This week, AEW Dark once again took place in Georgia and was hosted by the commentary team of Tony Schiavone and the American Nightmare Cody Rhodes. We were entertained to three matches this week as Ryan Pyles would encounter one of the Dark Order’s newest creepers number 10, Shawn Dean would then return for a second week to fight Inner Circle member Sammy Guevara before Kip Sabian would attempt revenge for comments Colt Cabana made a few weeks ago about his now fiance Penelope Ford.

Ryan Pyles Vs 10 w/ Brodie Lee

Last week on AEW Dynamite we were introduced to Preston Vance, the latest Dark Order recruit who is now known as 10. In last week’s promo we saw Preston turn to the Dark Order after being forced to retire from his football career, we saw the exalted one Brodie Lee personally recruiting Preston Vance or 10 into the Dark Order. For 10’s first match within the company we saw him face off against Ryan Pyles, this match was never expected to last long as Brodie Lee refused to even sit down at ringside.

The match started with 10 quickly dominating as he slams his opponent into the mat, before throwing Ryan Pyles into the turnbuckles headfirst and performing a knife-edge chop onto his opponent’s chest. 10 quickly transition this into a German suplex before looking up and checking for approval from the exalted one. This match was created for 10 to show his strength within the ring as every hit seemed to be harder and rougher than the last. Ryan Pyles had little luck during this match as 10 then threw him out of the ring and performed another knife-edge chop onto his chest to impress his leader.  One problem with 10’s in-ring strategy did become clear though, as he seemed too focused on Brodie Lee’s approval and if he was facing a more experienced opponent he would be allowing them a chance to regain strength and turn the match into their favour. After returning to the ring Ryan Pyles was able to get a small amount of offence into the match as he punched 10 in the chest, with very little effect and then quickly kicked 10 in the face. This was the moment that angered Brodie Lee the most as he smashed a chair into the outside turnbuckle, Brodie’s aggression kicked 10 into gear as he booted his opponent in the face and then hit a spine buster to win the match.

This match was short and sweet, which was perfect as it was set up as character development for 10 and storyline development for the Dark Order. While it was difficult to be impressed by Ryan Pyles within this match, he did his job well, he was meant to come out and make 10 look impressive and he did that so no complaints from me. It’s incredible how far the Dark Order has come since their first appearance at Double or Nothing and that’s largely due to Brodie Lee becoming such a tough leader over the last month. I like the long development we have seen with the Dark Order as it works better as a slow burn, while the Elite is preoccupied with the Inner Circle. The only criticism of the match could be that it ran a little long as we need to see some dominating figures within the Dark Order, as we have seen a few of the members being beaten on Dynamite and other than Evil Uno and Stu Grayson there doesn’t seem to be any standout, dominating members, the sort of people that are going to not only make a big impression but also the sort of member who you know is going to be hard to beat.

Shawn Dean vs Sammy Guevara 

The following match on AEW Dark this week saw the Captain Shawn Dean return to try and accomplish his first win, unfortunately for him, he would be facing off against Inner Circle member, the Spanish God Sammy Guevara. One thing I completely admire about Sammy Guevara is his dedication to his character, as he once again starts vlogging within the ring. While this should have made for a great chance for Shawn Dean to gain an advantage, the Captain didn’t seem to want the opportunity as he was slow to take advantage. He rolled Sammy Guevara up but only received a two count. The two-count kicked Shawn Dean into action as he started the match in his favour after drop-kicking Sammy to the mat, Sammy then outsmarted his opponent managing to hit him with multiple knee shots and turning the match into his favour.

Sammy now saw an opportunity to be his typical arrogant self and lifted Shawn Dean onto his shoulders, squatting with his weight. As Sammy Guevara was far too busy show boasting to the crowd of indie wrestlers surrounding the ring, his opponent was able to turn the match and pick up Sammy Guevara with a big vertical pick up, before suplexing his opponent and getting an unsuccessful two count. Now being the subject of two unsuccessful pins Sammy Guevara was starting to realise this match would not be quite as easy. The major problem with Sammy’s in-ring strategy was that he left too many openings for Shawn Dean to start regaining strength and motivation. Sammy Guevara decides to try a different tactic as he placed Shawn Dean into multiple chin locks, Shawn Dean broke out with a big forearm, he gains some motivation with some back elbows and then hits a great DDT. Unfortunately, this is where Shawn Dean’s poor ring strategy comes into play as he doesn’t cover his opponent, this seems to be a reoccurring theme with Dean as he did similar in last week’s match against Jimmy Havoc. This mistake loses Shawn Dean the match as he misses a big knee which Sammy hits perfectly, he then hits Dean with a Burning GTS and wins the match.

Overall, there were moments of an enjoyable match here, but it was overshadowed with moments of frustration, as Shawn Dean seems to hate covering his opponents. Even before the match began we knew Sammy Guevara was going to take the win, I did enjoy how he was put in a match against someone a similar built so it was believable that Shawn Dean had a chance to take the win. Nevertheless, I am becoming frustrated with the number of matches on AEW Dark in recent weeks that are incredibly predictable, however, that can’t be helped with the issues with not having a full roster. I just feel this match suffered from how predictable it was, Sammy had to win, he is competing in a tag team match against Matt Hardy and Kenny Omega on the main Dynamite show so he couldn’t lose the night before to Shawn Dean. Therefore the match suffered from this, it was incredibly frustrating that Shawn Dean hit a beautiful DDT on Sammy and wouldn’t even cover, clearly this was a way for Shawn Dean to hit some impressive moves without winning the match but it just didn’t seem plausible that he wouldn’t cover. If this match had been shown two weeks earlier I probably wouldn’t have been as frustrated with it and while that is unfair to Shawn Dean, there are just too many predictable matches on Dark at the moment and it ended ruining this one with a bad ending.

I’m not sure if I was still getting over my frustration at the last match, as we then saw another promo for the Double or Nothing PPV which will be taking place in a few weeks. My problem with this was that it was the same promo we had seen ten minutes earlier, I understand that issues are arising because of the global pandemic but I don’t understand why it was so difficult to not just film a 30-second backstage promo. Have someone try to interview Brodie Lee or have a little preview for the Dynamite show, anything just doesn’t show the same clip twice in the space of ten minutes.

Kip Sabian w/ Penelope Ford vs Colt Cabana

Some viewers may not realise why we are seeing these two face off this week, but this match was set up on Dynamite at the last Jacksonville Florida show, as while being interviewed by Tony Schiavone Colt Cabana made some comments about Penelope Ford, which her fiancé Kip Sabian did not take too kindly to. There was a nice little clip of this interview before the match which helped fans who may not remember their encounter a few weeks ago. The match started with Superbad Kip Sabian getting Colt into a side headlock, this only lasted a few seconds though as Colt Cabana quickly knocked Kip down. Colt saved no time embarrassing Kip Sabian’s youth in the ring, well youth compared to himself, as he avoided Kip’s leapfrogs by slapping him in the face. Kip saw this embarrassment as the perfect opportunity to be comforted by Penelope Ford, Colt Cabana saw his opportunity to upset his opponent as he sneaked on Ford and tickled her before he threw Kip back into the ring to continue their match. This is where my favourite moment in the match happens as Kip tries to jump off the top rope to kick his opponent, but Colt showing his veteran side he simply steps back.

Colt Cabana started to dominate his opponent with an arm drag twist where Colt pushed his weight onto Kip’s shoulder. Colt then caught Kip’s attempted kick and twisted him into an unsuccessful submission move, before Kip pushed Colt off his body and tried another move which Colt quickly outsmarted. As soon as Colt started to gain serious momentum in the match, Penelope Ford decided to quickly distract him, showing how Ford is a great ringside manager as she helped Kip Sabian get back into the match. Kip pushed Colt out of the ring and hit his opponent’s head into the hardest part of the ring. Kip got distracted as he tried to kiss Penelope Ford, which she rejected and sent Kip into a kicking frenzy against Colt. The match turned into a hitting war as both competitors tried to gain the advantage in the match, Kip got an unsuccessful pin accompanied by an unsuccessful pin by Colt. Kip jumped from the ropes, which was countered by Colt kicking him right in the face. This was when Colt started to find an end to the match. He got a few unsuccessful pins before hitting a flip, flop and fly, he then climbed to the top rope, ready to finish the match. Penelope Ford jumped into the ring to stop Colt from jumping, distracting both Colt and the referee as Kip hit a low blow on his opponent, he successfully rolled Colt up and won the match.

This match saved the show for me, it was enjoyable and light-hearted but also left the feud to develop into a longer storyline. It was also refreshing to see a match where either opponent had the opportunity to win. I would be very interested to see if they develop this storyline for the main Dynamite show or if they continue it over the next few weeks on Dark, this could even be a match that appears on Double or Nothing. I enjoyed seeing Colt Cabana in the ring as he always manages to show his veteran side and outsmart his opponent in simple ways. This match also had a great ending as neither opponent looked bad, Colt didn’t lose due to ability and we saw another match which highlighted how good a team Superbad Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford are.

All pics and videos courtesy of AEW

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