Wrestling Night in America Reunion: PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by former PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill for a full match-by-match preview of WrestleMania 36
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AEW DARK TV REVIEW
JANUARY 28, 2020
TAPED 1/15 IN MIAMI, FLA. AND 1/21 IN NASSAU, BAHAMAS
AIRED LIVE ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY ZACH GRAHAM, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone
Host: Tony Schiavone
– The AEW Dark opening aired.
– Tony Schiavone was in the ring aboard the cruise ship by himself in front of a large crowd of people on a sunny day. Schiavone quickly ran down the matches on Dark including QT Marshall vs. Kip Sabian, Dark Order vs. Sonny Kiss & Brandon Cutler, and Nyla Rose vs. Shanna in a Tables match.
(The first match of the night was taped in Miami two weeks ago.)
(1) NYLA ROSE vs. SHANNA – Tables match
Shanna charged at Nyla Rose as soon as the bell rang, but Rose quickly overpowered Shanna slamming her to the mat. Rose quickly rolled out of the ring and slid a table out from under the ring. As Rose did this, Shanna recovered and got on the apron, hitting Rose with a cross body to the floor. Shanna threw Rose back into the ring, then attempted to push the table into the ring. Rose grabbed the other side of the table and used it to shove Shanna into the ringside barricade. Rose attempted to bring the table into the ring, but it was upside down and one of the legs had opened, so she climbed out of the ring to fix it and kicked Shanna face first into the barricade. Rose took the table and propped it up in a corner of the ring before grabbing Shanna and throwing her back into the ring.
Rose picked Shanna up over her shoulder and went to drive her through the table, but Shanna escaped. Rose hit Shanna a couple of times before attempted to Irish Whip her into the table, but Shanna dropped to her knees to stop her momentum. As Rose charged at Shanna, Shanna hit her with a drop toe hold and Rose’s face hit the bottom of the table, but didn’t break it. Shanna grabbed the table and dropped it on top of Rose. Shanna hit Rose with a pair of running dropkick as Rose leaned against the bottom rope. Shanna picked Rose up and sat her on the top turnbuckle and hit her with a Hurricanrana from the top rope. Shanna then set the table back up, but had some trouble with one of the legs, but on second attempt set it up correctly as the crowd cheered her on. Shanna attempted to pick up Rose, but couldn’t lift her up. Rose then picked Shanna up across her shoulders and went to throw her through the table, but Shanna grabbed the table and knocked it over so she couldn’t go through it.
Shanna escaped Rose and quickly hit a DDT onto the edge of the overturned table, but it didn’t break this time either. Shanna closed the table, dragged it out of the ring, then set it up again on the outside. Shanna reentered the ring and hit Rose with a dropkick. Rose went through the second and third ropes right in front of the table, but held onto the ropes. Shanna attempted to tackle Rose through the ropes, but Rose avoided the attack and hit Shanna with a knee. Shanna climbed to the top rope and jumped towards Rose on the apron, but Rose caught her by the throat and chokeslammed Shanna through the table for the win.
WINNER: Nyla Rose in 8:00
– After the match, Rose grabbed another table from under the ring and set it up on the outside. Rose grabbed Shanna, put her over her shoulders, then attempted to climb to the top rope to put Shanna through the table below. Sadie Gibbs ran out to stop Rose and clotheslined Rose out of the ring. Gibbs then attempted a back handspring over the top rope, but Rose moved out of the way and grabbed Gibbs as soon as she hit the floor. Rose then grabbed Gibbs and power bombed her through the second table.
– Schiavone back in the ring on the cruise to preview the upcoming AEW Dynamite TV taping locations. Then said it was time for the second match of the night: QT Marshall vs. Kip Sabian aboard the Jericho Cruise.
(2) Q.T. MARSHALL vs. KIP SABIAN (w/ Penelope Ford)
Sabian and Marshall both started the match with a lock up, then exchanged arm holds. Sabian quickly esaped a hold attempt by Marshall before hitting him with a drop kick. Marshall ran the ropes as Sabian avoided him before Marshall did a handspring to stop his momentum. Marshall played to the crowd for a second, then bounced off the ropes and hit Sabian with an Enzuigiri. Marshall jumped onto the top rope for a move, but Penelope Ford jumped up on the apron to distract Marshall. Sabian charged at Marshall to take advantage of the distraction, but Marshall didn’t fall for it and kicked Sabian while sitting on the top rope. Penelope Ford then grabbed Marshall’s arm and pulled him off the turnbuckle catching his arm across the top rope while the official checked on Sabian. Sabian quickly took advantage of the assistance and managed a two count. Sabian then mocked Marshall before focusing his attack on the injured arm with a mix of kicks and submission attempts.
Sabian backed off and sat on the bottom rope on the other side of the ring as the official scolded him. Marshall was laying across the bottom rope and Penelope Ford grabbed Marshall’s arm and pulled on it from outside the ring. Sabian lifted Marshall and draped his legs across the top rope and hit him with an elevated swinging neck breaker good for a two count. Sabian rolled to the outside of the ring and immediately walked over to a fan and stuck his gum onto the forehead of a man in the front row before immediately reentering the ring. This allowed Marshall enough time to recover and as Sabian jumped from the top rope, Marshall caught him mid-air, lifted Sabian up over his head and dropped him to the mat. Marshall then threw Sabian into the ropes and hit him with a Tilt-A-Whirl Backbreaker for a two count. Marshall went to the top rope and attempted a Senton Bomb, but Sabian got his knees up and quickly locked on an Arm Bar. Marshall quickly got a foot on the ropes, even as Penelope Ford tried to pull the rope further away.
Ford grabbed an apple and threw it to Sabian in the ring, who walked over to Marshall, who was on the ring apron and took a bite to mock Marshall. Marshall stood up and hit Sabian with a right hand causing Sabian to spit out his bite of the apple. Marshall threw Sabian back into the ring and attempted a sunset flip, but Sabian sat down on Marshall’s chest. Ford quickly ran over and pulled on Sabian’s arms for additional leverage and Sabian picked up the win.
WINNER: Kip Sabian in 7:00
– As Sabian walked to the back, the announcers talked about Sabian’s big opportunity on Dynamite as he takes on Cody. A graphic then appeared featuring Kip Sabian vs. Cody as Schiavone quickly mentioned that this match is happening on Dynamite this week. Schiavone then said it was time for the final match of the night from Miami.
(3) DARK ORDER vs. SONNY KISS & BRANDON CUTLER
Sonny Kiss and Stu Grayson started the match. Grayson quickly took control attacking Kiss as soon as the bell rang. Grayson threw Kiss into his corner and Uno quickly tagged in and hit Kiss with a boot to the face for an early two count. Uno stepped on Kiss’ hand and held his hand up as all the members of the Dark Order have been doing in their recruitment videos. Kiss attempted to escape Uno, who stopped Kiss from reaching his corner and attempted a suplex. Kiss landed on his feet and as Uno went for a clothesline, Kiss leaned back and bridged before picking his feet up over his head and kicking Uno in the head. Uno stumbled back into his corner and Grayson tagged back in and cut off Kiss before he was able to tag out. Grayson slammed Kiss into the mat for another two count. Grayson stood up and yelled at Kiss in a quick mid-match recruitment pitch saying “you could be more” multiple times. Kiss stood up and hit Grayson with a drop kick, then a hurricanrana. Kiss avoided Grayson charging at him and slid out of the ring sweeping the feet of Grayson out from underneath him. Kiss then climbed back up on the apron and jumped over the top rope and hit Grayson with a leg drop while doing the splits. Instead of going for the cover, Kiss slowly crawled towards Brandon Cutler.
Grayson cut off Kiss before tagging in and threw Kiss into the ropes. Kiss rolled over the top rope and landed on his feet on the apron and kicked Grayson. The official checked on Grayson and one of the Dark Order Creepers grabbed Kiss’ leg long enough for Evil Uno to hit him with a spear on the apron behind the officials’ back. Grayson then grabbed Kiss and lifted him into the Torture Rack before hitting him with a Back Breaker across his knee. Evil Uno then tagged in, mocked Cutler, then Dark Order hit Kiss with Fatality for the win.
WINNERS: Dark Order in 3:00
The announcers pointed out Brandon Cutler never entered the match and also that Dark Order never laid a hand on him. Grayson and Uno both talked to Cutler as Cutler helped Kiss out of the ring.
– Schiavone back in the ring on the ship. He said that Dasha Gonzalez will be back next week and said goodbye.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a show that featured a number of awkward spots that really stood out to me. First, the ending to the Shanna-Rose match was a little clunky. Why would Shanna go to the top rope and jump towards Rose who was standing there watching and waiting to catch her for the chokeslam finish? It wasn’t the most egregious of mistakes, but it just doesn’t make sense, much like the Sammy Guevara spot on Dynamite a few weeks ago where he attempted a backflip onto nobody before The Young Bucks hit him with a pair of Superkicks as he was upside down in mid-flight. If you’re going to do something like that, it just needs to make sense, and this spot didn’t make much sense to me.
Second, Kip Sabian randomly left the ring to stick his gum to the forehead of a fan. That came out of nowhere and was just used as the transition for Marshall to catch him as he jumped off the ropes. There has to be a better way to transition to that spot besides Sabian getting cheap heat by doing something gross to a fan in the front row, who wasn’t doing anything to stand out; he was just sitting there enjoying the match.
Finally, Sonny Kiss hit Grayson with the split legdrop then didn’t go for the cover. The official even got down to count it and Kiss just awkwardly started to crawl away like he’d been the one that hit the move out of desperation, even though that’s not what it looked like at all. He landed on Grayson like he was going to go for the pin, then seemed to realize he should be selling the beating he’s been getting and then awkwardly began to crawl towards Cutler.
None of these little errors are a big deal, but when each match has a moment that makes you stop and think “wait, what?” there is a problem. I’m normally trying to keep up writing as the matches go on, so it’s possible these types of things have happened every week and I just haven’t caught them. I don’t usually look for things like this or even spot them, but this week they seemed more pronounced. These are just some of the minor things that they can work on fixing and Dark is a good place to do that, until it becomes a show on cable. The standard needs to go up once it’s a show that needs to try and draw viewership, but here on YouTube, that’s not as big a concern for the time being.