Preview: AEW DARK (8/11/20)


It’s another exciting AEW DARK on tap this week as Rachael Ellering, Michael Stevens, and Alex Chamberlain will make their debuts, Lee Johnson, Pineapple Pete, Corey Hollis, and Aaron Solow return to action, and Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison reunite their tag team for a second week in a row. Also in action will be The Hybrid 2, who are returning to the ring for the first time since March, and Rey Fenix, who could be poised to go on a big singles run with Death Triangle seemingly sidelined.

Make sure to check out this week’s show as there is a lot of great action scheduled for Tuesday’s nine match card.

SCU vs Butcher and the Blade

Looking to get back to their winning ways, SCU’s Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels will be in action for the first time this August, as they take on the surging Butcher and the Blade.

Kazarian and Daniels have enjoyed a good several months since becoming the main tag team of SCU. With Scorpio Sky pursuing a singles run, Daniels and Kazarian, no strangers to pairing up, have become SCU’s main tag unit. The former Addition/Bad Influence, Daniels and Kazarian began pairing up again in March and since then, the duo has gone 5-2, with an undefeated record on AEW DARK. However, they have lost their last two and will be looking on Tuesday to get their first win since June’s DARK tapings. While they aren’t yet ranked as one of AEW’s top teams, a win this week will go a long way towards the former Ring of Honor and TNA tag team champions getting one step closer to capturing the gold in AEW as well.

They’ll face one of AEW’s hottest tag teams, the also non-ranked Butcher and the Blade. The Pepper Parks/Andy Williams pairing has proved successful on the indies and in AEW as MJF’s associates are 7-2 (5-2 in traditional two on two) in tag team matches since May. Parks and Williams are a powerful, gritty team and one that even the veteran SCU shouldn’t take lightly. While they are coming off a loss against the Young Bucks in their last appearance, this duo has wins over Private Party, Jurassic Express, and, while teaming with the Lucha Brothers, an eight man tag victory over both the Young Bucks and FTR.

Michael Stevens vs Kip Sabian

Kip Sabian returns to AEW DARK for the first time this August, as he’ll take on the debuting Michael Stevens, a veteran of Georgia’s robust indie scene.

Both Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford have benefited from their on-screen pairing, as the two real life partners have found success with the other in their corner. Both will be in action this week for the first time in a while as Ford looks to work her way back to the top of the women’s title picture and Sabian looks to establish himself as perhaps a future contender for either the TNT Championship or maybe even a shot at Jon Moxley’s world title. While it seemed Sabian would be spending the year working towards success in a tag team, plans changed, allowing the 28-year-old an opportunity to string together some singles wins on AEW DARK, where he is 8-5 on the year. Sabian is an exciting name to keep an eye on and he’ll have a chance to make his presence known with another win on Tuesday night.

Sabian will be facing yet another indie wrestler set to make his DARK debut as Georgia’s Michael Stevens will be in action on the program for the first time. A veteran of he Georgia indie scene, Stevens began his career in earnest in 2009 with Alabama’s Great Championship Wrestling. From there, Stevens began to appear for Georgia’s NWA Rampage Pro Wrestling as well as Anarchy Wrestling. Now known for his time in Southern Fried Championship Wrestling and Peachstate Wrestling Alliance, Stevens also spent time with NWA Atlanta and All-Star Wrestling Network. In 2019, Stevens made his ROH debut, wrestling two matches for the promotion over the next two years, alongside Sal Rinauro. Now, in singles action, this may be Stevens’ biggest opportunity of his career thus far.

Lee Johnson vs Rey Fenix


One of AEW DARK’s most exciting young prospects, Lee Johnson, returns to action for the first time since June, to take on one of the roster’s most exciting young talents in Rey Fenix. While not expected to be much more than a squash, these two should put on a show in what could be one of the more engaging matches of the night.

Due to COVID-19, Fenix’s time in AEW has been cut short in 2020. In January, Fenix made his first DARK appearance of the year in a losing effort to Joey Janela, only to return to the promotion in May, where he is 2-0 since and 3-0 overall in AEW in singles action this year. Death Triangle’s rise may be on hold for the time-being, but the chance to push Fenix as a singles star is one AEW would be wise to take advantage of. The 29-year-old has a wealth of talent and while the Lucha Brothers are poised to be a successful tag team, that division is stacked and talented wrestlers have had to sit on the sidelines as a result. With Scorpio Sky perhaps trading in his ‘King of AEW DARK’ crown, Fenix could be a great guy to carry that mantle and continue his winning streak on the promotion.

On Tuesday, he’ll face Lee Johnson, who was one of DARK’s early standouts, despite having just two years of pro wrestling experience under his belt. The young Johnson, who is a product of Indiana, and who trained with both AR Fox and QT Marshall at the Nightmare Factory, has had some impressive showings in his AEW DARK career since debuting with the promotion in April. Since then, Johnson has wrestled 12 matches, including against top AEW talent such as Sky, Brian Cage, MJF, Brodie Lee and more. Now, making his 13th appearance, this Nightmare/WWA4 product will have yet another opportunity against a big name, to show off the talent he’s picked up in such a short career.

Penelope Ford vs Rachael Ellering

Penelope Ford is headed back to AEW DARK for the first time this month, as she’ll take on Rachael Ellering, who just made her AEW debut on Monday night in the women’s tag team tournament.

Returning to action for the first time since her own team lost in the tag team tournament, Ford isn’t that far removed from she was the #1 contender for Hikaru Shida’s women’s championship. Ford earned her opportunity thanks to her singles record, which is now at 5-2. It’s been a great year for the former Beyond Wrestling regular. Ford has definitely improved in her time in AEW and she’ll have chance to work her way back up the ladder with a match on Tuesday.

Opposing Ford will be Rachael Ellering, who is making her DARK debut, but who made her AEW debut alongside Dasha in the second draw of the AEW women’s tournament. Daughter of legendary Road Warriors wrestling manager, Paul Ellering, Rachael Ellering made her wrestling debut in 2015 and soon began finding work in WWE. Ellering spent much of 2019 with the promotion as her main home until cuts in March led to her being released from the company. Now, Ellering will have a chance to make a name for herself in a new promotion as she begins to get work with AEW. In addition to WWE, in her career, Ellering has worked for SHINE, World Wrestling Network, Queens of Combat, SHIMMER, and did a tour of Japan with Stardom in 2018.

Shawn Spears vs Alex Chamberlain


Shawn Spears, Tully Blanchard, and that black glove return to AEW DARK for the first time in a month as Spears is set to take on Maine’s Alex Chamberlain in his AEW debut and first match overall in 2020.

The journey to find a tag team partner seemed to end in failure for Shawn Spears, so it’s back to the singles road for the former Perfect 10. While Blanchard meanwhile, may have his sights on FTR and a new Four Horsemen, something that Spears could be a part of. But while that may or not develop, Spears will be back in action for the first time since July, looking to continue his stellar record on the year. Since kicking off his singles run in March, Spears is 8-2 in singles action, and certainly someone who has worked his way toward the top of the rankings. Spears has found success thanks to Blanchard’s mentorship and he’ll look to continue that with his fifth win in a row against the debuting veteran.

Spears’ opponents is the 35-year-old Alex Chamberlain, who is in the midst of his 17th year as a pro wrestler. Chamberlain’s career began in 2003 in the New England/Northeast scene, where he spent parts of the next eight years before making his TV debut with Ring Warriors in 2012-13. Chamberlain was also part of the promotion’s short-lived revival in 2018. Now a regular with Gangrel’s Wrestling Asylum, Chamerlain is also known for his work in Ronin Pro Wrestling, where he’s called home since 2016. He’s won nine titles in his career, including with Ronin, where he is the former heavyweight champion, with a reign that lasted 308 days.

M’Badu and Shawn Dean vs Austin and Billy

Austin and Billy are back in action for the second week in a row as they take on the team of Shawn Dean and the debuting M’Badu.

While out of action much of the year due to Austin Gunn’s injury, the Gunn Club will be back this week for just their fourth match of 2020. Joined by his father, the legendary WWE Hall of Famer, Billy Gunn, the Gunn Club has made three appearances this year and are undefeated in tag team action. They will be favored to win again on Tuesday, which will be the duo’s second match as a team since January.

Opposing them will be a brand new tag team as M’Badu joins with Shawn Dean. M’badu, known locally as the “Nigerian Bear” is a physically imposing performer who has been making some waves in Florida for the likes of Atomic Wrestling. He also holds the record for most eliminations in an SCW Battle Royal so you know he’s a monster. His team mate is one of Dark’s regulars, A trainee of QT Marshall’s Nightmare Factory, Dean, now in just his third year as a pro, is returning to DARK for the 12th time this year. That’s more than most. Four of his last six have seen the Chicago native in tag team action so Dean will certainly not be out of his element on Tuesday night.

The Hybrid 2 vs the Natural Nightmares


Finally back in action after months after, the Hybrid 2 will look to start their path towards tag team glory on Tuesday as they take on the Natural Nightmares.

Last week, Jack Evans made his return to AEW DARK for the first time since March, and this week, he’ll be joined by Angelico in what marks the team’s in ring return in five months. TH2 have had just five matches on the year and they’ve won just one of them. But Angelico and Evans are way too talented to languish in the depths of AEW’s stacked tag team division. These two can be contenders and if the vignettes they’ve been getting lately are any indication, it may not be long until TH2 are challenging for the titles. That journey could begin on Tuesday as they take on the Natural Nightmares.

Set to be cornered by the Nightmare Sisters, who are doing well in the women’s tag team tournament, the Natural Nightmares will look to continue the group’s winning ways against TH2. Coined the Natural Nightmares in March, Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall’s partnership entered a new chapter in March as the duo began to see regular action as a team. Since then, the Natural Nightmares are 4-1, with their only loss coming against the tag team champions. Rhodes and Marshall have been one of DARK’s more dominant duos and they’ll look to keep that streak going on Tuesday as they take on TH2 in their first match as a team in several months.

Jurassic Express vs Corey Hollis, Pineapple Pete, and Aaron Solow

It’s a six man tag match of epic proportions as all three members of Jurassic Express are in action against the rag-tag trio of Corey Hollis, Pineapple Pete, and Aaron Solow in what could be the most entertaining match of the night.

Returning to trios action for the first time since their Dynamite loss to the Elite at Fight for the Fallen, Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, and Marko Stunt have had a pretty good year, going 5-3 in their eight prior matches. The trio always seems to hum when all three are in action and this Tuesday should be no different especially as they’ll look to go 4-0 on DARK this year.

AEW DARK is the breeding ground for new tag teams and on Tuesday, the promotion is putting together three of it’s top indie names in what could be a great makeshift tag team. Returning for his ninth match on AEW, the man, the myth, the legend that is Pineapple Pete, has been a favorite ever since he donned the shirt that led to Chris Jericho coining him with the nickname. Since his debut in March, Pete AKA Suge Dunkerton, has put on fun and impressive matches with AEW. Expect no different this Tuesday. He’ll be joined by Corey Hollis. The Southern indie star is returning for just his fourth DARK match, but first in six-man action. Their third partner is Aaron Solow who has been on each of the last three episodes of DARK. The former Dojo Pro winner and Full Impact Pro wrestler, Solow has looked good in his previous DARK appearances, though this will be his first trios match with the promotion.

Private Party vs Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr.


After a successful showing in their tag team debut last week, the New Hollywood Blondes, Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison, will be back at it this week against the recent #1 tag team contenders, Private Party.

Private Party continue to be one of the most exciting, most athletic, and most entertaining tag team in AEW. And that’s saying a lot given how stacked the division is. Recently coming off a tag title match at Fyter Fest, Private Party have pretty much gone .500 on the year picking up big wins but also sustaining some bad losses. But the duo of Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy are young and hungry and it’s only matter of time until they find themselves back in the rankings as one of the top teams in the company.

Pillman and Garrison made their tag team debut last week and while they lost, the duo was fun to watch. Both relatively young into their wrestling careers, Pillman and Garrison are two names that AEW must have their eyes on. Garrison, who has become a running gag on Being the Elite, first debuted on AEW DARK in June. Known for his time in the Southern indie scene, specifically with Georgia’s SFCW and Anarchy Wrestling, Garrison is an exciting young wrestler. So too is Pillman, though he has a little more TV experience under his belt. Known for his time in MLW’s New Hart Foundation, Pillman was recognized as PWI’s Rookie of the Year, and has looked good in his three DARK matches thus far. The 26-year-old has kept busy outside of AEW in 2020 as well, recently successfully defending his Warrior Wrestling championship against fellow AEW DARK wrestler, Robert Anthony.

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 8 PM ET on TNT and AEW DARK Tuesday nights at 7 PM ET on YouTube.

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