By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 115)
Taped in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
Streamed November 2, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Dark opened up with Dax Hardwood and Cash Wheeler with the AAA Tag Team titles. The FTR duo said they’re issuing an open challenge Wednesday night to any luchadors, but the challenge is not open to Lucha Bros. FTR added that whoever answers their challenge should expect a hell of a fight.
1. Idris Abraham and Joe Coleman vs. Santana and Ortiz. Santana hit the Three Amigos on Abraham before tagging in Ortiz briefly and then both hit a double suplex on Abraham. Santana returned to the ring and both followed up with the double chokeslam on Coleman. Santana and Ortiz doubled up on Coleman once more and finished them off quickly.
Santana and Ortiz defeated Idris Abraham and Joe Coleman via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A quick enhancement match here from Santana and Ortiz. Abraham and Coleman never really had any offense.
2. Viva Van vs. Nyla Rose. Rose attempted a back elbow to Van in the corner, but Van dodged at the last moment. However, Rose gained momentum with a heel kick and planted her with the Beast Bomb for the win.
Nyla Rose defeated Viva Van via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Excalibur made a good point in stating that Rose has a first round bye in the TBS Title tournament due to her record in AEW, and she continued to prove his point tonight with a quick victory.
3. Eli Knight and Malik Bosede vs. Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson. Anderson planted Bosede and began stomping him. Johnson and Knight made a tag and Johnson swept Knight off his feet with an arm drag. Anderson then hit the spinebuster followed up with a frog splash by Johnson on Knight to gain the victory.
Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson defeated Eli Knight and Malik Bosede via pinfall.
4. RSP vs. Daniel Garcia (w/Matt Lee, Jeff Parker). Garcia dominated RSP early on and saw Garcia strike him with a low hanging/standing dropkick. RSP popped Garcia with an enzuigiri. RSP went for a chokeslam, but Garcia locked a submission move to counter the maneuver. RSP countered the submission by tossing Garcia across the ring. He then charged into the corner and slammed Garcia on the mat. Garcia locked in the same maneuver RSP tried earlier and tapped him out for the win.
Daniel Garcia defeated RSP via submission.
Briar’s Take: A good competitive match. Garcia continues to shine week in and week out.
5. Sean Carr and Marcus Kross vs. Dark Order’s John Silver and Alex Reynolds. Silver and Reynolds doubled teamed Carr with dropkicks to the face, before Silver hit a big shoulder tackle. Silver continued with a huracanrana and a dropkick on Carr. Kross tagged in and landed a beautiful crossbody on Reynolds from the top rope. Silver returned and dominated Kross and Carr in the ring at the same time. Silver and Reynolds hit a German release suplex on Kross and eventually flattened him with the Dark Order DDT for the victory.
Dark Order’s John Silver and Alex Reynolds defeated Sean Carr and Marcus Kross via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Silver and Reynolds looked good here and showed good tag team cohesion.
6. Ishmael Vaughn and Dontae Smiley vs. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens. Caster planted Vaughn with a backward suplex, while Bowens leapt over the top rope with an elbow drop. Vaughn fired back with a kick to the face of Bowens and tagged out. Smiley had quick powerful strikes to Bowens, but Bowens threw a thrust kick across his jaw. Shortly thereafter, Caster landed the Mic Drop on Smiley to win the match.
The Acclaimed defeated Ishmael Vaughn and Dontae Smiley via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: More quick work here from The Acclaimed and they never missed a beat. Something to note here, the Universal Studios crowd is a lot more quiet compared to a Dynamite or Rampage live crowd during Caster’s rap sessions and it kind of creates a weird vibe while watching.
7. The Bunny (w/The Butcher) vs. Santana Garrett. The Bunny threw a dropkick at Garrett, who was stuck in the corner. Bunny followed up with a running knee strike. Garrett tried wrapping The Bunny around and successfully hit a hamstring elbow in the corner followed by a thrust kick. Garrett missed a backflip and The Bunny won with the Rabbit Hole.
The Bunny defeated Santana via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A good preview here for The Bunny as she gets ready for her match up with Red Velvet Friday night in the TBS Title tournament.
A Jon Moxley book ad was shown.
8. Bison XL and Toa Liona vs. “2point0” Matt Lee and Jeff Parker (w/Daniel Garcia). Bison fired away on Parker with an elbow drop. Parker tagged out. Eventually, Liona made his way to the ring and planted the Samoan Drop on 2point0 and hit the double shoulder tackle. However, 2point0 finished Bison XL off with Two For The Show before Liona had any chance of breaking the pinfall up.
2point0 defeated Bison XL and Toa Liona via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Bison showed some good flashes of offense early and Excalibur questioned whether there could be an upset. It looked like the match was going that way until 2point0 used their quick technical skills to offset Bison Xl.
9. Sholance Royal vs. Red Velvet. Velvet planted Royal with the leg lariat after the bell rang. She then used the ropes for an arm drag, but Royal bounced off the ropes for the dropkick. Royal continued her momentum with a standing splash to Velvet. Velvet fired back with multiple back elbows and the running stunner. Eventually, Velvet won with the Final Slice on Royal.
Red Velvet defeated Sholance Royal via pinfall.
Afterward, The Bunny came to the ring and attacked Velvet with the brass knuckles to get an early advantage ahead of their match on Rampage.
Briar’s Take: Similar to The Bunny match, this match was a showcase for Velvet. We also got a nice angle following the match with The Bunny attacking Velvet to continue the storyline. As for Royal, we found out that she sings during the match.
10. Ryzin vs. Bobby Fish. Fish used his kicks to take Ryzin down. Ryzin used a Manhattan Drop to his advantage, but Fish hit back with an exploder suplex. Fish used the knockout shot for the victory on Ryzin.
Bobby Fish defeated Ryzin via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Another good showing here from Fish. He continues to stand out as a great technical wrestler using his quick kicks. How cool would it be if we saw Frankie Kazarian vs. Bobby Fish sometime in 2022? That would be a hell of a match.
11. Fuego Del Sol vs. Tony Nese. Nese attempted to hoist up Del Sol, but Del Sol slipped out of it and hit a spear to the midsection of Nese. Del Sol went to the middle rope and threw a dropkick. Nese gained momentum with kicks himself. Del Sol looked to do the suicida, but Nese stopped him in his tracks with a back elbow and planted Del Sol with the vertical suplex. Del Sol staggered Nese with the enzuigiri and a flying forearm. He then hit the moonsault from the ropes. Nese hit a running knee across to the face of Del Sol after landing the powerbomb in the corner and got the win.
Tony Nese defeated Fuego Del Sol via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A great first showing from Nese in his AEW debut match.
12. Tiger Ruas vs. Pac. Ruas performed a snap suplex and a double leg spinebuster on Pac. The two then went outside, where Pac threw Ruas into the barricade. Both men traded shots until Ruas hit a leaping knee strike. Ruas used MMA style strikes in the corner and a modified angle Slam. After being dominated by Ruas, Pac slipped out of a submission maneuver and performed a powerbomb. Shortly thereafter, Pac locked in The Brutalizer for the submission victory.
PAC defeated Tiger Ruas via submission.
Briar’s Take: Ruas has good upside and is obviously impressing AEW officials based on him being in the main event of Dark. Ruas was supreme over Pac for a good while until Pac swept him off his feet and made him tap out.
Overall, a straightforward episode of AEW Dark. Compared to last week’s show with the storyline continuation, the episode is a step down. At least we didn’t get so many Tony Schiavone interviews this time, though there was a nice opening with FTR issuing an open challenge on Dynamite for the AAA Tag Titles. While 12 matches may seem daunting, this show was quick and the matches were brief for the most part. I’d strongly recommend watching Tony Nese vs. Fuego Del Sol, and Tiger Ruas vs. Pac, as both matches were very good. Episode 115 clocked in at 1 hour, 14 minutes, and 42 seconds. Final Score: 7.0 out of 10.