Welcome back to the weekly TJRwrestling review of AEW Dark. Last week on Dark, we had four matches instead of three, including a title match for the AAA Mega Championship between Kenny Omega and Jack Evans, with the show being better than some of the week’s prior, overall.
AEW Dark consists of matches taped before and after that week’s episode of Dynamite, which they post on the AEW Youtube channel the following Tuesday. I will post the show at the bottom of the review. Will AEW keep the momentum of non terrible shows going this week? Let’s find out!
AEW Dark from Chicago, Illinois 12/3/2019
It’s episode 9, and we open with a recap of what happened last week on Dynamite between MJF and “Hangman” Adam Page for the Dynamite Diamond Ring. It was a decent match, and had DDP come out at the end, which was cool.
We are joined in the control room by Tony Schiavone and Dasha Gonzales. Dasha missed last week’s episode of Dark, but makes her return here. They recap what we just saw in the package, and put over Wardlow being by MJF’s side. They talk about how arrogant MJF can be, before running down the matches for tonight. They also mention that Shanna was supposed to join Excalibur on commentary, but due to being attacked by Nyla Rose last week, won’t be there. Nyla will take her place on commentary.
Jimmy Havoc vs Brandon Cutler
This should be an interesting match. Havoc is known for being a “deathmatch” wrestler almost exclusively, and Cutler hasn’t done much to raise his stock so far in AEW. I will also mention that Cutler’s attire looks like he should be a member of The Ascension.
The match begins with both men circling the ring. Havoc gains the early advantage, as the fans start chanting “we want staples”. Oh, the world of wrestling these days. Havoc with a crucifix pin for a two count. Cutler composes himself and starts working over Havoc’s arm. Cutler attempts a backslide, but Havoc starts biting him to escape. Havoc flips him off, before hitting a stiff right hand. Cutler is whipped into the ropes but counters with a backflip and regains the advantage. He clotheslines Havoc to the outside. Cutler attempts to go for a dive, but is stopped in his tracks when Havoc grabs a staple gun. Havoc with a low blow, which sends Cutler to the outside. He throws Cutler into the guardrail and continues biting his hand. Cutler lays some punches in, with Havoc begging for more. He hits some stiff chops on the outside, with Cutler against the guardrail. Havoc with a corner suplex, followed by another one. Cutler comes back with some offense, and hits a knee drop. He pulls Havoc back up but is bitten again by Havoc. Cutler recovers and hits a spinning slam for a two count. Cutler charges the corner, but Havoc gets the feet up and slam Cutler to the mat. Both men are on the apron, with Cutler hitting a legdrop with Havoc draped on the second rope. Springboard elbow drop by Cutler as they get back in the ring, but only gets a two. Havoc gets back to his feet and hits the Acid Rainmaker for the win in about 8 minutes.
Winner: Jimmy Havoc
Match Rating: 1.75/5 Stars
Match Notes: The match was slow from beginning to end and didn’t have much heat throughout. I think Jimmy Havoc is limited in what you can do with him. I have a hard time getting over a wrestler biting their opponent more than one time in a match. I get it as a way for a heel to get some heat, but three times in a match is a little overboard. Like I talked about before the match, Brandon Cutler hasn’t shown much in AEW. I like the fact that the dude is getting a shot, but he has lost almost every match he has had.
After the match, Havoc grabs the staple gun again, and proceeds to staple a check to Cutler’s forehead. I wish I was making that up.
Cutler is shown backstage confronting Havoc about stapling the check to his head. Havoc talks about that being the check that he was fined for using the staple gun in the battle royal. Havoc says when AEW signed him, they knew what they were getting and he will continue to do what he wants.
Back in the control room, Tony and Dasha talk about Havoc, and his ideals in wrestling. They go to a video package about The Dark Order. These packages on The Dark Order are cool, and are doing a better job of putting the team over. Tony and Dasha then talk about Cody and his return to the ring last week on Dynamite. The match with Cody was a squash, and was followed by a debut of The Butcher and The Blade, which drew zero reaction. The Butcher is the guitarist for the hardcore band Every Time I Die, so I was stoked to see it. It didn’t seem like many other people were. Tony and Dasha get us set for the next match.
“The Chairman” Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard) vs. Sonny Kiss
The match begins and the fans are clearly behind Kiss. They both tie up, with not one getting a clear advantage. Kiss taunts Spears with a split, followed by a shake of the butt. Kiss with a dropkick, and has Spears caught on the second rope. A leg drop knocks Spears to the mat for a two count. Spears recovers and flips Kiss to the outside. Spears hits a suplex on the apron of the ring. He rolls Kiss back in the ring, and starts to stomp him in the corner. Kiss pulls himself up but Spears picks him up and hits the Death Valley Driver for the win in 3 minutes.
Winner: Shawn Spears
Match Rating: 1/5 Stars
Match Notes: I feel like I am being generous with that rating because I think Kiss can play a role in AEW’s future. He is athletic and his moves are impressive. Spears continues to be a non-factor, which is a shame because I think he can be a strong competitor too. This was essentially a squash match, and why AEW chooses to have them on a one hour show is beyond me. I am a fan of both of these guys, but this match didn’t have much to it. Also, Tully should be a bigger deal. I get he is just Spears manager, but he was a horseman, dammit.
After the match, Spears continues the assault, with him and Tully hitting a Spike Piledriver on the floor.
Back with Tony and Dasha, who continues to put over the spike piledriver, and how dangerous the move is. Tony mentions talking to Tully, who said he wanted Spears to be a little more aggressive, and this shows the last couple of weeks have shown that.
We get a commercial for Jericho’s champagne line. Fantastic marketing nod to whoever came up with this idea.
There is a package showing Dustin Rhodes and The Young Bucks getting the upper hand on The Inner Circle, leading to a match tomorrow night on Dynamite. Trent vs. Rey Fenix and Christopher Daniels vs. Pentagon Jr. are announced for Dynamite, as well. I will say that if Trent picks up another surprise win over Fenix, I will be floored. Which means it’ll probably happen.
Tony and Dasha go over the angle between Moxley and Jericho, and talk about Moxley’s match against Joey Janela. They both go over the upcoming AEW live events. before going to a package on The Jurassic Express, which is Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt. They are starting to get better at building their wrestlers. So that’s always a plus.
The Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt) vs. Proud and Powerful (Santana and Ortiz)
I would just like to point out that The Jurassic Express has zero wins. What a crying shame.
Jungle Boy and Santana are the first men in the ring. Santana with a chop in the corner. He takes Jungle Boy to the ground. Santana continues to work over Jungle Boy with an arm bar. Jungle Boy recovers and hits a step up hurricanrana. He follows it up with a dropkick. Jungle Boy hits a flying elbow in the corner, before tagging in Stunt. The Express start to hit some double team moves. Stunt with a cover on Ortiz for a two count. I swear I didn’t see a tag to Ortiz. Stunt and Jungle Boy continue to work together and hits Ortiz with some offense. Santana sees enough and gets in the ring and a suplex on Stunt. Ortiz continues to pace the ring, and starts to dig the nails into the back of Stunt. Back suplex for a two count. Tag to Santana, who continues to hit Stunt with kicks, before hitting a delayed vertical suplex. He passes it off to Ortiz, and both men continue to exchange tags, and continue to keep Stunt up with the suplex. Stunt recovers and rolls Santana up for a two count.
Santana isn’t out for long and hits three more suplexes. Ortiz and Stunt are on the outside, and Ortiz starts to mock the crowd. Santana and Jungle Boy are out on the other side of the ring. Proud and Powerful pick both men up and slam them together. They unfold some chairs and sit both men down. Ortiz helps Santana elevate into a senton, crashing into both members of The Express. Ortiz rolls Stunt back in the ring and lays in the Boston Crab. Stunt gets back to his feet and gets the hot tag to Jungle Boy. He cleans house and takes out both members of Proud and Powerful. Jungle Boy with a Crossbody for a two count. Ortiz grabs Jungle Boy’s leg and they regain the advantage. Sunset flip by Santana but is broken up by a splash by Stunt. Stunt attempts a pin but isn’t the legal man. Ahh, tag team rules, how I miss you so. Stunt hits a jumping cutter for a two count. He climbs to the top, but is caught by Santana, who hits a back drop. Ortiz hits Stunt with the Liger Bomb, followed by a boot by Santana for the win at around the 14-minute mark.
Winner(s): Proud and Powerful
Match Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Match Notes: The match was pretty average considering who was in it. The Jurassic Express are super over with the crowd, but I am still having a hard time with Marko Stunt. Look, I love that the guy is getting a chance. I can’t complain about somebody getting their chance to live a dream. With that being said, you can’t take any successful offense he gets in seriously. Proud and Powerful got some good work in and they continue their dominance of the AEW tag team division.
After the match, Proud and Powerful are joined in the ring by Sammy Guevara. All three men start to pound on Stunt and Jungle Boy, but Luchasaurus makes his way to the ring to even the odds. He takes all three men out with some impressive moves. Jake Hager makes his way down to the ring and has a staredown with Luchasarus. Both men start hitting each other with clotheslines, which doesn’t take either man down. Luchasaurus goes for a chokeslam on Hager but is taken out by the rest of The Inner Circle. The Young Bucks hit the ring and take out The Inner Circle. Jurassic Express and The Young Bucks celebrate in the ring as the show comes to an end.
Overall Show Rating: 4 out of 10
This was the worst episode of AEW Dark thus far. The three matches didn’t have much to them, and they showed a lot video packages. I would say that it took up a third of the entire episode. While it’s good for starting to get talent over, it felt like a bit much here. Dark has been hit or miss the last few weeks, and a lot of the matches feel like filler. I understand these are dark matches, but this is currently your second brand and these matches are different from normal dark matches because they are broadcast. It’ll be interesting to see, if down the road, AEW starts putting an emphasis on having quality matches all across the board.
What did you think of this week’s episode of AEW Dark? Loved it? Hated it? Didn’t watch it because something else was on TV? Either way, keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Support the site. Support each other. I’ll be back soon with some more Collective Thoughts.