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AEW Dark recap (Aug. 24, 2021): Dante Martin takes Flight

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Episode 104 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 Tuesday night on YouTube. As always your commentary team for the broadcast was Excalibur and Taz, joined this week by FTW champion “Absolute” Ricky Starks.

Thunder Rosa vs. Heather Reckless

Thunder Rosa’s 2021 record in singles competition is 23-2. Her “already in the ring” opponent Heather Reckless was making her AEW debut. Rosa hit a flying clothesline, double knees to the chest, a double missle dropkick, and a double underhook slam for a near fall. Reckless cut off the Thunder Driver with an enzuigiri. Rosa responded with a Russian leg sweep and a Peruvian necktie for the submission. Quick, dominant match.

Varsity Blonds (w/ Julia Hart) vs. Ren Jones & Brayden Lee

The 2021 record of the Blonds going into this match was 17-4. For the second match in a row the opposition was “already in the ring” and “making their AEW debut.” Jones and Lee double teamed Griff Garrison for a while, while Pillman fired up the crowd by jumping up and down begging for the hot tag. Once he got it he ran over both men with ease. Pillman dropped Jones with a superkick and tagged Garrison back, and with the assist of Air Pillman he got the pin. This sets them up perfectly for the tag team eliminator on Wednesday night.

Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Captain Shawn Dean

Dean’s record in 2021 is 2-3 but he’s impressed me every time I’ve seen him, and for this taping he was working in front of the hometown Chicago crowd. Unfortunately for him Hobbs was 13-2. Dean gave him a dropkick before the opening bell, a DDT, and then got caught in a spinebuster for a near fall. Town Business finished it off. Shortest match of the show so far. Starks ranted on the house mic as Hook and Hobbs gave Dean a post-match beating. I wish this had gone a few more minutes.

Britt Baker promo (w/ Jamie Hayter and Rebel)

The previous match must have gone short to make time for this segment. She trolled the crowd by talking about “the person everybody has been chanting for” then proceeded to praise herself as the greatest athlete in United Center history. Hayter: “Wednesday on Dynamite you’re going to see much of the same that happened on Rampage — me booting Red Velvet all around this...” and Velvet interrupted to yank Hayter out of the ring. Hayter dropped her face first on the apron in response and Kris Statlander ran to make the save.

Dante Martin vs. Alan “5” Angels

The Dark Order accompanied Angels to the entrance ramp, but he went down to the ring by his lonesome. The video game sign trend continues as a fan at ringside held up “Dragon Warrior Monsters > Pokémon.” Angels knocked Martin outside and did a moonsault off the second turnbuckle to the floor, then spiked him with a DDT for a near fall. A pin would have been only his second singles win for all of 2021. Martin jumped over Angels, flipped him high in the air for a back body drop, and did a double springboard moonsault for two — which got a “Dante” (clap clap) chant going from the crowd. Angels hit a flatliner into a Koji clutch but Martin rolled through for a near fall. Angels ate a Death Valley Driver for three. Really fun match. It would have been even better with more time. This may be a controversial opinion but at this point I think Martin is better off in singles competition than reuniting with his brother in Top Flight when he’s healed up. The kid’s got it.

Lucha Bros (w/ Alex Abrahantes) vs. Aaron Solo & Nick Comoroto

Penta did a lot of stalling playing to the crowd while Comoroto just stood there watching. When the fun and games were over Comoroto dropped him with a forearm. Solo tagged in for a backbreaker drop kick combo for a near fall. Comoroto ate a superkick and a roundhouse kick even though he wasn’t the legal man and finally got dumped outside. Varsity Blonds were at ringside to jaw jack with their opponents tomorrow night. Back in the ring Solo and Comoroto ate a series of kicks from Fenix before Penta got tagged back in to hit sling blades all around. Made In Japan got a near fall on Solo. Comoroto interfered for the 20th time to break up a double team. This might as well have been tornado rules. He ate a double superkick for his trouble, and Solo ate a double piledriver for the three count.

Preston “10” Vance & John Silver vs. Kal Herro & Isaiah Moore

Once again we had an “already in the ring” team making their tag team debut in AEW against Vance and Silver. Herro tried a back bridge pin but ate a series of kicks and a brain buster from Silver in response. Vance tagged in to put spine on the pine, and Silver gave him a spinning backbreaker to set up Vance’s pin. This was squash-a-riffic.

Orange Cassidy, Chuckie T, Wheeler YUTA (w/ Kris Statlander) vs. Matt Hardy & TH2

You could simply call this match the Best Friends vs. Hardy Family Office. Hardy laid a beating on Chuck Taylor, ripped off his shirt, and knocked Cassidy off the apron. Taylor gave him Sole Food while he was distracted by YUTA, and YUTA immediately tagged in. TH2 and Hardy got sent to the floor and YUTA did a springboard crossbody to wipe them all out. YUTA did a splash and Cassidy fell on Angelico like a corpse for a near fall. Hardy hit a Side Effect but YUTA broke up the pin attempt from Angelico. Best Friends did a double brain buster on TH2 when the ref lost control. Hardy hit Taylor with a Twist of Fate and faced off with Cassidy, and Cassidy gave him a DDT, but Evans made the save before the Orange Punch. Cassidy sat down on Angelico with his hands in his pockets to make the pin and gave him a post match Orange Punch for good measure. A bit of a mess but really fun.

What to watch/skip

Go out of your way to see Dante Martin and Alan Angels, followed closely by Lucha Bros vs. Solo & Comoroto, followed just as closely by Best Friends vs. Hardy Family Office. There was nothing to skip tonight — even the squash matches were short and effective, which is exactly what they should be. My only regret is that “Captain” Shawn Dean didn’t get a little bit of time to do something with Powerhouse Hobbs.

Cageside commentary crew! Get up off your seats and leave your feedback in the comments section below. See you next week for both Elevation and AEW Dark!