Reviews

A Collective Review of AEW Dark 12/17/2019 by Lance Augustine

Welcome back to the weekly TJRwrestling review of AEW Dark. Last week, we had a pretty solid show, with an above-average main event between Kip Sabian and Kenny Omega. The undercard also shined in spots, with the Jurassic Express picking up their first win, and Scorpio Sky getting a lot of time to stand out in an opening triple threat match. Although it wasn’t perfect, it was definitely a step up from previous outings.

AEW Dark consists of matches taking place before and after that week’s AEW Dynamite, which they put on the AEW Youtube channel the following Tuesday. I’ll post the show at the bottom of the review. Will Dark continue the upward trend of shows? Let’s find out!

AEW Dark from Garland, Texas 12/17/2019

It’s week 11 and the show opens with a package on The Young Bucks. They talk about how they say they are the best tag team in the world, but right now, they aren’t even the best team in AEW. They talk about their upcoming match against SCU for the AEW Tag Team Championships. Matt mentions that even though they are friends outside of the ring, they are coming to take the titles away.

Tony Schiavone and Dasha Gonzales welcome us from the control room. They hype up the tag team match a little more, and run down the matches for tonight before throwing it down to Excalibur for the first match. Excalibur is joined on commentary this week by none other than Vickie Guerrero.

So Cal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) vs. Private Party (Marq Quen and Isaiah Kassidy)

This is not for the AEW Tag Team Titles. They mention on commentary that Private Party isn’t ranked in the Tag Team division. That seems odd to me.

The match begins with Kazarian and Kassidy squaring off. Takedown by Kazarian as he takes the early advantage. He continues working over the head of Kassidy. Kazarian hits a shoulder block, followed by a roll up for a two count. Kassidy attempts and comeback but is cut off. Both men trade roll ups for near falls. They both jump up to their feet and makes tags to their partners. Quen and Sky trade reversals, with Quen hitting a shoulder block. Sky nips up to his feet as the crowd cheers on both teams. Quen takes advantage with a dropkick. Kazarian is back in and hits a kick to the head for a two count. He hits a springboard leg drop for another near fall. Kazarian sends Quen into the corner, and makes a tag to Sky. Sky continues working over Quen, before tagging Kazarian back in. SCU hits some double team moves and Kazarian gets a two count. Quen tries to fight out of the corner and make the tag, but sky grabs the leg and pulls him back. He pick him up, but Quen hits a headscissors that takes out both men. Quen rolls and makes the tag.

Kassidy takes out both men and cleans house. He tags Quen back in and Private Party hits a double team flapjack. Quen goes for a pinfall, but his feet were under the ropes. Nice double team action by Private Party. Quen hits a dropkick and knocks Kazarian to the outside. They play to the crowd, before going over to double team Sky a little bit more. They whip Sky into the opposite corner, but Kazarian is waiting and hits the double clothesline. Backstabber into a double team stomp by SCU for a two count. Quen knocks Sky onto the outside, and hits a dive onto both members of SCU. Kassidy follows it up with a moonsault off the second rope. Back in the ring, Private Party hits a stunner into a superkick for a two count. Quen climbs to the top and attempts a Shooting Star Press, but Sky moves. SCU take the advantage and continue to pound on Quen. On the outside, Kassidy attempts The Silly String but is met with a superkick. They roll Quen back in the ring, hit the SCUlater, and pick up the win in about 14 minutes.

Winner(s): So Cal Uncensored
Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Match Notes: That was a good way to start the show. Both teams worked well together, and even with the loss, Private Party came out looking good. There was a lot of fast paced action and good athleticism. Private Party are future Tag Team Champions, and have made a lot of good strides since debuting. SCU and The Young Bucks will be one hell of a match on Dynamite. Hopefully, anyway.

After the match, SCU celebrate in the ring and we are rejoined by Tony and Dasha in the control center. They talk about the AEW Women’s division and send it over to Lexy Nair. Lexy goes over the rankings in the women’s division. Emi Sakura drops from two to five, followed by Nyla Rose at 4, Hikura Shida at three, Kris Statlander at two and Britt Baker in the top spot. She’s a dentist in case you didn’t know. Lexy also announces a number one contender’s match for the AEW Women’s Title pitting Britt Baker vs. Kris Statlander on Dynamite tomorrow night.

Dr. Britt Baker vs. Machiko

Joey Janela is joining Vickie and Excalibur on commentary for this match. Just as a quick side note, I don’t think anyone was clamoring for Joey Janela to be on commentary.

Baker and Machiko face off in the middle of the ring. Both women exchange blows, before Baker hits a stiff elbow to the face. She covers Machiko for a two count. Baker continues to work her over with an armbar in the middle of the ring. Machiko recovers and throws Baker into the corner. Baker regains the advantage and hits the Sling Blade, followed by a swinging neckbreaker for a near fall. Machiko is slow to get up and gets hit with a super kick. Baker puts her in the Lockjaw and gets the win in about 5 minutes.

Winner: Dr. Britt Baker
Match Rating: 1.75/5 Stars

Match Notes: There wasn’t much to the match at all. Machiko didn’t get much offense in, and it was essentially a squash match. Britt Baker is the number one contender for the AEW Women’s Title so her winning here makes sense. She can be exposed sometimes with her limited ring experience, but she can hold her own. Also, AEW has an obsession with mentioning her dentistry credentials.

Baker celebrates her victory in the ring and we are back with Tony and Dasha. They talk a little more about the match between Baker and Statlander tomorrow night, and we are ready for the next match.

Bea Priestley vs. Kris Statlander

Priestley hasn’t been seen much on AEW television, while Statlander has been on a hot streak as of late.

The match begins with Priestley taking the early advantage. She taunts Statlander before hitting her with a stiff chip to the chest. Statlander recovers and hits Priestley with some nice offense. She throws her to the outside and both women start working on the floor. Priestley recovers and hits a suplex to Statlander on the apron. She rolls her back in the ring, and continues to work Statlander over. Statlander attempts a comeback, but Priestley grabs her hair and throws her to the mat. She gets a quick near fall. Priestley continues to kick and stomp on Statlander. She hits a drop kick for near fall. Priestley works on her in the corner. Statlander reverses course and takes back the advantage with a boot to the face. Statlander hits a spinning heel kick, followed by an elbow, for a two count. Statlander goes for a tombstone, but Priestley reverses with a German Suplex. Statlander hits a clothesline, and knocks Priestley to the outside. She follows that with a dive to the outside. The Nightmare Collective are ringside, and are still trying to recruit Statlander. She is distracted, which gives Priestley the advantage with a stomp to the back of the head. Priestley is back to her feet and puts Statlander on her shoulders, but she reversed into a roll up for a two count. Both women exchange nearfalls. Statlander recovers and hits a scissor kick for a two count. Statlander brings Priestley to her feet and hits The Big Bang Theory for the win at around the 11 minute mark.

Winner: Kris Statlander
Match Rating: 2.25/ 5 Stars

Match Notes: That was the better of the two women’s matches. Priestley held her own, but Statlander is obviously one with the rocket ship strapped to her back. Her match with Britt Baker should be above average, and she has shown to be a good competitor. I think she will be the next women’s champion, or at least be in the next title match against Riho. That’s the direction this seems to be going, anyway.

After the match, Tony and Dasha talk about Statlander’s hot streak in AEW. A Statlander package is shown with her talking about Britt Baker. She says that she has come to be her leader. She is an alien, after all. She shuts the elevator door and the package ends. It’s main event time.

Hyrbid 2 (Jack Evans and Angelico) and “The Bastard” Pac vs. The Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent) and “Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy

Pac teaming with the The Hybrid 2 here is a such a weird pairing. Orange Cassidy is so over with this crowd.

We are off and running with Angelico starting the match with Trent. Both men exchange blows, with Trent hitting an arm drag. He continues to work on Angelico and makes the tag to Taylor. He teases a tag to Cassidy, which the fans love, but Angelico cuts him off with a kick to the head. Angelico tags in Pac, and he wastes no time hitting Taylor with some strong offense. Pac makes the tag to Evans. He gets in the ring and stomps on Taylor for a two count. Evans makes another quick tag to Angelico, but Taylor rebounds and takes both men down. He makes his way to the corner and tags in Trent. Trent in a house of fire and takes down all three men. Back body drop from Trent to Evans. He hits a knee strike, followed by a splash to the outside on both members of Hybrid 2.

Trent gets back in the ring and teases a tag to Cassidy again, but Pac cuts them off and takes all three men out. Pac with a cover on Trent for a near fall. The fans chant for Orange Cassidy, as Pac continues to work over Trent in their corner. He tags in Evans, who hits Trent with a kick to the head for a two count. Evans makes a quick tag back to Pac. Pac throws Trent into the corner and hits the Blue Thunder Bomb on the rebound for a two count. Trent tries to makes a comeback, but Pac sniffs him out. Trent gets to his feet, and hits a Half and Half suplex for a two count. Pac makes a tag to Angelico, who cuts Trent off before he could make one himself. Angelico knocks Taylor off the apron and brushes off Cassidy. Taylor takes advantage of the distraction and hits a DDT for a two count. He makes his way to his feet and gets the tag to Cassidy. The crowd is going nuts for this. Cassidy hits Angelico with some pocket offense and knocks him out of the ring. Pac in back in the ring and Cassidy hits him with the shin kicks. That’s always a fun spot because the crowd is so into it. Pac whips him into the ropes, but Cassidy reverses it with a DDT. He puts his hands back in the pockets and hits a splash to the outside. All three members of Best Friends are in the ring. They share a moment and hug, which the crowd is just in love with. They hit Angelico with a double chokeslam, followed by a splash from Cassidy, for a two count. That actually surprised me that he kicked out of that. Taylor is the legal man, and attempts a moonsault but Angelico moves. Hybrid 2 isolate Taylor and hit him with some double team offense. Pac comes in with a 450 splash for a two count. Cassidy and Pac face off in the ring, with Pac hitting a big kick on Cassidy. Pac turns his attention to Taylor and locks him in the Brutalizer. Taylor hangs on for a bit, but Pac keeps it locked in. Taylor taps out and Pac picks up the win for his team at around the 15 minute mark.

Winner(s): Hybrid 2 and Pac
Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Match Notes: That was a fun match to end the show. All six men had their chance to shine, and it was back and forth action from start to finish. Most of the appeal for Best Friends is how over they are with any crowd, especially Orange Cassidy, and this was no different. They crowd was into everything they did and that made the match that much better. Hybrid 2 did enough to not get lost in the shuffle, but Pac is a star, and he was the standout of the match. The Brutalizer is a cool looking move, and it looks legitimately painful. I am excited to see where he goes next.

Best Friends celebrate in the ring, and we are back with Tony and Dasha in the control room. They talk about Dynamite tomorrow night, and the show comes to a close.

Overall Show Rating: 7 out of 10

This was one of the best episodes of Dark to date. The opening match with SCU and Private Party was fun, which you have come to expect with those two teams. Britt Baker getting a dominant win over Machiko wasn’t surprising and just keeps her momentum moving forward. Kris Statlander and Bea Priestley had a solid match, as well. It’ll be interesting to see how they book Statlander vs. Baker with both women getting a push currently. Statlander is going to be in the Women’s Title discussion very soon. The main event also delivered and had a lot of bright spots. One of the negatives on this show though had to be the commentary by Janela and Guerrero. I don’t know how many bad jokes we can hear in a night, but this had to be some kind of record. I don’t mind the guest commentators, but tonight was a good example of people making Excalibur sound like Jim Ross in his prime. Other than that, a very solid show overall.

What did you think of week 11 of AEW Dark? Loved it? Hated it? Did you watch NWA instead? As always, keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel and let me know your thoughts. Support the site. Support each other. I will be back soon enough with some more Collective Thoughts.