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AEW Dark recap (Sept. 21, 2021): Did Angels get his wings clipped by Garcia?

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Episode 109 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 YouTube. Your commentary team for this edition was Excalibur and Taz.

JDX vs. Wardlow

Wardlow brought a record of 15-4 to this match, while JDX was 0-2 in his two prior appearances for AEW. The crowd at Universal Studios seemed to take a shine to JDX though, chanting his initials during the match, or they just hated Wardlow that much. I’d hate taking that powerbomb of his — and JDX took five. Ouch!! Wardlow hung JDX from the ropes for a knee to the face (a/k/a Casualty of War) to finish him off.

Allie Katch vs. Big Swole

Swole’s 2021 record coming in was 15-4 while Katch was “making her AEW debut.” Katch decked her with a right hand and threw a kick to the back of the head for a near fall. Katch hit a knee to the back and tried to stretch Swole from behind, and then applied a chinlock when Swole was about to break free. Swole finally fought her way back to her feet and landed a headbutt to daze Katch, then finished her off with a Rolling Elbow. The right woman was the victor but Katch impressed me in this one.

Proud and Powerful (Santana and Ortiz) vs. Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico)

Chaos Project were 10-21 as a tag team. Proud and Powerful were 8-3. You don’t need to read spoilers to understand who’s winning this one, and not just because of their respective records — it’s because Chaos Project are routinely the geeks of the week whenever they get featured on YouTube. It’s always the same story. Luther screams until your ears beg for mercy, he abuses his own tag team partner, and they take another L. If this were a shoot and I was Serpentico, I’d break this team up, because he could hardly do worse solo. Luther threw Serpentico into Ortiz to block a suicide dive to the outside, then wiped out both his teammate and the opposition with a splash in the corner, confirming everything I just said. Ortiz finally made the hot tag so Santana could clean house on the geeks. Serpentico ate Three Amigos but escaped a frog splash, Luther threw Serpentico on top of him for a near fall. Santana stacked them up in the corner, Ortiz made a blind tag, and they double teamed Serpentico for the pin. I’m pleased with the result, but Chaos Project sucks.

Joey Janela (w/ Kayla Rossi) vs. Dillon McQueen

Dillon McQueen hadn’t won a match in three AEW appearances to date, while Janela just lost to Sonny Kiss last night, so McQueen had no chance here. Rossi picked him up and dropped him across the barricade before feeding him back in to Janela. Janela immediately gave him a Death Valley Driver and that was that.

Marina Tucker vs. Tay Conti (w/ Anna Jay and -1)

Conti’s singles record was 25-4, but who cares in this case? It’s not like Marina Tucker (“making her AEW debut”) was going to win when Conti was accompanied by both Anna Jay and -1. In fact if I can be a sentimental old fool for a moment, it’s heartwarming to see Jon Huber’s son accompanying them to the ring, high fiving the fans at ringside, and clearly enjoying his day at Universal Studios. (Pro tip - the “Twister” movie ride is pretty good, if it’s still there. The last time I went Impact Wrestling was still taping there.) Tucker beat up Conti to get a crowd chant going, while Taz joked that -1 had to wear the mask or everybody in school would know who he was. Three pump kicks, a Tay-Kay-O, a D-D-Tay, and it was done.

Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson vs. Luke Curtis and Cameron Stewart

Anderson was 5-2 and Johnson was 17-2 in singles competition, while their opponents were (you guessed it) “making their tag team debut.” Spinebuster from Anderson, frog splash from Johnson, and that’s all she wrote. Anderson needs to even out his spray tan a bit.

Stallion Rogers and Anthony Greene vs. FTR

FTR came in 20-2 and would be going out 21-2 shortly. Greene and Rogers were already in the ring, but the good news for them is that Anthony Greene was f/k/a August Grey and Stallion Rogers was f/k/a Curt Stallion. They’d be doing the job on Dark but in reality they’d be getting an AEW tryout in front of a live crowd in Orlando. Excalibur: “FTR may have expected to blow through the competition, especially with a big match coming up tomorrow night.” That big match is Darby Allin & Sting, just so you know. Stallion started cleaning house with clotheslines, but Harwood slapped him and baited him into coming outside to give chase, giving Wheeler the chance to tag in and stomp a mud hole into his foe. Harwood came in again for a suplex and a chinlock. Stallion fought to his feet and applied a chinlock of his own, but Wheeler made the blind tag for a double team near fall. Stallion avoided a splash in the but was too hurt to tag Greene. Harwood tagged in and there was a double noggin knocker. Greene finally got the hot tag for haymakers and chops all around. Bulldog, top rope corkscrew crossbody, and Rogers did a suicide dive while Greene went for a victory roll. Harwood kicked out, Greene tagged in, Harwood nearly got countered on a jack knife powerbomb. Wheeler tagged in for a backbreaker and the pin. This was exactly the hard fought competitive affair you’d want it to be.

Xtina Kay vs. The Bunny

The Bunny came in 21-12, while Xtina Kay was debuting all the way from Sioux City, Iowa. Allie/Bunny/Cherry Bomb sold for her a little at the start to give her some credibility but quickly turned the viciousness up to 11. Kay got off one forearm before two big knees and a sliding elbow to the head. You know what comes next - Xtina went Down the Rabbit Hole.

Marcus Kross vs. Lance Archer

Lance Archer’s record was 34-5 and soon to be 35-5. For once he didn’t drag, carry or throw his opponent down to the ring, but that wouldn’t help the poofy haired Kross that much, already 0-4 in his AEW tenure. This is the kind of match you could take a bathroom break during the live show if you wanted to, and the crowd clearly knew it too, chanting “Archer’s gonna KILL you” at his hapless foe. Taz: “At any moment Archer could beat this kid with no problemo.” One handed choke slam, forearm to the head, Blackout, pin.

Ryan Nemeth and Peter Avalon (w/ The Wingmen) vs. John Silver and Alex Reynolds (w/ -1, Preston “10” Vance and Alex “5” Angels)

Nemeth and Avalon were 0-1 as a team — off to an inauspicious start in the tag division. Their opponents on the other hand came in 4-0. Without Evil Uno at ringside The Dark Order seemed to be a united front for a change. Nemeth got double teamed and dropped on his head, Avalon took exception and did running forearms, but he eventually missed and ate an enzuigiri/stunner/jack knife combination for the pin. Quick, solid match.

Daniel Garcia (w/ 2point0) vs. Alan “5” Angels (w/ The Dark Order)

Angels immediately returned to face Garcia, who came in with a 4-5 record but remains my breakout star of AEW since I started covering these shows. Angels’ 2021 record coming in was 11-18 but the measure of the man is more than his statistics as well. Angels and Garcia went hold for hold to start then stood back up for a test of strength. Angels got overpowered and the ref called for a clean break. Angels tried a chop and missed and we went back to both men chaining wrestling moves together in the middle. Garcia mocked The Dark Order and got clubbed in the back, which led to the two exchanging chops until Garcia threw a vicious kick. Crisscross led to a dropkick by Angels and Garcia rolled out selling his face. Garcia caught him with a punch as he tried for a suicide dive, and 2point0 encouraged him to stay on offense. Angels countered by reversing a suplex, went up onto the stage, and flew off the ramp to wipe out Garcia and 2point0 all at once! Lee and Parker grabbed his legs when he tried to get back in the ring, and the distraction allowed Garcia to hit a kick to the face and put the boots to Angels. European uppercut, near fall. Crossface and knees to the back. Garcia with a snapmare and a dropkick to the back for two. Garcia mocked The Dark Order’s hand sign again and paintbrushed Angels with his boot. Angels countered a sunset flip attempt into a roll up for two. Double crossbody left both down. Angels got a near fall with a Spanish Fly, went up top for a frog splash, but Garcia got out of the way and hit a dropkick for two. Flatliner into a Koji clutch for Angels. Garcia escaped for some ground and pound on top, but Angels put the Koji clutch back on. Parker raked Angels’ eyes from the outside to break it up, and Garcia applied the Scorpion Deathlock to clip Angels’ wings via submission. Great match!

Darian Bengston, Cole Carter, and Sean Maluta vs. The Factory (Aaron Solo, Nick Comoroto and QT Marshall)

All you need to know is The Factory’s competition was 0-1 in trios action. In fact the show could have ended after the last match and it would have been the perfect main event, but Dark continued on anyway. Comoroto begged Maluta to hit him as hard as he could, then caught him in the air and threw him down with ease. Solow tagged in, Comoroto hit a backbreaker, Solow did the flying foot stomp, Marshall tagged in, Diamond Cutter, pin.

JD Drake (w/ The Wingmen) vs. Colt Cabana (w/ -1 and Evil Uno)

JD Drake’s singles record is 2-9, and apparently I’m not the only one who thinks he looks like Amish Roadkill, because Taz made a “chicken plucker” joke. Cabana brought a singles record of 18-7 to this match. Taz also implied that Drake has a foul odor, then said “No offense, I love the man, he’s phenomenal.” The Wingmen kept interfering to help Drake out (as you’d expect) but then ran away when -1 came their way. Uno and -1 pounded the mat to lead the crowd in cheering Cabana on. Cabana with a series of wind up elbows to the head for a near fall. Flying apple, scoop slam blocked, second attempt landed for another near fall. “Let’s go Colt!” chant. Drake with a cannonball to the corner for a near fall of his own. Drake missed with a moonsault, Cabana did NOT miss, he got the pin.

Bear Bronson (w/ Bear Boulder) vs. Eddie Kingston

And finally after over 90 minutes of action the main event had arrived. Bronson’s singles record was 11-13. Kingston’s singles record was 23-7. Eddie was the clear crowd favorite in this match up. He gave Bronson several dozen chops in a row, which might be why you don’t want to wear a singlet that shows off your pecs. Bronson threw Kingston out and did a suicide dive in response — shades of the kind of big man moves I once saw Bronson Reed do on NXT. (Maybe he could join Bear Country to form a trios team?) Senton from Bronson, Kingston bit his fingers when he got back up, they took turns missing splashes in the corner before a double down off simultaneous clotheslines. They got to their knees brawling, got to their feet brawling, and Bronson hit a Black Hole Slam for two. Cannonball onto Kingston, clothesline, near fall. Bronson acted shocked Kingston kicked out. The duo traded suplexes and Bronson had to use the ropes to pull himself back to his feet. Kingston threw two consecutive spinning backfists and finally covered Bronson for three before asking to be handed a microphone. “Man oh man is that big boy good. Ahh my jaw hurts, my neck hurts. Thank you Orlando. Thank you for showing up, thank you for being loud, just thank you how about that? But now I got business to take care of. Hard cam where you at? There it is. Stay on me. Suzuki-Gun, Lance, and the legend Suzuki, I saw I heard you guys talking shit. You may be ichiban, but in New York, me and Mox are number one.” Archer ran down to the ring to get into a brawl with Kingston, teasing what we’ll get more of later this week!

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by Phora. This edition of Dark ran a little long for my taste, and even by the predictable nature of Dark matches, some of these squashes felt unnecessary. Maybe it’s the different atmosphere of taping in a small TV studio as opposed to the live reactions you get in a stadium for Dynamite or Rampage where they used to tape for Dark. It’s a work in progress though so let’s give it time. Go out of your way to see FTR vs. Stallion & Grey and Garcia vs. Angels. The rest ranged from decent to okay, with the appearances from -1 being an adorable addition to AEW Dark.

Cageside commentary crew! Get up off your seats and leave your feedback in the comments section below, enjoy Dynamite Grand Slam tomorrow night, and see you next Monday night for Elevation!