Every once in a while, a rivalry comes around that just transcends the wresting universe and captivates fans everywhere. Flair/Steamboat, Hogan/Andre, Michaels/Hart, Rock/Austin, and the list goes on. On Tuesday’s AEW DARK, Brandon Cutler will take on Peter Avalon in a match that well, doesn’t quite belong on that above list. However, in a way that one wouldn’t expect from two guys who are 0-for-forever, the feud between Avalon and Cutler deserves merit. It’s been one of AEW’s best booked midcard feuds, even if it’s lived almost entirely on AEW DARK. On Tuesday, that feud gets its rubber match. Though, not in the traditional sense as in their two previous singles matches, both men have zero wins, zero losses and two draws. But as the tagline for this match has been promoted, “someone’s 0 has got to go.” There will be a winner and there will be a losing streak that comes to an end…Probably…
On Monday’s Being the Elite, Sammy Guevara when asked his thoughts about who would win the match, summed it up perfectly. Guevara went from thinking the match would be one of the main ones on the upcoming Full Gear, to accepting it would be on the PPV’s buy-in preshow, to concluding that it would be great for the go-home edition of Dynamite. But with each suggestion, Guevara was told no until the point that frustrated, he asked the cameraman where the match was happening, to which the reply was AEW DARK. Guevara’s surprise and comment that he had “bad intel” was a perfect example of the nature of this feud. Because while the booking has been interesting and the story has been layered and even Tony Khan got involved to host a pre-match press conference for the duo, Cutler and Avalon are both competing for their first win. These two are losers and that’s not even meant to be an insult but rather a statement of fact. Both Cutler and Avalon have been in AEW for two years, between them that’s a total of 55 matches and a total of zero wins. There are two draws in there for each as well, both coming in recent months as Avalon and Cutler hilariously wrestled to a double count out and then a double DQ on AEW DARK.
It started to become a running gag. How many ways could AEW find to keep having Cutler and Avalon come to a draw? They first used that option on Being the Elite when Scorpio Sky fought both in a triple threat and made special attention to pin both simultaneously. Then of course came the double count out in September and the double DQ a month later. If you’re keeping a scorecard, that really only left a time limit draw as a potential match outcome to keep both men out of the win column. But instead of take that route, AEW, having just recently celebrated the one-year anniversaries of both DARK and Dynamite, opted to make the call that this week, either the 0-27-2 Cutler or 0-26-2 Avalon would finally be getting their first-ever win with the company. The battle the two had been waging for months, to determine who would be AEW’s biggest loser, would finally have an answer and reach its natural conclusion.
And for two guys who likely couldn’t even buy a win if it were a vowel in a game of Wheel of Fortune, this feud has been more entertaining than it’s really had any right to be. Things started innocently enough. Cutler found himself as the job guy on Dynamite and DARK, something that didn’t feel odd or out of place. Meanwhile, as Avalon and Leva Bates‘ Librarian character hilariously parodied all the bad gimmicks in wrestling, the losses piled up for him as well. And pretty soon, people started keeping track because across the proverbial pond in WWE, fans had just gotten done watching a separate losing streak, one that lasted 269 matches. Needless to say, no one wanted to see either Cutler or Avalon languish through mediocrity for that long. But weeks then months and then the first year went by with neither man picking up a win and pretty soon, this led to their paths crossing.
Avalon never liked Cutler and always made a point to mention that Cutler was the company’s biggest loser. But then the next week would go by and Avalon would catch Cutler in losses, starting the process all over again. Even Michael Nakazawa, who at one point only held a win over non-wrestler Alex Jebailey from CEO, pointed out he was not the worst wrestler in AEW, a fact that seemed to stick with both Cutler and Avalon. Feuding over losses eventually led Avalon and Cutler down an unexpected path as the two put aside their differences in an attempt to get their first wins together. It seemed like this was the proper route for AEW to go down, to allow Cutler and Avalon some tag team wins on DARK and put an end to the year-long losing streak story. But that wasn’t exactly what happened.
Having first shared the ring as opponents when they lost to Sky at the BTE Compound, Cutler and Avalon returned to face the rest of SCU, only this time as a duo. But while many AEW wrestlers saw DARK as an opportunity to pad their win/loss records by facing local indie talent, Cutler and Avalon never once got a freebie. From March to August, Cutler and Avalon, who later went by the team name, the Initiative, lost all of their DARK matches against just about every tag team on the AEW roster including SCU, Jurassic Express, Private Party, Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela, the Young Bucks, Butcher and the Blade, the Dark Order‘s Stu Grayson and Evil Uno, TH2, and even the newly-signed Serpentico and Luther.
As the losses piled up, the chemistry that was never quite there from the start, got worse and worse. The heel Avalon and babyface Cutler simply couldn’t get on the same page. Avalon just wanted to win, by any means necessary, but Cutler wanted their first win, whenever it came, to mean something. Avalon however, was done waiting, and after the duo’s loss against Private Party on the September 1st episode of DARK, he attacked Cutler with his 20-sided die, effectively breaking up the team and leaving Bates somewhat stuck in the middle, much as she will be on Tuesday night. Because despite being one/half of the Librarian, the graphic AEW created says it all. Bates isn’t cornering Avalon, but she will be ringside to watch her two friends settle this long-standing feud. Bates had been advocating for Avalon and Cutler to find a common ground, to do things her way, but it didn’t work. She may well play a part in Tuesday’s outcome but if she does, how will Bates side in this rivalry?
AEW has been criticized on occasion for feuds with little to not build and ones that lack proper payoff. And while this feud has largely lived off TV, no matter what happens Tuesday, (even a potential double-pin situation that keeps this going til Full Gear), this feud will not fall into that category. Cutler and Avalon’s story has been one that has touched on all emotions. Frustration of not being able to win that ultimately led the two to team up. Friendship, however short-lived it may have been. Blame, of which there was plenty to go around on both sides. And on Tuesday, elation for one and heartbreak for the other. Cutler and Avalon are a combined 0-for-forever and yet, AEW has found a way to make this a match worth caring about. Sure it could have been on Dynamite or even Full Gear despite the low midcard nature to the feud. But it’s better that it’s not. The losing streaks lived on DARK, the tag team lived on DARK, and now, the rivalry that has spanned two/thirds of 2020, will end in the only place it should, on AEW DARK.
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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