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 25, 2020
TAPED 2/19 IN ATLANTA, GA.
AIRED LIVE ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY ZACH GRAHAM, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Excalibur, Taz
Host: Tony Schiavone, Dasha Gonzalez
– Excalibur and Taz shown at the commentary table and immediately previewed the lineup for Dark including Dark Order vs. Stronghearts, Kip Sabian vs. Joey Janela in a Falls Count Anywhere match, Shawn Spears & Peter Avalon vs. QT Marshall & Dustin Rhodes, and Jimmy Havoc vs. Marko Stunt
(1) JIMMY HAVOC vs. MARKO STUNT (w/ Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy)
Havoc started the match charging at Stunt, but Stunt was quick to avoid the attack and took advantage hitting a pair of dives to the outside of the ring onto Havoc followed by a diving swinging DDT onto the floor. Stunt went for a Hurricanrana, but was caught by Havoc who quickly took control. Luther and Mel then walked out onto the stage, Havoc looked their direction momentarily, but turned his attention back to Stunt. Havoc slowed the pace down dramatically, strategically targeting Stunt’s neck with brain busters, DDTs, and more, but Stunt kicked out of all pin attempts. Luther and Mel must have just went back to the back at this point because they weren’t shown again. They weren’t seen on any camera angles that caught the stage either, so it appears they stayed out there for a few seconds then went backstage again.
Havoc continued to dominate, but Stunt continued kicking out of pin attempts while Havoc appeared to be growing more and more frustrated. Stunt hit a super kick on Havoc and attempted to mount a comeback. Stunt was able to start his quick attack offense again and Havoc escaped to the outside. Stunt tried another dive outside of the ring, but Havoc avoided it. Havoc threw Stunt back in the ring, hit him with an Acid Rainmaker clothesline and picked up the win.
WINNER: Jimmy Havoc in 7:00
– A commercial aired for ShopAEW.com
– Tony Schiavone and Dasha Gonzalez were shown standing in the empty arena and Tony welcomed Dasha back. Schiavone mentioned that Stronghearts were taking on Dark Order next, Gonzalez said she is dying to know who the exalted one is. Schiavone then threw back to Excalibur and Taz.
– As Dark Order made their ring entrance, Excalibur talked about Dark Order offering Cima a Dark Order mask. He said that Cima responded on AEW Twitter with an emphatic rejection of their offer.
(2) DARK ORDER vs. STRONGHEARTS (Cima & T-Hawk)
Evil Uno and T-Hawk started the match. Evil Uno quickly knocked T-Hawk down, but T-Hawk responded with a chop to the chest. Evil Uno went for a chop of his own, but T-Hawk covered his chest, so Evil Uno poked him in the eye and tagged in Stu Grayson. T-Hawk quickly tagged in Cima and the two teamed up to take down Grayson momentarily. Dark Order quickly isolated T-Hawk with a series of quick tags and multiple pinning attempts that T-Hawk kicked out of. T-Hawk finally found an opening as Grayson went for a tackle, but was swatted out of the air by T-Hawk. Cima and Evil Uno tagged in and Cima quickly took control of both members of Dark Order. Evil Uno went for a top rope move, but T-Hawk hit him with a chop to the chest that dropped him to the floor. Grayson and Evil Uno regrouped on the outside, but Cima and T-Hawk were quick to hit them with stereo dives over the top rope.
Cima and Evil Uno back in the ring, Cima hit him with a missile dropkick, followed by a pile driver for a two count. T-Hawk tagged in, but Evil Uno managed to overpower them both before successfully tagging in Grayson. Grayson entered the ring, jumped up on the top turnbuckle, then grabbed Cima’s head and hit him with a DDT on the apron as Grayson fell down to the floor. Grayson and Uno hit T-Hawk with a power bomb in the ring, but he kicked out. Dark Order then teamed up and hit T-Hawk with the Fatality for the win.
WINNER: Dark Order in 8:00
– Schiavone and Gonzalez back and Schiavone praised the potential of Stronghearts if they can start wrestling full time in AEW. The two then previewed the upcoming AEW Dynamite tapings.
(3) KIP SABIAN (w/ Penelope Ford) vs. JOEY JANELA
As Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford made their ring entrance, Joey Janela snuck out onto the stage and hit Sabian with a low blow. As Sabian stood there, the bell inexplicably rang and Janela rolled Sabian up. Referee Rick Knox slid into camera and made a two count, but Ford shoved Janela off before the three count. Ford used the staging to arm drag Janela right into a super kick by Sabian. Sabian then picked up Janela and spun him around on his shoulders, but knocked Ford down. Sabian immediately put Janela down to check on Ford. Janela took that opportunity to hit Sabian in the back and Sabian then rolled down the ramp. The two then brawled into the crowd by the stage with Janela in control. Out of nowhere, Penelope Ford dove off the stage and hit Janela with a cross body. Sabian was in control for a moment, but Janela quickly hit him with a super kick. Penelope Ford attempted to interfere with a cartwheel elbow, but Janela moved out of the way.
The two finally made it into the ring and Sabian locked in a submission attempt. Penelope Ford was shown walking to ringside grimacing and holding her elbow. Janela escaped the hold by rolling out of the ring with Sabian still holding on. Janela then grabbed Sabian and went to go back into the crowd. Sabian then crawled along the front row, but was hit with a knee by Janela when he stood back up. Janela then took Sabian and went into the bleachers, he grabbed a bottle of water and hit Sabian with it, then threw him back into the ringside area. Sabian found a chair under the ring and as Janela jumped over the fence, Sabian threw the chair and hit Janela in the face. Janela avoided a dropkick attempt by Sabian then grabbed a fan’s prosthetic leg and hit Sabian in the head with it before handing it back to the fan.
Janela walked to the other side of the ring and grabbed a table. Penelope Ford tried to stop him from setting up the table, but didn’t do much but get in the way for a second. Sabian then put Janela through the table with a swinging neck breaker that had Janela draped over the top rope, while Sabian stood on the table. Janela kicked out at two. Ford and Sabian then set up two more tables side by side on the floor. Sabian tried to suplex Janela over the top rope through the tables, but Janela blocked it. Ford interfered again to stop Janela from knocking Sabian through the table. Ford went for a cross body, but Janela rolled through. Janela then ran at Sabian while hold Ford and threw her onto Sabian. The two fell backwards onto the tables, but neither table broke and the two crashed to the floor (That looked really, really bad. Luckily they both appeared okay.) Janela tried to stand a table up, but the legs were broken, so he instead grabbed a kendo stick from under the ring, hit Sabian in the side of the head with it and promptly pinned him for the win.
WINNER: Joey Janela in 12:00
– Excalibur and Taz then talked about the main event match.
– An unnamed correspondent (QT Marshall called him Justin) was shown backstage interviewing “two members of the Nightmare Family” Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall who are teaming up for the first time. Marshall talked about how excited he was to team up with a legend. Dustin said they have a special weapon for tonight and mentioned that their opponents have Tully Blanchard and Leva Bates. Dustin then said they better watch out and they both walked off.
– Before the match officially began, Tully seemed very upset with Brandi being in Dustin and QT’s corner. He argued with the official momentarily, then took a step towards Brandi like he was going to go after her, but Dustin quickly stepped in front of him.
(4) SHAWN SPEARS & PETER AVALON (w/Tully Blanchard, Leva Bates) vs. DUSTIN RHODES & QT MARSHALL (w/Brandi Rhodes)
Marshall and Avalon started the match exchanging holds. Avalon took Marshall down quickly and mockingly shushed Marshall. Marshall chopped him and quickly tagged in Rhodes. Avalon quickly scurried to Spears, who yelled at Avalon for touching him, then he tagged in. Excalibur and Taz talked about Spears hitting Cody in the head with a chair months ago. Spears countered a Dustin Rhodes move by cartwheeling out. Spears went to flick the ten fingers at Dustin, but stopped before he did it. Spears then mocked Dustin with the old Goldust breathe in move and Dustin blew in his face, startling Spears.
Spears pretended to have an injury and got the official to look, but it was all an act to lure in Rhodes. Spears then climbed the top rope to hit him with punches, but didn’t because the crowd started chanting “Ten.” Dustin countered and punched away at Spears in the corner instead. QT Marshall and Avalon both tagged back in, Avalon charged at Marshall, but Marshall hit him with a big chop to the chest. Marshall went to run the ropes, but saw Spears was there to interfere. Marshall knocked Spears down, then turned back to Avalon, only to have Leva grab his heel, which allowed Avalon to throw him to the floor. Brandi walked over upset, but was cut off by Tully Blanchard, while the official tried to keep Dustin Rhodes in his corner. Spears quickly tagged back in and attacked Marshall on the outside. Avalon and Spears then isolated Marshall. Spears stopped momentarily, grabbed a bottle of water and took a drink. Spears then spit the water into Marshall’s face. QT Marshall took advantage of Spears’ hijinks to recover, hit him with a kick, then reached Dustin to tag him in. Rhodes took out Spears and Avalon hitting them both with scoop slams to a loud cheer. Dustin put Avalon in the corner for a move, but Spears tagged in while Dustin played to the crowd and promptly hit him with a spine buster.
Rhodes took Spears to the top rope for a move, but took a second to try and get the crowd to cheer, during that distraction, Leva Bates handed Spears a book. Spears then hit Rhodes in the head with the book then hit Rhodes with a Frog Splash for a two count. Spears lifted Rhodes onto his shoulders, but Avalon blind tagged in. Spears put Rhodes down and yelled at Avalon who shoved Spears out of the way and walked towards Rhodes. Spears didn’t appreciate that and punched Avalon in the face before waiving to Blanchard that he was leaving. Dustin hit Avalon with a right hand, then put him in the corner. Dustin tried to get the crowd to cheer again, but Leva grabbed his ankle to stop him from going after Avalon. Rhodes then dragged his leg to the middle of the ring, with Leva Bates still clinging on. Brandi entered the ring, took off her jacket and earrings, then hit Bates with a spear. Dustin then pinned Avalon for the win.
WINNERS: Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall in 12:00
– Schiavone and Gonzalez back, reminded viewers about Dynamite tomorrow night, then talked once again about the “I Love AEW” shirts currently on sale with 20% of profits going to the American Heart Association. Gonzalez then encouraged fans to share pictures of the shirts on social media.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Different week, same problems. No hype for Dynamite at all. I have nothing else to add to this, I’ve already harped on about it, but I’ll continue pointing it out because it’s inexcusable.
That Janela Sabian match was rough in my opinion. Penelope Ford gets involved too much, it becomes annoying, which may be the point. Also, the finishing sequence looked really bad and unsafe. Janela throwing Penelope Ford over the top rope onto Sabian, who can’t really catch her while he’s falling backwards blind into two tables is alarming enough, but then the tables didn’t break so the two hit the floor hard. Then, since that was probably the ending sequence that got messed up, Janela improvises and just tees off on the head of Sabian with a kendo stick. It was just a brutal finish.
QT Marshall now being considered a member of the Nightmare Family is new, but they played it off as if that’s been known forever. Also, Brandi coming out with Dustin and QT was kind of strange. Dustin teased a secret weapon, then Brandi just walked out behind them unceremoniously, which was weird given Dustin’s comment just a moment earlier.
Overall, Dark is a show that, if you crave more wrestling, you’ll enjoy, but I don’t think it’s a show anyone should go out of their way to make sure they see. This is starting to concern me when it comes to AEW’s second television show that’s eventually coming. If it’s going to be in this format, I’m nervous. I’m not ready to say it’s going to be bad or anything like that, but I’m willing to say I’m concerned if that second show is just going to be AEW Dark on a television channel instead of YouTube.