Welcome back to the AEW (AFTER) Dark Review here on Pro Wrestling Post! This week we got back into the longer format, getting over an hour of free wrestling action on YouTube once more. There were great matches, interesting angles, and some great work from the commentary team. Our main event features Spears and Delaney against the Best Friends.
Excalibur was joined this week by Taz. After signing a long-term deal, this may end up being a permanent duo and I am here for it. Working with great chemistry and a wealth of commentary experience between the two, they have started to give Dark a recognizable different style and sound. And this week, the two of them shined throughout across a great episode.
So let’s dive into it!
Jurassic Express vs. Sonny Kiss and Brandon Cutler
Sonny Kiss and Brandon Cutler continued on as an unlikely duo, this time Brandon would actually get involved in the match, however. Marko and Brandon start it off, with Marko giving up a foot of height to Cutler which would come to be a detriment as Cutler bullied the smaller man around for a while.
Jungle Boy jumps into the fray as a result. He immediately hits a beautiful springboard arm drag that seemed like it was going to touch every rope on the way down. Sonny Kiss gets a tag then a hurricanrana split-legged arm drag to one-up Jungle Boy before some handspring kicks to the corner. Marko tries to get involved via dance. Kiss dispatches him with a simple bump of his hip. Signature split leg drop off the top by Kiss gets a near fall. Jungle Boy regains his momentum after some attempted tag team offense gives him his opening for some chops and a monkey roll on Kiss and another arm drag to Cutler.
Marko with a diving stomp to Cutler the arm into an assisted cradle 450 splash and leg drop combo with Jungle Boy.
Cutler starts to reuse his size against the smaller legal man and side slams Stunt after some more comically failed offense due to the lack of height. Kiss comes in and keeps Stunt from making the tag. Jungle Boy with the hot tag leading to a big string of offense from the Tarzan-like young man.
He then locks in a beautiful standing bridging Mutah lock. We would love to see somebody utilize this as a finisher. The finish, however, came in the form of a rolling cutter by Marko off the fireman’s carry from Jungle Boy for the win in a fun, entertaining start to the night.
Winner – Jurassic Express
Mel vs. Hikaru Shida
Brandi was not ringside for this, instead, she was apparently at her therapy session which we got an interesting video package of. There seems to be a voice in her head instructing her towards her evil side. They even played off the social media hate Brandi has received, further helping spiral her into madness. She starts to see illusions of the therapist saying evil things (dressed in Brandi’s widow-like esthetic) and then rushes out after a breathing exercise. This was a good direction to go with this, starting to differentiate the Nightmare Collective from the Dark Order.
Back to the match at hand however, Mel is accompanied to the ring by both Luther and Awesome Kong. Mel starts off hot and attacks Shida from behind off the bat. She then uses her size advantage for a biel toss. Hikaru tries to pick up the pace with some knees but gets hit with her own kendo stick, which was stolen mid-entrance by Awesome Kong, as she bounces off the ropes.
Shida starts being picked apart by clubbing blows from Mel and then some classic heel rest holds with a much more painful twist to them. Shida makes her way back into it by driving Mel over the ropes and hitting a double axe handle off the apron. This was close to leading to the signature running knee off the chair for Hikaru, but Luther and Kong break it up with some heel shenanigans. A rough body slam in the center of the ring by Mel to accentuate her taking the momentum back.
A battle of attempted suplexes leads to an enziguri and then a successful suplex from Shida.
She then hits a picture-perfect missile dropkick off the top but only gets a two. Big sidewalk slam from Mel continues the battle for momentum, leading to a chokeslam reversed into a roll-up for another two count for Shida. Then followed by an attempted rolling crucifix for yet another two count.
A hip throw from Hikaru makes the judoka in Taz pop, but she can’t lift Mel into the fireman’s carry. Kong once again gets involved, but misses Hikaru and hits Mel headfirst with the kendo stick. Hikaru then grabs it and smacks it across Kong’s dome. Then to wrap things up, a rising knee from Shida for the three count. Great match, with Mel really shining in her heel role here.
Kong and Luther chastised Mel after the match for failing the Nightmare Collective. Kong smacks her around and Mel finally gets sick of it and retaliates. Luther surprisingly swerves on Kong and holds her as Mel attacks leading to her throwing Kong through the barricade and then up against the ring post and steps. Mel walks onto her and then the guillotine leg drops her on the steps off the neighboring apron.
Winner – Mel
Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford vs. Kenny Omega and Riho
Jumping back in time to the Rock N Wrestling Rager cruise, we got to see this gem of a mixed tag match. If you only make it through one contest for this week, this would be the one to watch. Not only was it the first mixed tag match for Kenny Omega and Riho inside an AEW ring, but it was also the first mixed tag period in the young company. Does this open the door for potentially exploring a division down the line? Very likely the case, as Kenny would address on the mic afterward.
Kip and Omega nearly started it off, but both men attempt to tag in the women. Instead of a showdown between Ford and Riho, Penelope slaps Omega and asks for a showdown with Kenny instead. A nice lockup sequence between Penelope and Omega ends with Kenny taking advantage of the arm. A nice headlock takedown from Penelope shifts things her way as they see-saw momentum. This leads to a headscissor from Kenny that she slowly works out of.
Kip tags in but surprisingly asks for Riho to get the tag, Omega obliges.
Sabian tries to work Riho over with the arm lock but Riho trades advantage with him back and forth. Superbad ends the good sportsmanship session with a kick to the gut, pissing off Omega in the process. Riho then quickens the pace with some arm drags but gets hung up trying for the body slam on the larger Brit. Sabian has less trouble slamming Riho when he has a go at the same move, though. So much so he does it twice, but the third attempt leads to Riho out the back for a hot tag to Omega.
Omega lights Sabian up with chops and strikes before hitting him with a stalling pump handle slam. Then we were treated to some nice duo offense from Kenny and Riho showing their well-honed chemistry from their many intergender tag matches in Japan. Kip tries to get back into it, only to be thwarted with some great counters from Riho. Sabian gets lit up with chops from Riho this time, and he needed to resort to an eye poke to finally get the tag to Ford.
Ford takes the fight to Riho, showing she is more than just a manager but instead a legitimate threat to the top of the women’s division. Before long, however, she tags back in Sabian who tosses Riho down with a back suplex off the tag into a camel clutch. Kenny runs in and lays into Kip with strikes but Ford makes sure Kip gets the tag to her with a well-timed drag off both competitors. Riho continues to get picked apart before taking out both Kip and Ford with some clever countering once again including a nice headscissor and cradle to double stomp.
Kenny with the rolling sabat and fisherman buster to no avail though as it only gets a two.
Riho then hits a nice diving hurricanrana off the top, ala young Rey Mysterio. Kenny’s snapdragon attempt is then countered with a Pele style enziguri from Sabian. This then leads up to a huge springboard shotgun dropkick from Kip. Some innovative tag team moves of their own showcased by Kip and Penelope at Omega’s expense. Omega fights back with a V Trigger off the bridge attempt. Penelope nicely ducks a clothesline leading to a stunner as she bridges back up off her hands.
A perfectly executed northern lights suplex from Riho to Ford gets a close two. An attempted finish, Riho tries for the double stomp off the top but misses thanks to Kip’s distraction. Kenny gets the tag and then ends up snapdragon suplexing Kip’s neck in two. Kip manages to prevent the V Trigger with the referee and Penelope hits the low blow.
Riho comes to Kenny’s defense this time to return the favor and even snap dragon suplexes, Kip, after laying into Penelope.
Kenny counters the ducking stunner repeat attempt into a snapdragon on Penelope this time! Then yet another snapdragon by Riho assisted by a V Trigger from Kenny and then one more against the back of Kip’s head which was resting against the middle rope. Finally, after playing with his food, Kenny nails a One-Winged Angel for the victory.
Omega gives a nice speech about the meaning of putting on a mixed tag match with Riho for American audiences. And also being able to perform a wrestling show on a cruise. Both really awesome, nearly never checked off bucket list items for a pro wrestler. He even had the crowd pop for Kip and Penelope as a sign of respect. Then we got the classic goodbye and goodnight, bang sign off. If you don’t love it, we can’t be friends.
Winner – Kenny Omega and Riho
Shawn Spears (w/ Tully Blanchard) and Colin Delaney vs. Best Friends (w/ Orange Cassidy)
Shawn Spears and Tully Blanchard put forth an effort to try to find Shawn a partner continued here on Dark against the Best Friends. Tully made a speech about finding the perfect pairing and made it clear that there will be a long process of testing the “good fits on paper”.
Spears tries to start things off, only to end up with two knees to the chest and a tag to Delaney for his efforts against the Best Friends. Not a great start, or a good look for that matter. But heels will be heels. A tie-up leads to Chuck Taylor of the Best Friends getting into the ring against Delaney while Spears looks on. An arm drag leads into an Irish whip which then leads into a single leg crab from Taylor, stretching his leg across the opposite shoulder.
Then a sort of Wrestling 101 back and forth countering leads to a staredown in the center of the ring between Colin and Chuck. Shawn and Colin try to hit some tag moves, but very unsuccessfully due to the lack of chemistry. It seems to be safe to say his search for a partner will continue after this.
Double Pescado from the Best Friends, but the signature hug is interrupted. Delaney tries for the hug, Shawn gives it to Tully instead. Poor Delaney, at least he doesn’t have to be in WWECW again. The world is better off without that awful brand’s existence.
A bit of a lull in the action as Colin ends up in a rest hold at the end and thwarts a tag attempt from Chuck.
Chuck then fights out of the opposing corner with some strikes and gets Trent in with a hot tag whilst Delaney also enters on the other end. Trent lights Colin up with chops before a running elbow and then a clothesline takes him off his feet. Beautiful swinging tornado DDT off the top leads to a follow-up tope con helo. A big crossbody from the top gets a close two.
Trent tries to go in for the kill and sets up Colin for a superplex but he slips under for an electric chair drop and rolling DDT combination. Chuck then hits a sort of buckshot lariat/silly string combination. Soul food half and half on Delaney for a surprising two count. Spears takes Trent down on the top rope and he splits the uprights. Shawn tags in and goes for a superplex but its blocked once more. A few strikes get Trent on his feet, only for Spears to sweep them back out causing a harsh looking spill on the back of his head.
C4 attempt from Shawn is countered but Colin helps with a springboard stunner. C4 is then delivered but the pin is broken up before the 3. Orange Cassidy interrupts Spears’ tope attempt by just standing in the way. Even the ref looked confused. Tully and Cassidy face off in the middle of the ring in an epic clash. Cassidy tucks the hands into the pockets. Tully returns it right back, increasing his power levels over 9000. Devastating kicks from Cassidy but Spears interrupts. Attempted inside cradle by Colin, only gets a two. Best Friends finally give the people what they want after a couple of knee strikes. Spears leaves the match, Strong Zero to Colin for the win
Winner – Best Friends
Until Next Time…
There we have it, a return to the full hour-long edition of Dark. Some great angles, fun matches, and a lot of building to Revolution. With the increasing likelihood of a second tv show for AEW coming to TNT, we could have a revamped AEW Dark before long heading to the network. But for now, we continue to get a Tuesday night delight over on YouTube to carry us through the wait for Wednesday. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts, shall we?
This week’s edition of the AEW (AFTER) Dark Review is through for this week. As Dark continues to grace our internet browsers and mobile devices, expect all the reactions to catch you up on that AEW Dark action wherever it goes down, right here on Pro Wrestling Post. But, as always, until next time…