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AEW Dark Megathread

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4 hours ago, El-P said:

As much as I enjoy the Horsemen inspired theme from the Pinnacle, that new FTR one is pretty puzzling to me. It's like they wanted to re-do the cheapest version of the already cheap-ass ersatz version the MX used in WCW after they couldn't use Moroder anymore. So it's kind of a tribute to not the original theme but to the cheap-ass one. Like someone who pay homage to DDP using a warped version of his pseudo-Nirvana theme. Without the slightest bit of irony either. In the end I have no idea if I find that pretty cool or if that makes FTR really look more and more like "The Revival".

I can so get behind that Sonny Kiss vs Kayla Rossi feud.

Agism alert ! :lol: Speaking of Abadon, yeah, she doesn't do it for me either. I've watched way too much Su Yung, with the awesome IMPACT production, to be scared by this girl, who looks dressed freaky for the party, not like an actual scary zombie. She has improved though compared to where she was when she first showed up. 

You mean something like this

 

https://youtu.be/eCnXrposMGU

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9 minutes ago, strobogo said:

You mean something like this

https://youtu.be/eCnXrposMGU

WTF ? :lol:

Yeah, exactly like that !

And now I want QT Marshall to use this as a troll (since he was given the Diamond Cutter by DDP when he was still a poor underdog babyface).

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Dark 10/5/21

Pinnacle 8 man: This was very much by the books. Spears, again, maybe looked a bit like a goof letting himself get clowned as he was giving the finger to the other side and losing the offense for his team, but since he took the pin, I guess it's ok. They did that multiple tag that 2.0/Garcia do at the end, which I appreciated. The Wardlow bit was good as he teased going up and giving up maybe too much but then floated out of it and hit the slam. That was well done.

Abadon vs Rossi: Abadon currently feels like a foil for whoever her opponent is, which isn't so great in enhancement matches. The best part of this was when she adjusted her own head, but she still comes off as far more "Bizarre" than scary.

Acclaimed vs Martinez/Morales: I liked the pacing of this more than the Cheech/Delaney match. The rap was better too. I'm working off of just a few data points still but Bowens seems more confident and reactive with more genuine reactions in there, his selling, his forearm and superkick, his taunt, etc.

Sonny Kiss vs Kal Herro: Best I've seen Kiss look, though it was by toning down parts of the act. Just came out there like a killer though which fits the current storyline. All of the kicks looked good and the presence was pretty badass actually. Just demolished Herro after the first minute. Good squash.

Statlander vs Zhang: Statlander knows what she is and she leans hard into it, and it's maybe not multifaceted but has a couple of facets at least (alien + strength + best friend) so it gives her a lot to work with in a match. Here, the boop was early, and she got to show off some of the strength stuff as well. Zhang followed up the idea she'd be putting Stalander to sleep with two snap suplexes, which was a choice. Comeback transition was timed perfectly as it was right when the fans were coming up with their clapping. The finish felt sufficiently nasty.

Blue vs Wrenkowski: My first look at Wrenkowski I think and I liked her. I liked the whacks during the dragon sleeper. I loved the little stutter step change of pace when she started jaw jacking with a fan which gave Blue a hope spot. It was probably planned but she made it seem completely organic and like a deviation. I'm not sure about her staggered selling but it's probably better than just waiting around for a flying body press? Blue had a little repositioning snafu to sent up the axe kick, which is the stuff you notice. I'm not sure how I feel about the way she works in her little snaps. I think when she was firing back from underneath she could have let that sit in a bit more and milked it instead of rushing through it. If she's going to use the fisherman's suplex as a finish (which I don't love as I feel like a lot of people on the roster use it just as a middle move) she definitely needs to lock the arms together.

Kingston vs Henry: Think this is my first look at Henry/Hale. Obviously this was really good. The spots where Henry took over (with the figure four dragon screw in the corner and then that huge spin kick on the outside) were really good and then it became an Eddie selling seminar. I liked Eddie pushing away the camera on the floor and the ref in the ring. That's just a presence thing that a lot of other people might not do. Henry's leg-related cutoffs worked for me. I liked how he'd switch gears, starting with one sort of move and then realizing and dropping back down to the leg. Henry had to deal with the fact that he could only keep Eddie down if he stayed with the leg but he's not the guy to get him to quit so he had to switch to other things. That meant he made one major mistake (after almost making a couple) and it was all over. Full worldwide point.

Gunn Club vs Knott/Grillo/Stewart: Austin is still full on Brian Christopher. It generally works. I'm glad he got some comeuppance after mocking the tag. Billy's great as guy whose fist people run into. That punch after the fakeout on the crotch cross was great. All I remember from Colton is the manic stomps in the corner and I wonder if he should be more of a contrast of Austin, since he can't outdo him. I liked the blocked finish into a roll up ending by Austin and had to watch it back a few times.

Diamante vs Garrett: Yeah, I kind of like all of the little flourishes Diamante do, like the gun shots during the entrance or leaning on the ref at the end. Shame Santana didn't get an entrance and Taz's Wonder Woman singing was pretty silly. It would have been a good moment to go into her background/story instead. Everything looked pretty good here. I liked Diamante's shift when she had the nerve hold, though the crowd wanted to clap Garrett up (and needed some instruction with leg stomping or something as half were clapping and half were chanting). I liked how the handspring didn't work and loved that a dropdown trip DID work. Seeing that stuff now and again makes normal occurrences mean more. The finish did not feel cooperative and that made it look especially painful.

Blonds vs Wingmen: As we learned from the last match, the crowd needed some leading in their cheers. Thankfully, they got it. Liked the transition to heat because it had an extra wrinkle where Griff survived Drake's distraction but then got tripped a moment later. Nemeth chaining three amateur moves together and then taunting was solid stuff but then what the heck was Pillman doing using that moment to come in the ring as if he was going to break it a pin? Don't have faith that griff can survive a fireman's carry and a go behind take down and the flossing, Brian? I did really like the discus twist on the corner clothesline. No way that should have looked good given the sheer physics involved, but it did. Taz and Excalibur making fun of him for not getting out of the ring well to set up the finish (which was otherwise very good) wasn't nice though.

Garcia vs Lockhart: Yeah, Garcia is a lot of fun to watch in this setting. He's just right in your face all the time and everything snaps. He reminds me of 1980 Dynamite Kid. Yeah, I said it. Not Benoit because the intensity was different and Benoit never quite had that same chip on the shoulder; he was always just glad to be there deep down. But watch some Dynamite in 1980 New Japan when he was heeling it up there. I want to see Garcia against almost everyone on the roster.

Serpentico vs Marko: Yeesh, this wasn't great.
What Worked: The stage dive spot by Serpentico. Missing the Flying Snake. Serpentico losing the offense due to his own (or Luther's) mistakes. The fact that whenever Serpentico did catch Marko, it had real impact. The celebratory feel of Serpentico winning.
What Didn't Work: Flyweight Bully Marko Stunt taking so much of the first part of this. Quick shots are good. Tossing his own body at Serpentico is good. Tossing Serpentico into the guardrail far less so. My guess is that Marko took so much of this since he was losing. I would have been ok with Marko getting 1/3rd of the offense and having a big comeback after one of the missed moves before getting cut off. Blech.

OC vs Comoroto: I was entertained by this one. Comoroto cracked the Cassidy code just by being so big and so strong. He powered his way through it literally, and then he got to do the poses back. That put him over as much as any power move he managed in the match. Again, OC can show that largess since he was winning. I wish they had played up Statlander's knee brace in her match if it was going to come into play here but that's probably asking too much for the YouTube show.

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Dark Elevation 10/11/21:

Ford vs Mimi: I was wondering when Mimi reversed that whip on the outside if Ford was really going to take a bump into the stairs for her. She didn't! But she did kick out the youtube special moonsault press off the stairs. Mimi's high cross wasn't great but I did like her little scoot up roll up out of the corner and she threw a couple of good forearms. Not enough to really tell you much more about her. Ford's Mutalock looked great and the overhead camera shot was cool. It was fun to hear Wight and Kingston without adult supervision.

Santana/Ortiz vs Omen/Soriono: Why do these guys have a manager? Especially one who just looks like another guy. Endless tandem offense with no rhyme or reason or sense of actually being in a tag team match. The first time you see the little double pumphandle flip thing is cool, but to see it again and again in this same exact situation with no rules or creativity in how they get to that point is just noise. You see one Satana/Ortiz squash, you've seen 'em all. And I've seen like... three.

FTR vs Moriarty/LSG: Wardlow needs a jacket of his own. "Dragon twist?" I didn't know we were going to see FTR vs Moriarty so that's exciting. Kingston shooting down Tony mentioning the other sports Lee did was great. Totally speaking my language. Dax figuring quick that he might not be able to outwrestle Moriarty and switching gears successfully only to get stooged anyway was some classic stuff. They get stooged just enough while still controlling when they should. The whole deal with FTR is that they use the classic tricks and structure and formula but give it a modern twist. Wheeler leaping up and getting both legs in there instead of just a knee to the back for the transition is that sort of thing. The hopespot and cut off coming from the ref not buying the trick switch was interesting. It's nice to see it fail once in a while. Whatever else you might say about LSG, that was a good hot tag. Then Moriarty got to really shine with some long-limbed kicks, a nice bevy of "vs the world" spots, and then a good exchange with Dax. Fun stuff.

Conti vs Mo: Exactly what it should have been. Mo looked good taking most of Tay's stuff, especially the flowing arm manipulation early, and she had a couple of nice shots thereafter. She was definitely kayfabe hesitant with the corner rana attempt and boy did it cost her; after that she got absolutely crushed. I'm glad she didn't get a last comeback after the German. Exactly right.

Janela vs Crowbar: Janela sold Crowbar coming down with about a 4 on the "Not Ricky Steamboat?!" scale, which was still appreciated. Good opening exchange. Janela leaned into Crowbar's stuff. Crowbar leaned Janela's stuff. It had to be believable when Janela walked out to set up the big Meanie spot. I love that the Vader Bomb off the guardrail isn't really any more dangerous or effective than one in the ring, but just because of the nature of it, it seemed nastier. Janela momentarily forgetting that he wasn't supposed to be hardcore anymore because he got lost in the Philly moment really worked for me. The faked knee to set up the Franken-Screamer tribute to Daffney from the person who initially took it from her was extremely appreciated. Maybe this went on just a little too long after that. And then they got deep into no man's land when the Northern Lights onto the Chair should have ended it and instead ... well, who knows. That felt like a Janela idea where he just took it one move too far. If they were going for a botchy chaotic ECW feel, I guess they got it at the end there.

Sakura vs Soho: I like to think that the fans popped both for Ruby coming out and because they weren't expecting to get Ruby vs Emi. I popped when I saw it on twitter earlier. Unfortunately, this was one where neither should lose. Both of them got to hit a lot of their big offense though and it all looked really good. Lulu was amazing here with the ineffectual hammers (and Ruby's reaction) and the great facial expression after the corner body press. I don't know about the thing where Ruby does crazy hand motions before starting an offensive flurry. It'd be better if there was something the fans knew they were supposed to do there and she was conducting them? They definitely want to chant for her. Tony miscalled the Casita this time. Finish was sort of okay since you need finishes out of nowhere sometimes between stars in order to get over that a match can end at any point. I think this would have been better if Emi got out there and refused to take the match and threw Lulu to the wolves, but at least Ruby looked like a star and Emi will still be dangerous tomorrow.

Hardy Family vs Johnson/Anderson/Best Friends: Statlander not booping Johnson and Anderson was disappointing. Half of the appeal of this one is watching these guys interact. Private Party hyping up Blade, for instance, is what you want out of this. Anderson getting his reps in front of a crowd against a guy like Butcher is always a good thing. That's what I'll say about that match-up. Yuta looked pretty good surviving against everyone. He feels a little like the babyface counterpart to a Garcia, but that might be because I have a vague sense of what he does on weekends, but only a vague one. He's a little big for it maybe, but if Danielson isn't going to do it, he'd be a good guy to steal the Mantopolous bit where he offers someone his hand behind his back and schools him. I feel like he could modernize it like when Private Party was trying to get him and he kept countering. Just do it quickly.

Spoiler

Not the best example but one I have handy:

nRz9kP.gif

Anyway, I wish this had another minute or two of heat on Yuta. You want an 8 man to be sort of crazy, and maybe it went on a little too long, but that played into the finish as Johnson couldn't put them away in time.

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Dark 10/12/21

Dean vs Lockhart: Well, this was a thing I guess. I don't know what to make out of Lockhart. He really went over for Dean's armdrags and ate the dropkick big. The cutoff to stop the tope was well timed and his corner Russian Leg Sweep looked good. Then it got a little weird with the marching elbow drop and the nothing chop and Dean doing some stuff that probably needs to be workshopped more. Let's move on.

King vs D'Amboise: I think King is new to me. Basically everything looked good here. King's delayed vertical suplex is a nice, impressive spot. They both showed good instincts in crowd interaction. I liked D'amboise's selling of exertion at times. Just hard shots all around by King. That finisher is incredibly contrived. She'd be better off with just that running kick to the skull.

Wardlow vs Bengston: Mr. Mayhem? Really? I feel like Wardlow should never come out alone. He always needs someone with him. Bengston has a unique look at least. And he got to make Wardlow work for it. I like how this was laid out. All the skill and desperation in the world wasn't going to save Bengston. It wasn't a matter of if but when. I sort of wonder what the spot was supposed to be before Bengston goofed it, but it really doesn't matter, because the recovery was Wardlow getting his powerbomb. F10 work better as a finish than his knee to the face (though now I kind of want to see him do it and somehow drop the guy on his knee). This had a good balance for a two minute squash; shame on the botch.

Uno vs Greene: Unfortunately, Excalibur used the "Team Taz is over in..." joke for Lockhart and Wisconsin in the first match so he couldn't use it for Dangertown USA. This was good. The best part of it was Taz marking out for Greene going for a bunch of cross-bodies, but it was still good. (Second best part was the chops). I just don't think this was the right match up. Greene is a guy who is going to surprise people and get a crowd behind him but the crowd wanted to be behind Uno. Greene's goofy overhook/underhook crucifix bomb ended up looking better than Uno's finish, but I can't really suggest either as things anyone should do. Uno did a good job basing for him anyway. This being quasi-face vs quasi-face sort of cut off the narrative possibilities mainly.

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Elevation 10/18/21

Dustin vs Gustavo: Got to heat up Dustin before he wrestles Danielson. There wasn't a ton to see here unfortunately. They had a nice little rope running bit at the start where Dustin shifted around him and kept him moving. Gustavo looked fine in taking Dustin's stuff. Henry name dropping Duke Droese was a thing that happened. Dustin randomly creating a new finisher and naming it after Bob Backlund the day we get our first new Bob Backlund match in forever is another. This was good but it's always a shame when you get a Dustin match where he doesn't get to work from underneath.

Wardlow vs Austin: Million billion stars for Wardlow refusing to give the crowd even a second power bomb after they went nuts for the idea they were going to get one. That's the kind of thing you can do with a molten crowd. Great instincts. They still popped for his finish. The clothesline bump should have maybe looked a little better? I don't know? But yeah, great instincts by Wardlow.

Santana/Ortiz vs Jaka/Maluta: Hey! I kind of liked this actually. It was a real match with tag rules and everything. Jaka and Maluta came in looking like they knew what they were doing and had some of the spots scouted and Santana/Ortiz actually had to work at it, which made them look better in toughing it out for victory. They were still dominant. They were never really at risk. It still felt like a match. No issues with this one.

Mizunami/Velvet/King vs Sakura/Nyla/Diamante: Tons to like here. This was my first look at Ryo and she just had really great reactions to everything and solid shots. You could sense the crowd was kind of for Diamante though so maybe that wasn't the best early match up. King and Velvet worked very well together. I wouldn't mind seeing more of that. I liked Velvet eating everyone's offense for the FIP and how both of her bits of hope were based on her opponents knocking her partners off the apron. That Spanish Fly looked like she almost broke herself in half though. Lulu's reactions after Emi hits the cross body in the corner are always worth looking out for, as was Nyla all but pulling her in to celebrate after the match was over. Ryo looked like a world beater vs Nyla to the point where they had to save her from a pinfall after a suplex. Very best moment of the match was Emi mugging to the camera as she was holding Velvet's leg on the outside on the finish. That was amazing. This could have used another minute or two but obviously that extra Buy-In hour wasn't part of the original plan.

 

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I want to see Lulu Pencil in the AEW ring! 

Also, I enjoyed seeing straight-up squash matches, even if I agree that it's most fun to watch Dustin when he's fighting from underneath.

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7 hours ago, gordi said:

I want to see Lulu Pencil in the AEW ring! 

Also, I enjoyed seeing straight-up squash matches, even if I agree that it's most fun to watch Dustin when he's fighting from underneath.

I thought that Emi should have thrown Lulu to Ruby last week instead of taking the loss herself. It's bound to happen sooner than later though. Dark is deceptively good at using squash matches to heat people who haven't been highlighted for a while when they have a bigger focused match on Dynamite or Rampage upcoming. There's more thought put into it than just random matches. Even the six-women tags yesterday and today seem to be to highlight the roster for the TBS tournament.

Though sometimes you get random matches. I'm excited to see 2.0 and Garcia interact with Serpentico tonight in an 8 man vs the Dark Order. 

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You're all be glad to know Danielson apparently works the next Dark tapings. The guy is just having the time of his life because the restrictions are gone and he's WRESTLING.

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Dark 10/19/21

Hayter vs Nieves: This wasn't quite there. I liked how Hayter was moving Nieves around the ring wherever she wanted her. That was effective but nothing looked super impactful. I wonder if she can do a hanging vertical? The clothesline was too abrupt. She should have found some way to telegraph it more and get the crowd primed for it maybe?

Gunn Club vs Sheik/Alexander/Chamberlain: Is Colton's finisher the same as Dustin's new finisher? I'm not going to look for it but it seems iffy. It looked good here at least. Best bit of this was probably Austin pulling the legs from the outside early. It's very clear what Austin is but I don't really get what heel Colton is supposed to be, especially with Billy standing right there sort of being a better version of whatever it might be. Billy's punch on Sheik was great but I wanted to see that guy do more.

Diamante/Nyla/Sakura vs Statlander/Rosa/Velvet: Things to like here but they were more specific moments than the overall match. I get a sense that people trained more recently are taught to look at dropdowns as a way to trip an opponent as opposed to just something you do as part of a routine. I see that in watching Velvet at least. There was almost a sense of hierarchy here as she lost the offense quickly against Emi but who knows since the match was so much noise by that point. My favorite thing about Statlander is how she works the boop in and she worked it in by trying it to Nyla and getting crushed with a suplex. Nyla sure isn't protected anymore, that's for sure. She tagged herself in and got clowned pretty quickly. Diamante fed well for everyone. That's her lot. I did like her little taste of tandem stuff with Nyla. Rosa understands what she has with the crowd and is able to milk it at times, so good on her. If these sentences are all random, disconnected thoughts, that's ok; so was the match. Also, unlike the match on Elevation, they didn't use this to hype the TBS tournament nearly as well.

Jade promo: The "Very Funny" thing probably didn't work, but it was a good effort. The promo itself worked fine. I like managers. Jade obviously needs one. There's even benefit in her having her own since it makes her stand out more. The company just has a lot. Jade is not the person to put the TBS belt on this year.

Archer vs Fernandez: Jake just seemed glad to be there. I would have liked to see his reaction to Archer dragging the guy out. Yeah, Archer is really fun to watch in squashes. He has that Sid/Steiners/Road Warriors vibe. This pretty quickly became the Taz/Kingston show, which was pretty distracting, let me tell you. Kingston's mini promo about how he could hurt Archer was good. Fernandez got to show some fire and he ate that forearm well off the top. This was a blur, but that's ok. I do like how Dark is constantly pushing towards the main shows.

Solo vs Kazarian: I got kind of restless midway through this one and got looking up Solo and realized he was in a team with Starks right before Taz told us that. IT was funny because when he was out on the floor, I kind of had Starks vibes out of him, so I can see that. I think there's honestly room for just about everyone on the roster, but I can't tell you what Solo's doing there. He's competent, and you want guys like Kazarian and Sydal to put over talent on the bigger shows, but I don't think Kazarian is any stronger for beating Solo than he would have been beating some talented indy guy. So this was fine, sound, but there wasn't a lot of reason to care.

2.0/Garcia/Serpentico vs Dark Order: The entrance was pretty funny, especially because they set up the moment on the ramp and then paid it off in the ring with the streamers. How can you not enjoy watching Serpentico? The bit where he kept trying to give Parker a thumbs up was so good. The long beatdown on Angels didn't work. I don't know if the crowd was just exhausted and this was late in the taping cycle or he didn't get a hope spot or the Dark Order (including Colt) just weren't working the apron or what. The only one that was really getting reactions was Garcia with his off the charts intensity. 10 is one of the best hot tags in the company with his size and spots. Does Grayson always do that flip over senton to the guy leaning on the apron? That seems like a challenging spot to work into multiple matches but it worked here. The finishing stretch started awkward and then used that awkwardness for humor so good on them. Still, overall this could have worked better.

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Yeah, I hope to see more of Serpentico with 2.0 & Garcia and his new color scheme seems to indicate as much. Great dynamics.

Actually, I kinda would want to see Cargill win the TBS belt if Thunder can give her a really good match as the final of the tournament. And then Cargill doing the Goldy US champ gimmick. The thing would be to have enough really good girls to work around her limitations (and teach her) and also a bunch of really quick squashes. Then eventually have someone beat her for the title, which would be a win-win in establishing both Jade (with a strong championship reign) and the belt.

I just realized those Dark tapings happen in the former Impact Zone. Not gonna lie, I kinda get a kick out of it.

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Dark Elevation 10/25/21

Hirsch/Mizunami vs Diamante/Kay: Fun match that sort of fell apart towards the end. Diamante is so good at leaning into her character with everything she does. It's all the more impressive since she's really a JTTS but she's just 100% committed and always on. She should have a job for as long as they're running shows. Hirsh and Mizunami is just a great Al Snow and Steve Blackman sort of pairing, if Al Snow was a powerhouse beast in the ring too. Mizunami just exudes fun. I don't know if I like Hirsch getting off her feet so much. I think I'd rather her dig out from underneath and take out limbs and just wreck people that way. The German was amazing, for instance. But at least the tandem offense was creative. Like I said, after that crazy double team flip, everything kind of fell apart but at least we got a Kevin Sullivan shout out from it. .65 Worldwide point.

FTR vs Liona/Reed: This might be the most natural I've seen Tully with them. He just really felt like he was a manager and not just a guy collecting a paycheck for nostalgia's sake coming out. Maybe it's the theme? Anyway, after Wheeler looked just great on the mat, what a great showcase for Liona this turned out to be. If the roster wasn't so stacked up and down, I'd say they had money there. As it is, they might not even need him. Fans were going up for everything he was doing, and in chipping away at him, FTR looked all the better for it. I loved how they kept tagging in. At one point, Dax tagged in, got his positioning and realized that it made sense to tag Cash right back in before he did anything so they could do it (it being the double catapult which was great) together. The finish was pretty funny as Reed shows ass as the worst hot tag in history. Just a clear case of FTR realizing what they had in there with Toa and made themselves by helping to make him. Great stuff.

Emi Sakura vs Reka Tehaka: Man, you could hear crickets during Emi's control stuff. The crowd just didn't want to come along for that ride. I'm not sure the hairpulling and strength counter really worked. They didn't care about the forearms either but did like wooing for the chops. The best stuff here was Reka's headbutts. Just big sweeping smashes. I like how Emi just kept shifting her tactics as one thing didn't work but it just didn't garner her any heat. The Lulu mugging after the corner splash is amazing and it's going to catch on. They need to start using still shots of that. For a brief moment, Lulu got a tiny chant. It will happen. Her bump off the robe toss at the start was maybe the fourth best part of the match. I do like that Emi has 3-4 different ways she can end things.

QT vs 10: QT's bigger than I thought. At least he's managing big guys. Got to heat up 10 en route to Mox and it was a really gutsy performance from QT after his eye exploded. He's experienced enough to switch things up too. The announcers didn't pick up on it but he went right after 10's eye for revenge. It's so weird 10 does the "Ten Ten Ten" gimmick when Spears is there. Have they ever done anything with that? This basically made me want to see 10 vs Comoroto. Too many people in AEW do that double running shot into the corner, where they hit it from one angle and then the other. Maybe QT got a little too much of this but really, all anyone was looking at was the eye.

Paul Wight vs Bravo/Singh/Carter: It's just fun. Him coming from the announcers' booth was a good visual. I like how they swarmed him at the start. The spear/tackle thing was a great visual. Good on Bravo for taking that. One thing about Wight vs 3 guys is that he can hit a big match-ending spot on each of them. Carter's sell for the KO punch was Punch Out-esque.

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Toa Liona received two gifts from that show. A white-hot crowd to wrestle in front of and how giving FTR were. Toa got the callback after the match and wrestled on Universal tapings on Sunday at least. Having twins will certainly give you a kick up the ass

 

 

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AEW Dark 10/26/21

Bobby Fish vs Invinctus Khash: In general, I feel like you can get better pacing on Dark than Dynamite, but Fish sure didn't give this guy much. Just brutal strikes up and down, all of them looking great (good on both guys for that for that). Khash got to catch the foot on a kick and did a little switch-a-roo that I actually saw Ishikawa do yesterday but man did Ishikawa do it better. The jumping knee cut off was beautiful. I can't say I'm super familiar with Fish but the guy is wrestling like he has something to prove and that he knows this is his last, best chance. I'm not sure what his ceiling is but I'd buy him as a guy at that Spears level in a faction no question.

Riho vs Xtina Kay: I really haven't seen that much Riho. The early tit-for-tat exchanges worked, as much due to Kay's trash talk and immediate comeuppance as Riho's smoothness. There were a couple of poor physics/timing moments here, like the transition to Kay's offense when Riho had to stand still for a moment when she should have been running so her hair could get grabbed. Things snapped more when Riho was on offense with my favorite bit being the knees to the knees in the Romero Special set up position. Very Monsoony with Excalibur and Taz griping about the unnecessary backflips. They cost Kay in the end, sure, but that's part of the house style to a degree and while I hate it, I'm not sure if it's the announcers job to crap all over it or to bs some fake physics reasons why it would work. It's part of modern wrestling.

Eddie Kingston vs Jack Evans: Unsurprisingly, this was really good. Good on Jack for being irritating enough to get heat after coming in flippy and entertaining. It went from the studio wrestling comedy with Bryce and Jack's new look to Eddie leaning hard into Jack's kicks very abruptly. Then Evans not just leaned into the chops but ran into them (but in a way that made total sense for his character and the match). Evans bumped himself on the Michinoku Driver which is on brand. Both of these guys made what their opponent did look amazing. Took two tries for the Saito suplex beacuse that's the house style. It makes sense to have Eddie win with the Stretch Plum since he's up against Danielson next. Good to reestablish a submission for him as it might come into play. Really liked this. My MOTN.

Dante Martin vs JDX: Martin in enhancement matches is fun. All of this was fun. The chain wrestling to start. JDX's cut offs. Martin is a guy who does all of that extra, needless motion, but he does it so fast and so smooth that he makes it look like it makes sense, which is a hell of an accomplishment. I'm curious what sort of footage Martin watches. I would have liked to see Rush do a little more meaningful things out on the floor. I thought he did a pretty good job coaching in the Black match for instance.

Tiger Ruas vs DJ Brown: Giving him a promo after a quick win is a good use of this time in getting people familiar with him. I might not have stacked this so soon after the Evans match as he did similar kicks.

Diamante vs Skyler Moore: Got to give Diamante wins now and again to keep her credible. This was short and sweet but worked. Little bit of a slugfest. Moore makes one mistake. Diamante capitalizes. Nice nervehold bodyscissors submission.

10 vs Shane Stetson: I would have liked to see 10 do one other big power move in this one. He ran through Stetson like a freight train which was nice but something with heft would have been good given how small Stetson was relatively.

Fuego/Fuego Dos: vs Bandit/Alexander: Ok, first off, I watched a bunch of this with a smile, good on them. Alexander's tombstone should NOT have been in this match, or if it was, it should have been after Fuego had taken out Bandit so that it set the stage for Fuego being out of the match and Fuego 2 picking up the win. Past the powerbomb counter, we didn't actually see Dos do much but get beat on. I was hoping to see a missile dropkick from him because I'm sort of an expert on those from certain wrestlers. I'd be happy seeing more of Bandit or Alexander but that tombstone was a ridiculous thing to do in the studio in a match like this when Fuego was just going to recover twenty seconds later. Come on guys.

Danielson vs Solo: One good thing about enhancement or JTTS matches is that it lets people actually hit stuff that will get countered almost every other bigger match. Most of the time Danielson goes for his corner flurry to end with the top rope rana, it's not going to work. Here it did. Solo was so much less interesting than Comoroto or QT as an opponent. The deal with AEW Danielson is he's going to push you to your point of desperation and Solo's point of desperation was pretty mild. Most interesting things here were when QT was getting involved and how Danielson leaned into those opportunities. I'm a little surprised Danielson didn't do anything more experimental here. I suppose that was saved for session 2 and the hood? We'll find out next week, I guess.

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Dark Elevation 11/1/21

Statlander/Mizunami vs Nyla Rose/Emi Sakura: Early chops from Mizunami and Sakura looked very impactful. Mizunami makes for a fun partner for Statlander, but then she does for everyone. She definitely felt the boop. They did a good job selling the strength vs strength match up between Nyla and Statlander but we didn't really see it play out much in the match itself. Emi depriving the viewing audience and gif makers of Lulu mugging after the corner body press was an act of pure evil. Also probably a few weeks too early. I know it's a typical AEW thing but Emi and Lulu having their own social media storylines that never get reference is fairly amusing. As impressive as Rose's swanton was (and I think she should absolutely keep doing it in a Vader-Does-A-Moonsault) sort of way, the set up where she made the babyfaces basically DDT themselves was absurd and terrible and I hated it as much as I've hated anything I've seen in AEW this year. Maybe, maybe it would work for an enhancement match or a handicap enhancement match but it was terrible here. Wrong place, wrong wrestlers, wrong physics, wrong everything. Otherwise, solid match.

Kazarian vs Benjamin: You got the sense Kazarian was glad to be there since he trained down the road years and years ago. Benjamin had an offensive flurry of a European uppercut, a deadlift German, and these stilted knees in the corner and Kazarian made them all look great, to the point where I'd want to see the guy again, even though I know a lot of it was Kazarian, so good on both guys I guess. Finish was a corner dodge, a clothesline, and the chicken wing. I would have liked one more move between the clothesline and the chicken wing. Just a me thing.

Riho vs Sparks: Not as impressive as the Thunder Rosa vs Sparks match which was one of Sparks' first matches in over a decade, but this was still an ok short match. The Northern Lights was earned. I usually don't love the rocker dropper position flip back counter, but Riho's shortness makes it look extra good. Riho stands out in general because of her presence and how she can keep the smile going even as she's hitting stuff.

FTR vs Waves and Curls: Speaking of presence, Wheeler seems to get better month by month, which is saying a lot. He's just always on in interesting, compelling ways. He was covering the belt up with the coat or playing with the front rows. Just always making what's going on more entertaining in that sort of once-in-a-generation Buddy Rose/Negro Casas sort of way. I'd give him that much praise on an engagement level in a setting like this. I'm not sure it always works as well in a bigger, more even match, but in a squash it's exceptional. Dax is the more natural stooge with the more natural look and maybe he stands out more when taking offense, but in general, Wheeler's become more of a standout. Obviously the fake-out was beautiful here. They're experimenting with the format and setting every week.

Conti vs LMK: Got to heat up Conti so this was a pretty straight squash. Everyone knows this and everyone thinks it, but it's so obvious how thoroughly WWE would screw up Conti and the dissonance between her personality and how she can just kill people, right? It's almost painful to think about. This was probably exactly what it should have been. I always want one more big move in a more straight up squash but the three kicks (instead of two) probably worked well enough.

Best Friends vs Acclaimed/Serpentico: The comedy mostly hit for me, especially the Serpentico stuff which has not worn out its welcome as of yet but I'm only a couple of months into the promotion. I like how everyone worked with him instead of just being annoyed by him like in the last tag he was in. Acclaimed badly needs house show loops. I get why AEW wants to protect them (though the Rampage match did them no favors) and where Khan sees the money in them and I know that neither guy is a first year rookie or anything, but it'd do them good to get them more matches somehow, either on indies or on an Impact/AAA/Japan/Anything.

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AEW Dark 11/2/21

Santana/Ortiz vs Abraham/Coleman: I liked how vocal Coleman was in coaching his partner. I like that Santana and Ortiz have a lot of potential finishers, I guess? Let's move on.

Rose vs Van: Solid squash here. My favorite bit was Van kicking her in the skull, Rose taking it, and it just not registering. I want to see the swanton again but she shouldn't be doing it every day, so it's good she didn't. Got the job done. I wouldn't mind seeing Van in a more competitive match against someone else to see what she could do.

Johnson/Anderson vs Knight/Bosede: Not a lot of meat to this. It's good that Anderson's getting frequent ring time but it'd be better if he could eat some more offense too maybe. The Knight vs Johnson segment was smooth and flashy. Spinebuster looked a little wonky to me maybe? Still neat to see Arn raise his kid's hand.

Garcia vs RSP: Finish was sixth dimensional chess. Second try for the goozle slam. Repeated counter. Repeated counter to the counter. Countered into the rear naked. That's Daniel Garcia for you. I really hope we get a few matches with him and Christian. I can only imagine what the two of them could do. Otherwise, it was good. I would have liked just a little more leg selling out of RSP as he was coming back. Garcia's offense was eclectic, though I loved the Million Dollar Fistdrop. But really this was all about the nth reversal finish.

Silver/Reynolds vs Carr/Cross: All of the Dark Order guys should use claws and each one should have a different version of the claw (10 would have the claw slam). I'm giving these ideas away for free here. This broke down a little too completely too early for me but everything was hit well and I thought Carr fed particularly well and Cross bumped particularly well so the Dark Order looked like world beaters. There's more rhyme and reason to their sequenced offense so maybe that's why I put up with it a little more than Santana and Ortiz? I don't know.

Acclaimed vs Vaughn/Smiley: Good showing by Acclaimed here. Good for them. It's not that they don't have talent. Again I think they should be protected. It's just that they're uneven. The Bowens vs Smiley strike exchange thing was pretty good. The reaction when Vaughn recovered only for him to get back body dropped into his partner was good. Yeah, this one was fine. More of this from them.

Bunny vs Garrett: Not sure if it's the second belt or her ratings success, but Bunny does feel like she's being presented as more of a threat/entity than a few months ago. Here she took the first half soundly with just mauling and tearing offense, very vocal. When Garrett came back, I don't think she had the anger/fury that the beating had warranted, but she did get to do a front handspring and full cartwheeling elbow into the corner and sweet chin music stomp, so good for her? Felt like a disconnect.

2.0 vs Bison XL/Toa Liona: It's easy to give FTR credit for big splashy moments and clever finishes, but everything 2.0 does has a lot of thought into it. I like how they took over on Bison and then kept control. Protected him. Protected them by making them look clever and crafty and dangerous. Good use of Garcia without being overbearing. XL's leaping hot tag was maybe a little much. They should probably go out and sign Liona if they haven't already, huh? Speaking of protecting, I like how 2.0 was smart enough to get out of the way but how Liona didn't sell the corner charge and just kept going. Finish was cleverly set up too. 2.0 and FTR could probably have an amazing Midnights vs Horsemen type feud but that seems like too much to ask for even in 2021.

Red Velvet vs Royal: This was totally solid. Royal has a unique gimmick with the opera thing, and who can say they have a unique gimmick at this point in wrestling. I'm not sure what kind of ceiling it has, but good for her. Good forearm too and she based pretty well for Velvet's offense. Which all looked pretty good. She remains literally the only person in history to make the Play of the Day (or whatever) look good as a finisher. I'd like to see more Royal just to see how she works her gimmick in a situation with more offense.

Fish vs Ryzin: I kind of hate Fish's shirt but it's ok because he's a heel. Impressive that he just went through a long career using his real name when that was his real name, though. Talk about low ceilings. He's fun to watch right now, just dismantling people with strikes and holds and throws. Good month for the guy. Maybe, if I was him, I'd not do the exploder into the ropes/corner/etc. in every match but hit a normal one and escalate to the more dangerous seeming version for bigger moments? I don't know. Guy knows what he's doing in there.

Fuego vs Nese: I am not very familiar with Nese. From reading Segunda Caida posts by Eric, I get the sense that he was a guy who did a lot of stupid athletic combos who developed well in his time in 205 Live and sort of figured out how to make it all work. From this match, I can sort of see that. It's funny he's billed at 205 pounds, by the way. That seems like an in-joke. This was fun. The athletic stuff like the matrix or the kick/sweep combo could potentially get annoying but wasn't here against this opponent. I like how both of them hit that sort of double jump moonsault, but Fuego's was bigger and more of a receipt since it was to the outside. You don't see a lot of bodyscissors usage these days so that was nice. Nese generally took Fuego's stuff well. The roll through power bomb into the corner looked good, but I'm not sure about the knee follow up to end the match. Maybe more as an insult to injury bit of punctuation?

PAC vs Ruas: What's up with that tree at the start of PAC's tron? Someone explain that to me. This was a fun style battle for the first half, with PAC sort of using roughneck pro wrestling toughness with the shots on the floor to overcome Ruas' professional fighting credentials. I thought it did a pretty good job of putting over Ruas who could be dangerous at any point and who could get back into a match with one good shot but I would have liked to see him just a little more protected on the finish. I get that there's a big difference in hierarchy but Ruas is unique enough that there should have maybe been a bit more of a clever/key counter by PAC or a banana peel in him going down. Instead you got the sense that PAC basically beat him at his own game winning the kicking and suplex competition before locking in a hold.

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I made a comment about tonight’s Elevation in the bigger AEW thread by mistake.  It looks even more random in that thread than I thought it would in a Dark mega thread…which I couldn’t find…although that is probably more because of being legally blind…ugh my eyes suck.  
whoo! Dark Order vs The Acclaimed & 2point0 all in the same match.  

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Dark Elevation 11/8/21

Hobbs vs Dan Adams: Hobbs needed a big win after his high profile losses and he did get to crush Dan the Dad here, but it was not what he needed. Past the avalanche in the corner where the glasses went flying and the fact he picked him up when he could have pinned him, I just didn't think this was what was the thing. There are a ton of really low heels of the Serpentico/Solo/RSP variety (and I get that's a range in and of itself) in AEW, but less low level babyfaces. Am I right about that? Anyway, a comedy wimpy wasn't the snapback win Hobbs needed. That's the entirety of my point. Plus I kind of think they should bill him at more than 270. 290 sounds better. Ok, enough nitpicks.

Best Friends vs Butcher/Blade: I liked this in theory, with Butcher and Blade using underhanded tricks and solid tag team wrestling and capitalizing on Yuta's inexperience with a fairly hot finishing stretch. In practice, I'm not sure. Blade and Yuta had a fairly sloppy exchange with Yuta going through legs and what not and it did feel kind of competitive and uncooperative but it's the one thing in the match you really did want to look smooth and slick instead because that would have gotten Yuta over as a whiz kid instead of someone scrappy enough to hang on and make things work. It's weird but I almost wish there were two different tag divisions, one with Lucha Bros and Young Bucks and Private Party and Santana/Ortiz and one with FTR and Butcher/Blade and the Varsity Blonds and 2.0. It's like they're doing entirely different things and whenever they mix, it's sort of terrible.

Riho vs Tootie Lynn: Maybe not the best showcase match for Tootie, who was over with this crowd. If she was going to be over anyway, maybe give her someone other than the most likable person on the roster to face? Her shots were good in theory but the actual contact never seemed to click with Riho. The Northern Lights towards the end was beautiful and probably should have been the finish. I get that she worked towards the double stomp and missed it but then she hit the smaller one to set up the Northern Lights, so it would have been fine.

Matt Hardy vs Dean Alexander: Yeah, see, it would have been better to switch Alexander and Dan the Dad in the card. The crowd was into Hardy's name value and star power so it was good he tried to switch things around with the mic thing to start, but then the match didn't work right to capitalize on it. The fans just started their Let's Go Dean chants when he was on offense and then didn't go up for him at all when he was working from underneath. I'd put more of that on Dean than Hardy, though maybe it was a case that Hardy should have let him get one more move in and then bask in the chants? I'd like a world where the superplex could end a match like this instead of just setting up the Leech but in this world that we actually live in, it's fine as the superplex was still pretty respected here.

Ryo Mizunami/Ruby Soho vs Emi Sakura/Nyla Rose: Fun match. Nyla looked good in general and she seemed to be having fun in there with Emi. She took that missed swanton pretty hard. No roll through there. Ryo doing the air guitar uncomfortably long was great. I liked the attempts at the double underhook backbreaker and how they didn't work only for it to be used post match (and it was leading to the swanton which didn't work before Statlander came in). Shame that they debut Emi with her just randomly being there. That's kind of sloppy, right? The post corner body press was wonderful as always but I didn't think Ruby had taken enough damage to just stand there forever as Emi did the We Will Rock You stomp/clap to set it up. Statlander needed to at least try a boop after Soho pulled her back. Mind games, folks.

Here's what this match showed me 100%. Tony Khan is leaving money on the table if he doesn't do a Rock'n'Wrestling cartoon with the women's roster. There was just so much color and character in the ring. Just in this match alone you had Emi and the Killer Queens, Nyla and Vickie, Soho, Ryo, and Statlander. Add in Rosa, Taya, Anna and her weird cult thing, Britt and company, Leyla as the bully slayer, Penelope Ford, Diamante, and Jade and I swear there's a cartoon series right there. I don't know how you'd work Shida, Red Velvet, Deeb, Swole, and maybe you don't want to use Abadon or the Bunny, but... it's a great roster but a brilliant Saturday Morning TV Show. Someone commission some art for that and pitch Khan or something.

Acclaimed/2.0 vs Dark Order: Very disappointed that the rap didn't work in 2.0 somehow. It's fun to watch Uno even when he's not wrestling because he carries himself differently than most people you've ever seen. Different stance, different body language, etc. Also, him messing up the Acclaimed hang signals was pretty funny. It was good for Bowens to get to work him and Danielson in the same week. Very Nitro feel to this as they were talking about Omega vs Page throughout it. Crowd wanted Silver throughout this and they gave Grayson the hot tag. He did a great job (and every one fed for him well; I really liked Caster's sell of the DDT after the big catch), but since Grayson was just about to get dumped anyway, I would have liked it more if he tagged to Silver after quickly losing the advantage again so that there was a bit more of a hot tag feel to it. I don't a ton to say about the finishing stretch other than 2.0 fed really well for Uno. Feels like a band situation right now where they have to figure out how to balance how over Silver's getting in that niche attraction role with everyone else.

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AEW Dark 11/9/21, all 15 matches. Excuse typos.

Gunn Club vs Dark Order: Pretty fun comedy match. The Gunn Club looked good feeding. Billy was super giving. Just one comedy spot after the other and nothing felt too out of position or over-cooperative to me, really. I'm not saying that if they did it around a loop fifty times that it wouldn't be better, because it would, but for a one off, it came together nicely. Colton should lean into his size, as he matched up well against Uno. Austin should lean into his more annoying qualities. There was one leap over neck whip which was dumb physics wise but that was the only thing in the match that felt incredibly off. Colt vs Gunn was just two pros doing their thing. Then it broke open with the laughs with the crowd into everything. Just feel good CHIKARA shit here with Billy and family stooging up and down. Finish could have looked better though. That I'll say.

Riho vs Howitzer: Uh, this wasn't pretty. Maybe it wasn't supposed to be pretty. Howtizer has 50 matches on Cagematch and maybe Riho just wasn't the right opponent for her? She needed someone goofier? Ryo? Let's just move on.

Solo/Comoroto vs 2 Fast 2 Fuego: The Dark Order match had good comedy spots. This one had me laughing out loud at times. The best part was when he put the strap back on and Excalibur and Taz lost it. I lost it too. Fuego 2 doing the clapping gimmick and the belt gimmick over and over. Oh man. Almost all of this worked for me for what it was. This was way different than the studio match where Fuego 2 just took some offense and got out. He did all kinds of stuff here, the arm drag, the step up rana, the missile dropkick~!, that leap over arm drag. But it was smart at times too, like when he tried it on Comoroto and he just got shrugged off. Comoroto was a beast in there, like always. That spot with the single arm press was amazing. And Solo looked the best I've ever seen him. This is his role, comedy spoiler jerk. He showed way more here than in the Danielson match. They both based really well for the Fuegos. It's probably too soon to get cutesy with the reverse DDT and Fuego 1 doing the Cross Rhodes, but in general, this was compelling stuff.

Sammy/Hager vs Koko Lane/Luke Langley: Not a lot to say here. Maybe would have liked to see more shine out of Sammy. He did one nice little kip up thing. The pick by Hager was good. I haven't seen him wrestle much in years. Lane/Langley didn't get to show too much. I don't think anyone really maximized their time out there but Sammy and Hager seemed like a unit at least. Post-match was fine and put some heat on there. Honestly, if given the time, I would have had Sammy and Hager against some more MMA type guys instead maybe?

Best Friends vs Vega/Jackson/Bengston: A lot of motion here. The bookends with Cassidy were pretty funny. I thought Yuta looked much better here than on Elevation on Monday, hitting a lot of the stuff smoothly that looked bumpy then. Some good presence and charisma too. Jackson's squatting suplex thing was good but it sort of involved Yuta just hanging out too long. Vega was a good jerk. Taylor's awful waffle piledriver thing is nuts. It's weird they didn't mention Cassidy being in Rocky's corner upcoming. Oh, I liked the Foot thing into the German too. Good enhancement match with a little bit of drama but mostly the faces getting their stuff (both moves and quirks) in and looking good.

Dante Martin vs Frankie Kazarian: Fun stuff that got the job done though it could have used maybe just another minute or two. I liked the armdrag war and it made sense but Kazarian had two fake outs, one where he wasn't there for an arm drag and another where he wasn't for a sunset flip and both were a little iffy for me if only because you don't see them often, if ever, and it makes you wonder why no one else avoids the holds like that. Nitpick maybe. Finish worked for the story they were telling. These are the wins Dante needs under his belt.

Rosa/Statlander/Ryo vs Hayter/Rebel/Emi: They run these basically every show now and they're always fun. Lulu got to mug on the corner splash (the endless set up corner splash) but without the usual energy since she's been whacked by her boss a couple of shows now. Rebel did a bunch of stuff and about half was viable and half was goofy but good effort. The spot where Statlander stacked all the heels worked. I wouldn't say this had much structure but it was fun and fairly effective and furthered Soho vs Statlander upcoming. Probably not as fun as the Ryo/Soho tag though.

Moriarty/Sydal vs 2.0: This was about establishing the team but more so than that, it was about giving Sydal a hometown win. While I think they need to keep doing more to establish Lee, that's not what this was about. Here he was a really good FIP with 2.0 cutting off the ring. I thought Parker was great in the way he kicked Moriarty into the corner and then did the lunging cut off. They had one really beautiful just missed tag attempt before he finally got it. Then Sydal got to look great in the stretch as 2.0 fed and fed. I saw Danielson do that little kick in mid air to get out of a suplex and it's good stuff here too. Nice, sound tag match.

Rose vs Lynn: Another match where Tootie hits a few shots early but then gets eaten up so we can't say too much about her, though she sold well for Nyla here. The corner charge was a very believable way to just shut her down. I like that Nyla, being a monster, has three viable finishers. She seems like she's having more fun lately, maybe?

Andrade vs Warhorse: Really gave Warhorse nothing here, but some of that was the cute opening gambit which did as much to get Andrade over in this match as ten of his big moves would have. Maybe a little bit of a shame given that he was obviously over with the crowd, but it was a way of Andrade spoiling things for them, I suppose.

Dark Order vs Team Taz: I liked a lot of this, I did. Hobbs controlling the center of the ring, knowing more or less what to give, keeping things at his methodological pace; they're all what I want to see out of him. Angels is a perfectly fine face in peril. 10 is a good hot tag given his size and fire, and Starks is always up to something and worth watching. It did break down in the end. Some of that's on the wrestlers and some is on the style where tags don't matter for the last third and people just do crap and some is on the ref who lost sight of who the legal man was. There was plenty of good in this one though and it was more of the sort of win Hobbs needed.

Conti vs Gordy: I've never seen Gordy but this was about heating up Conti so not much to see here. Frustrating that they have two matches in a row with those running kicks into the corner (10 did them too). Also the DDTAY looks too much like Andrade's finish and that was just two matches before. Maybe that's a problem with a 15 match Dark. Maybe it's a problem with the style. Maybe they need the producers talking just a little more. Maybe it only bugs me?

Wardlow vs Mantell: Another nothing match, which is a shame as Wardlow getting imaginative about how he kills guys is usually fun. The imagination here was Spears hitting a DVD post-match with an apple in his mouth which wasn't very fun.

Darby vs Marshall: I have to pay attention to this because I don't know that Phil and Eric will go back to it for Monday. Marshall is someone that I think would have more value if he worked like 83 JJ Dillon, Bobby Heenan, Paul Jones, a guy who can bump, who can get some mean shots in, who can even lean on people when he has an advantage, but not someone throwing suplexes or jumping off the top rope. There's value in having a heel manager that can work and bump and stooge and that has stuff that looks good, but it's not necessarily in having him go all out and try to have great matches. There are a bunch of managers and seconds on the roster, but they're all older and shouldn't be bumping or more non-wrestling looking guys like Andrade's assistant. I get why QT wants to go out and be more of a player/coach than just a coach of the Factory though. I just don't think he has as much value as he might leaning hard, at 36, into being what Paul Jones and JJ Dillon were five years later in 83. Ok, the match: Early on, I liked how all the motion was about getting over Darby; Marshall would use his strength to redirect Allin or force him up, but it was all about Darby smoothly recovering and keeping the motion going. Darby countering the suplex in midair with a kick is the third time in a week I saw that sort of spot. Have I just not been paying attention or is it a new zeitgeist spot thing? Marshall said he was out there because Sting hurt him and to help MJF who is his friend, but he was only ever going to put a chink or two in Darby's armor. It's not that the belly to belly and top rope headbutt didn't look good, but Marshall probably would have stood out more with a chinlock with his feet on the ropes and a Memphis headlock hiding a punch. I liked the comeback and the suddenness of the coffin drop, where instead of just sitting around, you could buy that Marshall had no idea where he was or what was about to happen. Marshall is an office guy and from what people say, valued and essential. In ring, he'd probably be more of a boon to the promotion and his own stable if he owned how he could best make impact.

HFO vs Christian/Jungle Boy/Luchasaurus: There's a mini feud from earlier this year with Christian vs the HFO that I do need to go back for. I haven't seen a ton of Christian as of yet and he's one of my favorites ever. Here he was a solid face-in-peril, getting the crowd behind him and hyping things up for the Luchasaurus tag. The one spin kick by Luchasaurus was protected by the camera switch but seemed fine and everything else he did was working big, so no problem there. After watching 15 matches, my patience for "everything has broken down" complex tag sequences is at a low point. I did like how the HFO were made up of disparate talents and Kassidy showing a decent amount of attitude.

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On 11/10/2021 at 8:21 AM, Matt D said:

 

Conti vs Gordy: I've never seen Gordy but this was about heating up Conti so not much to see here. Frustrating that they have two matches in a row with those running kicks into the corner (10 did them too). Also the DDTAY looks too much like Andrade's finish and that was just two matches before. Maybe that's a problem with a 15 match Dark. Maybe it's a problem with the style. Maybe they need the producers talking just a little more. Maybe it only bugs me?

 

I think it's the last vestiges of this being essentially a super indy at the start. Everyone gets to do their thing, even if there's some overlap. At the start, there was the weird issue where it felt like they were running three of the same angle on the same show; that seems to be resolved, but I agree with you that the movesets could get the same focus.

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Dark Elevation 11/15/21:

T-Money/Nasty Russ/Sean Cooke vs Gunn Club: Ah, our pals from Jollyville getting a shot on the big stage. Russ was good in taking stuff, firing back, with his timing. I thought he made a good foil for super annoying (in a good way) Austin for a minute there. T-Money had a moment with Colton before taking Billy's finish. Quality enhancement stuff but I would have liked to see them do a little more obviously.

Emi/Bunny/Nyla vs Riho/Ryo/Skye: It was nice to see Bunny in the Nyla/Emi trios we've been seeing recently. She seemed happy to pose with all of them, and frankly, I thought she was good wilting this way and that as she ate Ryo's offense. Some of the babyface tagging seemed a little weird, but this was overall fun. Nyla really disappeared for most of the match after the dive before appearing for the finish. I liked her exchange with Skye who came off as gutsy. The fans are, of course, pretty into Ryo.

Hardy/Kassidy/Blade vs Uno/Stu/Angels: I needed a good look at 2021 Grasyon as he's the Dark Order member I have the least handle on, so this was welcome in that regard. The announcers do a good job putting Hardy over and he gives them little pieces of the puzzle to put together so good on everyone there. I think he could have themed Dynamite title challenge to Page in the next few weeks given how they've built him up over the last couple of months but people would probably hate the idea of that. Anyway, Grayson took most of this and had good strikes, good selling, a nice explosiveness out of the corner when needed. I could do without the back flip but some of that's on the guys who took it. Kassidy reacted to everything, so that's always good. The stretch was fun and didn't wear out its welcome with the triple dive working almost perfectly, without an overwrought set up too. Twenty years ago, a moment like that would make the opening of a show, but it did get the crowd going. I would have liked Kassidy to maybe cheat a little on that last roll up, just because it felt a little anti-climactic given the rest of the match. Probably would have been better to just end things on the dive/cannonball/frog splash instead.

Andrade vs Lord Crewe: Crewe has a good, if a little weird look (big, neat hair/scraggly beard). He had a few ok punches but despite acting like a babyface, the crowd wanted nothing to do with him. Andrade was interesting here, really controlling the center of the ring and refusing to go to Crewe. Headlocks, a boot to cut Crew off, and then the suplex/neckbreaker combo and his DDT finish. Didn't really bump or hit any big offense. Still worked for me though.

Soho vs Kruel: Probably the right match for the hometown hero. You need enough meat to it so Kruel got a few things in. She tried to stand out at least, so A for effort even if the execution wasn't always there. Ruby needs to do the tongue thing maybe 30% less? The back drop driver was nasty. The No Future is a good finisher on paper since she can hit it from any angle in any moment to anyone, but relative to the finishers in the promotion, it just doesn't feel impactful enough. It feels like a transition move or a cut off. Repetition will help I guess. Roc worked the crowd well as a babyface manager and I'm sure it was a nice moment for both of them, but and if they need a Teddy Long Managing Jim Powers sort of guy, he seems an ok choice, but not with Ruby longterm. I assume this was just a one time thing. They sorted out the music issues too.

QT vs Silver: Pretty good, but in that sort of .5 Worldwide point sort of way. My favorite stuff from QT here was the stalling and taking the house mic, the dodging and getting a roll up. My least favorite things were catching Silver for the swing out backbreaker and then jumping up to get Power Bombed (What was he going to do there? a 'rana? Come on). When they were clapping up for Silver, he should have locked in a chinlock. I won't go broken record on my Marshall thoughts. I would have liked to see a comedy spot or two in here too maybe? More stalling. More letting Silver work from underneath. More comedy in the payoff. Less video game offense by QT. Good effort though.

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Not an unreasonable request @NintendoLogic.

Spoiler

Dark 11/16/21

Hobbs vs Strife: Nice little mauling here. Most big guys I like best when they control the center of the ring and have the action come to them, but Hobbs is best charging at people and charging people into the corner and he does that plenty here. Very effective squash.

Andrade vs Jah-C: Not a lot here, but the finish (a double armbar sort of thing to reverse a roll up) was very good. It's a nice move to establish for other matches, was lightning fast in how he put it on and looked particularly nasty.

Wardlow/Spears vs Arik Cannon and Renny D: They probably should have given Cannon a move or two against Spears. Instead he got to be defiant against Wardlow, for all the good that did him. I really do like Wardlow's instincts and presence when it comes to the crowd and his opponent. For Spears, his stuff hits clean and he's always on and in character. You'd think he'd do well to tone it back 20% but I'm not sure he'd stand out at all if he did, so maybe better to border on that annoying heat than not to get much heat in general?

Soho vs Hyan: Was going very well until Ruby couldn't stick the landing on the belly to back counter. Everything else looked good. Unfortunately, that was the set up for her finish. Fortunately, her finish still works after a stumble. Henry being aghast by Taz's singing was fun though.

Too Fast Too Fuego vs Sackett and Gore: One really nicely timed pin break up by Sackett. The double roll. Otherwise, this wasn't as fun as the last Fuego 2 match but leaned into fundamentals a bit more. Lots of clapping. The belt motion. I still enjoyed it well enough. I'm amused by the idea that they're just going to keep winning on Dark to the point where their record is so good they have to be featured otherwise.

Acclaimed vs Dark Order (Cabana/Angels): Yeah, this was the best Acclaimed match I've ever seen. The rap worked really well, drawing a Purple Rain chant, which made sense given the Dark Order's color. What stood out was their timing on the cutoffs, which was just excellent. Obviously that was on both teams but just really impressively done and multiple times at that. Cabana was a good foil for them and I hope he gets some shine when AEW hits Chicago soon (like a Danielson match). The bionic elbow spot was particularly fun here. Nicely timed (again) finish. Just really hit the marks. If they could look like this every time out, people would be much higher on them.

Statlander/Mizunami/Riho vs Rose/Sakura/Bunny: Someone's going to make a comp of all of these 2021 tags and trios some day. By this point, I think Rose and Sakura, at least, have great chemistry together. They've teamed up enough after all. The assisted swanton was brisk and sharp and absolutely crushing. People should go back to see that. It really should have finished the match but you've got to protect Statlander here. The set up for the big bang theory wasn't pretty but was impressive. Vickie was effective for her one distraction. This was the last we'll see Lulu for a while and she got shoved to the best of her ability after the corner splash (which was set up better than usual). I liked Bunny, who had gotten hyper chopped in the corner, just hitting one later on as if it was somehow the same. She tends to take all of the offense really well in these trios. The fighting and eventually hitting of the Queen's Gambit all looked good and gave things a bit more substance. There's a bit in the way of diminishing returns on some of the craziness with the opening and breakdown finishing stretch on these when you see them time and again (and multiple times on the same show really as the 8 man that followed had a lot of it) but I liked the specifics. That swanton was nuts.

Johnson/Anderson/Blonds vs Drake/Nesmeth/Comoroto/Solo: JD Drake and Nick Comoroto would be the two guys I'd put together to be year-long champions. This was another one which had a move that looked so good they should have just called an audible and used it to end the match. In this case, it was Drake's cut off jumping kick towards the end. There was a lot to like for a chunk of this but the last couple of minutes were ugly and felt downright dangerous. Drake barely got him around for the power slam. I kind of like Griff's dive where he just flails all over the place, but I can't condone it necessarily. Then Lee wiped out. Drake hitting Anderson with that off the ropes whack on the outside was very nice, and, in general, Anderson was fine getting beat on here. They did a good job of keeping Johnson out of the match until the end, so it mattered when he got in there. So, good and bad in this one. Still, Drake and the Comoroto would be the Bossman/Hercules team we deserved but never actually got.

Silver vs Avalon: Felt like the sort of match they had a year ago. Silver's a guy on the rise. He's a plucky comedy mid-card act, but he hasn't reached the height of his usefulness with just the Cole match. They should have protected him a bit more here. That could have been Nesmeth or Drake interfering so Avalon could keep control, Avalon just cheating more, or just cutting the heat segment in half. Also not a fan of Silver's Liger Bomb counter to 'ranas that no one would do to him. Avalon did make his stuff look great, including and especially the Spin Doctor, and the opening gambit stuff was fun, but this should have been shorter, more definitive, and funnier.

Kiss vs Grace: Nice flowing offense by Kiss, which Grace took well. It's sort of a shame that after a fairly effective web feud, they don't really have anything for Kiss or Janela.

Vance vs Wild: Not much to say here. Wild hurting his hand on the chop was the best moment, though then he went back to chop more and didn't hurt his hand (not that it worked), so who knows? I'd like to see a singles match between Vance and Hobbs.

Sky vs Knyte: Nice little moment of shine for Knyte with the slingshot elbow in, but he got cut off immediately thereafter with the TKO. Not much to say about these last few.

 

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