3/31 AEW DARK TV REPORT: Cody and Schiavone reveal half of the brackets for TNT Title tournament, plus Moxley, Guevara, Spears, Darby all in action

By Zach Graham, PWTorch contributor



SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

AEW DARK TV REPORT
MARCH 31, 2020
TAPED 3/25 IN JACKSONVILLE, FLA.
AIRED LIVE ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY ZACH GRAHAM, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Cody Rhodes

Ring Announcer: Dasha Gonzalez

– Tony Schiavone and Cody shown standing next to each other. Schiavone introduced Cody and the two touched elbows (they’re not touching hands, but also not abiding to the social distancing standard of being 6 feet apart, so what’s the point?). Schiavon then announced the first half of the AEW TNT Championship Tournament bracket which will be Shawn Spears vs. Cody and Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin. The winners of those two matches will move on to face each other in the semi-final. The other half of the bracket will be revealed on AEW Dynamite tomorrow, April 1. Cody slipped in a comment that he and Schiavone will be the announce team tomorrow night as well to reveal the bracket.

– Schiavone then transitioned to tonight’s AEW Dark matches including Jon Moxley vs. Faboo Andre as well as Shawn Spears, Darby Allin, and Sammy Guevara all in action.

– Before the match, Cody described Guevara as a “freshman on the varsity squad” indicating that he is a building block and the future of AEW.

(1) SAMMY GUEVARA vs. MATT SELLS

Guevara quickly grounded Sells before letting him go. Sells ran the ropes and was taken down again by Guevara who continued to show off after each successful takedown. Guevara then climbed to the top rope for a move, but immediately hopped down and slapped Sells. Guevara took too long showing off after the slap, which allowed Sells to recover. Sells took Guevara down, applied a leg lock around Guevara’s head and slammed his head into the mat repeatedly followed by a sliding knee for a one count. Guevara regained control after a spinning back kick for a one count. Guevara then hit Sells with a cutter for a two count, but pulled Sells’ shoulders up before the three count. Guevara picked up Sells and held him in the air before dropping him. Guevara put a foot on his chest and flexed for the cover, but Sells kicked out.

Sells attempted to make a comeback, but Guevara stopped the attack. Guevara picked Sells up in a fireman’s carry and did a couple of squats with Sells on his back. Sells escaped and hit Guevara with a neck breaker for a two count. Guevara quickly hit a running knee to regain control. Guevara then picked up Sells and hit him with a combination of a burning hammer and a Go to Sleep knee for the three count.

WINNER: Sammy Guevara in 5:00

– Guevara grabbed a microphone and said hello to everyone watching around the world. He said nobody in the back can do what he does. Also nobody watching at home can do what he does because he is unstoppable. He said everything he does, he’s the best at and he’s a part of the Inner Circle because he is the best ever. Guevara then challenged the locker room to test him.

(2) SHAWN SPEARS vs. SHAWN DEAN

The two locked up to start the match with Spears powering Dean into the corner very quickly. Spears then broke the hold and the two locked up again and Spears took control of the arm.

During the opening moments of the match, Cody talked about his rivalry with Spears saying that he was in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) for 11 months while Spears was there for almost a decade before being called up to television, which is where the animosity comes from.

Spears took down Dean and mocked him before the two exchanged waste locks. Spears took down Dean again before doing a cartwheel and, instead of flicking the ten fingers at Dean, he flipped him off then talked directly into a camera. Dean took advantage of Spears playing to the camera and momentarily got in some offense before being taken down by a clothesline while running the ropes. Spears backed Dean into a corner and hit him with a series of chops and kicks then shoved his boot in the face of Dean until the referee stopped him. Spears then hit Dean with a running Death Valley Driver for the win.

WINNER: Shawn Spears in 4:00

(3) DARBY ALLIN vs. PRESTON VANCE

Vance grabbed Allin as he was standing on the ropes and suplexed him before the bell rang. Referee Aubrey Edwards rang the bell right as this happened. Vance then grabbed Allin again and threw him into the corner. Allin tried to roll outside, but Vance followed and rammed Darby into the ringside fence and the ring apron. Allin finally managed to get his coat off as Vance continued the assault on the outside. Vance tried for a suplex, but Allin landed on his feet. Vance charged, but Darby avoided the attack and Vance went shoulder first into the ring post. Vance then rolled back into the ring, Darby climbed to the top rope and dove onto Vance, but was caught by Vance who slammed him to the mat for a one count.

Darby got up and slapped Vance, who responded with a pump kick directly to the face of Allin. Vance then hit Allin with a series of chops and running elbows in the corner until Allin finally dodged a running elbow. Vance fell out of the ring and Darby immediately ran and dove onto Vance on the outside and the two went crashing into the ringside fencing. Allin quickly threw Vance back in, hit him with a lionsault, but only scored a two count. Vance then hit Darby with a pair of cutters for near falls before picking up Darby off the ground into a vertical suplex position. Darby grabbed Vance’s left hand, which is apparently injured, in order to get back to his feet. Darby hit Vance with a stunner, then quickly climbed to the top rope and hit a coffin drop for the win.

WINNER: Darby Allin in 6:00

– Moxley made his ring entrance through the bleachers, but was shown running a camera and on headset, before taking it off to make his way to the ring.

(4) JON MOXLEY vs. FABOO ANDRE

Moxley quickly powered Andre into a corner and punched away for a second before backing up. Moxley picked up Andre for a vertical suplex, but Andre countered out and took down Moxley for a second. Moxley threw Andre into the ropes and bent over, but Andre stopped his momentum and kicked Moxley in the chest. Moxley immediately turned around and clotheslined Andre. Moxley then hit a Gotch pile driver, then locked on a STF submission for the very quick tap out.

WINNER: Jon Moxley in just over 1:00

– After the match, Jake Hager attacked Moxley, he locked on the arm triangle, slammed Moxley to the mat while still having the chokehold locked on. Hager kept the hold on until Moxley passed out. Hager slapped Moxley for good measure as he stood up and left the ring. (Graham’s Thoughts: The camera caught a referee just standing there watching this attack from the outside while Cody and Schiavone just sat at the commentary table hoping someone came out to help, really didn’t like that part of this at all.)

– Schiavone and Cody shown back in studio reacting to Moxley and Hager’s interaction, saying that Hager is very dangerous. Schiavone then reminded viewers that the other half of the new AEW TNT Championship Tournament bracket would be unveiled. Also, Jon Moxley will be on Dynamite to make a statement.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I have lots of quick fire thoughts on this episode of AEW Dark.

– This was a very quick show clocking in at 32:48 and featured four squash matches and half of the bracket revealed. It’s skippable, but it’s a good show, especially if you’re bored and stuck at home quarantined with nothing else to do.

-I was glad that Tully wasn’t with Shawn Spears this week; there’s no point in having him travel for a squash match.

-This show was all squash matches to help build up the known contenders for the new TNT Championship tournament, which isn’t a bad thing. It was good to attempt to build up the people partaking in the tournament this week, but one win doesn’t do all that much this late in the game. In 2020 Cody is 4-1, Sammy Guevara is 3-6, Shawn Spears is 0-6, and Darby Allin is 3-4. Kind of seems like the EVP is stacking his side of the bracket, no? Also, if this secondary championship is going to be for mid-card guys with these subpar records, why is Cody in it? I know he can’t go for the top title, but he’s ranked third as of last week’s AEW Rankings. You would think he’s above this mid-card title, right? Maybe another big name will be put on the other side of the bracket, but so far, Cody seems out of place in this tournament based on the names available at this time.

-I’m extremely tired of people attacking their opponent before the bell and referees just rolling with it. It’s irritating and irrational. I feel like every couple of weeks this happens and officials just go with it and it makes no sense. A clear advantage was gained and, instead of waiting to make sure the attack victim is still okay to compete, they ring the bell. What logic is there behind that? It’s not a big thing, but it makes no sense and is very easily fixable.

-I don’t like that the announcers all talk about Darby Allin liking pain; it’s just weird and undermines the abuse he puts himself through. Mick Foley talked about hating this as well because it undermined what he was doing as well, and his specific gripe expressed to Wade Keller in a “Torch Talk” back in the 1990s was with Tony Schiavone saying it on WCW Saturday Night. Is Darby Allin’s gimmick that he’s a masochist? I don’t think so. I thought he was just someone who fought through pain to endure, not that he liked it. Again, it isn’t major, but I think acting as if he enjoys being hurt is weird and not helpful.


CATCH UP… 3/24 AEW DARK TV REPORT: Shawn Spears & Robert Anthony vs. SCU, Cabana vs. Brandon Cutler, Janela & Kiss vs. Hollis & Reed, Hager vs. Alonzo, Natural Nightmares

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