Jay Lethal def. JD Drake
If this was a few months ago, I would've scoffed at Lethal taking more than few minutes to beat someone of Drake's caliber, but considering Lethal has largely been pulling Dark duty in AEW, it was to be expected. Putting that aside, they actually had a pretty enjoyable opener. Drake is the one guy from The Wingmen I can actually tolerate because he's not a complete goof and can go in the ring. If AEW doesn't plan on doing anything meaningful with Lethal, then I'm not sure why he's even around.
The Butcher and The Blade def. "Captain" Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo
Here's my obligatory plea to AEW to do more with Dean, who is super skilled in the ring but is almost always relegated to enhancement status. He didn't have much of a chase to shine in this match due to it being booked as a straightforward squash for Butcher and Blade. I've said this before, but Butcher and Blade's in-ring intensity doesn't make up for the fact they're one of AEW's most boring tandems.
Anthony Ogogo def. Ray Jaz
It's crazy to think it was less than a year ago that Ogogo debuted on AEW TV and was given a pretty aggressive push in that program with Cody Rhodes but hasn't been featured on Dynamite or Rampage since. Yes, he was out of action for a while, but he's been back on Dark for months. A lot of notable names and promising prospects have arrived in his absence, so I'm not convinced he'll get another shot. On the bright side, he's been looking good in these short-and-sweet squashes.
Nyla Rose def. Kaci Lennox
Rose has been destroying people left and right in recent weeks. I don't know if it's supposed to be leading to something or if these wins are only designed to keep her busy, but I'm leaning toward the latter. I could see her being built up for an eventual shot at Thunder Rosa's newly-won AEW Women's World Championship, but I can't say that's a match that overly excites me. This what it needed to be, though.
Blake Christian def. Rohit Raju
I thought I was watching an episode of IMPACT! Wrestling for a second considering this was taped at Universal Studios and featured two guys who were competing in the X-Division just last year. Raju is a former Impact X-Division Champion and Christian nearly won the Super X Cup in early 2021 before signing with WWE. This was a solid showcase for both men and they made the most of the time they had.
The Acclaimed def. Liam Gray and Adrian Alanis
Max Caster wasn't wrong when he said they were one of the only reasons people watch the Dark shows most weeks. Kudos to them for organically getting over with the audience, but there needs to come a time where they're booked like serious championship contenders. Currently, they're being fed to other top teams in the division and I wouldn't be surprised to see them lose to Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley soon. This was a nice little match, though.
AQA def. Valentina Rossi
AQA left a lasting impression in her AEW debut against Jade Cargill last month with her awe-inspiring Shooting Star Press, but I'm glad she hasn't been rushed back onto TV since then. She's still inexperienced and will benefit from more matches on the Dark shows. It's going to take some time for her to find her footing, but at least she's improving. Interestingly, she didn't use the Shooting Star Press to win here. It might be better to keep that special.
Tony Nese def. Karam
Nese is one of those guys who will win the occasional match on Dark and the commentators will play up how he's won a majority of his matches in 2022. That sounds nice and all, but it doesn't mean much when you consider he hasn't beaten anyone of note throughout his entire tenure in AEW so far. He actually just recently fell short against Swerve Strickland on Rampage. This was pretty much any Tony Nese match you've ever seen.
Abadon def. Angelica Risk
I continue to question what the endgame with Abadon is in AEW. I've obviously never been her biggest fan, but I'm genuinely curious why she's still on the roster when she's quite literally only had two or three televised matches since January 2021. Her shtick stands out, sure, but it's not like she's exceptional in the ring or anything. The best thing I can say about this is that it was only around a minute long.
Gunn Club (Austin and Colten Gunn) def. Brick City Boyz
I was happy to see Brick City Boyz make an appearance as I recently became familiar with them through local independent wrestling company Northeast Wrestling. They're two talented guys and I was looking forward to seeing what they'd bring to the table against Gunn Club, but unfortunately for them, they got beat in roughly 30 seconds. That's a shame, but at least Gunn Club were all business here.
Mercedes Martinez def. Gemma Jewels
Martinez's involvement in the AEW Women's World Championship picture seems to be over following her loss to Jamie Hayter on Rampage, but I hope she can bounce back and be entered into a rivalry with someone else on the roster. Needless to say, she's a seasoned veteran, so this was pretty much what you'd expect. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but it did get her back on track with a win.
Varsity Blonds def. Sotheara Chhun and Tony Vincita
It was announced this week that Varsity Blonds will face Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley on Dynamite, so this solely existed to give them a win and lend them some much-needed credibility before they inevitably lose in matter of minutes on Wednesday night. Varsity Blonds have lost a lot of steam since last year, likely because their appearances have been much less frequent for some reason, but this was fine. As seen during the post-match promo, Julia Hart continues to tease tension with Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison, for those who care.
Marina Shafir def. Leila Grey
Shafir has been wrecking fools in most of her matches up to this point in her AEW run and while her improvement has definitely been noticeable, I'm curious how she'll fare in a longer match. She'll need her first real test eventually, but this was not that night. This was another chance for her to establish her dominance. It probably would've worked better if virtually every match on this show wasn't already a minute-long squash.
Powerhouse Hobbs def. Fuego Del Sol
Hobbs has been booked a bit better lately than he has for the last year, so that's been encouraging to see. Okay, so he'll probably lose to Keith Lee before long, but I'm just happy he's been on TV at all. I loved the dynamic these two had with the ultimate underdog Fuego having to fight from underneath only to be overpowered by Hobbs. It wasn't exactly a "main event," but it was the best choice to be this spot compared to everything else on the episode.
Although I appreciated that this episode was only an hour long, it's ridiculous that they crammed a whopping 14 matches into that timeframe. Some of the matchups were so short that they served no purpose. I understand AEW wanting to pad the win-loss records of certain wrestlers, but it reaches it a point where it's simply overkill. There was so much stuff that nothing stood out by the end of it, making this a fairly skippable show.