AEW Dark: Lee Johnson Steps Up and Stands Out

by Ian Goodwillie
Published: Last Updated on

AEW Dark Review

Lee Johnson had a hell of a Dark this week, even though he didn’t win his match. The newest member of The Nightmare Family stepped into the ring against a game Stu Grayson and put on an incredible show. But he wasn’t the only wrestler who impressed fans with a loss this week by far.

Given the depth of the AEW roster and the litany of unsigned talent already working Dark, it’s amazing that they still introduce new faces. There were four or five AEW debuts this week. It doesn’t make a lot of sense as there are already plenty of stars like Lee Johnson looking for screen time.

Leyla Hirsch

Even if AEW follow’s through and introduces a new show before the end of the year, they have enough talent around to fill the time. Continuing to add in more jobbers week after week doesn’t make much sense. That being said, they have found more than a few new MVPs that way.

Lee Johnson and Danny Limelight came to play

As previously mentioned, Lee Johnson showed up and showed out against Stu Grayson. Taz pointed out that Grayson is one of the most underrated wrestlers in the business and he’s right, as always. Stu is always on point and always delivers a high caliber match.

Lee Johnson

Johnson has been building his AEW credentials for months, though he has yet to find that first win. But he’s one of those guys who always makes a good impression, even when he loses. He wrestled an impressive match on Dark this week. Honestly, it might have been his best performance to date.

It was also nice to see Q.T. Marshall in his corner. His membership in The Nightmare Family hasn’t amounted to much until the last couple of weeks. Q.T. showing the flag and showing support for Johnson was key in building that storyline.

Danny Limelight also put in a great match against Rey Fenix. Limelight is a recent addition to the Dark crew, but he has been quick to make a good impression. He and Fenix, who is always amazing, put on an incredible show, one that was worthy of Dynamite. Limelight is a future star for AEW.

Rey Fenix Danny Limelight

Miro unsurprisingly beat Sonny Kiss, but it wasn’t as dominant a performance as one might have expected. Both Sonny and Miro were solid, but it was an even match. Sonny proves he belongs with the company every time he wrestles, and that he should be filling a a top spot.

“Pretty” Peter Avalon has clearly come out on top after the end of his tag team with Brandon Cutler. His new gimmick is solid, and he’s doing an incredible job of selling it. Being PPA is by far his best work in AEW to date. Now, the company just need to capitalize on it.

Bear Country returns

As shocked as some fans might be by this, only three out of the 13 matches on Dark were tag team bouts. And that counts the trios match featuring members of The Dark Order and Colt Cabana. It wasn’t a particularly good match, which wasn’t a surprise.

But Bear Country taking on Jurassic Express was intriguing. The big men picked up another loss, but they looked great doing it. Just like Top Flight, it seems like AEW has picked up another stellar addition to their tag team division. It’s still sad that fans haven’t seen Panda X-Press since their debut, though.

Bear Country

What’s awesome about Bear Country is that they’re different from other AEW teams, who are mostly smaller guys. Bear Country are agile big boys who can hit power moves and fly off the ropes. Honestly, they look like the kind of team fans would be more likely to see in WWE. They’ll have a better time in AEW, though.

TNT also finally reappeared. The sons of D-Von Dudley are huge dudes with a lot of potential. It was fun to see them go up against the Gunn Club as it was two second generation teams facing off. The other amusing part is listening to Taz talk about TNT while struggling to not mention D-Von by name.

Thunder Rosa arrives on Dark

Lee Johnson might have stood out, but the Women’s Division held down the fort on Dark. In addition to five solid matches, there was a very strange edition of “The Waiting Room.” SCU talked the entire time, then the segment was over. Britt’s talk show is interesting, but she needs to wrestle more.

Thunder Rosa appeared on Dark, taking on Jazmine Allure. It was a great match that showed off Rosa’s incredible skill, charisma and intensity. She might still technically be under contract with NWA, but Thunder Rosa is All Elite in the minds of fans.

The big surprise of the match was that Britt Baker didn’t interfere or jump Rosa after the fact. It would have been a great way to continue to build their feud. This seemed like a bit of a missed opportunity on the part of AEW.

Thunder Rosa

Red Velvet, Leyla Hirsch and Nyla Rose all picked up victories. It’s great to see Rose getting screen time. She should be the monster heel of the division, and booked accordingly. That being said, Hirsch could also be in the running for such a role.

Both Tesha Price and Madi Wrenkowski deserve shout outs for their work. Madi made her Dark debut and looked great against Hirsch. Price has wrestled a few times, now, and gets more impressive with each match. She could prove to be a great addition to the AEW Women’s Division.

Alex Gracia on Dark

KiLynn King and Alex Gracia faced off for the opportunity to take on Hikaru Shida on Dynamite. Gracia picked up the win and a shot at the champ, much to everyone’s surprise. Alex is a solid wrestler but King has been getting more of a push as of late. Still, it will be interesting to see what Gracia can do against Shida.

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