In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
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AEW DARK TV REPORT
FEBRUARY 18, 2020
TAPED 2/12 IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
AIRED LIVE ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY ZACH GRAHAM, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Excalibur, Taz
Host: Tony Schiavone
– Tony Schiavone welcomed viewers while standing in front of an AEW Dynamite backdrop. He previewed the matches on AEW Dark including Diamante vs. Kris Statlander, TH2 vs. Best Friends, Christi Jaynes vs. Big Swole, and QT Marshall & Peter Avalon vs. The Young Bucks. Schiavone then said it was time for the first match of the evening.
(1) DIAMANTE vs. KRIS STATLANDER
Statlander started the match by touching the referee’s nose as the bell rang, then attempted to do the same thing to Diamante, who slapped her hand away. Statlander chopped her across the chest then crawled towards Diamante as she scurried back into the corner. Statlander had Diamante in the middle of the ring with her knee in her back. Statlander then grabbed both of Diamonte’s hands, licked a finger on each hand then put both fingers into Diamonte’s ears while Diamonte yelled. Diamonte attempted multiple comebacks, but Statlander quickly stopped every attempt by Diamonte. Statlander hit Diamonte with a knee in the corner, which sent Diamonte flying through the ropes. Statlander rolled out, picked up Diamonte and military pressed her onto the ring apron before rolling her back into the ring. Statlander went for a power bomb, but Diamante countered it into a sunset flip for a two count. Diamante went to build some offense, but was quickly cut off by Statlander again with a German suplex. Statlander then picked up Diamante, flipped her over, and hit Diamante with her Big Bang Theory Pile Driver for the win.
(Graham’s Thoughts: The announcers (specifically Excalibur) talking about Statlander not knowing Earthly customs and her age in Earth years and all the other silly comments was really frustrating to me. On top of it just being ridiculous that an “alien” is wrestling in AEW, Brandi Rhodes called her out on an episode of AEW Dynamite a few weeks ago saying that she’s not really an alien. Excalibur just looked like a fool trying to play it up like she’s an “actual” alien.)
WINNER: Kris Statlander in 4:00
– A commercial for AEW Revolution aired highlighting Chris Jericho vs Jon Moxley.
– Schiavone back and said Statlander is making her way up the women’s rankings and she will definitely be in line for a title shot very, very soon. Schiavone then introduced the next match of TH2 vs. Best Friends
(2) TH2 vs. BEST FRIENDS (w/ Orange Cassidy)
Trent and Jack Evans started the match with Trent quickly overpowering Evans to the mat. Evans managed to escape quickly and the two took to the mat exchanging counters. Evans took a moment to play to the crowd while Trent looked on behind him looking confused and annoyed. The two continued exchanging counters until Trent hit Evans with a suplex over the top rope for a two count. Angelico and Chuck Taylor both tagged in and Taylor controlled for a moment until Angelico rolled to the outside. Angelico walked around the ring until he was met by Orange Cassidy who looked at him. Angelico smiled and punched Cassidy, which triggered Trent and Chuck Taylor to leave the ring and go after Angelico as the crowd booed. As the Best Friends went to put Angelico back in the ring, Evans ran up to the top rope and took out both Trent and Chuck Taylor before walking over to Orange Cassidy and stomping away at him as well, which prompted even louder boos from the audience.
TH2 hit a number of team moves on both members of best friends including Jack Evans kicking Trent, who was on the back of Angelico and when Evans kicked Trent, he also flipped off of him and onto Chuck Taylor. TH2 isolated Trent until Trent finally tagged in Chuck Taylor after a swinging DDT on Angelico. Chuck Taylor took control of both members of TH2 for a moment including a spot where he power bombed Jack Evans onto the back of Angelico before hitting Evans with a Spinning Liger Bomb for a two count. Angelico interfered to give TH2 the advantage again. Exalibur noted that the referee was being quite lenient with the ten count as all four members of the match were consistently in and out of the ring. (calling it lenient would be generous). The referee was distracted as Jack Evans went for a top rope move onto Trent. Orange Cassidy jumped up on the apron and lightly swiped at Evans’ ankle, which had no effect. Angelico entered and ran at Cassidy trying to hit him with a pump kick, but Cassidy avoided it. The impact of the ropes shaking caused Evan’s to fall and straddle the top rope, Angelico was also straddling the top rope after his missed kick, and as the two sat on the top rope, Cassidy took a moment to pose between the two of them. The Best Friends entered the ring, hugged, then hit the Strong Zero for the win.
WINNER: Best Friends in 9:00
– Schiavone back again to preview the upcoming AEW Dynamite tapings. He then said it was time for the next match and threw it back to the ring.
(3) CHRISTI JAYNES vs. BIG SWOLE
Swole overpowered Jaynes early after a quick collar and elbow lock up. Swole grounded Jaynes with a side head lock, Jaynes tried to roll Swole over into a cover, but Swole quickly countered back. Jaynes escaped and attempted a shoulder tackle, but Swole didn’t move. Swole then hit her with a shoulder tackle of her own. Swole then challenged Jaynes to a test of strength, of which she quickly took advantage of and grounded Jaynes again. Jaynes knocked Swole off the top rope with a step up enziguri which sent Swole out of the ring onto the floor. As Swole tried to reenter the ring, Jaynes caught her and, using her leg, choked Swole as her neck was across the middle rope. Swole finally made a comeback with a series of chops and kicks. Swole hit Jaynes with a springboard cutter from the middle rope, a pump kick, then a ripcord elbow for the win.
WINNER: Big Swole in 5:00
– A commercial aired for ShopAEW.com including a limited time promotional shirt with a percentage of profits going to American Heart Association in Atlanta.
– Schiavone back and immediately threw it to the ring for the main event.
– As Peter Avalon and Leva Bates entered the ring, Avalon went to insult the crowd, but QT Marshall grabbed the microphone. Marshall asked that the fans just deal with whatever he has to say or else this match may not happen. Marshall handed the microphone back to Avalon, but as he went to speak, the Young Bucks music played.
(4) QT MARSHALL & PETER AVALON (w/ Leva Bates) vs. YOUNG BUCKS
Nick Jackson and QT Marshall started the match. The two ran the ropes countering each other back and forth and ended after a flip by Marshall. The crowd cheered, but Avalon grabbed a microphone, shushed the crowd and said “that’s not wrestling, that’s flippy dippy” and demanded Marshall tag him in. Avalon said he was going to show Marshall what real wrestling is. Avalon charged at Nick and Matt, but was quickly taken down. Avalon dropped the microphone. Matt Jackson picked it up, pandered to the crowd for a second, and the Young Buck teamed up to take out Avalon. The Young Bucks teamed up on Avalon for a moment, taking time to play to the crowd. The Young Bucks called for a super kick party, but Avalon overheard and scurried into his corner to tag in Marshall. Marshall and Matt Jackson circled each other, but as Matt had his back turned to Avalon, Avalon entered and took him down. Marshall went to yell at Avalon, who tagged himself back in and charged at Nick Jackson and knocked him off the apron.
Avalon took control of Matt Jackson momentarily and used the middle rope to choke Matt. Leva Bates got up on the ring apron as the referee had his back turned. She tried to show Matt something in a book, but Matt grabbed the book and closed it on Bates’ fingers. Bates then grabbed Matt’s neck and pulled down to choke him using the middle rope as well. Marshall and Avalon isolated Matt Jackson for a couple more minutes. Matt attempted to reach Nick, but Avalon entered and took Nick Jackson out momentarily, so when Matt finally reached his corner, he had no one to tag.
Matt Jackson eventually found an opening against Peter Avalon and hit 7 consecutive Northern Lights Suplexes, rolling through after each one. Matt would hit an eighth on Avalon and Marshall simultaneously, to a very loud crowd reaction. Matt finally reached Nick who took control against both Marshall and Avalon. Nick tagged in Matt Jackson while Avalon was distracted before throwing Avalon into a corner. Nick then baited Avalon to run at him, only to be blindsided by Matt with a spear. The Young Bucks then went for a Meltzer Driver, but Avalon escaped and shoved Matt into Nick. Matt rolled onto the mat and Avalon scored a two count on a roll-up pin attempt with a big handful of tights. Avalon then went to get a book from Leva Bates, but was stopped by Marshall who wanted to win without cheating. Avalon cheap shot his partner for stopping him. Avalon then grabbed Marshall’s apple and took a mocking bite out of it. As Avalon turned around he was met with a pair of super kicks. The Young Bucks then hit Avalon with a Meltzer Driver for the win.
WINNERS: Young Bucks in 12:00
– Schiavone back, thanked everyone for watching, reminded viewers that Dynamite will be in Atlanta, Georgia tomorrow night and signed off.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A very skippable show that featured four straight-forward matches on this episode of Dark, none of which were that spectacular in my opinion, and absolutely nothing else. The women’s matches weren’t terrible, but weren’t anything to go out of your way to watch, the Young Bucks match featured a ton of comedy, and both tag team matches featured long drawn out times of blatant disregard for the ten second rule AEW allegedly has before a team is disqualified for not exiting the ring. Nothing was awful, I just don’t think any of it is worth going out of your way to see unless you’re a completest or a big fan of any of the wrestlers involved.
Schiavone said last week that Dasha Gonzalez would be back this week, but she wasn’t. I feel like that’s a couple of times now he’s said she would be back and she hasn’t been on the following Dark, hopefully she returns soon. Schiavone is fine on his own, but having Gonzalez to play off of, even in these brief segments, is more enjoyable than Tony on his own. One thing I’ve noticed is that Tony’s little transition segments have been much shorter in Gonzalez’s absence as well.
This is another week of Dark with no hype for Dynamite, no advancement of any storylines, or anything like that. Excalibur and Taz did talk about the Tag Team Battle Royal during both tag team matches, but that’s the only hype we got. Tomorrow night has Cody vs. Wardlow in a steel cage, Jon Moxley vs. Jeff Cobb, and Kenny Omega & Hangman Page defending their tag team titles against The Lucha Bros, but you wouldn’t know ANY of that from watching Dark. I’m baffled every single week by this and it’s just unacceptable.