Chaos Project def. TNT
TNT are the sons of WWE Hall of Famer D-Von Dudley. I remember seeing them in IMPACT! Wrestling in a stotryline with their dad and Bully Ray almost a decade ago and it's crazy how far they've come since then. Maybe it's because Chaos Project does nothing for me, but I thought TNT were the stars of this match. The 3D tease was a nice touch. Fingers crossed they get another look because they earned it.
The Acclaimed def. Louie Valle and Justin Blax
Max Caster and Anthony Bowens, who were just signed by AEW a week ago, are now going by the name The Acclaimed. I wasn't immediately sold on them, but they've quickly won me over in the last two weeks. The duo definitely stands out with their entrance and they're pretty good in the ring to boot. They had another impressive performance here and hopefully they'll make their Dynamite debut before long. A few momentum-building wins in the meantime on Dark won't hurt, though.
Top Flight def. Baron Black and Frankie Thomas
As far as I know, none of these guys are signed, so this felt like a tryout of sorts. Based on their entrance and subsequent win, Top Flight were obviously the focal point of the match. They had a solid showing, but my biggest fear is that if they're signed like The Acclaimed, they'll get lost in the shuffle because the AEW tag team division is loaded at the moment and there are a ton of teams who are already directionless.
The Hybrid2 def. Shawn Dean and Adam Priest
I don't want to say that The Hybrid2 never win because that'd be inaccurate, but they certainly don't win whenever it matters most. This was a necessary win to get them back on track, but I don't see it changing their fortunes much. Rather, this was likely designed to build them up a bit so it will mean more when SCU beats them again (which is inevitable based on how Frankie Kazarian was on commentary for this). For what it was worth, this was a fun outing.
The Lucha Brothers def. Ashton Starr and David Ali
Penta El Zero M and Rey Fenix will be going one-on-one tomorrow night on Dynamite, but they were partners here and showed zero signs of dissension. Despite their mini feud right now, there is no reason for them to break up as it's way too soon for that. They're always a blast to watch in the ring and this match was no exception. Props to Ali and Starr for selling their offense well. I've been following Starr's career for years and it was cool to see him get this opportunity to shine. I'd love for him to be brought back by AEW in the future.
Leva Bates def. Dani Jordyn
Bates is almost never in action on Dark or Dynamite, so it's easy to forget that she is indeed a wrestler and not just a manager. I have yet to see a single memorable match involving her, so I'm honestly fine with her not competing often. This was passable outside of the shenanigans with the two trading their books back and forth. I guess Bates is supposed to be a babyface now because she seemed to sever ties with Peter Avalon a few weeks ago, which is why she celebrated picking up her first singles victory afterward.
Alan "5" Angels def. Fuego del Sol
As I've mentioned in the past, it's difficult to care about Angels when we know almost nothing about the guy. Yes, he's a talented wrestler, but as a character, he's just another dude in The Dark Order who happens to win more matches than some of the other members. I also realize he's funny on Being The Elite, but he needs additional character development on Dark or Dynamite, like what we've seen from John Silver recently.
Ivelisse and Diamante def. Dreamgirl Ellie and Jennacide
Hey look, it's the duo that won The Deadly Draw yet have barely been featured on Dynamite since. Seriously, what was the point of that women's tournament? It's not like they signed an influx of talent that took part in it like WWE's Mae Young Classic. The match was well-wrestled and I'm glad the women got more opportunities this week on Dark than usual.
Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus) def. Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela
This match made the most sense to main event the episode given that everyone involved is under contract to the company, but it was nothing worth going out of your way to see. Thankfully, it didn't overstay its welcome before Jurassic Express went over as they should have, but this never reached that next gear. Kiss and Janela are the definition of two people AEW has no plans for so they were randomly put together in a team that has yet to take off in my opinion. That's not a slight against Kiss as much as it is Janela, who constantly feels like he's regressing to me.
I assume the show has been shorter the last two episodes because one was filmed right before Full Gear and the other was filmed at Full Gear. Regardless of the reason, it's been a breath of fresh air compared to the two-and-a-half-hour shows we've been getting lately with 15 to 16 matches. Most of the matches were still given an ample amount of time and a handful of fresh faces got to shine. This is exactly what I want from Dark on a weekly basis as it's a much more bearable and effective format.