Preview: AEW DARK (7/14/20)

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AEW DARK - Cage vs Pillman
Credit: AEW

This week’s AEW DARK will feature several high profile matches as AEW prepares for Fight for the Fallen, set to air this Wednesday on TNT. The big showdown will be between Brian Cage and Jon Moxley, as Moxley defends the World Heavyweight Championship for the first time since May’s Double or Nothing. After last week’s Dynamite, it seemed Cage would be headed into this contest with his own hardware, however, that isn’t guaranteed. This week’s DARK main event will see Cage back in action for the first time since June, and he’ll be doing so in defense of his brand new FTW Championship against Brian Pillman Jr.

Also featuring on this week’s card, the Dark Order are in six-man tag team action, Serpentico will team with Luther against the returning Pineapple Pete and Brady Pierce, Brandon Cutler and Peter Avalon will once again look for that first win against a familiar foe in Jurassic Express, Brandi Rhodes and Allie hope to continue their newfound chemistry against Rache Chanel and the returning Diamante, who is back in action for the first time since February, and much more. It’s a seven match card full of intrigue. Let’s get right to it.

Shawn Dean, Will Hobbs and Joe Alonzo vs Dark Order (Alex Reynolds, John Silver and Alan Angels)

Hobbs, Alonzo and Dean vs Dark Order
All photos credit of AEW

For the second week in a row, AEW DARK will play host to a multi-man tag match, following last week’s eight man tag that saw Butcher and the Blade and the Lucha Brothers defeat Joe Alonzo, Faboo Andre, Tony Donati, and Brady Pierce. This week, Alonzo is back with new partners, in the returning Will Hobbs and DARK staple, Shawn Dean, as they’ll take on the Dark Order’s trio of Alex Reynolds, John Silver, and Alan Angels.

The trio of Hobbs, Alonzo and Dean are also winless, but all three have enjoyed some nice showcases to this point, especially the Captain. A three-year pro who has trained under both AR Fox and QT Marshall, Dean is now making his 10th appearance on AEW and ninth on DARK. This will be just his third tag match with AEW, and first six-man tag. Dean is a talented wrestler and his continued features on DARK are worth taking notice of. After all, two of the more recent AEW signings, Preston Vance and Angels himself, share similar backgrounds to Dean in that they trained at Nightmare Factory and got their AEW start on episodes of DARK. Teaming with Dean is the 23-year-old Joe Alonzo, who will be making his fifth appearance on DARK and California’s Will Hobbs, who is known for his time in All Pro Wrestling where he is a six-time champion, will be making his second.

Once a DARK staple himself, Angels leads his Dark Order teammates into battle, where the group will be looking for a win in order to not further annoy their leader, Brodie Lee. A 1-3 record on DARK overall (all three losses came prior to Angels’ signing), since joining the Dark Order as V, Angels is undefeated. That’s just one win, but that’s more than can be said for the former Beaver Boys, Reynolds and Silver, who are still winless in their AEW careers.

Serpentico and Luther vs Brady Pierce and Pineapple Pete

AEW DARK Serpentico and Luther vs Pierce and Pineapple Pete

There has been a formula on AEW DARK that has been in place for months now, ever since the company began using a swath of indie talent to help fill spots on the card. The indie wrestlers have mainly served as enhancement talent, which has meant the losses have stacked up. But this week, a unique situation is in place as one of those indie wrestlers, Serpentico, will team with an AEW contracted star, Luther, in what appears will break the DARK formula. However, there is also the possibility of something else as the last time it appeared two indie wrestlers were going head to head on DARK (Lee Johnson vs Alan Angels), it was announced that Angels had joined the roster as V. Could Serpentico be the next name announced as All Elite following his likely victory this week?

This will be the second time Luther and Serpentico are teaming. The two have also faced each other on DARK, while Serpentico wrestled under his alter ego, Jon Cruz. No one has wrestled more matches on DARK than Serpentico, who will be making his 11th appearance his week. Having wrestled for all of the major U.S. televised companies in his 13+ year career, Serpentico first made his AEW debut in March 2020 and has been a DARK staple ever since. The nine-time champion in various indie promotions, Serpentico been one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch on DARK and now, he’ll likely pick up his first win, and first of any indie wrestler on DARK, as well.

One of AEW’s most popular stars has been a man who isn’t even contracted with the company in Suge D AKA Pineapple Pete. The legend of Pineapple Pete is well known at this point and so is the in-ring ability. Wrestling out of Georgia, Pete, a 35-year-old pro wrestling veteran of 14+ years, will be returning for his seventh match in AEW, and fifth on DARK. This will be just his second tag team match with the promotion after previously teaming up with Anthony Catena. His partner however, is no stranger to tag team matches on DARK as South Carolina’s Brady Pierce will be returning for his fifth such match and sixth DARK appearance overall.

Diamante and Rache Chanel vs Allie and Brandi Rhodes

The unlikely duo of Allie and Brandi Rhodes managed to go from almost ripping each other’s hair out to actually co-existing and now, seemingly working well as a tag team. With neither Dustin Rhodes or QT Marshall cornering them, Allie and Brandi will look to continue developing their newfound chemistry against the returning Rache Chanel and Diamante.

Like fire and ice, Allie and Brandi have been able to put aside their differences in recent weeks and have found success as a result. The ladies are now 2-0 when teaming together and will look to pick up another win this week.

Rache Chanel, who is relatively new to wrestling, made her AEW debut last week in a loss against Big Swole. The young wrestler will return for the second week in a row as she’ll team with veteran talent Diamante, who is making her seemingly long overdue AEW return having last wrestled on DARK in February. Wrestling out of Miami, Florida, the 28-year-old Diamante first arrived on the scene in 2008. For the next seven years, Diamante wrestled sporadically, slowly honing her craft, before beginning to break out into the indies full force in 2016 as she debuted with Queens of Combat, where she is the current champion. Diamante has also wrestled for IGNITE, Fest Wrestling, SHINE, Ronin Pro Wrestling, WWE, and more. Most notably, she wrestled as Adrenaline on Women of Wrestling, where she is the current tag team champion, and TNA/IMPACT Wrestling, where she was part of the new LAX alongside AEW wrestlers, Santana and Ortiz. This will be her third match with AEW.

Robert Anthony vs Ricky Starks

AEW DARK Anthony vs Starks

Robert Anthony is back and once again, is set for a match that should be one of DARK’s best of the night as he takes on AEW’s newest wrestler, Ricky Starks.

An 18+ year veteran, Robert Anthony is a well known indie wrestler who has pretty much worked up and down the circuit, nationwide. But recently, Anthony has found name recognition in AEW as he’s called his shot and become someone who has been reliable to put on a solid match every time out. Known for his time in AAW and Combat Zone Wrestling, where he is a former heavyweight champion with both promotions, Anthony first debuted for AEW in March and returns this week for his fifth match on DARK. Only one of those matches went under nine minutes as Anthony has been the only indie wrestler appearing on DARK to regularly wrestle impressive, lengthy showcases such as his one from a few months ago when he faced Jon Moxley.

New Orleans’ Ricky Starks will be in action for just the third time in AEW and second time on DARK after debuting a few weeks ago in victory against Griff Garrison. Having answered Cody Rhodes’ TNT Championship Open Challenge a few weeks ago, Starks is only just beginning to carve out his AEW career. The eight-plus year veteran is most known for his time in NWA, where he is a former television champion, but he has also wrestled in Ring of Honor, WWE, Dojo Pro and throughout the indies.

Michael Nakazawa vs Marko Stunt

Wrestling in just his seventh match in AEW this year, the 44-year-old Michael Nakazawa is actually riding a two-match winning streak, bringing his win total of the past two months to double that of all of last year.

On Tuesday, he’ll face a tough task as he takes on Marko Stunt in Stunt’s first singles match in two months. Having largely been teaming with Luchasaurus and/or Jungle Boy over the past few months, the 23-year-old Stunt is always exciting to watch. A ball of explosive energy in such a tiny frame, Stunt will look to pick up his first singles win since mid-May.

Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy) vs Brandon Cutler and Peter Avalon

AEW DARK Jurassic Express vs Cutler and Avalon

There’s an interesting juxtaposition to this match and the Stunt/Nakazawa one. Nakazawa, for a long time, was in the same boat as Brandon Cutler and Peter Avalon in that he couldn’t buy a win. But then Nakazawa picked up two in his last two matches and now is no longer winless in 2020. However, Cutler and Avalon still are, and that likely won’t change anytime soon as no tag team may be hotter right now than Jurassic Express and none colder than Cutler and Avalon.

There’s only so much to say about two guys who are winless in their last forever, so as not to sound like a broken record, let’s leave it at this. On DARK #37, the Jurassic Express team of Luchasaurus and Stunt defeated Cutler and Avalon. Now, Jungle Boy wants in on the action. It’s a different iteration of the team but the results will be the same. Cutler and Avalon will lose leading to more frustration for the duo and more enjoyment for the fans. Surely they’ll win eventually, right? Perhaps, but that day will not be this Tuesday, as Jurassic Express will continue rolling to their fifth win in a row and seventh in their last eight matches.

FTW Championship: Brian Cage vs Brian Pillman Jr.

Champions have wrestled on DARK before but Tuesday will mark the first time a singles title will be defended on the show as Brian Cage returns to DARK for his first defense, and the first defense since 1999, of the FTW Championship, against a worthy opponent in Brian Pillman Jr. DARK has had some quality matches over the past few months but perhaps none will be as entertaining as what we could see on Tuesday night.

Under Taz‘ mentorship, Cage has continued to carry his “Machine” moniker into AEW. Having won the ladder match to determine the new #1 contender to Moxley’s title, Cage has been nothing short of dominant in his limited appearances. He’s wrestled just four matches with the promotion, for a total of under eight minutes of ring time. He made his DARK debut in June against Robert Anthony, a man who previously hadn’t wrestled a single match under nine minutes and Cage demolished him in under one minute. That match was meant to send a message to Moxley, who needed 13+ minutes to put Anthony away a few weeks prior. Now, Cage comes into this match as a champion, having been gifted the FTW title from Taz. While he didn’t need the extra motivation heading into Wednesday’s clash with Moxley, this no doubt will provide it. If he can keep the title that is, following what Cage will likely see as nothing more than a tune-up against Pillman.

A rising name in wrestling over the past few years, Pillman has proven he doesn’t shy away when big opportunities come his way. Last week, he made his DARK debut and while he didn’t win, he had an impressive showing against Shawn Spears. The 26-year-old is in just his third year of wrestling but has already made waves throughout the industry, namely with Major League Wrestling, where he is part of the New Hart Foundation. Pillman, who debuted for AEW in the Double or Nothing battle royale last year, has also wrestled extensively throughout the indies, for promotions including Beyond, DEFY, Northeast Wrestling, and Warrior Wrestling, where he is the current champion.

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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