Episode 44 of AEW Dark featured Dark Order’s A and B squads stealing the show, Abadon back in action, and “Big Money” Matt Hardy leading Private Party into a three-way main event with SCU and Santana & Ortiz.
Here’s the lineup with ratings (watch, solid, okay, pass) on which matches are worth your time toward Dynamite:
- Peter Avalon & Brandon Cutler vs FTR (okay)
- Michael Nakazawa & Pineapple Pete vs Sonny Kiss & Joey Janela (okay)
- Abadon vs Skyler Moore (okay)
- Shawn Spears and his black glove (watch)
- Evil Uno & Stu Grayson vs Shawn Dean & Will Hobbs (solid)
- Corey Hollis vs Scorpio Sky (okay)
- Kenzie Paige vs Penelope Ford (okay)
- Aaron Solow vs Wardlow (okay)
- Alex Reynolds & John Silver vs Best Friends (solid)
- Lance Archer vs Frankie Thomas (okay)
- Orange Cassidy vs Serpentico (okay)
- Fuego del Sol vs Sammy Guevara (okay)
- SCU vs Santana & Ortiz vs Private Party (solid)
Good action from top to bottom. The three-way tag main event had the star power with a solid performance from each team. Both Dark Order matches were the most entertaining of the bunch. Evil Uno & Stu Grayson are ready for their tag title shot on Dynamite, and Alex Reynolds & John Silver actually got a chance to wrestle to their capabilities. Shawn Spears had some character development by explaining why he uses his black glove. That’s worth watching if you care about him at all.
Watch the show here.
Excalibur and Taz were on commentary. Justin Roberts was the ring announcer.
Peter Avalon & Brandon Cutler vs FTR
Avalon and Cutler debuted their new team name, The Initiative. FTR drove to the ring in their black truck. Leva Bates was ringside. The Young Bucks were watching behind the guardrail. Tully Blanchard was observing from far away in the fan seats. Surprisingly, AEW’s lovable losers did not have any moments of coming close to victory. FTR won with a spike piledriver to Avalon. Afterward, FTR shook hands with the Bucks.
Michael Nakazawa & Pineapple Pete vs Sonny Kiss & Joey Janela
.@SugarDunkerton and @MichaelNakazawa ready to go! #AEWDark— TDE Wrestling (@tde_gif) July 28, 2020
➡️ https://t.co/8AXPyX0YWz pic.twitter.com/dNqoFbaO6n
Top move was Pete sliding off Nakazawa’s oiled back to launch for a shoulder block into the corner.
Slip 'n Slide teamwork from @SugarDunkerton and @MichaelNakazawa! #AEWDark— TDE Wrestling (@tde_gif) July 28, 2020
➡️ https://t.co/8AXPyX0YWz pic.twitter.com/vlBChrZiFp
Janela had a rousing sequence on both Pete and Nak that began with a flurry of clotheslines to a German suplex into the turnbuckles to a DVD to a suicide dive and finishing with a flying splash. In the end, Janela pushed Nak’s underwear hand into Pete’s face. That led to a big kick to Pete then a flying splits leg drop by Kiss to pin Pete.
Abadon vs Skyler Moore
Moore attacked early with a DDT. Abadon sat up and popped her neck back into place.
♀️ #AEWDark— TDE Wrestling (@tde_gif) July 28, 2020
➡️ https://t.co/8AXPyX0YWz pic.twitter.com/1yXbAg8Fo8
Moore had momentum throughout until Abadon countered out of a gutwrench set-up into a Gory neckbreaker to win.
Shawn Spears and his black glove
Spears is taking the victim role and claiming his glove is for self-defense. His black glove is the one thing that will always be there when he needs it. It is his protector.
Shawn Spears (@Perfec10n) explains "Why the glove?"— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) July 27, 2020
Watch #AEWDark every Tuesday at 7/6c - https://t.co/S97K8JEpkJ and #AEWDynamite every Wednesday at 8/7c on @tntdrama pic.twitter.com/8r2D4nIgCv
Evil Uno & Stu Grayson vs Shawn Dean & Will Hobbs
5, 10, Alex Reynolds, and John Silver watched from the entrance stage. The Dark Order steamrolled Dean. On the hot tag, Hobbs steamrolled the Dark Order. The Dark Order rebounded to take control as Grayson crushed Hobbs with an impressive torture rack into a backbreaker across the knee.
All too easy for @EvilUno and @stu_dos! #AEWDark— TDE Wrestling (@tde_gif) July 28, 2020
➡️ https://t.co/8AXPyX0YWz pic.twitter.com/z3AWosqf1t
Grayson and Uno executed Dean with their Fatality finisher to win.
Corey Hollis vs Scorpio Sky
Sky was in trouble after Hollis countered an inside cradle suplex into a stunner. Hollis went for all the marbles on a flying splash, but Sky got his boots up. Sky pounced with a TKO to win.
Kenzie Paige vs Penelope Ford
Kip Sabian was ringside. Ford was wearing new, taller boots that went up past her knees. Ford extinguished Paige’s fire with a handspring cutter off the ropes. Ford won with a fisherman’s suplex.
Aaron Solow vs Wardlow
Wardlow was solo without MJF. Solow exploded with kicks, but Wardlow caught him for a spinning slam. Wardlow knocked Solow out with a big knee as Solow was falling from the turnbuckles. After Wardlow’s win, he added two F-10’s for good measure.
Alex Reynolds & John Silver vs Best Friends
5, 10, Stu Grayson, and Evil Uno watched from the entrance stage. Best Friends looked to get a quick win with Strong Zero, but Dark Order escaped and exploded for a sequence of kicks, elbows, a stunner followed by a German suplex, and a jackknife pin.
Tremendous teamwork from @SilverNumber1 and @YTAlexReynolds! #AEWDark— TDE Wrestling (@tde_gif) July 29, 2020
➡️ https://t.co/8AXPyX0YWz pic.twitter.com/LeFqUFWfDL
Trent kicked out. The Dark Order continued with excellent teamwork to tenderize Trent. Shockingly, Trent lost his headband. Chuck Taylor eventually got the hot tag to run wild. Trent swooped in for a super release German suplex to Reynolds. Chuck closed it out with an Awful Waffle piledriver on Silver. Afterward, Uno and Grayson were frustrated by the loss, so they took their goons to rush the ring. Best Friends escaped unscathed.
Lance Archer vs Frankie Thomas
Jake Roberts was ringside. Archer carried some chump to the ring by his belt. Archer battered Thomas. The Murderhawk Monster won with a chokeslam then clawing Thomas’ head into the mat.
Orange Cassidy vs Serpentico
This was the real Serpentico, and not Sammy Guevara in disguise. Cassidy attempted a Superman punch early, but Serpentico escaped the ring before contact. Later, Serptentico hit a superplex and tried to roll it over into a second suplex. OC countered into a roll-up for the win. Serpentico tried to attack after the match, but OC clocked him with the Superman punch.
Fuego del Sol vs Sammy Guevara
Low Rida was ringside in support of Fuego del Sol. This match got the cooldown spot in my attention span. Sammy won via GTH. Afterward, Sammy also hit Low Rida with a GTH.
SCU vs Santana & Ortiz vs Private Party
Backstage, “Big Money” Matt Hardy likes how Private Party has big dreams and aspirations. Hardy wants to see them become more successful, because that would make him look good and also put more money in his pocket. Money Matt needs Private Party to win by any means necessary.
The duo was taken aback by Hardy’s plans to benefit off their success. They thought he was kind of a dick.
Top move of the three-way was from Isiah Kassidy with a dope outside springboard backflip splash over the ropes into the ring. Private Party hit Silly String on Ortiz, but Frankie Kazarian broke the pin. Private Party hit Ortiz again with a flying splash and flying leg drop combo, but Santana pulled the referee out of the ring. The match broke down and went all crazy with a cutter, blue thunder bomb, stunner, DDT, facebuster, and slingshot plancha in rapid succession.
Santana and Ortiz used their street smarts to pull out the win. Ortiz tossed his madball sock into Marq Quen’s hands. Ortiz then got the referee’s attention as a set-up. After the ref took the foreign object from Quen, Ortiz kicked Quen in the cojones behind the ref’s back. Ortiz rolled Quen up for the 1, 2, 3.
The two segments worth dissecting are Shawn Spears and “Big Money” Matt Hardy. I thought Spears’ promo flopped. The execution was fine, but the message was whack. I don’t understand what the goal was. He claimed victim status and gave off a vibe of worshipping the black glove. To me, he came across as a chump who is slowly losing his mind. He was delusional, but it wasn’t effective for scumbag liar heel heat. That promo did nothing to make me eager for more Spears.
Money Matt flapped his gums about helping Private Party to help himself. His heel persona doesn’t jive with Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen, at least not yet. Hardy didn’t do anything during the match, so it brings his purpose into question. Is Hardy going to roll through his rolodex of characters until he finds a fit with Private Party? If Money Matt sticks around, how will Private Party react? They clearly sense he wants to profit off their work, however, they might be okay with that if they pick up more wins. It is too soon to tell if this appearance was fluff or will lead somewhere as a storyline.
Other thoughts: Evil Uno and Stu Grayson look ready for their title shot. I can’t wait to see Stu’s Spartan style against Hangman Page and Kenny Omega. Michael Nakazawa and Pineapple Pete made for an entertaining pair and should stick together. Abadon is still creepy, and her novelty has yet to wear off. I hope she’s in the women’s tag tournament. Will Hobbs continues to impress with his power-man spurts. I’d like to see Hobbs join Team Taz. That would instantly give him a boost to shed that jobber stink from all his losses on Dark. Three cheers for Santana & Ortiz picking up a big win. It is time to rise back up the rankings.
Share your thoughts on Dark. Who stood out most for episode 44?