Reviews

A Collective Review of AEW Dark 12/24/19 by Lance Augustine

Welcome to the weekly TJRwrestling review of AEW Dark. Last week, AEW had one of the best episodes of Dark produced thus far, and really set the bar for what the show can be. It would have been the best show to date, but Vickie Guerrero and Joey Janela’s guest commentary was pretty horrific. Normally, I don’t rag on things like that too much, but they were noticeably bad. It didn’t take away from the matches, however, which is what it’s all about. The opening and main event matches stood out, while the two women’s matches held their own. Also, if you missed an episode of Dark or plan to in the future and want to know my thoughts about a show, you can find all the reviews here.

AEW Dark consists of matches taking place before and after that week’s episode of Dynamite, which they post to the AEW Youtube channel the following Tuesday. I will post the show at the bottom of the review. How will they follow up last week’s show? Let’s find out!

AEW Dark from Corpus Christi, Texas 12/24/2019

It’s week 11 of Dark and we are joined by Tony Schiavone and Dasha Gonzalez in the control room. They mention that there will be no episode of Dynamite this week, due to it falling on Christmas Day. They talk about the matches for tonight, before throwing it down to the ring for the first match. Excalibur is joined this week by Colt Cabana on commentary. A very large step up from last week.

“Spanish God” Sammy Guevara vs. Brandon Cutler

Guevara is winless in singles action so far in AEW, and Cutler has been pretty forgettable. It pays to have friends in high places, I suppose.

The match starts with Guevara avoiding offense by Cutler, and playing to the crowd. Both men go back and forth before Guevara gets the upper hand with a dropkick. Cutler recovers and backs Guevara into the corner. Dropkick by Cutler. He knocks Guevara to the out of the ring. Cutler follows that up with a splash to the outside. Both men exchange splashes, before Cutler rebounds and takes Guevara down. They climb up on the apron with Cutler attempting a suplex, but Guevara fights out. He stuns Cutler and hits a double foot stomp on the apron. This company loves that move. He kicks Cutler back to the outside, before rolling him back in. Guevara grabs the mic and says he will take anyone on in the crowd, before rolling back in the ring. Guevara remains on the offensive and hits a series of kicks to the back. He climbs to the top but he jumps down and slaps on a chinlock. Cutler recovers with a kick to the head of Guevara.

Cutler hits a kick to the face that knocks Guevara to the ground. He hits a full Nelson slam but doesn’t go for the cover. Cutler hits a springboard elbow off the top rope for a two count. He pulls Guevara to his feet, but Guevara recovers and rolls him up for a two count. Guevara hits a springboard cutter and follows that up with a Shooting Star Press for a near fall. Cutler rolls out of the pin with a crucifix for a two count. He isn’t on the offensive for long, as Guevara recovers and hits a knee strike to the head for the win in about 9 minutes of action.

Winner: Sammy Guevara
Match Rating: 2.25/5 Stars

Match Notes: This match was way better than it had any business being. Brandon Cutler has been booked as a loser so far in AEW. That didn’t change here, but he got more offense in than usual. Guevara hit some nice offense, and definitely holds his own for his size. He is a throwback to the cruiserweights of WCW. Guevara is also part of the Inner Circle and benefits from being part of a group surrounded by veterans. I was shocked to see that he was winless up to this point. Then again, I don’t think the records matter as much as we are lead to believe.

Post match, Guevara celebrates up the ramp and we are sent to the back with Jenn Decker who is with Joey Janela.

Decker asks him about his rivalry with Shawn Spears. Janela talks about this being a night that Spears won’t ever forget. That was the entire interview. Riveting stuff. We are back to the ring for the next match.

The Hybrid 2 (Angelico and Jack Evans) vs. Private Party (Marq Quen and Isaiah Cassidy) vs. Proud and Powerful (Santana and Ortiz) vs. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent)

On paper, this should absolutely be the match of the night. An episode of Dark would also not be complete without an appearance by The Hybrid 2.

The match begins with Quen and Santana starting things off. Both men take their time starting off the action, before Santana hits an elbow. Quen regains his composure and hits a dropkick and knock Santana to the mat. Santana makes the tag into Jack Evans, with Quen tagging in Trent. Evans takes the advantage with a side headlock. Trent attempts to reverse it but Evans maintains control. Trent is back to his feet and hits a hard chop. Trent tags in Chuck Taylor and both men hit some double team moves on Evans. Angelico gets in the ring, but both members of Best Friends cut them off with a double fall away slam. TH2 roll out of the ring, as Private Party hit a double team move on Ortiz. You read that right. All 8 men are in the ring at this point, with Best Friends and Private Party clearing the ring. They tease a four way hug, but are cut off by Santana and Ortiz. Evans and Taylor, the legal men, are back in the ring. Evans works him over in the corner, before Taylor recovers and hits a boot to the face, before tagging in Isiah Cassidy. Cassidy hits some offense, but Evans recovers and hits a boot to the back of the head. He continues to work Cassidy over in the corner. Evans tags in Angelico, and he works over Cassidy some more.

Ortiz gets a blind tag on Angelico and both members of Proud and Powerful are in the ring. They hit multiple double teams moves before getting a near fall. Ortiz picks up Cassidy and hits The Claw. He makes a tag to Santana, who hits two vertical suplexes. He picks Cassidy up for a third and exchanges the delayed suplex with Ortiz. They exchange tags, before Cassidy rebounds and kicks Ortiz in the head. Cassidy follows that up with a Flatliner on Santana. Evans pulls Quen down off the apron so Cassidy can’t make a tag, which gives Proud and Powerful the upper hand. Rolling kick by Santana for a near fall. Cassidy makes a tag to Taylor, who cleans house. He hits Sliced Bread #2 on Santana, and takes Angelico out of the equation. Taylor tags in Trent, and he hits offense on Evans and Ortiz. Running knee by Trent. Best Friends go for double Suicide Dives, but Santana and Ortiz hit them with elbows. Proud and Powerful go to look under the ring, and they pull out a ladder that Orange Cassidy is laying on. They push it back under, and all four teams take turns hitting splashes to the outside. TH2 are the last ones standing, and go to pull out the same ladder Proud and Powerful went for. Orange Cassidy isn’t on the ladder anymore, and is climbing to the top. He puts his hands in his pockets and hits a dive on both men. Back in the ring, Best Friends hit a double superplex on Ortiz for a two count. Ortiz charges to the corner but Trent counters with a boot to the face. Cassidy lunches Ortiz and somehow that is considered a tag. I wish I was kidding. Private Party hit the Silly String on Trent and send him out of the ring. Santana rolls back in the ring and hits a stiff kick to Cassidy. Private Party go for the Silly String again, but Santana counters and slams Cassidy to the ground. Ortiz takes out Quen with the loaded sock, as Santana hits a low blow on Cassidy in the ring. Proud and Powerful follow that up with the Street Sweeper for the win in about 19 minutes.

Winner(s): Proud and Powerful
Match Rating: 3/5 Stars

Match Notes: That was a chaotic, but overall above average match. All four teams had time to shine, and Proud and Powerful winning here isn’t a shock. Private Party showed great athleticism as always. They are future Tag Team Champions. Quen has the most potential of the two, but Isiah Cassidy definitely isn’t a scrub. TH2 are solid hands, but didn’t have much heat throughout the match. Excalibur had a line during the match that sums AEW’s tag team division up to this point when he said “Colt, I’ll give you 20 bucks if you can tell me who the legal man is.” Oh boy.

After the match, we are shown replays, while Proud and Powerful celebrate in the ring.

Jenn Decker is on the ramp and introduces her guest, Pac. Pac comes out and tells Jenn she forgot to introduce the guest of the evening. He goes to the back and brings out Michael Nakazawa, who he had been “beating up” all night. That’s actually good continuity from the story that started on Dynamite. He rolls Nakazawa into the ring, and wraps a chair around his neck. He grabs a mic, and climbs to the top. Pac calls out Kenny Omega and tells him he wants a rubber match. He jumps off the top rope but misses the chair around Nakazawa’s neck. He ends the segment looking into the camera and saying “this is your last warning.” It’s time for the main event.

Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard) vs. Joey Janela

Spears comes out to the ring and starts talking down to the crowd. He picks a kid out of the crowd and goes to tell him Santa Clause isn’t real. Before he does, Christmas music starts to play, and Joey Janela comes down to the ring dressed as Santa. Spears hits Janela from behind and takes the early advantage. Janela recovers and puts the Santa hat on Spears’ head. He knocks him to the outside, and Janela follows it up with a suicide dive. Janela attempts to take part of the suit off, but Spears hits him with a chop. Both men exchange offense on the outside. Janela throws Spears into the guardrail. He climbs to the top, but Spears gets to his feet and knocks him down. Spears follows that up with a slam for a near fall. Spears climbs to the top, but Janela rolls out of the way. He runs to the other side but Janela rolls away again. Cartwheel by Spears, followed by a middle finger to the crowd. Janela uses the distraction to his advantage and hits a kick to the head. Spears rolls out to the apron, as Janela hits another kick to the face. They battle over the guardrail and Janela finds someone dressed as Jesus. A Jesus chant ensues. Both men are back in the ring, with Spears hitting a Spinebuster for a two count. He throws Janela to the outside. Janela counters with a punch that knocks Spears to the ground. Tully Blanchard gets in the ring, and Janela is soon to follow. They circle each other in the ring. Spears gets back in and gets a roll up for a two count. C4 attempt by Spears, but Janela reverses in a discus elbow. Janela goes to the top rope and hits an elbow drop and picks up the win in about 12 minutes.

Winner: Joey Janela
Match Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Match Notes: This was a blowoff match to a feud that had no heat. Shawn Spears has been relegated to losing to Joey Janela, although, the writing was on the wall with Janela coming out in the Santa suit. Santa isn’t allowed to lose a match. The match overall was average with nothing really standing out. I have been saying it for weeks, but Tully Blanchard needs to be used better. It feels like Spears and Blanchard have been on Dark more times than most other talents so far. Hopefully, they find something for them to do down the road.

After the match, Janela hits the ropes to play to the crowd. He is thrown some beers and turns around to find Spears is back on his feet. Janela hits Spears with a Stunner and drinks beers in the ring as the show goes off the air.

Overall show rating: 6 out of 10

The show didn’t do anything to slow momentum of Dark having a few quality shows in a row. The opening match set the tone, with Guevara and Cutler having a good back and forth match. That was Cutler’s best outing so far in AEW. The four way tag team match was the best match of the night and had a lot of high flying action. All four teams had their chance to standout, and Proud and Powerful getting the win makes sense. Private Party is the team to watch and out of all four, they are the future stars of AEW’s tag team division. The main event was fine and was a good way to send the fans home happy for the holidays. The Santa gimmick always goes over well. Another good episode of Dark from top to bottom.

What did you think of Week 11 of AEW Dark? Loved it? Hated it? Had too many other things going on? Either way, keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Support the site and support each other.

Let me take this time to also wish everyone Happy Holidays. Hopefully, we can all enjoy this time with friends and loved ones. Don’t hit anyone over the head with a steel chair during the festivities, though. See you next time.