Episode 21 of AEW Dark from Atlanta, GA featured Penelope Ford stealing the show and the beginning of Brandi Rhodes perhaps managing a new team.
Here’s the lineup with ratings (watch, solid, okay, pass) on which matches are worth your time:
- Jimmy Havoc vs Marko Stunt (okay)
- Dark Order vs Stronghearts (okay)
- Falls Count Anywhere: Kip Sabian vs Joey Janela (watch)
- Shawn Spears & Peter Avalon vs Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall (pass)
If you enjoy seeing Stunt get beat up, then you’ll be pleased with the opener. Dark Order and Stronghearts had a strong finish. The Falls Count Anywhere contest was full of creative moves and Penelope Ford being awesome on several occasions. The main event was more of a comedic nature that popped the crowd, and there was a Brandi Rhodes sighting at the end which was cool.
Watch the show here.
Excalibur and Taz welcomed us to the show from their commentary position. Tony Schiavone and Dasha Gonzalez would chime in later from the control center.
Jimmy Havoc vs Marko Stunt
Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy were ringside. Marko Stunt got off to a strong start with two consecutive suicide dives then a third leap for a swinging DDT on the floor. It didn’t take long for Jimmy Havoc to grab control. He bashed Stunt with suplexes and slams. Stunt had heart, but it wasn’t good enough. He missed his fourth attempt at a suicide dive to crash to the floor. That led to the finish. Havoc walloped him with a shot to the back of the head then the Acid Rainmaker to win.
Side note: Luther and Mel appeared on the entrance ramp to scout Havoc. Nothing else came from it.
Dark Order vs Stronghearts
Evil Uno and Stu Grayson represented the Dark Order. Alex Reynolds and John Silver were ringside. CIMA and T-Hawk represented the Stronghearts.
The story for this bout related to last week on Dynamite when Evil Uno offered a creeper mask to CIMA after his elimination in the tag team battle royal. Apparently, CIMA emphatically declined the offer. Excalibur mentioned that CIMA’s answer was posted on AEW Twitter. I couldn’t find it. It’s something I’d like to see. Add another example of how the fan experience can be frustrating at times when trying to follow AEW across multiple social platforms.
This match really picked up in the end. The Stronghearts hit a double suicide dive into all four Dark Order members. CIMA used a cross-legged scoop driver on Uno, but Uno kicked out at two.
Uno powered up on a 2-for-1 DDT/Samoan Drop combo to the Stronghearts.
Grayson knocked CIMA out of the area with a springboard DDT on the apron. The Dark Order decimated T-Hawk with a pop-up powerbomb, but T-Hawk kicked out at two. The Fatality finisher was too much for T-Hawk as Uno pinned him to win.
Falls Count Anywhere: Kip Sabian vs Joey Janela
Penelope Ford accompanied Kip Sabian. Good thing she did, because she stole the show.
Joey Janela assaulted Sabian with a surprise attack low blow during his entrance. Ford began her assistance by using the stage set for a hip toss.
The fight carried to the floor below the stage. Action with the men took place, then Ford came flying out of nowhere with a crossbody off the stage.
Ford would later miss a back elbow into the wall, and she still made it look cool. Notable moments include Janela using a prosthetic lower leg to boot Sabian in the face, a half and half suplex by Sabian for a bridging pin on the apron, and a rope-hung twisting neckbreaker by Sabian off the apron through a table.
Ford went back to work with a flying huricanrana, a handspring spear, and a flying crossbody attempt. Janela caught the crossbody then threw her into Sabian to send them crashing onto tables. The tables didn’t break though.
That led to the finish of Janela clocking Sabian in the head with a kendo stick. Janela pinned his foe on the floor to win.
Shawn Spears & Peter Avalon vs Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall
Tully Blanchard and Leva Bates were ringside. Prior to the bout, Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall cut a backstage promo. They had a secret weapon to even the odds. That weapon turned out to be Brandi Rhodes. She was present ringside for that bout.
Let’s go straight to the finish. Rhodes had Spears up on the turnbuckles for a potential power maneuver. Bates slipped a book to Spears. He used it to hit Rhodes in the head. Rhodes fell down then Spears followed with a frog splash. A short while later, Spears had Rhodes on his shoulders. Avalon tagged himself in. Spears did not like that, so he punched his partner in the face. Spears and Blanchard split the scene.
Rhodes set Avalon up for the Nightmare Kick in the corner. Bates grabbed Rhodes foot to prevent action. Brandi stepped into the ring to even the odds. She speared Bates. Rhodes kicked Avalon. The Nightmare Family was victorious after a double team Dominator/cutter combo.
Penelope Ford was clearly the star of this show. Her flying crossbody off the stage was tremendous with the surprise factor. Every time Ford is on screen, she is a awesome. Ford should change her name from Superbad to super awesome. It makes me wonder how well Ford can do an actual singles match. She should get some reps in the women’s division, but I can understand holding her back if there is no plan in place for her to succeed. Ford would be too popular to rack up early losses. I’m still hoping we get a mixed tag division for Ford to shine.
The match itself between Kip Sabian and Joey Janela was entertaining. I like that they were creative with foreign object spots, but they didn’t go overboard into garbage town.
During the main event, I was not expecting Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall to execute a tag team finisher. That made me curious if they will be teaming again in the near future after Rhodes finishes with Jake Hager at the Revolution PPV on February 29. This tweet by Brandi about her spear answers that, I think.
It sounds like Dustin and QT will be a team managed by Brandi. I like it. Dustin and QT aren’t on a path for the World Championship. This will give them a reason to be on Dynamite and also give the fans a new team to root for.
Who stood out most for episode 21 of AEW Dark? Which match was your favorite?