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AEW Dark recap (Aug. 10, 2021): It’s a Private Party, but you’re all invited

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Episode 102 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 our regularly scheduled Tuesday night ticket to mayhem — first class, full steam ahead. The commentators were Excalibur and Taz.

Thunder Rosa vs. Zeda Zhang

Zhang was making her AEW debut, with previous experience in both NXT and MLW before Dark, and a couple of mixed martial arts fights under her belt to boot. You’d think this would make for a perfect style match up given Rosa has MMA experience too, and to emphasize this Rosa submitted her with a Peruvian Necktie. This was good but I expected much better.

Red Velvet vs. Skyler Moore

You knew this would be a win for Velvet going in since she gets a title match against Dr. Britt Baker on AEW Rampage this Friday. To emphasize that point her opponent Moore didn’t have a single win on her record in AEW this year going into this fight. Velvet sold for Moore for a little bit before double knees to the back and The Final Slice. This was fine but what I really noticed was that Moore was an impressive physical specimen with decent ring acumen. AEW should do more with her.

2.0 vs. Adrian Alanis & Liam Gray

For those who don’t know 2.0 (Matt Lee and Jeff Parker) are the former Ever Rise. Having recently debuted on Dynamite, 2.0 were here to prove that wasn’t a one time thing. Their opponents were the very definition of pasty, skinny white geeks. Even their trunks and boots were as generic as could be. Alanis managed one school boy roll up before tagging in Gray, who made 2.0 collide heads before falling victim to the same thing. Alanis ate a hot shot off the ropes and Parker made the cover. Any other finish would have been “sus.”

Chaos Project vs. Bear Country

This was Bear Boulder’s first match back in the ring in a while due to injury. Luther got the heat by sweeping Bear Bronson’s legs on the apron and smashing him face first into the barricade, leaving Boulder waiting for the hot tag as Chaos Project cut off the ring. Bronson did a back senton on both men and leapt out to get Bronson tagged in. Serpentico and Luther ate a double power slam from Boulder. Double team Bear Slam on Luther for the finish. The crowd didn’t react much, but I enjoyed this.

Darby Allin vs. Invictus Khash

“Anybody whooping the ass of Darby, I’m down with it. This is great.” - Taz. Allin and Khash went hold for hold until Allin tied up his legs and got the shoulders down for three. Quick but fun match showing off more of Allin’s technical side.

QT Marshall (w/ The Nightmare Factory) vs. Alan “5” Angels (w/ The Dark Order)

Marshall got a near fall with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Angels with an enzuigiri and a cross body on the ropes a/k/a “this is gonna suck.” Marshall got back on offense and took Angels to the top rope, but Angels escaped to hit a running knee and a moonsault for two. Angels kicked out of a Liger Bomb, Marshall signaled for a Diamond Cutter, but Angels blocked it and kicked Marshall in the side of the head. Aaron Solow cut Angels off when he went to the top rope and both factions finally got into a fight on the ramp. Marshall went to the top, Angels freed himself with headbutts, Spanish Fly, Marshall kicked out. Marshall ripped off Angels’ mask and while “5” was putting it back on he ate the Diamond Cutter for three. Fantastic back and forth match. Lots of time, great story, worth every minute.

Hikuleo vs. Thad Brown

Hikuleo is the adopted son of Haku, a member of the Bullet Club, and a humongous 6’10” tall in the ring. He wasted little time overpowering the diminutive Thad Brown and turning him inside out with a clothesline before putting him away with a sit out power slam. Ouch.

Nyla Rose (w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs. Valentina Rossi

The writing was on the wall from the get go with Rossi having a 0-2 record in 2021. Rossi tried to jump on Rose’s back for a sleeper to no avail. Rose gave her a one handed choke slam and a Beast Bomb to make quick work of her. Vickie Guerrero enjoyed it thoroughly.

Daniel Garcia vs. Fuego Del Sol

Fuego has been campaigning to get signed by AEW. Unfortunately for him that campaign hit a brick wall named Daniel Garcia, who bridged a submission hooking the arms and legs at the same time for a verbal submission, picking up his first AEW win in the process.

Penelope Ford vs. Sahara Seven

Ford came in 9-2 in 2021 and Seven didn’t have a single win in AEW. Well then. Ford tapped her out with the bridging Indian Death Lock to the surprise of no one at all. This went longer than I expected it to and was easy enough to watch.

Shawn Spears & Wardlow vs. Seth Gargis & Ripper Zbyszko

According to Excalibur, Ripper is Larry Zbyszko’s son. Honestly what I noticed the most was that Gargis wasn’t that far off in size from Wardlow. Spears hit Zbyszko with the C4 and pinned him, and Wardlow kicked his limp carcass out of the ring.

The Hybrid2 vs. Jay Freddie & Marcus Kross

Marcus Kross and his hair were back again on Dark. Jay Freddie looks like a 40 year old man in a 20 year old’s body. Their attempt at a Doomsday Device backfired before Angelico tied Freddie up in a Navarro Death Roll and tapped him out. This was... fine.

Lucha Brothers (w/ Alex Abrahantes) vs. Cezar Bononi & JD Drake (w/ Peter Avalon)

Penta was about to snap J.D. Drake’s arm before Cezar Bononi broke it up, at which point all hell broke loose in the ring. Fenix cut Drake off when he tried to go to the top rope, double super kicks to Bononi, double foot stomp from Penta to Drake and a Five Star Frogsplash from Fenix for the pin. Simple and to the point.

Tay Conti vs. Robyn Renegade

Conti and Renegade took turns slapping the taste out of each other’s mouths. Conti hit an awkward looking springboard sunset flip for a near fall. Renegade grounded Conti and bounced her head like a basketball. Conti backed into the turnbuckle to break a hold, did multiple arm drags, running kicks to the head, then hit the D-D-Tay for three. One of the better Conti matches I’ve seen recently.

Private Party (w/ Hardy Family Office) vs. Chuck Taylor & Wheeler YUTA

Even though Private Party brought all their comrades in arms to the ring, none of the Best Friends came out for the other side. It’s easy to see that Private Party are trying to be a younger, more heelish version of the Hardy Boyz, and it works. YUTA’s athleticism is underrated and his German suplex on Isaiah Cassidy was super crisp. Marq Quen grabbed YUTA’s boot from the outside to get the heat, then posted him in the barricade and put a boot in his face. Private Party cut off the ring to work YUTA over until Taylor got the hot tag. He stacked PP up in the corner, tagged in YUTA, and YUTA hit the splash before Cassidy broke up the pin. YUTA put on the Octopus Hold but had to let go for a rope break. Taylor ragged back in, YUTA was pulled out of the ring and thrown into the ring post, Twist of Fate was blocked, Senton Bomb by Cassidy but Taylor kicked out. YUTA tagged back in but Evans interfered and Private Party used the ropes for leverage to get the pin. NOW Kris Statlander and Orange Cassidy run out. Where were they during the match? This was fun.

Dark Order (Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, & Colt Cabana) vs. Davis Ramos, Jake Manning, & Joey Sweets

Cabana did all the work here with the Chicago Skyline and the splash. Very quick.

Dark Order (Alex Reynolds, 10, & John Silver) vs. Dean Alexander, Arjun Singh, & T.I.M.

Watching 10 with his mask on always feels like a CHIKARA match to me. John Silver is as iver as anyone on Dark with the hardcore AEW fans in attendance. I don’t quite know what it is about T.I.M. yet but there’s something about him that makes me want to see more. He really puts his all into his selling and his bumps. Vance put the full nelson on Alexander to get a submission win for his team and bring the show to a close.

What to watch

2.0 continue to reinvent themselves in AEW and it’s fun to see. Marshall and Angels had the singles match of the night, while Private Party’s fight with Taylor & YUTA was the tag match of the night. The Hikuleo, Nyla Rose and Darby Allin wins were fun even though all of the bouts were incredibly short. The Lucha Brothers would’ve been even better with more time.

What to skip

A rare miss from Thunder Rosa tonight. The Hybrid2’s match was nothing to write home about. Cabana would have been better off in a singles match. The Dark Order were over represented on this episode in general. I like Tay Conti more in AEW than in NXT but there are still some parts of her game she needs to improve.

Cageside Seats commentary crew! Get up off those chairs and leave your feedback on episode 102 below. See you next week for more of AEW Dark!