Welcome one and welcome all to the AEW Dark review for Oct. 26th, 2021. Having said yesterday that I had finally figured out where AEW Dark Elevation fit into the grand AEW scheme of things, it was time for me to try and place AEW Dark in the AEW food chain.
Quite simply, if AEW Dark Elevation is breakfast, and AEW Rampage and AEW Dynamite are a massive feast, then AEW Dark is brunch. It has promos like the two flagship shows, but it also contains a lot of squash matches, which is pretty much the modus operandi of AEW Dark Elevation. This doesn’t make it a bad program by any means, but it does mean that my reviews of said program might be a tad shorter than usual. Momma always said I talked too much, anyway.
Promo Of The Week
Adam Cole is a goddamn wrestling god, who also happens to be one of the best talkers on the mic. He proved that again here with a rather scathing promo on the boys and girls in the back, but that wasn’t the reason that he gets the (not really that) prestigious Sports Obsessive Promo Of The Week, it’s because what he said was true. He talked about how the likes of himself, the Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega had changed the face of professional wrestling, and he was right. they did and they have.
If it hadn’t been for the BTE crew – along with The Bullet Club and Finn Balor – the state of pro-wrestling would still be in the hands of Big Vinnie and The Stamford Mob. We’d all be heading to RAW and Smackdown every week, just to get our fix of mainstream grappling, and would be at the mercy of a man who was once on the cutting edge of the sport but has his finger so far away from the pulse these days, it might as well be jammed up his ass. And we would hate ourselves for it.
Luckily, The Elite showed that you didn’t have to pander to the whims of a crazy septuagenarian and that you could make it in the business on your own. Because of this, we have AEW, which Adam Cole was quick to remind everybody stands for All Elite Wrestling and he doesn’t think that anyone should ever forget that. And it’s a sentiment that I fully endorse.
Right, let’s get into the fighting.
Invictus Khash vs. Bobby Fish
Bobby Fish came down to the ring and mullered Invictus Khash. This was the right decision as he had to look strong going into his match with CM Punk this evening. Let’s be real here, nobody really expects Fish to be the man to bring Punk’s AEW undefeated record to an end, but with a couple of strong showings over the past few shows, it should be easier to have the old willing suspension of disbelief that he could. You never know, this actually might go the distance as Omega and Danielson did, and if both wrestlers put in that kind of performance – which we all know they can – we might have a classic on our hands.
Winner: Bobby Fish
Xtina Kay vs. Riho
It’s easy to see why Riho is a fan favorite. She’s a perfect Babyface who does everything with a smile. Which when you consider that her job is hurting people, is a bit weird. In all honesty, I couldn’t imagine her as a Heel. It just wouldn’t work. Though it would at the least be a very interesting experiment.
It also seems that Xtina Kay’s role within AEW has been clearly defined. She shows up, does the J.O.B, helps her opponent look good in the process, and goes home. It’s an art in of itself to be able to lose in a good way and though I’d love to see her get some wins on the board, I can’t see it happening anytime soon.
Still, it never did Al Snow’s career any harm to always be the one looking at the lights, did it?
Jack Evans vs. Eddie Kingston
Is it just me, or does Eddie Kingston seem a tad uncomfortable when he’s cheered? I love The Mad King so I’ll take him as Good Guy or a Bad Guy, but it does look like he doesn’t quite know how to react when people respond to his character in a positive way. When he’s a villain, at least he can flip them off. But all that aside, this was a good little bout that allowed Jack Evans to show what he can do.
Evans was on top for nearly the entire match and managed to pull out a huge chunk of his repertoire – which is highly impressive – only to lose when Kingston rallied with a spinning back fist and a backdrop driver, before locking in The Stretch Plum, forcing Evans – who was sporting a rather natty new shaved head motif – to tap out.
The Mad King might have gotten the win, but Jack Evans came out of this looking really, really good.
Winner: Eddie Kingston
JDX vs. Dante Martin w/Lio Rush
Dante Martin’s Double SpringBoard Quebrada is a thing of beauty. The way the lad bounces from rope to rope before hitting a gravity-defying move should be hung up in The Louvre, right next to the Mona Lisa and Kenny Omega’s Springboard Moonsault. In fact, I think we should actually have a museum dedicated to these things and I will be starting a Go Fund Me page to make it happen. Maybe.
I like the dynamic that Martin and Rush have here as well. It’s obvious that the former isn’t really convinced by the latter’s plans for his career, but seems to be going along with it more out of some kind of Stockholm Syndrome than the belief that Rush wants what’s best for him, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out.
Will Rush cross him? Will Martin turn to the Darkside? I honestly don’t know, but as long as they give this the slow burn it richly deserves, then I’ll be happy.
Winner: Dante Martin
DJ Brown vs. Tiger Ruas
The bell rang, DJ Brown ran across the ring, Tiger Ruas hit him with a Spinning Capoeira Kick and knocked his ass out. WWE take note, if you want to build someone up as a massive threat, then that’s how you do it.
Winner: Tiger Ruas
Skyler Moore vs. Diamante
After Diamante had made Skyler Moore tap out to The Bodyscissors Nerve Hold, she stood on the turnbuckle, demanding that the company give her more. And I’m all for it. I said in my review of AEW Dark Elevation yesterday, that I don’t think that they’re using Diamante to her full potential and that she could be a huge asset to the AEW Women’s Division if only they allowed her to be.
Hopefully, someone in the back is figuring this out as this was a strong outing from Diamante, as Moore barely got any offense in. She kicked ass and looked great doing so. Now watch as she’s back on AEW Dark Elevation next week, getting pinned within two minutes.
Shayne Stetson vs No. 10 of The Dark Order
No. 10 murdered Shayne Stetson in about 30 seconds, which makes sense as he’s got a match against Jon Moxley coming up. Nuff said.
Winner: No. 10 of The Dark Order
Dean Alexander and Kidd Bandit vs. Too Fast Too Fuego
It’s Cody Rhodes, isn’t it? It’s Cody Rhodes with some special effects skin on his neck to cover up his massive tattoo, right? It’s the eyes – well, that and the ‘Dream’ he has scrawled across his chest – that gives it away, and considering that he’s getting jeered from pillar to post as himself, why not put on a luchador mask and enjoy your work for a while?
Alexander and Kidd Bandit got in a ton of offense and Too Fast Too Fuego had to work really hard for their maiden victory, but they got it in the end after Del Sol Uno hit a brilliant Tornado DDT. This was just pure wrestling enjoyment, cheesy as hell, and great fun all around.
Until today I didn’t realize how much I needed Too Fast Too Fuego in my life, and now they’re here I never want them to leave.
Winners: Too Fast Too Fuego
Arron Solo w/TheFactory vs. Bryan Danielson
This was always going to get my Fight of the Night award, but it might not be for the reasons you expected. Even though Bryan Danielson was always going to win here, both he and Solo put on a great match that saw The Factory man come out of it defeated but looking like a million dollars.
Danielson is savvy enough to know that he is now in a position where just being in the same ring as him is a huge rub for any wrestler, but instead of just allowing them the chance to share his limelight, he goes out of his way to make them look good. And that’s just what happened here.
Solo – along with The Factory’s constant interference – nearly pulled off the shock of the year with an unbelievably close two count and even though he’d end up tapping to Danielson, his performance was so damn good that he should – hopefully – get pushed on the main shows a little more.
He’s a quality wrestler and this outing proved it.