Darby Allin def. BSHP King
Kicking off the episode with Allin was a good call with him being one of the bigger stars featured on the show. Plus, he'll be challenging for Cody's AEW TNT Championship at Full Gear and thus this was a nice momentum-booster for him. King also put forth a commendable effort before eating defeat. This was effective all around and was a smart choice for the opener.
Brandi Rhodes and Red Velvet def. Leyla Hirsch and Elayana Black
Brandi and Red Velvet are officially allies and have formed a tag team. They don't have any tag titles to fight for (nor should there be any time soon), so I assume the only reason they were paired off was so Brandi can have a partner when she inevitably faces Anna Jay and Tay Conti in tag team action. Brandi's matches are usually awful, but this managed to be passable. Rather, I don't understand what Brandi is supposed to be after teasing turning heel but remaining a babyface and continuing to team with Allie, who went back to the dark side but Brandi never addressed that. I know AEW's women's division needs as much star power as it can get, but more Brandi is not the answer.
Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus) def. Danny Limelight and KC Navarro
Different week, same stuff as always from Jurassic Express. They're a lot like The Lucha Brothers in that their matches follow a certain formula yet they're almost always entertaining and it's hard to complain about that. Granted, I don't feel like they're any closer toward getting a shot at the AEW World Tag Team Championship with these wins, but I applaud them for killing time on this show in an efficient manner if nothing else.
Frankie Kazarian def. RYZIN
It's awesome to see Kazarian branching off on his own, even though he and Christopher Daniels are clearly still feuding with The Hybrid2 based on what happened after this match. RYZIN had an impressive performance before Kazarian secured the win, and then Daniels saved Kazarian from being beaten up by The Hybrid2. Scorpio Sky is getting some significant singles spotlight at the moment, so I'm glad Kazarian isn't being forgotten about.
Ricky Starks def. Dave Dutra
I think we're long past the point of these squashes meaning anything for Starks. He's appeared on almost every episode of Dark for the past few months, and while I enjoy the hell out of his commentary, his matches are completely pointless. And no, it hardly helps his win-loss record because most of his wins have come against enhancement talent. I'm still a Starks fan, but his Dark appearances would mean more if they weren't so frequent.
Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr. def. Sean Maluta and Alex Chamberlain
They're no Hollywood Blondes, but Garrison and Pillman Jr. have become a much better team than I originally expected. Yes, they were put together only to elevate others, but they're developing quality chemistry as partners. Granted, the match itself was nothing to write home about, but giving a guy like Pillman Jr. more exposure on Dark is never a bad thing. Unfortunately for him and Garrison, Lance Archer laid them out afterward and put Eddie Kingston's stable on notice.
Max Caster and Anthony Bowens def. Aaron Solow and Angel Fashion
The rap Caster and Bowens did before the bout this week was better than the last one, but I have no idea why AEW was so quick to sign those guys when they already have what feels like dozens of tag teams under contract. Congrats to them on getting signed, but I question how far they'll really go in this stacked division. As for this match, it was a successful showcase for AEW's newest tandem.
Alan "5" Angels def. VSK
As I've said before, Angels is a talented dude but desperately needs to flesh out his character more. The little I've seen from him on Being The Elite has been funny, but he's one of the more "meh" members of The Dark Order based purely on how he's presented. Sure, he wins meaningless matches on Dark, but I don't think that's doing much to help his cause, especially when we know he likely won't defeat anyone who's actually under contract. Don't get me wrong, he and VSK made the most of the time they had here, but Angels having a competitive match with a no-namer doesn't lend him a lot of credibility.
The Butcher and The Blade def. Jersey Muscle
Allie is much better off with Butcher and Blade than she ever was with The Nightmare Family (and you had to know that was only temporary from the start), but if she's going back to being The Bunny, she has to ditch those dumb ears she's been coming out with recently. They look like a second grader made them right before she walked out. At any rate, this was a short and sweet squash from Butcher and Blade that thankfully didn't overstay its welcome.
Will Hobbs def. D3
I am in full favor of Dark becoming the show where all of AEW's resident big men have squashes that last less than a minute. That way, the show wouldn't exceed the 15-minute mark, if that. In all seriousness, this was exactly what it needed to be with Hobbs making short work of the goofy D3. Starks and Brian Cage attempted to ambush Hobbs but Allin made the save, so that tag team match should be coming sooner rather than later.
The Dark Order (Evil Uno and Stu Grayson) def. Baron Black and Nick Comoroto
I think I'd be more fine with Uno and Grayson being regulars on Dark than anyone else in Dark Order (with the obvious exception of Brodie Lee, of course). I can actually view them as legitimate threats to a title and their matches aren't as plodding for me. That was evident in this outing. My only gripe with it was that it went seven minutes. I understand that Comoroto is a huge dude, but Uno and Grayson should be winning a bit more quickly than that for a matchup of this caliber.
The Dark Order (John "4" Silver, Preston "10" Vance and Colt Cabana) def. Shawn Dean, Cezar Bononi and Fuego del Sol
AEW does an admirable job with its storytelling more often than not, but one story that has been incredibly inconsistent has been the stuff with Cabana in Dark Order. He'll be on the same page as them one week, and then they're teasing booting him from the faction the next. He's honestly there to fill a spot it seems and make Dark Order's matches marginally more interesting. This was a waste of time other than giving Silver some shine as he prepares to face Orange Cassidy on the Full Gear pre-show.
KiLynn King def. Lei'D Tapa
If you were watching IMPACT seven or eight years ago, you might remember Lei'D Tapa. She was a part of the Knockouts division and served as Gail Kim's heavy at one point, and that's about it if I recall correctly. She also had a match or two on NXT TV I believe, but WWE didn't sign her, probably because she's not very good. This wasn't terrible, but it solely existed to give King a rare win. It's possible AEW has or will sign her given how desolate the women's division is right now, or they just threw her a bone so it will mean more when she loses next.
Private Party def. Chaos Project
Whatever happened to Private Party being managed by Matt Hardy? Sometimes it's a thing, other weeks it's not. Either way, it's not like Private Party have been that much more relevant lately thanks to Hardy than they were six months ago. Their matches mostly tend to be hit or miss, though this was decent despite the clash of styles. It's worth noting that Kazarian was seen standing off to the side of the arena, so I'm intrigued as to where that's supposed to be going.
Sammy Guevara def. Lee Johnson
Would it have killed AEW to put a competitive match in this slot? If you're going to have 15 matches on a two-hour show, it better be building to an above-average main event. Don't get me wrong, this was a fun main event as Guevara and Johnson worked well together, but even though Johnson recently joined The Nightmare Family, he has yet to win a single match in AEW and thus there was no doubt he was losing here. As for Guevara, I expect him to lose to Matt Hardy at Full Gear given that he can never seem to win whenever it matters most. His Twist of Fate to finish off Johnson was a nice touch, though.
I'll start off by saying that if you aren't Dark Order fan, this episode likely isn't for you as they had three matches over the course of the two hours. Granted, you can skip over them if you want, but it's not like the entire episode is worth watching in its entirety, anyway. Much like the last two weeks, this edition was also over two hours in length and I can't stress enough how ridiculous that is. Most of the matches serve no purpose, and while I appreciate that they're progressing more storylines than usual, the bland format makes Dark an absolute chore to sit through each week. It wouldn't hurt to do some of those segments in the ring to break up the monotony a bit.