It’s another episode of AEW Dark, and we have, wait for it, fifteen matches to get through. FIFTEEN MATCHES within a two hour period, it almost feels like the Attitude Era with that many matches, so, let’s be honest we aren’t going to be reaching any twenty-minute time limit draws here. There are some debuts, some must-see matches and some other matches you can skip, it’s exactly what you expect when you have FIFTEEN MATCHES on a two-hour show.

Miro w/Kip Sabian, Penelope Ford & Chuck “Charles” Taylor vs. Fuego Del Sol

Watching this match, this is the Miro I want to see on Dynamite. Just a monster in the ring, dominant, destructive and dangerous. It didn’t last long, and despite a titanic effort from Del Sol, who attempted to attack Miro’s leg early on, it was all for nought.

Miro was ruthless, hitting a devastating clothesline, following up with a leaping Samoan drop, then the pump kick to the face and there was nothing left except for the Game Over, That was it, Miro got the win.

The story to watch though during the match was Charles Taylor being the reluctant butler, who was forced to raise the hand of the victorious Miro and then force Del Sol to leave the ring. AEW is slowly building this story and if the pay-off doesn’t end too soon, it will be great to see.

Quote of this match – “The Art of violence is such a beautiful thing” – Ricky Starks

Jurassic Express w/ Marko Stunt vs. Lee Johnson & Aaron Solow

If you’re going to watch one match from this show, then this is the one to see. Fast, high paced action, combined with wrestlers that will no doubt lead AEW into the future. Enough of the hype, let me talk about it.

Jurassic Express came into this match being the #2 tag team in AEW, and no one was expecting this match to be so close from their opponents. Jungle Boy and Johnson began the match and immediately seized your attention with high impact moves and tandem dropkicks leading to mutual respect from one other.

That respect descended into a deeper desire to win for Johnson and Solow as the competition to make their mark in the Tag Team Division allowed them to isolate Jungle Boy. Using fast tags and not giving Jungle Boy a chance to adapt to the situation allowed them to gain near falls but when Luchasaurus entered the ring, his monstrous power made all the difference. Ramming Johnson’s head into the guardrails and then hitting a chokeslam, it was clear the game had changed.

In the closing of the match, Johnson and Solow managed to regain control and focus their attack on Jungle boy again. With a barrage of double team assaults including a death valley driver that almost, almost, scored an upset win, it was again Luchasaurus that was the difference-maker knocking Solow to the outside and then allowed Jungle Boy to connect with the snare trap on Johnson for the win.

Great commentating moment: Taz singing in time with Jurassic Express theme.

SCU vs. Terrence & Terrell Hughes

Now, told from the commentators to remind the viewers, that if SCU loses any match they will split. Hold up, that is some pressure and I’ll say this, SCU have been a remarkable tag team in multiple different promotions and if a split is in the books they should be promoting that much more with more emphasis.

The match, compared to what we saw earlier didn’t help this match. There was nothing wrong this match itself, but when you get a tag team match as fast paced as the one earlier and then another thats just not and its much shorter, it just leaves you thinking…okay.

First off the intensity from TNT was superb, every inch a team for the future if given a chance to develop. Throughout this bout, both Terrence and Terrell showcased how vicious they could be with hard-hitting offences and a ruthless style that was in contrast to SCU. However, SCU’s experience proved to be the difference-maker as they had an answer or a counter to most of there opponents attacks. It wasn’t long before the conclusion arrived as Daniels flew off the second turnbuckle for momentum connecting with Kaz as he hitting the spike tombstone for the win.

M’Badu & KC Navarro vs. The Butcher & The Blade w/ The Bunny

It’s a debut for Badu and Navarro but this wasn’t exactly a match for them to shine as it was all about The Butcher and The Blade. As the bell rang, it was The Blade who went on the attack and brutalised Navarro with swift kicks and clubbing blows. Rolling to the outside, Navarro even got a beating for The Bunny who was channelling her inner Sensational Sherri with the screams she was making.

At one point, Badu managed to get into the ring but despite trying to turn the tide, The Butcher was in no mood and was relentless in his assault. This lead to the closing of the match resulting in a powerbomb neckbreaker, known as “drag the lake”, a win for Triple B.

Rey Fénix vs. Baron Black

Side note: Justin Roberts should be giving that type of introduction for everyone, not just Fénix, trust me the emphasis on pronouncing Feeeeenix is something to see and hear.

Onto the match, this was a contender for match of the night and should be seen on Dynamite because it was that good. Fans all over the world know how good Fenix is, but damn, Black gave every inch of a response to show Fenix in long periods of this match he was his equal.

As stated earlier both men were matched in their agility throughout the beginning of this match, so much so that Fenix extended his hand in respect. Black refused then extend a hand of his own and just as Fenix goes to shake, STRIKE. It’s a punch to the face. From there, it’s Black being the aggressor and hitting a Super Manhattan drop followed up by a suplex. The transitions that Black was making between moves were seamless, none more so when he connected with an atomic drop into a backstabber.

However, Fénix showed his resilience after both men went to chop city, no seriously both at least chopped each other for fifteen seconds by hitting a springboard jumping sidekick and then closed the match a cutter and then thunder driver to get the win. I’ll say it again, watch this match.

Shanna vs. KiLynn King

It’s been well documented in social media that one thing that AEW is lacking in depth is their Women’s Division. Now, this match is okay. What I mean by that is, was it entertaining? Sure. Was it memorable? No. That is the problem. Both women gave a decent outing. Shanna was superb as always in her quality of matches, and King is developing at pace, so what’s the problem? No one is standing out, apart from Britt Baker and Tay Conti, which I’ll discuss in the later matches. AEW have talent, they just give fans a reason to care and to remember.

This match was pretty much controlled by Shanna, despite mild offence by King, it was Shanna who was showcasing her talents, from a step-up enzuigiri to a body scissors dragon sleeper. It was clear Shanna wasn’t going to be stopped and to put the nail of the head of that point when she connected with a diving footstep from the top turnbuckle and then a running dropkick.

With King looking vulnerable, she fell victim to a tiger suplex into a bridge pin allowing Shanna to get her third win on AEW dark.

Brooke Havok vs. Britt Baker w/ Reba

The main highlight to mention here is that Havok was not just making her debut in AEW but this was her first professional match in the ring with only 4 months of training. Admittedly this match was really showcasing Baker, but it allowed AEW fans to see this new talent and hopefully show that AEW is ready to invest in new stars for the future.

The finish was never in doubt, it would be Baker with the win, with Havoc showing promise. As I mentioned earlier, Baker is one of the stars of the Women’s Division. You have a reason to dislike her, you also her see how charismatic she is with her character and if this is something AEW developed more in the Women’s Division I guarantee a change in the fans perception about the division.

Abadon vs. Vertvixen

Now, I mentioned characters within the Women’s Division, Abadon is certainly one of them. Memorable? Certainly. But after this match, I wasn’t filled with that excitement. Could it be that this is the Eighth match of the night? Maybe. However, I feel the match was far too quick to get invested in.

Case in point, within minutes Abadon hit the Cermetary drive for the win. Sure both are getting exposure to be on AEW Dark but it didn’t capture me and with a character as striking as Abadon, really should.

“Walk Off” with “Pretty” Peter Avalon and Lee Johnson (Guest Judges: Brandi Rhodes, Jerry Lynn, and Aubrey Edwards)

Okay, this was a thing. It’s the “walk off”. By the way, I miss Zoolander, this wasn’t Zoolander and made me miss Zoolander more for it. Avalon, immediately demonstrated exactly why he is hated, upon seeing the judges he stated this:

Brandy Rhodes: “Your what the internet calls a Milf, a mother I like to forget about.”

Audrey Edwards: “You should be competing in a century derby not judging a beauty contest.”

Jerry Lynn: “Your like spinal tap for keeping it at 11.” The last one was a compliment at least.

Johnson won with a triple 9 scorecard by the judges after a mid infraction by Avalon means he caught a 9, 9, 6. Afterwards, Johnson was jumped by one of Avalon’s associates, Cezar Bononi, who sucker-punched Johnson and then Avalon himself launched his attack too.

Santana & Ortiz vs. Ryzin & Mike Verna

There is nothing really to write here about this match, except absolute dominance by Santana & Ortiz. Earlier on the show in a pre-recorded face to camera statement, The Inner Circle unit stated, “We gave you a fair warning” in their intent and it was clear in this match exactly what they meant.

Destroying Vernia from the get-go, and hitting a Death Valley Driver to get the pinfall, hell, Ryzin never even got tagged in, as said, dominance and this is exactly what more fans should be seeing from these two destroyers. And put them in a feud to showcase why they are an incredible tag team, the fans know it and AEW needs to show it more.

Davienne vs. Tay Conti w/ Anna Jay and Negative 1

Davienne was making her AEW debut against one of AEW’s rising stars in Tay Conti. If you haven’t already seen Conti by now in AEW, she is developing into a more experienced wrestler and this match despite how short it was, showed this. This match was the Conti show and Davienne played her part as the sacrificial lamb.

As the Women’s Tournament is now the horizon, this showed Conti’s qualifications to win it. She displayed confidence and the ability to handle also counter anything Davienne through at her. Using the Brazilian kick and a series of Ipponzei’s, then followed up by a wrap-up chokehold, the submission finish was done. Just to add that touch of arrogance, Conti gave a head kiss to Davienne as she tapped out. That was a touch of character development, loved it.

Ten (w/Five & Negative One) vs. Ray Jaz

If the Dark Order was showing the fans that they are a force to be reckoned with then, Ten was the man to implement that vision. Despite some minor resistance at the start from Jaz who targeted Ten’s knee, with a chop block and grapevine, it was Ten who would be in control.

Ten struck with a back body drop, a spinebuster (that looked really good actually) and ripcord clothesline right to the back of Jaz’s head. That was the pin and the end…until Negative one began to attack him with kendo shots. Brian Pillman Jr. then jumped the rolling to assist his friend and then Negative One beat down Pillman as Ten and Five pulled Negative One out of the ring while after Negative One smothered Pillman.

Don’t really know what to say about the aftermath really.

Red Velvet vs. Madi Wrenkowski

Velvet was the star of this match. If AEW wants to push someone certainly Velvet is that wrestler. From the beginning, both wrestlers looked evenly matched until Velvet began to “stir it up” with a leg lariat, a flatliner and a batch of clotheslines. Red Velvet hits a Cazadora bulldog, then a standing moonsault, cover, but Wrenkowski kicks out at two. Velvet struck with a double knee strike on Wrenkowski’s back then hit the diving boot for the win.

One thing should be said though is that Wrenkowski is showing that she can do more, and again given more time, fans can see a lot more of Wrenkowski in 2021.

Sean Maluta vs. Danny Limelight

Another quick match here, with little offence for Maluta as it was Limelight who struck with an enzuigiri and an arm drag that sent Maluta to the outside. Limelight then connected with a tornado plancha and followed up with the PK for the pin.

Jazmin Allure vs. Ivelisse w/ Diamanté

Now Ivelisse is another wrestler who should be seen more on AEW, she has the talent there is no doubt about that, so build a feud. Allure is another good wrestler as well, but Ivelisse was dominant throughout.

With a barrage of basement dropkicks, suplexes and question mark kicks, Ivelisse was clearly in control, but Allure showed resistance by connecting with a jawbreaker, a Cazadora into a facebuster. But once Ivelisse regained her senses, she struck with a knee strike and ended the match with a tornado kick with the win.

Jake St. Patrick vs. Powerhouse Hobbs w/ Hook

Another quick match to close the show, with Hobbs being the main focus. Patrick earlier in the bout attempted to gain the advantage with a dropkick and a hip toss but Hobbs power was on full display.

Hook also got in the action as when Patrick was knocked to the outside, he unleashed an exploder suplex. At this point, the writing was on the wall, and Hobbs struck with a spine buster, then the pump-handle slam into the Town Business to take the win.

Overall opinion: I love the fact that there are six women’s matches on this episode, the problem is they never got enough time to showcase their personalities or fully demonstrate their abilities. I realise this is to introduce fans to wrestlers who will be in the Women’s Tournament but AEW need to give fans a reason to be invested and in the long term it will benefit AEW. Other factors include so many matches in this, it’s like an episode of old WWF Superstars, two/three-minute matches is one thing, but so many it leaves you with wrestling fatigue and drains the energy from you. Less matches will be better if it gives fans a chance to see how much talent AEW actually has and if it gives talent time to make matches more memorable. A good episode but damn, give me a reason to get invested.

 

All pics and videos courtesy of AEW