Welcome back to the weekly TJR review of AEW Dark. Last week on Dark, it was tag team galore, with three competitive but different tag matches. It was a slight upgrade on the weeks preceding it and overall was a decent show.
AEW Dark consists of matches taped before and after that week’s AEW Dynamite. They post it on the AEW Youtube channel the next week and I will post the show at the bottom of the review. Does AEW keep the momentum of last week going? Let’s find out!
AEW Dark from Indianapolis, Indiana 11/26/2019
We are in the control room with just Tony Schiavone this week. He talks about the upcoming matches tonight before throwing it down to the ring with Excalibur, joined this week by Shawn Spears on commentary.
Pentagon Jr. vs. Trent (w/Orange Cassidy)
I am guessing they have dropped Trent Beretta’s last name at this point. Pentagon is without his brother, Rey Fenix, who is usually at his side.
The match begins with both men feeling each other out. Pentagon with the glove toss to the referee gimmick before Trent hits him with a chop to the chest. Trent continues to get the strikes in, but Pentagon reverses and hits some offense of his own. Pentagon taunts Trent with a “Cero Miedo” hand gesture for a third time in the match already. The two fight onto the apron and Pentagon hits a kick to the back of the head. He attempts a springboard DDT, but Trent reverses it into a Northern Light Suplex for a two count. Both men gets strikes in with Trent hitting a knee strikes that knocks Pentagon to the ground. Pentagon regains the advantage and pounds on Trent with hard chops. Trent is whipped into the post as Pentagon plays to the crowd a little bit more. Pentagon with a kick to the leg before rolling Trent back in the ring. He continues to work over Trent. Both men trade blows in the ring, with Trent hitting a clothesline and tries to catch his breath. He attempts a dive to the outside but is caught by a kick to the head. Pentagon misses a stomp, which gives Trent the opening to hit a suplex. Trent hits a big move on the outside before rolling Pentagon back in the ring.
Trent hits a knee to the back of the head for a two count. He charges in the corner and hits an elbow. Pentagon regains the advantage and hits a kick, followed by a sling blade. He covers for the two count. He gets Trent locked in for the Package Piledriver, but Trent reserves it into a neckbreaker for a two count. Trent puts Pentagon on the top rope, but Pentagon escapes and hits a big kick. Big stomp onto Trent for a two count. Back to their feet, Pentagon hits a backstabber, followed by a Canadian Destroyer, for a near fall. I remember when that move was not overused. Pentagon with a Pumphandle Slam, that is reversed into a roll-up for a two count. Treat follows Pentagon out to the apron and both men exchange blows. Package Piledriver on the apron by Pentagon. That looked like it sucked to have to take. Back in the ring, Pentagon attempts another Package Piledriver, but Trent reverses and hits the Dudecrusher for the win at around the 12 minutes mark.
Match Rating: 3.25/5 Stars
Match Notes: This match was a good way to start the show. Both men are really over with the crowd and got a lot of time to get shine in. I love Pentagon, but I wish he didn’t do the “Cero Miedo” stuff so much. Trent got a big win over a quality opponent, which will surprise some people. I know that I was shocked to see it. The Package Piledriver on the apron looked brutal, and the finish was a cool sequence of moves. One thing to point out from this match was that, when they showed replays, you could only hear the audio. It might have only been on my stream, but it happened every time. I did get a good chuckle out of hearing the ring, with both men standing up.
Back in the control room, Tony talks about the upcoming match between Shanna and Big Swole. Before we go to the ring, there is a package shown on Shanna. She talks about her journey to AEW and all the setbacks she had had. She said that when Kenny Omega told her she had a contract, all the hard work had paid off. She talks about never getting a chance and now it’s here. The package ends, and Tony is back in the control room. He throws it to Alex Marvez, who is interviewing Big Swole. She talks about Shanna not being the only one to work through struggles to be here. She says the only thing that matters is what you do while you’re here, before walking off.
Shanna vs. Big Swole
Big Swole, at this point, is an AEW Dark veteran. Without even looking, I think she has been on the last month or so. Shanna is in her third match in AEW here, one of which was a tag team match that also involved Swole.
Swole takes the early advantage as the match begins. Shanna recovers and they go into a test of strength. Swole continues working over the arm, but Shanna is quick to recover. Shanna with a cartwheel and hits a series of strikes, knocking Swole to the mat. Both women exchange near falls. Shanna with a hurricanrana but only gets a one count. Shanna pulls her back to her feet and hits an arm drag. Swole recovers and hits a pump kick to the face for a two count. Swole starts kicking Shanna in the face. She hits a series of elbows that knocks Shanna to the mat. Swole starts choking her on the second rope. She locks on a chinlock before hitting Shanna with some more elbows. Big chop by Swole which has Shanna reeling. Swole with a lazy cover for a two count. Swole with a Guillotine choke and let’s go before the referee count of five. Shanna recovers and punches Swole and both women are down. Both women exchange chops, before Shanna hits an elbow to the head.
She bounces off the ropes and hits another elbow strike. Shanna tries to get the crowd into it and hit a dropkick to the face of Swole. Up to the top, Shanna hits a cross body for a two count. Swole gets back to her feet and throws Shanna into the corner. Shanna takes back the advantage, and Swole is caught upside down on the top rope. Shanna hits a foot stomp but Swole kicks out at two. Shanna bounces off the ropes but is hit with a spinning sidewalk slam, for a two count. Swole hits a knee to the face for another near fall. She gets back to her feet and charges at Shanna, but is met with a right hand. Shanna follows it up with a Dragon Suplex and the win in about 11 minutes.
Match Rating: 2.75/5 Stars
Match Notes: The match overall wasn’t bad, but the crowd was dead for most of it. I am a firm believer that a crowd can make or break a match. Both women worked hard with Swole getting her usual power stuff in, and Shanna being the quicker of the two. Swole has to be on Dynamite eventually, although she has lost pretty much every match she has been in on Dark thus far. Shanna held her own in the ring and the vignette for her was cool to see. The AEW Women’s division has been criticized the most out of everything in the company so far, but they are making strides in making us care about them a little bit more.
Back in the control room with Tony, who talks about Dynamite tomorrow night. He mentions the celebration with Chris Jericho, before showing the replay of Jericho and Scorpio Sky making their match official for the AEW Title. That match should be a good one. Tony also went over the Battle Royale for the Dynamite Diamond Ring, which was won by MJF and “Hangman” Adam Page. Those two will face each other this week on Dynamite for the ring. The booking of MJF has been spot on since his heel turn, and I am excited for that match.
Tony runs down the rest of the night for Dynamite before throwing it to Alex Marvez for a By The Numbers segment. Marvez talks about the biggest talking points going into Dynamite this week, and runs down how the numbers make tomorrow’s edition one you shouldn’t miss. Tony talks a little bit more about upcoming cities for Dynamite, before throwing it back to the ring.
Awesome Kong (w/Brandi Rhodes) vs. Leva Bates (w/Peter Avalon)
This match is a battle of gimmicks that I still don’t understand. The Librarians are purely jobbers at this point, and whatever the hell Kong and Rhodes are trying to develop is lost on me. I guess we should give it a little time to see where it goes.
The bell rings and Bates tries to take Kong by surprise with a shot with her book that has no effect. Kong hits Bates with a few strikes and follows with a spinning back fist. She lifts Bates up, and hits the Soul Collector for the win in under a minute.
Winner: Awesome Kong
Match Rating: 0/5 Stars
Match Notes: When my description for the match is longer than the play by play, it’s definitely a squash match. Awesome Kong is a force in the AEW women’s division, while Bates on the other hand, is in full job mode at this point. The gimmick with Brandi is weird, but as I said before, maybe it needs time to build.
After the match, Kong takes out Avalon as he charges in the ring. Brandi leans down and cuts a lock of Bates’s hair off, as she has done since the debut of this gimmick.
AAA Mega Championship Match
Kenny Omega vs. Jack Evans
This is the first title to be defended on Dark since its debut. They make note on commentary how both men have spent a lot of their careers in Mexico, so the match is big for both of them.
Evans is working the crowd before both men lock up. Evans gains an early advantage and works on Omega’s arm. Both men are back to a neutral position. Evans jaws a little bit before he gets shoved down to the mat. Evans is back up and taunts Omega with the gun point. Omega with hard chops, before hitting a basement dropkick. Evans recovers and starts to dance around the ring. Slaps by both men before Evans hits a kick to the jaw. Omega hits a dropkick as Evans tried a splash from the top. Omega continues striking and chopping Evans. Hard whip into the ropes by Omega. He follows it up with a backbreaker for a two count. Evans gets thrown into the corner hard and falls to the mat. Omega with a Canadian Backbreaker, according to Excalibur, and works over Evans’s neck. Elbow shots by Omega, followed by a back body drop. Omega attempts a powerbomb but Evans blocks it. He hits Evans with shots to the back but Evans recovers and hits Omega with some offense of his own. He covers omega twice, but only gets two counts on both. Evans plays to the crowd, which allows Omega to recover and hit a backbreaker. Omega covers, but Evans gets his foot on the rope. Omega continues kicking Evans in the back. Omega chops him some more, but Evans reverses course an hits a back kick, which sends Omega to the outside. Evans with a huge moonsault, and continues pounding on Omega on the outside. He rolls Omega back in the ring and hits a flip to the inside for a two count.
Both men are back to their feet, and Evans continues to work on Omega. Evans hits some more offense and gets a near fall. Omega recovers and Evans spits in his face. Omega throws him into the corner and hits the Snap Dragon Suplex. Omega tries to hit another one, but Evans fights back. Omega finally regains control and hits another suplex. Both men are on the apron, and Omega attempts a German suplex off the apron. Evans fights it off but is met with a high knee. Omega hits a Snap Dragon Suplex on the outside. He rolls him back in the ring and gets a two count. Omega grabs Evans and hits him with a buckle bomb. Sky High powerbomb by Omega but Evans kicks out. Evans rebounds and hits a top rope neckbreaker, but only gets a two count. Evans climbs back to the top and goes for the 450 splash, but Omega gets the knees up. Omega hits a high knee, followed by a Tiger Driver 98, and gets a nearfall. Evans is slow to get up, and is hit with a V-Trigger. Omega picks Evans up for the One-Winged Angel and the win in about 16 minutes.
Winner and STILL AAA Mega Champion: Kenny Omega
Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Match Notes: This was an above-average match that had two veterans going toe to toe. Even though Jack Evans doesn’t do much for me, he did hit some impressive moves here. Anytime you can get to have a competitive match against one of the biggest wrestlers in the world, it’s always a plus. I don’t have the same hype for Omega as some others do, but he has impressed me so far in AEW. He has definitely shown he is willing to put other guys over, and has had some good matches in the process. They are also playing up the fact that Omega is still feeling the effects from his loss to Jon Moxley at Full Gear. I’m sure those two will meet again down the line.
After the match, we are back in the control room with Tony who gives the final push for Dynamite before the show ends.
Overall Show Grade: 6.5 out of 10
This edition of Dark was slightly above last week’s show. The opening match had some good back and forth action, with Trent getting the surprising win over Pentagon Jr. Shanna and Big Swole has a competitive match and didn’t do anything to hurt either of their cases. The Kong/Rhodes storyline continues to confuse me. Hopefully the payoff to this is worth it. Jack Evans held his own against Kenny Omega and the main event was an above average match. We had four matches instead of the normal three, but in fairness, one was a squash match that took less than a minute. The other three matches went over ten minutes each and had some good work by everyone involved. A solid outing from top to bottom.
What did you think of this week’s edition of AEW Dark? Loved it? Hated it? Didn’t watch it? Either way, keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Support the site. Support each other.