Rey Fenix def. Vary Morales
Before plans changed because of Brodie Lee's passing, Fenix was supposed to challenge Kenny Omega for the AEW World Championship on tomorrow's Dynamite. That's probably getting pushed back until the first show of the year which is arguably even bigger. This was designed to be a warm-up for him ahead of that huge bout and he shined. It was an entertaining opener.
Penelope Ford def. Lindsay Snow
I'm still surprised that AEW has done practically nothing with Ford since her impressive outing against AEW Women's Champion Hikaru Shida back at Fyter Fest in July. She's a work in progress but has felt like a background player in the women's division for months. If nothing else, she's gaining more experience by wrestling on Dark. She also cut one of her better springboard cutters here, but I maintain that she should find a new finisher all together.
The Dark Order (Alex "3" Reynolds and John "4" Silver) def. Shawn Dean and Tyson Maddux
Lee had a major influence on Reynolds and Silver, so it's going to break my heart seeing them wrestle on Wednesday's tribute show. They went from being two glorified losers at the onset of 2020 to now becoming a guilty pleasure of mine thanks to their bits on Being The Elite. They've always been proficient in the ring, but now they have the credibility to back it up. This was enjoyable while it lasted.
Anna Jay def. Jazmin Allure
Jay is improving every time I see her in action. Her mannerisms are on point and her in-ring skills are improving. Her matches aren't the flashiest, but they don't need to be. Rather, she comes across as intense and puts her opponents away in relatively quick fashion. It's smart to keep her matches on the shorter side and not drag them on longer than they need to be.
Britt Baker Hosted The Waiting Room with Matt Sydal
It goes without saying, but everything Baker said about matches scheduled for tomorrow night's Dynamite is irrelevant now that it's turned into a Brodie Lee tribute show with a completely different card. Unfortunately, this wasn't a very good segment. It was nice to see Sydal get some mic time for a change, but he didn't deliver and the stuff with the Go-Big Show poster failed to get me excited for the upcoming clash between Sydal and Cody Rhodes.
Team Taz (FTW Champion Brian Cage, Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks) def. James Tapia, Nick Comoroto and RYZIN
I might be wrong, but I believe this marked the first time that all of Team Taz has teamed up and it was damn cool. I'm a big fan of the trio and the potential they have. Cage and Hobbs are awesome powerhouses (no pun intended) and Starks is a stud. Speaking of Starks, this was a vast improvement over the standard squash match he usually gets on Dark. This was a fun six-man tag that saw Team Taz continue their dominance.
Griff Garrison def. Fuego Del Sol
Garrison is one of the enhancement talents AEW has brought in since the start of the pandemic shows who has grown on me and his team with Brian Pillman Jr. has been a big help. They work well together, but this was a solid showcase for him on his own. Peter Avalon sat it on commentary and attempted to recruit Garrison afterward (which Garrison denied), so I assume Garrison will be Avalon's next opponent.
Santana and Ortiz def. TNT
As I've said several times in the past, the sons of D-Von Dudley have a ton of potential. They're already a terrific team and most of their offense looks smooth. They'll also gain a ton from working with an established team such as Santana and Ortiz. They nearly picked up the victory with the 3D before the pinfall was broken up. It was nice to have Santana and Ortiz back in action here following Santana's brief hiatus.
Sammy Guevara def. Aaron Solow
Most of what Guevara does in the ring looks so seamless that his matches are always a blast to watch. Solow hasn't stood out to me much at all in the appearances he's made for AEW this year, but he can obviously hold his own and this was a quality contest. The focus was really on Guevara's post-match promo, which was one of the better ones I've heard him cut. I hope he has more success in 2021 because he's a tremendous talent who should be winning more often than he does.
Chaos Project def. Ariel Levy and Cuervo De Puerto Rico
I've made my lack of interest in Chaos Project quite clear over the past few months and my opinion on them hasn't changed at all. As I've said before, Serpentico is fine, but Luther can be unbearable at times. As a match, this was decent but nothing out of the ordinary. I just don't see them getting past Dark because of how many teams there are in the tag division that are better than them.
Leva Bates def. Madi Wrenkowski
Props to Bates for showing that she isn't as awful as I thought she was with her last few matches. That isn't to say she's one of the best in AEW's women's division, not to mention that the librarian gimmick still sucks, but she's been decent on Dark since branching out on her own. As for Wrenkowski, she's had a presence about her whenever I've seen her and I'd like to see more of her.
Matt Sydal def. Danny Limelight
Baker was completely right on The Waiting Room when she said that while Sydal has won his fair share of matches since signing with AEW, he has yet to win when it matters most. Okay, so he owns a victory over Christopher Daniels, but that's about it. This match gave him another chance to continue building momentum, but I have no doubt that Cody will beat him when they go one-on-one soon. To his credit, Limelight was pretty good here, but I don't think it should have taken an inside cradle for Sydal to beat him.
Tay Conti def. Vertvixen
For what it's worth, Jay accompanied Conti to the ring for this match, much like Conti did for Jay earlier in the show. They'll be teaming on Dynamite tomorrow, but that's because the card changed. I don't think Conti is considered a full-fledged member of Dark Order just yet, but I'm sure she will be in due time. She'll be a top prospect next year for AEW and I'm glad she's getting reps in on Dark.
Gunn Club (Austin, Colten and Billy Gunn) def. Royal Money, Baron Black and Mike Verna
It feels like Gunn Club are on almost every episode of Dark, which is more of a hinderance than a help in their case because there's been zero development there. I suppose Austin and Colten are getting better in the ring, but I still don't understand why Billy remains a regular on these shows. It's just not necessary. This was as basic of a bout as it gets and their post-match promo was, uh, a promo. That's about all I can say.
SCU (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) def. The Hybrid2
SCU established last week on The Waiting Room that they're done the next match they lose. They've been feuding with TH2 on and off for months, so it made sense for them to be their first opponents as they embark on this road to redemption. It ended up being a great match and one of my favorites on Dark in a while. TH2 delivered and SCU proved they still had it. Daniels picking up the win for SCU was a nice touch and their promise to split up if they lose will make every match they have going forward as suspenseful as this was. Post-match, The Acclaimed attempted to lay out SCU but were thwarted by The Young Bucks, so expect an eight-man tag team match to happen sometime soon.
Obviously, this was taped before Brodie Lee's passing on Saturday, so this show had a different feel to it than tomorrow's Dynamite will. I'm looking forward to that tribute show, but it was also nice to get a small distraction from the sad stuff with this edition of Dark. It was a concise and compact card where the matches were largely kept brief, seeds were planted for future matches, and the main event was above-average by Dark standards. I'm definitely down for AEW following this formula with Dark more often heading into 2021.