SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
JANUARY 7, 2020
TAPED 1/1 IN JACKSONVILLE, FLA.
AIRED LIVE ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY ZACH GRAHAM, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Excalibur, Chuck Taylor
Host: Tony Schiavone, Dasha Gonzalez
– AEW Dark opened with highlights of The Inner Circle attempting to recruit Jon Moxley last week on AEW Dynamite including Sammy Guevara coming to the ring and Chris Jericho’s video where he offered Moxley 49 percent of The Inner Circle, LLC and a new Ford GT.
– The new AEW Dark theme played and featured highlights from AEW Dark matches in black and white mixed with fan reactions. The music was a generic rock song without lyrics.
– Tony Schiavone and Dasha Gonzalez were shown in the empty arena. Dasha said Moxley would be making his decision on joining The Inner Circle on AEW Dynamite tomorrow night. Schiavone and Gonzalez discussed the lucrative package that Jericho offered Moxley including the $1 Million Ford GT Supercar. Gonzales said she likes cars and it’s tempting, but she wouldn’t sell her soul for the Inner Circle. Schiavone smiled and said he doesn’t trust Jericho, but he’d take the car. Gonzalez then previewed the matches on AEW Dark which include Awesome Kong vs. Skyler Moore and TH2 & Kip Sabian vs. SCU.
(1) AWESOME KONG (w/Brandi Rhodes & Mel) vs. SKYLER MOORE
Kong started the match with chops to the chest of Moore as the bell rang before throwing her into the ropes. Moore fought back to the delight of Kong. Moore ran the ropes and attempted a shoulder tackle, but Kong didn’t move at all. Kong threw Moore into the corner and stepped on her throat. Kong then stood on Moore’s hair and pulled on her arms while the referee counted. Moore attempted to go to the top rope to mount a comeback, but Kong picked her up in a fireman’s carry before slamming her into the mat. Kong attempted her finisher again, but Moore went for a roll up. Kong sat on Moore’s chest for a count, but Brandi told her to get off. Kong stood up, picked Moore up and slammed her down face first into the mat for the three count.
WINNER: Awesome Kong in 3:00.
– After the match, Brandi motioned Mel to get in the ring. Mel approached Skyler Moore and gave her a leg drop to the back of her head. The Nightmare Collective left as Excalibur complained about their actions calling it unprofessional.
– Alex Marvez was backstage with Christopher Daniels. Marvez noted this was Daniels’ first match since the incident (failed Arabian Moonsault attempt) with Pentagon Jr. Daniels apologized to Marvez for being rude the last time they discussed that incident. Daniels said he’s thought a lot about that situation since it happened and it’s something that can happen in wrestling. Daniels said he’s ready to show the world that he’s still the man and “the Fallen Angel.”
– Tony Schiavone and Dasha Gonzalez back to discuss the women’s division including the match tomorrow: Kris Statlander vs. Riho for the AEW Women’s Championship. Gonzalez talked about Nyla Rose’s actions attacking Riho after the match last week and said one week may not be enough time for Riho to recover. Schiavone transitioned to talking about AEW’s next PPV: AEW Revolution on February 29. Schiavone and Gonzalez then previewed AEW’s upcoming Dynamite tapings including new events in Denver, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah.
– Gonzalez then said it was time for the main event and threw it back to Excalibur and Chuck Taylor.
(2) TH2 & KIP SABIAN (w/Penelope Ford) vs. SCU
Frankie Kazarian and Kip Sabian started the match. Kazarian attempted a quick pin attempt for a one count, Sabian kicked out at one. Kazarian went to run the ropes, but Penelope Ford jumped up on the apron, causing a distraction. Sabian took over momentarily, but Kazarian quickly regained control. TH2 entered the ring and the other two members of SCU joined. SCU quickly cleared the ring and isolated Kip Sabian. Sky and Daniels hit Sabian with kicks on their way out of the ring in their corner. Sky tagged in and tried to take control of Sabian’s arm, but Sabian escaped and tagged in Angelico. Angelico had control of Sky’s arm, but Sky fought out.
Sky went to run the ropes and Kazarian blind tagged into the match. Kazarian hit Angelico with a springboard leg drop off the bottom rope for a near fall. Christopher Daniels tagged in and hit Angelico with a couple of suplexes before going for a pin. Sabian quickly entered the ring to break up the pin before scurrying out of the ring. Daniels slammed Angelico and went to the ropes to attempt an Arabian Moonsault, but hesitated and decided against it. Angelico was able to recover and isolated Daniels in their corner. Jack Evans went for a pinfall attempt, but tried to use the ropes for leverage, which was quickly caught by the officials. TH2 worked together to distract the officials while Jack Evans locked in a submission and Angelico kicked Daniels in the jaw.
Sabian tagged back in and after a running knee strike, he scored another two count on Christopher Daniels. Daniels attempted a comeback, but Sabian threw him to the outside. Penelope Ford jumped up on the apron and hit Daniels with a Swinging DDT. Angelico quickly grabbed Daniels and threw him back in the ring and Sabian scored another near fall off the interference. Evans tagged in and hit Daniels with a standing moonsault good for a pair of two counts, but Daniels continued to kick out. Daniels finally hit Evans with a back breaker and was able to reach Kazarian. Kazarian sprinted to the other corner and knocked everyone off the apron.
Kip Sabian attempted to jump over the top rope to interfere, but Kazarian hit him with a cutter to the delight of the crowd. Jack Evans went for a Phoenix Splash, but Kazarian got his knees up. Christopher Daniels stopped interference by Angelico and hit him with Angel’s Wings, Kip Sabian took Daniels down with a Springboard DDT. Scorpio Sky entered and discarded Kip Sabian with the TKO, Evans attempted to take Sky out, but he got caught and Kazarian and Sky hit the SCULater on Evans for the win.
WINNER: SCU in 12:00
– Chuck Taylor and Excalibur pointed out the hesitation by Christopher Daniels to go for the Arabian Moonsault, but said a win for the group has to help raise his confidence.
– Schiavone and Gonzalez back to encourage viewers to watch AEW Dynamite tomorrow from Southaven, Mississippi as they celebrate the legends of Memphis Wrestling.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Short and sweet episode of AEW Dark this week clocking in at 32:21. Because the episode was half the usual length, it was pretty basic. The main event was a good match, but not must see. The Nightmare Collective story continues, but they didn’t cut off Skyler Moore’s hair which I found noticeable. I like Chuck Taylor on commentary again. I think he does a good job of adding to the story. I hope that AEW features highlights of Christopher Daniels’s hesitation on the Arabian Moonsault; if not, I’ll be disappointed. Cody called this shoulder content that isn’t necessary to watch and, if that’s going to be true, that needs to be talked about because it advanced the story of Daniels struggling to regain his confidence. It was subtle, but the announcers pointed it out in the match and talked about it after, so there wasn’t an excuse to miss it. Overall it was an okay episode, but given the shortened length, there wasn’t much to it. It’s very much skippable if you’re debating what you need to watch and what you can miss.