By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 99)
Taped July 21, 2021 in Garland, Texas at the Curtis Culwell Center
Streamed July 27, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
AEW Dark opened with Evil Uno and Stu Grayson hyping up the Adam Page and Dark Order vs. The Elite elimination match for Wednesday’s Dynamite. Uno told The Elite they hope they’re watching, because it will be a preview of what’s to come… The broadcast team of Excalibur and Taz then welcomed us to Dark…
1. Alejandra Lion vs. Red Velvet. Velvet hit a double knee strike on Lion and followed with a standing moonsault press. Eventually, Velvet performed The Final Slice to gain the victory.
Red Velvet defeated Alejandra Lion via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A brief match. Lion made her AEW debut, but she barely got any offense in.
An AEW Elite General Manager Ad was shown.
A Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss pre-tape aired with Janela saying that he and Kiss are back as a tag team. He said AEW Dark episode 100 will begin their restart toward a tag team title match with The Young Bucks.
2. Killa Kate vs. Abadon. Abadon threw an uppercut to Kate after countering a submission move. Abadon charged Kate, who dodged her at the last second. Abadon regained momentum with a back hand to Kate and finished her off with a DDT.
Abadon defeated Killa Kate via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Same song, 20th verse.
A recap was shown of Diamante interfering in Big Swole’s match against The Bunny, as well as the Big Swole post-match interview.
3. Diamante vs. Big Swole. Swole and Diamante performed arm drags as the match began before Swole landed a kick that knocked Diamante down. Diamante countered back with an elbow to Swole. Diamante hit a few stomps in the corner to Swole that slowed down the match some. She charged with a dropkick to Swole to continue her dominance. Swole came back with multiple cross chops and took Diamante down with a headbutt. Diamante sat down on Swole and held onto the ropes for advantage to get the victory.
Diamante defeated Big Swole via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: After all that hype, this match felt like a let down, especially that ending. It felt like the match ended abruptly after Swole attempted to roll up Diamante. The announcers even questioned the referee for not seeing Diamante holding onto the ropes for her to gain the advantage. Either way, I was really looking forward to this match because both wrestlers are great, but the match just never got into high gear.
An AEW Rampage video was shown.
4. Zach Mason and Warren Johnson vs. Dark Order’s Evil Uno and Stu Grayson. Mason kept Uno isolated in the corner for a brief period. Mason locked in a short submission hold on Uno and prevented him tagging out for a stretch. Uno suplexed Mason and both men tagged out. Grayson executed a belly to belly suplex on Johnson to send him to the outside. Grayson then leaped over the top rope and landed on both Johnson and Mason. Back inside the ring, Mason was hit with a high boot by Uno, while Grayson connected with a running knee strike to finish off Mason.
Dark Order’s Evil Uno and Stu Grayson defeated Zach Mason and Warren Johnson via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: One of the stronger matches of the night. Dark Order looked good here and it gave them some momentum ahead of their match on Wednesday night.
5. Dante Martin and “The Varsity Blonds” Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison vs. Ryan Nemeth and “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens. Pillman hit a high crossbody on Bowens and Nemeth and then tagged in out. Garrison entered and took down Bowens with a big boot and then sent Nemeth to the outside. Garrison performed a big splash in the corner on both Bowens and Caster. Bowens planted Pillman and threw a thrust kick at Garrison.
Martin performed a moonsault press on Bowens. Pillman Jr went to cover Caster for the win, but Caster kicked out. Martin threw a shotgun dropkick at Caster and a standing dropkick on Nemeth. Martin leaped over the top rope and landed on everyone on the outside. In the ring, he hit the Olympic Cutter on Nemeth to win the match.
The Varsity Blonds and Dante Martin defeated Ryan Nemeth and The Acclaimed via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A hell of a match, especially that spot with Dante Martin going over the top rope to the floor. It’s been interesting to see Dante get a singles run. He’s a regular member of the Top Flight tag team, but his brother Darius has been sidelined by an injury. It was a great show closing match with both teams firing on all cylinders.
Overall, this episode of Dark was sort of a letdown despite the main event. The first few matches didn’t really stand out. Diamante vs. Big Swole was disappointing with the short build up time and the flat ending that seemed a little off. You’ll have these shows from time to time where not much happens and it could just depend on which talent are available to wrestle. Either way, this show was missable aside from the final two matches. Episode 99 clocked in at 44 minutes and 09 seconds. Final Score: 5.9 out of 10.