By Briar Starr, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@briarstarrtv)
AEW Dark (Episode 34)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed May 19, 2020 on the AEW YouTube Page
Excalibur and Taz welcomed us to AEW Dark and ran down the lineup.
1. Dani Jordyn vs. Hikaru Shida. Like last week, the referees wore masks due to the CDC guidelines. The wrestlers started with an elbow collar, but broke the hold. Jordyn tried with a running shoulder block, but couldn’t take Shida down. She would try again, but Shida got the better of her with a shoulder block of her own. Jordyn countered with a hip toss, however, Shida sized up with a backbreaker.
Shida went to the outside and did a running knee strike to the head of Jordyn. Shida went for a shoulder to the mid-section, but Jordyn countered with a DDT and got a two count. Afterwards, Jordyn put Shida in a quick submission, but Shida quickly fired with shots from the right hand.
Shida jumped from the top rope with a missile drop kick and went for a cover, but only got a two count. Shida then hit Jordyn with a step up enziguri, but Jordyn quickly hit her with a release German suplex. Shida hit Jordyn with a rising knee strike and finished Jordyn off with a Falcon Arrow.
Hikaru Shida defeated Dani Jordyn via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Did anyone really think Shida would lose since she is challenging for the AEW Women’s Title this weekend? I mean, come on guys.
2. Clutch Adams vs. QT Marshall. Adams made his AEW debut. Another collar elbow tie up started the match. Adams hit Marshall with a kick to the mid-section. After a short offense from Marshall, Adams put Marshall in the corner and started with kicks to the mid-section of “damaged ribs.”
However, Marshall followed up with a suplex to Adams. Adams got some offense moves of his own in and even tried to get a pinfall count in, but only got a one count. Adams is targeting the ribs of Marshall, but Marshall countered by throwing Adams to the outside of the ring.
Marshall hit Adams with a backbreaker combination. It didn’t take long though for Adams to start gaining momentum again and target the ribs. Despite Adams having some offense in, Marshall quickly hit Adams with the cutter to pick up the victory…
QT Marshall defeated Clutch Adams via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A back and forth match with Adams targeting the ribs of Marshall, which gave the story some background. Though, it’s another win for Marshall in the record books.
3. Jason Cade vs. Marko Stunt. The referee in this match was not wearing a mask for some reason. Stunt started the match by taking Cade down with punches and a knee strike. Stunt went for a pinfall, but got a two count. Stunt then followed up with a diving elbow driver to Cade.
Eventually, Cade had a powerful elbow strike, which took down Stunt. Cade also hit Stunt with a knee lift. Due to this, Stunt’s is busted open and Cade followed up with more elbow strikes. Cade then spiked Stunt with a DDT from the top turnbuckle, only to get a two count. Stunt, however, gained momentum and hit Cade on the outside with a jumping suiciida. Stunt then hit his signature 450 splash to win the match.
Marko Stunt defeated Jason Cade via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A hard hitting match, but mainly a showcase for Marko Stunt. Not too much to say, especially having not seeing much of Jason Cade.
An AEW Double or Nothing ad aired…
4. Lee Johnson and Musa vs. Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian (w/Penelope Ford). Johnson and Sabian started the match off. Both countered each other’s submission moves (which felt choreographed). Afterwards, more submission moves were applied.
Havoc tagged himself in and started throwing right hand shots to Johnson. Eventually, started stomping Johnson as well. Havoc also followed with a frenchman suplex release. This caused Musa to tag in, but Havoc stomped him in the corner. Shortly, Sabian is tagged in and Sabian planted Musa down with a leg lariat. Musa followed with his dropkick and tagged Johnson back in. Johnson did some moves, but Musa tagged in again.
Illegally, Sabian took a shot to the eyes of Musa. Havoc was tagged in and had Musa in a submission hold. Sabian, who tagged in, hit the Manhattan Driver while Havoc did the running boot for a combination, pinfall attempt, but they only got a one count.
Sabian hit Musa with a big knee strike, which caused Musa to fall to the ground. Havoc is back in and hits a suplex on Musa. Afterward, Johnson is tagged in and has a quick dose of momentum, and hits a running kick to Havoc, only to get a two count. Havoc hit an acid rainmaker on Johnson and finished him off with a Fisherman’s DDT.
Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian defeated Lee Johnson and Musa via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: Lots of tags to keep track of in this match (seriously, don’t do a drinking game). As for the match itself, it’s what you would expect to see out of a team like Havoc and Sabian. I could be wrong, but this is the first time in a while we didn’t get a interference from Penelope Ford. Nice job, guys!
Another AEW Double Or Nothing ad aired..
5. Shawn Dean vs. Rey Fenix. Dean took Fenix down with a dropkick to start the match. Fenix then followed up with a kick to the head. Fenix put Dean into an illegal cross arm breaker submission hold. The ref broke the hold as Fenix was using the rope.
Dean started to get some moves in with a big running knee strike, including jumping to the outside and landing on Fenix. Both went back to the ring and Fenix hit Dean with a roundhouse kick. Dean though countered one of Fenix’s moves and hit Fenix with the tiger driver. Fenix used the turnbuckle for an assistance and hit the Muscle Buster for the victory…
Rey Fenix defeated Shawn Dean via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: A showcase win to give Fenix momentum heading into the Casino Ladder Match.
6. Jon Cruz vs. Luther. Luther didn’t take long to throw some punches and chops to Cruz. Luther then hit a knee to the face on Cruz and a pump kick to send Cruz crashing down. Afterward, Luther put Cruz in an illegal submission hold, which was broken by the ref.
Both went to the outside and Luther slammed Cruz on the barricades. He then threw Cruz back in the ring and locked him into a submission hold. But, Cruz escaped into the corner, only for Luther to pounce on him again. Luther planted Cruz in the middle of the ring and made Cruz tap out in a submission hold…
Luther defeated Jon Cruz via submission.
Briar’s Take: Like Fenix’s win, this was another showcase and a dominating victory for Luther. Cruz barely got any offense in.
7. Ryan Rembrandt and Mike Reed vs. “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy. Quen quickly took Rembrandt down with a dropkick after the bell rang. Kassidy is tagged in and hits some high flying moves to Rembrandt. Afterward, Rembrandt tried suplexing Kassidy, but failed to do so. Though, he tried again and was successful. Reed is tagged in and plants Kassidy with a Russian Leg Sweep. Rembrandt is tagged in again and both him, and Reed hits Kassidy with a Manhattan combination.
After being in the ring to start the match, Quen is finally tagged in and has tons of momentum on his side. Both Rembrandt and Reed went outside, and Quen hit both of them with a flying crossbody. Eventually, Kassidy finishes Rembrandt with a swanton to win the match.
Private Party defeated Ryan Rembrandt and Mike Reed via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: I am surprised we didn’t see the Gin and Juice to finish off the match, like we usually do. Kassidy finishing off with his own finisher was different. Nonetheless, the match was predictable and gave another win to Private Party.
8. Alan Angels vs. Sammy Guevara. Angles trash talked Guevara before the match started. Guevara then took Angels down with a mat lock and did a spin drill. Both then would miss each other’s moves, before Guevara planted Angles down on the mat. Guevara followed with a snap suplex to Angles.
Angels tried with a move from the rope, but Guevara countered with a kick. Guevara then put Angels into an illegal submission hold. Guevara put Angels on his shoulders and started doing squats. Angels countered, but Guevara followed up by hitting a running lariat.
Angels had some elbow strikes and a dropkick to Guevara. Angels was going to try and put Guevara away, but Guevara quickly hit Angels with a running knee strike and then the GTH to put Angels down.
Sammy Guevara defeated Alan Angels via pinfall.
Briar’s Take: An extremely competitive match and probably my favorite match of the night, as there was a lot more action and time given, allowing these two to make something out of this. The match probably a little more time than it should have, but it was a decent match for Dark.
9. Serpentico vs. Darby Allin. When Allin was making his entrance, Excalibur questioned Taz about interviewing Allin. Taz said he was just trying to help. Allin took Serpentico down with a side headlock. Arby then Serpentico with an arm drag takedown. Though, Serpentico followed with a running knee strike, which sent Allin crashing to the floor.
Both wrestlers went back to the ring and Allin had a quick round of elbows to Serpentico. Allin also hit Serpentico with a top rope super suplex. Allin threw Serpentico to the outside and hit the Coffin Drop. It wasn’t long after, as Allin went on to pin Serpentico with his new Last Summer finisher.
Darby Allin defeated Serpentico via pinfall.
Excalibur and Taz ran down the card lineup for Wednesday’s Dynamite. Taz also said that Allin should maybe use that finisher instead of the Coffin Drop…
Briar’s Take: I was interesting to see Allin using a new finisher to end the match. Otherwise, this match was pretty much just to build Allin’s momentum and give him some type of story and maybe continue his story with Taz.
Overall, another long nine matches for Dark, which saw some familiar faces from last week’s show. A long card can work if executed well and so far, it has made Dark a better show than what it had been, probably even since the first episode back in October. There was some good action, but the match outcomes continues to be predictable whenever an AEW regular faces someone that is not featured on the show on a regular basis. Still, it gives the roster regulars some wins to fall back on for the record count. This episode can be easily skippable if you’ve already seen the results, as I feel like there isn’t too much you are missing out on with the majority of the matches being showcases. That said, there was also some good action in the ring, which made for a good episode of Dark. Final Score: 7.5 out of 10.