2.0 def. Duke Davis and Gannon Jones
It's awesome to see 2.0 getting so much exposure on AEW programming in the span of a few weeks. They were very entertaining in the handful of times we saw them on NXT TV and it's even cooler that they're getting Sting and Darby Allin in a match on Wednesday's Dynamite. That's a hell of an accomplishment for a team that isn't signed by the company... yet. People tend to forget that they're very good in the ring to boot and this served as a reminder of that.
Diamante def. Julia Hart
Hart getting as many matches as she has been lately can only be seen as a positive. She's far from polished and that was evident during this outing, but she won't improve if she's not in the ring at all or is solely serving as the valet for Varsity Blonds. It also helps whenever she's in there with someone who has experience like Diamante. This wasn't the smoothest encounter, but I liked how Diamante's feud with Big Swole was furthered afterward with Swole coming out to make the save for Hart.
Joey Janela def. Alan "5" Angels
Janela is officially back in the ring for the first time in months now that he's a heel. Oh joy. He'll probably be more bearable in this role than he was as a babyface, but I still couldn't care less about the guy. Thankfully, Angels is talented and made this serviceable, but a Joey Janela match is still a Joey Janela match at the end of the day. In other words, there was nothing to see here. All I ask is that this feud of his with Sonny Kiss doesn't spill over onto Dynamite or even Rampage.
Hikaru Shida def. Kiera Hogan
I was really looking forward to this match when it was announced on social media last week. Hogan was one of my favorites in IMPACT's Knockouts division these past two years and I was surprised to see her leave before she could become a breakout star on her own. She would be an excellent addition to the women's division in AEW if they sign her, but I assume this was intended to serve as a tryout of sorts for her. Sure enough, she and Shida had an enjoyable match and Hogan looked good in defeat.
Lance Archer def. Reggie Collins
This was taped last week, but Archer wasn't introduced as the IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion, nor did he come out with the best. That was probably done by design because AEW was aware he was going to drop the title to Hiroshi Tanahashi at the Resurgence event over the weekend. Archer did his usual shtick where he brought Collins down to the ramp with him and proceeded to destroy him in a matter of minutes. Now the question is, where does he go from here?
Thunder Rosa def. Ray Lyn
Rosa is beloved by every crowd she competes in front of him and San Antonio was no exception. We haven't seen her on Dynamite in several weeks, which tells me she isn't getting the AEW Women's World Championship shot at All Out. I'm totally fine with AEW holding off on that for a little longer. She and Lyn had a well-wrestled match in the time they were allotted with Rosa and Lyn got to look credible in defeat.
Pac def. Anthony Bowens
Bowens is going to be flying solo for a while with Max Caster currently suspending. I actually saw on Twitter earlier today that Caster was selling off some his ring gear to make up for the money he isn't making at the moment. There was some speculation among fans that he could be teasing jumping ship to WWE, but I think that's just him being a troll. It puts Bowens in a bad spot, unfortunately. This was a fine little match, but there was no way Bowens was winning this.
Brian Cage def. Joe Keys
As I said a week or two ago, Cage is officially in babyface mode. I feel like his feud with Ricky Starks isn't as hot as it should be, maybe because they aren't on Dynamite often enough and Powerhouse Hobbs has been taking time off following the passing of his mouth. Still, this was a solid showcase for Cage. If the name of Joe Keys sounds slightly familiar, it's because he is (was?) a part of the Ring of Honor Dojo and has appeared on Dark a few times this year.
Sammy Guevara def. Serpentico
Guevara is another Texas native, which is why he received a strong reaction here. Then again, he's popular pretty much everywhere nowadays, and it's wild because I always saw him as more of a natural heel. I actually had the chance to meet him at an independent show over the weekend and he's a super cool guy. Luther is abysmal, so thankfully Serpentico stepped up and had a nice little match with Guevara.
Jade Cargill def. Katie Arquette
I'm glad Cargill is starting to get back in the ring after not wrestling for almost two months. She needs the experience and the Dark shows are the perfect places for her to get it. She can be a big star in this women's division with more seasoning. The real question is how she'll be able to fare in a longer, more competitive match. She's looked good in the short-and-sweet squashes, though, including here.
The Lucha Brothers def. The Hybrid2
I've written this a handful of times already in recent weeks, but The Lucha Brothers have been killing it since their return. They're being put up against some of the best/most underrated teams in the company and are having standout matches with them all. I knew this was going to be a blast and it didn't disappoint. There was never any doubt regarding the outcome, but I had no problem with TH2 hanging in there for as long as they did because I was entertained. Is AEW setting up The Lucha Brothers for the next tag title opportunity?
The shorter editions of Dark and Dark: Elevation are always easier to sit through and this was no exception in my opinion. Just over 10 matches was perfectly fine with me as some were well-wrestled, some were more than that, and others were what they needed to be. The crowd was into a majority of the matchups as a result and their enthusiasm never seemed to waver. This was a thumbs-up effort and the main event is worth checking out.