"Legit" Leyla Hirsch def. Brittany Blake
This marked Blake's AEW debut, but I've actually seen her once before on an episode of MLW Fusion: ALPHA. She seemed solid enough, but I really would have had this serve as more of a showcase for Hirsch. I don't know if her heel turn is complete yet or not, but the crowd didn't know to react to her here. I'd assume she's a full-fledged heel given the way she attacked Red Velvet and Kris Statlander backstage last week. I'm looking forward to seeing what she and Velvet can do at Beach Break.
Private Party def. Action Andretti and Myles Hawkins
I don't think I've had a chance to talk about this in one of my reviews yet, but Andrade El Idolo partnering with The H.F.O. is just terrible. H.F.O. sucks as it is, and putting an equally directionless Andrade (who is on a whole other level compared to them) will not help. Private Party feel more and more like background players with each week that passes. This was a standard squash win for them, but they've never felt less important.
Brandi Rhodes def. Willow Nightingale
Brandi originally returned to action on Dark a few months ago, but this was her first match back in front of a full crowd (i.e. not at Universal Studios). As expected, she received heavy boos. I've never been a Brandi fan, but I have to give her props: she wasn't awful here. She may have actually improved in the ring in her time off, so props to her on that. I'm a far bigger fan of Nightingale and her potential. She recently left MLW and Tony Khan would be a fool to not sign her. At any rate, this bout was better than expected.
Men of the Year def. Mike Fowler and Lohan Laroux
I'm sorry but I just can't bring myself to care about Men of the Year at this point. I know they beat Inner Circle a time or two at the beginning of their feud in the fall, but they never win whenever it matters most and their pairing with Dan Lambert has hurt them more than it's helped them. Yes, they're on TV consistently, but for what reason? I agree with one of the commentators said: give Sky a singles push, please. This was basic stuff, but at least it didn't overstay its welcome.
Red Velvet def. Janai Kai
As previously noted, Velvet will be facing Hirsch at Beach Break on Wednesday, so it made sense to give her a win here before she likely loses to Hirsch (as she should). As for Kai, she appeared on either Dynamite or Rampage not too long ago, but she was squashed by Jade Cargill so quickly that she didn't have a chance to impress at all. I believe she was in action for GCW over the weekend and she looked a lot better here, so it was a nice little outing.
Santana and Ortiz def. Breaux Keller and Goldy
The commentators are really playing up Santana and Ortiz's tension with Chris Jericho at the moment. I know they'll be teaming up against Daniel Garcia and 2pooint0 at Beach Break, but they desperately need to branch out on their own. I have no desire to see this storyline lead to Jericho and them getting back on the same page. Keller and Goldy scored some offense, but otherwise this was all about Santana and Ortiz and giving them a decisive win.
Thunder Rosa and Ruby Soho def. Leva Bates and Jordan Blade
Apparently Bates last wrestled for AEW back in March 2021, which is crazy. Is it bad to say that I didn't notice she was gone? Granted, she's been in a backstage role this whole time, but I don't think the women's division really needs her. Due to her backstage role, however, I assume she'll be kept around as opposed to AEW letting her contract expiring and not renewing. Rosa and Soho had to carry this contest as there were a few awkward moments with Blade and Bates not looking very good.
Team Taz (FTW Champion Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs) def. Matt Sydal and Lee Moriarty
It's about time we got a main event on this show that actually had storyline significance. Sydal and Moriarty stepped up to Team Taz at Battle of the Belts and had their chance to take them down here but fell short. It was an entertaining main event that the heels mostly dominated and the babyfaces sold well for their offense. Starks called out Dante Martin afterward, and after they beat him down, Sydal and Moriarty made the save. I assume Jay Lethal (who's apparently taking Lio Rush's spot in the storyline) didn't come out because he had to miss the taping like he did with Northeast Wrestling over the weekend.
These sub-hour shows are always a breeze to get through. Eight matches is certainly enough and seven of these were your average enhancement matches. Only the main event was competitive, but that was fine by me and it turned out to be a fun bout. It also played into the storyline Dante has going with Team Taz right now. This episode had enough star power to make it worthwhile for those who don't normally tune in, so you'll get no complaints out of me.