5/26 AEW DARK TV REPORT: Natural Nightmares vs. Dark Order, Nakazawa vs. Brandon Cutler, Jungle Boy vs. Peter Avalon, plus Janela, Kiss, Havoc, Sabian Wardlow, Cabana, Best Friends, Penelope

By Zach Graham, PWTorch contributor



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

AEW DARK TV REPORT
MAY 26, 2020
AIRED LIVE ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY ZACH GRAHAM, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Commentators: Excalibur, Taz

Ring Announcer: Dasha Gonzalez

– The beginning of Brian Cage’s ring entrance played including Taz saying “who can stop the path of Cage?” Taz told Excalibur, before Dark gets started, he wanted to let him and the audience know that he will not be getting into any specifics about the business relationship he has with “The Machine” Brian Cage or his victory in the Casino Ladder match. Taz then said let’s get to Dark.

– Excalibur welcomed viewers to another super-sized edition of AEW Dark. He introduced Taz and noted that every division of AEW will be represented on Dark tonight then threw it to Dasha Gonzalez to introduce the first match of the evening.

(1) NATURAL NIGHTMARES (w/Brandi Rhodes) vs. DARK ORDER (Alex Reynolds & John Silver)

Reynolds and Marshall started the match, but Dustin quickly tagged in and grounded Reynolds. Seemingly out of nowhere, Marshall stopped to look into the crowd where Allie was walking down the steps holding an apple. She took a bite of the apple, and stayed in the stands. Marshall took Reynolds down again then exited the ring and started walking slowly towards Allie. Brandi Rhodes stopped him to refocus Marshall on the match. Reynolds managed to crawl over to John Silver who leaped off the apron and took down Marshall with a flying elbow.

Silver sprinted the ropes and hit Marshall with a huge uppercut, but only scored a one count. Reynolds and Silver isolated Marshall momentarily until Marshall escaped Alex Reynolds who was pushing him back away from Rhodes. Rhodes tagged in and took down Reynolds with a pair of clotheslines and a running bulldog. Silver entered at that point to interfere, but was taken down with a scoop power slam. Marshall tagged in as Rhodes ran the ropes. Rhodes hit a Canadian destroyer followed by a diamond cutter by Marshall for the win.

WINNER: Natural Nightmares in 5:00

– Allie smiled, blew Marshall a kiss, and left through the crowd as Marshall stared at her walking off.

(2) MICHAEL NAKAZAWA vs. BRANDON CUTLER

Cutler quickly locked in a waste lock and Nakazawa pulled out a bottle of oil to slip free. The official grabbed the bottle from him and threw it into the empty bleachers. Cutler released the hold as Nakazawa pulled out a backup bottle of oil and he threw that into the bleachers as well. Nakazawa then rolled up Cutler from behind trying to get a quick victory, but Cutler kicked out at two. Nakazawa tried a pair of quick covers, but Cutler kicked out each time. Nakazawa and Cutler traded near falls for a moment until Nakazawa kicked Cutler then reached into his trunks for his bottle of oil seemingly forgetting that both bottles were discarded. Cutler suplexed Nakazawa, but only scored another near fall. Taz and Excalibur laughed as they guessed at what else Nakazawa may be hiding in his trunks, Taz guessed he may have a loaf of bread in there. They realized that Nakazawa actually ripped the top layer of his trunks from stretching them while looking for the oil bottle a moment ago, which Taz and Excalibur laughed about.

Cutler and Nakazawa exchanged chops in the corner and at some point in this exchange, Cutler had his head cut open. Cutler hit Nakazawa with a cannonball senton, then picked him up in the torture rack and threw him over the top rope onto the stage. Cutler scoop slammed Nakazawa on the stage and entered the ring to hit Nakazawa with a diving elbow drop onto the stage across Nakazawa’s back. Cutler and Nakazawa were on the outside as the official continued his count. Cutler went to slam Nakazawa on the floor as the official counted eight. Nakazawa slipped out and shoved Cutler into the ringside barricade and slid into the ring as the official counted ten for the count out victory.

WINNER: Michael Nakazawa in 6:00

– Cutler was in shock as Excalibur said this was the first count out victory in AEW history. Taz said Cutler may have a legitimate complaint as he appeared to be entering the ring as the official counted ten. Excalibur said that may be true, but all referee decisions are final. Taz said the first disqualification happened during the iron man match between Pac and Kenny Omega and now this, the first count out.

Peter Avalon and Leva Bates walked out and laughed at Cutler for losing. Avalon told Cutler that he sucks as he entered the ring. Avalon said he’s the worst wrestler in AEW. Cutler took the mic from Avalon and said he’s afraid that he will get a win before Avalon making him the worst wrestler in AEW. Avalon told Cutler to get out of the ring because he has a match now. Cutler then walked over to join commentary for this match.

(3) JUNGLE BOY (w/Luchasaurus & Marko Stunt) vs. PETER AVALON (w/ Leva Bates)

Avalon and Jungle Boy exchanged arm holds to start the match until Avalon hit him with a closed right fist to break the hold. Jungle Boy bounced off the ropes and hit him with an arm drag. Avalon left the ring and Avalon stepped out of the way as Jungle Boy ran the ropes for a possible dive. Avalon turned around and fell down as he walked into the chest of Luchasaurus. Marko Stunt started dancing behind Avalon after he fell, so Avalon shoved him, which led to Jungle Boy and Avalon shoving each other. Leva separated the two of them, but Avalon took advantage by throwing Jungle Boy into the post.

Avalon threw Jungle Boy back into the ring and controlled him momentarily until he went for a splash in the corner that Jungle Boy turned into a pair of near fall roll up attempts. The announcers were selling the fact that Jungle Boy was rocked by hitting the post head first. Avalon took a second to yell at Marko and Luchasaurus, which Jungle Boy took advantage of. Avalon went for a moonsault, but missed wildly. Jungle Boy hit Avalon with a series of elbows and a big clothesline off the ropes. Jungle Boy jumped off the middle rope and hit Avalon with a spinning springboard DDT off the middle rope for a two count. Excalibur praised the move saying that’s something Rey Fenix would do bouncing off the ropes the way Jungle Boy just did. Avalon hit Jungle Boy with a pair of knees to the back for a two count. Avalon got frustrated and asked Bates for a book. Before he could grab it Jungle Boy rolled him up for a two count. Luchasaurus walked over and put Bates on his shoulders taking her off the ring apron. Marko got on the apron and kissed Bates. Cutler asked if that was Marko’s first kiss and laughed. Jungle Boy locked in a submission hold Excalibur called the SGS, which looked like a figure four leg lock and a cross face combination, for the win.

WINNER: Jungle Boy in 8:00

(4) CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. SERPENTICO

Daniels grounded Serpentico and applied a headlock early. The two exchanged holds for a minute until Serpentico threw Daniels into the ropes. Daniels hit a deep arm drag and grounded Serpentico again. Serpentico fought back with a jumping knee strike, but Daniels responded with a leg lariat and a back body drop on Serpentico. Serpentico fought back and hit Daniels with a foot stomp for a two count. Daniels hit Serpentico with some punches and a tilt a whirl back breaker before hitting the best moonsault ever for the win.

WINNER: Christopher Daniels in 4:00

– Taz praised Daniels saying he never ages and he marveled at the moonsault Daniels hit for the win. Excalibur noted that he looked extra intense during that match and he may have found some new energy.

(5) JOEY JANELA & SONNY KISS vs. JOHN SKYLER & BRADY PIERCE

Kiss and Pierce started the match as Taz and Excalibur talked about Janela’s wild hairdo and the bandana he attempted to take off that didn’t exit his hair. Taz said Janela needs to use some conditioner and Excalibur pointed out that it’s very humid in Jacksonville as he laughed at his own joke. Pierce quickly powered Kiss into the corner, but Kiss hit him with a big right hand then a running boot to the face and landed in the splits. Janela tagged in still wearing his sunglasses and his bandana still tangled in his hair. Kiss tagged back in and hit a round off handspring into an axe kick on Pierce in the corner, but he kicked out at one on the following pin attempt by Kiss.

Skyler blind tagged in and hit a springboard spear on Janela. Pierce and Skyler isolated Janela. Pierce hit a running boot to Janela in the corner, but went for a moonsault that missed by a long shot. Janela took advantage to tag Kiss back in, Pierce also tagged Skyler in. Kiss hit an elevated leg drop. But Pierce interfered to prevent the pin. Janela tagged back in and Kiss held open the top and middle ropes as Janela dove onto Pierce at ringside through Kiss’ legs. Janela hit an elbow drop on Pierce for the win.

(Graham’s Thoughts: Even in a short match, I thought Skyler and Pierce looked very good. Pierce looked especially good, though he did more in this match than Skyler. Hopefully we see more of these guys, even if it’s in enhancement matches.)

WINNERS: Joey Janela & Sonny Kiss in 5:00

(6) JIMMY HAVOC & KIP SABIAN (w/ Penelope Ford) vs. TONY DONATI & FABOO ANDRE

As the bell rang, Havoc charged at Donati and Andre. Donati rolled out of the ring, which technically means Andre started the match. Havoc threw Andre into the corner then bit him on the face before tagging Sabian. Sabian took a second to talk to Havoc, but was met with a dropkick by Andre which sent him back into the corner with Havoc, so Havoc immediately tagged back in. Andre hit Havoc with a cross body, but Havoc kicked out before the official could even think about getting into position for a cover. Sabian went over to taunt Donati causing Donati to enter the ring, which distracted the official long enough for Havoc in interfere and choke Andre who was still in their corner. Havoc tagged back in and bit Havoc on the forehead again then threw him out of the ring. Havoc started talking to the official, which allowed Penelope Ford to just punch away and Andre who was laying on the floor at ringside.

Havoc and Sabian isolated Andre for another minute. Sabian kicked Andre across the chest and acted as if he were kicking a field goal. He and Havoc turned to Rick Knox, who was officiating, to see if the kick was good and Knox waved it off as if he missed wide right. Havoc then put his fingers an inch from Andre’s eye and Sabian kicked Andre in the back, which forced Andre to essentially poke himself in the eye. Andre eventually tagged in Donati for the first time after jumping over Sabian who was trying to keep him away from his corner. Donati and Sabian exchanged blows and Havoc attempted to interfere. Donati pressed him up over the top rope and Havoc slipped on the apron and fell to the floor. Donati hit a hammerlock style suplex. Donati went to tag in Andre, but Havoc knocked him off the apron. Havoc tagged back in and hit a running Death Valley driver. Sabian then drop kicked Donati, who Havoc was holding upside down, as Havoc hit him with a Michinoku Driver for the pin fall victory.

(Graham’s Thoughts: Why is Jimmy Havoc still out here biting people? Seriously? His gimmick isn’t a vampire, that’s totally unnecessary and given what we know about COVID, it’s an idiotic thing to keep doing. Havoc also appeared to cut Andre on the forehead with his teeth, which only makes this more idiotic and unnerving. Please stop doing this. Please.)

WINNERS: Jimmy Havoc & Kip Sabian in 6:00

(7) WARDLOW (w/ MJF) vs. GRIM

Taz scolded Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Jim Ross for the mean things they say about MJF on Dynamite. Excalibur tried to defend it saying Taz doesn’t know MJF like he does, but Taz disagreed. As the match began, MJF was standing on the stage playing on his phone.

Wardlow immediately walked over to Grim, picked him up, and slammed him to the mat. Wardlow taunted Grim, who hit him with a punch to the stomach, but that just made Wardlow angry. Wardlow powered him back into the corner and stomped away at Grim. Grim tried fighting back again, but missed and Wardlow powered him into the corner again. Wardlow tried to spear Grim in the corner, but Grim moved and Wardlow went shoulder first into the post. Grim hit Wardlow with a splash in the corner, but Wardlow shoved him off. Wardlow threw Grim into another corner, but Grim jumped onto the second rope. Wardlow caught him off the second rope and suplexed him over his head. MJF signaled to Wardlow to wrap it up. MJF took a set on the stage steps and Wardlow picked Grim up for the F10. Grim escaped, but Wardlow speared him in the corner then picked him up to onto the top rope. Grim fell forward off the top rope into a knee strike by Wardlow and the official called for the bell for a knockout victory for Wardlow

WINNER: Wardlow in 3:00

– After the match MJF encouraged Wardlow to go ahead and hit the F10, so Wardlow picked Grim up and hit an F10. Grim landed very awkwardly on his knee.

(Graham’s Thoughts: The F10 is impressive, but Wardlow probably shouldn’t do it on bigger guys like Grim because the landing looks super dangerous. Smaller guys get the rotation and can land fairly gracefully, but Wardlow isn’t able to get heavier guys to rotate so the landing is rough and I cringe every time thinking that someone could destroy their knee with the awkward landing.)

– Excalibur made the comment that Johnson has a lot of potential as he made his entrance. As Cabana made his entrance, Taz complained about that saying. Taz said if someone has potential it’s like saying they’re not good enough yet and if that’s the case, why are they in AEW right now? Taz said Johnson is 0-7, but he has a great future ahead of him. Excalibur said that he’s just saying that Johnson has the tools to pull off a potential upset against someone like Cabana. Excalibur also clarified that Johnson is only 22 and only been wrestling for 2 years.

(8) COLT CABANA vs. LEE JOHNSON

Johnson and Cabana shook hands to start the match and the two exchanged wrist holds. Johnson locked on a waste hold, but Cabana smiled and hooked his ankle behind Johnson to knock him down. Taz scolded Cabana for always knowing where the camera is and told him he just needs to wrestle his match and stop worrying about the cameras. Cabana rolled Johnson into a crucifix pin then rolled him over again after Johnson kicked out. Cabana extended his foot, Johnson accepted, and Cabana immediately small packaged Johnson for another two count. Johnson went for a chop on Cabana, but Cabana ducked then hit Johnson with a chop that immediately dropped him to the mat. Cabana punched away at Johnson, then hit him with an elbow. Johnson dropped to the mat and Cabana locked in a modified Boston Crab submission for the win as he smiled and gave a thumbs up to the camera.

WINNER: Colt Cabana in 4:00

(9) PENELOPE FORD (w/ Kip Sabian) vs. KILYNN KING

As the bell rang, Penelope raised her hand for a pause, she slowly took off her engagement ring and handed it to Sabian, who showed it off to the camera and smiled. Ford and King locked up with King using her height advantage to get a side headlock on Ford. The two exchanged holds and King ran the ropes and took Ford down with a high elbow. King picked Ford up and held her upside down for a second before suplexing her down. King went to run the ropes again and Sabian grabbed her foot. King told Sabian not to touch her, but the distraction lasted long enough for Ford to hit King from behind and regain the advantage. Ford stomped on King in the corner as she mockingly asked if this is seriously who she’s supposed to wrestle. Ford put King across the middle rope then used her leg to choke her in the ropes, Sabian ran over and the two kissed as the official counted for Ford to break the illegal hold. Excalibur and Taz made fun of Sabian, who was wearing his own sunglasses as well as Ford’s. Taz said he was going to give Sabian his so he can have a trifecta of sunglasses on, but he’s not going to because his glasses are expensive.

King tried to fight back, but Ford stomped on King again, then choked her in the corner again. Ford charged at King, who shoved her away with her feet then hit Ford with a drop kick. Ford avoided a splash in the corner then hit King with a back handspring elbow then a cutter for the win.

WINNER: Penelope Ford in 5:00

(10) BEST FRIENDS (w/ Orange Cassidy) vs. SHAWN DEAN & ALAN ANGELS

Chuck Taylor and Shawn Dean started the match. Dean quickly took down Taylor, but Taylor countered with an arm drag and a drop kick before tagging in Trent. The Best Friends hit stereo elbow drops on Dean then Angels tagged in against Trent. Trent mockingly slapped Angels’ bald head, Angels didn’t appreciate that and slapped Trent across the face then kicked Trent a couple of times. Trent grabbed Angels by the neck and slapped him hard. Angels ran the ropes, but Trent clotheslined Angels. As Trent fought Angels, Taylor decided he was going to go sit on the stage steps with Orange Cassidy, until the official made him come back over and grab the tag rope. Angels leaped through the ropes with a springboard dropkick and Angels powered Trent into his corner to tag Dean back in. Angels and Dean isolated Trent and managed a couple of near falls. Trent hit a spinning DDT on Dean, then a side suplex on Angels which gave him the opening to tag Taylor back in. Taylor power slammed Angels, hit him with a high knee, then leaped over the top rope and took Dean down. Taylor walked Dean over towards Trent who speared him on the floor. Angels tried to hit a Rana on Taylor, but Taylor picked him up and power slammed him to the mat before tagging Trent back in. Trent entered and the Best Friends hugged and hit the strong zero for the win.

WINNERS: Best Friends in 5:00

– Excalibur then announced that tomorrow on Dynamite, there will be a Battle Royal. The winner will face the TNT Champion next week on Dynamite.

(Graham’s Thoughts: Obviously this was taped before Cody won the title. I found it funny they just said the battle royal winner faces the TNT Champion rather than recording this ten second sound clip after Double or Nothing. Not a major thing, just something funny I caught. Usually, you’d want to proudly announce the champion’s name in this spot, but when it was recorded that obviously wasn’t known yet!)

FINAL THOUGHT…

Another “Super Show” this week. I’m not going to harp on my annoyance with the length of a show that features no interesting matches, just know it’s a show that’s almost 90 minutes that featured squash matches and is entirely skippable. The only match I was unsure of was Nakazawa and Cutler, but in the end does that match even matter? I’m just growing frustrated with these excessively long cards where no match is important apart from getting some people wins.

The only real development on this episode was the QT Marshall and Allie angle. No clue where that’s going, but it was Allie, not the bunny, that came out during the match. Is she going to have two separate characters like Matt Hardy and Broken Matt, or is she separating from Butcher and Blade? Time will tell.

Jungle Boy going that long with Avalon was one of the most frustrating things I’ve seen on Dark in a long time. The announcers tried their best to sell him being dazed after hitting his head on the post, but come on. Jungle Boy was just in a match with MJF and now he’s going 50/50 with a guy who has yet to win a match at all in AEW? I don’t get the logic. Avalon looks pretty good because he was able to hang, but he’s a perennial loser so why would you do that?

This show really concerned me with how serious AEW is taking COVID-19 at the moment. They can test all they want, but everything I’ve read says there’s a significant margin of error and that’s not something to take lightly. That may seem dramatic, but there were a couple of VERY questionable things that happened. Marko Stunt kissed Leva Bates for an unnecessary comedy spot. Jimmy Havoc cut a guy open with his teeth while biting him on the forehead. Who’s approving this stuff? What are they thinking? I don’t get why either of  these things were needed and I’m questioning the judgement of AEW officials for allowing it to happen.


RECOMMENDED: 5/19 AEW DARK TV REPORT: Spotlight matches with Shida, Marko Stunt, Q.T. Marshall, Havoc & Sabian, Rey Fenix, Luther, Private Party, Guevara, Darby

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