Episode 87 of AEW Dark featured Leyla Hirsch earning a signature win, Dante Martin on a hot streak, and Lance Archer hossing it up with Luther.
When the Dark lineup was announced, there was one match in particular that I was looking forward to. That would be Leyla Hirsch versus Diamante. Both have unique styles backed up by fierce intensity. This bout was set up last week during Dark: Elevation when Diamante displayed poor sportsmanship after losing a tag match to Hirsch and Ryo Mizunami.
The two competitors tussled on the mat to start. Diamante escaped a rear waist lock with a back elbow and countered into a cazadora stunner. Hirsch rallied with two German suplexes, a running knee, corner smashes, and a side suplex. Diamante still had enough juice to kick out of the cover. Fisticuffs were engaged with both wrestlers swinging wildly. Hirsch used a trip to take down Diamante then transition into the cross armbreaker for victory.
That was a signature win by Hirsch. Her previous victories all came against enhancement talent. Diamante is a legit challenge, and Hirsch passed clean. She actually steamrolled Diamante in the end. That’s what made it so impressive. This was the kind of win that truly makes Leyla legit in AEW. It is time for Hirsch to get a proper feud with one of AEW’s regulars.
Here’s the Dark lineup with ratings (Dynamite, competitive, showcase, squash) on which matches are worth your time toward Dynamite:
- Will Hobbs & Ricky Starks vs. Brick Aldridge & Aaron Frye (squash)
- Leyla Hirsch vs. Diamante (showcase)
- Varsity Blonds vs. Liam Gray & Adrian Alanis (showcase)
- SCU vs. Jake St. Patrick & Spencer Slade (showcase)
- Big Swole vs. Megan Bayne (showcase)
- Sonny Kiss & Joey Janela vs. Kit Sackett & Justin Law (squash)
- KiLynn King vs. Julia Hart (showcase)
- Serpentico vs. PAC (squash)
- Bunny vs. Leila Grey (showcase)
- The Acclaimed vs. David Ali & Vary Morales (showcase)
- Hughes Bros vs. Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page (showcase)
- Ryan Nemeth, JD Drake, & Cezar Bononi vs. Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, & Alex Reynolds (competitive)
- Dante Martin vs. Danny Limelight (competitive)
- Lance Archer vs. Luther (showcase)
Hirsch versus Diamante was my favorite of the bunch. Martin versus Limelight was the most exciting. Take your pick on the rest. If you like a certain wrestler, then you’ll enjoy the bout.
Watch the show here.
Excalibur teamed with Taz to call the action. Justin Roberts was the ring announcer.
Will Hobbs & Ricky Starks defeated Brick Aldridge & Aaron Frye. Hook was ringside. Complete domination from Hobbs as Starks lounged on the stage. Hobbs didn’t even tag in his partner before quickly winning with the Town Business powerslam.
Varsity Blonds defeated Liam Gray & Adrian Alanis. Brian Pillman Jr. was in trouble after a backbreaker to neckbreaker combo. Hot tag to Griff Garrison to clean house. That led to a rolling elbow from Garrison then a flying clothesline from Pillman for Garrison to secure the pin.
SCU defeated Jake St. Patrick & Spencer Slade. Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels did work to finish with the Best Meltzer Ever.
Big Swole defeated Megan Bayne. The newcomer hailed from Athens, Greece and wore a cool headpiece as part of her ring gear.
Bayne started strong with a knee to the gut then a bear hug. Swole boxed the ears to escape. Swole gained momentum with a roundhouse kick. She set up Bayne’s head between her legs. Bayne countered with a back body drop, but Swole rolled through to lock in the Texas Cloverleaf submission for victory.
Sonny Kiss & Joey Janela defeated Kit Sackett & Justin Law. Janela ran over to deliver a message on commentary. “You’re not a vegetarian if you like Sonny Kiss, because that ass has got a whole lot of meat.” Janela blitzed both opponents with clotheslines. It was a shutout from there. I don’t think the underdogs landed any offense. Janela and Kiss prevailed with a reverse DDT split leg drop combo to win.
KiLynn King defeated Julia Hart. King blocked a headscissors to smash Hart’s throat into the ropes. Clotheslines, a big boot, a dropkick, and a German suplex paved the way for King’s Kingdom Falls finisher.
PAC defeated Serpentico. Fenix, Pentagon, and Luther were ringside. Serpentico charged as the bell rang with a dropkick then a suicide dive. PAC took control on a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He tenderized the masked man to finish with a tombstone piledriver then the Brutalizer submission.
Bunny defeated Leila Grey. Bunny overcame her game opponent with the Down the Rabbit Hole inverted facelock elbow drop.
Backstage, Alex Marvez interviewed PAC. His message was that the opponent is irrelevant. Death Triangle is coming for everyone.
The Acclaimed defeated David Ali & Vary Morales. Max Caster rapped about Anthony Bowens returning from injury.
The Acclaimed had little trouble en route to a win via slam from Bowens followed by a flying elbow drop from Caster.
Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page defeated Hughes Bros. Sky and Page used tricky tag team tactics to stay one step ahead of the Hughes brothers. Page cracked a kneebreaker to set up Sky for the heel hook submission to win.
Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, & Alex Reynolds defeated Ryan Nemeth, JD Drake, & Cezar Bononi. Peter Avalon was ringside. Excalibur revealed JD now stands for Just Delicious, to go with Hunk, Beautiful, and Pretty. Drake wore his shiny shirt to the ring and wrestled in jeans. The Wingmen took control early until a hot tag to Grayson to run wild. Uno used a blind tag to keep up the heat. The match settled down, then Dark Order surged with momentum to win on Fatality.
Dante Martin defeated Danny Limelight. The Puerto Rican Papi was on a roll using a swinging neckbreaker as the third amigo in the Three Amigos suplex train. He gloated to the crowd before taking flight for a slingshot senton. The delay allowed Martin time to regroup and get his knees up. Martin rushed to close with a 450 splash but missed his mark when Limelight rolled away. Limelight pounced for a triangle sleeper. Martin flipped it over to top position for a pin. Limelight kicked out then crushed Martin with a clothesline. Martin fired up with punches and a shotgun dropkick sending Limelight bouncing off the ropes into a gutbuster. Martin successfully connected on a 450 splash this time to win.
Lance Archer defeated Luther. Jake Roberts was on commentary. Serpentico was ringside. He tried to ambush Archer, but the Murderhawk Monster caught him to toss into Luther. Serpentico would prove to be a pest throughout. In a surprise twist, Fuego del Sol ran in to brawl with Serpentico. Their fight went to the back leaving the hosses to fight fair and square. Luther escaped a Blackout. Archer blocked a powerbomb. That led to Archer using a ripcord into a helicopter slam for victory.
Dante Martin is riding hot. It is time to make a move with him. Continuing to rack up wins on Dark will inadvertently land him into the top 5 when AEW has no plans to feature him anytime soon. That’s why I think Martin should either be an open challenger for Darby Allin and the TNT Championship or he should get a tough match on Elevation. I’m thinking Ricky Starks would be a good choice of opponent. It would provide a cool match, Martin’s momentum would be slowed down without losing shine in defeat, and Starks would establish himself in the upper tier of competition with a victory. Starks is currently fodder for the stars at this moment in time, so he still needs quality wins to keep being presented as a serious threat. Those wins will also build the base for legitimacy whenever AEW decides to ride Stroke Daddy up the mountain of success.
Overall, the show was enjoyable for a Dark episode. There were lots of cool finishers, momentum being built, and a surprise here and there. I like how Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page are a cerebral team. It makes them stand out from the pack of flippers. Fuego del Sol intervening to beat up Serpentico came out of nowhere. I hope it isn’t related to Sammy Guevara’s vlog. Nothing against Sammy’s show. Viewers should not have to add yet another YouTube program to their weekly consumption in order to be fully aware of all storylines. If it is completely fresh with Dark, then I look forward to seeing the story develop. That is the prefect level of feud for Dark. Excalibur and Taz were on point with entertaining commentary. Taz cracked me up with his observations at Justin Law taking a rough tumble out of the ring.
Share your thoughts on Dark. Who stood out most for episode 87? Which was your favorite match?