22nd Dec2021

‘AEW: Dark’ Review (Dec 21st 2021)

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to this weeks review of AEW: Dark, which once again emanates from AEW Universal and features a whopping 13 matches – including the second outing for Bear Country this week, obviously building to Bear Bronson’s one-on-one match against Hook on this weeks Rampage. With Excalibur and Taz on comentary Jones as usual, let’s get to the review!

Match #1: Gunn Club def. Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson

My Thoughts: I have my issues with the Gunn Club, especially when they turned heel, but I have to give them credit here – they looked really good and made Anderson and Johnson look good too. This one was a real back and forth, so much so that you really couldn’t judge who wa going to win this one. The heels stole it (literally), which is a good thing as that leads to a possible rematch/feud going forward.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #2: Abadon def. Charlette Renegade

My Thoughts: One half of the Renegade Twins takes on Abadon, and she no doubt regretted it! This was another solid squash match for Abadon – who is probably one of a few people in AEW who can constantly pull off suash matches. I just wish we’d see her more on main AEW programming,

My Score: 1 out of 5

Match #3: Eddie Kingston def. Colin Delaney

My Thoughts: Two veterans of indie wrestling going at it in the ring in an international promotion, what’s not to love?! This was a great example of pro-wrestling, with both men delivering a really physical match – and unlike other wrestlers, Delaney DIDN’T succumb to Eddie Kingston’s backfist! Great stuff.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #4: Penelope Ford def. Willow Nightingale

My Thoughts: It’s great to see Willow Nightingale on AEW programming again and she really showed why she’s a great addition to the “team” – she can take a beating and sell it well AND she can give as good a she gets – which she showed in this match. LOVED the massive body block Willow hit on Ford! Ford eventually made Willow submit,  in a match that was probably one of Ford’s better solo outings this year.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #5: Brandi Rhodes def. Robyn Renegade

My Thoughts: We’ve had one half of the Renegade Twins and he’s the other… Facing Brandi Rhodes who’s only just rturned to wrestling after having the next generation of the Rhodes family and she hasn’t lost a step.  Not at all. Brandi tried to end this one early but Robyn Renegade was having none of it! This one went longer than I expected if I’m honest, with Robyn Renegade coming out of this one looking strong, even if she lost.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #6: Jora Johl def. Julius Coleman

My Thoughts: Short and sweet. Johl seems to have been relegated to Dark and Elevation after signing to Matt Hardy’s HFO but that’s probably for the best given how green he looked in his last match. He’s certainly improved given what I saw here but then there wasn’t much time to judge as this was over in two minutes.

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #7: Isiah Kassidy def. Carlie Bravo

My Thoughts: Booooo! Carlie Braco deserves better than to job out to Isiah Kassidy IMHO. I still think Bravo and Shawn Dean are a SUPERB tag team but it looks like AEW think the pair are only YouTube-worthy. I disagree. But I don’t run the show do I? I like Kassidy but Bravo easily looked the better man in this match, which kind of proves my point!

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #8: Kiera Hogan def. Shalonce Royal

My Thoughts: It looks like Shalonce Royal’s singing gimmick is infectious! I’m not a fan TBH but it did make this match more fun. Hogan looked good here, better than a few of her previosu AEW outings, though once again this match ran short. I get keeping things moving but quick matches like this border on being as bad as squash matches.

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #9: Bear Country def. Zack Clayton & Mike Orlando

My Thoughts: Bear Country got an actual match on this weeks Elevation so, of course, this one was a squash match against two guys who were here just to take a beating! Bear Country looked REALLY strong in this match, as they should, and it only upped the ante for this weeks AEW: Rampage. Munch more Bear Country on AEW programming please Tony Khan!

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #10: Dark Order’s Pres’10’ Vance def. Leroy Patterson

My Thoughts: I have no idea what to write about this one. Apparently Leroy Patterson and his “manager” Howdy are from the Go Big Show and it was obvious that 10 could wipe the floor with BOTH guys at the same time! This exists only to cross-promote the Cody Rhodes series on AEW in a vain hope that Go Big Show gets more viewers… I don’t think this is the way to get more viewers IMHO. In fact it put me off!

My Score: 0 out of 5

Match #11: Red Velvet def. La Rosa Negra

My Thoughts: This match was so short that I missed it! I nipped into the kitchen to get a drink as both wrestlers were being introduced and by the time I came back the next match had started! Thank god for rewind is all I’ll say! Velvet contimues her streak of winning AND improving each and every match and here she had a great competitor in La Rosa Negra, who I’d definitely like to see more of in AEW.

My Score: 1 out of 5

Match #12: Shawn Dean def. Lucas Chase

My Thoughts: Another short match – running two minutes – and one that saw The Captain Shawn Dean dominate his opponent in much the same way his tag partner Carlie Bravo did in his match, Only AEW let Dean actually win his match after putting in all the work!

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #13: Matt Sydal def. Serpentico w/ Luther

My Thoughts: You can always, always, count on Matt Sydal to deliver a decent main event and that exactly what he did her. Thankfully Luther’s involvement in this match was kept to a minimum outside of him screaming constantly, giving Serpentico a chance to actually wrestle. And both men worked well together, so much so that (unless you’re aware of Serpentico’s losing streak) either man could’ve stole this one.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Final Verdict: 2.5/5

Another average episode of AEW: Dark and one that suffered from too many short matches. I get that having short matches keeps things moving, keeps up the pace and excitement but it also prevents audiences from getting involved and more engaged with the outcome. And the less said about poor 10’s “comedy match” the better.

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