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AEW Dark recap (Nov. 2, 2021): The total PACkage

Episode 115 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 for this edition was Excalibur and Taz.

The show started with AAA tag team champions FTR says they would give anybody in the world a shot at their tag team belts except for the Lucha Bros, because they are already 2-0 against them so far. They want to prove they are “lucha living legends” on Dynamite this week, and hoped that Tony Khan and Tully Blanchard negotiated a deal to do just that.

Santana & Ortiz vs. Joe Coleman & Idris Abraham

The Proud and Powerful members of The Inner Circle are 12-3 in AEW’s tag team division this year. Their opponents Coleman & Abraham were already waiting for them to make their in-ring debut as a team. Santana and Abraham started the match off, and right away you couldn’t help but notice Abraham’s huge afro. Santana was not shy about pulling him up by the hair to hit a series of suplexes. Ortiz tagged in and dragged Coleman into the ring illegally before tagging Santana back in. They destroyed him, then they destroyed Abraham, then Ortiz stood on him with a boot for the pin. I don’t think either of the jabronis that were here tonight got a single second of offense but hey... Abraham still has a cool afro.

Nyla Rose (w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs. Viva Van

Vickie screamed at Justin Roberts to get out of the ring, then screamed at the crowd in Orlando. “Every one of you morons should be honored because I showed up for this pathetic show!” Welcome to the cheap heat show. Once she finished screamed at everyone to “show some respect” to Nyla Rose, the 21-5 competitor in the TBS Tournament made her way to the ring to face the 0-1 Viva Van. Rose kicked Van in the ribs, missed with the back elbow, and Van hit her with a dropkick. She kicked Rose in the head but Rose responded with a heel kick that leveled her, a back elbow, a lariat, and the Beast Bomb. Almost as much of a squash as the opener, but at least Van got to hit a few moves before she got killed.

Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson (w/ Arn Anderson) vs. Eli Knight & Malik Bosede

Johnson and Anderson are 3-1 as a team to date. Brock’s father Arn made sure to slash his throat to show Knight & Bosede that they’re both dead. I think the fact they were waiting in the ring and making their AEW tag team debut tonight already said that. Excalibur didn’t even know who Brock was working with and referred to him as “his opponent.” Yeah when the announcers don’t know who you are, you’re definitely losing. Johnson tagged in and singlehandedly took out both men before tagging Brock for a spinebuster. He did a frog splash onto the prone man for good measure and Brock made the cover. Is it Thanksgiving already? We have a cornucopia of squash on the table tonight!

Daniel Garcia (w/ 2Point0) vs. Rickey Shane Page

Garcia sported an AEW singles record of 6-6. Page a/k/a RSP sported an AEW record of 0-3. Garcia worked over the left knee of RSP at will, dropped a hammer on him, drop kicked him in the face and then choked him out with the ropes with a knee. 2point0 worked him over when Garcia distracted referee Bryce Remsburg (like they needed to) at which point RSP tried to mount a comeback by tossing Garcia as he went for a choke. RSP slammed Garcia on his head and shoulder when he came charging in and got a near fall. Garcia went for the guillotine choke a second time, realized it wasn’t working, switched to a rear naked choke and Remsburg called for the bell. RSP got more offense than anybody on the show thus far.

Alex Reynolds & John Silver (w/ -1 & The Dark Order) vs. Sean Carr & Marcus Kross

Silver and Reynolds came in 5-0 as a team this year. Care to guess what the record of their opponents was? If you said “making their tag team debut” you’d be correct, although if you’re a regular viewer you’d remember Kross for his platinum blonde pompadour. Carr tried a leap off the ropes and Reynolds just walked away and let him splat on the mat before tagging Silver in. Simultaneous dropkicks before Silver made a cover for a near fall. Silver with a head scissor, a ‘rana and a dropkick. He tagged Reynolds back in but Carr finally managed to tag out to Kross, who hit a cross...body? That should be his finishing move. Silver tagged in and threw Kross around with ease. Reynolds got involved and they stacked up their opponents in the corner before a Dark Destroyer DDT for three.

The Acclaimed vs. Ishmael Vaughn and Dontae Smiley

“You need magic to make it out alive, so maybe go check out the Harry Potter ride.” Platinum Max, ladies and gentlemen. Caster also said they leave their opponents “wide open.” Vaughn and Smiley were making their debut as a team in this bout. It’s not Wednesday night, but you know what that means. Vaughn dropped Anthony Bowens with a kick to the head and Smiley came in trying to follow up with a kick to the jaw. Bowens wasn’t having it though and tagged in Caster before taking him down with a knee. Vaughn got back body dropped onto his own partner, Bowens set Smiley up and Caster came off the top rope for the Mic Drop. Another AEW Dark squash was in the books!

Santana Garrett vs. The Bunny (w/ The Butcher)

For the first time on this episode I wasn’t immediately sure who was going to win. The Bunny came out first with a singles record of 22-14, and while Garrett was 0-2 to this point in AEW, her long years of experience mean she’s not to be overlooked. Then again Bunny a/k/a Allie a/k/a Cherry Bomb is certainly a seasoned veteran in her own right. Bunny slapped her around and dared her to fight back, but when she tried to do that she got put down with a running knee and stomped on. Bunny put a boot to Garrett’s throat and got a warning to break clean. Garrett blocked a charge with a boot, decked Bunny with a right hand, hit a handspring elbow, and nailed Bunny with a superkick. She went for a backflip onto Bunny but missed and The Bunny sent her Down a Rabbit Hole. That’s a shame. I suppose Bunny needed a win before Rampage, but why did it have to be over Garrett?

Bison XL & Toa Liona vs. 2point0 (w/ Daniel Garcia)

2point0 also has a 2 in their win loss record for 2021: 6-2. Their opponents were Toa Liona and Bison XL, making their debut as a team but not in the squared circle. In fact Liona stood out on an episode of Elevation a few weeks ago, but his partner that night was useless, so Bison XL was a significant upgrade. Mr. XL had to be double teamed and hit with an elbow to the spine by Jeff Parker before 2point0 finally got the upper hand. “Magic” Matt Lee whipped him into the corner hard and Parker tagged in to work him over. XL drove him into the corner so both men made quick tags to try and cut him off, but it backfired and Liona came in to hit a backdrop and a double shoulder tackle. He sold the idea the match was won at this point and tagged his partner Bison in for a double team finisher, but Garcia got on the apron to interfere and that was enough to allow 2point0 to hit Two For the Show on Bison for the win. Sign XL and Liona, post haste.

Red Velvet vs. Shalonce Royal

Velvet came in 27-7 while her unimpressed opponent Royal was waiting for her in the ring. They locked up, broke cleanly, and Royal did her “tra la la” call a few times before Velvet took her down with a leg lariat. She whipped Royal off the ring and got warned to get out of the corner as she did the splits with a boot to the throat. Royal fought back with a takeover and a drop kick and did some more operatic singing, which Taz started making fun of. The crowd caught on and started doing it too. Velvet shut her up with clotheslines and a running knee before the stunner and a double knee to the back. Standing moonsault led to a near fall and Velvet was pissed it wasn’t three. Velvet finally put her away with Final Slice as people in the crowd sang opera. This was weird but I like Royal, singing aside. The Bunny came down to deck Velvet with brass knuckles and the crowd kept singing for a bit, then booed Bunny as she mocked them on her way out.

Bobby Fish vs. Ryzin

Fish cake to the ring with a 3-3 record in AEW competition. “Terror” Ryzin was waiting for him with a record of 0-5. He got a brief crowd chant so I assume his family was at Universal Studios for this taping. They even applauded politely when he kicked out at two. Fish cut off his momentum with an exploder suplex into the ropes, then laid in a series of martial arts strikes. Ryzin kicked out of another near fall, Fish applied a rear naked choke, Ryzin dropped to his knees but instead of finishing him Fish let go. Why? So he could hit a roundhouse kick to a man nearly choked unconscious and pin him. Fish is now 4-3 as a result.

Fuego Del Sol vs. Tony Nese

Fuego Del Sol is easily the most popular AEW wrestler to have an awful singles record — 4-31 before this match. The fact he got his own entrance is a testament to that fact. “The Premiere Athlete” Tony Nese had no record in AEW, but he got his own entrance too. He walked down to the ring with his arms behind his back and his jacket open to show off his abs, then flexed his pecs in the ring once he took the jacket off. A huge “FUE-GO” chant broke out as soon as the bell rang. Fuego escaped a lift to hit a spear and a dropkick, which got the chant going again. Nese missed Fuego with a moonsault but landed on his feet, and Fuego seemed surprised by that. Nese tried to throw Fuego out but ate another Spear and a head scissor. Fuego was looking for a suicide dive but Nese got back in the ring and nailed him with an uppercut. Vertical suplex by Nese for a near fall. Fuego fought Nese off with strikes but Nese snapped his neck off the ropes and did a springboard moonsault for two. Nese put on a body scissor and Fuego screamed in pain. Fuego used an elbow to pry his way free but Nese got a waist lock in response. Fuego broke free again, knocked Nese down with an enzuigiri, and both men got up slowly. Crossbody and kip up by Fuego, multiple kicks, and Nese rolled out. Fuego did a moonsault out of the ring to the floor, then a double stomp to the back after Nese was thrown in for a near fall. “Let’s go Fue-go” chant. Tornado DDT was blocked and Nese did a one armed power bomb into the buckle. Running knee to the head and the pin. Nese picked up a win in his AEW debut but at least Fuego got to be nearly 50/50 with him the way they worked the match.

PAC vs. Tiger Ruas

Ruas brought a 2-0 record to the ring after a quick squash last week on Dark, while PAC brought a record of 10-3-1 in 2021. The two men took a moment to size each other up after the bell, neither wanting to make the first move. Ruas missed with a couple of capoeira moves and PAC got a side headlock takeover in response. Ruas got back to his feet and referee Remsburg called for a clean break in the corner. PAC got another headlock takedown and Ruas had to fight to his feet again. They traded arm wringers until yet another side headlock takeover. Do you smell freshly cut grass right now? That’s because Ruas is incredibly green, so PAC was keeping things as basic as necessary so his opponent didn’t look stupid.

PAC dropped Ruas with a shoulder block, Ruas did a leapfrog and a couple of arm drags before a front sweep. Ruas hit a suplex and a slam and PAC rolled out for a breather. Speaking of how to deal with a green opponent, Ruas gave chase outside so PAC posted his shoulder into the barricade. He rolled in to break the ten count then continued the assault on the shoulder. PAC grabbed his ear and dragged/threw him back in, then stomped on his jaw to the applause of the crowd. Ruas may be a MMA trainer, but the crowd at Universal Studios is pro wrestling fans, not MMA fighters. PAC went back to the side headlock yet again. Ruas fought to his feet and hit a leaping knee strike and a kick to the head. PAC acted stunned and had to pull himself up by the ropes.

Ruas worked PAC over with strikes in the corner and hit a suplex for two. “Let’s go PAC” chants broke out. He may be a “Bastard” but he’s their home team “Bastard.” Ruas went for a triangle choke but nearly got pinned. PAC power bombed his way out of it, which backfires 9 out of 10 times in a real MMA fight, so he’s lucky this wasn’t. PAC with a kick to the jaw, spin kicks to the gut, a boot to the head. a German suplex, and the Brutalizer. Ruas submitted and the match was over! Give all of the credit to PAC here for putting together a match that played to what Ruas could actually do so he didn’t look like a fool, which made PAC look better in the process for winning a fight with a pro fighter. A fine main event!

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by “Out of Time.” The title may be a Lex Luger pun, but his WWF run music just doesn’t hold a candle to PAC’s AEW music, let alone PAC’s ability to lay out a match. Would you let Lex Luger produce a main event like tonight’s AEW Dark match? With respect to “The Total Package” no, you would not. Time and time again I’m baffled by the fact that WWE had PAC on their roster for years and did so little with him. His Dragon Gate USA match with Akira Tozawa is one of the greatest things I ever saw live, and in the decade+ since he’s only gotten better!! Anyway this was a fairly long episode of Dark so feel free to skip the first three squashes entirely. The quality of the matches picked up immensely from there, but I’m tired of watching Santana Garrett lose. Skip Red Velvet’s match too just because the singing gimmick from Royal was a bit too much.

Cageside commentary crew! Let us know your thoughts by leaving your feedback in the ALL NEW comments section below (you may need to verify your email address first but it’s a very quick process). I’m also on Twitter if you want to hit me up there. See you next Monday night for Elevation!