Will Hobbs def. Sean Legacy
I was wondering why Hobbs took part in the Casino Battle Royale at All Out on Saturday and I guess this answered my question. I don't know if he's been officially signed yet or not, but it sure seems like he has. He's an impressive athlete and he had a solid showing here, but I continue to question why AEW had Orange Cassidy beat him in his debut two months ago in roughly 10 seconds. I realize AEW likely had no intentions of signing him at that time,
FTW Champion Brian Cage def. Tony Donati (Non-Title)
Donati has some catchy entrance music, although the guy himself is nothing special. This was all about Cage picking up a dominant victory. By the way, I'll be calling him the FTW Champion in my reviews because AEW has chosen to officially sanction the title and allow him to defend it, unlike IMPACT's Moose with the defunct TNA World Heavyweight Championship. This was short, sweet and exactly what it needed to be.
Angelico def. Griff Garrison
Angelico and Jack Evans are incredibly talented, but I feel like they haven't gotten their just due since the start of AEW. That said, it's been nice to see them get spotlighted for a change lately, even if it's only been on Dark. Garrison, on the other hand, has played his enhancement role well in recent months for AEW. There wasn't anything flashy about this bout, but it was decent for what it was, even though Garrison probably didn't need to get in as much offense as he did.
Anna "99" Jay def. Skyler Moore
Jay wasn't introduced as 99 here, but Brodie Lee has referred to her by that number before (and the commentators did, too), so I figured I'd include it with her name like I do the other members. It has yet to be explained why she was assigned that number or why she joined The Dark Order to begin with. Yes, she lost her debut match in AEW, but that's it. At any rate, this was a nice showcase for her. She clearly has potential, but time will tell as to how much being associated with the group will benefit her in the long run.
Eddie Kingston def. Lee Johnson
I'm all for Kingston moving into a managerial role for guys like The Lucha Brothers, but it's cool that he's continuing to compete as well. Johnson is one of the best enhancement wrestlers AEW has used during the pandemic, so it was no surprise that this was a well-wrestled affair. Johnson showed some babyface fire, but all it took was one backfist from Kingston to put him down for the count. That was great.
Sonny Kiss def. Serpentico
Serpentico clashed with Kiss' tag team partner Joey Janela on the All Out Buy-In, so this match made sense. Speaking of Janela, he and Kiss will be teaming up against Chris Jericho and Jake Hager this Wednesday on Dynamite. Thus, this served as a warm-up of sorts for Kiss. Both he and Serpentico wrestle somewhat similar styles, so this was fun while it lasted. Serpentico has won more matches than most of the enhancement guys in AEW, so it was more meaningful for Kiss to beat him as opposed to someone such as Tony Donat or Shawn Dean or whoever.
"Absolute" Ricky Starks def. Ben Carter
I'm a big fan of Starks, but it was odd that this was positioned as the main event of the show when the outcome was never in doubt. Despite that, this exceeded my expectations. Starks never ceases to capture my attention with his charisma while Carter had a standout performance in his own right. Interestingly enough, Darby Allin was nowhere to be seen, but maybe that's because he endured a pretty bad bump in the body bag at All Out. Team Taz continues to roll.
There were a few things I loved about this episode. It didn't feature anyone I don't care about (Abadon, Luther, etc) and, most importantly, it was kept under an hour. I'm still not enamored with the squash match format, but seven matches is way more bearable than a dozen. Most of them were kept brief as they should have been and I appreciated several fresh faces being spotlighted. This just may have been my favorite edition of Dark in forever, though I'm aware that's not saying much.