29th Dec2021

‘AEW: Dark’ Review (Dec 28th 2021)

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to this weeks review of AEW: Dark, which once again emanates from AEW Universal and features an easy-to-handle 10 matches… Let’s get right into the action!

Match #1: Anna Jay def. Reka Tehaka

My Thoughts: This was one quick match. Reka got a split second to show off her skills before Anna Jay took over and submitted her opponent in just over a minute.

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #2: The Blade def. Toa Liona

My Thoughts: Toa Liona’s back! Unfortunately Liona, who’s looked so good in his tag matches on AEW programming, gets his first singles outing as enhancement talent in a squash match. Liona did hit a massive flying back elbow, which looked impressive as always, but this match was all The Blade’s… and yes The Bunny did interfere in AND outside the ring (more piss-poor reffing from Rick Knox IMHO)

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #3: Wardlow def. Casanova

My Thoughts: Powerbomb city… That’s all this match was. I get it, Wardlow is a beast but PLEASE can we have him get some real challengers in 2022? I want to see Wardow work for his wins after a year of squash matches.

My Score: 1 out of 5

Match #4: Diamante def. Shawna Reed

My Thoughts: This one looked like David and Goliath, with Reed towering over Diamante. But that didn’t stop Diamante from picking up the win. And quick. Again. Though to be fiar to Reed she looked really good in this brief match.

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #5: Tony Neese def. Anthony Greene

My Thoughts: I go hot and cold on Greene as it seems the quality of his performance often depends on his opponent. Thankfully he had a decent opponent in Tony Nese. I didn’t appreciate Greene’s attempt at comedy in the early going, especially given how serious we supposed to take Nese’s matches; but Greene eventually took the match seriously and it was all the better for it.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #6: The Bunny def. KiLynn King

My Thoughts: Booooooooo!! AEW did my girl KiLynn King wrong here. Much like Leyla Hirsch’s match on Rampage, King was robbed of the win in this match. King didn’t even get a decent chance to get in some offence – poor booking IMHO, especially after how strong King was booked during the pandemic era of AEW. She deserves better than to lose to The Bunny in just over two minutes.

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #7: The Acclaimed def. Bear Country

My Thoughts: Another of tonight’s Dark matches that, I felt, had the wrong winner. Bear Country have been putting in the work, rebuilding from Boulder’s injury and they’re very over with fans – all of which should have them getting a push from AEW. Instead they put in a great performance and still lost to The Acclaimed, who looked like they were going through their usual moveset. Still is the best match of the night, so far.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #8: Skye Blue def. Ashley D’Amboise

My Thoughts: From the best match of the show so far to the worst. This one was so short it wasted the talents of both of the women involved. Thirty seconds? Really? I want to see more of Skye Blue not less!

My Score: 0 out of 5

Match #9: Orange Cassidy & Wheeler Yuta def. The Wingmen’s Cesar Bononi & Peter Avalon

My Thoughts: This one was a surpsingly decent match, with great back and forth action and a pace that was as fast as the shorter matches in this show BUT… this one actually was givcen some time to breathe and we ended up with something great. Which this episode of AEW: Dark really needed.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #10: Joey Janela def. Sonny Kiss

My Thoughts: Holy hell. Wow. This match was given a decent amount of time to deliver what is easily the best match we’ve seen onb Dark in 2021. Kiss and Janela delivered on the promise of no count outs and no DQs. This was controlled chaos – something Janela thrives in but something that also brought out the best match of Kiss’s AEW career to date. After watching this match and Janela’s recent Defy match against Nick Wayne I’ve developed a new-found respect for Janela’s selflessness – just how good Janela is a “making” other wrestlers. This was honeslty TV-worthey material and raises the bar for Dark going forward.

My Score: 4 out of 5

Final Verdict: 3.5/5

Some of the matches on this weeks AEW: Dark were short, very short. I have to wodner if AEW are keeping the Universal Studios tapings quick and concise so the audience aren’t bored with a successive session of tapings? That’s the only thing that, I think, can explain it. To be fair, it makes Dark less of a slog than it was in the two hours-plus era! It was also clear that this episode of Dark was all about THAT main event, which delivered and then some. I said in my review it was the best Dark match of 2021 but it might just be the best Dark match ever. For now of course. I’m really hoping it ups the ante for other wrestlers on the roster who’ll treat AEW: Dark as more than just a chance to practise their craft infront of an audience. It’s a chance to deliver matches like this show’s main event.


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