Miro def. Fuego Del Sol
It isn't often that Miro wrestles on Dark (I believe this is only his second appearance ever on the show), so it was wise to kick off the episode with such star power (or whatever star power he has left). Fuego scored very minimal offense early on, but otherwise, this was a complete squash for Miro and therefore exactly what it needed to be. This is the Miro I want to see more of in AEW, sans Kip Sabian and .. Oh, and Charles Taylor was at ringside, too.
Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus) def. Lee Johnson and Aaron Solow
I thought Jungle Boy's new entrance theme would be reserved for his solo matches, but all of Jurassic Express came out to it here, so I guess it's random whenever he uses it. Johnson and Solow are two talented competitors and sold the offense of Jurassic Express well. This was a nice warm-up match for Jungle Boy, even though Luchasaurus dominated a majority of the match. By the way, why are we getting Jungle Boy vs. Dax Harwood on Dynamite this week? Why should I care?
SCU (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) def. Terrence and Terrell Hughes
Terrence and Terrell also go as TNT (it said as such in their entrance video) and have appeared on Dark a handful of times before, but they weren't introduced as such for whatever reason. Nonetheless, they have plenty of potential. I don't know if they'll get signed by AEW any time soon, but the experience of working on Dark is a huge help. As for SCU, they made it clear that they'll break up the next time they lose. It obviously wasn't going to happen here, but it does make every match they have (like this one) more interesting. The Hughes brothers lasted longer than I thought they would and looked good in defeat.
The Butcher and The Blade def. M’Badu and KC Navarro
It's well-documented I couldn't care less about Butcher and Blade, but one thing I will say that I like about them is their intensity. They wasted no time in bringing the fight to their opponents and completely killed them. That's how they should be booked if AEW wants fans to take them seriously as a legitimate threat. As for their opponents, M'Badu is fine, but I continue to be impressed by Navarro. He's had a big month with all the appearances he's made on Dark and IMPACT.
Rey Fenix def. Baron Black
This wasn't the usual fast-paced match from Fenix, likely because Black isn't that type of competitor, but it was still solid. Black hasn't stood out to me whatsoever yet, but Fenix is an exceptional performer despite his tendency to go a bit overboard with some of his high-risk moves at times. I would have shaved a minute or two off this as I honestly lost interest the longer it went on. Fenix showed respect to Black afterward but walked through the heel tunnel on his way back, so I guess he's a tweener.
Shanna def. KiLynn King
What the hell is going on with Shanna? She's been back for months now but has yet to appear on Dark even though she seemed to be a regular on the show pre-pandemic. Personally, I don't care about her much at all, but I'm curious why she's been relegated to Dark so far. King is in the same boat as her in that she's skilled but we know nothing about her and thus I don't find myself invested in her matches. There wasn't anything wrong with this, but I think both women would benefit from working with more experienced people.
Britt Baker def. Brooke Havok
The commentators mentioned that not only was this Havok's Dark debut, it was also apparently her pro wrestling debut. It was noted that she was brought into the tapings a few months ago along with other newbies and was assigned to Baker as her intern, so I liked there was at least something of a story to this. That said, this didn't belong on a AEW TV, not even on Dark. It felt like a training session for Havok and she didn't really do anything. Good for her for holding her own, but there wasn't a lot to this whatsoever.
Abadon def. Vertvixen
I don't think there's anything Abadon can do to make me a fan of hers. I just don't get the appeal. She isn't terrible in the ring, but she isn't great, either. The best thing I can say about this is that it was on the shorter side and thankfully didn't overstay its welcome. She got her shot at the AEW Women's Championship and lost, so she'll probably be wrestling in meaningless matches on Dark for the foreseeable future.
Lee Johnson def. "Pretty" Peter Avalon in a Walk-Off
As I've said before, Avalon has grown on me with this gimmick and he's definitely more bearable now than he was when he was a librarian, but this was still stupid and a waste of time. If you got a laugh of it, then wonderful, but this wasn't for me. I applaud the judges (Aubrey Edwards, Brandi Rhodes and Jerry Lynn) for doing their best with it, though. The only purpose this seemed to serve was introducing Cezar Bononi as Avalon's new heavy. He used to wrestle for NXT and this is logical role for him.
Santana and Ortiz def. Mike Verna and RYZIN
Of the many matches on this show, this is the one I wish got more time. Santana and Ortiz should be doing so much more than they are right now, while Verna and RYZIN make for a cool team with an interesting hero-villain dynamic. RYZIN keeps get thrown into random tag matches, but I'd like to see him wrestle more singles matches. This was a fun sprint while it lasted. Santana and Ortiz desperately need to build momentum outside of stacking up wins on Dark.
Tay Conti def. Davienne
I'm not familiar with most of the independent talent AEW brings in for Dark, but I'm well aware of who Davienne is. She's been all over the indie scene in the northeast for years now. I don't know how long she's been wrestling, but I thought I remembered seeing her first few matches in person as early as 2013/2014. She had a solid showing here, but Conti was the star of the match. Having birthday boy -1 accompany her and Anna Jay to ringside was a nice touch.
Preston "10" Vance def. Ray Jaz
Jaz is another new name to Dark. -1 had a presence in this match as well, this time on commentary and he did pretty well. He's definitely easier to listen to than most commentators out there today. Vance is a dominant dude but still a work in progress. -1's commentary made this match more interesting than it likely would have been otherwise. I assume this was a one-off for -1 as he was at the taping last week for his birthday celebration. He even got in some kendo stick shots on Jaz and Brian Pillman Jr. afterward.
Red Velvet def. Madi Wrenkowski
As teased on The Waiting Room a few weeks ago, Velvet is headed for a match with Jade Cargill and I couldn't care less. Velvet is improving, but all we know about her is that she used to be aligned with Brandi Rhodes before Brandi got pregnant. I was more interested to see what Wrenkowski was capable of because at least she has a presence about her. The match we got here was serviceable, but again, Velvet vs. Cargill sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen.
Danny Limelight def. Sean Maluta
Limelight has arguably been the biggest breakout wrestler of all the indie guys AEW has brought in for Dark that has yet to be signed to a deal. He's damn good and Maluta is, too. They made the most of the time they had, but I'm sure this could have been even better with a few more minutes. We'll see if AEW is building up Limelight only to get beat by someone else or if he's actually in line for a mini push on Dark.
Ivelisse def. Jazmin Allure
I've been a big fan of Ivelisse for years, but it's sad that she's been wrestling for AEW since the summer and she has yet to have a memorable match. I know I joke all the time about how winning The Deadly Draw was pointless for her and Diamante, but it would be cool to see them pop up in IMPACT one of these days and challenge for the Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championship. This was fine but not much more.
Powerhouse Hobbs def. Jake St. Patrick
What a random match to end the show with. If I knew this was going to be the main event, I would have preferred they save Miro vs. Fuego Del Sol for last. Is there a reason why Hook is accompanying Hobbs to the ring for his matches? Hobbs should be able to win on his own and I don't see why Hook would make much of a difference as a high school kid. Hobbs is coming along nicely and should continue to be booked dominantly.
Anything under two hours is a plus in my book, but the show should still be shorter. I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but 15 matches is total overkill. That aside, there was solid hype for Dynamite and I appreciated that there were more straightforward squashes than usual as opposed to competitive matches that have no business being competitive. I've complained in the past about Dark needing more variety so it isn't all the same stuff, but I guess I should be careful what I wish for because that walk-off did nothing for me.