Preview: AEW DARK (5/26/20)

tag team match aew dark

Following another successful and surprise-filled PPV on Saturday, AEW returns tonight for AEW DARK. Lately, DARK has been a platform for no shortage of indie wrestlers, many of whom AEW has their eyes on, to showcase their talents in short matches against established talents. Some might call these extended squashes, but, judging by the names who seem to keep returning week after week, they feel more like tryouts.

Tonight, a largely new crop of indie wrestlers will get their chance to impress the brass, while other DARK favorites will return to continue making their presence felt. This week’s 10-match card also features a clash between the Natural Nightmares and the Dark Order‘s Alex Reynolds and John Silver, Peter Avalon against Jungle Boy, and Brandon Cutler facing off against Michael Nakazawa. It’s a loaded card yet again this week so let’s take a look at what to expect from tonight’s show.

Brandon Cutler vs. Michael Nakazawa

Brandon Cutler: (0-16; 0-10 in 2020)
Michael Nakazawa: (1-7; 0-4 in 2020)

nakazawa vs cutler - AEW DARK
Credit: All photos credit of AEW

While not quite at the levels of Curt Hawkins‘ epic losing streak from a few years ago, Brandon Cutler’s growing string of losses has certainly begun to weigh on the man with two contracts. Since AEW’s debut, Cutler has yet to win a match, something that has recently come into focus on episodes of Being the Elite. In fact, Cutler and Peter Avalon, also winless, have taken to insulting each other over who is the bigger loser. Recently, Michael Nakazawa was brought into the conversation when his own win-loss record was called into question. Nakazawa proudly boasted he at least has a win, even if it did come against non-wrestler, Alex Jebailey. But a win is a win and that’s more than Cutler can attest to. On Tuesday, the two will face off with Cutler in his best position to get a victory in some time. Either his winless streak will continue or he’ll break out of his slump. Either way, one man who had previously been winless in 2020 will be picking up his first victory of the year.

Peter Avalon (w/ Leva Bates) vs. Jungle Boy (w/ Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt)

Peter Avalon: (0-15; 0-9 in 2020)
Jungle Boy: (7-17-1; 7-7 in 2020)

avalon vs jungle boy

Speaking of the winless Peter Avalon, one half of AEW’s Librarian hasn’t exactly had a great go of it in his AEW career. Like Cutler, Avalon has yet to pick up his first victory in two years. He does have one less loss than Cutler though, something Avalon has proudly pointed to as to why he’s not the company’s biggest loser. But, he’s still a loser nonetheless and on Tuesday he’ll face off against Jurassic Express‘ Jungle Boy, who is in the midst of a pretty good year thus far. Singles losses to MJF aside, Jungle Boy and partner Luchasaurus have climbed into the top five of AEW’s tag team rankings thanks to some big wins against Best Friends, Private Party, Stronghearts, and the Inner Circle. It’s a rare singles match for AEW’s young star and while he is winless in such matches this year, against Avalon, Jungle Boy will have a great chance to pick up the victory.

The Natural Nightmares (w/ Brandi Rhodes) vs. The Dark Order

The Natural Nightmares- Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall (3-1 in 2020)
The Dark Order- Alex Reynolds and John Silver (0-5; 0-2 in 2020)

nightmares vs dark order aew dark

Last month, the Natural Nightmares defeated the team of the unnamed Eight and Nine, but as the veteran duo learned, the Dark Order doesn’t simply go away that easily. On Tuesday, Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall will take on the duo formerly known as the Beaver Boys, Dark Order’s Alex Reynolds and John Silver. Proving to be unsuccessful minions of the Exalted One thus far, Silver and Reynolds have yet to win a match in AEW. In fact they’ve often been used as fodder as Mr. Brodie Lee or Evil Uno and Stu Grayson have attacked opponents with a numbers advantage after Silver and Reynolds had lost. It’s a formula that has worked for the Dark Order for the most part, but will that be the case Tuesday night? The Natural Nightmares have been on a roll since formalizing their alliance earlier this year. Together, Rhodes and Marshall have just one loss, which came alongside DDP. As a duo, they are undefeated, having won their last three in a row. That streak seems likely to continue against the Dark Order’s winless minions.

Penelope Ford (w/ Kip Sabian) vs. KiLynn King

Penelope Ford (3-7; 3-4 in 2020)
KiLynn King – N/A

ford vs king

Still progressing as a wrestler, Penelope Ford has found success recently alongside real-life boyfriend Kip Sabian. The 27-year-old wrestler of just six years now, Ford has found a way to draw great heat next to Sabian while also finding her way to some big wins, including her DARK victory over Riho in March. She’ll face an AEW newcomer on Tuesday as KiLynn King heads to Daily’s Place to make her DARK debut. Trained at the 3D Academy, King made her pro debut just two years ago. The self-proclaimed “Queen of Crazy,” King has wrestled for IGNITE, FEST Wrestling, Go Wrestle, Generation Championship Wrestling, Queens of Combat and more. In 2019, she won her first title, the PW2.0 Women’s Championship. A Florida native, this is a big opportunity for King as she looks to impress AEW brass in her debut.

Wardlow (w/ MJF) vs. Mr. Grim

Wardlow (3-1 in 2020)
Mr. Grim – N/A

wardlow vs grim aew dark

MJF’s muscle, Wardlow has dominated over the past few months. His first AEW match may have been a loss to Cody in a steel cage but to many, Wardlow impressed big time and showcased abilities no one really expected from the big man. Since then, he’s been by MJF’s side, helping the latter cause trouble wherever he goes. And in the ring, Wardlow has been unstoppable. Taking part in a series of squash matches to build his monster persona, Wardlow has three wins in his last three matches, totaling under eight minutes of ring time. But what happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object? Going by the moniker, “Hitman for Hire,” Mr. Grim is the first wrestler to take on Wardlow, who matches up with him in both size and strength. A wrestler since 2013 out of Washington, DC, Mr. Grim has wrestled for Combat Zone Wrestling, Limitless Wrestling, Rockstar Pro, IWA-MS, Warriors of Wrestling, Major League Wrestling, Canadian Wrestling Elite and more. A three-time champion in his career, Mr. Grim has been known to put his victims in body bags after matches. Perhaps Wardlow will be giving Mr. Grim a taste of his own medicine on Tuesday night.

Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss vs. Brady Pierce and John Skyler

Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss (1-0 in 2020)
Brady Pierce and John Skyler – N/A

tag team match

After a successful DARK pairing back in March, Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss are back at it tonight, hoping to capture that same magic. As singles wrestlers, neither have really had much success this year and Kiss, who had previously teamed with the winless Cutler, didn’t get his first win of 2020 until that March pairing. Janela started the year with huge wins over Rey Fenix and Kip Sabian, but hasn’t won a match since his victory alongside Kiss. Having faced the team of Corey Hollis and Mike Reed last time out, tonight’s DARK sees Janela and Kiss against another team of Southern indie scene staples in Brady Pierce and John Skyler. The 28-year-old Pierce, out of South Carolina, has been wrestling for nine years for companies including Premiere Wrestling Xperience, Resistance Pro Wrestling, WrestleForce, ECWA, Pro Wrestling BUSHIDO and recently, Southern Honor Wrestling. Joining him will be a man that Pierce is no stranger to in John Skyler. Also wrestling out of South Carolina, Skyler is a staple with PWX and has also wrestled for Carolina Wrestling Federation, Ring of Honor, NJPW, MCW Pro Wrestling, House of Hardcore, IMPACT Wrestling, Anarchy Wrestling, Pro Wrestling EVO and more. With 16 titles to his name and a career dating back 10 years, Skyler is certainly a well-known name in the Southern indie scene where he’s both competed against and teamed with Pierce. This is their first match on the same side of the ring since February 2020 but fortunately they are facing a relatively inexperienced team as well. Given the DARK formula, it is unlikely these two get the win but much like the rest of the DARK indie wrestlers, they’ll have a chance to make a big impression in their collective debut.

Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian (w/ Penelope Ford) vs. Faboo Andre and Tony Donati

Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian (1-1 in 2020)
Faboo Andre and Tony Donati – N/A

tag team match aew dark

Having started to team together just a little over a month ago, the newly anointed ‘SuperBad Death Squad,’ comprised of two of BritWres’ biggest names, have found themselves in an unholy union dedicated to bringing mayhem and violence to the rest of the AEW roster. It all started with a NO DQ against Best Friends that saw Orange Cassidy get involved and Havoc not take too kindly to that interference that cost his team the win. This led to Sabian and Havoc taking on Lee Johnson and Musa in their first win as a team last week. Havoc has made it clear, God help whoever stands in their way. On Tuesday, that duo is Faboo Andre and Tony Donati. Andre had a huge opportunity in his DARK debut, taking on Jon Moxley in what marked the first appearance of the AEW champ on the program. Wrestling since 2017, Andre was trained by the World Wrestling Network Training Center and since then, has wrestled primarily for WWN, REAL Pro Wrestling and American Combat Wrestling where he reached the semifinals in their Proving Ground Tournament in 2018. He’ll be joined on Tuesday by fellow WWN trainee, Tony Donati, who began his wrestling career less than a year ago. A former champion amateur wrestler in high school and NCAA Division I wrestler in college, Donati has picked up pro wrestling like a sponge. Donati first made his AEW debut in March against Sabian so on Tuesday, he’ll be out for some level of revenge against him.

Christopher Daniels vs Serpentico

Christopher Daniels (9-6; 6-3 in 2020)
Serpentico (0-4 in 2020)

daniels vs serpentico

Tangled up with the group some once thought he led, Christopher Daniels has spent pretty much all of 2020 feuding with the Dark Order. In his singles matches this year, Daniels hasn’t performed particularly well, picking up much of his victories wrestling alongside his faction mates in SCU. Daniels has a great opportunity to get back in the win column on Tuesday though when he takes on Serpentico, returning for his second week in a row on DARK and fifth time overall. Wrestling both as Serpentico and alter ego Jon Cruz, the 36-year-old is an indie veteran of 13 years. Trained at the 3D Academy, Cruz has wrestled for IMPACT, NWA, ROH, MLW, WWE, as well as PWX, WrestleCircus, The Crash, Wrestling Revolver, FEST Wrestling and more. He’s won nine titles in his career, a far cry from the 46 Daniels has won, but still a nice amount. While yet to pick up a win, Serpentico/Cruz has performed well on DARK, continuing to get the call week after week to return.

Colt Cabana vs Lee Johnson

Colt Cabana (4-3 in 2020)
Lee Johnson (0-7 in 2020)

cabana vs johnson aew dark

Colt Cabana has gotten under the skin of Kenny Omega through weekly Being the Elite antics, but it hasn’t yet resulted in a match between the two. Instead, Cabana has been picking up some victories, largely due to the quality of opponents he’s faced. Cabana has wins over the winless Cutler and Avalon, and a few weeks ago defeated Shawn Dean on DARK. This should be another in the win column for Cabana, though, his opponent is no slouch. Look past the record as Lee Johnson is an exciting young prospect on AEW’s radar. Trained by AR Fox, and Marshall at the Nightmare Factory, Johnson has already made seven appearances for the promotion across both DARK and Dynamite. Johnson has also wrestled for IWA-MS, Absolute Intense Wrestling, and WWN. Upon his match against Mr. Brodie Lee, Johnson received praise from Tony Khan for his performance. Against Cabana, he’ll have another chance to show why he’s someone who could have a bright future in AEW.

Best Friends (w/ Orange Cassidy) vs. Alan Angels and Shawn Dean

Best Friends – Trent and Chuck Taylor (13-11; 8-5 in 2020)

Alan Angels and Shawn Dean – N/A

tag team match

The rise of the Best Friends has been on display the past few weeks as Chuck Taylor and Trent are currently riding a five-match winning streak as a team. It all culminated in a huge #1 contenders match at Double or Nothing where Best Friends defeated Private Party to earn the right to challenge Kenny Omega and Hangman Page for the titles next. From a team that came into AEW with a comedic reputation, Best Friends have continued to show they are more than just hugs and hot tags. The two are a well-oiled machine and they are getting pushed hard right now toward the top. That’s what makes this opportunity all the more important for Alan Angels and Shawn Dean. The two young prospects are well-known names in AEW at this point as both have been DARK staples. Dean and Angels are two guys who trained under Fox and currently train under Marshall and have made the most of every opportunity they’ve gotten thus far. Known as the Captain, Dean has taken part in every episode of DARK since his debut on March 25th. This will be his first time in tag team action on the show but his partner is someone well-experienced in DARK matches as well. Just 22 years old, Angels, who wrestles out of Georgia, has worked for ACTION Wrestling, Southern Fried Championship Wrestling, Peachstate Wrestling Alliance, Scenic City Invitational and Southern Honor Wrestling where he is a former champ. He’s just a four-year pro but has already been able to wrestle Lance Archer, Kenny Omega, Fenix, and Sammy Guevara. Tuesday marks his fifth appearance on DARK, but it will certainly not be his last. Both Dean and Angels seem like guys who AEW is definitely watching very closely. Another solid outing on Tuesday gets them one step closer to the ultimate goal, a spot on the roster.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world. You can catch AEW Dynamite Wednesday nights at 8PM ET on TNT and AEW DARK Tuesday nights at 7 PM ET on YouTube.