Whether you are a die hard fan of AEW or new to the program, I’m here to talk about the bets and worst moments from the most recent AEW Dark.
If you are new, AEW is All Elite Wrestling. I’ve written about a couple of their shows here and I’m looking to write about a few more. If you’ve heard of it but don’t know what Dark is – it’s their YouTube show. So, if you want to catch up you can check out all of the Dark shows on YouTube or you can watch this week’s here. This was the 17th AEW Dark, according to my calculations (which do exist), and the first show in February.
So, before we start, I’ll preface by saying it’s been a bit of a lull on AEW Dark. At the beginning, Dark was pretty cool. It had some solid matches and always had at least one lengthy interview/piece about a wrestler so you could get to know the character better. It was BRILILANT and really did a lot to character development, which is obviously important. But then we hit a spot where we had Christmas, New Year’s, and then AEW did a Bash at the Beach thing, then hopped onto Jericho’s Cruise Ship and it’s been pretty bad lately. Or maybe not bad as much as just missing the substance I desired. So this week, we got an hour and twenty minutes of AEW Dark. Here’s the recap:
As always, I’ll start it with a BEST, Tony Shiavone is cold. He looks like he’s freezing standing outside of Cleveland’s arena. Tony is an interesting guy who is really just there for nostalgia and because of his relationship with Cody’s dad – but he did get a +1 from me last week when he did this on live TV:
What the duck, indeed, Tony.
Our first match is a tag team match (which AEW does very well) with Sonny Kiss and Brandon Cutler taking on some beloved wrestlers – Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt. Marko was disrespected for his size (he is is 5’2″ and weighs around 100 pounds) and people said he didn’t deserve to be wrestling because it’s unrealistic. But he’s taken full advantage of that and he fights a fun style where he dances and picks on larger opponents and you know what, the crowd has started to love him!
So anyway, Brandon Cutler is a career 0-7 entering this match and Jungle Express (Jungle Boy, Marko, and their Dinosaur Friend) are fan favorites so I thought this would be a little telegraphed. It was an interesting dynamic with a face vs. face matchup, but ultimately Jungle Express did come out on top. Sonny Kiss got to showcase what he can do and continues to be an interesting piece that I think AEW is trying to get some more TV time. But Brandon Cutler, man, I’ve just never connected with him and he continues to be winless. If they’re going to team Kiss up with someone, please don’t pick Cutler.
Best – Weird vignettes. I’m all out on Brandi Rhodes and the whole Nightmare Collective but I’m all the way in on the weird ass video packages that show her deteriorating. I just hope it goes somewhere cool. Thus far, she has been pretty bad (not in a good way).
This leads in to a match with Mel (of the Nightmare Collective) versus Hikaru Shida. This is Mel’s first 1 on 1 matchup in AEW. She was in a tag match, that she lost to Shida earlier in the year but this was her chance to showcase in singles action.
Awesome Kong played the role that she should – a monster that is there for backup. That’s her role. She shouldn’t have matches and isn’t performing well, but does a good job at being the asshole who always cheats. A worst for her hitting Hikaru Shida with her kendo stick early in the match and the ref was just kind of…watching? Like did we miss a distraction here? He was literally looking straight at her. Should probably be a DQ, ref? The announcers say he was distracted by Luther but he clearly was not. The match itself was a bit sloppy. I don’t think it was Shida’s fault but The Nightmare Collective is a dumpster fire. It’s just interruption after interruption, distraction after distraction. I was pretty disappointed in Mel as well. Overall, Shida had to carry the match…and the two bums on the outside.
Possible best, after the match, Kong and Luther were pissed at Mel and she started fighting back. I mean, again, I’m not sure where this is going? This is her 2nd match and she’s been in the Nightmare Collective for a month? Then Luther joins in and they beat Kong’s ass? Maybe this is to write Kong off as she has some injury issues. But, again, let’s see where this goes. If AEW is calling an audible because the Nightmare Collective sucks, then I’m all for it. Or maybe this is another layer to a confusing and pointless story. Mel looked a hell of a lot better after the match than during it.
Interesting? The next match is the highly anticipated (definitely by me) mixed tag match between Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford (!!!!!) versus Kenny Omega and Riho. This is clearly shot from Jericho’s Rockin’ Rager and the camera was a bit confusing? They did a whole show on the cruise ship so I’m not sure why this looks like it was shot from a flip camera phone, up close and personal. There was no real production here. It’s kind of cool in a way but it kind of took away from the match also. There was no commentary, it was up close and personal, and just different.
When the match started, Kip Sabian heel moved it and immediately tagged in Ford. When Kenny went to tag in Riho, I was pretty mad. That’s WWE shit. That’s not intergender wrestling, which definitely should occur. That’s lame. But then Ford pulled Kenny away and it began! When Sabian tagged back in and the crowd started chanting for Riho, I knew this is what it was about. Kenny Omega and Riho have been partners in wrestling for a long, long time. The cool thing about this is both Penelope Ford and Riho got the upper hand in these early exchanges.
BEST – Kip Sabian is a total asshole, and the crowd lets him knowing. He flexes after body slamming 85 pound Riho, but he’s always just on some really heel level shit. This is honestly probably some of Kip’s best work, too. Also interesting as you can hear EVERYTHING, there’s not a bunch of calling the match. Some, maybe, sure, but this is pretty clean. Overall, I really liked this quite a bit. They did great work and it made all 4 competitors look great.
The final match of the night was Shawn Spears and a mystery partners versus Best Friends. I’m going to give a worst to Tully Blanchard and Shawn Spears. I can’t get into them. Shawn Spears (fka Tye Dillinger in WWE) hasn’t really done anything of note in AEW other than bust open Cody’s head for real.
I guess that’s a tough act to follow up on – but there’s just not much for him to do right now. He doesn’t have a great record and I’m just not into Tully at all. Spears’ mystery partner was Colin Delaney, another former WWE great….(?). I honestly had never heard of him but apparently he wrestles as “Extremely Cute” Colin Delaney?
Best Friends have grown on me a little bit. I wasn’t super into them when AEW first started but they’ve been doing some good work. And Orange Cassidy is pure gold. I think it’s different and people aren’t used to the “comedy” type wrestling he does but when he kicks it in gear, it shows that he can go when he needs to. He just usually doesn’t care to. I think a “Cassidy Cam” is something that would sell. Guy is great even standing outside the ring. Freshly Squeezed and Tully Blanchard have a nice little interaction during the match before Spears shuts it down.
Overall, a good match. Delaney actually surprised me. He worked well and I hope he sticks around AEW as a mid-tier talent. Spears walking out on Delaney only makes sense. I think it progresses his character as a total asshole while also “protecting” him a little bit. I’m just still not sure how you rehab his character after so many losses.
That’s it for this week! Overall a better show than we’ve had the last few weeks. Join us next time as we review AEW Dynamite from Wednesday, February 5, 2020.
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