It’s Tuesday and you know what that means; the 100th episode of AEW Dark. FTW World Champion Ricky Starks joined Taz and Excalibur for the opener and to celebrate the show hitting 100.
These matches were taped last Wednesday in Charlotte, NC.
Wheeler Yuta, Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor (w/ Kris Statlander) defeated Cezar Bononi, Ryan Nemeth & JD Drake (w/ Peter Avalon) (7:51)
Big pop for the Best Friends.
Yuta spent the middle portion of the match selling for the heel team. Bononi wrestled at a deliberate pace, but was impressive slamming Yuta across the ring. Nemeth hit him with the hangman’s neckbreaker, but Yuta escaped and sent the other Wingmen to the floor. After Yuta hit an enziguri on Nemeth, he got the tag to Taylor. Cassidy got the tag in and worked with Nemeth with his hands in his pockets. Nemeth kept trying to go for his neckbreaker, but Cassidy kept escaping...with his hands in his pockets, spinning out to hit Nemeth with his high impact shin kicks. A shotgun dropkick took Nemeth down.
Taylor hit Nemeth with a uranage, Yuta came off the top with a splash and Cassidy dropped onto Nemeth with a lazy splash for a near fall, broken up by Bononi. Avalon distracted Yuta and Nemeth hit him with a dropkick. Drake came in with a cannonball on Yuta and Nemeth hit the hangman’s neckbreaker for a pin attempt that was broken up by the Best Friends. While the rest of the Friends and the Wingmen brawled to the floor, Drake went for a moonsault on Yuta. Yuta rolled out of the way and cradled him for the win in a fun six man opener.
After the match, Avalon tried to attack Yuta, but Cassidy hit the Orange Punch and Taylor dropped him with the Awful Waffle. And, you got to give the people what they want: a group hug with the Best Friends.
PAC (w/ Death Triangle) defeated Jack Evans (w/ a bunch of the HFO) (8:50)
There was around 17 people at ringside, but surprisingly no one really got involved during the match.
This featured lots of great mat wrestling in the opening two minutes. Evans dropkicked PAC to the floor, but when he faked out on a tope, PAC caught his leg and pulled him down back first onto the ring apron. PAC threw Evans into the barricades around ringside and then got a two count back inside the ring. PAC wrestled at a deliberate pace, my polite euphemism for not much happening. He went for a top rope superplex, but Evans fought his way out of it and sent PAC to the floor. Evans then hit a sky twister press from the top rope to the floor.
Back in the ring, Evans hit a springboard blockbuster for a near fall. PAC came back with a vicious lariat and a Liger bomb for a near fall. PAC missed a springboard and Evans came back with a poison rana. They fought over the backslide which Evans won and then he did that thing where he flipped over PAC’s body while still holding him in a backslide which made me wonder if Evans is actually a real-life Gumby...but it only got two. Anyway, Evans went to the top but PAC followed him and used a top rope hangman's neckbreaker followed by the Brutalizer for the submission. This was a little slower than I thought it would be going in, but was an excellent technical match.
Post match, Andrade El Idolo and Chavo Guerrero came out for a good old-fashioned staredown. Just when it looked like El Idolo was going to get into the ring, Guerrero pulled him away.
Red Velvet cut a promo backstage. She is back in the top five and targeting the Women’s Champion.
Tay Conti defeated Kenzie Paige (2:38)
Conti is an absolute winner of the first 100 episodes is Dark as she has shown such an improvement from when she showed up around this time last year. She countered a fireman’s carry into a sunset flip for a near fall and avoided a O’Connor roll but ate a superkick from Paige. Paige came back with an elbow and forearms. The two exchanged forearms in mid-ring and then Conti ducked Paige’s forearm followed by throwing her around with some judo. Conti hit a pump kick and a series of running kicks in the corner before hitting Paige with the DDTay for the win.
Shawn Spears & Wardlow defeated Fuego Del Sol & Shawn Dean (2:47)
Spears started out by mocking Ric Flair’s strut which drew a lot of “Whoos!” from the crowd. Wardlow no-sold a bunch of dropkicks from his opponents. Spears went for a chair, but Wardlow talked him out of it. So, he killed Del Sol with a C4 instead. Wardlow -- after engaging in a staredown with Jake Hager who was at the commentary desk -- finished Del Sol with the F10.
Hikaru Shida defeated Madi Maxx (4:37)
Maxx is making her AEW debut. She did a fake sell of her knee, but I don’t think anybody bought it. They went to the floor and Shida tried using the chair for a jumping knee, but Maxx avoided the move and sent Shida headfirst into the post. Back in the ring, Maxx got a near fall but didn’t get much in the way of offense. Shida came back with forearms and a slap in the corner. Shida got a near fall off a suplex and went for a powerbomb, but Maxx slid out and got a near fall with a cradle. Shida hit a sit-out dominator and finished Maxx with the Katana.
Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix (w/ PAC and Alex Abrahantes) defeated Chaos Project (4:50)
Serpentico went for a plancha on Penta, but Penta caught him in a military press. Luther hit Penta with a boot to make the save. Back in the ring, Luther wrestled Fenix to no response from the crowd causing Taz to say, “The audience is perplexed.” No, they’re bored with Luther. When Serpentico was in the ring, things were fine. Penta got the tag and hit sling blades on both men. The Lucha Bros then hit a double superkick on both members of Chaos Project at once, followed by Penta hitting the Fear Factor on Serpentico for the pin.
The Acclaimed, Matt Hardy & The Blade (w/ The Bunny) defeated The Sydals and The Varsity Blonds (w/ Julia Hart) (7:51)
This Acclaimed vs. Blonds feud has been going on for a month and they have been on opposite sides of the ring every week for a month. But, we haven’t actually gotten a Blonds vs. Acclaimed regular tag team match.
This was a wild match. An eight-way brawl started things off and then the Blonds double-teamed both members of the Acclaimed in the ring. The match settled down to Pillman and Caster. Mike Sydal got the tag and immediately lost the advantage. The Acclaimed tried a double team suplex on Mike, but Matt Sydal made the save. Stereo standing flip splashes on the Acclaimed got a near fall for Mike.
Brian Pillman Jr. got the tag and got tripped up by the Blade and the heels ganged up on Pillman in their corner. Pillman escaped the heels and got the tag to Griff Garrison, who dominated The Acclaimed. He clotheslined Caster to the floor and hit Bowens with an avalanche and falcon arrow for a near fall. Matt Sydal worked over Bowens with kicks, and he and Mike hit a double meteora on Bowens for a near fall.
Hardy got the tag and hit side effects on the Sydals, but Garrison hit him with a rolling elbow. The Acclaimed hit Garrison with a variation of the magic killer into a side slam that looked cool. Pillman came in with a double crossbody on The Acclaimed and Hardy took him out with a Twist of Fate. Hardy tried for another on Matt, but he countered with a superkick. Bunny jumped up on the ring apron to distract the ref, and Blade ran in to hit Mike with the brass knuckles. Hardy then dropped an elbow for the win.
Hardy and the Blade tried to beat up the Sydals, but Jurassic Express ran in and made the save. They “chased” the HFO members to the back, but let’s be honest: Hardy can barely move and it didn’t look good. This left the Blonds and The Acclaimed in the ring. Bowens had the mic and I’m sure wanted to have a mature and intelligent discussion, but instead the rouge Blonds attacked him before he could say anything. How rude.
Leyla Hirsch defeated Diamante (3:26)
Diamante ducked to the floor early and Hirsch followed her to the floor with a tope. Back in the ring, Diamante got the advantage with boots in the corner. She hit a straight arm splash for a near fall and went for the shotgun dropkick in the corner, but Hirsch avoided it and then suplexed Diamante out of the corner. Hirsch hit a springboard moonsault for a two count, but Diamante broke up the pin by grabbing the ropes. Bunny tried to get a chair to Diamante and distract the ref, but Big Swole ran out to keep the chair from Diamante. Hirsch then hit Diamante with a suplex and got the tapout with a cross armbreaker.
After the match, Swole attacked Diamante and they brawled to the back.
Jon Moxley defeated Brick Aldridge (3:14)
Aldridge attacked Moxley before the bell which didn’t go well for him. Aldridge got in some offense but nothing really notable. Moxley hit a superplex and choked him out for the submission.
Penelope Ford defeated Reka Tehaka (3:01)
Ah, the AEW Dark tradition of airing a match that feels like a main event and then continuing on with more matches. Ford won this pretty decisively with an Indian deathlock. She gave Tehaka less offense than Moxley gave Aldridge.
Jade Cargill and Mark Sterling came out to announce a partnership with Nocking Point Wines. Sterling is studying to be a sommelier.
Eddie Kingston defeated Dante Martin (w/ Darius Martin) (3:21)
The crowd chanted "Eddie" at the outset. Martin hit a springboard dropkick early but didn’t even get a one count. Kingston countered Martin’s flying by burying a knee into his midsection. Kingston followed it up with a suplex and a chop against the ring ropes and then a boot to the floor. Martin came back with a double jump springboard moonsault for a near fall. Martin went for a flipping stunner, but Kingston countered with a half-and-half suplex. Kingston went for the spinning back fist, but Martin avoided it. Kingston hit him on the second try. After the match, Kingston showed Martin respect and helped the kid up to his feet. This was good stuff to finish the show.
I really liked this episode of Dark. The stars who have really used Dark as a way to establish themselves got a chance to really shine tonight. The PAC/Evans match and the Blonds/Acclaimed eight-man are well worth seeking out.