Welcome to your new weekly review of AEW Dark. For those who don’t know, AEW Dark consists of matches that weren’t televised on that week’s AEW Dynamite. New episodes are uploaded on Youtube on Tuesday evenings, so they are shown to us six days after they are taped. I will post the video at the bottom of this review. I still can’t believe no one has thought of this idea before. How does it stack up? Let’s find out!
The show opens with Tony Schiavone standing with The Young Bucks in their locker room as they prepare for the AEW tag team tournament. The match, by the way, was excellent, and you can read John’s review of it here. Kenny Omega enters the locker room and talks about not having a match on the televised part of Dynamite. He says he wants an unsanctioned match with Joey Janela and for it not to count against his AEW win-loss record. Tony Schiavone announces the match to be official and we are underway.
Tony is now in the control room running down the matches for this episode of Dark. He sends us to the ring with Excalibur and JR on the call.
Peter Avalon is out first with his 0-1 record and starts telling the crowd to be quiet. He starts talking about not getting the credit he deserves. He bashes on the Red Sox and says at least he is competing in October. Classic heel move. He rags on the other Boston sports teams a little bit more until Leva takes the mic away from him. Kip Sabian is out next with a 1-1 record and is in the ring in short order. Sabian’s gear and overall ring presence are very Finn Balor-esque. Sonny Kiss is out last with a 1-0 record and gets a big pop from the crowd. It’s Jim Ross and Excalibur calling the action.
Peter Avalon w/Leva Bates v. Kip Sabian v. Sonny Kiss
The bell rings with Kiss and Sabian kicking Avalon out of the ring. Kiss and Sabian then share an impressive back and forth offense before being cut off by Avalon in the middle of the ring. They both double team him again and send him to the floor. Kiss and Sabian have more exchanges in the ring with Kiss getting the upper hand. Sabian battles back and is cut off by a neck breaker by Kiss. Avalon joins the fray once again and is disposed of in short order by Kiss. Avalon regroups and takes both men down throwing Sabian out of the ring and starts working on Kiss. Avalon slams Kiss down to the mat and starts putting Kiss in various submission holds. The crowd is firmly behind Kiss as they regroup and get back to a neutral position. Avalon pulls Kiss down by the head and gets Sabian back out of the ring. He panders to the crowd as they all boo him relentlessly. Avalon works Kiss over in the corner a little bit more with Sabian making the comeback and disposing of Avalon. Sabian then hits a nice looking splash on Avalon on the outside. As the replay shows, Sabian is getting his hand looked at by the ringside doctor. Avalon takes the advantage once again on Kiss. Sabian returns to action with a nice dropkick off the top to Avalon. Sabian still favoring the hand works on both opponents and hits a beautiful northern lights suplex for a two count. Avalon recovers with a neck breaker and gets near falls on both Sabian and Kiss. Avalon starts slamming the mat as Kiss recovers and hits Avalon with a series of shots. Avalon comes back with a roll-up but Kiss kicks out at two. Sabian hits Avalon from behind and hits the Deathly Hallows finisher for the three count and the win. Match went about 6 minutes.
Winner: Kip Sabian
Match Grade: Average (2.8/5 stars)
Match Notes: Good overall match with each wrestler getting their chance to shine. Sonny Kiss stood out the most showing the athleticism while not being on the offensive all that much. Peter Avalon had some nice time to shine but Kip Sabian did a lot to increase his stock. His record jumps to 2-1 and it will be exciting to see where these three land on the card in the coming months. I really think Sabian and Kiss would be great for a midcard title, should AEW decide to introduce one.
Back in the control room with Tony Schiavone where he briefly talks about the outstanding tag team match between The Young Bucks and Private Party before introducing the next match.
Hybrid 2 and The Dark Order are out first and they are coming out as unit with the Dark Orders minions in tow. Cima and SCU head to the ring, also as a full unit, and the match begins.
SCU & Cima v. The Dark Order and Hybrid 2 (Angelico and Jack Evans)
Cima and Angelico start things off. Both men show off great athleticism into a series of near falls. Quick tag to Daniels as they double team on Angelico. Angelico makes a comeback and tags in Stu Grayson who gets the upper hand on Daniels. Daniels remains on the defensive as he is attacked in the corner. Daniels breaks free and hits some high impact moves on Grayson. Daniels gets him over into the SCU corner where Cima and the boys work Grayson over with some good team action. Angelico and Evans charge over to the corner to free their partner. Jack Evans and Angelico get the upper hand with some double team action and Grayson covers for a quick two count. Grayson with a nice plancha over the top on to Daniels on the apron. Jack Evans and Angelico exchange tags with Grayson and start hitting some more double team moves. Evans covers Daniels for a quick two count. Grayson is back in and Daniels hits him with a jawbreaker. Daniels attempts to get back to his corner but is cut off. Grayson mocks the SCU side and they all try and get in the ring as Daniels is again being worked over in the opponent’s corner. The Dark Order hits a nice double team move for a quick near fall. Evans is back in and keeps working over Daniels. Evans has Daniels in the corner, does some nice-looking flips and ends up hitting Daniels with an eye rake. Evans tries a sidekick that Daniels reverses into a power slam and is looking to make the tag. Both men make the tag with Daniels tagging Kazarian and Evans tagging in Grayson. Kazarian is a house of fire and takes out everyone with dropkicks. He rolls up Grayson for a quick near fall and follows that up with a DDT/Stunner combo on the Dark Order. Kazarian is on fire as he tags in Scorpio Sky and hits a hurricanrana to the outside for good measure that sends Grayson spearing into his partner. The crowd is way into SCU as Angelico and Jack Evans run across the ring to cut off the comeback. They put some work into SCU until the tables turn and SCU regains the advantage on the outside. They pull Scorpio up to the apron and he hits a moonsault taking out Evans and Angelico. Scorpio rolls Grayson back into the ring where Grayson recovers and hits Scorpio coming off the second rope. Backbreaker by Grayson as Kazarian cuts him off and hits a cutter move. He is then intercepted by Evil Uno who hits him with a bicycle kick. Uno tries to hit Daniels with the kick but is countered and hit with angel wings. Cima is in now and has a fast exchange with both members of Hybrid 2. Scorpio is back in and has a back and forth with Evans, who he lays out. Scorpio attempts another move on Evans which Angelico blocks and they hit a double low blow. Evans gets Scorpio in an awesome looking backslide and picks up the win at around 10 minutes.
Winner(s): The Dark Order and Hybrid 2
Match Grade: Average (3.0/5 stars)
Match Notes: This match had a lot of fast-paced action. Obviously, when you get into 8 man tag team situations things tend to move a little quicker. I think SCU’s offense as a team is so smooth and I think everybody in that team is a star. Cima didn’t see a lot of action in the match but had some nice spots to shine when he did. The Dark Order and Hybrid 2 worked really well for a team that was just thrown together. Obviously, with Grayson and Uno, they have a lot of the big man/little man stuff going on, which works well for them. Jack Evans and Angelico got some good double teams in and work well as a team. The whole match had a nice flow to it. I also think Scorpio Sky is a star in the making.
Back to the control room with Tony who puts over the 8 man tag match and sends us to a package about Full Gear which is the next AEW PPV taking place on November 9th in Baltimore, Maryland. That show features Chris Jericho vs Cody for the AEW title and Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega locking up for the first time in AEW. It should be an awesome show.
We then have a segment called “From Undesirable to Undeniable” with Cody, who interviews female referee Aubrey Edwards who talks about only being in the industry for two years, but has quite the accolades under her belt. She talks about WWE contacting her and having her come in multiple times without hiring her. She talks about figuring out what’s missing in her game to make her more desirable to wrestling companies. She says that standing at All Out with the title was a huge moment in her career. She says that not only does she pay her bills from this, but she also has a blast doing it.
They shoot back to Tony who talks about the upset of Private Party over the Young Bucks in the first round of the tag team tournament.
They go to a package recapping the match and Tony talks about the ending of Dynamite last week and shows another package. All I can say is if you haven’t seen it, you should. I can’t put it over enough.
Justin Roberts talks about how AEW isn’t responsible for the upcoming match. The lights go out and when they come back on Joey Janela makes his way to the ring with an 0-1 record. He has had more matches than that, but if you remember he had another unsanctioned match with Jon Moxley. Kenny Omega then makes his way to the ring with an overall 2-3 record. Can I just say that the way Justin Roberts over pronounces Omegas name is almost laughable.
Unsanctioned Match: Joey Janela v. Kenny Omega
Janela starts the match going outside and grabs a chair. Omega panders to the crowd a little bit and hits Janela with a big chop. Omega stays on the offensive until Janela gets the upper hand and flys to the outside with a suicide dive. Janela stays on Omega and hits Omega with the ring bell. Janela then takes time to throw some chairs into the ring. Jr and Excalibur talk about referees stoppages which I find hilarious with the ending of Hell In a Cell being like 2 before this. Janela grabs a ladder from under the ring and tosses it in. He hits Omega in the corner and stacks the chairs in the middle of the ring. Omega rebounds with some more chops and throws Janela into the corner. As he runs out, Janela throws a chair and hits Omega in the face. Omega hits the crusher on Janela on the chairs. That looked painful on both guys. Omega fires himself up on the ring and dives to the outside as his legs crush the guard rail. Yikes. Omega is obviously favoring the leg now with the referee and doctor checking him out. Omega gives the thumbs up and he’s back on the attack. Omega whips Janela into the stairs and stands over him. Omega then goes under the ring and grabs a table, much to the pleasure of the crowd. Omega throws Janela in the ring and jumps back in. He is still favoring the leg at this point. Good missile dropkick by Omega as he gets back in the ring. Omega stays on the offensive but Janela comes back and starts hitting Omega with a chair. Janela takes a big swing with the chair and misses with Omega hitting a snap dragon suplex. Another suplex by Omega and Janela is in a bad way. Omega attempts a third suplex on the apron but Janela blocks it. They exchange reversals before Omega gets the upper hand and hits the snapdragon on the apron. Damn! Fans with a “holy shit” chant which I agree with after that. They show the replays of that as Janela and Omega fall to the floor.
The two fight outside and Omega climbs on the steel stairs. Janela grabs Omega by the waist and suplexes him off the stairs as he was falling off himself. Nice save by Janela. Back in the ring and Janela sets up a table with the metal parts facing up on the outside. That’s a first for me. Both men are back in the ring and Janela throws Omega into the probe ladder in the corner multiple times. He tries again and Omega reverses it and throws Janela into the ladder himself. Back elbow misses from Omega with Janela catching him and giving him a snap suplex into the ladder. That probably felt less than satisfactory. Replays show as Janela is back on the offensive. They exchange blows in the middle of the ring with Janela hitting a big elbow. Omega counters with a huge knee right in Janela’s mush. Janela hits a lariat that turns Omega inside out and follows it up with a fisherman brainbuster for a near fall. Janela puts Omega on the top rope and follows him up with a superplex. Omega is now on the apron with Janela following. Both men are on the apron with Janela attempting to put Omega through the table. Omega blocks it and sends Janela crashing to the floor. Omega tosses Janela back in the ring and grabs for the additional table in the ring. He sets that table up with the metal part up and attempts to powerbomb Janela on that part of the table. Janela reverses it and hits a back body drop and Omega crashes into the table. Janela follows it up with a Death Valley driver into the ladder for a near fall. Janela sets up the table fully in the middle of the ring and puts Omega on it. Janela sets up the ladder and attempts a frog splash off the top but Omega moves, sending Janela crashing through the table. Omega makes his way back to his feet as they show the replays from that move. Omega hits a buckle bomb and follows it up with a sky-high powerbomb for a two count. Good nearfall there. Omega follows it up with a knee strike that hits Janela square. Omega follows that up with another knee strike and then hits a huge clothesline. He then uses Jon Moxleys DDT for a quick 2 count. Storytelling at its finest people. Omega grabs Janela again and as he attempts to hit him with a running knee again, Janela reverses it into another back body drop to the table awaiting outside with the metal parts facing up. Second time in this match. “You killed Kenny” chants are echoing throughout the arena. Janela regroups and hits a double stomp off the top on Omega with a chair on his chest for another near fall. Janela is back to his feet and is trying to wedge the chair in between the ropes. The two exchange hard shots again as Janela sits Omega down on an open chair. Janela keeps working over Omega and kicks him right in the face sending Omega into the corner. Janela grabs the chair and sets up 3 others all unfolded in the corner. He drags Omega over to that corner and climbs to the top rope. Omega catches him and attempts to superplex him onto the top of the chairs. Janela fights it off and knocks Omega to the mat. Omega recovers and hits a gorilla press slam off the top onto the top of the unfolded chairs! Oh man, that looked horrific. Omega Is back up and hits the V trigger knee and slams Janela’s head into the chair in the corner. He then grabs Janela up and hits the one-winged angel onto another open chair and picks up the win! The match went about 27 minutes.
Winner: Kenny Omega
Match Grade: Above average (3.9/5 stars)
Match Notes: Wow, where to begin. First of all this match had a very ECW feel to it. It had all the weapons and the big spots but also they had the crowd in the palm of their hands. I think that is a key component in a match like this. Are fans buying into what you are doing? These two looked like they were beating the hell out of each other for almost 30 minutes. It had a gritty feel to it, which most AEW shows do, but this one had an extra element. It could have been because this wasn’t televised but maybe that is just me. The announcers talked about Janela not wanting to be the “deathmatch” guy as much anymore but when you only have matches like this it’s hard to get away from that. With that being said I feel like Janela carried his own and for the most part kept up with Omega, who is often referred to as one of the best wrestlers in the world. I liked the stuff they did here a lot and feel like the fans got a real treat in getting another 30-minute match after the show went off the air. That can backfire on you sometimes with people leaving or being dead for it, but thankfully that didn’t happen here. These two had decent chemistry and it’ll be interesting to see where Janela falls next and if he has fewer matches like this and more traditional wrestling matches.
After the match, they showed replays of all the spots in the match. JR and Excalibur really put over what a brawl it was from start to finish. They sent it back to Tony in the control room who put the match over a little bit more before the show is over at just over an hour.
Overall Show Grade: B (3.5/5 stars)
I thought the show was really well put together. AEW putting these matches up gives the talent a chance to shine a little bit more. They also give the fans their monies worth because the matches are taking seriously because they will be televised. AEW is doing a great job of separating themselves a little bit here and there, making each match count on TV and not on TV. The triple threat match was a good opener and gave each guy a chance to get their stuff in with Kip Sabian looking like the strongest of the bunch, although Sonny Kiss is also a player in AEW. The 8 man tag match had a lot of back and forth action and it was a lot of fun. The main event of the show between Janela and Omega took it up a notch and made you think to watch AEW Dark every single week.
What did you think of AEW Dark? Love it? Hate it? Didn’t watch it? As always keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel on twitter and let me know your thoughts. Support the site, and support each other and I’ll be back next week with another collective review of AEW Dark plus more!