Preview: AEW DARK (8/18/20)


While much of AEW’s programming schedule is being altered over the next few weeks due to the NBA postseason, AEW DARK will continue to occupy its Tuesday night timeslot on YouTube. And once again, it’s another great night of action to look forward to as Frank Stone, RYZIN, D3, Jessy Sorenson all make their AEW debuts and Lee Johnson, Shawn Dean, Jon Cruz, and Will Hobbs return to action. Also, the Initiative continue seeking their first, elusive win against TH2 and a huge eight-man tag match will pair Lucha Brothers with Butcher and the Blade and SCU with Private Party. Plus, Ricky Starks, Kip Sabian, and Abadon will all be in action.

Make sure to check out this week’s show as there is a lot of great action scheduled for Tuesday’s loaded 11 match card.

Alan Angels vs Billy Gunn


Last in action in July as part of the six-man Dark Order squad that defeated the Elite and FTR, the 22-year-old Alan Angels AKA Five, will be in singles action for the first time in over a month as he takes on Billy Gunn. An up-and-coming star in the Southern indie star, Angels has found success since joining the Dark Order as he is 3-1 in his matches.

Over twice Angels’ age, Gunn has shown in recent weeks that he still has it. A 31-year wrestling veteran, 10x WWF/WWE tag team champion, and WWE Hall of Famer, Gunn is 1-2 in singles matches in 2020, but is 5-2 overall, having found success in his Gunn Club pairing with son, Austin Gunn. He’ll certainly be challenged against the younger, more athletic Angels but Gunn is a crafty veteran who Mr. Brodie Lee’s minion would be foolish to take lightly.

Lance Archer vs Jon Cruz and Jessy Sorenson

It would appear that winning in singles matches is no longer good enough for Jake Roberts’ Murderhawk Monster as Lance Archer will take on not one, but two men during this week’s action on DARK. The 43-year-old veteran has been nothing short of dominant since joining AEW. Manhandling his way through much of the competition, Archer’s only AEW career loss came in the finals of the TNT Championship tournament. Other than that, Archer is 10-1 and has certainly made a case for himself to be considered a title contender in the near future.

Jon Cruz is no stranger to DARK. In fact, since May, no wrestler, whether contracted with AEW or not, has made more appearances on the Tuesday night program than Cruz and his alter ego, Serpentico. Cruz first debuted in AEW in March for a one-off before returning to DARK as a regular in May. Since then, Cruz/Serpentico has been on 10 out of 13 episodes of DARK. His partner in Tuesday’s handicap match will be Jessy Sorenson, who is making his AEW debut. Trained by the Dudleys, Sorenson is a 12-year veteran who is known for his time in TNA/IMPACT Wrestling. The 31-year-old Sorenson, who will be wrestling his first match of the year, has also made appearances for NWA, Ring of Honor, Ring Warriors, Ronin Pro Wrestling, and NXT.

One would think a handicap match would favor the two-person team, but in this case, two of them against Archer may just make the odds a little fairer, even though they still lean heavily in the Murderhawk Monster’s favor.

John Silver, Alex Reynolds and Colt Cabana vs D3, RYZIN and Faboo Andre


Colt Cabana has been hanging out with the Dark Order and while he’s yet to officially commit to joining, it’s clear that Lee and his minions see things otherwise. And to their credit, Cabana has actually benefited from his association with the Dark Order, winning all three of his last three matches. That’s more than Alex Reynolds and John Silver can say. Since joining Dark Order, the former Beaver Boys have struggled to find the same success, winning just one of their seven matches this year. The duo are coming off a great showing however, against Cody and Matt Cardona from Dynamite two weeks ago, and alongside Cabana, they’ll look to build on that strong performance against Faboo Andre and two debuting wrestlers on DARK.

Just three years experience under his belt, Faboo Andre, known for his time in American Combat Wrestling, REAL Pro Wrestling, and World Wrestling Network, makes his return to DARK for the first time in over a month. This will be just his fourth appearance on the program. In this case, that makes him a veteran considering his teammates are both making their DARK debuts. Andre will team with Daniele Dentice D’Accadia, D3 for short. The 29-year-old began wrestling in 2009 but it wasn’t until 2016, that he really started hitting the indie circuit. He is known for his time in DYNASTY Wrestling, REAL, ACW, and a brief stint as enhancement talent in WWE. Their third partner is RYZIN. Formerly Rob Ryzin, the 34-year-old has wrestled in WWE and TNA, but hasn’t been in the ring in three years, though he was seen as a manager in the short-lived Blackcraft Wrestling from 2018-19 and appeared in Matt Hardy’s broken universe several times.

Shawn Dean and Frank Stone vs Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela

It’s another week on AEW DARK meaning it’s time for another match from everyone’s favorite mixed/matched tag team, Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela. The Concrete Rose and the Bad Boy have been a fun and entertaining team ever since they were first paired together in March. Since then, Kiss and Janela have wrestled seven matches as a team, losing just one of them. Among their victories was a win against Musa and Shawn Dean, the latter of whom they’ll be facing on Tuesday night.

The Chicago native trained by the Nightmare Factory, Shawn Dean may only be a three-year pro but he’s already made an impact in AEW. Known for his time in the Southern indies as well as with AR Fox in World Wrestling Alliance 4, Dean is returning for his 13th match in AEW, 12th of which is on DARK. It will be his sixth time in traditional tag team action, but first with brand new partner and debuting wrestler, Frank Stone. Known also by the name of JT Flash, Stone first trained with the Dudleys. Wrestling out of New York, Stone is known for his time in Coastal Championship Wrestling and Ring Warriors. He last wrestled in 2014 so this will be a huge return to the ring for the 12-year veteran.

Will Hobbs vs Shawn Spears


Will Hobbs has become a DARK favorite as of late and with good reason. The 11-year veteran from California’s indie scene, Hobbs is set to make his sixth appearance on AEW DARK, all since the beginning of July. Hobbs is most known for his time in All Pro Wrestling, where he has won six of his nine career titles.

A focal point in AEW lately, the black-gloved Shawn Spears continues to pick up victory after victory, all the while under the watchful mentorship of Tully Blanchard, who seems to have his eye on some other talents as well. It seems AEW is leaning towards their own version of the Four Horsemen, featuring Spears, FTR and a mystery fourth man. But while that develops, Spears will look to keep up his DARK winning streak, which sits at five in a row. Overall, Spears is 9-2 in singles matches on the year, a record that will certainly have him in the conversation when it comes to a title shot in the near future.

Michael Nakazawa vs Kip Sabian

Set to make just his 10th match in AEW this year, Michael Nakazawa is back in action for the first time in over a month, when he teamed with Pineapple Pete in a loss to Janela and Kiss. A longtime veteran, known for his work in DDT and throughout Japan, Nakazawa has lost six of his eight matches this year. While that doesn’t sound like a good record, and it’s not, Nakazawa’s two wins double all of what he had last year.

The 28-year-old Kip Sabian was meant to be in a tag team but with his SuperBad Death Squad partner recently released by AEW, and having been suspended prior to, Sabian has been on his own. Fortunately, that has worked out well for the English star, who has made the most of his opportunity and showcased his charisma and talent in the ring. Sabian is 9-4 in singles action this year, including a victory over Nakazawa when these two last faced each other in January.

Private Party and SCU vs Lucha Brothers and Butcher and the Blade


Four of AEW’s best tag teams will be in action on Tuesday night as one week after the Butcher and the Blade defeated SCU, the two teams will have a rematch, only this time with each recruiting some help to their side.

SCU, especially the version with Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels, has been having a great year as they make their case for a shot at the tag team titles.  The former Addiction/Bad Influence, tag team champions the world over, Daniels and Kazarian are 5-3 in 2020, with their lone DARK loss coming last week. SCU will look to get back to their winning ways after losing now three in a row. They’ll have a great shot at it as joining them will be Private Party, one of the most exciting tag teams AEW has to offer. Recording a win in their match last week, Private Party also has a loss to Butcher and the Blade that they’ll look to get back. Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen aren’t that far off from when they challenged for the tag titles and a win on Tuesday will help them climb right back into contention.

AEW’s hottest tag team right now, Butcher and the Blade have worked their way into the tag team rankings with yet another dominant DARK performance last week. Now 8-2 and 6-2 in traditional tag team action, Pepper Parks and Andy Williams have been a force this year. They even already have three victories in eight-man tag team action this year, alongside the team they’ll pair with again on Tuesday in the Lucha Brothers. Pentagon and Fenix haven’t had much action since COVID-19 struck, leading to travel bans and international wrestlers having to sit it out for some time. Set for a push with Death Triangle, the Lucha Brothers are 2-1 in their tag team matches since July with their lone loss coming against the undefeated FTR.

Red Velvet vs Abadon

Returning for just her second DARK match this year, Red Velvet faces a tough test against the one-loss Abadon. A four year pro out of Florida, Velvet is known for her time in Fighting Evolution Wrestling, as well as Shine and WWN where she worked a few shows in 2018.

Abadon first made her AEW DARK debut in March. By the time she returned to AEW in June it was as a newly signed wrestler, who has just over a year of wrestling experience under her belt. 3-0 since her debut as a contracted wrestler with AEW, Abadon has wins over Anna Jayy, Skyler Moore, and KiLynn King. She’ll look to add Red Velvet to that list on Tuesday night.

Ricky Starks vs Lee Johnson


Signing with AEW shortly after he lost an impressive debut against Cody for the TNT Championship, Ricky Starks enjoyed a fantastic July. Joining up with Taz and Brian Cage, Starks picked up three wins on DARK before losing just the second match in his AEW career a few weeks ago on Dynamite. Undefeated on DARK however, the former NWA World Television champion, Starks, will look to keep that streak up against one of the AEW DARK favorites, Lee Johnson.

Just a two-year pro, Johnson has trained with both AR Fox and QT Marshall. He made his AEW debut against Marshall in April, and has been a staple with DARK ever since. Known for his time in the Southern indies, Johnson has wrestled 13 matches with AEW this year, including nine of which have been on DARK. He’s had some top showcases as well, putting on lengthy contests with Scorpio Sky and Fenix in consecutive weeks. Johnson is a star in the making and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him parlay his DARK success into an AEW contract.

Baron Black and Tony Donati vs Santana and Ortiz

Returning for just his second AEW DARK match this year, the 11-year-veteran, Baron Black, will team with another recent returnee, Tony Donati. Wrestling out of Atlanta, Black made his debut in 2009 after training with WWA4 and wrestling with the promotion for several years after. In 2015, Black made his WWN, IWA-MS, and ROH debuts. Recently, Black is known for his time in New South Pro Wrestling. His partner, a WWN trainee, Tony Donati, 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. He’s wrestled for ACW, IPW Hardcore Wrestling, and more. Donati first made his AEW debut in March and is returning for his fourth match on DARK this week.

Black and Donati are relatively new to AEW DARK, but their opponents are not. In fact, Santana and Ortiz have used victories on DARK to re-establish themselves as the tag team they should have always been from the beginning. But much like other DARK successes, Santana and Ortiz’ Tuesday night dominance has yet to transfer as the team is coming off two straight losses at the hands of Best Friends. But things are different on DARK, where Santana and Ortiz are undefeated. They’ll look to keep that record blemish-free and make a statement in the meantime, this week.

The Hybrid2 vs the Initiative

AEW DARKAfter being out of action for months, The Hybrid2 wrestled their first tag team match since March last week, losing to the Natural Nightmares on AEW DARK. TH2 had wrestled just six tag team matches this year and they’ve won just twice. Last week, Angelico and Jack Evans had a chance to shake off the ring rust and fortunately for them, they’ll get a bit of lay-up when it comes to their opponent this week.

Peter Avalon and Brandon Cutler. Brandon Cutler and Peter Avalon. The Iniaiative. No matter what you want to call these lovable losers, they are in fact, losers. Cutler and Avalon’s journey to their first win has been a fun story to follow but one that may be reaching it’s natural conclusion. At some point, one has to imagine these two will pick up a win. But that day won’t be today. It probably won’t be next week or even the next week either. But as long as Cutler and Avalon are on the card, there’s always a chance…

Programming note: Starting with the August 19th episode of AEW Dynamite, which will air on August 22nd instead due to TNT airing the NBA playoffs, there will be three episodes of Dynamite in August/September that will air on different dates/time slots. Make sure to set your DVR in order not to miss any of the action!

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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