Episode 97 of AEW Dark featured a feud brewing between Big Swole and Diamante, Matt Hardy gearing up to take his moment against Christian Cage, and a new finisher from the Dark Order.
A feud is boiling in the women’s division. Diamante called out Big Swole, so Swole responded with words not fit for television.
It began when Diamante cut a promo (at 20:05) dissing Big Swole. Diamante had has a pretty eventful year, and she has stepped up where it matters. Who else has stepped up? The question was a way for Diamante to take a shot at Swole.
After Swole’s match, she Swole grabbed a mic (at 34:27). Swole heard what was said, but how about Diamante focus on being All Elite first before calling others out. For that, Diamante is a mark ass trick. Swole warned to keep her name out of Diamante’s mouth before Swole’s foot goes in Diamante’s ass. Talk shit, get hit.
There has been no announcement when that match will take place, but hopefully it is soon. I’m fired up for it after their war of words.
Here’s the Dark lineup with ratings (watch, competitive, showcase, squash) on which matches are worth your time toward Dynamite:
- Jah-C vs. Matt Hardy (showcase)
- Foxx Vinyer vs. Brian Cage (showcase)
- Derek Pisaturo & Roman Rozell vs. The Acclaimed (showcase)
- Harlow O’Hara vs. Diamante (showcase)
- Ryan Mantell vs. Ethan Page (showcase)
- Sahara Seven vs. Big Swole (showcase)
- RSP vs. Dante Martin (showcase)
- Papadon & Sean Maluta vs. Evil Uno & Stu Grayson (showcase)
- Marcus Kross vs. Ryan Nemeth (showcase)
- Robyn Renegade vs. Penelope Ford (showcase)
- Austin Green vs. Frankie Kazarian (showcase)
- Mark Davidson & Aaron Frye vs. Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson (showcase)
- Madi Wrenkowski vs. Julia Hart (showcase)
- Jake Tucker vs. Blade (squash)
- Joeasa & Deonn Rusman vs. Private Party (showcase)
- Travis Titan vs. Will Hobbs (squash)
- Cezar Bononi & JD Drake vs. Gunn Club (competitive)
- Wheeler Yuta vs. Angelico (competitive)
Gunn Club versus Wingmen and Yuta versus Angelico were the prime bouts. The tag contest had solid action, while the singles bout was a chess match of strategy. My picks from the remaining 16 are Martin showing slick aerial skills as always and Kaz wailing on a hefty hoss.
Watch the show here.
Excalibur teamed with Taz to call the action. Justin Roberts was the ring announcer.
Matt Hardy defeated Jah-C. Private Party, TH2, Blade, and Bunny were ringside. Hardy wasted time mocking Christian Cage’s mannerisms, and that allowed a window of opportunity for Jah-C to explode for an offensive flurry. Hardy stifled the momentum with two Side Effects and the Leech submission for victory. Afterward, Hardy instructed Jora Johl to wipe the perspiration off his body. Johl did so begrudgingly.
Brian Cage defeated Foxx Vinyer. The Machine trucked through the opposition with heavy slams and a Drill Claw.
The Acclaimed defeated Derek Pisaturo & Roman Rozell. Max Caster’s rap had references to military and weapons of mass destruction due to the soldier background of his opponents. The Acclaimed took some lumps, but they handled business to finish with the one-two punch of Anthony Bowens slamming the man followed by Caster landing a flying elbow drop.
Diamante defeated Harlow O’Hara. Diamante was getting stomped in the corner, but she rebounded for a Russian leg sweep, running torpedo splash, standing sliced bread, and a half straitjacket submission to win.
Ethan Page defeated Ryan Mantell. Scorpio Sky joined commentary. Page was roughed up a bit, then he turned the tide by pulling Mantell off the turnbuckles. Page closed with the Ego’s Edge.
Big Swole defeated Sahara Seven. After a hefty striking exchange between the two ladies, Swole came out on top with a DDT. Swole used a low trip to transition for the Texas Cloverleaf submission.
Dante Martin defeated RSP. Martin had trouble dealing with the size advantage of RSP, but he was still able to take top flight for a double springboard moonsault. RSP came back for a frog splash. When that didn’t keep Martin down, RSP went for a flying senton. He missed the mark, and Martin rallied for a flipping stunner to win.
Evil Uno & Stu Grayson defeated Papadon & Sean Maluta. -1 was ringside. Hot tag to Grayson to run wild. Dark Order debuted a new finisher. Uno picked up his opponent in a piledriver position, Grayson charged for a running punt to the head, then Uno sat down to complete the piledriver.
Ryan Nemeth defeated Marcus Kross. The Wingmen were ringside and provided interference when necessary. Kross had momentum, but the Hollywood Hunk ducked a cosplay strike to finish with a gyrating neckbreaker.
Penelope Ford defeated Robyn Renegade. Aggressive clash. In the end, Renegade ran the ropes right into Ford’s arms for a superbad fireman’s carry gutbuster.
Matt Hardy hyped his match against Christian Cage on Dynamite. Christian is one of Hardy’s greatest rivals. Most of their encounters have been in tag action, however, Hardy is 2-0 in their singles matchups. Dynamite will be Hardy’s moment. He was robbed of his moment when arriving in AEW due to the COVID pandemic. Hardy has been busting his ass and elevating young talent during that period, so he deserves the moment. Christian will pay the price for double-crossing Hardy.
Frankie Kazarian defeated Austin Green. Diamond Sheik was ringside to support the newcomer. Kaz was feisty from the get-go against his larger opponent. Green used his power for a nifty sidewalk slam. Kaz was heating up, so Sheik grabbed his foot. Kaz pushed him onto his keister then flung himself into the ring to run the ropes for a hammering clothesline. Kaz closed it with a crossface chickenwing submission.
Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson defeated Mark Davidson & Aaron Frye. Dustin Rhodes and Arn Anderson were ringside. The Nightmare Family students did the work to win. Johnson unloaded a thrust kick sending the opponent into a spinebuster from Anderson.
Wheeler Yuta calls himself the Decoder, because he looks at opponents as puzzles to solve. Yuta has been trying to figure out a solution to solve Angelico, and the answer is to exploit arrogance. If Angelico thinks it will be a walk in the park, then that will be his fatal flaw.
Julia Hart defeated Madi Wrenkowski. Varsity Blonds were ringside. Hart scored a running bulldog and standing moonsault. Wrenkowski kicked out, so Hart finished her with a thrust kick and running splits leg drop.
Blade defeated Jake Tucker. Matt Hardy and Bunny were ringside. Blade challenged Tucker to hit him with his best shot. Blade took the punches to no effect. He smashed Tucker to win via gutwrench doctor bomb.
Dasha Gonzalez interviewed TH2. Angelico tried to brush off Yuta, but Jack Evans put Yuta over as a hot prospect well versed in the technical arts. Angelico became angry and declared he would break out the most brutal, rarest, humiliating llaves ever seen.
Private Party defeated Joeasa & Deonn Rusman. Matt Hardy was ringside. Private Party used efficient tag team tricks to triumph with stereo corkscrew kicks.
Will Hobbs defeated Travis Titan. Hobbs was in a surly mood due to the strife within Team Taz. As Titan was mugging for the camera, Hobbs blasted him over the guardrail. Hobbs dished out pain and a spinebuster for victory.
Gunn Club defeated Cezar Bononi & JD Drake. The Wingmen were ringside. Hot tag to Colten Gunn using his speed to make fools of Bononi and Drake. Colten tried to finish with his Colt 45 double underhook neckbreaker, but Drake was too stout. That delay allowed Bononi to bash Colten from behind. Bononi executed a hoss toss, and Drake followed with a running cannonball in the corner. When Drake missed a Vader bomb, Bononi tried to drag him to their corner and accidentally yanked off Drake’s boot instead. Tag to Billy Gunn for a Fameasser on Drake. Bononi broke the cover. Tag back to Colten as the legal man. He escaped a pumphandle from Bononi to counter with the Colt 45 to win.
Angelico defeated Wheeler Yuta. Mat work with reversals and counters. Yuta often escaped Angelico’s llaves before he could cinch them tight. The key moment was Yuta taking flight and Angelico dropkicking him in the chest mid-air. Angelico stomped the knee to set up the Navarro Death Roll submission.
This episode of Dark had 18 matches, and I didn’t care about any of them at first. That’s why I enjoyed the promo element of this broadcast. Wheeler Yuta did well to introduce himself by explaining the reason for his nickname. That made it easy to relate to him and understand what he’s about. The TH2 promo did well to make Yuta feel important to viewers. And just like that, I was sold on wanting to see the match. I also appreciated the promos from Diamante and Big Swole. They hooked me, and I want to see them fight. All these promos were simple messages, but the value was immense. That’s the type of thing I want more of on Dark and Elevation. There are too many irrelevant matches. Give me a reason to care, please.
Share your thoughts on Dark. Who stood out most for episode 97? Which was your favorite match?