Brandi Rhodes def. Red Velvet
I don't know if starting the show with a Brandi Rhodes match was the right call. All right, I kid, or at least partially. It's been well-documented in my reviews that I'm no fan of Brandi's in-ring work, but to her credit, she was bearable here. Plus, Velvet beautifully sold that bicycle kick from her. Anna Jay watched from the stage, so they're clearly on a collision course.
The Butcher and The Blade def. Daniel Garcia and Kevin Blackwood
Eddie Kingston becoming the new manager for Butcher and Blade I guess is designed to get me invested in them, but so far, it hasn't worked. As I've said before, they get the job done in the ring and always bring the intensity, but much like The Ascension who are similar in that respect, they're boring as characters. I mean, have we ever even heard these guys speak? They're picking up wins and being booked well, but I don't want to see them challenging for the AEW World Tag Team Championship any time soon.
Penelope Ford def. Dani Jordyn
It continues to baffle me why someone such as Jordyn hasn't been signed by AEW yet whereas Abadon is on the roster. I feel like I'm in the minority of people who don't get the Abadon act, but I just find her to be completely unbearable. As for this match, it was well wrestled and a nice showcase for both women. Ford is a star on the rise (with plenty of room for improvement) and Jordyn has plenty of potential as well.
FTW Champion Brian Cage def. Megabyte Ronnie (Non-Title)
Cage demanded he be referred to as the FTW Champion, and since AEW apparently wants to acknowledge it as being an officially-sanctioned title, he'll be listed as being the FTW Champion in my reviews. The thing is, the belt hasn't been clearly defined yet and it hasn't helped Cage much at all. This was a standard squash match and I liked that Cage came off as dominant, but he has to do more with the FTW Championship to justify keeping it around.
Santana and Ortiz def. Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison
Pillman and Garrison appear to be a pairing for the time being and I'm in full favor of that. Garrison has been fun in the enhancement role for AEW and Pillman is obviously someone the company is bound to bring in once he's free and clear of his MLW contract. They won't win together as long they're not signed, of course, but I have no problem with them helping putting over other tandems. This victory allowed Santana and Ortiz to maintain momentum ahead of their Parking Lot Brawl with Best Friends on Wednesday's Dynamite.
Will Hobbs def. Jessy Sorrenson
If Hobbs wasn't already signed by AEW, he is now if his recent string of wins has been any indication. I've said before that he has a great look and is decent enough in the ring, but I will never forget him being beaten by Orange Cassidy in roughly 10 seconds in his Dark debut. What a mistake that was in retrospect. On the bright side, he had another strong showing here. Meanwhile, Sorrenson getting another look would be nice as he's proven in the past to be a good hand to have around.
Diamante and Ivelisse def. Skyler Moore and Rache Chanel
If you forgot Diamante and Ivelisse won The Deadly Draw tournament last month, I don't blame you. They've barely been featured on AEW programming since then, though Ivelisse has a shot at the NWA World Women's Championship against Thunder Rosa on Dynamite this week. I love them as a duo, but they should be doing more than they are at the moment.
Colt Cabana def. QT Marshall
Marshall does absolutely nothing for me, especially when he isn't teaming with Dustin Rhodes, but he's a perfectly competent wrestler. His matches aren't bad as much as they are boring. Working with someone as dynamic as Cabana helped, though. the match itself was nothing notable, but this did successfully further the feud between The Dark Order and The Nightmare Family.
Brandon Cutler vs. Peter Avalon Ended in a Double Count-Out
This might have been the most unpredictable match I've ever seen on Dark, in the sense that neither of these guys have ever won a match in AEW (ever!) and this would mark the first win for one of them (until it didn't). To be honest, I couldn't care less about Cutler and Avalon, but even I can admit that I enjoyed this and that they've done a decent job telling their story over the last few months. The nearfalls got more and more suspenseful down the stretch until the double count-out finish. I'd normally call that lame, but AEW has never done a double count-out before, so I'll give them a pass. I guess I'm just more disappointed the feud didn't end here. Will they get back on the same page and finally win as a team?
Best Friends def. Maxx Stardom and Dontae Smiley
Best Friends are set to face off one more time with Santana and Ortiz this Wednesday on Dynamite in a Parking Lot Brawl, so we got to see a more aggressive side of them here. Of course, the outcome was never in doubt here, but this was all about showing how they can flip the switch when necessary and how their serious side is going to come out in that Parking Lot Brawl environment.
The Dark Order (Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, John "3" Silver and Alex "4" Reynolds) def. Private Party and The Gunn Club
I didn't think Dark Order should have lost at All Out and losing here to these four would have been even worse considering The Gunn Club have yet to wrestle once on Dynamite. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. It was an enjoyable main event by Dark standards and they made the most of the time they had, but I really wish AEW would stop relying on these multi-team matches to everyone on the show because they feel less and less special each time.
I was so happy when Dark got finished under an hour last week and featured a seven-match card, but the show was back to being over 90 minutes this week. The matches aren't that great to justify the show being that long. I realize the whole point of the program is to showcase certain stars, but that can definitely be done with less matches so they mean more. There was some storyline advancement, but other than that, this was a fairly average episode on the whole.