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AEW Dark recap (Sept. 28, 2021): Matt Sydal gets airborne teaming with Dante Martin!

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Episode 110 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.

Tonight’s episode started with Santana Garrett confirming in a backstage interview with Alex Marvez that she’s All Elite. She was immediately challenged to a match by Diamante next week, Garrett happily accepted, Diamante slapped her and the two started brawling!

Thunder Rosa vs. Nikita Knight

Following her win on Elevation last night Rosa brought a singles record of 28-2 to this match, while Nikita Knight was (say it with me) “making her AEW debut.” The partisan Universal Studios crowd was well behind Rosa in this match, so Rosa let her opponent do some hair pulling just to crank them up even more. I wanted to like her but she seemed to be moving in slow motion and setting up each move carefully — even her flying knee miss in the corner was telegraphed. Rosa gave her the double dropkick, Knight gave her some forearms, Rosa did a Russian leg sweep and submitted her with the Peruvian necktie.

Private Party vs. JDX and Carlie Bravo

“Oh my God is that Private Party?” It was indeed, sporting a 2021 tag team record of 10-2. JDX and Carlie Bravo were waiting for them in the ring, having no record together as tag team competitors to date. JDX is known to the AEW faithful though and there was even a brief crowd chant on his behalf. X was getting double teamed for the heat until Bravo got the hot tag and started firing off kicks left and right. Marq Quen gave him a splash even though he wasn’t the legal man and tagged Isaiah Kassidy in, they hit the Gin & Juice combo, and got the win (as expected). Shots, shots, shots!

Kiera Hogan vs. Leila Grey

Hogan’s record to date in AEW was 1-3. Grey’s record in 2021 was far worse though at 0-9, and as Taz noted on commentary Hogan is “an excellent talent” to have on the All Elite roster. Apparently that confirms she’s signed, which is all I’ve wanted since her first Dark match. Hogan gave her a roundhouse kick to the head to knock her out and pick up her second win in the promotion. She’ll have a record over .500 in no time flat.

Preston “10” Vance (w/ The Dark Order and -1) vs. Brandon Gore

“10” brought a singles record of 27-4. Gore was already in the ring and sported a singles record of 0-1. Gore gave Vance a couple of ill advised chops and immediately got taken off his feet for a fall away slam. Pump kick in the corner, “spine on the pine” from Vance, and Gore ate a second one for good measure before being put in the Full Nelson. Has anybody noticed lately how muscular Vance is? Taz says he’s an ex football player and I believe it.

Adrian Jaoude and Cezar Bononi vs. Ryzin and Jake St. Patrick

As a team Adrian Jaoude and Cezar Bononi had no record, but you should know Bononi and his body shots well by now. Ryzin and Jake St. Patrick were making their debut as a tag team too. Do you think anybody ever calls him “Terror” Ryzin? No. Paul Levesque would sue. Excalibur put over Jaoude as a black belt in jiu-jitsu, and he treated St. Patrick like he was a training partner. Jaoude hit a suplex and dragged him over to Bononi, Bononi tossed him like a rag doll, but Patrick escaped when he was picked up again and Ryzin got the tag. I wouldn’t call it a “hot tag” though because he got no offense and was promptly destroyed by Bononi. Squash-a-riffic.

Lance Archer vs. Arjun Singh

Speaking of squashes, it was time yet again for the 35-5 Archer to beat up on a (*cough*) “carpenter” by throwing him down the ramp in the middle of his ring introduction. Archer bounced him off the barricade, threw chops on the apron, and bragged for the camera that he was “having a good time” as Singh’s beating continued. The blood thirsty crowd chanted for the beating to continue as the referee implored Archer to get in the ring and legitimately start the match. Singh tried to take out the left knee to no avail. Archer did a cannonball into the ring, the timekeeper rang the bell, and Archer hit the Blackout for the pin. Done.

Ricky Starks (w/ Hook) vs. Darius Lockhart

FTW champion “Absolute” Ricky Starks came to the ring with Hook and with a 12-2 record. Darius Lockhart was waiting for him in the ring. Taz gushed about the credentials of Starks on commentary, as you’d expect him to do. Lockhart didn’t just roll over for Starks though. He hit a flying elbow backward off the ropes and Starks sold his nose. That only fired up Starks as he threw Lockhart and stomped on him repeatedly before throwing him out to the floor. Lockhart ate the barricade and the ring apron in turn before being thrown back in to dueling chants of “let’s go Ricky” and “Ricky sucks!” Starks did a scoop slam but missed with the elbow drop, and Lockhart tried a backslide and a roll up for two straight near falls. Starks kicked Lockhart in the head but couldn’t keep him down for three. Lockhart hit a couple of shoulder tackles and a cross body for a near fall. The longer the match went the more impressive it was getting for Lockhart, confirming what commentary said about him being an eight year veteran. His high cross body got 2.999. Uppercuts corner to corner from Lockhart. Starks tried a roll up and Lockhart kicked out. Starks finally finished Lockhart off with a spear. Fun match!! Taz blamed Starks’ performance on drinking and partying.

Stu Grayson & Evil Uno (w/ Colt Cabana) vs. Adrian Alanis & Liam Gray

Grayson and Uno brought a tag team record of 22-6 to this match. Gray and Alanis brought a record of 0-7. Ouch. I think it would be fair to say that these Dark Order brothers came to smash their opponents at Universal Studios... right? Anyway — Grayson took out both men single handedly, tagged in Uno, and Uno did the piledriver with an assist via kick to the head from Grayson. Their opponents went from 0-7 to 0-8 just, like, that.

Julia Hart (w/ Varsity Blonds) vs. Reka Tehaka

Hart was 6-8 before this match began, but the good news for her was that Tehaka was 0-9. Tehaka knocked her around with a couple of headbutts then started laying in the body blows and kicks. Hart recovered though, did a snapmare takeover, and did a diving body press but didn’t make the cover. Instead she hit a clothesline, a back elbow, and a bull dog before pinning Tehaka. I like both of these women but the layout of this match was strange.

Bear Country vs. Jameson Ryan and Brick Aldridge

All you need to know about this match is that Ryan and Aldridge were “already in the ring” and “making their AEW debut.” Every time I watch Bear Country I think about what Heavy Machinery should have been in WWE if creative didn’t have their heads up their backsides. Even though Otis has a new tag team partner now it’s just not the same. Bronson picked up the pin while Boulder appeared to be selling a leg injury on the apron.

Matt Sydal and Dante Martin vs. QT Marshall and Aaron Solow

Marshall and Solow brought a team team record of 3-1 to the main event. Martin was 17-6 and Sydal was 11-6 in singles competition, but this was their first time teaming together instead of with their respective brothers. Sydal and Solow immediately started jawing at each other at ring center. Sydal got a crucifix for a near fall before tagging Martin in. Martin got a near fall too before Marshall got a tag of his own, and he immediately tossed Marin high in the air as the fans in the stands booed. Martin got a head scissor takeover, kicked Marshall in the jaw, but Solow distracted Martin so Marshall could pop him with a shot. Martin fought his way out of the heel corner for the hot tag when Solow was the legal man and immediately hit a bunch of kicks and a brainbuster. Marshall dived on to break up a near fall moments later and the heels took over again. Everything about this was old school booking — two mean beat up one, until it’s one man’s turn to beat up two. Martin got a tag, knocked everyone down, then did a suicide dive to knock Marshall to the floor. Sydal did a meteora to Solow to keep him at bay, then Martin and Solow did simultaneously moonsaults off the stage for good measure. Marshall hit a sit out power bomb back in the ring but Martin kicked out. Solow tagged in to no avail as Martin finished him off with his trademark double jump moonsault. A stellar way to end Dark this week!

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by Mutiny Within’s “Born to Win.” Go out of your way to watch the main event along with Ricky Starks and Darius Lockhart. AEW should offer Lockhart a contract. Skip Julia Hart’s match Tehaka because it was a wreck-a. All of the rest of the show was above average to average, with the only (minor) complaint being that it’s just a little too predictable that Bear Country or Uno & Grayson would win their matches. You can say the same of Archer too but at least he found a new way to give his hapless victim a beating and mug for the camera for a while before finishing him off.

Cageside commentary crew! Get up off your seats and sound off in the comments section below. Thanks for being here and I’ll see you all next Monday for Elevation!