Kris Statlander def. Selene Grey
Statalnder has an AEW Women's World Championship match against Britt Baker coming up at All Out this weekend, so it was logical to give her one more win before then. She's definitely over with the audience, but I wish we got to hear from her more heading into the pay-per-view so she could connect with the crowd more and make it less obvious that Baker will be retaining. This was total domination by Statlander.
Joey Janela def. Robert Anthony
Anthony was a regular on Dark for a while in 2020 and was usually impressive being a veteran of the game. As for Janela, I couldn't care less about the guy, but at least he's better off in the heel role. Anthony scored an ample amount of offense before eating defeat. Post-match, an unnamed woman showed up, laid out Anthony and aligned herself with Janela. Hopefully she can add to Janela's act and be his Chyna because she looks like she could kick his ass.
Emi Sakura def. Laynie Luck
As I've said time and time again, Sakura does nothing for me whatsoever. She's decent in the ring, but there's a lot of other people in AEW's women's division I'd rather see featured over him. Unfortunately, I'll likely have to get used to seeing her as I believe she'll be full-time with AEW going forward. She'll also be involved in Sunday's Casino Battle Royale, so this served to get viewers familiar with her again. This was a standard squash win for Sakura.
Men of the Year def. GPA and Mat Fitchett
Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky confirmed their new direction when they paired up with Dan Lambert two weeks ago on Dynamite. I guess it gives Lance Archer something to do given his bad blood with Lambert, but a series of matches pitting Archer against Sky and Page doesn't exactly excite me, even though I'm sure they'll be solid. I was getting sick of seeing Men of the Year in tag team action on Dark and Elevation so frequently earlier this year, but it's been a few months, so this felt fresh and was kept relatively brief.
Frankie Kazarian def. Serpentico
Kazarian is still hunting The Elite without an endgame in sight. Seriously, what's his character arc supposed to be? As a longtime fan of his, I'm glad he's getting more opportunities to shine as a singles star, but the most he's done is interfere in The Elite's matches and occasionally face a member or two from time to time. That's about it. Thankfully, he took on Serpentico here and not Luther, who was nowhere in sight. This was a nice little sprint.
"Legit" Leyla Hirsch def. Blair Onyx
If you weren't already aware, Hirsch is the real damn deal. That was pretty apparent in this outing when she made short work of Onyx, who will only be remembered for doing a Bray Wyatt-esque spider crawl before being forced to submit by Hirsch. Hirsch may be short, but she is mighty fierce. If you haven't already, definitely make time to check out her NWA World Women's Championship clash with Kamille at EmPowerrr from over the weekend. It was one of the best women's matches I've seen all year.
2point0 def. Jason Hotch and Travis Titan
2point0 were a guilty pleasure of mine during their time in NXT and they've already fit right in on AEW programming. They have yet to win an meaningful matches on Dynamite or Rampage, but at least they're picking up wins here and there on the Dark shows. They're an entertaining tandem and are quality wrestlers to boot. This was a basic bout designed to get them back on track following their recent loss to Sting and Darby Allin on Dynamite.
The Bunny def. Sierra
The Bunny remains an abysmal professional wrestler. She's one of the few people I've seen over the years that has actually regressed in the ring since her days in IMPACT, at least in my opinion. The Bunny crap and her alliance with the H.F.O. haven't done her any favors, either. The best thing I can say about this match is that it was kept short and sweet. Taz predicting that a blonde woman would win was the highlight.
Tay Conti def. Heather Reckless
Needless to say, Conti is extremely likable. She received the biggest reaction of anyone up to this point on the show. As I've said before, though, she needs more mic time and a chance to develop her character because she actually has less of a character than she did when she was in WWE NXT and excelling in the heel role (despite NXT never doing anything with her). Reckless has been solid in her recent Dark appearances, but this was over rather quickly.
QT Marshall def. Evil Uno
Uno coming out alone was interesting, playing into the teases of The Dark Order potentially breaking up. I've enjoyed their comedy bits on Being The Elite over the last year, but it's probably a smart call as there's not much more for them to do and they're glorified losers at this point without Adam Page around. Uno gave it a commendable effort and made this match bearable as Marshall bores me to tears otherwise. Him winning here made sense, but why the hell would you have him lose to one of the Gunn kids before he faces Paul Wight at All Out? That was bizarre.
Pac def. Matt Sydal
Both of these guys are great and wrestle similar styles, so I didn't doubt this would be a fun main event. The outcome was never in doubt, of course, but it was a blast while it lasted and the Chicago crowd enjoyed the action as well. Sydal is a fantastic utility player and can still very much hang with the best of them. Andrade El Idolo and Chavo Guerrero sat in on commentary to hype Andrade's upcoming clash with Pac at All Out.
Apparently this edition of Dark was taped the night Rampage emanated from the United Center in Chicago almost two weeks ago. Why is it only airing now? The crowd came alive for certain stars but sat on their hands for others. I've appreciated Dark and Dark: Elevation being on the shorter side lately, but even at an hour long, this still felt like it featured a few matches too many with most of them being booked like squashes. It isn't necessary viewing before All Out, but the main event was worthwhile. I'm interested to see what form Dark takes if the rumors of it becoming a studio show come to fruition.