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AEW Dark recap (Aug. 3, 2021): 100 is a big number!

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Episode 100 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.

Congratulations on 100 episodes of Dark

Turner Networks (WarnerMedia) seems to quite pleased with their partnership AEW thus far in ratings and revenue. I don’t even think “PizzaGate” is going to have any long term negative ramifications — that’s how strong their relationship is. From that strength AEW gained enough momentum to spin a subsidiary show off the success of Dynamite, having it last that long, and it too spun off a secondary show. Congratulations on reaching this milestone AEW, but let’s get on to what happened on Tuesday. Our commentary team was Excalibur and Taz, and they were joined by Ricky Starks for the opening match.

The Wingmen (J.D. Drake, Ryan Nemeth and Cezar Bononi) vs. Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor and Wheeler Yuta (w/ Kris Statlander)

“What kind of man would wear sunglasses indoors in the evening?” I’ve got two words for you Taz — Corey Hart. The Wingmen cut off the ring to work over Yuta, but after the heels bonked into each other Taylor got the hot tag. Cassidy came in and Nemeth kicked him before he could put his hands in his pockets, but that didn’t work for long as he got the leapfrog and dropkick with them in anyway. Bononi broke up a near fall and everybody went to work on Yuta again before the faces made the save. Drake hit a moonsault with nobody home and Yuta got a crucifix roll up for the pin. Orange Punch and Awful Waffle afterward to clear the ring before the group hug. This was... fine. A solid opener, nothing more.

Jack Evans (w/Hardy Family Office) vs. PAC (w/ Lucha Brothers & Alex Abrahantes)

PAC swept Evans off the apron to get heat and both wrestling families teased a brawl. Evans got his revenge by knocking PAC off the top rope with punches and hitting a sky twister press to the floor. Both men had their opponent recover before they could come off the ropes with a big move, but PAC didn’t need it anyway as he hit a neck breaker and locked in the Brutalizer. Before PAC could take a victory lap on his Lucha Bros. shoulders Andrade interrupted. He and his flunkies teased a fight but ultimately did nothing.

Kenzie Page vs. Tay Conti

Both women seemed to be moving in slow motion or waiting for cues from their opponent. The DD-Tay is a sloppy looking finisher too. I adore Tay Conti as a human being but this wasn’t one of her better showings. You can skip this.

Capt. Shawn Dean and Fuego Del Sol vs. Shawn Spears and Wardlow

Jake Hager joins commentary to say it’s not over between him and Wardlow. This was a glorified squash. Wardlow hit Fuego Del Sol with the F10 after staring down Hager to tease a match between the two. The finishing move is all you need to see here.

Hikaru Shida vs. Madi Maxx

AEW gave this match a little time and both wrestlers took advantage of it. Shida eventually got the win with a slam and the Katana, but Maxx looked good in the moments where she was getting the heat. I’d like to see more of Maxx going forward in a longer match.

Chaos Project (Luther & Serpentico) vs. Lucha Brothers (Rey Fenix & Penta El Zero Miedo)

PAC was back at ringside for his Lucha Bros. Sepentico got spiked and Luther got squashed by a double foot stomp off the ropes for the Brothers to pick up the win. Considering their compadre won earlier I wouldn’t have had it any other way. A fun squash.

Varsity Blonds (Griff Garrison & Brian Pillman Jr. w/ Julia Hart) and Sydal Brothers (Matt & Mike) vs. Matt Hardy, The Blade, and The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens)

Max Caster: “What’s that smell here here in North Carolina? Oh wait, that’s Julia’s...” — I don’t think you can say that even on YouTube, and mercifully he was cut off before we could find out. The Acclaimed spent too much time celebrating and ate a double high crossbody from Pillman. Hardy went for Side Effects on everyone but it got broken up. Bunny caused a distraction and Blade used brass knux on Matt Sydal. After Hardy got the pin Jungle Boy, Marko Stunt and Luchasaurus ran out to make the save. This left the Varsity Blonds in the ring to take out The Acclaimed. Too many cooks in the soup on this one.

Diamante vs. Leyla Hirsch

Leyla Hirsch impresses me more every time I see her. Her springboard moonsault couldn’t put Diamante away as she grabbed the ropes at the last second. Bunny ran down with a chair to interfere, Big Swole ran down to confiscate it, and Hirsch hit a flying knee for another near fall. She applied an armbar and got the tap immediately. Big Swole got in the ring to beat up Diamante, which spilled out onto the ramp and continued all the way to the back. I didn’t expect to like this one more than Shida vs. Maxx, but yet I did! A must see.

Jon Moxley vs. Brick Aldridge

Aldridge is a pretty big specimen. He doesn’t have the stereotypical six pack that a “top guy” would have, but you can tell by looking at him work that he’s a hoss. Mox isn’t a small guy either at over six feet and 220+ pounds, but Aldridge got him up with ease. Moxley decided to deal with the big boy by not going strength for strength and power move for power move — he jumped on his back for a rear naked choke submission. This was solid but I would have preferred it go a few minutes longer.

Reka Tehaka vs. Penelope Ford

Ford was acting heelish and Tehaka was yelling “Come on!” to pump up the crowd. I’m not sure this dynamic works since the audience knew Ford better, so they wound up being silent for a lot of the match. Tehaka staggered Ford with a headbutt to elicit a brief pop but Ford immediately put her in a reverse bridge chinlock to tap her out. I wanted to like this more than I did but the booking didn’t work.

“Smart” Mark Sterling and Jade Cargill

Sterling came out unannounced to cut a promo and bury all the people who tweeted suggestions to them. Jade Cargill has picked up a winery as a sponsor. Sterling says he’s training to be a sommelier, and to prove it he says he can smell burning rubber and human feces in North Carolina. He says the Jade brand is undefeated, undeniable, “and you can’t wait to see what’s next.” Cargill: “Because I’m that bitch.”

Dante Martin (w/ Darius Martin) vs. Eddie Kingston

The main event of Dark this week! AEW billed this as a “clash of styles” going in and indeed it was. Kingston threw knees, kicks, and vicious chops. Martin took Kingston of his feet with aerial maneuvers. In the end though it was for naught as Kingston quickly finished his opponent with a spinning backfist. It was fine but not strong enough to close the show.

Go out of your watch to watch the following

Jack Evans and PAC was the best executed match of AEW Dark move for move. Leyla Hirsch and Diamante surprised me the most and needed just a little more time. Mox and Kingston had short but acceptable bouts. Keep an eye on Brick Aldridge in the future. Watch the opener with the Best Friends if you enjoy Orange Cassidy’s antics. (I do.)

You can skip these matches altogether

Conti and Page was no good. Tehaka and Ford just didn’t make sense the way it was laid out. Watch a replay of Wardlow hitting the F10 and avoid the rest of that bout altogether.

Cageside Seats maniacs, get up off your chairs and sound off in the comment section below. We’ll see you right back here for AEW Dark next week!