19th Aug2021

‘AEW: Dark’ Review (Aug 17th 2021)

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to this weeks review of AEW: Dark, which once again comes from Pittsburgh – a crowd who are so hot for AEW no matter the match OR the show! Makes a world of difference to hear an excited crowd during matches…

Match #1: 2.0 def. Skyler Andrews & Sam Adams

My Thoughts: Skyler Andrews & Sam Adams opened this match strongly, looking like they might have been headed for an upset but it was not to be… 2.0, who are on a hot streak in AEW after being released by WWE, got the win and are on a roll going into this weeks Dynamite.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #2: Tay Conti def. Rebecca Scott

My Thoughts: This was a pretty good womens match, with the debuting Rebecca Scott looking good if a little green for TV. Conti had control for the majority of this match, looking dominant with her DD-Tay finish.

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #3: Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson def. Joey Keys & Spencer Slade

My Thoughts: This was an interesting team-up – two relative newcomers to wrestling, one the son of a legend and the other a product of the Nightmare Factory, teaming up in what looks to be a pretty good tag team. Hopefully these guys continue to team up in future alongside their singles runs. Brock Anderson looked particularly dominant…

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #4: Matt Hardy def. Wheeler YUTA

My Thoughts: Wheeler YUTA’s AEW climb continues in this match, he may not have won – Hardy getting the pin after some shenanigans – but he looked really strong in defeat, almost plaiyng Hardy at his own game. Love the fact YUTA mirrored Hardy’s sleeper hold in this one!

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #5: Penelope Ford def. Masha Slamovich

My Thoughts: Whilst Masha Slamovich, making her AEW debut, had some flourishes and hit a few high spots, this match was all Penelope Ford’s. Ford took control in what, I think, is her best match this year – she actually looked as dangerous and deadly as she did back in the pre-pandemic days of AEW. Thunder Rosa ran in to prevent Ford beating down Slamovich, hopefully setting the stage for a feud between the two… Ford needs it.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #6: Kris Statlander def. Kiera Hogan

My Thoughts: After debuting the night before on Elevation, Kiera Hogan returns to AEW prgramming, this time against the future AEW Women’s Champion. Unlike Elevation however Hogan brought some real intensity and aggression to this match – though that was no match for a ridiculously delayed vertical suplex and Statlander’s Big Bang Theory finisher.

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #7: Death Triangle def. Chaos Project & Cole Karter

My Thoughts: This one seemed remarkably one-sided, Chaos Project & Cole Karter where ill-prepared (especially Karter) for this one. In fact Luther tried to take home his toys, aka Serpentivo, and leave. To no avail though, as Fenix took out the pair with his usual panache. Forget the fued with Andrade, Death Triangle need to get a championship belt ot two around their waists.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #8: Nyla Rose def. Tina San Antonio

My Thoughts: Another Nyla Rose squash match, poor Tina San Antonio (from New York, which apparently confused the commentary team) never stood a chance. This was merely an excuse for Vickie Guerrero to cut a promo.

My Score: 0 out of 5

Match #9: 10, Alex Reynolds & John Silver def. Rickey Shane Page, Andrew Palace & Bill Collier

My Thoughts: Bill Collier, whose name you might have seen on a fan sign during Rampage last week, made his AEW trios debut in a match against a surprisingly out-of-step Dark Order. OK, OK, I know its a work but the storyline tension between the black and purple gang makes me sad… John Silver was a beast here and THAT finishing combo from 10, Alex Reynolds & John Silver was superb!

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #10: Frankie Kazarian def. Brandon Cutler

My Thoughts: Whilst this was a decent fight, with plenty of shananigans from Cutler and Michael Nakazawa to keep this from being a squash match, I still think Kazarian is totally wasted fighting someone like Cutler (as in Cutler’s persona is currently too comedic for Kazarian’s style of match IMHO)… Though at least the “Elite Hunter” character is keeping Kaz on TV.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #11: Jurassic Express & Varsity Blonds def. The Wingmen

My Thoughts: Now THIS is how you do a multi-man tag match! Everyone was used well here, with my man JD Drake looking good, and sharply dressed, even in defeat. Once again Jungle Boy looked totally on another level to everyone else…

My Score: 4 out of 5

Match #12: Dante Martin def. Lee Moriarty

My Thoughts: Pittsburgh native Lee Moriarty, a legend on the current indie scene, had the audience behind him – and thus the hometown advantage – at the get-go. Martin looked his AMAZING usual self but Moriarty was no slouch either, taking a technical offence against Martin’s high-flying style. I could watch the two wrestle for an entire episode of AEW… Now that would be one hell of an ironman match!

My Score: 4.5 out of 5

Final Verdict: 3/5

This was one of the best AEW: Dark’s in some time, with only one, yes ONE, squash match in the entire show! The tag matches were tremendous and the main event was stellar. The card, all 12 matches, offered a ton of variety, with something for everyone!

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