Powerhouse Hobbs def. Jaysin Strife
Team Taz has had little to no presence on AEW programming as of late, which is disappointing. I know they attempted to recruit Dante Martin last week, but he denied their invitation at Full Gear, so now they're back to the drawing board. Maybe they shouldn't have split Brian Cage away from the group considering he's also done nothing since? Hobbs is constantly improving and this was another chance for him to showcase his skills.
Andrade El Idolo def. Jah-C
The fact we're getting more and more of Andrade in action on the Dark shows and on Dynamite must mean AEW is boosting his win-loss record so he can eventually challenge for a championship. There's no reason for any of his enhancement matches to last more than a minute or two and this was no exception. As I said coming out of his win on Elevation, I'm curious what's next for him following his tag team loss at Full Gear.
The Pinnacle (Shawn Spears and Wardlow) def. Renny D and Arik Cannon
Whatever happened to MJF assigning Wardlow to be Spears' accounta-buddy recently? I feel like there's been zero follow-up on that. I've made it quite clear that Spears does nothing for me at this point, but Wardlow will absolutely be one to watch. I have no idea who Cannon is, but the crowd seemed to like him. That didn't stop Wardlow from decimating him and Renny D, though. Spears stealing the spotlight by hitting his finisher on one of the guys afterward and Wardlow looking slightly annoyed was definitely interesting.
Ruby Soho def. Hyan
Mark Henry noted on commentary that Hyan trained at Booker T's school. She didn't get much of a chance to impress because this was over within a minute. I can't complain about it being kept short and sweet because Ruby Soho should be presented as a threat as she progresses in the AEW TBS Women's Championship Tournament. I will say that the crowd nearly never reacts whenever she hits her finisher because it doesn't look devastating. I know she used it in WWE, but she might be better off ditching it for something new.
Too Fast Too Fuego def. Kit Sackett and Brandon Gore
Cody Rhodes must be having a blast as Fuego Dos if he's still doing it after a month. It's probably a nice break for him from getting booed as himself. In all seriousness, I've been enjoying Too Fast Too Fuego, but it remains to be seen if AEW will actually do anything with the duo or it'll solely be relegated to Dark. Either way, this was more fun from them as they continue to work well together and the crowd was into it.
The Acclaimed def. The Dark Order (Colt Cabana and Alan "5" Angels)
The talk among the commentators early on was that Excalibur claimed Max Caster didn't know who Prince was despite dissing him in his rap. Amazing. I realize I've brought this up a bunch, but I still find it weird that Dark Order are racking up losses despite beating The Elite late last month. The Acclaimed are more of a team than Cabana and Angels, so it made sense for them to win and it was an enjoyable affair. All four of these guys do a great job of keeping the crowd invested.
Kris Statlander, Riho and Ryo Mizunami def. Emi Sakura, Nyla Rose and The Bunny
I'm not kidding when I say we literally just got this exact same match on Monday's Elevation except with Skye Blue instead of Statlander. And I know we've seen other variations of this same match with Thunder Rosa mixed in as well. In other words, it's been done to death and I'm sick of seeing it. It's not like the matches are amazing enough to keep repeating, either. Other than getting the crowds more familiar with the joshi wrestlers, I don't know what purpose these matches are supposed to serve. This started out as a mess but ended up being decent. The constant screaming and yelling at ringside was obnoxious and almost unbearable, though.
Lee Johnson, Brock Anderson and Varsity Blonds def. The Wingmen (JD Drake and Ryan Nemeth) and The Factory (Aaron Solo and Nick Comoroto)
This match featured a ton of talent who haven't been featured a lot lately. When in doubt, throw them all into one match! That's apparently AEW's philosophy. These multi-man matches are usually all over the place and this was more of the same. The final minute or two was fun, but I can't say the rest of this did much for me, personally. That mini push for Brian Pillman Jr. back in September was a waste of time in retrospect seeing as how he's been nearly nonexistent on the show since then.
John Silver def. "Pretty" Peter Avalon
Speaking of talent we haven't seen in action in a while, when was the last time we saw Avalon compete on his own? He was the go-to jobber in the early days of AEW, but he's definitely been around a lot less recently. I'm not complaining, but it is worth noting. Silver is the star on the rise at the moment, so this allowed him to keep his momentum rolling. This was a well-wrestled affair, but I feel like the crowd would have been hotter for it had it happened earlier in the evening and not at the end of a long Dark taping.
Sonny Kiss def. Adam Grace
It's been a while since Kiss and Joey Janela last furthered their feud, has it not? It wasn't my favorite feud to begin with, but it feels like it's been forgotten about. Kiss did beat Janela at one point, but they continued to go after each other and we have yet to get a proper blow-off. Nonetheless, this was fine for what it was to give Kiss his first win since September. That said, I don't know how necessary this was so late in the show.
Preston "10" Vance def. Mikey Wild
At first glance, Wild almost looked like Sami Callihan from his NXT days. Vance felt like he was picking up real momentum before he was fed to Jon Moxley in a minute or two in the first round of the AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament. If they want to build up Vance and not make him look like a loser, then they should have put someone else in that spot. At least this was kept fairly brief with Vance dominating Wild.
Scorpio Sky def. Craven Knyte
What a weird match to have main event. Sky is slowly but surely climbing the AEW World Championship/AEW TNT Championship power rankings, but I can't recall many times that's been acknowledged on AEW TV. I'm all for Sky being pushed as a singles star because, while they work well together, I feel like this team with Ethan Page is a waste of what he can do. This was a nice little outing, but there was nothing out of the ordinary about it whatsoever.
The structure of this show was so strange. I've made it quite clear that I'm not a fan of the longer editions of Dark with more matches, so that alone knocked this show down a notch for me. Not only that, but it started out with several squashes with big names, featured some competitive matches in the middle, and ended with more squashes with lower-level talent. The episode dragged by the end even though there was some solid stuff sprinkled throughout. I realize this was taped the night of Rampage or Full Gear and the live crowds are always helpful, but I would have rather seen one of the episodes emanating from Universal Studios.