Powerhouse Hobbs def. Dean Alexander
I absolutely love the short-and-sweet squashes, especially on the Dark shows that run longer than they need to. It can be argued that they don't give us a good grasp of what Hobbs can do in a competitive match, but we saw him hold is own against Christian Cage a few weeks ago, so I know he has it in him. This was a nice way to kick off the show. It was also announced that Hobbs will be a participant in the Casino Battle Royale at Double or Nothing.
Dante Martin def. Falco
Dante continues to impress while Darius is out hurt. Has there been any update on when he might be back? Dante may not be wrestling on Dynamite, but he's been consistently competing on the Dark shows and has been making the most of every opportunity he's been given. Falco is a newcomer to AEW, but he looked fine here. With all the reps Dante has been getting in lately, Top Flight should be better than ever once Darius is ready to return.
Preston "10" Vance def. RYZIN
I'm always advocating to see more of RYZIN's work in singles competition because far too often is he thrown into random teams on Dark and Dark: Elevation and doesn't get much time to shine. I appreciated that this was more competitive than most of Vance's matches and that RYZIN was able to score some offense before eating defeat. Both of these guys can go far in due time. Vance is racking up a ton of wins on the Dark shows and is bound to be in contention for another championship before long.
Chuck Taylor def. Aaron Rourke
Taylor is the one member of Best Friends I honestly don't care to see wrestle on his own. He's a perfectly competent wrestler, but this was completely pointless. That said, there wasn't anything technically wrong with the match and it thankfully didn't overstay its welcome. This is the type of match you can cut from Dark to make the show shorter because I don't see the purpose in padding Taylor's win-loss record.
Lee Johnson def. Fuego Del Sol
Cody Rhodes walked Johnson to the ring but didn't bother to stick around for the match. Even Cody doesn't have time for Dark! Johnson is one member of The Nightmare Family I think can amount to something with more seasoning. Fuego is one of the better enhancement guys AEW uses because he always goes in there and has a nice match regardless of who he's up against. I'm glad this got as much time as it did.
The Dark Order (Evil Uno and Colt Cabana) def. Tamilian Vineesh and Duncan Mitchell
Uno and Stu Grayson are my favorite duo of everyone in Dark Order because of their chemistry together, but Uno and Cabana are an enjoyable duo as well. They'll both be in the Casino Battle Royal at Double or Nothing, like to combat anyone from the H.F.O. who participates. This was a fairly straightforward showcase for Dark Order and they filled the time well.
Cezar Bononi def. Marko Stunt
I feel like we haven't seen a whole lot of Stunt on his own lately and that isn't a bad thing. He does a good job of taking a beating, I'll say that much. Bononi is still greener than he should be for someone who was under contract to WWE for as long as he was, but the best part about this was that it was kept on the shorter side. Post-match, Bononi's boys and Jurassic Express teased a face-off, so expect that six-man tag team match to happen on an upcoming episode.
Nick Comoroto def. Adrian Alanis
For as little as I care about The Factory, Comoroto has played his role remarkably well as the unhinged monster heel in the ring. That's why I think QT Marshall would be best suited as a mouthpiece for him because he's much more interesting to watch than Marshall in my opinion. Comoroto dominated Alanis for almost the entire time. My only complaint is that this wasn't over quicker.
Serpentico def. Sonny Kiss
I was thankful that Luther wasn't in action here, but we ended up getting a match of his in the main event. Ugh. Kiss is better off on his own and hasn't benefited whatsoever from his partnership with Joey Janela. This was a bit more competitive than most of the matches on this show and had some decent moments, but it didn't feature too much that was out of the ordinary. Serpentico winning (albeit with Luther's help) was slightly surprising.
Big Swole and Red Velvet def. Vertvixen and Jazmin Allure
I've been digging the Swole and Velvet team for the last month or so, though I do find it odd that Velvet has gotten way more TV time on Dynamite this year than Swole has. I like Velvet better than Swole anwyay, but it is strange when you consider that Swole was pretty prominently featured last summer during her feud with Britt Baker. Either way, Serena Deeb was shown watching in the audience because she'll be defending her NWA World Women's Championship against Velvet on Wednesday night. This was passable for the time it lasted.
Griff Garrison def. Deonn Russman
If Varsity Blonds are getting a shot at The Young Bucks' AEW World Tag Team Championship this week on Dynamite, why would you give them singles matches on Dark as opposed to a tune-up in tag team action? To increase their exposure? I thought that was weird. Otherwise, this was a serviceable match, though nothing stood out about it in any way. Julia Hart serving as Varsity Blonds' cheerleader has been cool, though.
Matt Sydal def. Marty Casaus
Yes! More Marty, please! He actually wore a jacket before the bout started, so I'm glad he's doing more to get people's attention. Having followed him since his WWE Tough Enough days a decade ago (seriously, it was almost exactly 10 years ago he had to be eliminated due to an injury he suffered), I really hope he ends up with a contract. Working with other talented wrestlers will only help his cause. I wish they got more than four minutes, but this was a treat as Sydal prepares to face Christian Cage on Dynamite.
Kris Statlander def. Diamante
I don't know if it's just me, but Statlander has felt a lot more locked-in and has come across more confident since returning to the ring compared to before she got hurt. I don't know what changed (maybe the alliance with Best Friends?), but it's working. I also think dropping some aspects of the alien gimmick helped, too. At any rate, this was a fun sprint that featured some intense action. Diamante is a gem on these shows and Statlander is always a treat to watch, so I can't say I'm surprised.
Nyla Rose def. Reka Tehaka
I won't remember this match a few days from now, but I found it funny when the commentators mentioned the irony of Rose possibly hitting Tehaka with a Samoan drop because Tehaka is of Samoan heritage. Otherwise, this was a pretty straightforward squash for Rose as it should have been. She's been dominant on the Dark shows, but I maintain that the alliance with Vickie Guerrero has done her no favors.
Angelico def. Vary Morales
I enjoy Angelica, but on these bloated Dark shows, I'm not sure why you would waste time on a singles match of his. I'm sorry but this served zero purpose. Where have The Hybrid2 been on Dynamite lately, anyway? Speaking of the team on the whole, I would've preferred to see TH2 pick up a win as a unit to at least boost their win-loss record. This was pretty pointless, especially so late in the show.
Brian Pillman Jr. def. Luther
Putting Luther in the main event of any show is not ideal, regardless of who his opponent is and whether he wins or loses. He's just not very good. Seasoned veterans can sometimes get a passable match out of him, but sadly, Pillman wasn't that guy and therefore the match was fairly forgettable. I like Pillman a lot, but he needs to be put up against people he can actually benefit from working with.
There were 16 matches in total on this episode yet it was still somehow less than two hours. It was at least more bearable than Monday's Dark: Elevation, which was a full half hour longer. The two hours largely bled together for me with none of the enhancement matches standing out the same way they did on Elevation this week. Per usual, feuds were furthered and there was hype for Dynamite, but I just can't bring myself to recommend this show in its entirety. There's a lot of sameness to it and two hours of largely squashes is overkill. Hopefully the formats of the shows change a bit when AEW starts hitting the road again this summer.