Manolo Has Pizzazz
Episode 65 of AEW Dark featured Dustin Rhodes seeking to destroy the Dark Order and Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison with an upset victory.
There were two promos of note that stood out on this episode. They were back to back to close the show. First, Dustin Rhodes expressed his desire to hunt down the Dark Order one at a time. It starts with his match against 10 on Dynamite.
Second, the Varsity Blondes duo of Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison has a new team name, a new metal theme song, and matching tights. That spelled success as they pulled out an upset victory over Colt Cabana & Alex Reynolds. Pillman spit out a new catchphrase as well in the backstage interview. They might be inexperienced, but they make up for it with varsity athletics and some damn good genetics. Pillman & Garrison will get their chance in the spotlight against FTR on Dynamite.
Here’s the Dark lineup with ratings (watch, solid, okay, pass) on which matches are worth your time toward Dynamite:
- Baron Black vs Sonny Kiss (okay)
- Brian Cage vs Danny Limelight (solid)
- Alex Gracia vs Nyla Rose (okay)
- 10 vs Aaron Solow (okay)
- Peter Avalon vs Louie Valle (okay)
- Gunn Club vs Shawn Dean, Sean Maluta, & Ryzin (okay)
- Red Velvet vs Dani Jordyn (okay)
- Falco & Mike Magnum vs Jurassic Express (okay)
- Fuego Del Sol vs Brandon Cutler (okay)
- Skyler Moore vs Ivelisse (okay)
- Big Swole vs Lindsay Snow (okay)
- Sotheara Chhun & VSK vs TH2 (okay)
- Diamante vs Tesha Price (okay)
- Freya States vs Shanna (okay)
- Jon Cruz & Michael Nakazawa vs The Acclaimed (okay)
- Colt Cabana & Alex Reynolds vs Varsity Blondes (watch)
A show full of decent showcase matches. I put the main event as watch since it is the first big win for Pillman and Garrison to set up their Dynamite feature bout. As for recommendations of the rest, Limelight frustrated Cage in an interesting manner, Red Velvet continued to expand her offensive arsenal against Jordyn, Shanna had the work cut out for her against an old-school giant in Freya, and Cutler and Fuego del Sol was flashy for a couple of skinny dudes.
Watch the show here.
Excalibur teamed with Taz to call the action. Anthony Ogogo dropped by to join commentary. Justin Roberts was the ring announcer.
Sonny Kiss defeated Baron Black. Joey Janela was ringside. Kiss dodged early attacks with stylish flexibility. Kiss found the groove to win with a rolling elbow strike then a flying splits leg drop.
Brian Cage defeated Danny Limelight. The rascally Limelight used his quickness early for a tornillo dive over the ropes to frustrate Cage. The Machine tenderized his opponent a little bit before Limelight sprang up for a springboard Destroyer. Cage shifted to a higher gear after that with a powerbomb, buckle bomb, and Drill Claw for victory.
Nyla Rose defeated Alex Gracia. A quick night of work for the Native Beast. An Oklahoma Stampede and a Beast Bomb finished it. Afterward, Vickie Guerrero grabbed a mic to insult Brandi Rhodes. Vickie is the true representation of a business woman, and she did favor to educate the Chief Bullshit Officer that her business plan is destined for failure.
The Waiting Room. Dr. Britt Baker DMD roasted Kenny Omega, Tony Schiavone, and Thunder Rosa. She even claimed that Sting was booked to be a future guest. Dustin Rhodes was the guest on this evening and was in no mood for Dr. Baker’s jokes. He promoted new action figures and his match against 10 on Dynamite. Marko Stunt closed it with a legit musical song on the guitar as Dr. Baker and Reba danced like goobers.
10 defeated Aaron Solow. 5 was ringside. 10 handled business with a wheelbarrow suplex and a ripcord clothesline to the back of the head.
Peter Avalon defeated Louie Valle. Avalon had a pretty comeback for a Samoan drop and a double knees driver for his third win in a row. He grabbed the mic to introduce Pretty Peter’s Pageant Provocation open challenge. Competitors can’t have bad skin, can’t be overweight, and must understand the science of beauty.
Gunn Club defeated Shawn Dean, Sean Maluta, & Ryzin. The Gunn family entered using the Taz Taxi.
They were all fun and games but serious when it mattered. The match broke down into chaos with moves aplenty. Ryzin missed a moonsault, so Billy pounced with a Fame-Ass-er to win.
Red Velvet defeated Dani Jordyn. Velvet was in trouble after a DDT through the ropes. She sprang back to life with explosive clotheslines, kicks, a bulldog, a standing moonsault, a northern lights suplex, double knee strike, then a single-leg dropkick.
Jurassic Express defeated Falco & Mike Magnum. Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt represented Jurassic Express, while Jungle Boy was present ringside. The dino crew closed it out with a clokeslam and knee strike from Luchasaurus then a knee strike to the back of the head by Stunt.
Brandon Cutler defeated Fuego Del Sol. Back and forth action. Cutler picked up his sixth consecutive victory by countering a swinging DDT into a TPK.
Ivelisse defeated Skyler Moore. La Sicaria fought through Moore’s power attack to counter a fireman’s carry position into a modified octopus stretch.
Big Swole defeated Lindsay Snow. Strong women’s clash that forced Swole to pull out some strategy. She rolled through for a crucifix pin to win. Afterward, Swole was extra lippy in her celebration and even threw a fake eyelash at Snow.
TH2 defeated Sotheara Chhun & VSK. Jack Evans and Angelico attacked prior to the opening bell. Evans hit an assisted 450 splash, but he pulled his partner up on the cover so they could mock the Young Bucks with their signature pose. Angelico ended the match with a Navarro Death Roll submission.
Diamante defeated Tesha Price. Diamante ducked a high kick to explode with a German suplex. Price kept up a feisty fight until Diamante blitzed her with a Code Red.
Alex Marvez interviewed TH2. Jack Evans and Angelico are tired of the Young Bucks holding them down. After they beat the Bucks on Dynamite, they will be coming for the tag titles. Marvez touched Angelico per his request to set off the South African dancing out of screen.
Shanna defeated Freya States. Shanna took the taller woman down with dropkicks to the knees. A whirling DDT and an impressive bridging tiger suplex earned the three count.
The Acclaimed defeated Jon Cruz & Michael Nakazawa. Max Caster flamed more diss rhymes.
Nakazawa hid his Turkish baby oil inside a turnbuckle pad. He used it to soil the mat as a distraction for a spear and a running senton. The Acclaimed overcame Nak’s naughtiness to trap him with his own smelly underwear. They seized success with a suplex and flying elbow drop combo.
Varsity Blondes defeated Colt Cabana & Alex Reynolds. Cabana wrestled slightly darker by bending the rules to his advantage. The Dark Order had Garrison down with a teamwork ripcord blow, but Garrison was able to kick out of the pin. Pillman came flying in to smash Cabana. The Blondes took out Reynolds with an assisted Blockbuster for the upset win.
This episode of Dark did a nice job to showcase talent for Dynamite. 10 was impressive in victory to make him seem like a threat for Dustin Rhodes. The promo from Rhodes did well to sell his motivation in taking out the Dark Order. TH2 took care of business to build momentum for their bout against the Young Bucks. The Varsity Blondes burst on the scene with an unexpected victory to make it seem like their match against FTR will have some substance that was previously lacking.
My top three moves in no particular order were the Destroyer from Danny Limelight to Brian Cage, the tiger suplex from Shanna to Freya, and the way Ivelisse set up her octopus stretch. I enjoyed the mix of finishes throughout the show, especially from Big Swole and Ivelisse. Both woman used strategy to overcome powerful opponents. The stand out from the newcomers was Freya States. Her style reminded me of an old-school giant. It played well into seeing Shanna chop her down to size.
Share your thoughts on Dark. Who stood out most for episode 65? Which was your favorite match?