Santana and Ortiz def. Joe Coleman and Idris Abraham
I know nothing about Coleman, but I do recognize Abraham from the handful of appearances he's made on Dark in the past as well as the brief period of time he spent in IMPACT years ago. This was a fairly standard showcase for Santana and Ortiz. I'm glad they're picking up wins to maintain momentum, but I'd much rather see them in the AEW World Tag Team Championship mix and not in this ongoing angle with Inner Circle and American Top Team. I mean, does anyone else find it weird that FTR are going after the tag titles despite losing to Santana and Ortiz two months ago?
Nyla Rose def. Viva Van
This was the first promo I've heard Vickie Guerrero before a Nyla Rose match in a while. Maybe she's been doing it recently and I've just been unknowingly skipping over them. She vowed that Rose will win the entire AEW TBS Championship Tournament, and although she may make it past the first round, there's no way she's winning the whole thing. She completely dominated Van here in under two minutes.
Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson def. Eli Knight and Malik Bosede
Dark is probably the best place for Johnson and Anderson to be teaming at the moment. They aren't terrible by any means and I actually think Johnson has some upside, but there's simply no spot for them on Dynamite right now, especially in such a stacked tag team division. They hit their stuff in this match and won in about two minutes, so at least this didn't go longer than it needed to.
Daniel Garcia def. RSP
Garcia impresses every time I seen him in action. Now that's officially been signed by the promotion, I hope we start to see him get more of a push on television and be put in a formal feud with someone. In the meantime, I have no issue with him racking up victories on the Dark shows. RSP wrestles a totally different style than Garcia does, but they ended up having a solid match. Garcia being able to win with a variety of submissions is also a nice touch.
The Dark Order (John Silver and Alex Reynolds) def. Sean Carr and Marcus Kross
I didn't realize until I saw their win-loss record that Silver and Reynolds haven't teamed a ton together in 2021, at least not when it's just the two of them. That's probably because Silver was out injured from March to July and then Reynolds took some time off soon after. They're a terrific team and are a blast to watch in the ring, much like they were in this match. Their offense was enjoyable for the three minutes this went for.
The Acclaimed def. Ishmael Vaughn and Dontae Smiley
The Acclaimed are back to racking up wins on the Dark shows and not doing much of note now that they've challenged The Lucha Brothers for the AEW World Tag Team Championship and lost. They came up short in last week's six-man tag team main event, so this was a rebound win for them. Their pre-match rap was more memorable than the match itself, but it was decent for what it was.
The Bunny def. Santana Garrett
The Blade recently revealed on social media that he'll be taking time off to focus on his mental health, which is why he wasn't at ringside here. All the best to him and I'm glad he's putting himself first. The Bunny is set to compete in the AEW TBS Championship Tournament against Red Velvet, and although I don't expect her to win, it was necessary to give her a bit of a boost before then. This could have been more competitive as Garrett is a step above most of the enhancement talent AEW uses.
2point0 def. Bison XL and Toa Liona
Liona is that Samoan dude who wrestled on one of the Dark shows a few weeks ago and stood out. I was glad he was brought back here and got to score some offense against 2point0. If he continues to make the most of each opportunity he's given, I could certainly see him being signed eventually. This was 2point0's first win in a while and it helped them get back on track. We need to hear them talk more because they're always a riot.
Red Velvet def. Sholance Royal
I'm no Red Velvet fan, but I think she's passable in the ring. There's room for improvement and she'll benefit from having more matches on the Dark shows. This was fine, but Royal singing every two seconds was incredibly distracting and annoying. I realize that's her heel gimmick, but it's not for me personally and it took away from the outing in my opinion. Following Velvet's victory, she was immediately attacked by Bunny, who she'll face in the first round of the AEW TBS Championship Tournament on Friday's Rampage.
Bobby Fish def. RYZIN
Fish is a seasoned veteran with experience and credibility, but he'll need a few more wins in AEW in order to be taken seriously. Prior to this bout, his win-loss record was 3-3, so he needs to show he's more than just a stepping stone for the bigger stars (even though that's what he'll likely be but that shouldn't be the perception right out of the gate). I was happy to see RYZIN back, but he didn't score much offense at all before eating defeat.
Tony Nese def. Fuego Del Sol
Nese's AEW entrance music (which sounds similar to the song he used in WWE) is about as basic as he is. Don't get me wrong, he's a talented dude and I enjoyed his work in the last year or two of his WWE run, but I can't say he was a necessary signing for AEW. If he's largely going to be relegated to the Dark shows and having quality matches there, that's cool, but they already have plenty of other people who are barely sniffing television time at the moment. On the bright side, this was a fun sprint from these two.
Pac def. Tiger Ruas
Ruas beat some dude with ease on last week's Dark and demanded more competition in his post-match promo. Well, he got it in the form of Pac here. I was honestly surprised to see this last as long as it did. Ruas has potential, but I don't know if I would have had him take Pac to the limit without being built up a bit more first. That said, this was a pretty good main event. They maximized their minutes and Ruas definitely gained something in defeat.
I'm surprised they would tape so many matches for one edition of Dark considering it's a series of tapings at one location on one or two days at Universal Studios. Why not space out the matches a bit better? I don't think this hour-plus show needed 12 matches, but at least there was some solid wrestling throughout the episode, specifically at the end between Nese vs. Fuego and Pac vs. Ruas. The fact Nese made his in-ring debut for AEW on Dark and not on Dynamite tells me that's primarily where he'll be slotted going forward.