KELLER & MARTIN FLAGSHIP (12/19)
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AEW DARK TV REPORT
JANUARY 14, 2020
TAPED 1/8 IN SOUTHAVEN, MISS.
AIRED LIVE ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY ZACH GRAHAM, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Excalibur, Dave Brown
Host: Tony Schiavone, Dasha Gonzalez
– The AEW Dark opening aired.
– Excalibur and Dave Brown were shown at the commentary table with a camera filter that tried to replicate an old VCR tape as Excalibur and Dave Brown attempted to recreate the old Memphis Wrestling introduction. Excalibur immediately threw to Dave Brown to run down the lineup. Brown previewed the matches on the show including Darby Allin vs. Brandon Cutler, Nyla Rose vs. Shanna, Shawn Spears & Peter Avalon vs. Gunn Club (Austin and Bily Gunn). Excalibur then threw to Tony Schiavone and Dasha Gonzalez.
– Schiavone and Gonzalez were shown with the empty arena behind them, Schiavone said that we will also be celebrating Memphis Wrestling legends. Schiavone said for many, many years Channel 5 Memphis Wrestling was must see TV. Gonzalez talked about what a great night it was to see the legends of Memphis Wrestling who are still alive, and the families of those who have passed away as well. A graphic appeared on screen honoring Lance Russel, the long-time play by play man for Memphis Wrestling. Gonzalez then said it’s time to go to the video of the Memphis Wrestling legends being honored.
– With all the legends in the ring, Justin Roberts announced them one by one and ran down their career accolades individually. The legends present included “Handsome” Jimmy Valiant, Kevin Lawler (representing his brother Brian Cristopher), Dave Brown, Shane Russel (representing his father Lance Russel), Austin Idol, “Dangerous” Doug Gilbert (also representing Tommy Gilbert, his father, and “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert, his brother), The Rock N’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson), Lanny Poffo (also representing Angelo Poffo, his father, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage, his brother). After announcing everyone, Justin Roberts asked everyone for silence as they honored those who have passed away with a ten bell salute.
– Schiavone and Gonzalez back and reacted to the legends segment briefly before Gonzalez transitioned to the first match on AEW Dark.
(1) BRANDON CUTLER vs. DARBY ALLIN
The match started with a lock up as Cutler quickly backed Allin into the corner, Allin climbed to the top rope and jumped over Cutler to break the hold. Allin went to shake the hand of Cutler and turned it into an arm drag for a near fall. Allin attempted a shoulder tackle, but Cutler stood his ground, Allin went for another shoulder tackle and the second managed to knock Cutler off his feet. Cutler attempted to hit Allin with a backflip off the top rope, but Allin was too far from the ropes and Cutler essentially kicked Allin in the head while flipping. Cutler then took control of the match getting multiple near falls. After a near fall, Allin managed a two count on a roll up attempt and quickly transitioned that into a Fujiwara arm bar, but Cutler managed to reach the ropes. Allin hit Cutler with a Code Red after attempting to manipulate the fingers of Cutler for a two count. A close shot of Allin showed that he had a cut on his face across the nose. Allin went to the top rope for a move, but Cutler ran over and swept the legs out from under Allin who crashed to the mat. Allin was draped across the middle rope and Cutler hit him with a Guillotine Leg Drop over the top rope to the outside and Allin fell to the floor. Allin quickly recovered and hit Cutler with a Tope Suicida through the middle ropes and hit Cutler square in the chest. Allin threw Cutler back into the ring and attempted a middle rope Coffin Drop, but Cutler caught him and had him in a Full Nelson momentarily until Allin broke free and hit Cutler with a Cutter. Allin quickly ran up to the top rope and hit the Coffin Drop for the win.
WINNER: Darby Allin in 9:00
– Schiavone and Gonzalez back and talked about the closing angle on Dynamite last week where Jon Moxley teased joining Chris Jericho and The Inner Circle, before revealing he never planned to join and Moxley still ended up with the keys to that new car Jericho promised him. Schiavone then threw it back to Excalibur and Dave Brown for the second match of the night.
Shanna attacked Rose before the match began as Nyla Rose made her entrance. Shanna shoved Rose into the barricade at the bottom of the ramp, but Rose quickly recovered and took control of Shanna. Rose attempted to power bomb Shanna into the ring apron, but Shanna escaped and hit Rose with a spinning Hook Kick. Shanna backed up and charged at Rose, but Rose caught her and hit Shanna with a Spine Buster on the padded floor. Rose then pulled a table out from under the ring as Shanna tried to recover. Rose then picked up Shanna on the ring apron attempting power bomb her from the ring apron through the table on the floor, but Shanna escaped into the ring. Shanna hit Rose with a spear through the middle rope and both went through the table on the floor. Security came out to check on Rose and Shanna, both struggled to get to their feet and security had to hold Shanna back as she tried to go back after Rose.
(Graham’s Thoughts: That spear was really, really ugly. Rose didn’t let go of the ropes until she effectively caught Shanna and then fell backwards while holding Shanna. That was a really rough looking spot and a hard one to pull off when Shanna is so much smaller than Rose, but she’s the one that’s supposed to tackle Rose into the table.)
(2) NYLA ROSE vs. SHANNA
Bell never rang to begin the match.
– Schiavone and Gonzalez back and reacted to the Shanna and Nyla Rose brawl. Schiavone said Shanna made it backstage and is standing by with Alex Marvez.
– Alex Marvez with Shanna who said Nyla is a bully before Rose attacked Shanna. Marvez asked Rose what she was doing and she responded “whatever I want” before throwing Shanna through a sign. Rose picked up another sign and threw it at her. Rose then turned to the camera and said that everyone needs to listen to what she has to say because “no EVP is going to stop her, Shanna can’t stop her…” At this point Shanna jumps on Rose’s back as officials reappear to separate the two again.
– Schiavone and Gonzalez were back and promoted AEW Dynamite’s upcoming shows and their next Pay Per View AEW Revolution. Gonzalez then said it’s time for the main event of the evening and threw it back to Excalibur and Dave Brown.
– Dave Brown said that this is Austin Gunn’s 21st career match, making him a rookie.
– Austin Gunn grabbed a microphone and encouraged Memphis to cheer so his dad Billy Gunn would do his routine. Billy Gunn laughed, took the microphone from his son and said “if you’re not down with the Gunn Club, we got two words for you” to which the crowd cheered back “Suck it!”
– Peter Avalon came to the ring, he talked about Jerry Lawler’s restaurant and said the food is so bad you’ll feel like “you’re dead on the toilet, like another Memphis king.” Avalon made fun of Billy and Austin Gunn before Leva took the mic and apologized for Avalon’s behavior.
(3) SHAWN SPEARS (w/Tully Blanchard) & PETER AVALON (w/Leva Bates) vs. GUNN CLUB (Billy Gunn & Austin Gunn)
Billy Gunn and Shawn Spears started the match, they went to lock hands, but Spears backed away and did the DX Crotch Chop to mock Gunn. Gunn responded with a couple of shoulder tackles, Gunn ran the ropes, Spears ducked underneath him as he ran the ropes. Billy Gunn stopped and Spears went to get up and was eye level with Billy Gunn’s crotch. After staring for a moment, Gunn backed up and gave Shawn Spears the DX Crotch Chop as the crowd yelled “Suck it!” at Spears. Austin Gunn tagged in and Spears quickly took control and backed Austin into his corner. Avalon tagged in and continued the beat down of Austin Gunn. Gunn ran the ropes and hit Avalon with a running hip toss for a two count. Billy Gunn entered and the father/son pair teamed up on Avalon, Spears went to enter to assist, but Gunn Club was ready for his interference and Spears quickly exited. Billy Gunn got Avalon up on his shoulders, but Leva Bates grabbed Avalon by the ankles to get him out of that situation and Avalon tagged in Spears. Spears hit Billy Gunn with a chop to the chest and turned his back on Gunn to celebrate, but Gunn was standing right behind him, no selling the chop. Spears turned around to see Gunn directly behind him. Spears was thrown into the corner, but avoided a chop and hit Gunn with another chop of his own before climbing to the middle rope and punching away at Billy Gunn. The crowd began chanting “Ten” at him to count along to his punches, but Spears stopped punching to yell at the crowd to stop them. Billy Gunn escaped off the distraction and hit Spears with a pair of chops to the chest. After a third chop, Spears awkwardly walked to the middle of the ring and held up his hands in a T shape as if he were requesting a timeout.
Austin Gunn entered, throwing Spears back into the corner and hit Spears with another chop. Gunn threw Spears into the ropes, but Spears held on to the topes and Austin’s drop kick attempt failed. Spears quickly grabbed Austin and threw him shoulder first into the post twice. Austin was reaching to tag in Billy Gunn, but was being held back by Spears. Austin decided to try and punch Spears to create separation, but Spears turned it into a drop toe hold, grounding Austin Gunn and hit him with a couple of cross faces. Austin was finally able to get some separation after a clothesline to Spears.
Austin and Spears both tagged in their partners and Billy Gunn quickly took control over Peter Avalon and an interfering Spears. Gunn set Avalon up for a power bomb, but Spears hit him with a drop kick. Billy Gunn tagged in Austin and was immediately clotheslined by Spears over the top rope. Austin Gunn returned the favor clotheslining Spears over the top rope. Avalon rolled up Austin and managed to score a two count. Austin climbed to the top rope, but has his legs taken out by Spears on the outside allowing for Avalon to regain control. Avalon attempted a superplex off the top rope, but Austin Gunn hit him with a head butt. Billy Gunn planted Avalon while Austin stood up on the top rope and hit Avalon and scored the three count.
WINNERS: Gunn Club in 11:00
FINAL THOUGHTS: The tribute to the Memphis legends was a really cool thing to see. The fans were extremely respectful cheering for everybody and it seemed like the moment was really special to the legends who were able to be in attendance. The tribute itself was probably ten minutes of AEW Dark, so it didn’t drag on, but it was very well done and it was nice that Justin Roberts ran down some of their career highlights for those who don’t know who these legends are, or don’t know all that they’ve accomplished.
Dave Brown did an excellent job on commentary. He was continuously putting over the talent, talking about how impressed he was with them, and even promoted future matches. For example, he talked about the importance of Allin winning his match was, but how he needs to try and stay healthy because he has a match with Pac on Dynamite and that could impact his ranking in the men’s singles division. I was seriously impressed with him and his ability to transition from talking about the match going on currently and turn it into a promotion for the next show, it was so smooth, I almost didn’t catch it. He was absolutely excellent in my opinion.
Tully Blanchard is being wasted if he’s going to be teamed up with a cartoonish, over the top Shawn Spears. He played the entire match for comedy and made a fool of himself. What is the point of having Tully Blanchard out there with Spears if he’s just going to act like a comedic fool? This version of Shawn Spears is a far cry from the guy who hit Cody in the head with a chair. How can someone go from that level of evil and sinister to a comedy act that stares at the crotch of Billy Gun for a solid 20 seconds before realizing he’s in a wrestling match? I was really excited for the Shawn Spears character and was even more excited when Tully Blanchard was added as his manager, but this is a joke. If this is what they want to use Shawn Spears for, fine, but get Tully Blanchard out of this pairing. He served no purpose in this match, he was barely shown and wasn’t talked about, he was just a guy at ringside watching his guy act like a clown.