Welcome back to another week of AEW Dark Dork Review. This week, well, we have a new arrival in AEW, another Fuego… Fuego 2, in fact. Oh, and this dude with a funny beard. People also started chanting “Yes” a lot. Let’s get into it.
Starting off in Elevation this week, we’ve got the preshow from UCF in Orlando!
Diamante & Xtina Kay vs Leyla Hirsch & Ryo Mizunami: Diamante has a new tag partner tonight as we get the return of the tgateam of Leyla Hirsch and Ryo Mizunami! They’ve even got matching glasses. Leyla’s a perfectly good face, but tagging with Mizunami brings out a fun side and their energy rocks. Before the match, Diamante steals Leyla’s shades and tosses them. Once the action starts, however, we get a fun match. After an absolutely brutal chop from Ryo, Diamante tags out and Xtina demands that Leyla tag in. She’s able to get some works in, especially with a great shoulder tackle, but once Diamante tags in, Leyla starts taking hits. She’s able to get a hot tag in, and Mizunami takes control of the match. The match here is a banger of a tag, and Leyla’s able to get the win with a running knee strike.
A question, though, why isn’t Leyla in the TBS women’s tournament? I’d love to see her on TV more.
Mike Reed & Toa Liona vs FTR w/Tully Blanchard: The AAA tag team champions take to the ring against some local talent, and poor Mike Reed starts off the match taking some big hits, and he’s barely able to escape and let the absolute giant of Toa Liona tag in. Cash tries to get Toa in a sleeper hold but gets rammed into a turnbuckle for his trouble. FTR are able to pull Toa into their corner for a beatdown, but we get a fun spot where FTR try to do a combined suplex and can’t lift Toa. He’s even able to floor both of FTR. However he makes the mistake of tagging out to Mike Reed, who immediately takes the pin from a Big Rig.
Reka Tehaka vs Emi Sakura w/Lulu Pencil: The Queen (and Lulu Pencil) is going against Reka Tehaka, and when Reka goes in for a handshake, Emi slaps her hand away. At one point in the match, Emi tries to grab Reka by her hair to whip her and Reka is able to hold off. Reka flexes, and takes a chop to the back for her hubris. She’s able to get a nice superkick in on Emi, which gets a nearfall on the Queen! Emi kicks out, though, and the two get in a nice chop fest, and Reka even headbutts her! Emi’s able to chain a crossbody splash in the corner with a body slam after cornering Reka, and she gets the win!
QT Marshall w/The Factory vs “10”: QT Marshall has come up as the lower card heel boss fight, and I like that. His opponent for the night is 10, accompanied by the Dark Order including -1! 10’s new Deathstroke mask is pretty great. 10 starts off with commanding control of the match and lands a huge chop on QT’s face, which turns out to leave a real shiner. In revenge, QT tries tearing his mask, which just gets him angry. QT rolls out of the ring, and he finds himself between Aaron Solo and Nick Commoroto, but the other members of the Dark Order come in to save him. QT tries to land the Diamond Cutter, but he reverses it into a backslide, then locks in the Full Nelson to make QT pass out.
Arjun Singh, Cole Karter & Carlie Bravo vs Paul Wight: We get the return of the fun handicap match with Paul Wight! Paul leaves the broadcast table to fight this team, and all three opponents gang up on him. Tall Paul is able to gain control, however, and lands a slap that makes Bryce Remsburg utterly recoil. Paul pulls off a spear that sends Arjun Singh out of the ring, and gets the win after slamming Cole Karter with a big right hook.
On Tuesday night, we return to the Dark Zone in Orlando, where… I’ve just been handed the card, and it feels like there’s been a mistake here. Who’s this Bryan Danielson fellow? I’ve never seen him on Dark before.
Bobby Fish vs Invictus Khash: Our opening match features Bobby Fish, fresh off of beating Dark veteran Anthony Greene on Saturday night and pissing off CM Punk. Fish lands some hard strikes and dominates the early match. Invictus gets some blows in, but that just seems to get Bobby Fish into it and he tosses Invictus into the ropes with an Exploder. Bobby Fish administers Invictus’s Last Rites, and gets the pin.
After the match, Tony steps into the ring to ask Bobby about his match on Wednesday with CM Punk. Bobby says that he gets to face the best in the world…allegedly, and he’s going to find out just how good Punk is. Tomorrow night, we all know it, it’s clobbering time.
Riho vs Xtina Kay: Riho’s entrance gets a little mixed up as it’s her first visit to the new studio. The former women’s world champ takes a commanding start, but Xtina Kay is able to recover and even gets a nice powerslam in on Riho. Riho’s able to climb to the top rope and get a nice crossbody splash but Xtina Kay kicks out. Kay tries to get a suplex in, but Riho counters with a nice snap suplex. Riho’s able to land in a nice double knee strike, and gets the win.
Ahead of his match for the TNT Championship against All Ego Ethan Page on Dynamite, Sammy Guevara congratulates Ethan for getting his title shot, after a lot of bitching and moaning. He acknowledges that Page has been doing this longer than he has, but he questions how Page is going to do when he fails tomorrow night and questions if he’s ready to kill
Ethan Page, however, comes in and says he’s ready to kill. He says that Sammy is relatable and that the reason he’s not is he’s perfect. He’s got the best smile, “the tightest tits in the game” (I really cannot emphasize enough that this is a direct quote), and the best style. He’s going to be a better champion than Sammy, and he’s going to make sure that he’s going to win, tonight. Scorpio Sky comes in from behind and the Men of the Year begin their beatdown, bloodying Sammy’s nose and Scorpio Sky doing an absolutely hilarious Jim Ross impression. However, Santana and Ortiz come to the rescue and are able to chase off the Men of the Year.
Eddie Kingston vs Jack Evans: After getting his head shaved on Rampage a few weeks ago, Evans returns to the ring sans hair. It makes him look about 10 years older, sorry, Jack. Eddie then comes to the ring with chants of “Eddie.” Evans tries to get his own chants going, but it doesn’t land. Eddie, however, is able to get a chant for referee Bryce Remsburg. We get some good back and forth offense here, and Evans nearly gets a win here off a Michinoku Driver, but Eddie is able to recover and he gets Evans to submit off a stretch plum. Good luck against Bryan Danielson on Friday, Eddie!
Dante Martin w/ Lio Rush vs JDX: Taz is not a fan of Lio Rush after his attempt to attract Powerhouse Hobbs to his new team. His new…client, if that’s the right word, Dante Martin is in action here. We get a moment here early in the match where Dante breaks a hold by springing off the bottom rope to do a leg drop on JDX’s arm, and honestly, Dante Martin is Spider-Man. That’s my only explanation for him and what he can do. At one point he dodges a JDX charge by doing a back flip, sending his opponent out of the ring, then follows it up by springing over the ropes for a splash. Dante Martin gets the win here off a beautiful moonsault.
After the match, Tony interviews Lio and Dante. Dante looks..despondent at the thought of facing the Sydals coming up this Friday. Lio declares that Dante’s going to prove to the Sydals and himself that he’s one of the best. Rush says that the Sydals need to go away and that he can help Dante Martin get to that next level. Please, someone, save Dante. His sad face in promos breaks my heart.
Adam Cole (BAY BAY!) comes out to speak to the crowd here after tossing Jungle Boy off the stage on Dynamite on Saturday, where Tony expresses his disgust to Adam. Cole takes the mic from Tony, and he says that when he tossed Jungle Boy off the stage, he told him to wake up. He says that the Elite’s foes are in denial of their power, and anyone who can’t see that is stupid. He finishes by saying that they haven’t seen anything yet.
It’s not in the Dark recording, but after the show, as “punishment” for throwing Jungle Boy off the stage, Tony Khan “forced” Adam Cole to stick around and take pictures with fans.
Tony Schiavone then interviews Jade Cargill (with of course Smart Mark Sterling) who has a first-round bye in the TBS tournament. Sterling explains that Cargill is in the middle of one of the best winning streaks and that the TBS Championship is perfect for Jade.
Tiger Ruas vs DJ Brown: Tiger Ruas, who had recently teamed with Cezar Bononi, is here in solo action tonight. He shows off his athleticism with a huge swift kick right out of the bell that…ends the match. Quick easy pin! Ruas says after the match that he’s here for the competition and that Brown wasn’t that. He tells Tony Khan to give him more competition.
Diamante vs Skyler Moore: We get a quick match here as Diamante gets Skyler Moore in a new submission finisher in less than two minutes! Well, as Taz says, she doesn’t get paid by the hour.
Tony Neese, the Premier Athlete, speaks with Tony Schiavone backstage. Schiavone asks what his intentions are, and Neese says that he’s here to test himself, but half of this roster doesn’t deserve to be in the same ring as him. So he’s going to clean house, and next week on Dark, he’s going to take down Fuego del Sol.
Pres10 Vance w/ -1 vs Shayne Stetson: Ahead of facing Jon Moxley on Dynamite, 10 takes on Shayne Stetson, who honestly looks like he is too young to be in this ring. I guess the name babyface has to come from somewhere. 10 gets the easy win here from the Full Nelson, then lifts -1 to his shoulders to the delight of the crowd.
Too Fast Too Fuego vs Dean Alexander and Kidd Bandit: Fuego del Sol has a new tag team partner, a man who the broadcast team has to clarify does not have a tattoo like Cody Rhodes’ Dream tattoo, and he definitely does not have a neck tattoo… Fuego Two! This match has everything. More Fuego, Kidd Bandit’s amazing hair, Fuego Dos hyping the crowd. Taz has many questions about Fuego Dos, such as his origin, and states after one near fall that Fuego Dos sorta sucks, and he’s not as good as Fuego. He gets the hot tag out to Fuego, who lands a spare on Dean Alexander and nearly gets a fall on him. Fuego is eventually able to land the Tornado DDT and Too Fast Too Fuego gets the win! Fuego lifts his son onto his shoulders to the cheering of the crowd.
Bryan Danielson vs Aaron Solo: Bryan Danielson? On Dark?! Okay, I guess Tony heard my joke about not covering the Rampage Buy-In so he’s letting me write about the American Dragon still. Bryan Danielson, like Riho, gets confused by the stairs in the studio. We get a nice “You’re going to get your fucking head kicked in” chant to start us off, and Danielson and Solo lock up. We get the slower kind of match that Danielson works, working Solo’s limbs. Solo, however, is able to get some great work in, getting in some counters and some offense against Danielson. While Solo has a moment distracting the ref, QT gets a hit in on Danielson, but he rallies to get Solo in the corner. Danielson lands two big running kicks on Solo, then brings him up to the top rope to send the Factory’s goon for a ride with a hurricanrana. QT Marshall distracts Bryce again, and after Nick Comorotto grabs onto Danielson’s leg, Solo gets a nearfall off a big corkscrew kick. Danielson clears the ringside with a tope suicida, then locks in the Labelle Lock to get the wind.
It’s a testament to how good a performer that both of these men are that Solo was in this match for the entirety of this, and he looked great doing it. Honestly, how do you ever not love Bryan Danielson wrestling?
Overall, this episode of Dark felt more like a bonus episode of Dynamite, and was just a BANGER this week. This is when I love Dark, when it gets to have some fun promos, some little mini-stories, and even add to stuff we see on the main TV stories.