The Big Takeaways:
The show had three major developments: Scorpio Sky continued his feud with Shawn Spears, Allie renewed her association with The Butcher & The Blade as the Bunny, and five of the eight competitors in the AEW World title no.1 contender tourney picked up decisive victories ahead of the first round kicking off Wednesday.
Excalibur and Taz were on commentary with Ricky Starks joining the team later in the show.
Shawn Spears (w/ Tully Blanchard) defeated Christopher Daniels
Spears has been feuding with Daniels' SCU compatriot Scorpio Sky. This match was shorter than expected. Spears stalled at the start, taunting his opponent, before Daniels hit a suplex and a pescado. Daniels tried a whip on the floor, but Spears reversed it and sent Daniels into the barricade before hitting a neckbreaker on the floor.
Back in, Spears pulled down his kneepad but missed a knee drop. Daniels fired up with strikes, but was whipped hard into the turnbuckle and DDT'd. He fought out of the C4 and hit a Complete Shot and an STO followed by a cradle for a near fall.
Daniels hit a diving crossbody for two and called for the Angel's Wings. Spears fought out and attempted the C4 again, but Daniels countered into another cradle for two. Daniels attempted a slingshot move, but Spears caught him out of the air and hit C4 for the win.
Post-match, Spears hit a second C4 and grabbed his Kevlar insert gimmick from Blanchard. Sky ran in for the save and Blanchard convinced Spears to back off. Spears attacked a stagehand on his way out.
Brandi Rhodes (w/ Dustin Rhodes) defeated KiLynn King
Brandi wrestles on Dark almost every week and I still can't perceive any real improvement from her as a wrestler. The announcers discussed her ongoing feud with Anna Jay.
They performed some choreographed wrestling at the start. John Silver came out with a "Johnny Hungee" sign, apparently a BTE reference which went over my head. Alex Reynolds came out and admonished Silver for being an idiot before they returned backstage.
Brandi hit the Shot of Brandi (a pump kick) for the win.
Ricky Starks defeated David Ali
Starks acted like he was better than Ali at the start, so Ali fired out of the gate with forearms. Unfortunately, he was met with a tilt-a-whirl powerbomb and stiff strikes. After a beatdown, Ali came back with a springboard dropkick, but Starks knocked him off the top rope on a second attempt. Starks then hit the Roshambo for the win.
Post-match, Starks joined commentary. He and Taz really have incredible chemistry and their interplay is genuinely the highlight of Dark every week.
Scorpio Sky defeated Fuego Del Sol
This match was really back-and-forth and not the squash you might expect. They performed some lucha libre at the start. There was a bit of miscommunication for a moment when Del Sol appeared to get tripped up in the ropes, but they recovered nicely.
Sky held an advantage with holds and power moves until Del Sol hit a pop-up dropkick and a Fosbury Flop. Back in the ring, Del Sol hit a diving crossbody and a sunset flip for a couple near falls. He attempted a missile dropkick, but Sky turned it into a scorpion deathlock for the submission win.
Post-match, Spears' music hit. Sky readied himself for a fight, but Spears never showed.
Luchasaurus (w/ Jungle Boy) defeated Aaron Solow
Luchasaurus beat down his opponent early on. Solow eventually hit a hurricanrana and a swinging DDT on the floor. In the ring, Solow hit a double stomp and a thrust kick before Luchasaurus downed him with a lariat. The Tail Whip, a chokeslam, and a standing moonsault gave Luchasaurus the three count.
The Butcher & The Blade defeated Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison
Eddie Kingston joined Butcher and Blade for their entrance. Blade fought with Garrison before both tagged in their partners. Butcher hit a running crossbody on Pillman to take advantage, and he and Blade then took turns beating down Pillman.
Butcher whipped Pillman into the corner, but Pillman turned around into a crossbody before reaching Garrison for the hot tag. Garrison ran wild on Blade, but Butcher and Blade countered some double team offense. They then hit a powerbomb/neckbreaker combination for the win.
Penta El Zero M defeated QT Marshall (w/ Dustin Rhodes)
This was the show's best match.
Penta did his glove toss schtick at the start, screaming "cero miedo" in Marshall's face, but Marshall caught his hand. They traded some running offense, but Penta laid Marshall out with a kick. Marshall hit a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, but his dive attempt was met with a kick.
Penta hit a loud chop on the outside. Marshall rolled out of the way of the double foot stomp and hit a diving uppercut. They went to the top rope and Penta hit a diving stomp on a hanging Marshall. Marshall escaped a package piledriver, but Marshall fought out and hit a handspring enziguri before the two traded kicks. Penta hit a sling blade for two.
Eddie Kingston came out on the ramp to watch. Penta attempted the driver again, but Marshall fought out and they hit simultaneous pump kicks. Kingston pulled out a microphone and distracted Marshall by bringing out Allie. Penta took advantage with a diving crossbody.
Marshall countered into a series of cradles, but Penta hit a pumphandle leg drop slam for two. Marshall hit a Michinoku driver before Penta fought out of a cutter and hit a jumping destroyer. Penta then hit the package piledriver for the win.
Jungle Boy (w/ Luchasaurus) defeated KTB
Marko Stunt did not join his Jurassic Express partners. This was KTB's AEW debut. He's a solidly built powerhouse type who frequently competes for GCW. KTB came out hot, but Jungle Boy hit a shotgun dropkick and a hurricanrana. He went to the top rope, but KTB knocked him down and hit a series of running power moves.
KTB hit a fireman's carry slam for two, followed by an inverted atomic drop and a jumping splash for another two. Jungle Boy fought out of a power bomb and laid in strikes, concluding with a rebound lariat. A dragon screw sent KTB to the outside where he was met with a tope suicida from Jungle Boy. Jungle Boy then hit a springboard DDT for a near fall.
Jungle Boy attempted another springboard move, but KTB caught him and hit an iconoclasm into a knee for another near fall. KTB missed a top rope moonsault and Jungle Boy hit a back elbow and a diving knee drop for the win.
Ivelisse & Diamanté defeated Kenzie Paige & Skyler Moore
Ivelisse and Diamanté attacked before the bell. Diamanté hit a deadlift suplex that Moore almost didn't get all the way over on. Moore tried to fight out with a cradle, but Ivelisse and Diamanté beat her down with frequent tags. Moore and Diamanté hit simultaneous clotheslines and both were able to reach their partners for tags.
Paige ran wild with clotheslines, but Diamanté broke up a pin attempt. They hit a double backdrop driver followed by a Diamanté cazadora stunner and a short kick from Ivelisse for the quick victory.
Colt Cabana defeated BSHP King
There was no Dark Order out with Cabana but a minute into the match, Silver and Reynolds came out for "backup". However, they ended up distracting Cabana. The story is that Cabana isn't wrestling aggressively enough. He told them to back off, so they left.
Cabana beat King down with elbows and holds. They fought on the top rope and King sent Cabana to the mat. Cabana got the knees up on King's senton atomico, and he followed up with the Superman pin for the three count.
Alan "5" Angels defeated Adam Priest
Silver, Reynolds, Anna Jay, and Preston Vance joined Angels for his entrance. Angels dominated most of the match, hitting a springboard moonsault and beating Priest down with ground and pound. Priest hit a series of lariats and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Angels hit kicks and a twisting fisherman's buster followed by his finisher, the Wing Snapper, for the quick and decisive victory.
Frankie Kazarian defeated Jack Evans (w/ Angélico)
Before the match, Kazarian cut a really good promo backstage addressing Evans. He considers Evans to be overlooked and underrated. Kazarian knows how that feels and that bothers him, because he's worked too hard to not be at the top of this industry. After he beats Evans, he's going after AEW gold –– all of it.
They performed chain wrestling early on and hit matching armdrags. Angélico hit a right hand while the official was distracted and Evans took advantage with a spinning kick for the heat.
Evans continued to beat down Kazarian and would occasionally distract the official to let Angélico get involved. Kazarian came back with cradles before dispatching Angélico with a guillotine leg drop. He decked Evans with a lariat and hit a springboard leg drop for two.
Angélico distracted Kazarian, leading to Evans hitting a leg lariat for two. Evans hit a standing twisting moonsault and a handspring elbow, but Kazarian caught another moonsault attempt and hit a reverse DDT for the win.
Hybrid2 attacked Kazarian after the bell, but Daniels ran out for the save which appeared to set up a future tag match.
Dark Order (Alex "3" Reynolds, John "4" Silver & Preston "10" Vance) defeated Louie Valle, Baron Black and D3
Jay and Angels were out with the three Dark Order competitors. It appears that Reynolds and Silver are no longer wearing masks to wrestle, but Vance still is. Valle made his AEW debut here; he's somehow shorter than Silver. Reynolds pretended to recruit him at the bell, but it was a ruse. Every competitor in the match got a chance to tag in early on, but Vance was the one who gave his team an advantage with power moves on D3.
Valle attempted a comeback after the hot tag, but Dark Order easily dispatched each of their opponents. He attempted a diving move, but Dark Order caught him and hit an assisted double team iconoclasm for the win.
Wardlow defeated Vinny Pacifico
Pacifico attempted a dropkick at the bell, but Wardlow no sold it and killed him with a gutwrench power bomb. He followed it up with a rope hang knee strike for the knockout victory. Post-match, he continued the attack with a ridiculous F5.
– Eddie Kingston, Lucha Bros, and Butcher & Blade cut a promo backstage. They were joined by Allie, who is back to being the Bunny and who appears to have joined the "family."
Matt Sydal defeated Shawn Dean
They performed technical wrestling to start before transitioning into strikes. Sydal hit a jumping back kick and started to target Dean's knee. During the beatdown, he hit a cool twisting moonsault and a lifting brainbuster for near falls. Dean fought back with elbows, but Sydal nailed a sunset flip and turned it into a submission hold.
Dean fought out with a roll-up and hit a running dropkick followed by a tiger driver for two. He went for a back suplex, but Sydal countered with a tijeras and a rising knee strike before applying a cobra clutch. Dean fought out, but Sydal hit a high kick and re-applied the cobra clutch, forcing Dean to submit.
Rey Fenix defeated Sonny Kiss (w/ Joey Janela)
Kiss surprised Fenix early on with a hurricanrana, but he missed a dropkick and Fenix took advantage with a dropkick of his own. Fenix feinted on his escalera attempt and instead wrenched Kiss's arm through the ropes. Fenix continued his attack on the arm.
Fenix missed a clothesline when Kiss moved into a back bridge, but his arm gave out and Fenix re-applied a submission. Kiss went for a diving leg drop, but Fenix pulled him down and hit strong thrust kicks to the head. Kiss hit a tornillo elbow and an enziguri followed by his cartwheel kick: the Xs and Os. The split leg drop followed for a near fall.
Kiss missed a tackle and Fenix turned it into a cazadora, but Kiss rolled through into a cradle. He then hit a pump kick and a flatliner and headed up top, but Fenix hit a rising uppercut and a black fire driver for three.
Last week, I said that AEW Dark continues to be way too long. This week's episode was longer. Additionally, I am beginning to question some of the booking. There's no reason why Scorpio Sky, Luchasaurus, and Jungle Boy should have evenly matched contests against David Ali, Aaron Solow, and KTB, respectively. Just let them get their decisive victory and move on.