Dark – May 19, 2020: They Do This To Themselves
Date: May 19, 2020
Location: Daily’s Place, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Excalibur, Taz
For reasons I don’t think I want to understand, this week’s show is even longer than last week’s, clocking in at an hour and twenty seven minutes. Factoring out commercials, that is as long as a regular two hour wrestling show, comprised almost entirely of squash matches. Why this is seen as a good idea is beyond me, but that has never stopped AEW before. Let’s get to it.
Here are last week’s results if you need a recap.
Quick preview of the show.
Hikaru Shida vs. Dani Jordyn
Dani has her burn book. They trade shoulders to start with Shida’s giving her a knockdown, followed by a backbreaker to keep Dani down. A running knee to the face lets Shida point at the camera but Jordan hits a springboard DDT back inside. The Tommaso Ciampa flipping armbar has Shida in more trouble but she’s out in a hurry with a missile dropkick for two. Jordyn grabs a German suplex, which Shida no sells and hits a running knee to the back of the head for two more. The running knee (yes another one) into the Falcon Arrow finishes Jordyn at 5:08.
Rating: D+. I’m guessing Shida went to the Kenny Omega school of “knee people in the face over and over”, though at least she isn’t doing it fifteen times a match. Shida is geared up for the title shot against Nyla Rose and a title change wouldn’t surprise me. AEW has done a good job of building her up and if she winds up as champion, it could be a rather smart move. Then again Rose could keep the title too. It could go either way and that’s always welcome.
Clutch Adams vs. QT Marshall
This is Adams’ debut and Marshall has taped up ribs. Marshall starts in on the arm so Adams gets smart by going after the ribs with shoulders in the corner. A crossbody is pulled out of the air though and Marshall muscles him up for a suplex. Adams goes right back to the ribs for two of his own but he charges into a shot in the corner. A backdrop puts Adams on the ramp and some shots to the face put him down back inside. Some rams into the corner put Marshall in more trouble but he’s right back with a cutter for the pin at 4:56.
Rating: C. Marshall is a fine hand in the ring and that’s what he got to do again here. I can see why he’s around here and it’s a good place to put him. That being said, he probably shouldn’t be having this much trouble against a guy named Clutch making his debut. Then again, that’s a problem up and down this show.
Marko Stunt vs. Jason Cade
They’re going to have someone as talented as Cade lose to Stunt? They start fast with Cade being sent outside and a sunset flip giving Stunt two back inside. Stunt hits a knee to the face so Cade just hammers him down in the corner. A whip sends Stunt chest first into the corner and he’s busted open. Cade elbows him in the face and gets two off a DDT. Stunt is back up and sends Cade outside for a suicide dive. Back in and Cade goes up but Marko catches him in a Razor’s Edge out of the corner. A 450 gives Stunt the pin at 4:48.
Rating: C-. Yeah I still can’t buy Stunt as a serious guy. He’s fine enough in something like this, but I don’t want to see Cade as a threat to anyone else for a long time. Stunt just threw him off the top and then beat him clean in less than five minutes. Not off a fluke rollup or anything, but by a clean pin. I’m sure that’s not what will happen, but anyone associated with Stunt is treated a little oddly anyway.
Post match Stunt has to be checked out.
Lee Johnson/Musa vs. Jimmy Havoc/Kip Sabian
Sabian and Johnson start things off with Johnson working on the arm early on. A headscissors puts Sabian down but he’s right back up with a headlock. Havoc comes in to stomp away at the ribs and send Johnson flying with a suplex. It’s off to Musa, who shakes hands like a schnook and gets punched in the face for his efforts. Sabian comes back in to run the ropes and hit a leg lariat to keep Musa in trouble. Musa snaps off a running hurricanrana into a dropkick and it’s back to Johnson for his own dropkick.
Havoc isn’t having any of that and comes in to pull on Johnson’s face to take over again. The villains take turns beating on Musa in the corner, including Havoc’s eye poke. Sabian adds a kick to the chest and Havoc suplexes him down. Musa fights back and sends Havoc into the corner, allowing the hot tag to Johnson. That means the comeback can be on but Havoc cuts him off with the Acid Rainmaker into the fisherman’s DDT for the pin at 9:54.
Rating: D. If you wanted to see two guys beat up some jobbers for longer than it should have taken, this was a match you’ll want to see. Sabian and Havoc are fine at what they do but they haven’t been anywhere above the midcard in AEW so far. Johnson and Musa have done well so far, though when you know they’re not going to win, the interest goes away in a hurry.
Shawn Dean vs. Rey Fenix
Fenix gets pyro. Dean gets caught in an armbar to start but slips out into a headlock. That doesn’t last long as Fenix kicks him in the face and throws on a cross armbreaker. With that broken up in a hurry, Fenix goes with the loud chop against the ropes so Dean knees him in the face. Fenix gets sent outside and Dean hits a big flip dive, even going feet first into the barricade. Back in and Fenix hits his rolling dropkick into a quickly broken chinlock. Fenix tries a slingshot but gets caught in a tiger bomb for two. You don’t do that to Fenix, who is right back with the springboard kick in the corner into the Black Fire Driver for the pin at 5:34.
Rating: C+. As usual, Fenix has one of the more entertaining matches of the night, mainly due to pure athleticism. I’ve been a big Fenix fan since the first time I’ve seen him and I can go for him either in singles or tag matches. Dean is one of the better jobbers, but it’s still more of the same problem on the entire show.
Jon Cruz vs. Luther
Luther hammers away to start and adds the chops, only to yell at his hands to give Cruz a breather. Cruz gets sent face first into the corner and more shouting ensues. See he’s a bit insane. Luther rips at Cruz’s face and sends him outside for a whip into the barricade. Back in and Luther slowly pounds away, with the screaming included. Cruz gets a boot up in the corner but Luther knocks him right back down. A reverse suplex into a camel clutch with Luther ripping at the face makes Cruz tap at 4:43.
Rating: D+. Well that Luther sure is wacky. This was the first match that felt like a squash after a bunch of far too competitive ones. That being said, Luther is as much of a niche/gimmick wrestler as you can have and it’s another match where I’m glad he comes and goes in a hurry.
Ryan Rembrandt/Mike Reed vs. Private Party
Quen throws Rembrandt down to start and Rembrandt is rather irritated. A dropkick drops Rembrandt again and it’s Kassidy coming in as everything breaks down in a hurry. Rembrandt gets caught with a dropkick and chop against the ropes but he’s back with a belly to belly.
Kassidy has to fight out of a hammerlock and rolls over for the tag to Quen so the pace can pick up. Quen uses Reed as a launchpad to kick Rembrandt, followed by the big flip dive to the floor. An assisted Sliced Bread gets two on Rembrandt and there’s the Silly String to Reed. He’s not legal though so it’s a springboard X Factor to take Rembrandt down instead. Kassidy’s Swanton connects for the pin at 6:30.
Rating: C. Private Party is still great as the two guys who go out there and do their cool spots, but there isn’t much to them beyond that. They have some incredible athleticism but so can a lot of teams around here. It never seems like they have a reason or a plan in the match as it’s more just spot after spot. In other words, they’re AEW junk food.
Alan Angels vs. Sammy Guevara
The announcers put over Angels as someone who can hang with the stars but can’t get over the hump. How is that not the case for most of the people on this show? Angels calls Sammy a punk to start so Sammy headlocks him (as you deal with most insulting people). The wristlock doesn’t last long as Angels rolls away, only to get taken down in a hurry. Sammy stops to dance so Angels is back with some hard chops.
Angels rolls over his back into a quickly broken crossface and then mocks Sammy’s pose. A springboard is broken up with Sammy’s jumping knee and it’s time to choke on the ropes. Sammy demands that commentary praise him and then does the fireman’s carry squats. Those take too long and he gets rolled up for two so Sammy stomps on his hand.
The delayed vertical suplex plants Angels again but he’s able to block the big slap. They chop it out and then trade spinning kicks to the head for a double knockdown. Angels is up first and strikes away but Sammy knees him in the face. The GTH (Go To Hospital/Burning GTS) is good for the pin on Angels at 7:49.
Rating: C+. Angels continues to be entertaining and it’s easy to see why Sammy is seen as such a big deal. The match was another entertaining one and I could see Angels becoming something if he is given a few wins. There’s a natural talent to him and he could either hang in there on Dynamite or be a star in a mid-sized promotion.
Serpentico vs. Darby Allin
From what I can find, Serpentico is Jon Cruz under a mask. Believe it or not, Allin starts with a headlock so Serpentico crawls over to the ropes. Serpentico is back with an armbar but Allin is right back up with the springboard armdrag. That just earns him a running knee to the floor and Serpentico hammers away back inside. A springboard cutter gives Serpentico two but Allin is back with right hands to the face. Allin’s top rope superplex gets two and there’s a backdrop to the floor. That means the Coffin Drop to the floor takes Serpentico down again and it’s the Last Supper to give Allin the pin at 5:22.
Rating: C-. Allin continues to look good and is an established star in the company. It’s good to see him get what was almost a squash, though Serpentico didn’t exactly thrill me. He’s better than he was as Cruz but that’s not exactly saying much. At least Allin got to showcase himself, but that Coffin Drop is a rather dangerous looking move and hopefully it doesn’t backfire on him.
A quick preview of Dynamite and a reminder that Mike Tyson will be at Double Or Nothing wrap us up.
Overall Rating: D+. I know it seemed like I was complaining a lot during this and that’s because I do not understand why this show is put together this way. It’s a YouTube show that they film before and after Dynamite. Unless this is broadcast somewhere else that I’ve never heard of, there is no need to make it this long. The show is now having more content than Dynamite and I don’t get the point. Doing a show like this is fine but it should be about forty minutes or so at most, not a show that would last two hours if you took out commercials.
What do fans get out of this? A chance to see wrestlers who are often competing on Dynamite? The matches and show as a whole aren’t terrible or anything, but when you’re watching one after another with no doubt about the winners and they’re mostly mediocre at best, you get bored in a hurry, which feels a lot longer when you know you have so much time left. I don’t get the thinking here and this show has gone from a nice little supplement to a chore to watch. That’s not good, and it’s not like there is anyone making them do it this way.
Hikaru Shida b. Dani Jordyn – Falcon Arrow
QT Marshall b. Clutch Adams – Cutter
Marko Stunt b. Jason Cade – 450
Kip Sabian/Jimmy Havoc b. Lee Johnson/Musa – Fisherman’s DDT to Johnson
Rey Fenix b. Shawn Dean – Black Fire Driver
Luther b. Jon Cruz – Face pulling camel clutch
Private Party b. Ryan Rembrandt/Mike Reed – Swanton to Rembrandt
Sammy Guevara b. Alan Angels – GTH
Darby Allin b. Serpentico – Last Supper
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If they insist on doing this, they need to make it more like WCW Saturday night. The majority of these should be SQUASHES, throw in quick interviews, and have a semi-competitive main event.
That would work, mainly because it would be something. This feels like watching wrestling practice.