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AEW Dark recap (Aug. 18, 2020): Shawn Spears finds his groove

Episode 47 of AEW Dark featured Shawn Spears possibly turning the corner with his current gimmick, Ricky Starks spitting fire for Darby Allin, and an 8-man tag main event with Private Party and SCU against Fenix, Pentagon, Butcher, and Blade.

Here’s the lineup with ratings (watch, solid, okay, pass) on which matches are worth your time toward Dynamite:

  • Michael Nakazawa vs Kip Sabian (okay)
  • Shawn Dean & Frank Stone vs Sonny Kiss & Joey Janela (okay)
  • Will Hobbs vs Shawn Spears (solid)
  • Ricky Starks promo (solid)
  • The Hybrid 2 vs The Initiative (solid)
  • Red Velvet vs Abadon (okay)
  • John Silver, Colt Cabana, Alex Reynolds vs D3, Ryzin, Faboo Andre (okay)
  • Ricky Starks vs Lee Johnson (okay)
  • Baron Black & Tony Donati vs Santana & Ortiz (pass)
  • Lance Archer vs Jon Cruz & Jessy Sorensen (okay)
  • Alan Angels vs Billy Gunn (okay)
  • Private Party & SCU vs Lucha Brothers, Butcher, & Blade (solid)

Hobbs vs Spears may be the smartest and most focused match I’ve seen from Spears. Starks cut a humorous promo about Darby Allin. The Hybrid 2 vs The Initiative had cool flippy stuff. The main event 8-man was what you would expect from all that talent involved.

Watch the show here.

Tony Schiavone, Taz, and Veda Scott were on commentary. Scott has been working The Deadly Draw women’s tag team tournament. Justin Roberts was the ring announcer.

Michael Nakazawa vs Kip Sabian

Penelope Ford was ringside. Sabian overcame Turkish baby oil and red undies to beat Nakazawa with a springboard DDT then a rope-hung twisting suplex to win.

Shawn Dean & Frank Stone vs Sonny Kiss & Joey Janela

Dean and Stone worked well together. They almost won with a combo Samoan drop/neckbreaker. Kiss and Janela quickly turned up the heat with a flying elbow drop from Janela and a flying split-legged leg drop from Kiss in succession onto Dean. Kiss pinned Dean for victory. Kiss & Janela are now 7-1 as a team.

Will Hobbs vs Shawn Spears

Tully Blanchard was ringside. The bout began with each man throwing big blows. Spears smartly dropped down to work the leg. Spears maintained focus on Hobbs’ leg and connected with a slingshot splash onto the limb.

Hobbs rallied with a spinebuster. Spears escaped a powerslam then kicked Hobbs’ leg. A Death Valley driver followed to finish the bout for Spears to win.

Afterward, Spears smashed Hobbs’ leg into the ring post. Tully handed steel to Spears for his black glove. Spears used it for a loaded palm strike to the defenseless Hobbs. Spears flipped Hobbs the bird on his way out.

Ricky Starks promo

Starks had his back shredded by Darby Allin, but Starks is still here. He is too handsome to be hardcore, while Darby looks like he was raised on dog food and dope. Darby started a war that he can’t finish.

The Hybrid 2 vs The Initiative

Leva Bates was ringside. Peter Avalon wanted to take a shortcut by using a book as a foreign object, but Brandon Cutler talked him out of it. Angelico slyly stole the book to use on Avalon. The Initiative almost picked up their first win in AEW. The sequence began with Bates jumping off the apron for a hurricanrana to Jack Evans on the floor. Cutler hit a lungblower to Angelico, then Avalon connected on a split-legged moonsault. Evans broke up the pin.

TH2 took charge after that. Angelico used a Razor’s Edge to toss Avalon into the turnbuckles, then Evans won it with a 630 senton to Avalon. The Initiative is now 0-10 in AEW.

Red Velvet vs Abadon

Red Velvet took it to the ghoul. Abadon turned the tide with an arm ringer to smash Red Velvet onto the apron.

Abadon maintained her fury and won with a Cemetery Drive (Widow’s Peak).

John Silver, Colt Cabana, Alex Reynolds vs D3, Ryzin, Faboo Andre

Anna Jay, 5, 10, Stu Grayson, and Evil Uno joined the Dark Order’s entrance. Taz referred to Jay as the group’s newest member. That contradicts information from Veda Scott in last night’s tag tournament that Jay was not yet a member. Jay did the Dark Order hand signal, so that should mean she is on board. The crew exited before the bout began.

Cabana was not pleased with the cheating tactics of Silver and Reynolds. Despite Colt’s protests, the Dark Order won with a slamming sequence to D3. It began with a German suplex by Reynolds into a German suplex by Silver followed with a running body smash by Colt into the corner.

D3 was ripe for the picking on a flipping double neckbreaker maneuver from Silver and Reynolds. Reynolds covered D3 for the three count.

Afterward, Silver and Reynolds bickered with Colt about not bending the rules. Colt maintained his positive attitude and was happy for the win.

Ricky Starks vs Lee Johnson

Johnson was in control early, so Starks exited the ring to regroup. Johnson gave chase, and Starks stomped him. Starks mocked Darby Allin with a standing Coffin Drop.

Starks won with a powerslam variation to pancake Johnson into the mat.

After the bell, Wardlow came down to hand a #MJF2020 pin to Johnson. Johnson has been part of MJF’s campaign squad. Johnson pinned the pin to his tights. Wardlow was satisfied and left. He wasn’t wearing a belt and his pants almost fell down.

Baron Black & Tony Donati vs Santana & Ortiz

Santana and Ortiz took care of business quickly. They won with a combo of Ortiz sitdown powerbombing Donati then rolling him upward into a Santana kick. Santana picked up the winning pin.

Lance Archer vs Jon Cruz & Jessy Sorensen

Sorensen entered alone wondering what happened to his partner for the handicap match. Archer entered carrying Cruz over his shoulder. Jake Roberts was ringside. Archer wrecked both men. He won by smashing their skulls into the mat.

Afterward, Roberts teased a DDT on one of the jabrones but bailed instead. I suppose his intention was to troll us all.

Alan Angels vs Billy Gunn

Austin Gunn joined his father and the Dark Order joined Angels on the entrances. Everyone left before the bell. Power versus speed. Billy tried to close it with a Fameasser, but Angels dipped out to escape. Angels unleashed a barrage of kicks. Once he was done, Billy snatched him for a straitjacket slam to win.

After the match, Silver and Reynolds attacked Billy. Austin ran out with a chair to chase them away. I would expect Silver & Reynolds versus Billy & Austin next week on Dark.

Private Party & SCU vs Lucha Brothers, Butcher, & Blade

Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian represented SCU. The Lucha Brothers tag team record in AEW is 6-7. Ugh. In the end, this match broke down into chaos with a flurry of moves. Kaz saved CD on the pin after Pentagon’s package piledriver. Butcher pinned CD for the win on a teamwork backbreaker with Blade.

Afterward, the Lucha Bros were upset with Butcher and Blade for some reason. Commentary theorized that the luchadores were sore for not scoring the pin themselves.

That performance from Shawn Spears finally won me over. I was never down on the guy, but he also never captivated me much either. I enjoyed the fierceness of his strategy against Will Hobbs. Hobbs is a powerful man. The smartest way to deal with that is by cutting him down. That’s what Spears did, and he did it with varied methods in an exciting manner. That slingshot splash onto Hobbs’ leg was sweet.

The thing that makes me think Spears can turn the corner into a relevant character was his laser focus. He didn’t joke around or play with his food. Spears was consistent and persistent on weakening Hobbs’ leg. If Spears can maintain that commitment during longer bouts, I think he could become a credible champion.

It is interesting to note that Abadon used a Widow’s Peak finisher this week. She had been trying a hurricanrana head spike, but it didn’t always come off smoothly. The Widow’s Peak should make her skills appear more legit.

Also of note, I didn’t notice any hiccups in the relationship between Lance Archer and Jake Roberts. On Dynamite last week, it seemed like maybe Archer was abusing Jake. We’ll see if that plays out more or got dropped.

Of the enhancement talent on this episode, Frank Stone and Red Velvet stood out to me. Stone had a variety of nifty slams. Red Velvet displayed good aggression. And of course, I enjoyed Will Hobbs. He remains my favorite enhancement talent of the entire group. His spinebuster to Ricky Starks had oomph.

Commentary was on point with the threesome of Tony Schiavone, Taz, and Veda Scott. Scott fit right in with witty remarks. I thought she might get overshadowed in a three-person booth. That wasn’t the case. I think part of that credit goes to Taz. He knows when to hold ‘em and knows when to fold ‘em on his analysis. For my money, Taz is the best wrestling announcer in the game today. He’s fantastic at mixing humor with serious points.

Share your thoughts on Dark. Who stood out most for episode 47?

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