By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 90)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed May 25, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur welcomed us to Dark and was joined by Taz on commentary…
1. Duke Davis vs. Nick Comoroto. Comoroto hit a powerslam and a powerbomb for the quick victory.
Nick Comoroto defeated Duke Davis via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Your typical enhancement match with Comoroto getting the victory in a matter of seconds.
2. Duke Davis vs. Aaron Solow. Davis threw a dropkick that sent Solow out of the ring. However, Solow hooked the knee and began stomping on Davis. Solow followed with the corkscrew kick to Davis and hit a pedigree type finisher to lay out Davis quickly.
Aaron Solow defeating Duke Davis via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Ooof. Davis had a rough outing in his AEW singles debut.
3. Dillon McQueen vs. Preston “10” Vance. McQueen bounced off the ropes only to be run into a shoulder tackle by Vance. The two fought on the outside briefly with McQueen sending Vance into the guardrail. McQueen hit the double knees to the spine of Vance as he laid on the ropes. McQueen came off the middle rope with a Flatliner to Vance and almost got the upset victory. Vance regained momentum with a clotheslines and hit the sit-out clothesline to McQueen. Vance eventually locked in a Full Nelson to make McQueen tap out.
Preston “10” Vance beat Dillon McQueen via submission.
Briar’s Take: McQueen is a trainee out of the Cody Rhodes Nightmare Factory and made his debut here. McQueen had a good solid outing while it lasted before Vance put him away.
4. Steve Andrews and Simon Lotto vs. Evil Uno and Colt Cabana. Cabana and Uno hit the Manhattan Drop and dropkick combination on Andrews. Andrews rolled out to tag in Lotto for the first time. Cabana got Lotto with the elbow and Uno flat lined Andrews. Uno hit the rip cord on Lotto to get the victory.
Evil Uno and Colt Cabana defeated Steve Andrews and Simon Lotto via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A brief match here and another victory for Uno and Cabana.
An AEW Mobile Casino game ad was aired.
5. The Bunny and Madi Wrenkowski vs. Big Swole and KiLynn King. King hit a clothesline that sent Wrenkowski down. The Bunny tried providing a distraction to King, but King denied her and tagged out. Swole performed a flapjack on Wrenkowski and got the two count. The Bunny tagged in briefly and began striking Swole. King hit a powerful clothesline to The Bunny and a release German suplex on Wrenkowski. Wrenkowski countered the Kingdom’s Fall with a facebuster on King. However, Swole immediately struck Wrenkowski with the back elbow and got the win.
Big Swole and KiLynn King defeated The Bunny and Madi Wrenkowski via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good women’s match for what it was. Wrenkowski put in a good showing and was decent in this match.
6. Kal Herro and Liam Gray vs. Billy and Colten Gunn. Billy started the match with a shoulder block on Herro. Colten tagged in and threw a clothesline at Herro. Billy returned to the ring and laid out Herro with a boot, thus preventing Herro from making the tag to Gray. Colten hit an extended dropkick on Herro. Finally, Herro found an opening and tagged out. Gray came in with momentum and attempted a jumping sucidia on the outside on Billy, but Billy moved at the last second. Colt hit the Colt45 on Gray to score the victory.
Billy and Colten Gunn defeated Kal Herro and Liam Gray via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: This match was just kind of there. Almost nothing really occurred.
A Diamante video promo was shown with Diamante looking forward to her match with Tehaka.
7. Vertvixen vs. Leyla Hirsch. Hirsch went for the rollup early and power slammed Vertvixen on the mat. Hirsch quickly hit a release German suplex. Hirsch followed up with a knee strike and made Vertvixen tap out to an arm breaker.
Leyla Hirsch defeated Vertvixen via submission.
Briar’s Take: Another week, another victory for Hirsch.
8. Jason Hotch vs. Dante Martin. Dante leaped off the bottom rope with a dropkick and went for a quick cover. Hotch came back and planted Martin with a vertical suplex. Hotch then hit a backbreaker that laid out Martin. Martin fired back with a clothesline and a dropkick and then leapt off the middle rope with a moonsault press. Martin went up top and hit the 450 splash for the win.
Dante Martin defeated Jason Hotch via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Martin is a great wrestler and he will continue to shine as he gains experience, but is it bad that I know when he is setting up for his finishing maneuver?
Dasha Gonzalez was shown interviewing Angelico backstage for his match on Dark against Ryzin.
9. Reka Tehaka vs. Diamante. Diamante rolled up Tehaka for a pin, but Tehaka kicked out at two. Tehaka hit a headbutt while Diamante was in the corner and then threw a headbutt to the midsection. Diamante rebounded with a backstabber and landed the Code Red for the win.
Diamante defeated Reka Tehaka via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Diamante was absolutely dominant in this match. Tehaka showed some moves, but never got out of first gear.
10. Joey Janela vs. Bear Bronson. Bronson hit an explosive clothesline to Janela that turned him inside out. Janela tried firing back, but he was caught with a spinebuster and an elbow drop from Bronson. Janela gained some momentum with a dropkick to the knee of Bronson. Janela attempted to roll over Bronson, but Bronson sat down on him. The two were fighting on the top rope before Janela hit a powerbomb that sent both to the ground. Janela threw a thrust kick and hit a diving elbow drop to get the victory.
Joey Janela defeated Bear Bronson via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A somewhat surprising outcome here. While I am not totally shocked that Janela got the victory, I figured Bronson would go over.
11. Ryzin vs. Angelico. Ryzin hit a Manhattan Drop and a boot to the side of the head. Angelico found an opportunity after Ryzin missed a move when he was in the corner and locked in the Navarro Death Roll, but Ryzin broke the hold by getting to the ropes. Ryzin gained momentum and hit a crossbody on Angelico. However, Ryzin missed the moonsault from the top rope, which allowed Angelico to make Ryzin tap out to the Navarro Death Roll.
Angelico defeated Ryzin via submission.
Briar’s Take: A decent back and forth match from both men with Angelico getting the victory.
Backstage, Alex Marvez interviewed Joey Janela, who spoke about his victory. He also talked about Sonny Kiss’s match against Brian Cage and said he was going to be out there to make sure Team Taz doesn’t interfere.
12. Julia Hart vs. Tesha Price. Price fired away quickly on Hart with strikes. Hart countered with multiple arm drags and a hip toss. Price threw Hart across the ring and hit a back elbow strike in the process. Hart began making her comeback with a moonsault press on Price that led to a two count. Hart then hit the splitting leg drop that sent Price down for the victory.
Julia Hart defeated Tesha Price via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: After going 0-3, Hart picks up her AEW victory against Price. It’ll be interesting to see where AEW goes from here with Hart.
13. Sonny Kiss vs. Brian Cage. Kiss drove in the leg lariat to Cage, but Cage countered the rabid dismissal with a clothesline. Cage locked in the Boston crab while he had Kiss on the ropes. However, referee Aubrey Edwards made Cage break the hold since the submission was not legal. Kiss attempted to get momentum back with a step up huracanrana and even hit a jumping suicida on Cage to the outside. Kiss leapt from the ropes with a springboard crossbody block. Cage looked for the Drill Claw, but Kiss escaped it the first time. Kiss went for the roundhouse kick and performed the splits, but Cage kicked out at two. Kiss’s comeback was short lived as Cage landed the Weapon X to score the win.
Brian Cage defeated Sonny Kiss via pinfall.
After the match, Hook entered the ring to attack Kiss. Janela come out to the apron. However, as Hook was attacking Kiss, Janela stayed on the outside and walked to the back, leaving Kiss helpless.
Briar’s Take: What you would expect for an AEW Dark Main Event? Close pinfalls and a competitive match up. However this time, the ending was surely unique with Janela leaving his partner empty handed in the ring. I assume this is the break up of the “New Jersey Connection.”
All in all, a standard episode of AEW Dark. There were some nice matches and moments throughout the show. Joey Janela and Bear Bronson was a good match, Nightmare Factory trainee Dillon McQueen made the most of his AEW debut, and Julia Hart got her first win in singles competition. That said, this show will probably be remembered most for the ending with Janela leaving his partner Kiss helpless in the middle of the ring. Episode 90 clocked in at 1 hour, 32 minutes, and 43 seconds. Final Score: 7.7 out of 10.