16th Sep2021

‘AEW: Dark’ Review (Sept 14th 2021)

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to this weeks review of AEW: Dark, the first episode of the show to eminate from Universal Studios in oprlando. Yes, AEW is bringing studio wrestling to their brand FINALLY making a distinction between AEW’s various programmes.

Match #1: The Butcher & The Blade def. Rosario Grillo & Hunter Knott

My Thoughts: Good god The Butcher looks even more vicious than before his injury. Along with his tag team partner The Blade he decimated their opponents Rosario Grillo & Hunter Knott, getting the pin in definitive fashion in under TWO minutes, showing that the Butcher is definitely back and back in business!

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #2: Anna Jay def. Ashley D’Amboise

My Thoughts: Anna Jay’s first singles outing after her injury saw her swiftly defeat Ashley D’Amboise, who, like a lot of talent of Dark and Elevation, is imporving week in week out. To be fair to D’Amboise she was really a pawn in the ongoing storyline between Anna Jay and The Bunny – who cam out for a beatdown post-match (which Jay sold really well!)

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #3: 2point0 def. Erik & Andrew Lockhart

My Thoughts: Matt Lee and Jeff Parker must have felt at home in a stiudio setting… that’s all I’m saying on that. They faced the Lockhart brothers who, honestly, never stood a chance here. Although 2point0 played the AEW quais-squash game and let the Lockhart’s get a smidge of offense in before 2point0 picked up the pace and the win.

My Score: 1 out of 5

Match #4: Jade Cargill def. Angelica Risk

My Thoughts: The Braun Strowman-esque treatment of Jade Cargill continues as she beat down her opponent Angelica Risk, kicking her face almost clean off in kuist over a minute for the win. Another Cargill match that ran shorter than her intro. Here’s hoping Leyla Hirsch hands her ass to her on Dynamite!

My Score: 1 out of 5

Match #5: Fuego Del Sol def. Mysterious Movado

My Thoughts: Mysterious Movado, in his AEW debut, took control of this one early, hitting some hard shots on fan-favourite Fuego. But guess what? Fuego actually hit the Tornado DDT on Movado for the win… the WIN! Now let’s keep the momentum going and get Fuego’s win tally as high as his losses!

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #6: Shawn Spears def. Khash

My Thoughts: Shawn Spears made a mockery out of his opponent in this one, throwing him around like a rag doll, punishing him thoroughly and then pulling him up instead of hitting the 3-count. And that’s even with Khash looking like, for a short time, he was making for a decent opponent for Spears!

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #7: Jora Johl & TH2 def. Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor & Wheeler YUTA

My Thoughts: This was a well-balanced, well-fought match between two teams on top of their game and two realtive newcomers to AEW who managed to hang with the “big boys’ and look good doing it. HFO member Jora Johl got a decent outing here, even if he was used as the sacrificial lamb to eat the Orange Punch from Orange Cassidy.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #8: Leyla Hirsch def. KiLynn King

My Thoughts: Now this is how you end a show! A fantastic women’s main event between two of my favourite AEW women’s wrestlers. Hirsch really played the technical mat game early doors and King responded just as well. King eventually got the upper hand through sheer power but Hirsch didn’t back down once. The match kept on going back and forth with neither woman giving up the fight. After a near-fall, Hirsch hit King with a running knee for the win. Whilst I’d like to see King racks up more wins I can’t complain about Hirch winning.

My Score: 4 out of 5

Final Verdict: 3/5

This was a great start to Dark’s studio-based run. The show felt more intimate and the shorter run time made this feel more digestable than some other episodes of Dark. The fan interaction was there, but only just – feeling very much like the small crowd feel of Impact’s weekly shows. But given this is Youtube show I think the format worked. Plus the show ended on a massive high for me!


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