The Acclaimed def. Fuego Del Sol and D3
I'm not going to lie, Max Caster's raps are one of the few things I look forward to about the Dark shows. His material isn't always the best, but they're almost always entertaining. Having them start the show was a smart call as it got me hooked from the get-go. They had an enjoyable outing per usual against Fuego and D3. They already failed to beat The Young Bucks for the AEW World Tag Team Championship a few months ago, but I'm glad they're at least maintaining a presence in the tag team division.
Mike and Matt Sydal def. David Ali and Aaron Frye
Good for the Sydal brothers for landing a feud with The Elite, but having them wrestle a competitive match with two no-namers isn't exactly the best way to establish them as a threat. This went about twice as long as it should have, especially since Frye is new to the Dark shows and isn't a regular. There wasn't anything technically wrong with the match, but this should have been a straightforward squash considering the Sydal brothers are set to face The Young Bucks on Wednesday's Dynamite.
Dante Martin def. Andrew Palace
Dante continues to roll while his brother Darius is out injured. As I've said before, it's nice that he's maintaining momentum in his absence and is getting experience on the Dark shows, but I'm looking forward to Darius eventually getting back in the ring and Top Flight reuniting. As for Palace, I realize the guy stands out a bit more from the rest of the enhancement talent because he's so over-the-top, but I'm personally not a fan. It felt like he was trying to attract attention when the focus should have entirely been on Martin.
The Varisty Blonds def. Duke Davis and Ganon Jones
I wasn't familiar with Davis and Jones whatsoever. I was interested to see how they'd do, but this was mostly Varsity Blonds for as long as it lasted. As I've said before, they're a nice up-and-coming team and a show like this is perfectly tailored to them. The more exposure and experience they get, the better. They've won a bunch of matches in 2021 and thus I wouldn't be surprised to see them have another match on Dynamite soon. Is Brian Pillman Jr. officially out of his MLW contract yet?
FTW Champion Brian Cage def. Marty Casaus (Non-Title)
I absolutely love that Casaus's AEW debut came against Cage given their history in Lucha Underground. For those unfamiliar, Casaus is a former Lucha Underground Champion and also took part in the 2011 season of Tough Enough. I'm honestly shocked he isn't signed anywhere. He's talented and has size on his side as well. He had a solid showing here and scored plenty of offense before eating defeat.
"Legit" Leyla Hirsch def. Renee Michelle
I've said it a million times already, but Hirsch is one of the most fun performers to watch in all of AEW, male or female. Everything she does looks, for lack of a better term, legit and the sense of urgency she works with is refreshing. I appreciate that her matches are kept on the shorter side, as there was no reason for Michelle is get in more offense than she did her. Hirsch pretty much dominating her was the right call.
Lance Archer def. Jake St. Patrick
Having Jake Roberts on commentary was a treat. Archer doesn't really need him as a mouthpiece/manager anymore since he does most of the talking himself nowadays, but I'll never complain about having Roberts around. Archer usually runs to the ring and attacks his opponent before the bell even rings, so I liked how Patrick tried to beat him to the punch by dropkicking him before he could get in the ring. Despite Patrick's best efforts, Archer annihilated him he should have.
Diamante def. Raychell Rose
I'm glad Diamanate is being a chance to branch off on her own and AEW didn't drop her mini-push simply because Ivelisse is reportedly gone. Granted, she hasn't made many appearances on Dynamite lately, but if nothing else, she's stacking up singles wins on Dark and Dark: Elevation. I love her intensity and it works with her matches being on the shorter side. As for Rose, she did well in her AEW debut and I'm sure we'll be seeing more of her.
Lee Johnson def. Will Allday
I've been impressed by what I've seen from Allday in the past, so of all the matches on this show, I was actually disappointed this one was so brief. He looked good for the time they had, but I wish they had more time. QT Marshall rushed the ring afterward and attacked Johnson to feud The Factory's feud with him and the rest of The Nightmare Family. I still can't say it's a storyline I'm overly enthused about.
Penelope Ford def. Ashley D’Amboise
Excalibur and Taz had trouble pronouncing D’Amboise's last name, which was funny. This was her AEW debut and I thought she shined in defeat. I'm glad we're getting to see more of Ford in action now that Kip Sabian and Miro's rivalry with Best Friends is over. She has a lot of potential, but the lack of follow-up to her title math with Hikaru Shida last summer was disappointing. She still needs to work on that Lethal Finisher finisher because it doesn't look good half of the time.
Colt Cabana def. Cole Karter
Cabana makes more sense than most to be wrestling singles matches of everyone in The Dark Order given that he has credibility on his own. There's nothing flashy about his matches, but they serve their purpose in filling time on the show, I suppose. This was perfectly fine for the time it was given and thankfully didn't extend beyond the two-minute mark. Short and sweet is how most of these matches should be.
KiLynn King def. Dani Jordyn
These two women have been workhorses for AEW during the pandemic era when it comes to the Dark shows. King is skilled, but I continue to be more impressed by Jordyn personally, probably because of her presence and how she gives off a more interesting aura. They worked well together here and had a quality contest. With how often King wins on Dark and Dark: Elevation, I have no clue how she hasn't been offered a full-time contract yet (unless she is and we just don't know it yet).
SCU (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) def. Liam Gray and Adrian Alanis
I honestly keep forgetting that SCU said they would break up the next match they lose. They've been undefeated all year long, but that's barely been brought up on Dynamite. It's nice they're at the top of the rankings, but these wins won't mean anything if they don't lead anywhere. Gray and Alanis are the same team that lost to The Acclaimed on Dark: Elevation this week, so they once again did an effective job of making their opponents look good. I've always enjoyed SCU, so it's going to be a bummer to see them split at some point.
The Dark Order (Evil Uno, Stu Grayson and Preston "10" Vance) def. The Blade and Private Party
Dark Order have had quite a few multi-man matches on the Dark shows in recent months, but this was the first one I could remember that felt somewhat important because of who they were facing. The Butcher was nowhere to be seen, so The Blade teamed up with Private Party to represent The Hardy Family Office. I didn't think they'd lose here, but it was a fun, all-action main event, nonetheless. I don't care about the faction wars too much, specifically with these groups, so this was wisely positioned on Dark and not on Dynamite.
When Dark: Elevation went around 90 minutes on Monday night, I fully expected Dark to be over two hours to make up for it (because, you know, a squash-filled show has to be over two hours, right?). Thankfully, that was not the case and this was around the same length. Granted, it featured more matches and some of them were a chore to sit through, but it was better than usual. There was hype for Dynamite and some promising prospects were spotlighted, so for those like me who don't give a shit about the squashes themselves, at least there's that stuff.