By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 117)
Taped November 12, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota at Target Center
Streamed November 16, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur welcomed us to Dark and was joined on commentary by Taz…
1. Jayson Strife vs. Powerhouse Hobbs. Hobbs laid out Strife with a powerful right hand and a running uppercut in the corner. Hobbs then caught Strife in midair and planted him on top of the turnbuckle. Hobbs then made Strife tap out to the Torture Rack.
Powerhouse Hobbs defeated Jayson Strife.
Briar’s Take: “Hobbs is going to kill you.” Okay, not literally, but he made quick work on Strife and was victorious.
2. Jah-C vs. Andrade El Idolo. El Idolo hit multiple overhead chops to and landed a high boot across the jaw. El Idolo then locked in a double armbar using the ropes until the ref quickly broke the illegal maneuver. Shortly thereafter, El Idolo locked in the armbar submission again and Jah-C quickly tapped out.
Andrade El Idolo defeated Jah-C via submission.
Briar’s Take: The match was a little bit longer, but with the same story as the first match. Fairly quick enhancement work from Andrade here.
3. Arik Cannon and Renny D vs. Wardlow and Shawn Spears. Renny D sent Spears to the outside early with the dropkick, but Spears fought back by laying him out on the apron. Both Renny D and Spears tagged in Wardlow and Cannon, respectively. Cannon put some light work against Wardlow, but was caught with a clothesline. Wardlow planted Renny D with a powerbomb and did so three consecutive times before eventually winning the match.
Wardlow and Shawn Spears defeated Arik Cannon and Renny D.
Briar’s Take: It was interesting to see Wardlow ignoring Spears wanting to tag in. With that said, Wardlow completely dominated the match with multiple powerbombs.
4. Hyan vs. Ruby Soho. Hyan looked to get the upper advantage, but Soho took her down with an arm drag. Soho came in with an overhook and then hit a back heel trip. Afterward, Soho popped up a kick to knock out Hyan for the win.
Ruby Soho defeated Hyan via knockout.
Briar’s Take: Soho continues to be over with the crowd here and she puts another victory in her book.
5. Brandon Gore and Kit Sackett vs. Too Fast Too Fuego. Del Sol 2 hit the elbow drop from the top rope to Gore and landed the scoop slam. Del Sol 1 returned to the ring and landed the huracanrana on Gore. Gore fought back with a northern lights suplex on Del Sol 2, while Sackett tagged in. Sol 2 and Sackett traded shots back and forth. Del Sol 1 came back in with tons of momentum and hit a moonsault press on both Gore and Sackett. Del Sol 1 won with the tornado DDT on Gore.
Too Fast Too Fuego defeated Brandon Gore and Kit Sackett via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: The alter ego of Cody continues and I found it amusing that Taz said in an alternate universe, Del Sol 2 has a big entrance and huge pyrotechnics.
6. Alan “5” Angels and Colt Cabana vs. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens. Bowens and Angels traded chops back and forth. Angels and Cabana hit a double back elbow that saw Bowens go to the ground. After missing each other, Cabana brought down Caster with the arm, but Angels flew from the top rope with the crossbody and landed on Caster. Bowens made a blind tag and hit the neckbreaker combination to Angels.
The Acclaimed landed a double suplex on Angels. Angels chopped Caster with the enzuigiri and looked for the tag, but Bowens dropped Cabana off the apron. Cabana tagged in and used the double elbow to The Acclaimed and came off the middle ropes with the moonsault. Afterward, Cabana nearly got the win using the flying apple to Caster. Bowens used the boom box after multiple nearfalls on Cabana while the ref was distracted and then Caster picked up the win.
The Acclaimed defeated Alan “5” Angels and Colt Cabana via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Despite the “boom box” distraction at the end, the tag team match was the best match of the night. Quality action was back and forth and the most unpredictable as well. Great stuff.
7. Nyla Rose, Emi Sakura, and The Bunny vs. Riho, Ryo Mizunami, and Kris Statlander. After some miscommunication, the match finally started a few short minutes later. Mizunami hit the leg drop to the back of the head of The Bunny. Riho then hit the tiger faint kick to Sakura. Rose planted Riho in the middle of the mat and got a two count. Following the maneuver, Sakura hit the diving crossbody in the corner to Riho.
Riho found breakthrough with a stomp to Sakura and tagged out. Statlander planted The Bunny with the powerslam and nearly got the victory. Rose then hit the cut throat neckbreaker on Mizunami. Sakura used the double underhook on Statlander and then Rose crushed Statlander with the senton from the top rope. Eventually, Statlander won with the Big Bang Theory.
Riho, Ryo Mizunami, and Kris Statlander defeated Nyla Rose, Emi Sakura, and The Bunny via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: I hate to say it, but this match was a cluster, especially before the bell rang. Also, I think I’ve heard all the screaming I’ve needed to hear for the night. That was annoying.
8. Nick Comoroto, JD Drake, Aaron Solo, and Ryan Nemeth vs. Brock Anderson, Lee Johnson, and “The Varsity Blonds” Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison. As the bell rang, Anderson used an arm drag on Drake after the two hit multiple chops. Johnson tagged in and kept the pressure on Drake, before Drake tagged in Nemeth. Pillman threw right hands at Nemeth, while Garrison launched off the back of Pillman and landed the big splash on Nemeth in the corner. Solo had some brief flashes of offense by landing the snap suplex on Garrison.
Anderson took down Nemeth with the arm drag hold. On the outside, Drake illegally hit Anderson. Comoroto tagged in and hit a leaping elbow drop to Anderson. Anderson rolled up Solo and only received a two count. Solo missed the corkscrew kick and was caught with the Blue Thunder Bomb from Johnson. Pillman landed on his head diving onto Comoroto. The match ended with a frog splash from Johnson on Drake.
Brock Anderson, Lee Johnson, and The Varsity Blonds defeated Nick Comoroto, JD Drake, Aaron Solo, and Ryan Nemeth via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: I felt as though this match went a little long with everyone trying to get their stuff in and thus it somewhat overstayed its welcome. I’m not sure if they were trying to fill time, but the match was a little long for my liking.
9. Peter Avalon vs. John Silver. Silver hit an explosive shoulder tackle to Avalon after the bell rang. Shortly thereafter, Avalon countered with the dropkick to Silver. The two fought on the outside briefly before returning to the ring. Avalon rolled over with the sunset flip and got a two count out of the move. He then landed the backdrop to Silver. Avalon continued his domination with the leg lariat that took Silver to the ground.
Avalon missed the moonsault press, which allowed Silver to regain his momentum with kicks and eventually a back body drop. Avalon fought back with the crossbody to Silver from the ropes. Silver then hit a release German suplex on Avalon. Finally, Silver won with the Spin Doctor.
John Silver defeated Peter Avalon via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: While this match was definitely a random pairing, Avalon and Silver had a good showing. I actually thought Avalon had one of his best matches to date in AEW.
10. Adam Grace vs. Sonny Kiss. Kiss hit the low hanging dropkick to Grace, but missed a standing moonsault press afterward. Shortly thereafter, Grace threw a dropkick of his own. Kiss countered with a belly to belly suplex and a threw a corkscrew kick. Kiss planted Grace with the split stunner to win the match.
Sonny Kiss defeated Adam Grace via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Good quality match here from Kiss, who never missed a beat. Kiss also seemed to have a new theme song?
11. Mikey Wild vs. Preston “10” Vance. Vance landed a spinebuster early and made Wild quickly tap out to the Full Nelson.
Preston “10” Vance defeated Mikey Wild via submission.
12. Craven Knyte vs. Scorpio Sky. After a few quick maneuvers from Kynte, Sky quickly ended his night with a TKO.
Scorpio Sky defeated Craven Knyte via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Overall, not a bad episode of Dark. They’ve been consistent in putting on good episodes lately, but I feel as though this show was more in the middle than good or bad. It lost its luster after the six-man tag team match and started going a bit long with four matches at the end.
The match of the night has to go to The Acclaimed vs. Alan Angels and Colt Cabana, while John Silver vs. Peter Avalon was definitely a sleeper of a match. Otherwise, this was your typical episode of Dark where the first few matches go quickly and then starts to drag toward the middle of the show. Episode 117 clocked in at 1 hour, 32 minutes, and 41 seconds. Final Score: 6.5 out of 10.