Preview: AEW DARK (6/23/20)

AEW DARK - Cage vs Anthony

AEW returns on Tuesday night with another good-looking card featuring some of the company’s top names in action alongside new debuts and the returns of some AEW DARK favorites including Lee Johnson and MUSA. SCU‘s new tag duo of Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian will look to keep their winning streak intact, Peter Avalon will look for his first win period (spoiler alert, he’s not going to get it), Mel returns for the first time since January, and Brian Cage, looking to remain undefeated, meets Robert Anthony, who has continued to make the most of his opportunities in AEW.

All this and more on this week’s DARK. Let’s get right to it.

Luther, Serpentico & Max Caster vs. Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy & Marko Stunt)

Photo: AEW

Last week, in their first match as a trio since March, Jurassic Express defeated the team of Jon Cruz and the Capital Vices. Now, Cruz, representing his alter ego Serpentico, is back with new partners in the form of AEW’s Luther and Create-A-Pro‘s Max Caster, who is making his AEW debut.

Having wrestled for all of the major U.S. televised companies (WWE, IMPACT, MLW, NWA, and ROH) in his 13+ year career, Serpentico, one of the recent ‘DARK regulars,’ first made his AEW debut in March 2020 and has wrestled eight matches, including twice in one night, since. Trained by Bully Ray and Devon Dudley at the 3D Academy, in his career, the 36-year-old Serpentico has wrestled for Premiere Wrestling Xperience, WrestleCircusThe CrashWrestling Revolver, FEST WrestlingFull Impact Pro, Evolve, Ignite Wrestling and more. Overall, he’s won nine titles in his career and has competed in such tournaments as Florida’s J-Cup, which he won in 2018. Teaming with Serpentico is Luther, a 51-year-old veteran of nearly 20 years, who is 2-2 in his AEW career with one win actually coming against Serpentico/Cruz on DARK. Their third partner will be Caster. Trained by Pat Buck and Brian Myers at CAP, Caster is a five-year veteran of the NY and East Coast indie scene. A former regular with Combat Zone Wrestling, Caster, who has won four titles in his career, has also made appearances for New York Wrestling Connection, Beyond, Limitless, and others.

While Serpentico has armed himself with a nice set of partners, defeating the trio of Jurassic Express will be no easy task. Debuting for AEW as a trio at All Out, Jurassic Express actually wrestled their first non-PPV match for the company on the first-ever DARK back in October 2019. Since then, the threesome has gone 4-5 in trios matches. The trio is coming off a win last week, however, and will no doubt look to keep their recent momentum going as they take on Serpentico and his new teammates.

Peter Avalon (w/ Leva Bates) vs. Orange Cassidy

Photo: AEW

Who doesn’t like to watch Orange Cassidy wrestle? And who doesn’t like to see Peter Avalon continue to lose? Well, on Tuesday, these two worlds collide as for just the second time ever and first time in an AEW ring, the winless Avalon will take on Mr. Freshly Squeezed himself. Having recently failed to get his elusive first victory while teaming with the equally winless Brandon Cutler, Avalon will be wrestling his first singles match in almost a month. But rust and rest shouldn’t matter here as Avalon can’t seem to buy a win even if one was a vowel in Wheel of Fortune.

Cassidy on the other hand, who has quickly become a fan favorite in AEW, has been enjoying quite the year. Set to wrestle Chris Jericho at Fyter Fest in July, in his AEW career, Cassidy is 3-4, and is coming off a win in his last appearance when he teamed with Best Friends to take down the Inner Circle. Avalon will surely put up a fight but in the end, he’s likely to pick up his 17th loss, meaning according to AEW records, he’ll then have one more loss than Cutler and will retake the lead in the quest to determine who is the company’s bigger loser.

Griff Garrison vs. Lance Archer (w/ Jake “The Snake” Roberts)

Photo: AEW

Making his AEW debut last week, Griff Garrison wrestled a strong six-plus minute match before eventually picking up the loss. And unfortunately for the 22-year-old kid out of North Carolina, Garrison, in his second-ever DARK match, has drawn one of AEW’s resident monsters in Lance Archer. Recently with Future of Honor, Anarchy Wrestling, and Southern Fried Championship Wrestling, Griff Garrison has been wrestling for just three years, a far cry from the 19 of 43-year-old Lance Archer.

Already a major force in AEW, Archer has lost just one match in his career with the company. This is just his second time appearing on DARK as he made his debut last week in a dominant win over the debuting David Ali. This is a great opportunity for Garrison to continue to showcase his talent in his burgeoning career, that is of course if he still has one when the Murderhawk is done with him.

The Dark Order (John Silver & Alex Reynolds) vs. Joey Janela & Sonny Kiss

Photo: AEW

While the Dark Order itself seems to be on the rise with the recent additions of Preston Vance (Pres10 Vance), Alan Angels (V) and just last week, it’s first female member in Anna Jay, it has been the duo of John Silver and Alex Reynolds, that have struggled to get into the win column in their AEW careers. Formerly known as the Beaver Boys, Reynolds and Silver are winless in their two years with AEW, yet to reap the benefits of Dark Order membership like many of their colleagues. But they’ll have another opportunity on Tuesday as they take on the very entertaining and thus far undefeated duo of Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss.

AEW found a winning combination when they paired Janela and Kiss and thus far, the two have gelled well and picked up a string of victories. While the team has yet to make its Dynamite debut, Janela and Kiss are 3-0 on DARK including winning their most recent match last week. With a faction like the Dark Order backing them, one should never fully count out Reynolds and Silver. That said, Janela and Kiss have found instant chemistry and they’ll no doubt look to continue the roll they’ve been on since teaming up in March.

Lee Johnson vs. Scorpio Sky

Photo: AEW

Mr. AEW DARK, Lee Johnson is back in action for the 11th time in AEW this year, certainly making the most of every opportunity he’s been given. On Tuesday, he’ll be in the ring with Scorpio Sky, who has been seeing more singles action as of late and will be looking to pick up another big win in his quest toward a possible title match.

Primarily known in AEW for his tag team success alongside Frankie Kazarian in SCU where the two are the first-ever tag team champions, Sky has taken a backseat in the team lately as he’s been utilized more in singles action while Christopher Daniels has stepped in alongside Kazarian. Sky has wrestled just four times as a singles wrestler in AEW, three of which have come this year. Whether he continues this route in the future or returns to SCU remains to be seen, but in the meantime, Sky will look to rack up his second win in a row.

Trained by QT Marshall at the Nightmare Factory, Johnson is one of the most exciting young wrestlers that AEW has on their radar. While yet to pick up a win in the company, as has been the DARK formula with the indie wrestlers working the shows, Johnson has showed up and showed out every chance he’s gotten. Johnson has wrestled Brodie Lee, Wardlow, MJF, Brian Cage, and most recently Shawn Spears, among others. In addition to his recent work with AEW, Johnson has also made appearances for Absolute Intense WrestlingIWA-MS, World Wrestling Network, and more.

KiLynn King vs. Mel

Photo: AEW

Originally a member of the Nightmare Collective, Mel hasn’t wrestled in AEW since January of this year when she lost to Hikaru Shida on DARK. The 33-year-old indie veteran, known better by Melanie Cruise/Raven’s Ash, Mel is primarily known for her time in Brew City Wrestling, Pro Wrestling WAVE, SHIMMER, and RISE, where she won one of her eight career titles. Now in AEW, with the Nightmare Collective dissolved, it will be interesting to see what is next for Mel.

In the immediate future, however, she’ll take on KiLynn King, who is returning to DARK for the third time. Trained by the 3D Academy, King, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Crazy,” has wrestled for IGNITE, FEST Wrestling, Go Wrestle, Generation Championship Wrestling, Queens of Combat, and more in her just two-year career. Both women have a great opportunity this week and no doubt both will look to take advantage of that with a top-level performance on DARK.

MUSA & David Ali vs. SCU (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian)

Photo: AEW

No stranger to AEW, MUSA returns to DARK for his seventh appearance, teaming with David Ali, who will be making his second in a row. A lifelong wrestling fan, MUSA grew up dreaming about pursuing a career in the industry one day. Now a trainee at the Nightmare Factory, MUSA, who draws his wrestling name from his grandfather, is managing just that. MUSA began his career training at Ohio Valley Wrestling in 2017, taking part in several TV tapings before moving to Atlanta to train with Marshall. Since then, MUSA has wrestled for Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment, Georgia Premier Wrestling, New South Pro Wrestling, and One Fall Wrestling among others. He debuted for DARK in April and while he has primarily teamed with Lee Johnson, MUSA has worked alongside several partners in his previous six tag team matches. He’ll team with Ali on Tuesday, who made his AEW debut last week. A four-year trainee of WWA4, Ali is known for his time in the Southern indie scene with promotions including Southern Honor Wrestling, ACTION Wrestling, Peachstate Wrestling Alliance, where he is a former champion, and SFCW, his most recent home promotion.

They’ll face the former Addiction, who have enjoyed recent tag team success in AEW. Known for their time in Ring of Honor, IMPACT Wrestling, and now AEW, Daniels and Kazarian are a fantastic tag team with plenty of accolades to their name including as 4x ROH and 2x TNA tag team champs. But in AEW, they’ve not really had the chance to show off their tag prowess as SCU has mainly been represented by Kazarian and Scorpio Sky. However, in 2020, Daniels and Kazarian have been teaming together again and the two have found success in limited matches. They made their AEW debut as a duo on the March 18th episode of DARK and are now 4-0 and could very well be inching their way toward an AEW tag title opportunity.

“Pineapple Pete” Sugar Dunkerton vs. Shawn Spears (w/ Tully Blanchard)

Photo: AEW

Everyone’s favorite Pineapple shirt-wearing wrestler returns to AEW for the first time since May, doing so to take on Shawn Spears, whose AEW career hasn’t exactly gone to plan. First debuting on AEW in March, it didn’t take long for 17-year indie veteran Suge Dunkerton AKA Pineapple Pete, to become a crowd favorite and enemy of one Chris Jericho. Dunkerton will be making his fifth appearance on AEW and fourth on DARK this Tuesday. The 35-year old veteran of the industry, Dunkerton is known for his time in NWA, CHIKARA, Beyond, Resistance Pro Wrestling, IWA-MS, Freelance Wrestling, Tidal Championship Wrestling, and much more. Recently, he’s broken out into the UK scene, wrestling for Preston City Wrestling, IPW:UK, Over the Top Wrestling, and more. One-half of the current PCW tag team champions, Dunkerton has won 14 titles in his career and has competed in such prestigious tournaments as King of Trios, IWC’s Super Indy, and the Ted Petty Invitational.

Coming off a win in his last AEW match, Spears has found himself on a winning streak as of late. The 39-year-old veteran, Spears has actually been solid in singles action, going 5-2 thus far in his career. Seemingly done looking for the perfect tag team partner (Spears is just 1-6 in tag team action), Spears, with the mentorship of Tully Blanchard, has been going through enhancement talent lately on Dynamite and has found success against the indie wrestlers on DARK also. Dunkerton should be his toughest test yet but the rebuild of Spears continues and right now, it looks like he’ll continue to pick up some wins perhaps en route to challenging for the new TNT title.

Robert Anthony vs. Brian Cage (w/ Taz)

Photo: AEW

Ask and ye shall receive. Robert Anthony has become a bit of a DARK star as of late. First debuting as one of Shawn Spears’ ill-fated tag-team partners in mid-March, Anthony has since wrestled two pretty strong singles matches, against Jon Moxley and Scorpio Sky. The only indie wrestler to continuously compete in lengthy showcases (all three of his matches have gone at least nine minutes), Anthony first began to turn heads when he faced off against Moxley, his old rival from a decade ago. He followed this up with another stellar appearance against Sky and on Tuesday, after requesting to face Moxley’s title challenger, Anthony will get his shot. And it just so happens he’ll do so in another rematch, this one over 13 years old.

Wrestling now for 18+ years, Illinois’ Robert Anthony has pretty much done it all. A former developmental wrestler in Florida Championship Wrestling, Anthony is primarily known for his time in AAW, IWA-MS, CZW, and most recently, as a regular for Freelance Wrestling. Anthony has also wrestled for ROH, IMPACT, and WWE. In his career, Anthony – who also wrestled as Egotistico Fantastico – is a former 14x champion with reigns as AAW Heavyweight and CZW World Heavyweight Champion under his belt. He is also a former winner of the IWC’s Super Indy X and CZW’s Best of the Best 9 tournaments.

In Lucha Underground, Brian Cage, another former developmental wrestler at the same time as Anthony (they wrestled in Deep South Wrestling in 2007), burst onto the TV wrestling scene as ‘the Machine,’ and since then, he’s continued to be one of the top indie names in the industry. Now with AEW and being mentored by Taz, the Machine has thus far crushed everyone in his path to Moxley. After winning the casino ladder match to determine Moxley’s Fyter Fest challenger, Cage has, in his last two matches, made short work of Shawn Dean and Lee Johnson. He hasn’t wrestled since May but that won’t be a problem for the 14-year wrestling veteran. Cage has been a star just about everywhere he’s gone, evidenced by his 27 career titles. He’ll be looking for #28 when he faces Moxley at Fyter Fest. While beating Anthony might not get Cage the status he deserves, if he squashes him, that means something given Anthony lasted in the ring over 13 minutes against Moxley. Cage will no doubt look to beat that time as he continues to send the champ a message that come July, there very well could be a new man at the top of the AEW ranks.

Stay tuned to 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, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch AEW Dynamite Wednesday nights at 8pm ET on TNT and AEW DARK Tuesday nights at 7pm on their YouTube Channel.