Episode 36 of AEW Dark featured Billy Gunn in action, Butcher & Blade carving up the competition, Santana & Ortiz rebounding, and Brandi Rhodes with a timely assist for the Natural Nightmares.
Here’s the lineup with ratings (watch, solid, okay, pass) on which matches are worth your time toward Dynamite:
- John Skyler vs Billy Gunn (pass)
- Jon Cruz & Joe Alonzo vs Butcher & Blade (pass)
- Christi Jaynes vs KiLynn King (pass)
- Big Game Leroy & EJ Lewis vs Santana & Ortiz (pass)
- Brandon Cutler & Peter Avalon vs Natural Nightmares (okay)
This week’s matches didn’t do it for me. It didn’t have the same competitive energy as weeks past. The undercard men’s matches featured warm bodies for a beating. Butcher & Blade hossing up was nice, as was Santana & Ortiz dominating with style, but that only goes so far. The one relevant bout for Dynamite was the main event to see the relationship of QT Marshall and Allie affecting Dustin Rhodes and Brandi Rhodes.
Watch the show here.
Excalibur and Taz were on commentary. Taz worked slightly more heel now that he is aligned with Brian Cage. Dasha Gonzalez was the ring announcer.
John Skyler vs Billy Gunn
Austin Gunn was ringside. Billy was playing games with Skyler, and his son was being a loudmouth. Skyler got frustrated with Austin, but Billy stepped in to prevent any attack against Austin. That felt like a set-up for a future match between Austin and Skyler.
After a side slam, Billy set up what looked to be a powerbomb attempt, but Austin was yelling not to do it. I’m not sure what that was about, but it might have been a joke related to Billy’s DX days and a crotch chop. Billy decided to run the ropes instead and ran right into a superkick. Billy caught Skyler’s second kick and countered with a Famouser to win.
Alex Marvez interviewed Dustin Rhodes and Brandi Rhodes in the parking lot. QT Marshall was running behind and wasn’t there yet. As Dustin and Brandi were discussing their recent success in the ring, QT pulled up in new sports car with Allie in the passenger seat. They accused QT of going through a mid-life crisis. QT was buying it and split to get lunch with Allie.
Jon Cruz & Joe Alonzo vs Butcher & Blade
Bunny was not ringside. B & B muscled through their opponents. Butcher hit Cruz with three straight gutbusters then tossed him over to tag Alonzo. Butcher continued by pummeling Alonzo. As Taz said, B & B were sending a message that they can beat people up until they decide that they are done. B & B won with a backbreacker by Butcher to Alonzo then a combo finisher of a suplex to Alonzo onto Blade’s knees.
Brandon Cutler, Peter Avalon, and Leva Bates were interviewed backstage. They argued about who’s foot touched first from their double elimination in last week’s battle royal on Dynamite. Bates took charge with a plan to solve their problems. Both of them have a negative winning streak. Two negatives make a positive. Bates suggested they team up. She will be out there as the missing variable. Cutler didn’t want any cheating from them. He wants his first win to be clean.
Christi Jaynes vs KiLynn King
King used her size to control the action. Jaynes stole the win with savviness. She was down after being on the receiving end of a German suplex and a cutter. On the pin cover by King, Jaynes countered to cradle King with a handful of trunks for the 1, 2, 3.
Big Game Leroy & EJ Lewis vs Santana & Ortiz
Leroy was busy playing video games, so Santana kicked him in the head. Santana & Ortiz dominated the inexperienced competition. The closing sequence was a Liger bomb by Ortiz, a reverse suplex by Santana into the turnbuckles, a running step-up cannonball by Santana into the corner, then the Street Sweeper to win.
Brandon Cutler & Peter Avalon vs Natural Nightmares
Leva Bates and Brandi Rhodes were ringside. QT Marshall brought out Allie to be on commentary. She put QT over in the booth. At the suggestion of Allie, QT has gone vegan. She brushed off Excalibur’s question about being with Butcher & Blade.
Despite the request from Cutler, Bates cheated by grabbing QT’s foot. QT exited the ring to knock Bates’ book down. Avalon attacked with a suicide dive. Cutler and Avalon were unable to capitalize on the momentum when they had miscommunication by accidentally punching each other. That led to a hot tag for Dustin to clean house.
Bates and Brandi were involved in the finish. Bates grabbed Dustin’s foot. Dustin dragged her, so she hopped up to get in his face. Brandi entered the ring for a stunner to Bates.
Brandi tossed Bates into spearing Avalon. The Natural Nightmares closed the contest with a Canadian Destroyer by Dustin to Cutler then a cutter from QT to win.
Marvez interviewed the Natural Nightmares backstage after the match. Dustin gave credit to Brandi. QT was distracted by staring at Allie. They couldn’t have done it without her (Allie). She is the apple of QT’s eye. QT and Allie left to celebrate.
Brandi Rhodes stole the show with her stunner to Leva Bates. The stunner was a cool moment, but it was a detail from Excalibur that put it over the top for me. He mentioned that Brandi still has a steel plate from her surgically repaired clavicle. That steel gives extra oomph when making contact with the recipient’s jaw. I love how that makes Brandi have a superpowered stunner. It is the kind of thing that embraces the ridiculousness of wrestling’s past.
The mid-life crisis story for QT Marshall is entertaining. He has hair plugs, a younger lady friend, and a new sports car to give pep in his step. Even though it feels like QT is getting played, how can you not be happy for him having a good time in an improbable late career resurrection? I’m looking forward to when Allie’s true motivation is revealed. This story has to be meatier than just using QT as a meal ticket, right?
It was interesting to see Christi Jaynes vs KiLynn King on the card, since neither are officially on the roster. Jaynes picked up the win, so that might be a sign that she will be signed soon. Personally, I think King is more impressive with her size to stand out. One thing I can’t figure out is if Jaynes’ dancing is supposed to be a joke. Her steps are pretty basic. It doesn’t come across like she has serious skills in the samba line.
Share you thoughts on Dark. Who stood out most for episode 36?