Reviews

A Collective Review of AEW Dark 11/5/2019 by Lance Augustine

Welcome back to the TJRwrestling weekly review of AEW Dark. Last week on Dark, it was a multi-person match galore, including a wild 3-way main event and another solid outing for the Dark brand.

The AEW Dark show has matches taped from last week’s AEW event and they post the full show on the AEW Youtube channel. I will post the show at the bottom of the review. How does the week 5 edition of Dark stack up? Let’s find out!

AEW Dark from Charleston, West Virginia 11/5/2019

Before we dive into the show it was announced that MJF would be joining Excalibur on commentary this week, which should rule.

After an hour delay, we are in the control room with Tony Schiavone. They usually post it at 7pmET, but this week it was an hour later. He runs down the matches for tonight and talks about Full Gear. He welcomes in Dasha Fuentes, who is one of the Spanish announcers. Tony sends it to Excalibur and MJF for the first match.

Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard) vs. Micheal Nakazawa

This is the first time we have seen Nakazawa in a while. The match begins with the fans firmly behind Nakazawa. The two lock up with Spears taking an early advantage. Spears takes turns working over Nakazawa in the corners. Both men take turns getting different holds in. Spears with a head scissors takes Nakazawa down. They take some time to regroup with Spears grabbing a waist lock, only to have Nakazawa do the oil gimmick. Spears regains the advantage with punches and chops into the corner. Nakazawa regains the advantage and pours the oil on Spears, followed by Slippery a Senton. Both men are on the outside with Spears hitting a move onto the apron. Back in the ring, Spears takes down Nakazawa and takes his time working over different body parts. Spears with a single leg crab as Nakazawa reaches and gets to the ropes. Spears continues to chop and stomp on Nakazawa. Nakazawa fires back up and the two trade blows in the middle of the ring. Nakazawa with an inside cradle for a two count. Both men trade places back and forth in the ring with Nakazawa hitting a Samoan Drop in the ring. Nakazawa then reaches for his underwear and looks to hit Spears with them. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. Spears recovers with a scissors kick, followed by a Slingshot Brainbuster for the win at the 9-minute mark.

Winner: Shawn Spears
Match Rating: 1.75/5 stars

Match Notes: The match was below average. The crowd didn’t have much heat for it and the chemistry between the two just wasn’t there. Nakazawa is a little too gimmicky for me, and Spears is just wallowing away with no direction. The finish of the match had a cool Tully throwback move, so that’s a plus. Spears can be a good upper mid-carder, but he just needs some direction moving forward.

After the match, Blanchard and Spears celebrate his first AEW victory.

Back in the control room, Tony and Dasha talk about the AEW women’s division and introduce the next match.

Mercedes Martinez and Big Swole vs. Allie and Sadie Gibbs

Allie and Sadie Gibbs were opponents last week in the women’s four-way match and they are teaming this week. The match begins with Swole and Gibbs looking for an early advantage. Swole hits Gibbs with a few shoulders which have no effect. The two trade leapfrogs, which ends with Gibbs hitting a spine buster for a two count. Swole recovers and tags in Martinez. The two work over Gibbs with some double team moves. Blind tag from Allie and she’s in to take the advantage. Double team offense from Allie and Gibbs which ends in a two count. Martinez makes a comeback and hits Gibbs with a curb stomp-like maneuver for a near fall. Swole is in after a tag and both members work over Gibbs some more in the ring. Swole shows the power with some nice moves and a big uppercut. Swole puts Gibbs in front face lock which is reversed into a suplex. Gibbs recovers enough to make the tag to Allie, who cleans house. Allie takes Martinez to the middle of the ring and attempts a neck breaker but it’s reserved into a spine buster.

Martinez tags Swole back in and they work Allie over in the corner. Allie hits some elbows and a side Russian leg sweep. She covers Swole for a two count. Swole back up and hits a kick to Allie for another near fall. Martinez is back in with the triple suplexes, the last one being a delayed one. Allie trying to make a comeback hits a backbreaker and instead of going for the tag decides to hit Martinez in the corner. Martinez comes back with a kick to Allie and both women are down. They both make a tag with Gibbs getting the early advantage, but is quickly taken down by both her opponents. All three women go back out to the floor, with Gibbs being the only one left in the ring. She hits a plancha over the top onto all three of the other women. Back in the ring, Martinez hits a Fisherman Buster but is intercepted by Allie. Allie hits a Death Valley Driver as all four women are down on the mat. Gibbs and Martinez are the first two up and exchange blows. Gibbs attempted a move from the top but is caught and hit with a double team move for a two count. Martinez and Swole attempt another double team move but it’s caught by Allie again. Sadie Gibbs hits a Moonsault and picks up the win in about 14 minutes.

Winner(s): Allie and Sadie Gibbs
Match Rating: 1.5/5 Stars

Match Notes: There is a lot to digest here. Martinez and Swole worked better as a unit of the two teams. Allie and Gibbs weren’t bad either, but these two teams just didn’t gel. AEW really is lacking in the women’s division and it has shown the last two weeks in particular. All four women in the match were fine, but it’s hard to get invested in some of these matches with no real knowledge of the women involved. Swole showed some power and Gibbs had a nice outing too. Overall, the match was a bit of a letdown.

Excalibur and MJF send it back to the control room where Tony and Dasha talk about Full Gear coming up on Saturday. They announce that Britt Baker will take on Bea Priestley in a match just added to the show. They throw it to a package where Baker talks about Priestley hurting her at Fight for the Fallen. She talks about how this match she will get her revenge and that she will hurt Priestley at Full Gear. The package ends and it’s announced that this match will be on the Buy-In for the PPV. They run down the rest of the Full Gear card, and they show footage of the contract signing between Jericho and Rhodes on Dynamite last week.

From Undesirable to Undeniable with Cody

This week has Jimmy Havoc sitting down with Cody. Havoc is known for “deathmatch” wrestling mostly but had shown some good stuff in AEW so far. They talk about Havoc being one of the first people signed to AEW. Havoc talks about being undesirable because he likes to be himself and that rubs some people the wrong way. He talks about no one wanting to sign him and says he is the one laughing now. Havoc talks about being undeniable by being here now. He said he won’t be denied doing what he loves as Cody thanks him and the segment is over.

Segment Notes: I really like these little interview segments. This really gives AEW a chance to explore their roster have fans get to know them better. Hearing these backstories are always cool, and Havoc was no exception. It showed some clips of his journey and it was nice to see more about him in general.

Tony and Dasha are back and talk about the main event match before throwing it back to Excalibur and MJF.

Joey Janela and Jimmy Havoc vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt)

Janela is starting to become an AEW Dark regular. Havoc and Jungle Boy start the match squaring off with Havoc working Jungle Boy into the corner. The two exchange blows before Havoc regains the advantage. He bites Jungle Boy on his arm before tagging in Janela. Jungle Boy works Janela into his corner and makes a tag to Stunt. Stunt hits Janela with a flurry of strikes before tagging Jungle Boy back in. Jungle Boy continues working over Havoc before Stunt comes in for some double teamwork. The two continue to hit some strikes but Havoc gets a tag to Janela. All four men spill to the floor with Jungle Boy and Stunt hit big moves to the outside. Jungle Boy and Janela are back in for a two count on Janela. Stunt is back in with a foot stomp, but is taken out by Havoc. Havoc uses the tag rope to choke Stunt in his corner before locking on a chin lock.

Stunt tries to make a comeback but is pulled down by his hair. Janela back in now and starts to lay the boots to Stunt. He works Stunt over with some rest holds and throws him back down the mat. German Suplex by Janela to Stunt and then Janela tosses him outside. Havoc rolls Stunt back in the ring but the referee to distracted. Havoc back up and starts to bite down on Stunt. Havoc throws Stunt into the corner, but Stunt makes a comeback. He tags in Jungle Boy who cleans house. He hits a dropkick to Janela and starts to bite down on Havoc. Jungle Boy hits a kick and an elbow for a nearfall. Leg drop by Jungle Boy for another nearfall. Jungle Boy maintains the advantage and hits some chops on Havoc. He attempts to knock Janela off the apron, but it hit with an elbow by Havoc. Jungle Boy then hits an atomic drop and Janela oversells it. Manhattan Drop by Jungle Boy before tagging Stunt back in. Stunt hits some splashes before being hit by Janela. Havoc hits the Tiger Driver on Stunt and Janela hits Jungle Boy with a big clothesline. Stunt is back in and is caught by Havoc, who hits a big move for a nearfall. Havoc goes under the ring and pulls out a staple gun. Janela grabs it away from Havoc and puts a staple in his head. Janela then climbs to the top but is kicked in the back of the head by Stunt. Stunt climbs up with Janela who puts him in position for a Package Piledriver. Jungle Boy attempts to make the save, but is taken out of the ring by Havoc. Janela then hits the Package Piledriver from the top rope to pick up the win in 15 minutes.

Winner(s): Joey Janela and Jimmy Havoc
Match Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Match Notes: Pretty good tag team match with Janela looking the best throughout. Jurassic Express is sorely missing Luchasaurus. Marko Stunt is fine, but the team will be much better once Lucha returns. Jungle Boy got some offense in but nothing spectacular. Jimmy Havoc getting stapled is a spot that shouldn’t shock anyone. Janela winning here was the best outcome and was the right move. That Package Piledriver looked brutal.

After the match, Jimmy Havoc looked pissed at Janela for hitting him with the staple gun. He is bleeding from the head and walks up the ramp. Janela walks backstage smoking a cigarette. He is confronted by Tully Blanchard and after a brief exchange, is attacked by Shawn Spears. Spears then takes a pair of pliers and pulls out Janela’s tongue and proceeds to put the cigarette out on it. Tully pushes the camera away and that’s the end of the show. I fully expect Janela and Spears to be added to Full Gear on Saturday.

Overall Show Grade: 4.5 out of 10

This was definitely the worst episode of Dark yet. Between the matches being middle of the road and the crowd being dead, this didn’t come off as well as the previous weeks. MJF got some good commentary in and was the star of the show. Normally, the matches have stood out but this week was nothing spectacular. The main event was the best match of the night, but that isn’t saying much. Also, shoutout to the person that uploaded the show an hour late. John will be reviewing Dynamite and Full Gear this week so make to keep your eyes peeled for that. They have a lot of ground to cover and should add some matches before it’s all said and done.

What did you think of this week’s AEW Dark? Loved it? Hated it? Didn’t watch it? As always keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Support the site and each other and I’ll be back soon enough with some more Collective Thoughts.