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AEW Dark results: Private Party vs. The Initiative

Excalibur made his return to commentary after an absence of more than a month, joined by Taz.

Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard) defeated Eddie Taurus

Fans were shown in attendance as this was filmed last Thursday when they started selling tickets again. This was Taurus's AEW debut while Spears has a record of 11-2 for the year, plus a seven match win streak. His gimmick recently has been inserting Kevlar into his glove to cheat or beat down opponents.

The two performed back-and-forth chain wrestling at the bell. Spears eventually sent Taurus to the floor and pummeled him with strikes. Taurus made a brief comeback by sending Spears face-first into the turnbuckle followed by a dropkick, but Spears hit the C4 for the win. Post-match, Spears once against used the Kevlar-loaded glove as he hit a palm strike.

Santana & Ortiz defeated Faboo Andre & Ryzin

This would have been unbearably bad had Ortiz not been entertaining with his trash talk on the apron. Santana started off against Ryzin, hitting the Three Amigos suplexes at the start before tagging in Ortiz. Ryzin escaped to tag in Andre, who completely missed on a dropkick that Ortiz sold anyway.

Santana tagged back in and immediately hit a tope on Ryzin on the outside while Ortiz hit Andre with a powerbomb. Santana followed up by whiffing the running knee even worse than the aforementioned dropkick for a pin, ending the underwhelming match.

Post-match, Santana and Ortiz cut a promo on Best Friends with Ortiz asking Trent to tell his mom to stop hitting up his phone. After the next match, the two were about to be interviewed in the parking area, but were ambushed by Best Friends as the interviewer urged security to come out.

Allie (w/ QT Marshall) defeated Cassandra Golden

This was Golden's second match on Dark as she faced Britt Baker on an April edition of Dynamite while this was Allie's first singles match since the Jericho Cruise in January. Golden went for a schoolgirl roll-up at the bell, but Allie fired back with strikes, a neckbreaker, and a sliding elbow to the outside. Once outside, she made Marshall carry her back onto the ring.

Golden made a comeback with a side slam and a hip attack, but Allie kicked out of the pinfall attempt. Allie fought out of a fireman's carry and regained the advantage after running strikes and a bulldog with a Final Cut giving her the win. 

Frankie Kazarian defeated Angelico

Kazarian pinned Kip Sabian on Dark last week in a mild upset while this was Angelico's first-ever singles match in AEW. The announcers mentioned his llavero submission prowess multiple times. There wasn't a strike thrown until nearly five minutes into the match.

At the bell, Kazarian applied a wristlock before Angelico fought out with some technical wrestling. They exchanged cradles before Angelico retreated to the corner where he hit a strong right hand as the referee pushed Kazarian out. Angelico kept up the advantage by transitioning from hold to hold, including a modified octopus hold, an Indian deathlock, and a prone single-leg Boston crab.

Kazarian fought back with right hands, lariats, and a dropkick. Angelico landed a capoeira kick and nearly got the pinfall with an inside cradle. Kazarian fought out of the Razor's Edge, transitioning into a reverse DDT for the win.

This was quite good all-around and the technical wrestling was excellent. They are building a story with Kazarian, and it didn't overstay its welcome. Even the lack of crowd reaction couldn't stop it from being the best Dark match in weeks.

– Brandi Rhodes was interviewed by Tony Schiavone at the entrance ramp. She was asked about losing the women's tag tournament, as well as being attacked by Anna Jay two weeks ago on Dynamite. She admitted that Jay was pretty, but "being pretty doesn't get you sh*t." Instead, she said, it's her intelligence that's gotten her as far as she has. She promised to send Jay back to the Nightmare Factory where she trains. 

The Gunn Club (Billy & Austin Gunn) defeated Donnie Primetime & Ryan Rembrandt

They changed Primetime's name from Janela between when they announced the lineup and tonight. This was his AEW debut and, in fact, he looks identical to Joey Janela. The Gunn Club have been mainstays on Dark over the summer. The best part of this didn't have anything to do with the match as Excalibur ribbed Taz on commentary over Austin's history as a wrestler in a genuinely funny moment. 

The Gunns performed frequent tags and double team moves on Rembrandt at the start before he fought back with elbow drops. Austin hit a running elbow to get the hot tag to Billy, who dispatched both opponents. Austin tagged back in and hit the Quick Draw for the pinfall in a very brief contest, helping the Gunn Club move to 6-0 as a team.

Abadon defeated Dani Jordyn

The fourth ranked woman in the division has a really cool look and even spits blood during her entrance. Jordyn's character is that of a high school bully. Like last week with Red Velvet, I appreciated that she showed that she was intimidated by Abadon, but nonetheless treated the match as a competition that she had to win. "Supernatural" characters are tough to do, but that's a good way to do it without killing the credibility of their opponents.

Abadon won this easily after attacking Jordyn's braced knee from the start. This wasn't all that brief, but Abadon controlled the whole thing. Jordyn did a good job selling the knee and made a brief comeback with a clothesline. Abadon sat up unaffected and continued to beat her opponent down. Eventually, she won via submission with strikes to the knee.

Ricky Starks defeated Tony Donati

Starks came out in a Team Taz shirt and with him on commentary, there was lots of praise for Starks. Starks went into this with a 5-1 record and on a five-match win streak. Donati attempted a few cradles at the bell, but Starks took advantage by dropping Donati face-first on the apron. Starks posed, taunted, and spoke into the camera multiple times during the heat segment, referencing Darby Allin. Donati attempted to come back with lariats, but Starks hit Roshambo for the pinfall.

Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy) (w/ Marko Stunt) defeated Jon Cruz & David Ali

Stunt came out with crutches and a walking boot after being attacked by Jake Hager last week. Luchasaurus made sure to tell the camera that he's the real "best hot tag in the business", referencing this week's Being The Elite. Cruz did some comedy at the start, acting like a jobber, while facing the much bigger Luchasaurus. Both teams made tags and Jungle Boy had a really nice series of moves with Ali that concluded with his backflip arm drag.

Jurassic Express hit the Tail Whip into a flatliner, but Cruz broke the pin up. Cruz got the hot tag and hit a diving axe handle, but Luchasaurus took down both opponents with kicks. They hit some cool strikes on Ali, but he wasn't the legal man. Jungle Boy then hit an assisted cutter on Cruz for the win. 

Anna Jay defeated Red Velvet

Jay was accompanied by most of the Dark Order for her entrance, sans Mr. Brodie Lee and Colt Cabana. This was a bit of a test for Jay in her first singles match since joining the Dark Order. She wasn't that impressive. Velvet has really stood out among the many independent wrestlers AEW has brought in for Dark as she has good athleticism and charisma. 

Velvet gained the advantage with strikes at the start, but Jay cut her off with a kneelift. Velvet went for her signature split trip, but Jay was too smart for that. They had a bit of an awkward striking battle, concluded by the running double knees for a two count for Velvet.

Outside, Jay clotheslined Velvet to the floor and tossed her into the barricade. Back in, Jay hit a couple weak looking curb stomps followed by the rear naked choke for the submission victory. 

Kip Sabian (w/ Penelope Ford) defeated Shawn Dean

Sabian lost to Frankie Kazarian on last week's Dark. He brought out a sign asking people to follow him on YouTube and Twitch, and claimed that he's bringing back male crop tops as he wrestled in a crop top and sunglasses. 

The two had a nice, quick back-and-forth battle with lots of athletic moves. Sabian took advantage with an eye poke followed by shoving Dean face-first into the turnbuckle. He paused his offense to explain to the ringside camera that he lost to Kazarian because he just didn't take him seriously. Sabian went for the PK and acted like it was a field goal attempt, but the referee claimed it was wide right. Dean took advantage with a brutal-looking German suplex. Eventually, Sabian fought back and hit his rope-hang neckbreaker to get the win. 

Private Party (Marq Quen & Isiah Kassidy) defeated The Initiative (Brandon Cutler & Peter Avalon) (w/ Leva Bates)

The Initiative came into this at 0-11 with their losing streak being really the only overarching story that Dark has. They are heels, but they work as babyfaces until Avalon inevitably cheats. Private Party were 6-6 and will team with SCU on Dynamite against the Young Bucks and Jurassic Express for a chance to wrestle on All Out.

This was short for an AEW main event, but very fast paced.

The Initiative started out strong with quick tags on Quen. Kassidy stopped his partner from being sent into the corner and then took out the Initiative with a springboard double crossbody.

Eventually, Cutler made a tag to Avalon who came back with a crossbody of his own, followed by a tope suicida to Quen on the outside. He hit a split-legged moonsault on Kassidy for two. Kassidy flipped out of a suplex and tagged in Quen. He hit a Fosbury Flop that just grazed Avalon and then cartwheeled out of a Leva Bates hurricanrana.

Back in, Cutler hit a 450 splash on Quen, but Kassidy, the legal man, cradled Cutler for the win. Post-match, Avalon snapped and attacked Cutler. He then hit him with the 20-sided die that the Initiative bring to the ring. It looks like the Initiative are no more. 

Final Thoughts:

After perhaps the worst AEW show in history last week, this week's edition of Dark was vastly improved. The main improvement came from the return of Excalibur, who plays off of Taz's humor far better than Tony Schiavone did. With these two, it feels like banter, rather than Taz just belittling Schiavone at every turn. The show was also 20 minutes shorter, which helped the pacing.

The in-ring action was also improved. Two matches (Sabian vs. Dean and Private Party vs. The Initiative) were solid, and one bordered on very good (Kazarian vs. Angelico). Finally, furthering angles like Santana & Ortiz vs. Best Friends, Brandi Rhodes vs. Anna Jay, and the breakup of The Initiative is a far better use of Dark's time than endless squash matches. As a result, this was better than most Dark shows have been since they moved to the squash match format.