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by Scrooge McSuck
September 14, 2021
For those keeping track, this is episode #108 of Dark, and our first episode taped from Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. Tony Schiavone and Taz are calling the action, unless otherwise noted.
We open with Alex Marvez hyping Leyla Hirsch vs. Jade Cargill for Dynamite, but tonight, they'll both be in singles action. They're playing off the size difference, much like NWA did for Hirsch vs Kamile at EmPowerrr.
The Butcher & The Blade (w/ The Bunny) vs. Hunter Knott & Rosario Grillo:
Only the second match back for the Butcher since a lengthy absence due to injury. Butcher and Blade attack from behind to kick things off. Knott gets tossed and they lay out Grillo with a double shoulder tackle. He slips out of a powerslam and tags in Knott, who seems like he wants nothing to do with the Butcher. Just look at the man, would you want to mess with him? Butcher psyches Knott out and floors him with a right hand. Whip to the corner and Butcher charges in with a clothesline. Blade in, stomping Knott down and burying a knee in his face. Blade with a gourd buster and punt to the body. Combo Powerbomb and neck breaker finishes at 1:48. The Butcher is such a unique looking character, here's hoping they do something with this team outside of being HFO goons.
Anna Jay vs. Ashley D'Amboise:
God, I'm going to hate typing that name over and over. This is Anna Jay's first singles match since coming back from injury. She's still associated with the Dark Order, but for how long? I like that she's blended the Dark Order with her "Star of the Show" persona. D'Amboise is sitting at 0-8. Lockup and D'Amboise grabs a side headlock. Anna Jay counters with a takeover and comes off the ropes with a shoulder block. Crisscross and Anna with a release Northern Lights Suplex. She misses a charge into the corner, allowing D'Amboise to get some shots in. She misses a charge of her own, and now Anna Jay is throwing strikes. Whip across the ring, Anna charges in with a heel kick, takes D'Amboise over with a snap mare, and bounces off the ropes with a rolling neck breaker. Queen Slayer finishes at 1:28. Post-match, The Bunny returns, attacking Anna Jay from behind, but is quickly chased away by Tay Conti.
2point0 (w/ Daniel Garcia) vs. Erik & Andrew Lockhart:
BREAKING NEWS: Matt Lee won the BTE Championship from Marko Stunt, but it feels like Jeff Parker is allowed to defend the belt under Freebirds rules. 2point0 have quietly gained traction despite losing almost every key match they've been involved in. The upside to that is all those matches were with the likes of the Darby Allin and Moxley's of AEW. Lee starts, running through Andrew with a clothesline and taking him over with a suplex. Parker in for some tandem offense ending in a springboard elbow. Parker keeps punishing Andrew (or maybe Erik, no one is being identified) with back breakers. 2point0 take turns targeting the ribs with stomps. Andrew fights out of the corner and tags in his brother, who gets to run wild for about 5-seconds. Lee with the blind tag. Whip to the ropes and 2point0 with "2 For the Show" (a double-team Hot Shot) for three at 2:30. post-match, the trio of 2point0 and Garcia continue putting the boots to the Lockhart brothers. I hate to nitpick, but it wouldn't hurt if we can get a little info on new enhancement talent.
Jade Cargill (w/ "Smart" Mark Sterling) vs. Angelica Risk:
Cargill improved to 13-0 on Dark: Elevation, and we can only assume she'll had a 14th win to that total in a few moments. $20 says her entrance is longer than the match, even with the shorter stage and ramp set-up. Risk looks to be about the size of Leyla Hirsh. Cargill easily puts Risk on the canvas with a waist-lock throw. Cargill meets an elbow in the corner but can catch Risk diving off the top rope. She tosses Risk overhead with a fallaway slam and nips up. Cargill with the pump kick and Jaded (butterfly face-buster) finishes at 1:11. I like this slow and steady approach AEW has taken with Cargill. She's green as grass but keeping her in short squashes with a couple of impressive moves is the best way to go. Post-match, Sterling cuts a promo about Cargill squashing Hirsch in her home state of New Jersey.
Recap of the Big Swole/Diamante rivalry. Is this the end? Probably not.
Fuego del Sol vs. Mysterious Movado:
Who is the Mysterious Movado? Hell, if I know. If I were to do a "Top 10 MOMENTS in AEW History", Fuego getting his contract on the premiere episode of Rampage ranks high. Not only is he a luchador from Mobile, AL, but he's such a likeable underdog that you really must appreciate the moment. Fuego's 2021 record is a paltry 2-29, both wins coming in tag team action. To date, he is winless as a solo performer, but I feel like that's about to change. Movado attacks before the bell, doing goofy shtick. Fuego fights him off with a jaw breaker and connects with a dropkick. He sprints into the corner with a shoulder tackle to the midsection. Movado avoids a springboard body press and lays Fuego out with a clothesline. Movado with a delayed slam and a falling headbutt for two. Movado unloads with slaps to the chest and hits a sliding dropkick. Handstand senton gets two. Fuego comes back with an enzuigiri and comes off the ropes with a moonsault. Fuego goes to the top rope and finishes with the Tornado DDT (the best in the business) at 3:16 for his first singles win in AEW. If you're having Fuego sell for enhancement talent, at least use someone we've seen before so them trying to get themselves over isn't as obnoxious. The match was decent, I just would've used a different opponent.
Shawn Spears vs. Khash:
Poor Spears. No matter what he does, no matter how they book him, he's just a vanilla mid-card heel that nobody really reacts to. He's facing Darby Allin this week on Dynamite, so here's a warm-up match to hype that up. No Tully Blanchard at ringside with Spears. Lockup into the corner and Khash gives a clean break. Spears responds with some mocking applause. They trade wristlocks and Khash transitions into a hammerlock. Spears backs him into the corner for a break and lands an elbow across the side of the head. Khash fights out of the corner but gets sent through the ropes on a missed charge. Spears follows, sending him into the guardrail and dropping him across the ring apron. Back inside, Spears pulls down the pad and drives his knee into the face of Khash. He pulls him up at two as the crowd chants "You Still Suck." Spears has a message for Darby as he finishes with the C-4 (Death Valley Driver) at 3:35. Maybe I'm in the minority, but Spears work is always solid, but his stop-and-start pushes have really hurt him.
Sonny Kiss is standing by to update us on Joey Janela turning on her about a month ago on Dark. Now the Concrete Rose is back, and Joey Janela is nothing but a "piece of sh*t loser." They'll meet in the ring NEXT WEEK.
Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, and Wheeler Yuta (w/ Kris Statlander) vs. TH2 & Jora Johl:
The HFO continues to expand, with Johl being featured recently on Dark as an "International" signing. It seems like the HFO/Best Friends feud will never end, as they're teasing a Hair vs. Hair Match between Hardy and Cassidy. At least Angelico gets to dance to the ring to his own entrance music. Taz asks Schiavone if he'll use this song for his 75th Wedding Anniversary. Schiavone denies it but plans on dancing like Angelico does. Yuta and Angelico start. Lockup and they immediately trade cradles. They do some chain wrestling with Angelico getting the better of it. Yuta takes over with an arm drag and leg sweep. Taylor tags in for a double suplex. Evans in with knee strikes in the corner. Taylor turns it around, stomping Evans down. Whip to the ropes and Taylor with a charging elbow for two. Cassidy tags in for a double suplex where Cassidy does about 5% of the effort. Johl and Angelico come in for some blatant three-on-one assaults. THERE WASN'T EVEN A TAG, REF! Johl with a delayed vertical suplex for two. Again, that spot should be reserved for a babyface to pop the crowd. Johl taunts Cassidy with his own weak shin kicks until landing a snug kick to the chest for two. Evans with a whip and jumping heel kick, followed by a standing corkscrew splash for two. Cassidy avoids another Three-on-One in the corner. He wiggles out of a waist-lock with his hands in his pockets and hot tags Yuta. He nails Angelico with a springboard body press. Evans jumps in and is caught with a stomach buster. Yuta avoids a double-team and hits Angelico with a German Suplex for two. Whip to the corner, Angelico avoids a diving forearm from Taylor and tags in Johl. TH2 with tandem action before feeding Taylor to Johl for a powerslam. Cassidy with the blind tag as Taylor takes out TH2. He catches Johl by surprise with the Orange Punch for three at 8:11. Afterwards, the Best Friends give the people what they want. Not much of a story to the match, but perfectly fine action. **
"Legit" Leyla Hirsch vs. KiLynn King:
Final match of the night. King is another familiar face from the "Dark" days of Daily's Place, racking up a decent record of 12-9. She's a tall drink of water, the perfect opponent to tease Wednesday's "David vs. Goliath" battle between Hirsch and Cargill. Lockup into the corner and a clean break. They take turns playing to the crowd, flexing their biceps. King with a waist-lock takedown into a side headlock. Hirsch counters, only for King to bring her to the canvas and grab a front face-lock. Hirsch with another escape, hooking a head-scissors. Whip to the ropes and Hirsch with a spinning side headlock takeover. Hirsch pulls the ropes down, causing King to take a spill to the floor. Hirsch teases a tope suicida but King cuts her off with a forearm. Back inside, King with a snap suplex for two. King sends Hirsch face-first into the turnbuckle. Hirsch blocks a suplex and counters with a sloppy cradle for two. King pops up and easily knocks Hirsch to the canvas with a clothesline. Hirsch fights off the shoulders, only for King to transition to a bearhug. Hirsch keeps fighting and they trade forearm strikes across the chest. King cuts Hirsch off with a pump kick. Hirsch counters a back suplex and tosses King with a pair of release Germans. She nails the double knees in the corner, followed by a wrecking ball dropkick. King bails out and Hirsch follows with a tope. Back inside, Hirsch with an angled back suplex. She climbs the ropes and connects with a perfect moonsault for two. King strings together a series of strikes and catches Hirsch off the ropes with a fallaway slam. Roundhouse kick gets two. Hirsh counters a Powerbomb with a sunset flip for two. Running knee strike and Hirsch picks up the victory at 7:43. Hirsch barely has a moment to enjoy the victory before Jade Cargill comes to the ring. Hirsch is having none of that, sweeping the legs of Cargill and a bunch of referees rush the ring to keep them apart. Started slow but picked up nicely with both women sticking to their babyface styles. **¾
Final Thoughts: An enjoyable hour of professional wrestling. The two "feature" matches were solid efforts, and all the squashes either served a purpose or featured talent I personally enjoyed. As I've complained in a recent episode of Dark: Elevation, it would be nice for the commentary team to have notes on new enhancement talent, so we have some clue who they are. Keeping these YouTube shows under an hour is the best move for the presentation offered, and thankfully we won't have to deal with 18-match/2-hour episodes again for the foreseeable future.
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