The Dark Order (Stu Grayson and Evil Uno) def. Top Flight
I feel like it isn't often that we get Grayson and Uno in action, which is weird seeing as how they're the best duo of anyone in Dark Order. Hell, they were AEW World Tag Team Championship contenders not too long ago, so I'm surprised they don't wrestle as regularly as the other members of the group. Nonetheless, this was a well-wrestled opener with Top Flight having a nice showing before eating defeat.
Ricky Starks def. VSK
Although I'll never not be entertained by a Ricky Starks squash, I don't see what purpose they're supposed to serve at this point. He's been established and doesn't benefit from constantly beating no-namers. Yes, these wins help boost his overall record, but most of them mean nothing because the people he's beating lack credibility. These matches would have more of an impact if he wasn't on Dark every single week. I'd have nothing against him joining the Dark commentary team full-time, though.
Matt Sydal def. Lee Johnson
The more appearances Sydal makes on Dark and Dynamite, the more I'm convinced he's going to sign with AEW eventually. I assume the company is waiting until he's contractually able to if he isn't already. He's a great fit for the promotion and has proven with every match he's had that he'd be a worthy acquisition. That was once again the case here as he and Johnson had a quality contest.
AEW Women's Champion Hikaru Shida def. Leyla Hirsch (Non-Title)
Sometimes it's easy to forget that AEW even has a women's champion because of how much of a non-factor Shida has been in the last few months. That's a real shame given how talented she is, but she hasn't had much credible competition outside of Thunder Rosa going into All Out. That program felt like it was abruptly dropped and now she's just spinning her wheels even though Full Gear is right around the corner. As for this match, it was very good with Hirsch having an impressive outing by taking the champ to her limit.
Jurassic Express (Marko Stunt, Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus) def. Jersey Muscle and Danny Limelight
This was Stunt's first match since being "injured" by Jake Hager a while ago. Was he legitimately hurt or did AEW just want him to sell the injury for that long because there was no need for him to wrestle? Either way, it was cool to see all of Jurassic Express back together again in action. They worked a fast-paced trios match and I was surprised how much offense their opponents scored. Stunt picking up the win for Jurassic Express was a nice touch, though.
SCU (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) def. The Hybrid2
You had to know this was coming after Kazarian beat Jack Evans last week on Dark and Daniels and Angelico emerged afterward. I like both teams, but in all honesty, this is a feud that should be playing out on Dynamite. The match was well-wrestled, but it's clear more matches are coming, so it was smart for them to not give their best stuff away here.
Anna Jay def. Katalina Perez
Jay's in-ring stuff is still a work in progress, but at least her character work is coming along nicely. This was a solid showcase for her, but her mannerisms were really what stood out to me. Unfortunately, her feud with Brandi Rhodes isn't over yet, hence why Brandi was on commentary for this. It's a rivalry that doesn't compel me whatsoever, so I'd rather they have their rematch soon and move on from it as quickly as possible.
Brandon Cutler def. Peter Avalon in a No Count-Out, No Disqualification Match
Neither of these guys had ever won a match prior to this episode, and all of their previous matches ended in either a time limit draw, a double count-out or a double disqualification. Thus, they had what was essentially a No Holds Barred match here, and to their credit, it was entertaining as they made the most of the stipulation. They even managed to tie in the stuff from Being The Elite with The Young Bucks never showing up for his matches until now, though I don't remember that ever being addressed on Dark or Dynamite in the past (AEW has to do a better job of bridging that gap). Congrats to Cutler on scoring his first win, but I don't see him ever getting beyond a certain level.
Best Friends def. Anthony Bowens and Max Caster
Caster cut a promo beforehand on Best Friends, and although I appreciated his attempt to leave a lasting impression, it sucked. Maybe that was done by design, but I didn't see what it was supposed to accomplish. Best Friends are apparently the most winningest tag team in AEW and that's largely because they win meaningless matches like this one on Dark more than most teams. In other words, this was a waste of time, even though there wasn't anything technically wrong with it.
FTW Champion Brian Cage def. Fuego del Sol (Non-Title)
The FTW Championship wasn't on the line here, and if Cage is going to continue to carry it around, he may as well defend it as much as possible. Otherwise, it'll be nothing more than a pointless prop. Fuego del Sol is only of the few enhancement talents I have no problem being made to look competitive against the contracted wrestlers, but this was a total squash as it should have been. Cage needs to regain some of the luster he had when he originally arrived in AEW and this will help with that.
Preston "10" Vance def. Sean Maluta
Vance has been cracking me up lately on Being The Elite, but there has been absolutely nothing special about him on Dark and Dynamite. Rather, he's been positioned as the silent heavy of Dark Order. It's a role he's decent in, but he's been boring as a result. Thankfully, he had a chance to shine on his own here and made the most of it by making short work of Maluta. He and Alan "5" Angels teamed up on Maluta post-match, too.
Ivelisse and Diamante def. KiLynn King and Savannah Evans
Ivelisse revealed in a recent interview that she's been signed by AEW, so it's strange that it has yet to be made official publicly. While I like Ivelisse and Diamante as a team, I'm waiting for them to have a real breakout performance. This wasn't it, but they did look good. AEW desperately needs to build up new contenders in its women's division, and while Ivelisse and Diamante are talented, I don't think AEW sees them as championship contenders right now. Of course, there aren't any tag team titles for the women (nor should there be at this point), so their tag team wins don't mean much.
Sonny Kiss def. Aaron Solow
Kiss is coming off a straight-up squash against Kenny Omega last week in the opening round of the World Title Eliminator, so this was a decent rebound win for him. This didn't need to be much more than what it was, so I was glad it didn't last long. Kiss barely had time to celebrate as he was quickly decimated by Lance Archer post-match. Kiss can't catch a break, apparently. Archer then challenged the winner of Jon Moxley vs. Lance Arche at Full Gear.
Will Hobbs def. Nick Comoroto
I've said this before, but Comoroto is an absolute hoss of a dude. He and Hobbs are practically the same size, which is why it was weird Hobbs won as fast as he did. With this taking place over two hours into the show, I wasn't crying that it was so short because at least it made Hobbs look dominant and that's all that matters. I'm still waiting for him to cut a promo or be featured in some sort of character profile so viewers can get to know him better.
Darby Allin def. Alex Chamberlain
Allin was arguably the most notable name to be featured on this week's show, though I wish he faced someone who was actually on the roster so it could have been a bit more competitive. I have no problem with him maintaining momentum ahead of his AEW TNT Championship opportunity at Full Gear, but it didn't feel main event worthy whatsoever. This was solid albeit unspectacular. The real focus was on what happened afterward, which saw Hobbs come to the aid of Allin after Starks and Cage attempted to attack him. Hobbs has yet to turn down Team Taz, so it will be interesting to see if he'll end up turning on Allin.
This show went over two hours and 20 minutes this week, which is a new record for Dark. I don't care about how much wrestling there was. That is the definition of overkill. To Dark's credit, more storylines have been advanced on this show lately (though admittedly not a ton that I'm personally invested in), the revolving commentators were refreshing and the quality of the wrestling is improving. For example, Shida vs. Hirsch was the most memorable match of the night for me, along with maybe Cutler vs. Avalon for the simple fact that neither guy had ever won coming into the show. 15 straight squashes gets old incredibly quick, because you know if it was WWE doing it, they would be criticized to no end. It wasn't an awful episode by any means, but for goodness sake, cut it back down to an hour, please. Not everyone and their mother needs to win on Dark because after a while, it doesn't mean anything and it is a waste of time.