After Dark-Week 6

Only 3(!) women’s matches across AEW’s YouTube shows this week, although two of them were decently competitive going over 5-minutes, one of which included 8 women. It’s a point I hate to make because any perceived criticism is immediately weaponized by the worst actors on the internet. I’ll just say, I’m surprised by the lack of women’s wrestling across Dark & Elevation this week because that’s not the norm. Ok, let’s get into it…

Feb. 6-Dark Elevation

Yuka Sakazaki vs Billie Starkz

I was very excited to see this match graphic! Yuka Sakazaki is a performer I’m always thrilled to see and I’ve been very impressed with Billie Starkz who we’ve seen now 4 times in AEW in the past month and she has a 5th match against Emi Sakura on Dark coming up!

Stay a while?

Not to be a bummer but as much as I love Yuka Sakazaki, I do struggle to invest in her fully in AEW due to her schedule. She feels more like a special attraction on excursion than an actual member of this roster. I understand that there may be some mitigating circumstances taking that decision out of her hands. And even if it is her decision to only wrestle in AEW in short stints, that’s fine too! But it’s difficult to fully get behind her and take any momentum she may build seriously until I know she’s going to be in AEW month in and month out.

The Match

I adore how eager Yuka is to shake hands with Billie after the bell. They open with some good chain wrestling into a stand off. Yuka applies a choke with her legs on Billie over the top rope. Billie is able to drop Yuka onto the apron and then front flip leg drop her from the top–A really cool spot I had to watch back a few times!

Billie begins to turn up the aggression including a vicious looking neck breaker. Yuka has really under-rated elbow strikes. We get a closeup of Yuka at one point and she looks like she caught a stray to the eye which is watering up and on a character like Yuka, that may as well be blood.

Billie hits a big knee! Looked great. She comes off the ropes but Yuka catches her with a discus elbow. Also looked great. Yuka then improbably is able to scoop Billie up and hit a brainbuster that reminds me of Al Snow’s “Snowplow”. Incredible power in this small unit.

Yuka drags Billie into position (which is a detail I always like rather than opponents just falling into the right spot) and hits the Magical Girl Splash for the win. Yuka’s poor eye though! 🙁

Great outing for both women. I’m really looking forward to Billie’s match against Emi and the inevitable meeting between Yuka and Athena for the ROH Title.

Winner: Yuka Sakazaki (5:39)

8-Woman Tag Match

The heels come out to Nyla’s music; The babyface to Madison Rayne’s. Vickie Guerrero notably comes out with the heels, I’ll be watching to see if there’s any storyline development between the Vicious Vixens’ teased break-up.

As you could imagine, with 8 women in this match it was pretty hectic so I’m going to just try to dig into some performances rather than recap the whole sequence of events.

The first two into the match are Nyla Rose & Skye Blue. Nyla, to my knowledge, is the first wrestler not to fall for Skye’s “spin kick after her opponent catches her kick” move. Nyla hits this running crossbody splash onto a standing Skye Blue just flattening her which was cooler than it sounds. Even Marina Shafir looked like she was trying to hide her smile.

Alright, let’s talk a bit about Marina Shafir because I feel like her brilliance is lost on a lot of wrestling fans. Skye Blue goes for a kick, she catches it, and rather than Skye Blue just giving her her hand so she could set her up for a pump handle suplex, Marina ducks her head under Skye’s leg to free up her own arm so she can grab Skye’s wrist, pull her head back out and then suplex her. Later on, Madison Rayne goes on a bit of an offensive run on Marina but she finally reverses a whip to send Rayne into the corner. Rather than rush right in, she’s still selling the effects of the punches she just took and tries to rush in but stumbles a bit, allowing Madison time to recover. She just thinks this stuff on such a high level.

We get our Get My Shit In™ sequence where each side sends someone into the ring in sequence to hit a big move on the last person who just hit their’s. This is the first time we see Hyena Hera who threw a kick, which was dodged, and returned with a back kick. Hera has 1 year under her belt and is a student of the Nightmare Factory. Madison jumps onto 6 women on the outside from the top turnbuckle.

Poor Hera ends up taking the pin after eating a boot (well, bare foot) from Shafir and then a Beast Bomb from Nyla. As for any additional “Vicious Vixens Lore”, I couldn’t detect any.

Winner: Nyla, Marina, Emi, Diamante (5:03)

Feb. 7-Dark

Kiera Hogan vs Megan Meyers

The dark Megan Meyers, hailing from Salem, MA (so a kind of “witch” vibe) brings some unique offence in this match. Her flip in the corner onto the turnbuckle move was a little bit stilted to where Hogan needed to stop up mid run to make the timing work but it’s still an impressive physical feat nonetheless. It’ll look killer when it’s smooth. She comes out of this with a back roll into a tiaress which, to me, looked too cooperative with Kiera needing to take off running rather than looking like she’d been pulled by Megan’s feet.

To her credit, I felt like this was one of the better sells of Kiera Hogan’s step-up leg drop. Kiera’s running baseball slide to Meyers in the corner looked flush. Kiera gets the win with a back drop suplex hybrid. I’m not sure if this move as a finisher. I feel like Kiera has all the hard parts about being a wrestler down. She’s likeable, her character’s attitude feels credible, she looks great, she looks strong. But I have a hard time buying the step-up leg drop as hurting and I feel like she needs a really solid finisher. These are just tweaks though.

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