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AEW Dark recap (July 14, 2020): Brian Cage annihilates Brian Pillman Jr. in FTW title defense

Episode 42 of AEW Dark featured the Nightmare Sisters in action, Michael Nakazawa’s Turkish baby oil and smelly underwear, lovable losers almost upsetting Jurassic Express, and Brian Cage defending the FTW Championship against Brian Pillman Jr.

Here’s the lineup with ratings (watch, solid, okay, pass) on which matches are worth your time toward Dynamite:

  • Rache Chanel & Diamante vs Brandi Rhodes & Allie (okay)
  • Robert Anthony vs Ricky Starks (solid)
  • Shawn Dean, Will Hobbs, & Joe Alonzo vs Dark Order’s 3, 4, & 5 (okay)
  • Michael Nakazawa vs Marko Stunt (pass)
  • Serpentico & Luther vs Brady Pierce & Pineapple Pete (okay)
  • Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus vs Peter Avalon & Brandon Cutler (solid)
  • Brian Cage vs Brian Pillman Jr. (solid)

Robert Anthony vs Ricky Starks was the best match, but I can see an argument for Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus vs Peter Avalon & Brandon Cutler. Both bouts were entertaining. The main event did a good job of putting Brian Cage over as an unstoppable machine before his title fight against Jon Moxley at Fight for the Fallen on Wednesday night (July 15).

Watch the show here.

Excalibur and Taz were on commentary. Justin Roberts was the ring announcer.

Rache Chanel & Diamante vs Brandi Rhodes & Allie

Allie brought out a sign for her missing QT Marshall. Dustin Rhodes was ringside as coach. Prior to the opening bell, Diamante shoved Brandi, so Allie stepped up to protect the back of her Nightmare Sister. Brandi and Allie were more cohesive this week. They had good tags and even saved each other from harm. In the end, Brandi got the hot tag to pummel Chanel. Allie ran in to tackle Diamante out of the ring. Brandi closed it out with a head kick, pump kick, and spear on Chanel to win.

Robert Anthony vs Ricky Starks

Anthony’s early momentum was halted when his throat was smashed against the rope by Starks. Anthony countered well, but Starks was one step ahead to get the better of exchanges. Highlights include a spear from Starks, a swinging neckbreaker from Starks, a tilt-a-whirl slam maneuver from Anthony, and a super awesome Romero Special from Anthony. In the end, Starks seized control with a big kick then a double underhook facebuster to win.

Shawn Spears spoke about the legacy of his black glove. Past wearers have all been remembered. History will repeat itself. Tully Blanchard believes in Spears, and Spears believes in himself.

Shawn Dean, Will Hobbs, & Joe Alonzo vs Dark Order’s 3, 4, & 5

Alex Reynolds, John Silver, and Alan Angels represented the Dark Order. Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, and 10 watched from the entrance stage. The Dark Order wrestled with aggression, but they struggled when in the ring with Hobbs. That big man was a beast. The Dark Order overcame with their teamwork and picked Alonzo apart for the win. Alonzo was crushed with a kick, wing snapper, and double-team flipping destroyer DDT.

Michael Nakazawa vs Marko Stunt

This bout had a comedic flavor with Stunt’s size and Nakazawa’s Turkish baby oil. In the end, Nak tried to apply his smelly undies to Stunt’s face. Stunt dropkicked Nak’s hand with the object into Nak’s own face. As Nakazawa was dazed from the stench, Stunt won via roll-up. Afterward, Nakazawa trash-talked Alex Jebailey ringside for the second week in a row.

Serpentico & Luther vs Brady Pierce & Pineapple Pete

It looks like we have a new tag team in our midst. Serpentico and Luther worked well together. The masked man was the brains, while the squeaky voice fellow was the power. They executed several teamwork moves where Luther would use Serpentico’s body as a weapon to inflict pain on their opponents. The new duo won with a standing sliced bread from Serpentico then a teamwork elevated flying knee attack.

Serpentico AEW

Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus vs Peter Avalon & Brandon Cutler

Leva Bates was ringside. The Young Bucks were in the fan section to cheer on their buddy Cutler and also scout Jurassic Express for their match with the Elite Wednesday night at Fight for the Fallen.

The lovable losers almost picked up the win twice. First, Cutler ate a chokeslam but got his knees up on Luchasaurus’ standing moonsault. Cutler was close to stealing victory with an inside cradle, however, the dino kicked out. The other moment was when Avalon scored a DDT on Luchasaurus then Cutler followed with a springboard elbow drop. Jungle Boy had to make the save to break the cover.

Once playtime was over, Jungle Boy pounced with suicide dives and suplexes. Jurassic Express hit their teamwork cutter finisher to win on Avalon.

Brian Cage vs Brian Pillman Jr.

Cage declared this bout a FTW title defense. Pillman struck early with a dropkick and superkick. Pillman tried to keep the momentum going with a cannonball senton, but Cage caught him for a suplex on the floor. Cage annihilated Pillman with a powerbomb toss into the ring post, a suplex back into the ring, then the Drill Claw to win.

AEW Dark

Afterward, Cage added injury to insult with two more powerbombs and a fireman’s carry facebuster. Pillman was left convulsing on the mat.

Brian Cage is a machine. Pillman put up a good fight, or as well as one could on the losing end of a three-minute match. Cage’s power was too much. While it was an impressive FTW title defense, this particular outing didn’t show me that Cage will put down Jon Moxley for the three count at Fight for the Fallen. Cage is going to have to hit an extra gear of violence.

The Nightmare Sisters continued their winning ways, however, I have to question if Allie was trying to sabotage Brandi Rhodes a little bit. Allie crawled extremely slow in those hot tag moments. So slow that it makes me wonder if Allie didn’t want Brandi in the ring at all. On the first time, Diamante ran over to knock Brandi off the apron. On the second time, Allie had no choice but to tag out since their opponents weren’t in that corner to prevent it.

After the match, Allie’s eye roll during their celebration is up for interpretation.

It could be Allie being playful and warming up to her partner. Or, it could be Allie being condescending of Brandi’s proud moment of picking up the winning pin.

Ricky Starks has had two appearances in the ring on Dark. Both times, he made a special effort to give Taz a fist pound at the commentary table. Starks also left Excalibur hanging, which Taz enjoyed.

I really hope Starks joins Team Taz. Taz spoke highly of Starks’ abilities, so there could be a future relationship there. Being under Taz’s tutelage would help Starks stand out from the mid-card pack. He would also be an entertaining stepping stone if Taz makes Darby Allin earn the right to challenge Cage.

Share your thoughts on Dark. Who stood out most for episode 42?

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