By Joseph Collins for F4WOnline.com
The Big Takeaways:
There were a few touching tributes to Brodie Lee and some pretty good matches that highlighted another overly long episode of AEW Dark.
It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means.
Jungle Boy (w/ Marko Stunt & Luchasaurus) def. Nick Comoroto (4:53)
Jungle Boy has new music: "Tarzan Boy” by Baltimora. I’m sure it’s a popular song, but I can’t place it. Taz fantasy booked that Comoroto should join the Jurassic Express with a caveman gimmick and now he’s said it, I can’t unsee it. The larger Comoroto dominated most of the match until he missed a charging knee in the corner. Jungle Boy capitalized on the mistake to snare him in the STF for the submission win. The most notable thing was the new music.
Nyla Rose (w/ Vickie Guerrero) def. Alex Garcia (1:10)
Garcia tried to start off fast, but got destroyed with a samoan drop, a chokeslam and then the Beast Bomb (for the pin. After the win, Guerrero talked some trash while Rose brought in a table which she powerbombed Garcia through. This was just a squash.
Scorpio Sky def. Ariel Levy (3:26)
Taz asked, “Will the Levy break?” which I thought was pretty clever. Sky used a russian leg sweep early on and I swear I haven’t seen one of those in a modern match in, like, years. This was a solid back and forth match with Scorpio’s offense looking very impressive. Ultimately, the Levy did not hold up (that’s my joke, not Taz’s) as Sky scored the pin with a TKO.
-1 confronts Marko Stunt
Stunt came out for some mic time but -1 (aka Brodie Lee Jr.) came out and a fight broke out between the two that had to be broken up by Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks. Marko left through the crowd and -1 gave chase. Of course, Excalibur sold this like Austin confronting Tyson. This was great stuff in giving Brodie Lee’s kid a chance to have some fun.
Rey Fenix (w/ Penta El Zero M) def. Aaron Solow (5:56)
Fenix has a World title match tomorrow night with Kenny Omega, so I'm holding my breath that Fenix doesn’t do anything here to injure himself. Fenix gave Solow a good bit of the offense, and probably teased more flashy, explosive aerial moves than he actually executed. Fenix got the pin after a 619, a crazy flash cutter, and a fire thunder driver (sort of an inverted sit out tombstone) for the pin.
Brandon Cutler def. Louie Valle (3:13)
Excalibur pulled back the curtain and said this was taped on the same night as the Brodie Lee tribute edition of Dynamite and that this was an emotional match for Valle, a friend of Lee's from the indies.
Why does a dude who comes out with face paint and a crazy dragon outfit go by just “Brandon Cutler?” This match was an excuse for Excalibur and Taz to clown on Cutler until Valle started shouting about his “hot breath” so they clowned on Valle, too. When the match spilled to the outside, Cutler back suplexed Valle on the ring apron which is, as you know, the hardest part of the ring. Cutler then finished the job with the TPK to extend his winning streak to eight matches. Cutler pointed out his Brodie armband and promised to be a good father in another small but touching tribute to Lee.
Peter Avalon def. Angel Fashion (4:00)
This is part of Pretty Peter’s Pageant Provocation where only “the best looking people'' challenge him. I feel like if there were fans in the arena, they would be heading to the concession stands. Avalon sent sent Fashion to the floor and did the “lay across the top ropes in the corner” taunt which is a classic. A missed moonsault from Avalon gave Fashion an opening and he hit a top rope dropkick for a near fall. But, Fashion missed a blind charge in the corner and Avalon finished him off with the Marti-Knees for the pin.
Ivelisse & Diamanté def. KiLynne King and Tesha Price (4:24)
Ivelisse weathered a hot start from King and Price, but came back pretty quickly. Ivelisse cut off Price from her partner and double teamed her in their corner. Taz started to bemuse about the possibility of having one of these women be the first female on Team Taz. King got the hot tag and they hit a nice double team on Ivelisse, almost scoring the win with a German suplex. The comeback didn’t last though as Diamantié tied up King for the submission.
The Gunn Club (Billy, Austin, and Colten) def. Mike Verna and Bear Country (8:27)
This was a rematch of sorts as the Club beat Verna and two other partners on Dark a few weeks ago. Now, Verna has Bear Country as backup in an attempt to improve his fortunes. Billy started out with Bolder and overpowered the oldest Gunn. The bigger Bear Country boys dominated the smaller Gunns with Colten taking most of the punishment. Bear Country and Verna did an excellent job of cutting the ring in half and keeping Colton from his corner while Billy and Austin played the role of fired up babyfaces waiting for the hot tag. They cut off Colton two or three times before Bolder Bear missed a middle rope moonsault and Austin got the hot tag. The match broke down and Austin hit Verna with the Quick Draw for the pin. I actually think there’s big things on the horizon for Bear Country and the younger Gunns. Tag team wrestling is great fun. This should have closed the show.
Shanna def. Vipress (3:30)
There wasn't much to this one. Shanna got the win with a version of the Angel's Wings, but instead of driving Vipress down on her head, she sat out and Vipress landed face first.
Matt Sydal def Baron Black (5:18)
Sydal has a match with Cody tomorrow night on Dynamite so it’s pretty clear where this one was going to end up before it started. Sydal made a point of doing more mat work against Black but he also worked in a spinning hurricanrana and enziguri. Sydal also used an inverted russian leg sweep and transitioned that into an inverted neck vice. Black mounted a comeback and got a near fall off of a backstabber. But a jumping rana from the middle rope, hook kick, and the Lightning Strike ended the match in Sydal’s favor. This one overstayed its welcome by about three minutes.
Thunder Rosa def. Ashley Vox (6:45)
Rosa has a big match in eight days against Dr. Britt Baker, so I expected this to be a showcase for Rosa. Rosa busted out an inverted tarantula, but instead of fully locking it in, Rosa pounded away at Vox’s exposed midsection. Vox came back with a headbutt and got a near fall off a spinning flatliner. Rosa’s first attempt at a fire thunder driver was countered into a roll up, but Rosa countered that into a neckbreaker and finished off Vox with the fire thunder driver on the second try.
The Acclaimed def. Lee Johnson and Shawn Dean (8:55)
The Acclaimed are in an eight-man tag tomorrow night with The Hybrid 2 against the Young Bucks and SCU. As wrestling rappers go, Caster is already better than Oscar and PN News, but that isn’t exactly a high bar to clear. Dean got some shine on both Castor and Bowens until Castor caught Dean off a bodypress attempt and dropped him throat first on the top rope. Dean got worked over by Bowens who hit an olympic slam for a near fall, but Excalibur corrected Taz’s call and says it should be the Goodwill Games Slam instead.
Dean countered a double team attempt into a tornado DDT to get the tag to Johnson. Johnson got a near fall off a blue thunder bomb, and rocked Bowens with a superkick. Castor came back with a top rope superplex, and then rolled into another suplex to set up a Rocker plex with Bowens coming off the top with a crossbody and somehow that wasn't the finish. Seriously, know when to go home, guys. The Acclaimed hit their finish: an inverted magic killer (which was nowhere near as cool as a top rope superplex followed by a Rocker plex) for the win.
Danny Limelight def. Fuego Del Sol (5:58)
Both these guys were looking for their first AEW victory and Del Sol looks barely older or bigger than -1. Taz said, “He’s a bigger star on Sammy’s vlog” and since Excalibur doesn’t know who he’s talking about, he told Taz “Pronouns, pal.” (Del Sol is the big vlog star for what it’s worth.) The first big move of the match was Limelight hitting a power bomb into a backstabber. He rolled through a sunset flip into a single leg crab, but Del Sol rolled out a proper boston crab attempt. Del Sol hit a straight jacket hangman’s neckbreaker, but Limelight finished Del Sol with what I believe was a top rope exploder suplex (Excalibur thought it was a blockbuster and Taz thought it was a spanish fly).
Frankie Kazarian (w/ Christopher Daniels) def. Angelico (w/ Jack Evans), Griff Garrison (w/ Brian Pillman Jr.) and Darius Martin (w/ Dante Martin) (7:57)
The Hybrid 2 have the douchey act down, you have to give them that. This is tornado rules meaning the first fall wins. All the babyfaces dumped Angelico early and Martin dropkicked Evans on the floor for good measure. The three babyfaces had an exchange where they all wound up catching each other’s kick attempt, but when Evans tried to interject himself, they all went after him again.
Kazarian and Garrison brawled on the floor while Angelico and Martin squared off in the ring. Angelico managed to lock up both Garrison and Martin in submission holds, but Kazarian broke it up with a slingshot ledgrop. Garrison hit a DDT and flatliner on Kazarian and Martin in another cool double offensive move. Evans, who had been interfering throughout the match, got pulled from the apron by Daniels. All four of the cornermen got into a brawl at ringside to set up JR’s favorite spot: Martin diving onto four guys bunched up on the floor. Kazarian then hit a inverted DDT on Garrison to get the pin.
Sammy Guevara def. Michael Nakazawa (5:12)
After some of Nakazawa’s, err, unique offense, Guevara hit a very pretty dropkick and a twisting plancha to the floor. Nakazawa took out the baby oil and caused Guevara to slip for a near fall. Nakazawa got way too much shine in this match which should have been a total squash for Guevara. When Nakazawa's thong came out, Guevara decided he had enough and hit a flying knee and a Burning Hammer into a GTS for the pin.
For the second straight week after the match, Guevara did some mic work. Guevara said “Screw 2020, I’m so happy to get out of that year.” You and me and everybody else, pal. Guevara made an open challenge for anyone on Dark or Dynamite and promised to be a champion in AEW in 2021.
Alan “5” Angels def. Serpentico (w/ Luther) (8:56)
Excalibur told a story of how Brodie Lee saw Angels wrestle Kenny Omega at the Dynamite tapings in Georgia back in April, and was so impressed he asked him to join the Dark Order. Angels and Serpentico brawled out to the floor and onto Peter Avalon’s bed at ringside. Back in the ring, Angels got a near fall off of a dropkick. This match was so exciting that Taz and Excalibur debated the merits of two guys in one company (Luther and Matt Sydal) doing a “third eye” gimmick. Personally, I think it’s two too many. Also, I think Dave Meltzer’s stopwatch did a run-in at about the seven minute mark. Taz said it was his phone beeping, but I don’t buy it.
Serpentico almost got a pin following a hook kick and a DDT. He went for a poison rana, but Angels landed on his feet, hit a Spanish fly and then a wing clipper to get the pin.
Post match, -1 came out with the rest of the Dark Order to cut a promo on Luther. “When you have a ball on your face, your face just looks stupid.” I mean, you can’t argue with that logic. This closed the show on a high note.
At two hours and 26 minutes, you could easily cut this up into two or three very satisfying episodes of Dark. The continued tributes to Brodie Lee were a nice touch, though. The Gunn Club and Acclaimed tag matches were very solid, and most of the matches set up nice wins for wrestlers with bigger matches in the next two weeks of New Year’s Smash shows.