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AEW DARK TV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 22, 2020
RECORDED AT DAILY’S PLACE, JACKSONVILLE, FLA.
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Excalibur, Veda Scott and Taz
Ring announcer: Justin Roberts
– Excalibur announced that it would be a super-size edition of AEW Dark and after some rather banal banter sent it to the ring for the first match.
(1) FUEGO DEL SOL & REMBRANDT LEWIS vs. STU GRAYSON & EVIL UNO (w/Dark Order)
Fuego Del Sol and Rembrandt Lewis were teaming for the first time. Fuego and Stu Grayson started things off with Fuego hitting some high-Flying moves. After tagging in Rembrandt, Grayson took control, rammed Rembrandt into Evil Uno’s foot and Uno and Grayson double teamed Rembrandt, delivering a lot of damage. While the match was going on, the announcers were basically ignoring a lot of the action and instead talked about Team Taz. Uno and Grayson tagged often, keeping Rembrandt from making the tag. After a move off the top rope Grayson got a near fall, but Fuego broke it up. Fuego finally tagged in, but Grayson quickly hit a night fall back-breaker and tagger in Uno hit an inside out flat liner for the three-count.
WINNERS: Stu Grayson & Evil Uno in 4:00.
(Morgan’s Take: A four-minute squash, Fuego and Rembrandt got in maybe five offensive moves. The match was fine for allowing Grayson and Uno to show that they are a solid tag team, other than that not much here.)
(2) RICKY STARKS vs. CHRISTOPHIER DANIELS
Christopher Daniels came out to SCU’s music but was not accompanied by any of his SCU compadres. Ricky Starks came out very confidently. On commentary, Taz went overboard in his praise of Starks which makes sense as he is a member of Team Taz.
Starks started off strong, but Daniels countered quickly and the two exchanged moves in the middle of the ring, with both wrestlers taunting each other. Daniels took starks down with an arm drag. When Starks missed a cross body, Daniels hit a top rope body slam, he missed it a bit, but Taz covered for him on commentary. After a couple of blows by Starks, Daniels went to the floor where Starks hit him with a Daniels hit a falcon arrow for a two-count, but Starks came back with a rip-cord clothesline for a two count. After exchanging several roll-up pin attempts, both wrestlers went to the ropes and hit simultaneous clotheslines that put them both down on the mat.
As they recovered, Starks was able to throw Daniels into the ropes and came off the far ropes for a spear and the pin.
WINNER: Ricky Starks in 7:00.
(Morgan’s Take: A very good match and one that would have fit well on the main Dynamite show. Daniels got in enough offense and near-falls to look good and his good showing actually improved the benefit that Starks took away from the match by winning. I will say that this was one of the best matches I have seen on Dark and is one you should watch.)
– After winning, Starks went right over to the announce table and joined them on commentary. His presence allowed them, Taz especially, to push the six-man tag match on Dynamite this week between Starks, Brian Cage and Lance Archer vs. Moxley, Hobbs and Darby Allen.
(3) PUFF & CALVIN STEWART vs. THE BUTCHER & THE BLADE (w/Eddie Kingston)
Butcher and Blade went right after Puff before the bell and after the bell just abused Calvin Stewart. Butcher and Blade abused Stewart and Kingston got involved when they tossed Stewart out of the ring. The beat down continued until Steward was finally able to tag in Puff who used his impressive bulk to actually get in some offense against Blade. Butcher tagged in and countered Puff’s offense finally driving him to tag Stewart back in with a cross body off the second rope. Butcher brought Stewart in the hard way, yanking him in by his head. Butcher and Blade then hit their full death finisher for the win.
WINNERS: The Butcher & The Blade in 4:00.
(Morgan’s Take: Why this had to take four minutes I do not understand. Butcher and Blade are part of the tag team mix on Dynamite and to have them take any damage from Puff and Stewart, who, especially Puff, are a comedy act, does them no favors. Just look at the previous match where a tough match, even though the outcome -Starks the winner – was a forgone conclusion benefitted both men. Here this match did nobody any good. Puff and Stewart looked stupid and Butcher and Blade were brought down to their level.)
(4) WILL HOBBS vs. SERPENTICO (w/Luther)
This match was all about Will Hobbs and continuing his push and building up his part in the six-man tag on Dynamite with Moxley and Darby Allen. Luther tried to trip up Hobbs but was ineffective and despite Serpentico landing some strikes, Hobbs brushed him off, threw him out of the ring and into the barricades. Back in the ring, Hobbs hit a delayed vertical suplex followed by a snap suplex. While Serpentico was writhing in the center of the mat, Taz and Starks on commentary, down played Hobbs’ abilities, noting that Hobbs was twice as big as Serpentico (he was) and that while Starks had a “grueling” match versus Daniels, Hobbs would not get much momentum from beating Serpentico.
Meanwhile, Hobbs continued to manhandle Serpentico, and as normal in Dark matches, Serpentico was able to get some offense in after a distraction by Luther. Luther landed several kicks and stomps to Hobbs on the floor. Serpentico hit a couple of double stomps for a two-count and went for a flying move off the top turnbuckle, but Hobbs caught him out of mid-air. Serpentico was able to escape when Luther jumped on the apron. Hobbs took him out with one punch, but the distraction allowed Serpentico to again get in a bunch of kicks and elbows. As Serpentico came off the ropes, Hobbs caught him and in one move drove him into the mat landing on top of him and got the three-count for the win.
WINNER: Will Hobbs in 5:00.
(Morgan’s Take: I did not like this at all. Hobbs was clearly twice the size of Serpentico and is being pushed big time. So why have what amounted to a 50/50 match lasting five minutes. Luther’s presence was the obvious excuse for why Serpentico could be somewhat competitive, but why do it anyway. It just totally makes Hobbs look weaker than he should. I can tell you the reason, which become obvious very quickly. This match was all about Taz and Ricky Starks on commentary talking up the six-man tag match on Wednesday’s Dynamite. This is not the right way to do it. Have a video or something, but this match just made Hobbs look less, rather than more.)
(5) DONTAE SMILEY & MAXX STARDOM vs. REY FENIX & PENTA EL ZERO (w/Eddie Kingston)
Maxx Stardom and Rey Fenix started things off exchanging several roll ups and moves in the middle of the ring. Fenix applied an arm bar with Stardom tied up in the ropes and after tagging in Penta, double teamed Stardom. Penta took over with a super kick and then the Lucha Bros continued with quick tags and double teams. Stardom finally made the tag to Dontae Smiley who came in with a nice flying drop kick over Penta right to Fenix’s chest and followed up with a cradle suplex to Fenix. Stardom tagged in and he and Smiley double-teamed Penta.
After Smiley dove onto Fenix on the outside, he reentered the ring and was able to break up a pin on Stardom by Penta. As Smiley stood up, Fenix hit a missile drop kick to Smiley off the top rope driving him out of the ring. Penta and Fenix then landed a double team sit out pile driver and Penta was able to cover Stardom for the win.
WINNERS: Penta El Zero & Rey Fenix in 5:00.
(Morgan’s Take: Another typical AEW Dark match where the obvious winner(s) gets an early advantage, has to withstand a comeback from the other wrestler(s) and then hits a few moves and their finisher for the win. Boring. I would have much rather seen a two to three-minute match, where Penta and Fenix just dominated with great moves and get it over with.)
(6) RYZIN & XANDER GOLD vs. DARK ORDER’S #5 & #10 (w/The Dark Order)
Ryzin and Xander Gold were teaming for the first time, and with their contrasting looks, looked like a real odd couple. #5 started things off with Gold and they tied up in the middle of the ring. Things continued slowly until 5 hit a stiff forearm, after which #10 came in and after throwing Gold around got a two-count. Ryzin tagged in and 10 quickly took control abusing Ryzin in their corner. 10 hit a rip-cord cutter for a near fall, but Ryzin came back with a reverse neck breaker, but missed a moonsault off the top rope, allowing 5 to tag in. Ryzin also made the tag and Xander Gold entered and took control.
After throwing 5 into the ropes, he attempted to come of the ropes himself, but 10 had tagged and was waiting for him and planted him with a running body slam. Ryzin made the save, but 5 & 10 got him out of the ring and went back to work on Gold, finally hitting a double stomp off the top rope by 5 followed by a off the shoulder body slam by 10 for the win.
WINNER: #5 & #10 in 6:00.
(Morgan’s Take: Another very typical Dark match. Both teams got in offense with several near falls and ending with a big move by the eventual winners. Not a bad match, but no real meaning to the victory, except to build up the Dark Orders’ victories)
(7) JOEY JANELLA & SONNY KISS vs. KEVIN BLACKWOOD & DANIEL GARCIA
On commentary, Veda Scott tried to bill this as a match between to up and coming tag teams, but it was obvious that this is more about Sonny Kiss and Joey Janella. After the initial tie up in the middle of the ring, Daniel Garcia went for knife edge chop, but Janella came back strong, tagged in Kiss and they double teamed Garcia. As Kevin Blackwood tagged in, Kiss showed off his athleticism, ending with a triple handspring culminating with a vicious slap to Blackwood in the corner.
The match continued with the teams exchanging tags and strikes, with Sonny Kiss getting the worst of it, as Blackwood hit several strong kicks for a two-count. Kiss was finally able to make the tag and Janella started off with a missile drop kick off the top rope, then a Canadian destroyer to Blackwood and a super kick to the back of Garcia’s head. With both wrestlers on the floor, Janella hit a dive taking them both out. Janella rolled Garcia back into the ring and got a two-count with a twisting neck breaker. After being tagged in, Kiss hit the diving split leg drop off the top turnbuckle and nailed the three-count for the win.
WINNER: Joey Janella & Sonny Kiss in 8:00.
(Morgan’s Take: A good match. Lots of action and a believable match up of size and relative talent. While not a ton of impact on story lines, this was good. Worth a watch.)
(8) BILLY & AUSTIN GUNN (w/Colton) vs. M’BADU & CRUZ
M’Badu was impressive, the man is big! Cruz, not so much. On commentary, Taz made the point that Billy never beat him. Kind of amazing, M’Badu was big, but Billy was actually bigger. M’Badu and Billy went back and forth, Billy hit a clothesline but could only get a one-count. Austin tagged in and cranked up the speed. One of Austin’s moves sent M’Badu into his own corner where he tagged in Cruz. Cruz is big but not in great shape if you catch my drift, but he hit several moves and put Austin on the mat.
M’Badu tagged in and laid in several powerful shots. Austin fought back a bit, but M’Badu hit a running slam for a two-count. He went for a running elbow splash in the corner (he got some very credible height), but Austin moved and M’Badu crashed himself into the turnbuckle. Billy tagged in and took it to Cruz, hitting a big splash in the corner, followed by a running leg bulldog for the win.
WINNER: Billy & Austin Gunn in 4:00.
(Morgan’s Take: Billy still has some talent, but you can tell that he can only go for so long at his age and depends on Austin to speed things up. That said, their win was the right way to go, because while M’Badu looked okay, Cruz was terrible. He really looked like they pulled some guy out of the audience, threw some tights on him and told him to go out there and do the moves he sees on tv. Not good, you can miss this one.)
(9) KILYNN KING vs SERENA DEEB
As Serena Deeb came out, Veda Scott made a point of mentioning how good Deeb looked in her first AEW match versus Thunderosa and definitely built her up strongly (gee I wonder who won this match).
Kilynn King and Deeb locked up in the middle of the ring and exchanged several moves, with Deeb going for an early pin which King bridged out of at two, very impressive. The two continued to exchange moves and holds with Deeb going for several joint manipulation moves. King came back strong throwing Deed into the ropes on her neck and then into the corner. Deeb fought back with several forearms and running knee strikes. Deeb hung King up on the second rope and followed up with a face plant. Deeb then tied up King’s arm with her leg and proceeded to slam King’s knee into the mat before locking in a kind of knee/ankle lock (which Veda called the Serenity Lock) for the tap out win.
WINNER: Sarena Deeb in 5:00.
(Morgan’s Take: After her impressive (albeit losing) effort to Thunderosa, Deeb looked very good here and scored a nice win over a very capable Kilynn King. King is a solid wrestler and she is obviously, at least for now, playing the gatekeeper role her on AEW Dark, she is now 0-9. But tonight, she did her job very well and made Deeb look great and in my opinion, ready for the main stage on Dynamite.)
(10) LEE JOHNSON vs. BEN CARTER
Announce team built up both wrestlers in the pre-match entrances. The match started off with an exchange of moves on the mat, followed by several back and forth arm control moves. After a pretty cool sequence where both wrestlers kipped up, they shook hands and then went back to the fight.
Things continued back and forth for a couple of minutes with Carter getting the best of hit with a reverse face first slam of Johnson into the turnbuckle and a vicious snap suplex. Carter locked in the STF and kept up the pressure as Johnson crawled towards and finally reached the ropes.
With Johnson sitting on the top turnbuckle, Carter hit a very high drop kick to Johnson’s gut and followed it up with a suplex off the top turnbuckle. Carter held on and went for a second suplex, but Johnson countered with a small package for a two-count. Both wrestlers did simultaneous clotheslines and pump kicks. After trading forearms, punches and elbows, Johnson delivered a blue thunder bomb, but Carter kicked out at two.
Both men were slow to get up, Carter hit an enziguri on the apron and they then exchanged flip dives over the top rope, leading Johnson landing a Death Valley driver and a mule kick, both for two=counts. As Johnson contemplated his next move while sitting on the top turnbuckle, Carter ran up and hit a Spanish fly and a kick to the face, but Johnson kicked out at two. Carter sprang to the top turnbuckle and hit a frog splash and finally got the win.
WINNER: Ben Carter in 10:00.
(Morgan’s Take: A very flashy match with lots of high spots and near falls. I get the feeling the AEW likes both these guys and wanted to have a showcase match with Taz and Ricky Starks praising them both. Veda kept asking Taz if he liked either of them enough to bring them into Team Taz. Carter seemed a little bit more talented or at least crisper, hence his win, but Johnson also performed very well. Maybe a few too many last minute kickouts after huge spots, for example after the Spanish Fly/kick to the face combo, Johnson had no business kicking out, but they wanted to get the frog splash moment in. Good match, worth a watch.)
(11) EDDIE KINGSTON vs. BRIAN PILLMAN JR.
Kingston started off playing some head games, but Pillman quickly took control with several arm drags and a drop kick. Kingston quickly left the ring and drew Pillman outside with him where he proceeded to ram him into the barricades and the ring. After rolling Pillman back into the ring, Kingston laid in several chops and kicks and was just vicious.
Kingston no sold a couple of shots from Pillman and delivered a few of his own. Pillman mounted a small comeback and went for the crucifix, but Kingston turned it into a Samoan drop. Kingston continued to no sell Pillman’s chops and upper cuts. Pillman turned his back to celebrate and Kingston dropped him with a shot to the head.
Both wrestlers no sold chops from each other and were going back and forth before Pillman hit a push kick driving Kingston to the floor and then delivered a running drop kick through the ropes, driving Kingston to the barricades. Back in the ring, Pillman hit a flying clothesline off the top rope for a near fall, Kingston retaliated with a head and arm side suplex for a two-count as Pillman reached the ropes. Pillman wrapped up Kingston and hit a spinning piledriver for a near-fall, but Kingston quickly came back with a knee to the gut followed by a spinning back fist for the three-count and the win.
WINNER: Eddie Kingston in 9:00.
(Morgan’s Take: Kingston is a brawler and he fought his fight here. Pillman did get in several shots and opportunities, but the right person won here as Kingston is clearly, while not as flashy, the better fighter and more vicious fighter.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: An interesting night on AEW Dark. There were a couple of really fun matches, I especially liked the women’s match between Kilynn King and Sarena Deeb and the Ricky Starks and Christopher Daniels match. The last two matches (Carter vs. Johnson & Kingston vs. Pillman) of the night were also solid and enjoyable.
This week AEW Dark took somewhat of a different tact. The commentary tonight seemed to be centerstage. With Ricky Starks joining the announce team after his match, there was a great deal discussion between Taz and Starks about Team Taz, about who might make a good fit to add to the group and finally about the big six-man tag match on Wednesday night between Team Taz (Brian Cage & Ricky Starks) plus Lance Archer vs. John Moxley, Darby Allen, and Will Hobbs. It is a smart move and a good use of this program: Promote the main show!
Be safe and take care, see you next week.