AEW Dark 12/29/2020


Dark began with a "In memory of Brodie Lee" graphic, but that was all there was on the show since it was done last week. Given Lee's sudden passing on Saturday, it's understandable that they couldn't edit the show but there were a few awkward moments given what we know now.


Rey Fenix (w/ Penta El Zero M) def. Vary Morales

Morales was making his promotional debut while Fenix was preparing for his AEW World title opportunity against Kenny Omega a week from Wednesday although commentary pushed it as this week. Morales is shorter than Fenix and I wonder if putting Fenix in against a taller opponent like Omega may have been something they could have used as a story in the match.

Morales hit a spinning tilt-a-whirl DDT in a nice spot, but a helluva kick, step-up spinning kick, and Kinnikuman buster got Fenix the win.

***1/4

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I gotta say between this and Lince, these Luchadors are making quite the positive impression on me


Penelope Ford (w /Kip Sabian) def. Lindsay Snow

Ricky Starks was commentary for this, but wasn't introduced and was tough to hear. Ford won fairly easy with a Lethal Injection for the win with lots of making out between Sabian and Ford after the match and before as well. I'm surprised they haven't tried to do more with Snow given her look and distinct style, but I guess there's no rush. She falls to 0-4 in her AEW run thus far.

**

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Dark Order (John Silver and Alex Reynolds) def. Shawn Dean and Tyson Maddux

The timing of everything obviously wasn't great, but given Lee's passing, this felt weird to watch. This was the first time teaming up for Dean and Maddux. Dean has something, but the roster is fairly jammed up as it is. Maddux was the recipient of a slew of moves at the end, concluding with a stunner by Reynolds into a german suplex by Silver into a jackknife pin by Reynolds.

Thumbs In The Middle Pointing Up

***


Anna "99" Jay (w/ Tay Conti) def. Jazmin Allure

Starks was randomly back on commentary again. Allure debuted last week with a loss on Dark. Jay's kicks looked great here in a dominant effort that finished with the Queen Slayer submission. Conti disappeared after initially walking out with Jay.

**

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The Waiting Room with guest Matt Sydal

This was brutal to watch. After Britt Baker did her usual insults, she brought out Sydal and continued to do the same. Sydal, pushing his match against Cody Rhodes in two weeks, mentioned people he had beat in AEW and included Danny Limelight who he hadn't faced on the show yet, exposing some sloppy production. A letter was thrown to Baker and Reba from "TBS" to hang a Go Big Show poster in the room. Sydal said the company is all about Rhodes and that they shared a magazine cover once. Sydal drew on Rhodes face, but you couldn't read it. This was terrible.

Thumbs Down


Team Taz (w/ Hook) def. Ryzin, Nick Comoroto and James Tapia

Taz stayed on commentary as Hook came out with the trio. Comoroto, a former NXT signee, has a good look but again, AEW has a lot of guys like that. Cage hit the Drill Claw on Tapia for the win.

**1/4 Thumbs Down


Griff Garrison (w/ Brian Pillman Jr.) def. Fuego Del Sol

Peter Avalon came out to do commentary and got a full intro. There was lots of joking with he and Taz which was entertaining to listen to. This match was to build to an Avalon-Garrison match down the road. Garrison laid Del Sol out with a discus elbow strike for the win. Afterward, Avalon gave Garrison a signed photo which Garrison tossed away much to Avalon's dismay.

Thumbs Up

**3/4


Santana and Ortiz def. Terrence and Terrell Hughes

This was the Inner Circle members' first tag match together since September 9th as Santana has been off TV due to family matters. Formerly known as TNT, the Hughes brothers (twin sons of D-Von Dudley) would be better served by one of them adding something different to their gear so you can better tell them apart. Ortiz hit a seated power bomb and then rolled Terrence back up into a Santana knee strike for the win.

Halfway through this show, it already feels too long. The lack of a crowd and any energy really makes this feel unnecessary other than to give the large roster some regular work.

***

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Sammy Guevara def. Aaron Solow

Both guys worked hard. Guevara hit a big jumping knee to Solow as he came off the top rope and later a springboard moonsault to the outside that looked great. Guevara hit the GTH to win it to wrap up a fun match. He took the mic and said he wants to get back in the rankings. He said today marked his 10 year anniversary of being a pro wrestler, putting himself over. Between this and the Santana/Ortiz match, there wasn't much Inner Circle cohesion as there are with other teams and factions.

**3/4

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Chaos Project def. Ariel Levy and El Cuervo De Puerto Rico

Cuervo was the wrestler who was on the unfortunate end of a scary cinder block spot on a Mexican indie show in 2018 that went viral.

Taz and Excalibur cracked each other up as Luther used Serpentico's body to attack their opponents. Rinse, lather, repeat. They hit Creeping Death on Cuervo to pick up the win. I guess I'm not sure why a young team like Top Flight or Private Party that needs more ring time isn't getting these spots when Chaos Project is. I doubt they are getting into the AEW tag title picture, so what's the point?

*

Thumbs Down


Leva Bates def. Madi Wrenkowski

Wrenkowski made her debut recently with a loss while Bates is still trying to find her way after the split from Avalon and Brandon Cutler.

Wrenkowski ripped out pages of the Young Bucks' book and threw them at Bates which Taz joked wasn't good for job security. He and Excalibur did a lot more joking around at which point I realized there was 40 minutes left in the show. Bates won with a small package to which Taz said, "What the hell?" Excalibur joked that Bates didn't take her Apple Watch off and was curious what her blood pressure was. Alright, then.

*1/4

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Matt Sydal def. Danny Limelight

This was a competitive match Sydal won after a crucifix pin. Both guys looked good, but it didn't make me any more excited for the Cody match in a few weeks, especially after the Waiting Room segment.

***

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Tay Conti (w/ Anna Jay) def. Vertvixen

**

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Tay looked good..in more ways than one


Gunn Club def. Royal Money, Baron Black and Mike Verna

**

Thumbs In The Middle Pointing Up


SCU def. The Hybrid2

The storyline here is that the next time Daniels and Kazarian lose as a team, they are done.

This was a pretty standard fare tag team match that got really good at the end. As has been the case, Daniels accidentally ran into Kazarian and fell out of the ring, leading his partner to take a lot of double team offense and close near falls from TH2. Kazarian rallied with a Daniels assisted monkey flip into a double clothesline. He tagged in Daniels who put his knees up as Kazarian gave Evans a reverse FU for the win.

Afterward, The Acclaimed jumped SCU and TH2 joined in, but the Young Bucks came out to run everyone off to close up Dark, setting something up for the near future.

***1/4

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Final Thoughts:

There's a lot of wrestling on TV so to have two solid hours feel relatively inconsequential is a drag. AEW does a lot of things right, but Dark feels more like fulfilling contractual obligations and getting some YouTube revenue than being a really good and must-watch show every week.



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