SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW DARK TV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 29, 2020
RECORDED AT DAILY’S PLACE, JACKSONVILLE, FLA.
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Excalibur, Taz, and later in the show, Ricky Starks
Ring announcer: Justin Roberts
– Excalibur announced that it would be a super-size edition of AEW Dark and introduced Taz who let us know that later, Ricky Starks would be joining them on commentary. They then through right to Justin Roberts to get the show under way.
(1) RAY ROSAS & RIZIN vs. SCU (Scorpio Sky & Frankie Kazarian)
Shawn Spears came out before the match and joined the commentary team. Spears made a point to say that he was out at the desk to scout Sky.
Ray Rosas and Frankie Kazarian started things off with some typical mid-ring chain wrestling action. Kazarian hit the ropes and Sky tagged himself in and proceeded to take the action to Rosas. Rosas was able to switch things up and make the tag to Ryzin who got the advantage over Sky. Ryzin and Rosas double teamed Sky, but he was able to fight out of it and tagged Kazarian, who took over and connected with several moves on Rosas. Kazarian propelled Rosas into the ropes with a drop toe move which allowed Sky to nail Rosas with a kick to the face.
Kazarian maintained control and fought off interference from Ryzin on the apron, but the distraction allowed Rosas to hit a missile drop kick off the top rope. Rosas was slow to make the cover and could only manage a one-count. Ryzin and Rosas double-teamed Kazarian in the corner with Ryzin ultimately hitting a power bomb but could only get a one-count. Kazarian and Ryzin exchanged blows, with Kazarian and finally made it to his corner to tag in Sky who came in hot, taking on both Rosas and Ryzin.
In control, Sky tagged in Kazarian after a cutter to Ryzin and double-teamed Rosas with Kazarian hitting a high knee for the pin.
WINNERS: Scorpio Sky & Frankie Kazarian in 5:00.
(Morgan’s Take: With Rosas and Ryzin teaming for the first time together it was obvious that Sky and Kazarian would get the win. The main point of this match was to build animosity between Sky and Shawn Spears. Ok, I will accept that, otherwise, pretty much just a showcase for Kazarian and Sky.)
– Before the next match there was a short promo with Evil Uno and one of the minions, #5, I think. They talked about how #5 didn’t like Colt Cabana and since Mr. Brodie Lee doesn’t like him, that is good. Uno said, however, that Mr. Lee doesn’t “not not like him”, but that things will get fixed and that Colt will be a contributor to the Dark Order. Colt walked down the cement stairs they were standing on and they all seemed to walk off together, and everything was OK. Not sure where this is all going, but as a promo, this was not very good.
(2) PENELOPE FORD (w/Kip Sabian) vs. ALEX GRACIA
Before this match, Ricky Starks came out to join the announce team. He was shirtless and Taz made a big deal about how great he looked, abs and all.
On to the match. Alex Gracia came out first followed by Penelope Ford, who Excalibur noted was #4 in the women’s rankings. Ford and Sabian did a major smooch in the middle of the ring, well, they are getting married.
Ford took over right from the start, until Gracia hit a running drop kick (with a ton of light). Ford went to the floor and Gracia followed, Ford then got back in the ring and kicked Gracia as she attempted to follow. She also hung Gracia right on the top rope across her throat and took complete control and beat up Gracia.
Ford put Gracia into a fireman’s carry and dropped her on both her knees to the gut but could only get a two-count. She followed up with a fisherman suplex and a bridge and got the three-count.
WINNER: Penelope Ford in 3:00.
(Morgan’s Take: Pretty much a squash with Ford showing off some of her heel tendencies by showing no mercy whatsoever. Gracia needs a lot more work and she did not look particularly good in what little offense they gave her. Match was all about getting a win for Ford.)
(3) BEST FRIENDS (Trent & Chuck Taylor) vs. M’BADU & BSHP KING
BSHP is pronounced “bishop”, what, why? But okay. Chuck Taylor and Trent came out without Orange Cassidy (sigh) and the announce team noted that they were still recovering from the parking lot match and mentioned that Mom, Sue, was being heavily courted by the Dark Order, again, What?
As the match started, M’Badu tossed Trent around a bit, but when he tried to dead lift Trent overhead, Trent escaped and got in a couple of knees and then tagged in Taylor. King also tagged in and they mixed things up in the middle of the ring. Taylor tagged in Trent and they hit a double shoulder block and then proceeded to beat down King in their corner.
Taylor took over, but when he went for M’Badu in the corner, King was able to hit a running body slam. M’Badu followed up with running squash in the corner, but King missed a Atomico splash from the corner, and when M’Badu tried for another corner slam he missed badly and Taylor was able to make the tag to Trent who took control with a swinging DDT off the top rope. Trent tagged in Taylor and they hit a half and half on M’Badu. Taylor tagged Trent back in and in a double team move hit the Strong Zero for the win.
WINNERS: Trent & Chuck Taylor in 6:00.
(Morgan’s Take: Not sure who this BSHP King guy is, but he did not show particularly well. M’Badu is definitely physically impressive, but so far, he has not done well on Dark. He is green, and I would imagine that until he gets tighter with his moves and works on his character, he will remain a big opponent for the other wrestlers to gain credibility against. As for Trent and Taylor, they did their thing and looked good doing it. Just a so-so match.)
– The scene cut to backstage where Brandon Cutler cut a pretty good “anger” promo on Peter Avalon. They are trying to make this a rivalry, and this was not a bad addition to the story line.
(4) JURASSIC EXPRESS (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus w/Marko Stunt) vs. DARK ORDER #5 & #10 (w/the Dark Order)
During the intros the announce team did a funny bit that had me smiling when Taz talked about the Dark Order website and how it got a warning from his computer’s virus software. Taz said his software was made by Ed Norton (Honeymooners fame, google it, one of the funniest shows ever on TV) obviously referring to the Norton Software. They laid it on thick and as I said, I enjoyed it.
Now back to the match. Luchasaurus started things off versus #5. #5 quickly tagged out not wanting to mix it up with the much bigger Luchasaurus. #10 and Luchasaurus ran the ropes for a bit with Luchasaurus ultimately hitting a back-body drop (he actually lost his grip initially, so the spot looked weak).
For the next five minutes both teams hit several devastating moves for near falls and last second saves. The epitome of this was with Luchasaurus out on the floor after being run into the post, #10 hit a power slam spine buster to Jungle Boy which was followed up for an impressive frog splash from #5. Jungle Boy still kicked out at two. Clearly frustrated the Dark Order lost focus and Jungle Boy was able to make a comeback and hit #5 with a super kick and followed up with a double team cutter. With #10 out on the floor after a choke slam from Luchasaurus, Jurassic Express were able to get the win.
WINNERS: Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus in 10:00.
(Morgan’s Take: This was actually a pretty good match with a lot of action, but there were way too many near falls for my taste. Several of the near falls totally undersold finishers and devastating moves. It is obvious that AEW wants to keep Jurassic Express strong, but at the same time they seem to want to make the tag teams from the Dark Order seem strong as well. Putting them together in a “non-main event” just seems counterproductive to me. But the match is worth a watch.)
– Following the match Luther and Serpentico cut a backstage promo about their upcoming match versus Brian Pillman and Griff Garrison. Luther did most of the talking and actually gave a name to their team, calling themselves the Chaos Project. Not great, but not bad. Just kind of meh.
(5) SHAWN DEAN & CEZAR BONONI vs. THE GUNN CLUB (Billy & Austin Gunn)
This was the first match for Bononi, he was a big guy, tall and pretty ripped, he actually gave Billy a run for his money. Shawn Dean started off versus Austin Gunn. After a couple of lockups, Austin tagged in Billy who kept up the pressure on Dean. The Gunn Club made some rapid tags with no real damage and Bononi tagged in and called out Billy. Austin stayed in the ring and paid for it when Bononi threw him into his corner and Billy tagged in. The two big men tagged in and went for dueling chokes. Billy won the exchange and after hitting a clothesline, Bononi came back with a pump kick to the face and Dean and he abused Billy in the corner.
Bononi landed several strikes taking Billy down for a two-count but Billy fought back and landed a side slam and was able to make the tag. Austin came in and hit a sunset flip neck breaker but Bononi broke up the pin attempt and Billy clotheslined Bononi out over the top rope. Billy tagged in and set Dean up for a catapult clothesline combo for a near fall as Bononi broke up the tag by grabbing Billy’s hair. This was a bit stupid, as the ref stopped the count even though Billy still had Dean pinned, but it is the great wrestling stupidity that even touching the pinning wrestler stops the count, even if the wrestler’s shoulders are still down. Come on man. Anyway, Austin dove over the ropes to take out Bononi while Billy gave Dean a Famouser for the win.
WINNERS: Billy & Austin Gunn in 7:00.
(Morgan’s Take: I am not sure why they keep giving wins to the Gunn Club, except maybe to set up Austin for a push at some point. Billy is too old and too slow to really get a big push at this point. The match was a good intro for Bononi, but he did not move particularly well and while his size is impressive, for AEW he has a way to go.)
– As seems to be the plan for the night, another promo fan after this match featuring the Nightmare Family (Q.T. Marshall, Brandi, and Dustin Rhodes). Interestingly no Allie, hmmmmm? Q.T. did most of the talking about the upcoming match with the Dark Order. Don’t know why he talked first instead of Dustin. Then Brandi chimed in that tonight it will be an even match (two on two), unlike her match on AEW Late Night last week, what? Brandi noted that Anna Jay was not in attendance tonight, otherwise she would get Brandi’s “new” boots up her butt. It was strange. Brandi sounded very heelish as there was no real interference in her match last week and she was just making excuses. Why is she acting the heel with an obviously babyface team like Q.T. and Dustin? Dustin finished off the promo with a spirited “we are going to kick Dark Order’s ass.” Dustin good, Q.T. OK, Brandi bad.
(6) TAY CONTI vs. RED VELVET
Red Velvet entered first and made her way around the ring and showed of her athleticism. Tay Conti made her entrance and looked very much like a star. The camera panned to the wrestlers at ringside and there was Anna Jay, so much for Brandi’s promo.
The match started with the standard lockup and then Tay rag dolled Red Velvet. Velvet fought back and the two went back and forth with Tay exhibiting her jujitsu technique until hitting a high knee for a two-count. Tay mounted Velvet and landed several strikes and followed up with double knees in the corner.
The announce team noted that Anna Jay had offered Tay a spot in the Dark Order, but Tay had not decided yet. Velvet mounted some offense including her “trademark” foot to the face split (totally stupid move quite frankly except it looks fancy). Tay turned the tables on Velvet, hit several knees to the face before hitting a sit-down slam followed by a version of the Octopus Choke submission for the win.
WINNER: Tay Conti in 4:00.
After the match, Anna Jay entered the ring and hugged Tay. She then went over and seemed to be helping up Red Velvet but as she got her in the middle of the ring, she hit her reverse “J” kick and put Velvet down. Tay looked a little bit shocked, but Anna appeared ready to mount Velvet and continue to deliver punishment and get Tay to join in, but Brandi rushed the ring and Anna and Tay quickly left.
(Morgan’s Take: Red Velvet had enough in ring style to make Tay Conti look good and Tay’s jujitsu and submission style wrestling is good, and she can also through and hit some good strikes. Not a bad match and a good record builder for Tay Conti. Also liked the interjection of the possibility of Tay joining Dark Order. As for the post-match angle, I have really liked Anna Jay’s evolution in Dark Order, and this just improved on it. As for Brandi, I think she was trying to be a bad ass babyface, but she is not pulling it off and is coming off as more of a heel than a bad ass.)
(7) BRIAN PILLMAN JR. & GRIFF GARRISON vs. CHAOS PROJECT (Luther & Serpentico)
Luther seems to be channeling George “The Animal” Steel with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. Before the bell, Serpentico did his streamer thing out of his hands and he and Luther used the distraction to attack their opponents. The bell rang and the match was started. Luther and Serpentico maintained control with frequent tags and kept Pillman isolated.
With Serpentico in the ring, Pillman was able to hit a top rope cross body and made the tag. Garrison took out both opponents and nailed Serpentico with a couple kicks and smash in the corner followed by a face first sit out slam. Pillman went for the pin, but Luther broke it up at two. Things got crazy after that as all four wrestlers were in the ring and thrown out of the ring with everything culminating when Luther picked up Garrison in position for a power bomb and Serpentico came off the top rope and used his feet to slam Garrison to the mat. Serpentico scrambled to make the cover and got the three-count.
WINNERS: Serpentico and Luther in 5:00.
(Morgan’s Take: This was interesting, it appears that this Chaos Project is going to get some sort of push, whether they make it out of the mid-card we will have to see, but if they are building them up to be a kind of “strange” team who can act as some sort of gate keepers, I am up for it. Luther has toned down his act a bit which is good and Serpentico showed good athleticism and can bump like crazy. I don’t know where this leaves Pillman and Garrision, but they need a bit more seasoning anyway.)
(8) NYLA ROSE (w/Vicki Guerero) vs. RACHE CHANEL
The match started slowing as Nyla demanded Chanel to lay down. Chanel acted like she was going to but landed several forearm shots which appeared to have no impact on Nyla. Nyla delivered a vicious body slam followed by a one arm choke slam. Nyla could have easily gotten the pin, but Nyla picked her up and threw her into the corner. Nyla charged by Chanel avoided the charge, followed up with a drop kick and a sliding knee. While Chanel celebrated with a little dance, Nyla stood up and proceeded to deliver two slams, a couple of kicks and went for another slam by Chanel escaped. She tried for a hurricanranna off the ropes by Nyla countered into a Beast Bomb for the win.
WINNER: Nyla Rose in 3:00.
(Morgan’s Take: Why this match took three minutes I will never know, and the fact that they gave Chanel so much offense is also a mystery. Yes, Nyla was cocky and arrogant, but there is no reason for Nyla to not finish Chanel off almost immediately. A total waste of three minutes of my life. AEW please refund that time. Thank you.)
(9) THE NATURAL NIGHTMARES (Dustin Rhodes &Q.T. Marshall w/Brandi Rhodes) vs. JOHN SILVER & COLT CABANA (w/Evil Uno)
As Jon Silver and Colt Cabana came out there was clear dissent, especially on Silver’s part. Evil Uno played the part of peacemaker between them, continuing this angle that Uno is the major support for Colt within Dark Order.
Colt started versus Dustin Rhodes. After running the ropes, a bit, Dustin hit a deep arm drag and Colt ran over to Uno for some coaching, but Silver tagged himself in. Dustin and Marshall double teamed Silver, and Marshall followed up with a delayed vertical suplex for a two-count. Silver responded and threw Marshall into the Dark Order corner. When Marshall threatened to punch Colt on the apron, Colt yelled at him not to, and he didn’t (?????). This allowed Silver to regain the edge with a snap suplex and brain buster for a two count.
Colt tagged in delivered a couple of slams. Silver and Colt did some rapid tags keeping Marshall in the ring and in trouble. Marshall started no selling Silver’s kicks and hit a back breaker – flatliner combo for a near fall. Silver managed to tag in Colt who quickly went after Marshall, but he tagged in Dustin who went to town on Colt. Dustin hit his drop-down punch to the face, an atomic drop and a snap power slam. Dustin tossed by Colt and Silver out of the ring and then dove through the ropes and took out both guys on the floor (they just had to have a dive, didn’t they?).
Dustin tossed Colt back into the ring and tagged in Marshall. As Marshall came in Dustin tried to get Colt up into position for a power bomb combo with Marshall, but Colt escaped, and Silver grabbed Marshall’s leg from the outside. Colt tossed Dustin over the top rope while Silver jumped onto the apron and kicked Marshall in the head. As Marshall reeled back, Colt hit him with a stunner but could only get a two-count. As Silver tagged in, he and Colt tried for a double team slam, but Dustin broke it up and tossed Colt out of the ring. While this was happening, Marshall hit Silver with a cutter and got the three-count.
WINNERS: Dustin Rhodes & Q.T. Marshall in 8:00.
(Morgan’s Take: This was a solid match with good action and was a nice win for Dustin and Q.T. There was also some story advancement in terms of Colt Cabana’s role in the Dark Order and what is developing between he and Evil Uno. Colt definitely showed some heelish traits, but there is still clearly some innocence to how he is acting. The match was a good main event and helped to keep my thinking about what is going to happen with Colt and the Dark Order. Still wondering where Allie was. Could this be what Eddie Kingston meant when he told The Blade to get his house in order.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Quick note about tonight’s show: With Ricky Starks on commentary, he and Taz kept up a pretty funny running commentary on everything from Ricky Starks’s abs to Luchasaurus’s parentage (T-Rex & Brontosaurus) to not trusting people who wear masks (oh, hi Excalibur). Was quite amusing and helped make these matches that are pretty uneventful easier to watch and enjoy.
A second interesting thing that is happening with AEW Dark is that they are throwing in more promo spots, both for matches coming up on the show and also for feuds and matches that are coming down the road, either on Dark or on Dynamite. Pre-Covid there was talk actually more than talk about a second AEW show on regular TV, this could be AEW testing things out and moving AEW Dark from just a bunch of enhancement matches, to a show that ties directly into the main show. I am intrigued.
I will say tonight was not bad, with nine matches the show moved quickly and the match length varied enough to keep things interesting. There still were a couple of matches that were a bit too long, for example, the Nyla Rose – Rache Chanel match should have lasted all of 30 seconds instead of the three minutes it went, the same can be said for the Penelope Ford – Alex Gracia match. No need for that one to go three minutes either. Put Ford over strong.
All in all, definitely worth a watch this week.
Be safe and take care, see you next week.