he continues to shine.
4. Duke Davis and Ganon Jones vs. “The Varsity Blonds” Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr. Pillman threw multiple kicks to the midsection to Jones and followed through with a dropkick. Garrison and Pillman front suplexed Jones and lifted Davis over the top. Davis hit a backbreaker on Pillman and followed up with shoulder tackles. Jones attempted a moonsault, but Pillman rolled over, causing Jones to miss the move. Garrison tagged in and speared Davis while Pillman successfully hit a powerbomb combination.
The Varsity Blonds defeated Duke Davis and Ganon Jones via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: There was no question that Varsity Blonds would get the victory here.
5. Marty Casaus vs. Brian Cage. Casaus threw a big kick to Cage and hit multiple crossfaces. Cage caught Casaus with a Death Valley Driver. Cage came back with a waist lock German release suplex. Casaus hit a northern lights suplex on Cage and went for a pin, but Cage kicked out. Casaus went over the top and landed on Cage at ringside. Cage lifted Casaus and planted him down with the Drill Claw.
Brian Cage defeated Marty Casaus via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Cage took longer here then he should have and they gave Casaus a lot more offense than I expected in his debut.
A Scorpio Sky podcast ad aired.
A Matt Hardy segment with The Butcher and The Blade was shown with shotes fired at the Dark Order.
6. Renee Michelle vs. Leyla Hirsch. Hirsch locked Michelle into an armbar, but Michelle made it to the ropes to break the hold. Michelle tried firing back with stomps on Hirsch. Michelle missed a moonsault press. Hirsch delivered a knee strike to the side of the head and made Michelle tap out for the win.
Leyla Hirsch defeated Renee Michelle via submission.
Briar’s Take: It had been a few weeks since Hirsch was on Dark, as she has been wrestling on Elevation. Hirsch is always good in the ring.
7. Jake St. Patrick vs. Lance Archer. St. Patrick tried getting a head start by trying to jump on Archer, who caught him and chokeslammed him on the outside while his music was still playing. Archer followed up with multiple bodyslams. St. Patrick went for a moonsault, but Archer hit him with a kick and finished him off a short time later.
Lance Archer defeated Jake St. Patrick via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Poor St. Patrick. He was absolutely manhandled before the match by Archer.
A Dark Order segment was shown with the group talking about their match with Matt Hardy, The Butcher, and The Blade on Dark.
8. Raychell Rose vs. Diamante. Diamante tried a Russian leg sweep, but Rose caught her off guard. After the failed first attempt, Diamante hit the leg sweep on her second attempt. Diamante threw a second dropkick while Rose was in the corner. Diamante then performed a modified stunner and quickly followed with a Code Red to win the match.
Diamante defeated Raychell Rose via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: There was no question that Diamante would win here.
9. Will Allday vs. Lee Johnson. Allday executed a deep arm drag on Johnson followed by a step up huracanrana. Johnson fired back with a dropkick to stop Allday in his tracks. Allday hit a flying forearm that led to a two count. Johnson then hit a hanging neckbreaker. Allday countered with a flying moonsault from the top rope. Johnson hit a fisherman’s suplex and spiked Allday to the mat for the win.
Lee Johnson defeated Will Allday via pinfall.
After the match, QT Marshall attacked Johnson from behind.
Briar’s Take: A good competitive matchup between Johnson and Allday. This is the third consecutive episode of Dark that Allday has been on and he continues to impress in every outing.
10. Ashley D’Amboise vs. Penelope Ford. Ford attempted to lift D’Amboise up, but D’Amboise rolled Ford up for a pin attempt. Ford threw a clothesline and a knee lift to D’Amboise. Ford leapt from the ropes for a cutter and finished D’Amboise off with a fisherman’s suplex.
Penelope Ford defeated Ashley D’Amboise via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A quick match.
11. Cole Karter vs. Colt Cabana. Karter threw a dropkick that sent Cabana to the corner. Cabana came back with the flying apple in return and the Superman pin to score the victory.
Colt Cabana defeated Cole Karter via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: I don’t even think that match lasted two minutes. Karter seems to be very young in his wrestling career. It will be exciting to see where his career goes from here.
12. Dani Jordyn vs. KiLynn King. King performed a side headlock takedown on Jordyn multiple times. Jordyn attempted a crossbody to the outside on King, but King hit a fallaway slam on Jordyn. Both women returned to the ring and Jordyn hit a spike DDT. King then hit a flipping neckbreaker from the top rope. King continued her momentum by hitting a release German suplex on Jordyn. King hit Kingdom Falls to gain the victory.
KiLynn King defeated Dani Jordyn via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A great match. Both wrestlers did a great job. Kudos to them.
13. Liam Gray and Adrian Alanis vs. “SCU” Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian. Gray performed a shoulder block on Daniels as the bell rang. Kazarian tagged in and threw a kick to Gray. Kazarian then hit a leg lariat. Alanis checked in and hit a backbreaker on Kazarian and followed up with a spinebuster. Daniels tagged in and hit an STO on Gray. Eventually, SCU hit the BME on Gray to win the match.
Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian defeated Liam Gray and Adrian Alanis via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Another solid match here by SCU. They always look good in every match they compete in.
14. The Blade and “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy vs. Dark Order’s Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, and “10” Preston Vance. Late in the match, Grayson leapt from the middle ropes, landing on Kassidy. Vance tagged in and threw a punt kick at Kassidy. Uno hit an assisted powerbomb combination and almost got the victory, but Blade interfered. Vance hit a spinebuster on Quen, which eventually caused all members to hit their signature moves on each other. Vance made Blade tap out to a full nelson.
Dark Order Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, and “10” Preston Vance defeated The Blade and Private Party via submission.
Briar’s Take: I think this match was worthy enough to close or open Dynamite. It was a good outing, even though everyone tried getting their moves in at the end. Overall, this episode of Dark featured a lot of great in-ring action and was easy to follow despite having a 14-match card. A few matches that caught my eye were Andrew Palace vs. Dante Martin, Will Allday vs. Lee Johnson, Dani Jordyn vs. KiLynn King, and SCU vs. Liam Gray and Adrian Alanis. Each of those matches were competitive and fun to watch.
The match of the night has to go Allday vs. Johnson, as both men put on one hell of a show in a sleeper kind of a match. Kudos to both men. Episode 86 clocked in at 1 hour, 34 minutes, and 23 seconds. Final Score: 8.1 out of 10.