01st Jul2021

‘AEW: Dark’ Review (Jun 29th 2021)

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to this weeks review of AEW: Dark, again from Daily’s Place in front of a smaller crowd… This show show look a lot different in the coming weeks apparently. Maybe. Probably not (apart from fans ringside). Anyway on with this weeks review…

Match #1: Wardlow def. Baron Black

My Thoughts: Apart from a few chops and some work on Wardlow’s left arm this match was all Wardlow. All Wardlow throwing Black around… around the ring that is. Nice attempt at a Cobra Clutch by Black though!

My Score: 1 out of 5

Match #2: Lee Johnson def. Vary Morales

My Thoughts: This was a fantastic match with two guys who seemed very well matched. Morales was a great opponent for Johnson and offered some great back and forth, meaning this match was never fully predictable.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #3: Abadon def. Hyan

My Thoughts: I hate squash matches but I love Abadon squash matches! Hyan’s AEW debut was as little more than a rag doll for Abadon to throw around.

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #4: Powerhouse Hobbs def. Marko Stunt

My Thoughts: Hobbs destroyed Stunt in less than a minute, though it was a fun minute as Stunt used his speed to try and beat Hobbs – who eventually caught Marko in mid-air and hit the Town Business for the win.

My Score: 1 out of 5

Match #5: Lance Archer def. Kenny Bengal

My Thoughts: Superb gimmick by Kenny Bengal to actually leg it from the match and try to skip out on his beating at the hands of Archer. It didn’t work and Archer threw in from the back to the ramp to the ring before hitting a short arm clothesline and then making swift work of Bengal. Props must go to Jake Roberts and Taz on commentary – truly hilarious stuff!

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #6: Tay Conti def. Charlette Renegade

My Thoughts: Tay Conti has climbed so far up the womens rankings she’s now getting squash matches of her own. Good on Renegade for getting in some hard-hitting offense but in the end this match was all Conti’s.

My Score: 1 out of 5

Match #7: QT Marshall and Aaron Solow def. Chad Lennex and Zachariah

My Thoughts: Chad Lennex and Zachariah make their AEW debut in this match and both are students of Dustin Rhodes. Facing QT Marshall and Aaron Solow, formerly of the Nightmare Family, which is Cody Rhodes stable and now the reps of the Nightmare Factory… You could say this would be something of a difficult debut from Lennox and Zachariah – however the opener would say something different as the Rhodes-trained duo had a fantastic run of offense early doors. However Marshall and Solow did their heel thing getting the win in a match that was more of a wrestling match than most of Marshall’s recent efforts.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #8: Frankie Kazarian def. JD Drake

My Thoughts: Two heavy hitters going head to head made for a great match. JD Drake had control for a lot of this one, seemingly taking Kazarian by surprise. However we all know the former SCU member is VERY resilient and still managed to get the win here. This is the kind of match where neither man looked like a loser.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #9: Angelico def. Arjun Singh

My Thoughts: This one was your typical AEW quasi-squash with Angelico allowing a debuting Arjun Singh a flurry of offense before taking control and getting the win.

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #10: Nyla Rose def. Holidead

My Thoughts: Holidead is a great name for a wrestler, however this was not a great debut for Holidead – getting brutalised by Nyla Rose’s moves and Vickie Guerrero’s voice!

My Score: 1 out of 5

Match #11: The Blade def. Sonny Kiss

My Thoughts: Sonny Kiss and The Blade would seem like an odd match-up but this worked. It really worked. Both men got in their offense with interference by the HFO eventually giving The Blade the edge. Nice continuation of both the Best Friends/HFO and Sonny Kiss/Joey Janela storylines post-match too.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #12: Julia Hart def. Ashley D’Amboise

My Thoughts: Another evenly matched pairing here, with D’Amboise looking slicker and more fluid than Julia Hart – how, to be fair, is getting better each and every match. Which is what Dark and Elevation are for, allowing developing talent do just that. Develop.

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #13: Dark Order’s Stu Grayson, Evil Uno and Colt Cabana def. Private Party and Jack Evans

My Thoughts: The Dark Order trio of Cabana, Uno and Grayson is easily the best team in AEW, they seemingly have an understanding of each others moves, how they fit together into a team and make their series of moves look smoother than butter. All of which was on display here. Phenomenal teamwork!

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #14: Capt. Shawn Dean def. JDX

My Thoughts: Shawn Dean finally gets another singles match in AEW, only his SECOND of the year! I know Dean is busy backstage these days but its a shame he doesn’t get to wrestle more – I also enjoyed his tag team outings last year with Carlie Bravo and M’Badu. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Shawn Dean ios one of AEW’s hidden gems. And his opponent JDX looked phenomenal too, with some fast-paced, heavy-hitting offense that really took it to Dean.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #15: Ryan Nemeth and Cezar Bononi def. Sage Scott and Jake St. Patrick

My Thoughts: It’s starting to be a case of “if you’ve seen one Wingmen tag match you’ve seen them all;” its all getting very repetitive in the ring. Outside the ring the group is hilarious but inside? Notsomuch. This was another AEW quasi-squash that allowed Scott and St. Patrick to get some offense in, not much but just enough to sell the fact Bononi was angry – which meant he could then squash the duo and thus secure the Wingmen the win. A poor close to this episode of AEW: Dark.

My Score: 1 out of 5

Final Verdict: 2/5

Another week of AEW programming where there’s some clear confusion as to just which match is the main event. OK OK, I know Dark and Elevation are just “YouTube” shows but surely you’d have commentary corrected if you’re going to switch around matches? Here the 13th match on the card “closed” the show before we got two more matches! It’s shoddy work if I’m honest. Like this weeks Elevation this was a 50/50 show, with half the card being OK and the rest flourishing. Maybe time to cut the matches that are just OK and focus on the good stuff?

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