By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 15)
Taped January 8, 2020 in Southaven, Mississippi at Landers Center
Streamed January 14, 2020 on the AEW Youtube page
The AEW Dark intro is played to start the show… Excalibur was joined by wrestling legend commentator Dave Brown for commentary. Both men hyped the matches for the taped show…
Tony Schivaone and Dash Gonzalez checked in. Tony talks about how Channel 5 in Memphis was must-see TV. They sent it to Justin Roberts at ringside, where the Memphis Wrestling legends were in the ring. Honored in the ring were “Handsome” Jimmy Valiant, Kevin Lawler represented his brother Brian Cristopher for the tribute, commentator Dave Brown, Shane Russell represented his father Lance Russell, Austin Idol, “Dangerous” Doug Gilbert honoring the Gilbert family, The Rock and Roll Express, and Lanny Poffo for “Macho Man” Randy Savage and the Poffo family. After the remembrance, a 10-bell salute was honored for the ones who are no longer with us.
Briar’s Take: That was a nice tribute. Roberts did a great job detailing the careers that were honored and the live crowd ate it up, and enjoyed the special segment. It could very well be the last time we see all of them in the ring together. I wish I was around in the golden ages to watch their matches. Thankfully, there’s YouTube and other streaming content to help watch great content like that.
1. Brandon Cutler vs Darby Allin. Before the match, Excalibur noted that Cutler is still looking for his first AEW victory. The two started with a tie up before it was broken up. Darby went for a handshake, but faked it and tried to get Cutler in a leverage roll up pin. Excalibur said Darby is known for speed and that might be an advantage he has against his opponents. Darby hit a drop kick that sendt Cutler on the ground, but Cutler quickly got back on his feet, went to the top rope, and hit a backwards moonsault. Later in the match, Cutler went for a backbreaker, but Darby reversed and hit a code red, but Cutler managed to kick out of a pin. Darby tried to go for his finisher, but Cutler caught him to put Darby in a hold. Just a few moments later, Darby hit the Coffin Drop and got the victory.
Darby Allin defeats Brandon Cutler via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Not surprising that Darby won, but he could definitely use it right now. A longer match than I expected, but it was decent for what it was. Excalibur noted that Darby might want to have another shot at Chris Jericho’s AEW Title. Also, for someone who has never heard him on commentary before, it was awesome to hear Dave Brown with Excalibur commentating together.
Schivaone and Gonzalez briefly recapped the segment between Jon Moxley and Chris Jericho from last week’s AEW Dynamite…
2. Nyla Rose vs. Shanna. Rose was making her entrance when she is attacked from behind by Shanna. The two brawled outside the ring. Rose grabbed a table under the ring and tried to pick Shanna up for a powerbomb, but she blocked it. Shanna got in the ring and speared Rose through the ropes sending both onto the table. Security separated Rose and Shanna from each other to prevent further fighting.
Nyla Rose and Shanna fought to an apparent no-contest.
Briar’s Take: There wasn’t much to say about this one. The match didn’t take place, but that was an awkward table spot between the two.
Backstage, Alex Marvez was interviewing Shanna about her issues with Rose when Rose interrupted and beat up Shanna. Marvez asked Nyla what she was doing and she responded by saying whatever she wants and continued to brawl with Shanna backstage. Security intervened to break them up again…
Schivaone hypes where the fans can see AEW.
3. “Gunn Club” BIlly and Austin Gunn vs. Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard) and Peter Avalon (wLeva Bates). The Gunn Club made their entrance first and received a nice reaction from the crowd. Austin grabbed the mic and asked Mississippi how the hell they were? Austin said we’re missing one thing from this show and we might convince “Pop” to do its thing. Billy took the mic from his son Austin and said, if you’re not down with The Gunn Club, we got two words for you… Brown noted that Billy has been at this for 30 years.
Billy and Spears started the match, and Spears did Billy’s taunt. Billy tagged Austin in and the crowd chanted for him. Avalon did a diving crossbody to Billy and went for the pin, before Billy kicked out at one. Austin does Billy’s Fameasser on Avalon, but Avalon kicked out at two. Avalon tried for a suplex off the top rope with Billy laying out Avalon, while Austin performed a Swanton from the top rope and picked up the win.
The Gunn Club defeated Shawn Spears and Peter Avalon via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: There was a lot of standing and stalling around in the ring and I suppose that’s typical for Billy’s stage at this point in his career. The match was pretty bland and flat for the most part. The Gunn Club received a nice reaction, but the Librarian characters that Peter and Leva try to play don’t do anything for me. It was not a bad match, and if you really want to see Austin wrestle then go out of your way and watch it. Otherwise, the main event was skippable and you won’t miss much.
Overall, a pretty standard episode of AEW Dark with your typical squash matches and the usual suspected people winning. Darby Allin and Brandon Cutler had the best match on this episode of Dark. Those two put on a great performance with Allin getting the showcase win. The Memphis Wrestling tribute was nice and an easily enjoyable segment. As mentioned before, Roberts did his research and I was thoroughly entertained with what the wrestlers did in their primes. Other than that, it was an okay episode. 7.5 out of 10 would be my final score for this show.