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AEW DARK TV REPORT
FEBRUARY 4, 2020
TAPED 1/29 IN CLEVELAND, OHIO
AIRED LIVE ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY ZACH GRAHAM, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Excalibur, Taz
Host: Tony Schiavone
– The AEW Dark opening aired.
– Tony Schiavone was shown standing outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and welcomed everyone to Dark. Schiavone took a moment to thank the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for finally inducting Kiss in 2014. Schiavone then threw to the first match of the night.
(1) SONNY KISS & BRANDON CUTLER vs. JURASSIC EXPRESS (Jungle Boy & Marko Stunt w/ Luchasaurus)
Marko Stunt and Brandon Cutler started the match. Stunt attempted some early offense, but Cutler overpowered him. Jungle Boy tagged in and he and Cutler took turns dodging attacks until Cutler tagged out to Sonny Kiss after an arm drag. Kiss tagged in and took control of Jungle Boy with a series of athletic moves. Kiss stopped for a moment to dance to the crowd, Stunt entered and danced back at Kiss by doing the floss and Kiss discarded of Stunt by knocking him out of the ring after a move Excalibur called a “hip attack” (Kiss knocked Stunt out of the ring with his butt). Kiss turned his attention back to Jungle Boy and managed a two count after a split leg drop. Kiss tagged in Cutler and as the two attempted a team maneuver against Jungle Boy, Jungle Boy took control and tagged Stunt back in. Stunt went for a move on Cutler, but Cutler lifted Stunt over his head for a back body drop and Stunt flew through the air due to the height difference. Stunt tried locking in a sleeper hold that Cutler turned into a side slam. Kiss and Cutler exchanged tags while isolating Stunt. Stunt eventually rolled through a move by Cutler and tagged in Jungle Boy who exploded out of the corner knocking Kiss of the apron and hit Cutler with a clothesline before locking on a standing modified Muta Lock, which was broken up by Sonny Kiss. Jungle Boy quickly threw Kiss to the outside, picked Cutler up on his shoulders and tagged in Marko. Marko jumped off the top rope. Stunt hit Cutler with a “Rolling Stunner” as Excalibur called it and picked up the victory.
WINNERS: Jurassic Express in 7:00
-A therapist was shown talking to Brandi Rhodes. The therapist talked about how their previous session seemed to end with Brandi making a breakthrough. Brandi responded saying she knows that something isn’t right and she still needs help. The therapist asked Brandi if she’s been spending too much time with her friends, The Nightmare Collective. Brandi stuttered and said she doesn’t think that’s the problem. The therapist transformed to be wearing a similar hairpiece to the one Brandi was wearing and in a distorted voice said “They need you. You’re their mother.” Brandi looked up at the woman confused by what just happened, the therapist was wearing her normal clothing again and asked if Brandi’s been feeling worried this week. Tweets from people making negative comments about Brandi were shown on the screen as Brandi said it’s okay. The therapist switched back to the dark version and in the distorted voice she asked about how Brandi “can’t work,” isn’t a good wrestler, isn’t that talented, and about what shape she’s in. Brandi looked very troubled by this voice she was hearing. The therapist then tried to complete an exercise with her, but as she was giving the instructions, the therapist changed again and said more negative things. “Everyone thinks you’re a bitch, Brandi. The things we hold on to – friends and family – sometimes they need to die” she said. Brandi got up and said she needed to go and as she walked by the chair the therapist was sitting in, the therapist disappeared and a small blue stuffed animal was shown sitting in the chair.
– Schiavone back in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Schiavone talked about the various sites to see in Cleveland before transitioning to the second match of the night.
(2) HIKARU SHIDA vs. MEL (w/ Luther & Awesome Kong)
Mel attacked Shida before the bell rang and as Shida lay on the mat, still wearing her robe, referee Rick Knox rang the bell for some reason. Mel threw Shida across the ring, Shida took a second to take her robe off. Shida went to run the ropes and Kong hit her in the back with a Kendo Stick, but the referee conveniently looked down at Luther on the other side of the ring inexplicably. Mel took control with shots to the back, but Mel stopped her before she got going. Mel locked in a choke hold while digging her knee into the back of Shida momentarily. Mel went to go after Shida, but Shida pulled on the top rope and Mel fell out of the ring. Shida quickly followed her out of the ring and grabbed a chair from under the ring and set it up on the outside. Knox came out and backed Kong away from Shida, Shida ran and jumped off the chair and took down Luther with a running knee to the face. Mel took control and threw Shida back in the ring and slammed her to the mat before mocking the crowd. Shida eventually made a comeback with a Step Up Enziguri and a Missile Drop Kick for a two count. Mel cut off the attack by Shida with a side slam and leg drop. Mel went for a chokeslam, but Shida countered it into a small package for a two count. Shida hit a running knee strike for a two count and Luther jumped up on the apron to distract the official. While the official was distracted, Shida went to run the ropes, but Kong tripped her. Mel grabbed Shida and Kong climbed up on the apron and went to hit Shida in the head with the Kendo Stick, but Shida ducked and she hit Mel instead. Shida quickly grabbed the Kendo Stick and hit Awesome Kong in the head with it. Shida then hit Mel with another running knee strike for the pin fall victory.
(Graham’s thoughts: This match was awful. It was slow and plotting. Even someone as talented as Shida couldn’t make this work. On top of that the official looked like an idiot not seeing or hearing the obvious interferences.)
WINNER: Hikaru Shida in 9:00
After the match Kong slapped Mel a couple of times in anger as they started to walk to the back. Mel finally shoved Kong back and the two had a standoff. Luther grabbed Kong’s arm to help Mel who hit Kong with a couple of chops to the chest and then threw her through a ringside fence. Mel grabbed Kong and threw her into the ring post on the stairs. Luther grabbed Kong’s arms again and Mel hit Kong with a Guillotine Leg Drop and Kong was hanging off the steps. Mel and Luther walked off together.
-A promotional video aired for AEW Revolution including sound bites from Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley.
-Tony Schiavone back and said there was one more match on Dark, but first he ran down the upcoming AEW Dynamite tapings. Schiavone said that the final match of the night is actually from the Jericho Cruise and will feature Kenny Omega & Riho vs. Kip Sabian & Penelope Ford.
-Sabian & Shiavone were shown walking through the crowd on the deck of the ship. The ramp that was set up for the Dynamite taping was taken down and fans surrounded all sides of the ring. A single camera walked around ringside as Sabian and Ford entered the ring. The camera man sprinted back to where Sabian and Ford came from to show Omega and Riho enter as well and followed them through the crowd as they high fived fans.
(3) KENNY OMEGA & RIHO vs. KIP SABIAN & PENELOPE FORD – Intergender Tag Team match
Sabian and Omega started the match, but Sabian quickly tagged out to Penelope Ford. Kenny encouraged the crowd to cheer and went to tag in Riho, but Ford slapped him across the face before cursing at him. Omega and Ford then locked up with both of them attempting to control the arm of the other. Ford finally hit Omega with an arm drag, but Omega quickly reversed it into a Head Scissor. Ford tagged in Sabian, who ducked Kenny and pointed at Riho saying he wanted to wrestler her. Omega tagged in Riho and Riho and Sabian began exchanging holds for control of each other’s’ arm. Sabian kicked Riho in the stomach, then hit her with a shoulder tackle, but when he went for the cover, Riho bridged out and hit a drop kick. Sabian hit Riho with a number of slams before Riho finally escaped to tag in Omega.
Omega rushed in and hit Sabian with a series of chops and a running power slam for a two count. Omega tagged Riho back in. Omega suplexed Sabian, Riho quickly hit him with a double stomp to the stomach, Omega rolled Sabian onto his stomach and Riho locked in a Single Leg Boston Crab, but Sabian grabbed the bottom rope. Omega and Rih quickly tagged in and out against Sabian and managed a couple of two counts before Sabian finally reached Ford who entered against Riho and took control. Sabian tagged back in and put a submission on Riho, which Omega didn’t care for. Omega entered the ring and stomped away at Sabian. When Omega exited the ring, Ford and Sabian dragged Riho into their corner. Riho would be isolated for a couple of minutes before finally finding an opening against Sabian to tag Omega back in. Omega took control of Sabian and scored a couple of two counts. Sabian and Ford quick tagged a couple of times and Sabian scored a two count on Omega.
Immediately following this two count, an awkward transition was spliced in to advance forward in the match an unknown amount of time to Omega getting back to his feet as the crowd cheered for him and Sabian tagged in Ford. Ford and Sabian teamed up on Omega momentarily until Omega knocked Sabian out long enough to reach Riho. Riho got a near fall after a suplex. Riho went to the top rope, but Sabian attempted to interfere. Riho jumped over Ford and tagged in Omega, Ford also tagged in Sabian. Omega took over quickly and hit Sabian with a Snap Dragon Suplex for a two count. Omega went for a V-Trigger, but Sabian pulled the official into his path. Omega was able to stop before hitting the official, but as the official had his back to Omega, Ford entered the ring and hit Omega with a low blow. Riho entered and fought Ford for a moment until Sabian recovered and tried to stop them. Riho grabbed Sabian and hit him with a suplex to a loud cheer. Riho then tried for a suplex on Ford, who avoided it and knocked Riho out of the ring. Omega then grabbed Ford and hit her with a Snap Dragon Suplex. Sabian grabbed Riho and had him on his shoulders, but he turned to Omega who hit him with a V-Trigger while he was still carrying Riho. Omega then hit Sabian with another V-Trigger while he was in the ropes, then the One Winged Angel for the win.
WINNERS: Omega & Riho in 18:00
(Graham’s Thoughts: This was not great camera work. A single camera was used to show everyone entering the ring, which meant he was running around trying to capture everything, which caused it to be extremely shaky. The entire match was filmed by this camera guy standing at ringside too. The lights illuminating the ring were a constant problem and the audio wasn’t the greatest because it was probably just the camera’s microphone. I just didn’t think this felt professional. People may be mad at me, but when you just taped an entire episode of a television show in this same ring, I don’t know why you wouldn’t use that equipment to tape this as well. That being said, a match with no commentary was different and I did enjoy that aspect of this. Overall, it felt very amateur in terms of production, but the match was good!)
-Kenny Omega took the microphone and talked about the evolution of wrestling starting 100 years ago. When the mentality was probably one of all matches should be one on one, no tag team wrestling. Move forward a few decades and now there are tag team matches including multi-man tag matches, royal rumbles and “Survivor Series” as he mocked Vince McMahon’s scratchy voice. Omega said the match they just had was trying to show the audience in attendance the beauty of pro-wrestling and the fact that it is ever expanding including mixed tag team matches. Omega talked about the time where they said they wouldn’t do mixed tag team matches in AEW, but that time has passed and he hopes that there will be more mixed tag team matches in the future. Omega talked about the unique setting of being on a cruise ship, then asked for the audience to recognize Riho as well as Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford.
-Lexi Nair was shown standing outside the trainer’s room where Awesome Kong was being evaluated. Nair called over the doctor for an update. The doctor said Kong may have a herniated disc and needs an MRI, but she is out indefinitely until they have more information.
-A commercial for shopAEW.com aired.
-Schiavone back and said it’s time for the feature event on AEW Dark which will be Best Friends vs. Shawn Spears & a mystery partner.
-Tully Blanchard grabbed a microphone and said hello to Cleveland. He said he’s trying to find Spears a tag team partner. He’s been pouring over resume after resume trying to find a good partner and, while they look good on paper, it’s about what they can do in the ring that will be the deciding factor. Blanchard then introduced the mystery partner: Colin Delaney.
(4) BEST FRIENDS (w/Orange Cassidy) vs. SHAWN SPEARS & COLIN DELANEY (w/Tully Blanchard)
Trent and Shawn Spears started the match. Spears looked at Cassidy and mocked his lazy thumbs up gesture and flipped him off before turning his attention back to Trent. Trent took control of the arm early, but the two exchanged holds. Spears rolled through and went to flash Trent the ten fingers, but stopped before doing so. Spears backed Trent into a corner and hit him with a chop before backing up to celebrate his chop. Trent waited until Spears turned around to face him and hit him with a chop of his own. Spears tagged in Delaney who locked up with Trent, but Trent quickly tagged in Chuck Taylor. Delaney and Taylor exchanged shots and the two stopped to show respect for each other. Delaney looked back to Spears who yelled at him to kick Taylor, so he did before tagging Spears in. Spears entered and they threw Taylor into the ropes, Spears went to clothesline Taylor, but Delaney went to backdrop him. Neither thing happened and Spears turned and yelled at Delaney, who received a kick to the chest by Taylor. Delaney and Spears tried again throwing Taylor into the ropes, this time Spears went for the back body drop and Delaney went for an elbow. Spears was kicked by Taylor and rolled out of the ring. The Best Friends went for a hug, but Delaney and Spears entered and stopped the hug. Delaney and Spears were in opposite corners and Delaney held out his arms like he wanted to do the hug spot, but Spears wasn’t interested.
Delaney turned his focus to Taylor and tagged in Spears. Spears dropped to the floor and hugged Tully to mock Delaney and the Best Friends before entering the ring. Delaney and Spears tagged in and out isolating Chuck Taylor. Spears was the legal man and got distracted by the crowd chanting “Ten” at him, which allowed Taylor a moment to escape and tag in Trent. Spears also tagged in Delaney. Trent hit Delaney with a number of chops to the chest then a clothesline as Delaney went to run the ropes. Trent also hit an interfering Spears with a swinging DDT before diving over the top rope taking Delaney out at ringside. Trent threw Delaney back in and hit him with a diving cross body off the top rope for a two count. Spears finally tagged in and played to the crowd, allowing Trent an opening. Spears fell back into his corner and Delaney tagged himself in, which seemed to annoy Spears. Delaney called for Spears to come help him so they could hit Trent with a tandem suplex, but Trent escaped and tagged Taylor back in. After Taylor cleared the ring he tagged Trent back in. Trent went to the top rope, but Spears knocked him off the top rope, then knocked Chuck Taylor off the apron, then flipped off Orange Cassidy again. Spears then dragged Delaney into the corner and tagged in and went after Trent, who was still sitting on the top rope. After a top rope stunner by Delaney, Spears hit Trent with his C4 (which is a Death Valley Driver) and scored a two count that was broken up by Chuck Taylor. Taylor and Trent were outside the ring, and Spears was in the ring alone. Spears started clapping to get the crowd behind him before a dive attempt, while Orange Cassidy rolled into the ring behind him. Cassidy stared at Spears until Chuck Taylor grabbed Spears’ ankle and dragged him out of the ring.
Tully Blanchard entered the ring with Orange Cassidy and the two looked at each other. Cassidy put his hands in his pockets, Tully Blanchard then put his hands in his pockets. Cassidy then lazily kicked Cassidy twice in the shins before stepping back for his “super kick.” As he was stepping back, Spears entered the ring and knocked Cassidy out of the ring. Trent entered as well and clotheslined Spears out of the ring. Delaney rolled in and rolled up Trent with a small package for a two count. Trent threw Delaney into Taylor who hit him with a knee, Trent ran the ropes and hit him with a running knee strike of his own. The Best Friends then hugged mid-ring to a loud cheer by the crowd. Spears climbed up on the apron and went to enter the ring, but Tully told him not to and Spears and Blanchard started walking towards the back. The Best Friends hit Delaney with Strong Zero for the win.
WINNERS: Best Friends in 15:00
– After the match Orange Cassidy held up Delaney’s hand. Cassidy stood mid-ring and Chuck Taylor, Trent, and Colin Delaney all hugged Cassidy.
– Schiavone was shown again and thanked everyone in Cleveland for their hospitality to end the show.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I’ll just be blunt, I hated this show. As for the matches, I thought they were all okay except that women’s match. The Omega/Riho match just felt unprofessional because the whole thing was filmed on one camera that was awkwardly circling the ring with bad sound and bad lighting. There was an awkward and obvious edit in the middle of the match to cut down on the length, which couldn’t be hidden because they only had one camera filming the match. So, they edit there, but didn’t edit Schiavone saying that “this is the final match” before that mixed tag match, only to have him come back and say there’s another match. I’m just flabbergasted by some of the choices being made on this show. I also don’t understand their thought process behind the length of this show. For the last few weeks it’s been just under 30 minutes, then this show was almost 80 minutes long. It’s so inconsistent and I don’t understand why.
The Brandi segments are interesting. This is actually the second one in the series and if you don’t follow Brandi on Twitter, I’m not sure where you would’ve seen the first episode of this, which is frustrating! I assume it’s been posted on YouTube as well, I just happened to see it on Twitter. If you’re going to show this, show the audience the first part of this series of therapy sessions! This video even started off with the therapist talking about their first meeting, but if I hadn’t seen it on Twitter I’d be really confused as to what they were talking about. This is the little things they need to correct. Stop assuming people are following you on all the different platforms. Assume the audience is ignorant and tell the whole story on the shows. The show last week was only 30 minutes, that first video of Brandi and her therapist could’ve been added. Instead, it wasn’t and it looks careless because they didn’t bother showing that part first, but they had Taz and Excalibur mention that it’s available on Twitter. I just don’t understand the thought process behind this.