The Butcher and The Blade def. Hunter Knott and Rosario Grillo
Butcher and Blade had their first match back on Elevation this past week, so this was more of the same. I get the sense that we'll be seeing them have more straightforward squashes to get Butcher back to being in the ring and to reestablish them as a force to be reckoned with. I can't stay I care about them any more than I did six months ago and the H.F.O. stuff still sucks, but at least their matches are bearable to sit through.
Anna Jay def. Ashley D'Amboise
This was Jay's taste of in-ring action on her own since January, which is crazy to think about, but I guess she wasn't wrestling a whole lot before she got hurt in February. Hopefully she'll be getting more reps going forward because she's not going for improve otherwise. She has the basics down and is popular, so I have no doubt she'll go far over time. D'Amboise was a smart choice as someone for her to work with because she's been a great hand lately for AEW lately.
2point0 def. Erik and Andrew Lockheart
As I've said in the past, AEW really should be having 2point0 talk before their matches. I know they'll get the occasional backstage segment and talk there, but I think it'd be an extra element to their matches and help them stand out even more. Dark is the perfect place to try something like out, too. 2point0 dominated this match as they do most of their matches on Dark and won in a matter of minutes.
Jade Cargill def. Angelica Risk
Like I said in my review of Elevation from Monday, most of Cargill's matches follow the same formula. It certainly makes her look dominant, but the jury is still out on what she can do in a more competitive match. I guess we'll find out Wednesday on Dynamite when she takes on Leyla Hirsch. If anyone can get a decent match out of Cargill, I'd put my money on Hirsch, who has been terrific for this division since being signed earlier this year.
Fuego Del Sol def. Mysterious Movado
It's about time we got Fuego back in action. I was wondering where he's been after getting that AEW contract over a month ago on the first episode of Rampage, but I forgot that he was attacked by Miro recently. Even still, I've seen far worse attacks and the person is back the very next week. He's a popular underdog with a terrible win-loss record, so this was a good start. This was a nice little match.
Shawn Spears def. Khash
I feel like it's been a minute since we last saw Spears have a single match on any of AEW's shows. I'm not complaining, but it made sense to give him a win on his own before he faces Darby Allin tomorrow night on Dynamite. He's technically proficient yet lacks on the mic. I realize that's what Tully Blanchard is for, but because of how Spears has been booked for most of his AEW career, it's near impossible for me to care about him. This win didn't make him any more of a threat to Allin than he was previously.
Best Friends (Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor) and Wheeler Yuta def. Jora Johl and The Hybrid2
Best Friends aren't the biggest stars in AEW, but they're notable enough that it's encouraging to know Dark will at least feature some star power and not only undercard competitors and enhancement talent. This continued the feud between Best Friends and the H.F.O. that I'm sure no one is clamoring to see continue. We've seen seemingly a million matches between the two factions and the babyfaces win almost every time, so how can the heels be taken seriously? On the bright side, it was an enjoyable affair that the crowd was into.
"Legit" Leyla Hirsch def. KiLynn King
King is a babyface as well, but that babyface vs. babyface didn't matter much here at all. I find it difficult to invest in her as a character, but in the ring, she can more than hold her own and thus I wasn't shocked she and Hirsch had the best bout of the night here. Hirsch can work her ass off and being on the smaller side doesn't hinder her whatsoever. She's the real deal. I'm glad they got as much time as they did to just go at it here.
Dark emanating from Universal Studios from here on out is a big positive in my book. I've been asking for months what makes Dark different from Dark: Elevation (aside from the commentary teams) and this is it. It's a cool-looking set that reminds me of when IMPACT/TNA used to tape their shows there. It got old after a while for them, but that was their flagship show; this is essentially AEW's version of "developmental" so it makes more sense. The fans in attendance were lively and the eight-match format was perfect. This show gave me hope for the future of Dark.