This week’s episode of AEW Dark featured a mega card of 10 matches, as we saw the return of Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian as a tag team, Darby Allin main eventing the card against Serpentico and a women’s match as Dani Jordyn faced off against the woman challenging for the AEW Women’s championship at Double or Nothing, Hikaru Shida.

Dani Jordyn Vs Hikaru Shida:

Hikaru Shida’s match on AEW Dark this week was made as a warm-up match for her before she faces off the AEW Women’s World Champion, Nyla Rose, with hopes to become the third champion in AEW history on Saturday, May 23 at Double or Nothing. Her competitor on Dark, Dani Jordyn, was competing in her third AEW match. This match focused on showing us how skilled Shida is within a wrestling ring and went to help promote her as a possible AEW Women’s World champion. Whenever Dani Jordyn started to get some momentum and hit Shida with some offence, Shida continually countered this and turned the match back into her favour. Jordyn hit some impressive moves during this match such as a DDT off the ropes and a lovely submission move using a bridge. Shida, of course, won this match, it was short and sweet, only lasting about four minutes but was beneficial to help improve Shida’s win record before Double or Nothing. It was an ok match, nothing particularly stood out but made Shida look stronger and that was its whole purpose.

Clutch Adams Vs QT Marshall

QT Marshall is one half of the Natural Nightmares tag team alongside Dustin Rhodes, although AEW hasn’t seemed too much with this team since its first few matches, so I am still unsure what’s the purpose in having that team within AEW. This match was Clutch Adams who debuted with the company, he did great within the matchup as he could have been more dominating against QT Marshall at some points in the match. He showed his smarts within the ring as he spent a lot of the match targeting the injured ribs of QT Marshall. QT did have moments within this match as well where he showed his in-ring ability and proved he can be an impressive wrestler. QT managed to turn the matchup into his favour and win after hitting Adams with a QT Cutter. I still haven’t figured out what AEW are trying to do with QT Marshall as they seem to push him quite a bit but with no end game or reason insight, maybe there is something I am missing. I just can’t understand what their end game is with QT as I can’t see him becoming a champion or top talent within the company, he is mid-card at best. 

Marko Stunt (from Jurassic Express) vs Jason Cade

Before this matchup, I found myself trying to work out if Marko Stunt has ever won a match for AEW as a singles competitor before. I’m sure he must have won some form of match as part of Jurassic Express but I couldn’t remember any as a singles wrestler, which shows the way AEW has been pushing and booking Marko within their ring. He’s booked in a similar way to Orange Cassidy as he’s fun and can put his opponent through some impressive moves when part of a team. On Wednesday’s Dynamite show, we will see Marko Stunt competing against MJF, which we all expect MJF to win. So the purpose of this matchup against Jason Cade was to show Marko as an impressive competitor, someone we could believe would be able to beat MJF. I didn’t fully understand why doing this the day before his match unless Marko had been experiencing ring rust or just needed a warm-up match. During Jason Cade’s match last week, I was left seriously unimpressed by his in-ring antics, this week I liked him a little more as he seemed a lot less cocky. One thing this match certainly did was to show much of a warrior Marko Stunt truly is, he gave Cade all the fight he could and even managed the win after hitting Cade with a 450 Splash. He hit some impressive moves all while bleeding from the nose. At the end of the match, he had to be seen by the doctor as he looked like he may have suffered a mild concussion. This match seemed to be an incredibly brutal fight at points which just did not seem needed.

Lee Johnson & Musa vs Jimmy Havoc & Kip Sabian w/ Penelope Ford

AEW Dark, this week, continued the tag team storyline of real-life roommates Jimmy Havoc and Kip Sabian working together within the ring. It has seemed in recent weeks both Kip Sabian and Jimmy Havoc have been rewarded, and rightfully so, as they have both been committed to turning up and being apart of the AEW shows. I like these competitors as a tag team as it serves to benefit both Havoc and Sabian, Havoc can be shown as more than just a hardcore wrestler. Sabian can fill in any gaps in Havoc’s technical wrestling ability, all while learning from a veteran within the industry. This match was good as both teams had their chance to impress, the team of Lee Johnson & Musa has come a long way as a team since their first AEW match when they struggled to work together. Of course, the team of Havoc and Sabian won the match up. This tag team match was one of the longer matches of the show and was enjoyable throughout. I did like the fact that team of Havoc and Sabian were able to win without too much Penelope Ford interference. I could see so many different opportunities to book Jimmy Havoc within AEW as he can act so well as a fraction’s thug, the guy who comes out just to beat everyone up.

Shawn Dean Vs Rey Fénix

This match seemed like an incredibly smart move by AEW as they put Rey Fénix in a match against one of the most impressive indie wrestlers AEW have brought in, Shawn Dean. This was a smart move because it showed Rey Fénix as a dominant singles competitor as we are seeing him for the first real-time in AEW history without his brother and tag team partner, Pentagon Junior. The matchup against Shawn Dean showed how much incredible ability Fénix has within a ring, it also helped develop Fénix as a singles competitor before the Casino Ladder match on Double or Nothing, especially if you are unfamiliar with his work elsewhere. While Shawn Dean had moments of impressing during this match, Rey Fénix just seemed to be on another level as he is so skilled with his athletic ability. It would be a real shame if AEW does not push Fénix for bigger storylines and towards the AEW Championship, he more than deserves it. Though we have not been able to see AEW’s plan for the Death Triangle team as both Fénix’s teammates have been stuck due to travel restrictions. Fénix versus Dean was one of the best matches AEW put on during the show, however, what let it down, as many of the matches on this show, by how predictable the ending would be as we knew Fénix was going to win this match, which he did after lifting Shawn Dean, spinning him around and then drove him down. 

Jon Cruz vs Luther

Jon Cruz facing off against Luther fell victim to the number of matches on this AEW Dark card, as it was the least rememberable. It felt like it was only there to increase the match numbers, as well as Luther’s win record. It was another short match on the card, as Luther seemed to spend all of this match dominating and screaming at anyone in sight, including his hand at one point. I didn’t enjoy this match, it just seemed to be there for the sake of being there, but there always is this problem when a typically hardcore wrestler tries to have a normal wrestling match, they begin to be lost in translation. Luther suffered from this as he acted crazy and violent while hitting Jon Cruz with a lot of no impressive moves. Luther won the match after doing some strange eye submission move where he stretched Cruz’s eyes and mouth with his fingers.

Private Party vs Ryan Rembrandt & Mike Reed: 

I mentioned during last week’s review that I am not a fan of Private Party but I hope I could be converted, what once again didn’t happen this week as they faced off against the team of Ryan Rembrandt and Mike Reed. My problem with Private Party is they do not sell their gimmick enough for me to truly buy into them, they need to show more personality within the ring. I want to see them sell their gimmick and live up to the characters they have created, for example, why not coming to the ring with a drink in your hand. I just want to believe they are their characters. I also do not like the fact Private Party are meant to be face as, with their gimmick, it would come across better if they were more entitled and arrogant. However, during this match, we did once see some impressive teamwork from the team of Private Party as they did spend the majority of this match dominating their opponents. Rembrandt managed to get some offence in against Isiah Kassidy as, for quite a few moments within the match, he dominated against Kassidy before Marq Quen was able to come into the ring and take back control. After Marq Quen was able to gain back control, we saw more impressive teamwork from Private Party as they managed to win the match. This was another ok match, but it was nowhere near as enjoyable as the previous tag team match, we saw earlier on this episode of Dark.

Alan Angels vs Sammy Guevara

Sammy Guevara facing off against Alan Angels was the only match announced on this card of AEW Dark where I could see an upset. As odd as it sounds, we have seen Alan Angels prove himself against Kenny Omega and Rey Fénix in previous weeks so it was not out of the question that Angels could beat Guevara. This was one of Sammy Guevara’s best matches within AEW as he looked so much more impressive then he normally does in his AEW match ups. It was good to see Guevara getting another win and a push within AEW, as sometimes he seems to be the fallout guy for the Inner Circle, as Guevara is normally the one to be pinned and cost the match for the group. Although Sammy Guevara won after hitting Angels with a GTH, neither competitors were showed in a bad light. Alan Angels are probably the only indie talent we have seen in recent weeks which I would love AEW to sign, as he already looks so talented within the ring. Alan Angels already look like he could become a star with the company’s help, he also has personality within the ring as he mocked Guevara by doing his Sex God pose.

Serpentico vs Darby Allin

In the full card for this week’s AEW Dark, the match between Serpentico versus Darby Allin was the most exciting matchup. This match did seem shorter than I expected it to be, it could have gone a few more minutes without having been spoiled. Serpentico, showed his years of experience within the ring well during this match as he seemed to counter Darby Allin well. Serpentico was a great matchup for Darby Allin as it allowed him to have a harder hitting and more athletic style of match. Both competitors seemed to put every inch of both of their bodies into this match, it was clear that neither wanted to lose, even heading out of the ring multiple times. While neither wanted to lose, Darby Allin hit Serpentico with the last supper and increased his win record once again. This match was just further evidence of how far we have seen Darby Allin come since he joined the company. When he faced Cody in his first AEW match, many criticised how many risks Allin took with his body, and the effect this could have on his career. However, he has taken these criticisms on and is now well on his way to becoming a star within AEW.

AEW Dark is once again starting to suffer from a few problems it experienced a few weeks ago, we are still not seeing a crowd of wrestlers on the episodes of Dark like we are on Dynamite. This is affecting the atmosphere of the show. It is also affecting the quality of the show as you need that small crowd to help cover up the silence experienced during the matches. Another problem with this episode of Dark is, while it is impressive to announce you are putting on 10 matches on one show, it is not that impressive when they are all incredibly predictable matches focused only on win/lost records and not between any two AEW signed competitors. It also becomes far too much to watch when each match in one after the other with only a few small Double or Nothing promos to break this up. I was enjoying the shows far more when they were 20 minutes with 2 or 3 matches as it wasn’t so predictable, and we were able to see multiple stars competing against one another, developing storylines as they did this. At the moment, it feels like AEW Dark is an afterthought for the company and its only real purpose is to help wrestlers get a better win record. It is losing some excitement each week as its incredibly predictable, while I could make acceptions when there were travel restrictions this has not been as much as an issue over the last few weeks as AEW now have a large amount of their roster back.

All images and videos courtesy of AEW Wrestling