By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 102)
Taped August 4, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed August 10, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur welcomed us to Dark and was joined on commentary by Taz…
1. Zeda Zhang vs. Thunder Rosa. Zhang threw a knee lift into the rip cord to Rosa followed by a shotgun dropkick. Rosa stampeded Zhang into both corners and then power slammed her in the middle of the ring. Rosa hit the double knees and a dropkick in the corner. Rosa then made Zhang tap out to the Peruvian Choke hold.
Thunder Rosa defeated Zeda Zhang via submission.
Briar’s Take: This match was slow at times and somewhat sloppy. I don’t think this was Rosa’s best outing, but she gets the victory over an MMA like opponent in Zhang, who previously worked for NXT and MLW.
An AEW Rampage video was shown.
2. Skyler Moore vs. Red Velvet. Moore planted Velvet and attempted an upset pin, but Velvet kicked out at two. Moore and Velvet traded shots back and forth before Velvet hit Moore with a back elbow. Velvet finished Moore off with the Final Slice for the victory.
Red Velvet defeated Skyler Moore via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A quick victory for Velvet ahead of her women’s title match with Britt Baker for Friday’s Rampage.
An All Out ad for September 5th was shown.
3. Adrian Alanis and Liam Gray vs. “2.0” Matt Lee and Jeff Parker. Lee and Parker tagged in and out to stay on top of Alanis while preventing him from making a tag. Alanis eventually found a breakthrough and tagged out. Gray hit the leaping to kick to Lee. However, Lee came back with a backdrop. 2.0 hit a Hot Shot on Alanis on the ropes and gained the victory.
“2.0” Matt Lee and Jeff Parker defeated Adrian Alanis and Liam Gray via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Well, I can’t say much about this match. Both teams did their best, but the match never got out of gear. 2.0 dominated Alanis and Gray. AEW quickly cut away to the next match after showing 2.0 get the victory.
4. “Chaos Project” Luther and Serpentico vs. “Bear Country” Bear Bronson and Bear Boulder. Bronson powerslammed Serpentinco after Serpentinco attempted a back elbow. After tagging in, Boulder splashed Serpentinco and then Luther was caught with a side slam. Serpentinco hit the foot stomps to Bronson after Luther swept the leg of Bronson on the apron. With assistance from Luther, Serpentinco was thrown on top of Bronson. Luther planted Serpentinco with the leg drop. Boulder planted both Serpentinco and Luther. Boulder hit a double powerslam on Chaos Project. Shortly thereafter, Bear Country put Chaos Project with the Elevator Drop.
Bear Country defeated Chaos Project via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: An okay match, but the match started to stall a little in the middle and toward the end as well. This was the first match back for Bear Country as a team since episode 80 of Dynamite when they lost to Jurassic Express.
Another AEW Rampage ad was shown.
5. Invictus Khash vs. Darby Allin. There were numerous rest holds to start the match before Allin performed multiple arm drags. Khash fired back with a backbreaker. Khash followed with a snap suplex on Allin. Allin crossed the legs of Khash into a pinning predicament and got a three count on Khash for the victory.
Darby Allin defeated Invictus Khash via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: One of the better matches of the night. Khash was making his AEW debut and was the first Iranian wrestler for the company. Khash looked good here for the short amount of time he was given against Allin. Both wrestlers were similar in height.
6. Dark Order’s Alan “5” Angels vs. QT Marshall. Marshall hit Angels with a back elbow and a high backbreaker. Angels fired back with the enzuigiri and hit a crossbody to Marshall on the ropes. However, Marshall hit a backbreaker/flat liner combination on Angels. who rallied with a diving crossbody block. Marshall performed a back release German suplex. Later, Angels went for a moonsault, but Aaron Solow grabbed his leg. Angels hit the Spanish fly and nearly got another upset winl. Marshall ripped the mask off of Angels, which allowed Marshall to hit the Diamond Cutter for the win.
QT Marshall defeated Alan “5” Angels via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Despite the mask finish, this match was great. Both men were great and the match was back and forth. This match could have been in the opening hour of Dynamite if needed.
An AEW All Elite General Manager Mobile game ad was shown.
7. Thad Brown vs. Hikuleo. Hikuleo hit Brown with a big boot. Hikuleo performed a short-arm clothesline and ended Brown by planting him in the center of the ring.
Hikuleo defeated Thad Brown via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Excalibur noted that Hikuleo wrestled Lance Archer a few weeks for the IWGP United States Title, albeit in a losing effort. In his first Dark outing, Hikuleo rebounded with a victory by dominating Brown.
8. Valentina Rossi vs. Nyla Rose. Rose quickly hit the Beast Bomb for the victory.
Nyla Rose defeated Valentina Rossi via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Well, that was quick. It came off like Rossi had no chance against Rose.
9. Daniel Garcia vs. Fuego Del Sol. Del Sol hit a standing shooting star press, but Garcia kicked out at two. Garcia threw a kick to the spine of Del Sol. Garcia locked in an armbar, but Del Sol threw a running uppercut in the corner. Both men continued to go back and forth before Garcia wrenched in a submission hold on Del Sol and made him tap out.
Daniel Garcia defeated Fuego Del Sol vía submission.
Briar’s Take: A momentum victory for Garcia heading into his match against Darby Allin on Dynamite and nothing more.
Another AEW Rampage ad was shown.
10. Sahara Seven vs. Penelope Ford. Ford hit a stunner to Seven as the match began. Seven sat out Ford and attempted the hip attack, but Ford dodged the maneuver at the last moment. Ford fired back with a back elbow in the corner and a release German suplex. Ford followed with a punt kick and made Seven tap out to an Indian Deathlock.
Penelope Ford defeated Sahara Seven via submission.
Briar’s Take: Chalk that up as another victory for Ford, who continues to be on a winning roll right now.
11. Seth Gargis and Ripper Zybysko vs. Shawn Spears and Wardlow. Zybysko threw a shot to the midsection of Spears and tagged in Gargis shortly thereafter. Wardlow taggedin and power shoulder blocked Gargis. Wardlow threw Zybysko and then tagged in Spears once more. Spears hit multiple knee strikes and then performed the C4 to put Zybysko away for the win.
Shawn Spears and Wardlow defeated Seth Gargis and Ripper Zybysko via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Brief work here from Spears and Wardlow. Another interesting item to note, Zybysko, who made his AEW debut, is the son of Larry Zybysko. Unfortunately for both Gargis and Zybysko, they had a quick exit.
12. Jay Freddie and Marcus Kruss vs. “TH2” Jack Evans and Angelico. Evans hit the corkscrew on Kruss before tagging out. Angelico locked in a submission until Kruss reached the ropes to break the hold. With the help of Angelico, Evans hit a diving foot stomp on Kruss, who then found an opening and tagged out. Freddie executed a dragon screw on Angelico and a running bulldog clothesline combination to both members of TH2. Angelico locked in the Navarro Death Roll and tapped out Freddie for the win.
TH2 defeated Jay Freddie and Marcus Kruss via submission.
Briar’s Take: A predictable victory here for TH2.
13. “Lucha Brothers” Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix vs. “The Wingmen” Cezar Bononi and JD Drake. Fenix hit a high crossbody on Drake. Fenix and Penta threw kicks at Drake, who eventually threw a kick to the face of Fenix and got a two count. Drake and Bononi used a Manhattan Drop combination on Fenix. With help from Fenix, Penta hit a diving headbutt on Drake. A short time later, Drake went to the top rope, but he was sent down with a kick from Fenix. Penta hit diving foot stomps to the chest of Drake, while Fenix put Drake away with a splash.
Lucha Brothers defeated The Wingmen via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A dominating victory for the Lucha Brothers and nothing more.
14. Robyn Renegade vs. Tay Conti. Conti performed a sunset flip. Renegade had brief offense on Conti, but Conti took down her with the clothesline. Conti followed with multiple kicks to the face of Renegade in the corner. Eventually, Conti hit the DDTay for the pinfall.
Tay Conti defeated Robyn Renegade via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Quick work here from Conti, who I believe gained her second victory over Renegade.
15. “Private Party” Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen vs. Chuck Taylor and Wheeler Yuta. Taylor locked in the single leg crab to Kassidy after a clothesline from Yuta. Quen tagged in and leaped off the ropes onto Taylor. Later, Taylor fired shots at Kassidy and Quen and sent Quen onto Kassidy in the corner. Yuta splashed Quen as a followup. Quen took out Yuta on the outside, while Kassidy landed the senton bomb on Taylor. Quen got the victory after a distraction from Jack Evans, and while Kassidy held Quen’s feet on the ropes.
Private Party defeated Chuck Taylor and Wheeler Yuta via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good competitive match, albeit stalled in the middle and with a distraction finish. Still, a good enough match to be featured on Dynamite.
16. David Ramos, Jake Manning, and Joey Sweets vs. Dark Order’s Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, and Colt Cabana. Grayson planted Ramos with the over top DDT. Cabana hit the Chicago Skyline followed by a splash to Sweets to pick up the win.
Dark Order’s Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, and Colt Cabana defeated David Ramos, Jake Manning, and Joey Sweets via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Not much to say about this one, as it was another fast victory for Dark Order members.
17. Dean Alexander, Arjun Singh, and TIM vs. Dark Order’s Alex Reynolds, John Silver, and “10” Preston Vance. Vance threw Alexander across the ring. Silver then face planted Singh and hit three round kicks to his chest. Reynolds bounced off the ropes with a swinging move to Alexander and a baseball slide dropkick on Singh at ringside. Vance hit a spinebuster on Alexander and made him tap out to the Full Nelson.
Dark Order’s Alex Reynolds, John Silver, and “10” Preston Vance defeated Dean Alexander, Arjun Singh, and TIM via submission.
Briar’s Take: Overall, a mostly needless two-hour episode of AEW Dark, but that was to be expected when the company came back to Jacksonville. The show started out slow, but eventually gained momentum toward the middle to the end. Some of the matches were needless and brief as well, yet they gave experience to the wrestlers who are just starting out. That being said there were some good matches such as QT Marshall vs. Alan Angels, and Private Party vs. Chuck Taylor and Wheeler Yuta was decent despite the ref’s distraction. Otherwise, the show was a typical AEW Dark episode with the expected winners and moves in every match. Episode 102 clocked in at 1 hour, 59 minutes, and 17 seconds. Final Score: 6.5 out of 10.