AEW Dark is, even for the biggest wrestling fans, not exactly must-watch television. There are two major ongoing storylines at the moment: A feud between winless jabronis Brandon Cutler and “The Librarian” Peter Avalon over who will score a win first; and the budding sexual tension between HEEL Allie and BABYFACE Q.T. Marshall. Neither of those things are a main event pro wrestling angle. Q.T. Marshall isn’t even a pro wrestler’s name. Q.T. Marshall sounds like a Charlie’s Angels villain.
AEW Dark features an awful lot of cheesy names, corny gimmicks, and young performers learning how to adapt their craft to television. Not a ton of 5* classics, or even competitive matches on AEW Dark. This isn’t 1990’s AJPW. But in its current iteration, Dark is a fun reminder of what weekly wrestling shows used to be: one-sided matches between established stars and enhancement talent, with the odd lower-midcard main event mixed in. It’s on-the-job training.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you Dark is objectively “good”, but I genuinely enjoy this program when I can catch it– far more than Raw or Smackdown in 2020, for example. Also, there aren’t a lot of people writing about Dark, and I feel like the ones who are tend to be quite negative, and don’t really get it. Which is fine, it’s not for everybody, like what you like. AEW Dark exists for wrestlers to get much needed wins, and to progress storylines. That’s it. It’s AEW Velocity, AEW Tuesday Night Heat. Not quite sure why, but I’m into it.
Thank you for sitting through the life story before the recipe. Welcome to the inaugural Sportsfap AEW Dark review.
Billy (Gunn) w/Austin Gunn (2-1) v. John Skyler (0-1)
The announcers are very careful to refer to the former Ass-man as simply “Billy”, usually immediately followed by a quick “andAustin GUNN”. So he’s Billy Gunn, but he’s not actually Billy Gunn. He’s technically just Billy. This is a WWE-copyright-dodging technique AEW has already perfected with “Cody andBrandi RHODES”.
Not much to say, quick match and a decent showing for both guys here. Billy Gunn towers over these AEW wrestlers though, at a legit 6-5ish. He’s Luchasaurus without the spin kicks. Gunn gets the win in a quick, fairly nondescript match. Austin Gunn tried his hardest to ruin it as a manager on the outside. Not much to it, but a fun showcase for Billy.
Plz book MJF vs Billy
Gunn. The loyal fanbase (at least the ones that started watching Dark today) demand to see heel MJF slay babyface Billy, secret AEW giant.
Billy wins with the fame-asser to goes to 3-1 in AEW.
Brandi Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes, Q.T. Marshall Promo
Alex Marvez attempts to speak to the trio of Q.T., Dustin and Brandi outside Daily’s Place, but Q.T. is late for the interview. Lo and behold, Q.T. rolls up fashionably hot, in a brand-new blue Corvette with Allie in the passenger seat. Q.T. bought the Corvette because Allie told him he needed a new car, and her favourite colour is blue. BUT ALLIE IS A HEEL Q.T.!?~! Brandi and Dustin try to talk some sense into him, but Q.T is feeling himself as he reminds Dustin that they’re top-5 ranked now, and speeds off with Allie.
Good, entertaining promo, except the fact that you couldn’t hear a word Brandi said. AEW should maybe subtitle these things when they’re outdoors? IDK maybe I’m just old, but that’s a thing that happens on the news / sports shows / etc. Embrace the subtitle, AEW.
Jon Cruz (0-3) & Joe Alonzo (0-2) v. The Butcher & The Blade (4-4)
Nice work here, placing Allie’s old team right after that promo, just so you don’t forget that she used to be with these guys.
This was a classic 2v2 squash designed to show off Butcher and Blade’s tag-team offense, and make them look as mean as scary as possible. It achieved what it set out to do. Inoffensive, but a little sloppy.
Butcher and Blade win with a vertical suplex by Butcher into a back-stabber by Blade. They move to 5-4 as a tag team in AEW.
Brandon Cutler, Peter Avalon & Leva Bates Promo
Cutler and “The Librarian” Peter Avalon are arguing backstage, until Avalon’s manager Leva Bates decides that they’re both god awful, terrible wrestlers (“you have a negative winning streak”), and thus should join forces and team up tonight to face the Natural Nightmares, in a match that has already been announced and booked. Leva congratulates herself for being so smart. I do not care for the Librarians.
Christi Jaynes (0-2) v KiLynn King (0-2)
Two winless wrestlers. Someone is getting their first career W here tonight! Just by virtue of keeping W-L records, this match has heightened stakes.
The whole of this match was more than the sum of its parts. Not earth-shattering, but it was a fun match that allowed both wrestlers to shine a little, and had a finish that put over a new character in the AEW women’s division. The commentary was great, the finish made sense, and we have a new player in the game. After her strong showing vs champion Hikaru Shida last week, Christi Jaynes appears to be getting a little bit of a push. The women’s division needs the star power, and she has a chance to be a big star. There’s a lot of potential there. Great call. I liked this.
Christi Jaynes wins with an inside cradle & illegal pull of the tights. She moves to 1-2 in the AEW Women’s Division. We officially have a new heel.
E.J. Lewis & “Big Game” Leroy (0-0) v. Proud & Powerful (Santana (8-8) & Ortiz (8-9)) (4-4 Tag Team)
Santana and Ortiz are somehow only 4-4 on AEW TV? Wow, feels like they should be much higher. They need to squash jabronis on Dark every week. Fun fact via Excalibur on commentary: Lewis and Leroy were apparently trained by Private Party, who themselves were trained by Santana and Ortiz. The Santana/Ortiz coaching tree explodes!
Big Game Leroy brings a Nintendo Switch down to the ring, and generally acts surprised to be there. Rather than taunting when he gets to the ring, he sits cross-legged in the middle, rippin’ some fukn Animal Crossing or something (actually it appeared that his Nintendo Switch was off). So “big game” is not a generic cool guy gimmick, it’s actually a video game nerd gimmick. That’s fun. Probably not bringing that one all the way to the main event of Double or Nothing 2023, but hey it got him on TV.
This was an entertaining squash that progressively crept into Steiner Brothers territory. Ortiz and Santana beat the shit out of these poor kids. Real grumpy teacher v green student vibes here.
Proud & Powerful win with the Street Sweeper (combo Ortiz Powerbomb / Santana Top-Rope Flipping Neckbreaker) to go to 5-4 as a tag team in AEW.
Brandon Cutler (0-13) & “The Librarian” Peter Avalon (0-13) (0-1 Tag Team) w/ Leva Bates v. The Natural Nightmares (Dustin Rhodes (12-7) & Q.T. Marshall (6-9)) (4-0 Tag Team) w/Brandi Rhodes
How in God’s name are the Nightmares undefeated as a tag team and how do they have the same amount of wins as Ortiz and Santana? That’s wild.
This was maybe the best that Peter Avalon has looked to date in AEW, though to be fair, I haven’t been watching his career carefully. Q.T. Marshall gave him quite a bit of offense here. Best match on the show, but I wouldn’t call it better than average. Doesn’t matter though, we aren’t here for 5* classics.. I could have done with another promo or two, but this was everything I need and want out of AEW Dark.
Natural Nightmares win with a Canadian Destoyer by Dustin into a Diamond Cutter by Q.T. The Nightmares go to 5-0 as a tag team! Dang.