By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 114)
Taped in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
Streamed October 26, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Dark opened up with a video package featuring the Bobby Fish and CM Punk angle from last Saturday night…
1. Invictus Khash vs. Bobby Fish. Fish lit up Khash with leg strikes and a running knee strike as soon as the match began. Fish continued with a dragon screw leg whip and a flying elbow. Fish performed an elevated knee strike and an exploder suplex into the ropes. Fish won the match with a big knockout shot.
Bobby Fish defeated Invictus Khash via pinfall.
Afterward, Tony Schiavone interviewed Fish about his chances with CM Punk on Dynamite…
Briar’s Take: Hot outing from Bobby Fish in our first match of the night. The guy is great and seems to be a technical wrestler early on in his AEW career. Excited to see where his career goes from here and seems to be Punk is his first little rivalry. Great stuff from Fish.
2. Xtina Kay vs. Riho. Kay delivered a shoulder tackle to Riho, who countered with a dropkick. Kay used shoulder tackles to the midsection of Riho and then planted her with the lateral press. Riho gained momentum with another dropkick and attempted a crossbody, but Kay caught her in mid-air. Riho again went to the top rope and eventually landed a crossbody block Kay. Kay planted Riho with a spinebuster, but Riho eventually got the win with double knees to the face.
Riho defeated Xtina Kay via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good match. Riho’s AEW career has been strange up to this point. She was the longest women’s champion, but now works on Elevation Dark and made her Dark Universal tapings debut this past weekend. There’s nothing wrong with that, but just a head scratcher when you look at the past two years. Here’s hoping she gets back on Dynamite sometime soon or in 2022.
A Jon Moxley book ad was shown…
Sammy Guevara made his entrance and talked about his match with Ethan Page for the TNT Title on Wednesday’s Dynamite. Guevara said he busted his ass for eleven years and became champion. Page came out and said he’s been ready to kill since he first made his AEW debut. Page said the network will finally get a champion they finally deserve. Page said he will become the TNT Champion on Wednesday and that he’d make sure of it tonight. Scorpio Sky attacked Guevara from behind, which allowed Page to capitalize on the attack. Santana and Ortiz came out to save Guevara.
3. Jack Evans vs. Eddie Kingston. Evans hit a springboard that saw Kingston fall to his feet. Evans planted himself with a standing sky twister press. Kingston caught Evans and threw him over the top. Kingston stayed on top of Evans with multiple chops and then spiked him with a DDT. Later, Evans hit a leg lariat. Kingston came back with a backdrop driver and made Evans tap out to the stretch club.
Eddie Kingston defeated Jack Evans via submission.
Briar’s Take: A back and forth match, with Kingston gaining momentum ahead of his quarterfinal match in the championship eliminator tournament with Bryan Danielson that will air Friday on AEW Rampage.
4. JDX vs. Dante Martin (w/Lio Rush). After the two missed moves, Martin laid out JDX with the dropkick. JDX struck back with a backward heel trip. JDX flatlined Martin after Martin missed a double jump moonsault from the top rope. Martin quickly put JDX with the double jump moonsault for the victory.
Dante Martin defeated JDX via pinfall.
Schiavone interviewed Martin following the match, but Lio Rush took over the conversation. Rush said it’s about time that we remove the Sydal names from wrestling.
Briar’s Take: Martin is very impressive every time he wrestles. He definitely makes everything look easy, that’s for sure.
Adam Cole made his entrance and was interviewed by Schiavone, who talked about Cole throwing Jungle Boy off the stage over the weekend. Cole said everyone is in denial because they don’t recognize how good The Elite is. He added that if you thought what they did to Jungle Boy was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet…
Jade Cargill was shown and she was asked about the TBS Title. “Smart” Mark Sterling did most of the talking and did their usual shtick…
5. DJ Brown vs. Tiger Ruas. Ruas flattened Brown with a swift kick and laid him immediately for the victory.
Tiger Ruas defeated DJ Brown via pinfall.
After the match, Schiavone interviewed Ruas, who told Tony Khan to give him more competition…
Briar’s Take: A quick showcase for Ruas, who is apparently here for the long run.
6. Skyler Moore vs. Diamante. Moore rolled up Diamante early, but Diamante kicked out at two and landed an uppercut. Diamante hit a standing sliced bread on Moore. Diamante made Moore tap out to a submission hold.
Diamante defeated Skyler Moore via submission.
Tony Neese said next week on AEW Dark, he’d start picking off names one by one and he’ll start with Fuego Del Sol…
7. Shayne Stetson vs. Preston “10” Vance. Vance dominated Stetson early and then made Stetson tap out to the Full Nelson.
Preston “10” Vance defeated Shayne Stetson via submission.
Briar’s Take: Holy moly. I don’t even think that match lasted a minute.
Excalibur showed the updated AEW World Title Eliminator bracket.
8. Dean Alexander and Kidd Bandit vs. Too Fast Too Fuego. Bandit was dominated by Del Sol and the guy “similar to” Cody Rhodes. Del Sol threw a dropkick, while Del Sol 2 was caught with a corkscrew from Bandit. Del Sol 2 continued to get beat down by Alexander with strikes. Alexander threw a dropkick off the ropes at Del Sol 2. Del Sol returned to the ring and and speared Alexander in the corner. Alexander hit a tombstone on Del Sol, but Del Sol 2 broke the pinfall up. Del Sol won the match with the tornado DDT on Alexander.
Too Fast Too Fuego defeated Dean Alexander and Kidd Bandit via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: This match was kind of confusing to cover, but I did smirk when Taz asked Excalibur where Del Sol 2 was from. Excalibur responded that he was probably somewhere from the Marietta, Georgia area. The match was it was.
9. Aaron Solo (w/QT Marshall, Nick Comoroto) vs. Bryan Danielson. Danielson took down Solo early with a shoulder tackle. Danielson locked in a cross armbreaker on Solo, who rolled up Danielson in a pin to break it. Danielson stomped Solo’s bicep after hyperextending his elbow. Solo and Danielson went to the corner and traded chops with each other. Danielson was then distracted by QT Marshall, which allowed Solo to plant Danielson with a vertical suplex.
Danielson countered a dropkick from Solo, but Solo also countered with the double knee stomp. Danielson then hit a flying elbow strike across the jaw. Danielson continued his momentum with high round kicks in the corner. Danielson was distracted by Nick Comoroto, which led to Solo hitting a corkscrew kick to Danielson and nearly picking up the victory. Solo looked for the double underhook facebuster, but Danielson made him tap out to the LeBell Lock.
Bryan Danielson defeated Aaron Solo via submission.
Excalibur hyped Wednesday’s Dynamite and Friday’s Rampage to close out AEW Dark…
Briar’s Take: A great technical match. Danielson never misses a beat and that showed here in the main event. Overall, if you watched Dark a year ago and compared it to tonight’s version, this is a major upgrade. I liked the added in interview segments from Tony Schiavone following the matches. We got to see Adam Cole, Sammy Guevara, and Bobby Fish hype their matches for Wednesday Night Dynamite. This is what Dark should have been from the get-go – use some of the show to set up for Dynamite but also continue to build the younger wrestlers. The show returned to a studio audience and the more I watched it, the more the show felt like the current version of NWA Powerrr. As for the show itself, the matches were solid, but a lot of them were brief. The match of the night honors are split between Invictus Khash vs. Bobby Fish and Aaron Solo vs. Bryan Danielson. Episode 114 clocked in at 1 hour, 09 minutes, 46 seconds. Final Score: 8.0 out of 10.