4/27 AEW ROAD TO TNT CHAMPIONSHIP: Jake Roberts and Dustin preview semi-finals of Archer vs. Dustin, Darby bluntly says he’s not star-struck by facing Cody anymore

By Zach Graham, PWTorch contributor


APRIL 29, 2020

Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Chris Jericho


CATCH UP: 4/22 AEW DYNAMITE TV REPORT: Keller’s report on Dustin Rhodes putting career on the line, Kenny Omega in action, Darby vs. Guevara in TNT Title Tournament match


-They opened with Cody narrating a video with clips of his prior match against Darby Allin. He said at Fyter Fest, Darby entered as a ghost and showed the world he could hang with him for twenty minutes. Cody said he feels like he lost enough early in his career that he never wants to lose, “and a draw is a loss.” Darby whisper-talked and said he didn’t lose to Cody, he lost to Arm Anderson. He said the TNT Championship represents suits and ties, and he represents the opposite. Cody said he can’t fight for the AEW Championship, despite being the no. 1 contender. Cody said he can’t visualize anyone with that title except him. He said he eats, sleeps, breaths wrestling. “I know for sure that’s who I am.” Darby asked if you want a corporate champion, or him who is relentless. Cody said Darby is a huge part of AEW’s future, “but is he a champion?”

-They went to Schiavone and Jericho on camera. They discussed the graphic on the screen of the TNT Championship Tournament Semi-finals. Jericho said the tournament is picking up steam. Schiavone said Lance Archer vs. Dustin Rhodes is coming later, and in a just a few minutes it’s Cody vs. Darby. Schiavone wondered what Jon Moxley would say later. Jericho said, “Who cares what he has to say?” He said what counts is the third installment of the Bubbly Bunch back by popular demand. Schiavone plugged Shawn Spears in action, Jimmy Havoc & Kip Sabian (w/Orange Cassidy) vs. Best Friends, and Brodie Lee vs. Marko Stunt. Also, another update from MJF.

(1) DARBY ALLIN vs. CODY (w/Brandi Rhodes) – TNT Championship Semi-Finals

Schiavone talked about all of the punishment Darby takes. Jericho said he’s been impressed by Darby. “He’s one of the biggest stars we have, he’s risen so far in the last few months.” Jericho said this is the biggest match of Darby’s career, and in many ways the biggest of Cody’s career since he can’t compete for the World Title “ever… ever!” A couple minutes in, Cody side-stepped a charging Darby at ringside, but he then knocked over Brandi, crushing her against the ringside barricade. “He knew his wife was there!” Jericho claimed. Schiavone asked if he was sure. Jericho said he’s a despicable human being. As Brandi was carried away by someone, Cody threw Darby back into the ring and stomped on him as they cut to a break. [c]

Back live, Cody was in control. Darby took over shortly after the break, settling into a leglock mid-ring. Cody struggled to reach the bottom rope. Jericho said Darby has a knack and aptitude for the business. Cody escaped and climbed to the top rope. Darby knocked him down and hung him upside down, the hit a running back elbow to the chest. Jericho said he’s explosive in his moveset, reminding him the Great Muta, adding a little extra panache before he executes his moves. Darby went back to a knee lock, then rammed it into the mat. He headbutted Cody’s knee next. Wrestlers at ringside chanted “Cody! Cody!” Schiavone threw to another break at 13:00. [c]

Cody tried a comeback, but his knee gave out. Darby gave Cody the Crossroads for a near fall at 18:00. Jericho said that took a lot of balls and is almost like slapping Cody in the face. Jericho said he didn’t care who won at the start as long as they “kicked the crap out of each other,” but now he wants Darby to win. Darby applied a figure-four. Brandi came back out, favoring her ribs. She brought out a plastic bottle of water. Jericho wondered if there was some kind of acid in the bottle. Schiavone said she was there to support her husband. She offered Cody some water. Darby then yanked it away and hit Cody with it. Cody came back with a ripcord clothesline seconds later. Cody and Darby both went down. (Add this to the growing list of Brandi awkwardly wedging herself into the situations just to get TV time that feel awkward and forced and unnatural.) Cody gave Darby a Crossroads for a near fall a minute later. Cody went for a Coffin Drop off the middle rope, but Darby lifted his knees, then landed a Coffin Drop. Cody leveraged Darby’s shoulders back, though, and the ref counted to three.

WINNER: Cody in 20:00 to advance to the TNT Championship Tournament finals.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good match, for sure. Not great. But it told a nice story and had drama. It “protected” Darby. I hope this Brandi things serves a purpose because, man, that was completely unnecessary to the story of this match. If it’s just a way to get her on TV, it’s kind of embarrassing.) [c]

-The second part of the Scorpio Sky profile aired. He talked about how Kaz and Christopher Daniels were looking for a new partner for a while, and he jumped at it. He said it really caught fire when they did the “worst town” bit. (How about some winning made a difference?) He talked about getting an AEW World Title match against Jericho. He said he felt he was at home, right where he was supposed to be. He said he looks around and sees people just happy to be there, but he wants to be f—ing great and a legend.)

-MJF said he was able to rehab his horrible injury with his “male doctor” who is world-renowned. He said he’s never seen such a miraculous turnaround in modern medicine. He said he has now grown the strongest finger nail known to man. He said while he was shaving, though, something happened. He removed his scarf to show a neck brace. With great angst, he said he nicked his neck. He said he was so looking forward to hopping on a germ-infested plane to wrestle in front of six or seven of his peers that he (sarcastically toned) “deeply respects.” He said he will be back eventually because he is the voice brave enough to ride out the storm thundering across the horizon and the candle who is lit in a dark room. “I am the only hope this company has left,” he said. “I am Maxwell Jacob Friedman and I am better than you. And you know it.”

(Keller’s Analysis: This is a good way to keep MJF on the shows during this time of a split crew. In line with last week’s segment, but maybe a bit better despite being a sequel.)


Musa is 0-1 and lost to the Best Friends last week on AEW Dark. Musa charged at Wardlow, but he slammed him. Musa tried to come at Wardlow from various angles, but Wardlow easily overpowered him. Wardlow lifted Musa by the throat off the top rope and then kneed him in the jaw as he fell. Yikes. He followed with an airplane spin release-and-drop for the win. Jericho said he didn’t want to see Wardlow hurt this man any more.

WINNER: Wardlow in 2:00.

-The announcers hyped upcoming matches on the show. [c]

-Bubbly Bunch #3: Jericho was on a stationary bike, claiming he won the Film Flam contest last week. Sammy Guevara was roaming his backyard shirtless. They cut to Jericho’s three dogs. Santana and Ortiz and Jake Hager chimed in. They decided to fight it out. They had a virtual fight, each hitting the camera lens in various ways. The Librarian, Sunny Kiss, Jungle Boy, Jericho’s dad, Vincent (Virgil), Vickie Guerrero, and various others joined in the virtual fight. They added over-the-top sound effects. Jericho said it was one of the best Manitoba Melees ever been part of. He wondered if that was Lou Ferrigno with a taser in the video.

(Keller’s Analysis: That was the best of the bunch so far. Cool cameos and creatively executed.)

(3) JIMMY HAVOC & KIP SABIAN (w/Penelope Ford) vs. BEST FRIENDS (Trent & Chuck Taylor w/Orange Cassidy) – No DQ

Chuck and Trent threw the heel duo out of the ring, then Trent did a running flip dive onto them at ringside. Havoc threw a chair at Cassidy, hitting him in the head. Sabian attacked Trent. When Havoc was going to hit Taylor with a chair, Trent speared him. Sabian landed a flip dive onto Trent at ringside. Havoc came back and threw a chair at Chuck at ringside. There were three chairs and a ladder in the ring. Havoc tagged in. Jericho said it’s no DQ. no rules, but they’re such gentleman, they tagged in legally. Havoc catapulted Trent upward into a ladder wedged in the corner horizontally. Havoc hit Trent and then tagged Sabian back in. Havoc held two fingers in front of Trent’s face, then Sabian kicked Trent’s face into the fingers. Jericho made a “Three Stooges” reference.

Sabian set up a chair in the corner, then knocked Trent onto the chair. Havoc whipped Sabin at him, but Trent moved. Havoc hit Trent with the chair. Chuck kneed the chair into Havoc’s face. Trent and Chuck sandwiched Havoc with a chair mid-ring. Havoc raised his arms. Best Friends hugged. Then they gave Sabian a combo suplex for a two count. Chuck wedged a chair in the corner. Sabian whipped Chuck toward it, but Chuck avoided it. Sabian, though, then threw Chuck head-first into it. Trent gave Sabian a floating tornado DDT off the middle turnbuckle. Havoc broke up a cover by Trent on Sabian. Jericho said it’s become more like a tornado tag match at this point. Trent bashed Havoc across his back with a chair. Trent put Sabian on a table bridged in the corner. Havoc pulled Sabian off the ladder, then climbed the ladder and grabbed Chuck. They hit each other. Trent knocked Havoc to the mat. Havoc got up and yanked Trent off the top rope; Trent landed back-first over the ladder. Havoc set up two chairs mid-ring and slammed Trent onto the edges of them. Sabian then leaped off the top rope with a double-stomp onto Trent who was still on the ladders. Chucky broke up the double-cover.


Chuck piledrove Sabian on a chair. Ford yanked Chuck off of Sabian to stop the count. Havoc backdropped Sabian, who crashed into a ladder leaning in the corner. Cassidy returned and threw a chair at Havoc. Sabian held Cassidy as Ford ran at him with a knee, but Cassidy moved and Sabain got the knee. Ford then went to spear Cassidy, but he moved again and she speared Sabian into the ringside barricade. Cassidy leaped off the top rope onto Sabian and Ford at ringside. Chuck then gave Havoc a running piledriver onto chairs for the win.

WINNERS: Best Friends in 13:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: AEW hasn’t been overdoing it with no-rules hardcore style matches, so this felt fresh. Some of the set-ups were really contrived, but overall a solid version of a match like this.)

-After the match, Cassidy sat in a chair mid-ring. Schiavone said he’s one of the all-time great managers. Then the Best Friends posed together.

-The announcers hyped upcoming segments on the show. [c]

-They aired a video of Britt Baker giving everyone a tour of her dental office. She had a make-up artist applying make-up. She told her to make her look her absolute best. Her make-up artist was interviewed off camera. She didn’t seem to love working for Baker. Baker pulled her aside and told her to refer to her always as “Dr. Britt Baker.” She also told her that if she wants her big break, she has to do what they discussed. Her make-up artist then raved about how great it is to work with Baker, who is such a role model. Baker then presented another segment on “The Rules of Being a Role Model.” She said it was back by popular demand on social media. She said she learned early in life, not everyone can be a role model. She said if you’re not a doctor, don’t wear glasses. She showed Schiavone wearing glasses. She also said you can’t be a role model if you’re fat. She showed a picture of Schiavone altered to give him a big gut. She also said if you don’t aesthetically pleasing teeth, don’t smile because it’s uncomfortable for everyone. They showed a Schiavone smile with some crooked teeth. Baker said some were born to be a role model by showing others what not to be or how not to act.

(Keller’s Analysis: That was fun. They’re really leaning into her being a little too proud of being a dentist, and it’s working. The Baker-Schiavone ongoing bit is headed towering being a classic, too.)


Schiavone said those weren’t his teeth and he’s lost weight. He said he’s not sure what happened there, but it was doctored pictures. Black took Spears down early into a side headlock. Spears found a moment to flex his butt muscles. Schiavone accused him of twerking. Jericho disagreed and said he was flexing. Spears suplexed Black, smiled at Jericho, and stood on Black’s chest and scored a casual two count. Black came back with an uppercut and a hard chop. Spears came back with his C4 followed by a sharpshooter. Black tapped out.

WINNER: Spears in 3:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: I’m really enjoying Spears as the too-cocky and way-too-pleased with himself persona during his matches. It does make me want to see him beat up against better competition.)

-Taz narrated a video segment on Lance Archer’s big moves.

-Clips aired of Archer tossing around Marko Stunt. Then an interview aired with Marko who said he’s going to give it his all like he always does. He said he can take more than Archer gave him last time.


Jericho said, “I didn’t like Marko Stunt when I first met him because of his size.” He said Marko has earned his respect, but he still can’t stand him. Archer then made his entrance. Brodie brushed aside Marko’s early charges, then gave him a big boot as he ran the ropes. He beat up Marko at ringside, then stood in the ring frozen with his arms extended as the ref nearly counted Marko out. Brodie didn’t react to Marko returning to the ring to beat the ten count, but instead just went back at him. He landed a sudden turning one-arm slam. He followed with a sitout powerbomb for the win.

WINNER: Brodie Lee in 3:00.

-A video aired with Jon Moxley. He was said it was only eight weeks ago he was celebrating winning the AEW Title in a sea of fans. “It seems like a lifetime ago,” he said. He said now fans are watching them safely at home, and they thank them for that. He said one day they will all be together again, and he’ll be bleeding and swearing in a sea of fans once again. He said now it’s a good time to reflect on things you’re thankful for. He said he’s thankful for his wife “because it takes a hell of a woman to be stuck in a house with me for weeks on end.” He said he’s thankful for steel chairs. He said he’s thankful AEW is live next week. He said he’ll be live at AEW Dynamite next week. He said he’s loading his dogs and some Metalica CDs into the car and driving to Dynamite. He said he has a big target on his back with Double or Nothing coming up. He told everyone to remember that when you step up to the World Champion, you do at your own risk. He encouraged everyone to be a good neighbor and support local businesses by ordering take-out. “And don’t forget to call your grandmother!” he yelled to end the segment.

(Keller’s Analysis: Great segment. That’s Moxley being a leader and being uncompromised vintage Moxley. The last line was tremendous. It’s good advice, too.) [c]

-The announcers hyped next week’s show: MJF returns, Kazarian vs. Jon Moxley, and Kenny Omega & Matt Hardy vs. Le Sex Gods (Jericho & Guevara) in a street fight.

(6) DUSTIN RHODES (w/Brandi Rhodes) vs. LANCE ARCHER

Archer made his ring entrance, and he beat up some stagehand on his way to the ring. Dustin came out second with Brandi. Dustin ducked Archer, who tumbled to the floor. Then he flip dove off the ring apron onto Archer at ringside. They brawled at ringside. Dustin picked up a chair, but Archer kicked it into Dustin’s face. They cut to the first break with Archer in control and Dustin bleeding from his forehead. [c]

Archer methodically controlled Dustin for another five minutes, then they cut to another break. [c]

Archer had Dustin down on the mat with an armbar. Dustin stood and began to punch himself free. Dustin landed a Code Red to drop Archer. Both were slow to get up. Dustin rallied the babyface wrestlers at ringside. Dustin rallied, but Archer came back with a chokeslam attempt. Dustin slipped out and landed a Crossroads. Archer kicked out at one. Jericho and Schiavone sold the surprise of the one count kickout. Jericho said he kicked out at “point-zero-eight.” I think he meant “zero-point-eight.” Archer came back with a chokeslam seconds later for a near fall. Archer grabbed Dustin’s arm and walked the top rope, then springboard moonsaulted Dustin for a near fall. Schiavone said he can’t believe what he just saw. Jericho said he’s unstoppable. Jericho said he needs to talk to Jake Roberts about getting Archer in the Inner Circle or else he’ll have to kneecap him because he can’t him dominating like this outside of his circle. Archer chokeslammed Dustin for a two count; Dustin leveraged Archer’s shoulders down for a two count. Archer rammed Dustin’s head into an exposed turnbuckle in the corner. They showed a close-up of Dustin bleeding from his forehead. Q.T. Marshall had a towel and was considering throwing in the towel. Cody intervened and took the towel away. Archer then dragged Dustin into the ring. Jericho said he should have thrown in the towel. Archer rammed Dustin’s head into the mat, put in a claw, and scored a three count.

WINNER: Archer to advance to the TNT Championship Tournament finals.

(Keller’s Analysis: Solid match. It was a balance between making Dustin look competitive and also making Archer seem unstoppable. I think they achieved that with the type of beatdown Archer delivered by the end.)

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