After April 15’s massive layoffs from WWE (hereafter known as Black Wednesday), the wrestling world was thrown into a frenzy. So many unknown futures for the workers; and for columnists like myself, so many opportunities for never-before-seen matchups and feuds in various companies. Hell, I even wrote about this subject matter last April on Jobberknocker.com! Well, further releases came down a few days later, including TAFKA Tino Sabbatelli. He is the first wrestler to complete his 90-day No Compete Clause to join All Elite Wrestling, and debuted as “Sabby” on AEW Dark this week. Here is the complete lineup:
AEW Dark, Available On YouTube
- Rache Chanel vs AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida
- Corey Hollis vs Kip Sabian
- Best Friends vs Brady Pierce & (debuting) Sabby
- Will Hobbs vs Ricky Starks
- Scorpio Sky vs (debuting) Aaron Solow
- Diamante vs KiLynn King
- Robert Anthony vs Darby Allin
- Peter Avalon & Brandon Cutler vs Butcher & The Blade
Our episode of Dynamite kicks off with Tony Schiavone rejoining the commentary booth and Cody in the ring alongside Arn Anderson. The IWC has been abuzz over which independent wrestler would be challenging for the TNT Championship, but Justin Roberts wasn’t even able to introduce Eddie Kingston. I’m a fan, as I felt he was highly underutilized in IMPACT years ago. The newcomer is far from a technical worker in his current ring shape, so this bout is a No DQ contest. Only a few minutes in, Kingston hurts his left knee, and it really brings down the pace of the match. He finally brings down American Nightmare with a low-blow, and retrieves a bag of thumb tacks from under the ring. He lands a nasty powerbomb into them, but doesn’t follow up with a pin. Cody regains control and locks in the Figure Four onto Kingston’s left knee to retain the TNT Championship.
Jon Moxley is live from a spray-painted alley. He commends Taz for making the right call by throwing in the towel last week, but tells Brian Cage that next time, he won’t let go until his bicep tears.
Griff Garrison doesn’t get an entrance, but does get shat upon by MJF. Garrison reminds Freidman that his tag team did lose at Fyter Fest (Wardlow took the pin in that bout, and he’s ringside for this match tonight). I have no idea why this got two segments, as the “Ivy League MVP” gets in zero offense. Friedman gets on the mic to make Garrison tell the world he’s undefeated, then lands a rope-assisted piledriver to end things.
The conspiracy apparently continues, as Dr. Britt Baker returns with her Rules To Being A Role Model. With a taped-up nose after surgery, she introduces Rule #4: Never Count Out A Role Model. She’s scheduled to return at All Out, and I fear these segments will continue.
Taz is out with Cage and his FTW belt, saying that The Machine has decided not to fire him for ending the World Title match last week. Darby Allin interrupts proceedings, but gets blindsided by Taz’s new client, Ricky Starks. Cage disposes of Allin with a powerbomb from the ramp to the ring, but Moxley arrives with a barbed-wire bat to chase off the heels.
A variation of the Dusty Rhodes Classic, entitled The “Deadly Draw”, is coming this summer to All Elite Wrestling. In what is a great way to highlight the women’s roster, 8 teams will be formed through random picks for tournament competition. I’ve talked about the lack of mid-card rivalries for AEW’s women, and this is a great way to utilize them.
The Demo-God, Chris Jericho is backstage with Inner Circle, still reeking of orange juice after his $7,000 blazer was doused by Orange Cassidy. Hilarity ensued, as even Santana & Ortiz broke character by smiling.
For their Falls Count Anywhere bout, Young Bucks begin the match with Butcher & The Blade in the kitchen area of Daily’s Place. Lots of rolling carts being used in spots as the teams head into the parking lot. Nick Jackson pays tribute to Sabu with an Arabian facebuster (with a cookie sheet instead of a steel chair) to Butcher through a table. Following commercials, the Jacksons are getting manhandled at ringside, but they’re able to recover when The Blade botches a tope suicida (he was supposed to go through a table, but bounced off instead). The Young Bucks introduce B&B to Superkick Party, then climb the stage to land splashes onto the heels through tables on the ramp to pick up the victory in a truly extreme match.
Alex Marvez is backstage with Lance Archer and Jake Roberts. Jake narrates while the Murderhawk Monster beats up jobbers in the locker room. It’s a nice use of all of the facility available to them, but Archer is still in need of a feud.
Diamante is back again this week, and she’s facing Ivelisse in her Dynamite singles debut. With this Deadly Draw coming up, I’d like to see these two paired up, as they have in the past. In following with the vibe of this episode, this match is hard-hitting, including a great strong style spot. Ivelisse lands a one-armed powerbomb, but cannot pick up the three count. She runs the ropes, and Diamante wraps her up in a small package for a surprising victory. This match is must-see for new fans of AEW, as it highlights what the women’s roster is capable of if given the time.
V is out to face Hangman Page, who is doubly protected with a mask underneath his trademark bandana. “The Dark Angel” had a great match against the other half of the World Tag Team champions months ago, and comes into this match undefeated since joining Dark Order. Speaking of Dark Order, five members arrive on the ramp to support V, who takes control with a slingshot elbow. The momentum doesn’t last, as Page lands a powerbomb pin to pick up another victory in the face of Evil Uno and Stu Grayson, the #1 contenders to his belt. Mr. Brodie Lee joins the festivities, and asks why there is no help for Page when he is outnumbered 6-1. He offers Hangman a chance to join Dark Order, but Cowboy isn’t ready to join a cult. With that, Dark Order beat down Page until FTR hit the ring armed with a cooler. Kenny Omega arrives on the scene as well, but noticeably late.
Lots of time is being given to tonight’s main event, with Jurassic Express taking on Inner Circle’s team of Le Champion and Jake Hager. We’ve already seen great chemistry with Jungle Boy and Jericho, and I’m all for a Hager vs Luchasaurus feud! Of notice, Hager is beginning to use his Patriot anklelock again, and it’s much better than his triangle choke as a submission finisher. Marko Stunt gets involved with a hurricanrana, leading to a near three-count by Jungle Boy on Jericho. Luchasaurus’ ear is busted open, and Jericho is selling like a madman for him. While ref Aubrey Edwards is distracted by Santana, Serpentico jumps up from the ringside area and whales Luchasaurus with Floyd the baseball bat. The Ayatollah follows up with a Codebreaker for the victory, and Serpentico unmasks to reveal the returning Sammy Guevara. The Inner Circle annihilate the Express, prompting Best Friends and Cassidy to make the save. A 10-man tag match between IC and Jurassic Friends is announced for next week as we fade to black.
JoeStopper’s Elite Of The Week
It would have been easy for All Elite Wrestling to jump all over the fired WWE wrestlers as soon as their NCCs expired on Saturday. Instead, Tony Khan brought in true independents to fill an admittedly thin roster at the moment. The highlight of these debuts was Ivelisse, last seen on American television in Lucha Underground. Her chemistry with Diamante was obvious, and the two wrestled a tremendous match as a result. While Miami native Diamante picked up the win, I hope that more is in store for the San Juan import, as the women’s roster just upgraded in a major way. Ivelisse, you are JoeStopper’s Elite Of The Week!