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AEW Dark Review: Feb 18

It seems that I offended a few people with my AEW Dark Review last week.

In fact, I’ve had people hunt me down across all forms of social media to point out that I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Now, a vast majority of them have been polite, putting across their argument in an adult manner and making some very valid points, but there have been a few who think that it’s just easier to question my parentage and to suggest that my mother may not be the most faithful of partners.

This is fine.

Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, no matter how toxic it may seem, and I’ve been doing this long enough to not care what anyone else thinks, but that doesn’t change my opinion on last week’s AEW Dark one little bit.

It was awful.

So, with all that in mind, could the new episode get me reinvested in a show that isn’t quite sure what it wants to be?

Well, there’s only one way to find out.

It’s time to lace up our boots and head to the ring for this week’s AEW Dark Review.

Diamante vs Kris Statlander

Diamante vs Kris Statlander

If anyone out there wants to argue that this was nothing more than a glorified squash match, then more fool you.

It clocked in at just over five minutes and had Kris Statlander laying out move after move, while Diamante hardly got any offense in.

So we’re all agreed here, yes? Squash match.

That isn’t to say it wasn’t any good though.

Like a lot of pro wrestling fans, I’ve been disappointed by how AEW has handled their Women’s Division. There’s been far too much emphasis on The Nightmare Collective for one thing and when they haven’t been about to interrupt every match going, it hasn’t always seemed to click between whichever combination of wrestlers that they’ve put in the ring.

It strikes me as if whoever is responsible for this part of the company isn’t the right person for the job.

Having said all that, this week’s AEW Dark allowed the women to showcase their skills and it was all the better for it.

Diamante might be becoming a jobber, having a 100% loss record currently, but she helped get across just how much of a threat that Statlander could be to Nyla Rose and her AEW Women’s Championship and as Rose is set for quite a long run with the strap, at least that’s what I assume, building anyone up as a legitimate opponent for her is good booking.

Winner: Kris Statlander  

TH2 vs Best Friends

TH2 vs Best Friends

It appears that if you want to get some serious heat within AEW, all you need to do is attack Orange Cassidy.

That’s what TH2 did during their match with Best Friends and it worked like a dream, the crowd turned on them in a way that I haven’t heard since the end of Wrestlemania X-7.

Throughout the bout, TH2 played up to the audience, mocking their opponents at every opportunity, but it really was the assault on the laid back one that pushed them over the edge and into ultra heel territory, which is unfortunate, because unless you’re a regular viewer of the YouTube arm of AEW, then you’re not going to have seen it and they’ll just end up returning to normal heat levels on tonight’s AEW Dynamite.

Which is a shame, as this was easily my Fight of the Night.

It was full of top-notch action from both sides and has raised my opinion of TH2 quite a lot, though I still think they wear far too much neon, but as it was stuck out there in the wilderness of dark matches, then there’s a very good chance that fewer people saw this than should have, meaning all that hard work was for naught.

Winner: The Best Friends

Christi James vs. Big Swole

Christi James vs. Big Swole

Can anyone remember the last time a new talent showed up in AEW and won on their debut?

Seriously, anyone?

I’m really struggling to recall it happening.

This was a solid affair, with Big Swole picking up the win and showing the world just how strong and Swole she is, while James was allowed to get in some offense to help her dance partner look good but does this mean that she’s just going to be another talent reduced to jobbing in a division that’s crying out for fresh blood?

If that’s the case then that’s a really bad call.

I liked what I saw, but I would’ve been more impressed if they’d let the newbie pick up the win.

It would’ve added some extra flavor in a rather bland dish.

Winner: Big Swole

The Bucks Of Youth

Tag -Team Match: QT Marshall and Peter Avalon vs. The Young Bucks

And this match, right here, is what’s wrong with AEW Dark.

As soon as it was announced that Marshall and Avalon would be facing the Young Bucks, it was obvious what would happen.

They’d come out, play up to the crowd, hit all their spots, and send the crowd home happy. This is just what a dark match is supposed to do and I’m fine with that, but if that’s how this show is going to play out then go all-in on the idea.

Don’t make it so we’re supposed to take some matches as canon and others as not.

That’d be like watching a movie and every 15 minutes or so the actors turn to the screen to remind us that we’re just watching grown-ups play make-believe.

It takes you out of the moment and is unbelievably annoying.

Also, just where does Leva Bates fall on the Face/Heel scale?

Sometimes she acts as if she’s all about the rules and other times she’ll lamp someone with a book just for the hell of it.

Once again, pick a path and stick to it.

Winners: The Young Bucks

Meh

Final Thoughts

This week’s episode of AEW Dark was an improvement over the one I had to sit through seven days earlier, but that’s not really saying much.

The action on offer varied from okay to pretty good, but there wasn’t anything within the show that will live long in the memory now the final bell has rung.

There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done before AEW Dark can move onto TNT, including the company deciding how they want to go forward with it.

Either make it known to everyone that this is a dark matches affair or make every match count, which is something AEW claimed they would do from the get-go.

Whatever they decide is fine with me, it’s just there needs to be some clarity here or the whole thing is going to flop harder than Joey Mercury did when he took a ladder to the face.

Overall Rating: C

 

Neil Gray

Written by Neil Gray

The Undisputed Sports Obsessive One Man Wrestling Writing Machine. He is The Gray and he is 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 damn good.

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