Episode 56 of AEW Dark featured Vickie Guerrero issuing a challenge for Hikaru Shida, Darby Allin attacking Ricky Starks, and Eddie Kingston sending a physical message to Jon Moxley.
Here’s the lineup with ratings (watch, solid, okay, pass) on which matches are worth your time toward Dynamite:
- Evil Uno vs Blade vs Frankie Kazarian vs Jungle Boy (solid)
- Lee Johnson & Cezar Bononi vs Lucha Bros (okay)
- Brandon Cutler vs Peter Avalon (solid)
- Matt Sydal vs Sonny Kiss (solid)
- Aaron Solow, Angel Fashion, & M’Badu vs Alex Reynolds, John Silver, & 10 (okay)
- Elayna Black vs Red Velvet (okay)
- Fuego del Sol vs Ricky Starks (okay)
- Ryzin & Maxx Stardom vs Billy & Austin Gunn (okay)
- Darby Allin vs Nick Comoroto (okay)
- Colt Cabana vs Griff Garrison (okay)
- Nyla Rose vs KiLynn King (okay)
- Joey Janela vs D3 (okay)
- Elijah Dean vs Wardlow (okay)
- Eddie Kingston vs Baron Black (okay)
The most important scene to watch is Vickie Guerrero’s promo post-match issuing a challenge for Nyla Rose to wrestle Hikaru Shida for the Women’s title. The opening four-way was the best bout of the bunch with high-octane action. Brandon Cutler and Peter Avalon had another interesting chapter if you are invested in their story. Matt Sydal showcased nifty moves against a quality opponent in Sonny Kiss. The rest of the matches are standard fare for Dark.
Watch the show here.
Excalibur teamed with Taz to call the action. Justin Roberts was the ring announcer. Brandi Rhodes joined commentary to scout Red Velvet. Ricky Starks sat in for two matches until Darby Allin roughly beat him off.
Evil Uno vs Blade vs Frankie Kazarian vs Jungle Boy
This bout had a non-stop hectic pace. Jungle Boy provided my favorite sequence. It began by monkey flipping Kazarian to double clothesline the other two goons. Jungle Boy then hit a suicide dive to Evil Uno and another suicide dive to Blade all the while working around and through Kaz. Kaz had the last laugh in that moment by slingshotting Jungle Boy into a cutter. In the end, Jungle Boy countered a suplex move from Uno into a jackknife pin to win. Jungle Boy picked up momentum heading into the World Championship #1 contender tournament.
After the match, Uno took out his losing frustrations on Jungle Boy. The Dark Order stormed in to stomp. Marko Stunt with a kendo stick, Christopher Daniels, and Luchasaurus made the save. The dino cleaned house to stand tall.
Lee Johnson & Cezar Bononi vs Lucha Bros
Bononi had a cool powerhouse moment by double slamming the Lucha Bros.
Fenix and Pentagon had no problem winning in the end with their flying butt stomp to package piledriver finisher on Johnson.
Brandon Cutler vs Peter Avalon
In a bit of Being the Elite story continuity, Cutler looked to the stands for the Young Bucks to be present in the front row for support. The Jacksons were missing.
Avalon ambushed Cutler on the ramp. He hit a double underhook powerbomb and a leaping double knees to drive Cutler’s head into the hard surface. Avalon grabbed the mic to demand the referee award him the victory. His reasoning was that Cutler would not be able to answer the opening bell. Cutler did make it to the ring, and the match became official.
Avalon started strong, but Cutler came back. They countered each other’s signature moves for near pinfalls. At one point, Cutler considered using his big dice to cheat, but Leva Bates talked him out of it. Back in the ring, Avalon raked Cutler’s eyes and hit a fireman’s carry driver. Avalon tried to wallop his foe with a book, however, Cutler ducked and came with a TPK. During that move, Cutler accidentally swung Avalon’s legs knocking down the referee. Thus, there was no count on the pin cover.
Cutler was frustrated and began tearing out book pages. The final stroke was a double disqualification when Cutler used Avalon’s book to attack at the same time Avalon used Cutler’s dice to attack. It occurred in plain sight of the referee. Afterward, Bates left in disappointment over the cheating.
Sonny Kiss usually tags with Joey Janela. Kiss will be just as bad in singles action. Bad in reference to bad boy, not bad at wrestling.
Matt Sydal vs Sonny Kiss
Sydal dominated early by using his third eye to anticipate Kiss’ moves. Sydal flattened Kiss with a variety of slams, drivers, and a standing corkscrew moonsault. Kiss came back with a Flatliner, a running split leg drop, and a handstand axe kick in the corner. Kiss missed a flying split leg drop, so Sydal cinched in the Cobra Clutch. He used a Russian leg sweep to take Kiss down to the mat while still maintaining the clutch. Sydal added in a leg stretch to tighten the pain. Kiss tapped out in defeat.
Aaron Solow, Angel Fashion, & M’Badu vs Alex Reynolds, John Silver, & 10
Solow had momentum until 10 surprised him with a spear. The Dark Order used a triple team maneuver for victory. Reynolds and 10 held up Solow by his arms as Silver ran underneath to flip Solow over into a slam. 10 picked up the winning pin.
Elayna Black vs Red Velvet
This contest was a competitive duel. Red Velvet went into a higher gear to win with a bulldog then a running single-leg dropkick to the head. Her finisher is called Just Desserts. Red Velvet earned her first victory in AEW.
Fuego del Sol vs Ricky Starks
Taz was singing the horn sounds to Starks’ theme song. Starks is so versatile that he managed to do a little bit of commentary mid match. Starks ended Feugo del Sol’s evening with a spear and Rochambeau.
Alex Marvez asked Scorpio Sky about Shawn Spears getting in his head. Spears interrupted. Christopher Daniels sassed Tully Blanchard, so a match was made for next week between Spears and Daniels.
Ryzin & Maxx Stardom vs Billy & Austin Gunn
Austin got the hot tag for a hip toss neckbreaker to pin Stardom.
Darby Allin vs Nick Comoroto
Comoroto has an interesting look of burly and hairy. Allin withstood the early onslaught to break down Comoroto’s base. Allin hit a leaping hammerlock slam then a Coffin Drop to win. After the match, Allin sprinted to attack Starks at the commentary table.
KiLynn King had strong words for Nyla Rose. King showed she can not be tossed around. Rose’s attack from behind on Dynamite made her look like a coward and a Native Bitch.
Colt Cabana vs Griff Garrison
Evil Uno was ringside to coach and lend a helping hand. Garrison was in control then took a little too long climbing the corner. He leaped right into a boot from Cabana. Boom Boom smashed Garrison with a running hip smash then a diving splash. Cabana finished Garrison with a reverse Boston crab.
Nyla Rose vs KiLynn King
Vickie Guerrero was ringside. The short battle culminated with a German suplex and a Beast Bomb from Rose to win.
Afterward, Vickie grabbed the mic to send a message to Hikaru Shida. Vickie had been strategizing how to obtain championships for her client, but AEW has only matched Rose with pathetic opponents who have no legacy. Vickie made an executive decision to declare that Rose will no longer compete in the ring until Shida accepts their challenge for a title match.
Joey Janela vs D3
Janela turned the tide with an airplane spin DVD on the floor.
Janela ran wild by running wild back and forth several times for a clothesline. Janela then hit three straight brainbusters. On the fourth attempt, D3 collapsed to the mat, so Janela pinned him instead of more punishment.
Elijah Dean vs Wardlow
Wardlow won the squash with a knee strike while elevating his opponent off the turnbuckles.
Eddie Kingston vs Baron Black
Black scored a discus clothesline then a sweet suplex. Kingston responded with a knee to the gut then a spinning backfist. Kingston sent a message to Jon Moxley by using a front chancery choke for submission success.
The story touches were the highlight of this gargantuan edition of Dark. There was a simple little setup for Spears versus Daniels. I like how Spears played off that he isn’t interested in Sky. Nobody believes him, but it is working to get in Sky’s head. King had tough talk for Rose. It made me think she had a small chance, but she was promptly handled. Vickie finally used her juice to call out the champ for Rose. It would have been better served for Dynamite considering the King skirmish happened on that show, but at least it is something to push forth the next PPV feud for Shida. Allin continued his hatred for Team Taz, and Kingston continued trying to get Moxley’s attention. Both instances show that their wars are far from over.
Avalon and Cutler carried on with their ineptitude. The losingest losers in AEW remain losers. That pre-match beatdown was a smart way to hook Cutler into cheating. Nobody would argue that Avalon didn’t deserve it. Add in that the Young Bucks continue to be jerks by stiffing their old friend with a no-show. Both those instances made Cutler desperate for success. The question is what’s next for the two chumps. They’ve had a double count-out and a double disqualification. Remaining options to extend the feud are a draw, a double knockout, a double pin, then a 60-minute Iron Man match?
The standouts for me were Jungle Boy’s amazing athleticism, Sydal’s mat work, Wardlow’s powerful domination, and Kingston’s submission to taunt Moxley.
Share your thoughts on Dark. Who stood out most for episode 56?