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AEW Dark recap (Nov. 16, 2021): Long Kiss Good Knyte

Episode 117 of AEW Dark is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream. Let’s talk about what went down on YouTube. Your commentary team at the start of the show was Excalibur and Taz, joined for a few bouts by “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry starting with the Spears & Wardlow match.

Powerhouse Hobbs (w/ Hook) vs. Jaysin Strife

Hobbs came out 18-4 so far in 2021 for this match. I’m emotionally torn about this match because I know the man making his AEW debut as his opponent. Jaysin Strife gave me the first Ring of Honor VHS tape I ever watched, back when he used to work at a local video game store. I know he’s here just to be fed to Hobbs, but I’m hoping that someone in the back liked his work enough to bring him back for another match. Hobbs caught Strife in mid air and stretched him out over the top of the turnbuckle to lay in strikes, then brought him back down with a big running knee. He hit the spinebuster and pulled him back up before the three count, then put him in the torture rack to force Strife to submit. Give him credit for doing what he was supposed to do to make Hobbs look dominant.

Andrade El Idolo (w. Jose the Assistant) vs. Jah-C

Andrade is 5-2 following his win on Elevation last night. Jah-C brought a singles record of 0-1 and sadly for him soon to be 0-2. He made a big mistake shoving Andrade though as he immediately got run over with a clothesline and nailed with some ground and pound. Excalibur: “Jah-C’s not been able to get out of the gate.” Brother, he wasn’t ever supposed to. A boot to the jaw sent Jah-C’s headband flying. Andrade pulled Jah-C back to his feet to lay in the strikes and then tried an armbar/triangle choke using the ropes for leverage. Reverse elbows to the head continued the punishment. Jah-C managed an elbow strike, slid out of the way, got one roll up, and then submitted to an armbar. Well... he had about two seconds more offense in this match than Strife had in his. Andrade improves to 6-2.

Shawn Spears & Wardlow (w/ Tully Blanchard) vs. Arik Cannon & Renny D

Spears was 13-4 and Wardlow was 20-3 coming in. Cannon and D were making their AEW tag team debut. Once again Cannon is someone I know well from the local wrestling scene, having seen him at the earliest stages of his career working 3XW in Des Moines, Iowa. His partner D took exception to being called a jobber on social media, so let’s call him a carpenter instead. The crowd erupted when he tagged Cannon in to face Wardlow, and someone in the crowd held up a sign urging AEW to sign him. Cannon chipped Wardlow as hard as he could before Wardlow knocked him down with one strike. He tagged out, D took a power bomb, and the crowd chanted one more time. He yelled something at Cannon and did it a third time. Cannon took offense and charged in, and he got a power bomb and got thrown out. D took a fourth one and Spears looked on as Wardlow made the pin. After the final bell rang Spears came in to pick the bones with a C4.

Ruby Soho vs. Hyan

Soho brought a record of 7-1 to this match. Hyan was not “making her AEW debut” but her record thus far was 0-1. This was the quickest and most one-sided squash of the show to this point. She hit the “No Future” head kick and pinned Hyan’s carcass square in the middle of the ring, strutting and smiling for the crowd afterward.

Too Fast, Too Fuego vs. Kit Sackett & Brandon Gore

Fuego Uno and Fuego Dos brought a record of 2-0 to this match. Sackett & Gore were waiting for them in the ring to (yup you guessed it) make their AEW debut. The fan wearing a Danhausen shirt on the hard camera was impossible to miss, so I guess even when he’s not tweeting the referees to do their job, his acolytes are keeping tabs on his behalf. Fuego Dos got the tag and went to the top rope, then planted Gore as Fuego Uno blind tagged in. Dos tagged back in to hit an elbow. Sackett stuck his fingers in Dos’ eyes while Aubrey Edwards was distracted and Gore hit a spear before tagging out. Sackett hit a head butt and tagged Gore back in. Neckbreaker by Sackett and elbow drop by Gore for a near fall. Gore tried to rip the mask off and Edwards finally enforced the rules and told him to knock it off. Double down when Gore and Dos collided. Uno got the tag and ran wild on both men, knocking the whole team down with a moonsault, then doing a double stomp to the back of Gore’s head before Sackett broke up the pin. Dos did a suicide dive to the outside to even up the odds and Uno hit the Tornado DDT for the pin. The carpenters in this match did some good work so let’s give a salute to Gore and Sackett. Mark Henry bailed from the commentary position after this match while a fan held up a “Fuego Three” sign.

The Dark Order (Alan “V” Angels & Colt Cabana) vs. The Acclaimed

Angels was 14-22 and Cabana was 25-9 coming in for this match. Max Caster: “Yo. Yo. Listen. Yo. This is the worst place that I ever heard of/y’all are dumb enough to vote for Jesse Ventura/and I’ve been thinking all night/how is it Dark Order when all of y’all are white?” He also said they were “worse than Prince’s music” just to make everyone in Minneapolis even madder. Alan Angels and Anthony Bowens started the match while the crowd chanted for Colt Cabana. They also chanted “Purple Rain” and Taz did karaoke. Bowens lit Angels up in the corner with chops. Angels turned him around to return the favor. Kick and an arm drag before Cabana got the tag. Double back elbow and Dark Order hand sign. Bowens punched his way out of an arm wringer to tag in Caster. Cabana did a battle of the arm wringers with Caster and won with ease. Leapfrog and he held up his hands as Caster came off the ropes, Caster hit the breaks, and he did another arm wringer. Angels tagged in for a crossbody and a near fall. Caster raked the eyes, Bowens made the blind tag, and the neck breaker/back stabber double team move got a near fall.

Here’s another random piece of local wrestling flavor — I actually have an autographed “Scotty Goldman” headband from the one and only Colt Cabana. I’m not just a wrestling mark on Cageside Seats, I also play one in real life. (I never wear it because I don’t want to smudge the autograph off!) The Acclaimed kept cutting off the ring, and Bowens yanked Cabana off the apron right as Angels was about to make the hot tag to keep the beatdown going. Angels finally managed to leap over Caster to tag Cabana, The Acclaimed hit double boots to the body, but Cabana responded with elbows for everyone and got a near fall before knocking Caster on his ass with a chop. Bowens dragged him out of the ring and threw him into the barricade. Angels came in and traded strikes until he knocked Bowens out of the ring. Cabana came back in and got hit with the boombox from the outside for the pin. Dirty feeds done dirt cheap — that’s not a rap song but it fits.

Riho, Kris Statlander and Ryo Mizunami vs. Nyla Rose, Emi Sakura and The Bunny (w/ Lulu Pencil and Vickie Guerrero)

Both teams were introduced by their singles records and all six women started brawling before the referee could even call for the bell. Riho was thrown out of the ring onto Statlander and Rose punched Statlander in the back of the head for good measure. Back in the ring Rose and Sakura took turns standing on Mizunami. Paul Turner refused to call for the opening bell as everyone got back in the ring to continue the fight, the as he finally did the action settled down to Mizunami chopping Bunny in the corner, seemingly her favorite thing to do these days. Bunny ran to Sakura and bear hugged her to make the tag. Riho came in and took Sakura down with a head scissor. Rose tried to run in and got drop kicked out. Drop toe hold and a 6-1-9 to Sakura. Rose pulled Riho out of the ring and posted her into the barricade. Vickie Guerrero kept the ref distracted while everybody took turns beating on Riho before throwing her back into the ring.

Bunny tagged in to kick and chop Riho. The heels cut off the ring to work her over. Riho finally got free and gave Statlander the tag, and she gave Bunny a power slam for two. Mizunami tagged in for some double team work and Rose broke it up. Rose gave Mizunami a neckbreaker for a near fall. Sakura tagged in and they both did splashes, but Statlander broke it up. Paul Turner never had control before the match and he has no control during it either. Every woman is in the ring at this point. Somehow Statlander and Sakura became the legal two. Sakura gave her a back breaker and dragged her over to Rose for a senton then made the cover... but Statlander kicked out! Statlander hit Big Bang Theory and made the pin. I won’t say it wasn’t fun to watch but Taz said it best: “This match was insanity!”

The Variety Blonds, Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson (w/ Julia Hart and Arn Anderson) vs. Aaron Solo, Nick Comoroto, JD Drake & Ryan Nemeth (w/ QT Marshall)

If you thought the last match was a mess, let me introduce you to some eight man tag team action. Drake and Nemeth were introduced first with a team record of 1-3. Comoroto and Solo were introduced separately with a record of 2-3. Varsity Blonds were introduced with a record of 19-5, while Johnson & Anderson had a record of 4-1 coming in.

The problem with a match like this is that any two of the teams in it would be better having a tag team match with each other. This does nothing for their records in the division, nor does a win advance any storyline, nor does any individual wrestler get much shine. The match dragged on and Dark was already over an hour long by this point. Johnson got the hot tag to clean house and hit a Blue Thunder bomb on Solo for a near fall. Everybody hit the ring at this point legal or otherwise. The Blonds did dives trying to wipe Comoroto out. Drake hit Johnson with a big boot but didn’t get the pin. Johnson escaped a power bomb and did his own dive to the floor. Back in the ring Brock Anderson hit a spine buster and Johnson hit a frog splash to make the pin. If anybody looked good here it was Johnson.

John Silver vs. Peter Avalon (w/ The Dark Order)

Avalon brought a “distinguished” record of 8-40-2 to the ring. Following his win in the main event last night Silver brought a record of 19-6. The “Johnny Hungee” chants were in full effect. Avalon tried and failed to knock Silver down twice with a shoulder tackle, but Silver had no trouble getting his own. Avalon got thrown all the way across the ring and screamed “Damn!” right into the camera. Avalon finally got a dropkick to work and started to lay in some chops. He got overzealous though and missed, so Silver responded with his own. Avalon threw him out of the ring and went outside to beat him up. Back in the ring he tried a sunset flip for two. He stretched out Silver’s left arm and the crowd encouraged him back to his feet, where he got taken down with a leg lariat for a near fall. Avalon went for a moonsault press and missed, and Silver took over with kicks and a big back body drop. Liger bomb for two. Avalon hit a jaw breaker and an elbow and did a springboard cross body for two. The two took turns chopping each other, Avalon hit a pump kick, Silver hit a series of kicks, Avalon hit a thrust kick and an enzuigiri, Silver hit a pump kick to the back of the head and a release German. Great sequence! Silver finished him with the Spin Doctor.

Sonny Kiss vs. Adam Grace

Kiss brought a singles record of 11-13 to the match. Grace brought a record of 0-1 and immediately started mouthing off to Kiss after the opening bell. Roll up for a near fall. Kiss did a ‘rana and a backflip kick to the midsection, followed by a drop kick for another near fall. The standing moonsault was blocked by double knees and Grace followed up with a clothesline and a chinlock. Kiss fought out but ate a drop kick for a pin. Grace went for another chinlock and yelled “Cheer for me!” The crowd yelled back “No!!” Kiss hit a belly to belly suplex, kipped up and hit a corkscrew kick. You know what comes next — a stunner with a split for good measure to get the pin. A fun squash match and another reminder that Sonny Kiss needs to be featured more prominently in AEW!

Preston “10” Vance (w/ The Dark Order) vs. Mikey Wild

Vance brought a record of 32-6 to this contest. Wild was waiting in the ring to make his AEW debut. Uh-oh. That’s not going to end well for Wild. Vance hit the pump kick, a spine buster, and applied the full nelson for the quick submission. 90 minutes into this show I could not have been happier for a short dominant squash at this point.

Scorpio Sky vs. Craven Knyte

“All Ego” Ethan Page joined commentary for the main event. Sky was sporting a singles record of 22-3 for this match. Knyte was waiting in the ring to make his AEW debut. Page: “He’s going Knyte Knyte!” He was indeed. Sky hit the TKO and made the pin. I couldn’t help but notice that Knyte had a good physique, but we didn’t really get to see if he could wrestle or not. I say AEW should give him another chance even when they’re not in his hometown of Minneapolis. That’s how Dark went off the air!

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by The Notorious B.I.G. a/k/a Biggie Smalls. I feel bad telling you to skip Strife vs. Hobbs but there was nothing to it. The same goes for Soho vs. Hyan, Andrade vs. Jah-C, Vance vs. Wild and Sky vs. Knyte. The best match was Angels & Cabana vs. The Acclaimed, the most boring match was the eight-man tag, and the best squash was Kiss vs. Grace. AEW — please give Strife and Knyte another shot.

Cageside commentary crew! Leave your feedback in the brand new comments section below (you may need to verify your email address first). I’m also on Twitter if you want to hit me up. See you next Monday night for Elevation!