AEW Dark Review
Santana and Ortiz do not wrestle enough on any AEW programming, plain and simple. As such, it was nice to see them jump back into the ring for a solid tag team match on Dark with a TNT. But this episode was filled with great matches from every AEW division.
Naturally, the horrible news of Brodie Lee’s death on Saturday weighed heavily on the episode. It opened with a title card tribute to the late wrestler, though nothing else was mentioned after that point. But there’s a very good reason for that.
Join us on this special episode of #AEWDynamite as we honor the memory of Mr. Brodie Lee with matches dedicated to his legacy. Ft #DarkOrder, @YoungBucks, @CodyRhodes, @OrangeCassidy, @The_MJF, @IAmJericho on commentary, & more.— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 29, 2020
Watch LIVE Wed night on @TNTDrama at 8e/7c. pic.twitter.com/vUgh9LPBYm
It was apparent that this episode of Dark was filmed before the events of the weekend. Taz and Excalibur continued to hype the night one card for New Year’s Smash which has been since pushed back a week. Instead, there will be a Brodie Lee tribute show on Dynamite, which looks like it’s going to be a tearjerker.
Big names and big matches
There were several great matches on Dark. Sammy Guevara took on a game Aaron Solow in a brilliant bout. Once again, Guevara proved he should be in a title hunt of some kind. Hopefully, 2021 will see Guevara with some AEW gold around his waist.
Matt Sydal also made two appearances, one on “The Waiting Room” and the second in the ring against Danny Limelight. Sydal doesn’t spend a lot of time on the mic, and that might be a good thing. He was incredible in the ring but was still a little awkward on the mic.
Danny Limelight continued to impress, even though he lost his match to Sydal. The man is talented and skilled in the ring, and could be an incredible permanent addition to the AEW roster. If Limelight jumps into the right faction, he could easily blow up.
Rey Fenix also popped up, this time taking on the debuting Vary Morales. Fenix was his usual level of brilliance but Morales also impressed. He is someone that AEW should definitely be taking another look at as Morales has a lot of potential with the company.
It’s always nice to see Penelope Ford in the ring. Much like Santana and Ortiz, Ford wrestling doesn’t happen anywhere near enough. She took on Lindsay Snow, another wrestler with a huge potential upside. Ford needs to be in her own storylines soon, hopefully leading up to a title shot.
Teams, teams and more teams
If AEW isn’t building towards a trios championship of some kind, then all of these six man matches are kind of pointless. There were two big ones on Dark featuring different regular trios. Surprisingly, neither of them were from the Dark Order.
Gunn Club delivered a loss to a random trio of jobbers. The Gunns were their usual combination of hard hitting wrestling and irreverent attitudes. Their very presence seems to aggravate Taz, which is more than enough of a reason to send them to ring each week.
Team Taz also delivered a trademarked beating to a random jobber trio of their own. Cage, Starks and Hobbs were great, as always, but what was interesting was Hook accompanying them out to the ring. How he fits into Team Taz has yet to be clarified though the angle has potential to be big if done right.
In addition to the Santana and Ortiz, Alex Reynolds and John Silver of Dark Order had great tag team match. They are definitely earning their way up the rankings, and towards a well deserved title shot. It would be interesting to see them work more with Adam Page in some form.
SCU also picked up a win against TH2. Considering they said they would break up after their next loss, one would expect them to take the match quite seriously. It’s hard to say where this angle is going but it already seems like Scorpio Sky is removed from the group so SCU’s days are likely numbered in the long run.
Santana and Ortiz still look amazing
Keeping in mind the chaos the pandemic has caused, one of AEW’s biggest missed opportunities in 2020 has been not capitalizing on Santana and Ortiz. While their general work with the Inner Circle has been great, it’s no replacement for their in ring work as a team.
They’re record as a tag team in 2020 is now 9 and 5 after defeating TNT on this week’s episode of Dark. That means they’ve only wrestled 14 tag team matches in 2020. That counts their five-star war with Best Friends on Dynamite a few months ago.
Santana and Ortiz are definitively one of the best tag teams in the business. Not seeing them wrestle more in 2020 has been an absolute shame. Again, the pandemic has played a role in that but there have been more than a few missed opportunities to put them in the ring.
That being said, they have competed in other matches alongside other members of the Inner Circle. It’s not like Santana and Ortiz are cooling their heels in catering every week. But they should be wrestling for the AEW World Tag Team Championships, and their performance on Dark proved that.