Welcome back to the weekly TJRwrestling review of AEW Dark. Last week, AEW Dark had a little bit of a rough outing, which was surprising with the matches that took place. I noted in last week’s review that with this being AEW’s only other brand, they should put an emphasis on putting out solid shows, not only on Dynamite but on Dark as well.
AEW Dark consists of matches taking place before and after that week’s episode of AEW Dynamite, which they post on the AEW youtube channel the following Tuesday. I’ll have the show posted at the bottom of the review. Can Dark rebound from last week? Let’s find out!
AEW Dark from Champaign, Illinois 12/10/2019
The show starts and there is a highlight package showing clips of last week’s episode of Dynamite.
It’s episode 10 and we are joined, as always, by Tony Schiavone and Dasha Gonzalez. Tony talks about Jericho and Moxley facing off last week. That match, when it comes, will be pretty good. Tony and Dasha run down the matches for tonight, before sending it down to Excalibur, who is joined on commentary by Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy.
Peter Avalon (w/Leva Bates) vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Scorpio Sky
Scorpio Sky is one half of the AEW Tag Team Champions, and is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Chris Jericho for the AEW World Title two weeks ago on Dynamite. Havoc was on Dark last week and stapled a check to Brandon Cutler’s head.
The match starts with Havoc diving to the outside and is looking for something underneath the ring. I’ll give you one guess what he was looking for. Havoc is cut off by Sky with a clothesline on the outside. He jumps into the ring but Bates grabs his ankle. Sky escapes and hits a cross body for a two count. Havoc hits Sky with an arm drag into the corner. He follows with up with another suplex into the same corner. Havoc bites Sky on the calf. He attempts the Acid Rainmaker, but Sky recovers and takes him down. He hits Avalon with some shots before Havoc and Avalon join forces and double team Sky. Sky is thrown into the corner, and Avalon takes advantage by hitting Havoc with the Martiknees for a near fall. Sky makes a comeback and hits both men with a dropkick and back elbow. Havoc goes up to the second rope and starts to bite on the hand of Sky. Avalon knocks Havoc off the apron. Sky hits Avalon with a belly to belly suplex to the outside. Sky shows the athleticism and hits a dive out of the ring. That move is always impressive.
Sky rolls Havoc back in the ring and hits a back elbow. Havoc regains the advantage with an uppercut. He hits Sky with a sit-out slam for a near fall. Havoc rolls out of the ring and grabs the staple gun. Avalon cuts him off and grabs a book from Bates. He goes to hit Havoc with it, but Sky cuts him off and tosses him to the outside. Sky takes the book and starts to hit Havoc with it. Sky hits a cutter and goes for the cover, but Avalon throws him out of the ring and attempts a pin on Havoc himself. That would have been a Barry Horowitz type of win. Sky gets back in the ring and hits Avalon with a TKO and the three count after just about 8 minutes.
Winner: Scorpio Sky
Match Rating: 2/5 Stars
Match Notes: That was a predictable outcome for the match. Scorpio Sky is a star in the making. Avalon and Havoc were fine here, but as I have noted before, you’re limited in what you can do with Jimmy Havoc. He has had his fair share of straight up wrestling matches, and has gone for the staple gun each time. I don’t mind stuff like that, but that can’t be your whole gimmick. Avalon continues to be on the losing end of matches in AEW. This is leading to a huge victory over an emerging star, right?
After the match, Sky celebrates in the ring. We get replays of the match as Sky walks up the ramp.
Tony and Dasha are back, and put over Scorpio Sky. They talk about the Dark Order, and we are shown the same package we saw on Dynamite. It’s a cool looking package, but they have WAY too many cult-like gimmicks in AEW currently. We are also shown the segment between Chris Jericho and The Jurassic Express from Dynamite. Tony and Dasha talk a little about the upcoming match between Jungle Boy and Chris Jericho, before throwing it back to the ring for the next match.
John Silver and Alex Reynolds vs. The Jurassic Express (Marko Stunt and Luchasaurus) (w/Jungle Boy)
Excalibur is joined by a new partner on commentary, Britt Baker.
Luchasaurus and Reynolds are the first two in. Reynolds tries to stand toe to toe with Luchasaurus, but quickly tags in Silver. Silver attempts a chop, but Luchasaurus reverses with one of his own. Reynolds is in, but is kicked to the back of the head. Quick tag to Stunt, who hit Silver with a kick to the face and an elbow drop to the back of the head. Stunt with a kick to Silver for a two count. Reynolds catches him from behind, with Silver gaining the advantage. He moves Stunt into the corner and trade tags with Reynolds. Stunt attempts a comeback, but is kicked by Silver for his troubles. He continues working over Stunt with a throat on the second rope. Stunt is back in the corner and gets hit with a double team cutter for a two count. Reynolds goes for a vertical suplex, but Stunt rolls him up for two. He holds Stunt’s boot to keep him from making the tag, but he escapes and makes the tag to Luchasaurus. Luchasaurus cleans house with strikes and kicks and hits the double chokeslam on both men. He tags in Marko Stunt and they hit a double Corkscrew Neckbreaker for the win in about 6 minutes.
Winner(s): The Jurassic Express
Match Rating: 1.5/5 Stars
Match Notes: That was the second Jurassic Express match in two weeks, and finally they pick up a win. I mentioned it last week, but the fact that they didn’t have any wins up to this point is shocking. The crowd is into everything they do, and they might be the most popular thing going in AEW. Luchsaurus is impressive for a man his size, and I was a bit surprised that Jungle Boy got the match with Jericho over him. He was the star of the match, with Stunt getting in some offense as well. Silver and Reynolds got some good double team moves in, and didn’t do anything to hurt their stock in AEW.
Tony and Dasha are back and put over all three members of The Jurassic Express, before sending it over to the newest member of AEW Dark, Lexy Nair. She talks about the AEW Women’s division and shows footage of the two matches women’s matches from Dynamite last week. Kris Statlander picked up a surprise win over Hikaru Shida, who was number one in the women’s rankings. Kris was confronted by The Nightmare Collective after the win, but refused to join the group. The package also showed Nyla Rose destroying Leva Bates and putting her through a table. Nyla was “suspended” for the rest of 2019 after the attack.
A showcase package is shown for AEW Dark veteran, Big Swole. Since I started covering Dark, Swole has been the wrestler I have seen the most. She has her first match on Dynamite tomorrow night, after announcing earlier this week that she has signed with AEW full time. Swole explains that her name comes from her having a big personality. She talks about almost dying from a digestive disease, with her having emergency surgery to save her life. She talks about rebounding from that the best she can. She talks about the limitations of the surgery, and that it took a toll on her mental health. She talks more about her journey to AEW and not listening to people that tell her she wouldn’t make it. There is a moment shown where Kenny Omega offers Big Swole a deal right after her match. She talks about that being a crucial moment in her life, and she is dead set on proving her detractors wrong as the package ends.
We are back in the control room with Lexy, who talks about the newest AEW Women’s Rankings. Kris Statlander jumps from not ranked to number five. She is joined in the rankings by Britt Baker at four, Emi Sakura at three, Nyla Rose at two and Hikaru Shida still at number one. It’s surprising she stayed in that spot after her loss last week.
Alex Marvez is backstage interviewing “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels. Daniels says he wasn’t in the right mindset to face someone as good as Pentagon Jr. He said he embarrassed himself and needs to get back in the right mindset. He stands up and storms out of the room.
Tony and Dasha are back in the control room. They talk about Cody calling out MJF last week on Dynamite. It was a good segment overall, but I wish they would have aired MJF’s response on Dynamite, rather than on Twitter. The MJF package is shown, and it is announced that Cody and QT Marshall will take on The Butcher and The Blade this week on Dynamite. Tony and Dasha run down the cities AEW is coming too, and throw it down to the ring for the main event.
Kip Sabian (w/Penelope Ford) vs. Kenny Omega
Chuck Taylor is back with Excalibur on commentary. Omega is making another appearance on Dark and is super over with the crowd.
The match begins with both men looking for an early advantage. Shoulder block by Omega knocking Sabian to the mat. He hits Sabian with a number of chops, and hits the Cotoro Crusher for a two count. He continues working Sabian over in the corner, hitting a few more chops in the process. Big diving elbow strike by Omega. Sabian rebounds and hits some stiff kicks to the back of the head. Omega regroups and knocks Sabian to the floor. Omega goes for a dive to the outside, but is distracted by Ford. Sabian throws him to the outside, and Ford hits a hurricanrana on the floor. Sabian hits a dive to the outside as Omega was trying to catch his breath. Back in the ring, Sabian hits a springboard dropkick for a near fall. Sabian continues the attack and chokes Omega on the second rope. Omega is thrown hard into the corner. He attempts a comeback, but Sabian cuts him off with a kick to the stomach. Sabian hits a neckbreaker and gets a two count.
Omega comes back with some hard chops and both men take turns exchanging blows. Omega hits a high knee, followed by a big clothesline. Omega is back to his feet and knocks Sabian to the mat. Omega follows it up with a slam, followed by a moonsault for a near fall. He pulls Sabian back to his feet and goes for a dragon suplex, but Sabian counters with a kick to the back of the head. Tornado DDT by Sabian for a two count. Sabian goes in the corner, but Omega counters with a kick to the face. Sabian hits some strikes before Omega regains his composure and hits a V-Trigger. That was right on the money. Omega tries to capitalize but Sabian takes the advantage with some help from Ford. He hits Omega with a dropkick, followed by a stunner by Ford, and a Poison Rana for a near fall. That was a pretty cool sequence. Sabian charges Omega, but Omega hits him with another V-Trigger, followed by a series of SnapDragon Suplexes. He goes to suplex Ford, but lets her go and hits another V-Trigger. Omega hits a Tiger Driver 98, followed by a One Winged Angel for the win in about 16 minutes.
Match Winner: Kenny Omega
Match Rating: 3.25/5 Stars
Match Notes: That was a competitive match, with both men getting their chance to shine. Sabian was impressive here and held his own against Omega. I wasn’t the biggest Kenny fan before the start of AEW, but he is starting to grow on me. He has had some quality matches, while not being afraid to put other talent over. Penelope Ford had a good showing here as well, even without being in the match. A good match to end the show.
After the match, Omega celebrates in the ring as Excalibur sends it back to Tony and Dasha to close the show.
Overall Show Grade: 6.5 out of 10
This show was a step up from last week. The triple threat match was a good way to start the show, and a way to showcase Scorpio Sky. The Jurassic Express are super over with almost every crowd, and it was no different here. Luchasaurus was the star of the match and it won’t be long before he is in a higher spot on the card. Instead of an Undesirable to Undeniable segment, we just had a package on Big Swole. I have covered her a lot of Dark lately, and it was cool to learn a little more about her history. The main event delivered, with Sabian showing he can hang with Omega. I think once a mid-card title is introduced, someone like Sabian will benefit a lot from it. This show also had a ton of vignettes and replays of Dynamite. My biggest gripe with that is that it makes the show feel second rate, like a Dynamite recap show with matches in between.
What did you think of week 10 of AEW Dark? Loved it? Hated it? Haven’t watched a second of it? Either way, let me know your thoughts over @collectiveheel on Twitter and keep the conversation going. Support the site. Support each other. I’ll be back soon enough with some more Collective Thoughts.