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AEW Dark recap (June 22, 2021): Brian Pillman Jr. is not afraid of Miro

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Episode 94 of AEW Dark featured Brian Pillman Jr. focused on taking the TNT title from Miro, Ricky Starks running from Brian Cage, and Taz singing a Cher song.

The Varsity Blondes and Julia Hart were interviewed to open Dark. Alex Marvez asked Brian Pillman Jr. about his brawl with Miro on Dynamite. Pillman is receiving a TNT title shot on the June 30 episode of Dynamite. Miro has been carrying himself as the big bad bully of AEW, but the brawl showed Pillman is not afraid. Pillman will fight for his friends. He wrestles Bear Bronson on Dark, but he will only see Miro when he looks across the ring.

Here’s the Dark lineup with ratings (Dynamite, competitive, showcase, squash) on which matches are worth your time toward Dynamite:

  • Rex Lawless vs. Lance Archer (squash)
  • Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Bear Bronson (showcase)
  • Chandler Hopkins vs. Brian Cage (showcase)
  • Ashley D’Amboise vs. Diamante (showcase)
  • Kit Sackett vs. Colt Cabana (squash)
  • Dan Barry vs. Chuck Taylor (showcase)
  • Ashley Vox vs. Abadon (showcase)
  • Griff Garrison vs. Marko Stunt (showcase)
  • Reka Tehaka vs. Bunny (showcase)
  • Serpentico vs. Stu Grayson (showcase)

Pillman’s match against Bronson scores as the best of the bunch, in my opinion. It was a decent taste of what to expect from Pillman when he battles Miro. Grayson did spartan work in the second best match. Diamante’s aggression is always enjoyable. Hopkins elevated his game to give Cage a tougher contest than anticipated.

Watch the show here.

Excalibur teamed with Taz to call the action. Ricky Starks joined commentary for a few matches. Justin Roberts was the ring announcer.

Lance Archer defeated Rex Lawless. Jake Roberts was on commentary. Archer acted as a wrecking ball to destroy his opponent. A Blackout sealed the deal.

Brian Pillman Jr. defeated Bear Bronson. Griff Garrison and Julia Hart were ringside. Pillman relied on his agility to outmaneuver the hefty bear. Pillman rolled away from splashes and pulled the top rope down to dump Bronson from the ring. Junior followed with a dropkick through the ropes down to the floor. Back in the ring, Bronson halted a sunset flip to execute a butt drop to Pillman’s sternum. Pillman gained momentum with punches, a body slam, and a flying crossbody. He escaped a slam to close with a springboard clothesline for victory.

Brian Cage defeated Chandler Hopkins. Cage came out by himself without any members of Team Taz. Ricky Starks and Taz were at the commentary table. Cage was too focused on doing cool moves that Hopkins often escaped and fired back with offense of his own. Cage eventually managed to clobber Hopkins with a vicious powerbomb then Weapon X to win.

After the match, Cage marched over to commentary. Starks hightailed it while wearing a neck brace. Cage maintained pursuit.

Diamante defeated Ashley D’Amboise. The sicaria charged forward with aggression to throw her opponent with a belly-to-belly suplex. D’Amboise had a minor comeback, but it was cut short when Diamante used a head scissors to transition to a Russian leg sweep. Diamante applied a body scissors nerve hold to earn the submission. Diamante was feisty after the bell with a few more stomps for good measure.

Colt Cabana defeated Kit Sackett. Boom Boom connected on elbow strikes to set up a Superman pin to win.

Chuck Taylor defeated Dan Barry. Trent, Orange Cassidy, and Kris Statlander were ringside. Barry took charge with an Asai moonsault and a stalling slingshot senton. Barry’s downfall was missing a moonsault. Taylor pounced for a spike piledriver then a jumping piledriver to win.

Abadon defeated Ashley Vox. The living dead girl bit Vox’s finger. That allowed space for Abadon to throw Vox on a German suplex. Abadon continued with a backbreaker off the turnbuckles. She unloaded a back elbow to drop Vox to her knees. That allowed Abadon to execute the leg hook DDT for victory.

Griff Garrison defeated Marko Stunt. Brian Pillman Jr. and Julia Hart were ringside. Stunt wrestled with a hat, so Garrison did the ‘got your hat’ joke.

Stunt used his speed for a flurry of suicide dives. On the third one, Garrison caught him to slam on the apron. Stunt continued his rascally ways giving Garrison trouble. Garrison turned the tide by shedding off a sliced bread attempt then crushed a rolling elbow strike to win.

Bunny defeated Reka Tehaka. Blade was ringside. Bunny hit a cheap shot before the bell and continued picking Tehaka apart during the match. Tehaka rallied with a pair of headbutts. Bunny came back to score the win after a thrust kick and her Down the Rabbit Hole finisher.

Stu Grayson defeated Serpentico. Luther was ringside. Serpentico was in control early then missed a flying stomp. Grayson charged for a knee strike to set up his fireman’s carry backbreaker finisher, but Serpentico raked the eyes to escape. Grayson’s vision was impaired for the remainder of the contest. He still managed to hit a powerslam on the masked man. Grayson’s offense continued with a leg sweep and a slingshot senton on the apron. Grayson took out Luther with a slingshot plancha, then he focused on destroying Serpentico for the win. Grayson’s backbreaker ended it.

Alright episode of Dark, but it lacked a standout match. At 10 contests over 48 minutes, do the math. There’s not a lot of time to hit the next level.

Brian Pillman Jr. did well with a solid promo to hype his TNT title match with Miro, and then he backed it up in the ring against Bear Bronson. Diamante and Abadon utilized cool finishers that can be unleashed on anyone of any size. Chandler Hopkins shined on the enhancement side by being too slick for Brian Cage to catch. Unfortunately for Hopkins, it was only a matter of time before Cage put him down for the three count. I’d like to see Hopkins return for a showcase bout against Dante Martin. They have potential to put on a show.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Cage is doing himself a disservice when he gives up too much offense on Elevation and Dark. He should be trucking through these fools. Cage is supposed to be a muscle machine, and yet he had to work hard to put away enhancement talent. It’s not a good look for someone who is supposed to be dominant. However, this particular instance could be leading somewhere in story. Ricky Starks openly laughed at Cage’s struggles, and Taz lost his cool to criticize Cage’s focus on fancy moves. Cage might need a different mentor who can curb the need to get his shit in. One is his nicknames is Mr. GMSI (Get My Shit In) for a reason.

My favorite move of the show came courtesy of Lance Archer. He set his opponent sitting on the turnbuckles to deliver a ruthless lariat crashing him down to the mat. It was quite fierce. Another top moment was Taz crooning a few lines of Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time,” after Bunny’s match (here). I love when Taz sings. I also highly enjoyed Taz dropping knowledge about how Ashley D’Amboise made a mistake reaching backward to get trapped in a submission.

One thing missing was an update to Joey Janela’s Bad Boy Summer. I hope that returns during the next taping, and it continues into Bad Boy Fall, Bad Boy Winter, and Bad Boy Spring. Basically, I want to hear about Janela and Alex Marvez partying all year long.

Share your thoughts on Dark. Who stood out most for episode 94? Which was your favorite match?