Previously on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dark: Jurassic Express finally won a match, Kenny Omega went epic as usual, and we got a really great Big Swole video package.
If you’d like to keep up with our ongoing coverage of AEW’s YouTube series that showcases the dark matches from the previous week’s Dynamite, you can follow the tag here. You should also be keeping up Brandon Stroud’s Ins and Outs of AEW Dynamite for recaps of AEW’s flagship show.
First of all, you can watch AEW Dark here:
And now let’s talk about the Ins and Outs of AEW Dark for December 17, 2019:
All In: Commentary Magic
Vickie Guerrero is a special guest on commentary this week, and she’s clearly having a ton of fun. It gets even better after the first match, when Joey Janela joins Vickie and Excalibur to form a truly surreal 3-person booth that’s somehow an utter delight to listen to. Vickie’s watching like a fan, openly rooting for her favorites and at times being surprisingly horny about the people in the ring, while Joey knows everyone and has his own perspective on the action. He also makes several jabs at Jim Cornette, talking about “outlaw mud shows” and at one point talking about “riding through Canada with a bucket of maple syrup strapped to your back.” I’m not sure if the people who think it’s bad form to take shots at WWE will also object to taking shots at Cornette (surely we can at least agree he deserves it?), but I thought it was a lot of fun.
All In: Generational Warfare
Fired up veterans versus promising young newcomers is usually going to make for a fun match, and SCU versus Private Party is particularly great, as you’d expect. SCU needed to win, even in a non-title match, on their way to facing the Young Bucks on this week’s Dynamite, but Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy got plenty of good offense in, and got to spend quality time in the ring with Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian, who can teach them a lot no matter how good they already are.
Of course Vickie Guerrero added a lot to the match by talking about her love of Private Party and her desire to party with them after the show. Cougar jokes aside, Guerrero obviously knows a great high-flying wrestler when she sees one, and in general I like to hear veterans of the Business being enthusiastic about the new generation. AEW’s pretty great for that in general, actually.
All Out (But It Does What It Needs To): Toothsome Morsel
Britt Baker’s opponent Machiko has a pretty fun look, and has apparently been wrestling for a solid seven years (longer than Britt!), but she’s just here to job to the Dentist, and she does that job efficiently. Along the way, commentary talks about Machiko’s leopard print even though that’s clearly not leopard print, it’s little flower doodles or something, which makes me wonder if they’re calling the match indie-style, without monitors. But, surely not? This is just the YouTube show, but I’m sure TNT doesn’t pack up the equipment after Dynamite ends. Speaking of which, Joey Janela also gets a laugh saying that TNT execs told him to talk about Britt being a dentist.
By the way, maybe I’ve touched on this before, but AEW really needs to turn Britt Baker heel. She looks like a mean girl, the whole point of her finisher is how nasty it looks, and she’s literally a dentist who hurts people in their mouths. That may reflect her actual job, but it’s certainly not a babyface gimmick. They’ve got Kris Statlander, Big Swole, and Hikaru Shida to be the heroes of the women’s division, along with Riho who I’m sure will one day return with the belt like the miniature Brock Lesnar she is. Let Doctor Baker be an asshole; I’m pretty sure she’d be great at it.
All In: Alien Invasion
On that note, Kris Statlander is a star, and AEW clearly knows it. Not only does she look great against all-purpose villain Bea Priestley, but she’s already got a promising ongoing storyline which is furthered here by the Nightmare Collective showing up in the audience to “support” her. I suppose it’s possible that she’ll go the more disappointing route and actually join Brandi’s cult, but I feel pretty optimistic that we’ll get what I want to see, which is Kris versus Melanie Cruise, then Kris versus Awesome Kong, and then Kris versus Brandi. If you follow that path, I’m pretty sure she’ll be a huge star at the end of it. And that’s in addition to her upcoming match with Baker, and the title match she gets with Riho if she wins that.
Statlander also cuts her first AEW promo in this episode, in the freight elevator of all places (and I get it, it’s the most spaceship-looking location in the arena). It’s very indie wrestling in both form and content, but Kris’s natural charisma shines through, and I really think with a little more polish she’ll be doing great stuff.
All The Way In: Freshly Squeezed Friends Versus 2PAC
This is a six man tag between TH2 and PAC (2PAC, obviously) and the Best Friends, with Orange Cassidy finally getting some real in-ring action of his own. And honestly, Orange really does reach out and touch the hand of god here, even if he doesn’t put all that much effort into the reach itself. AEW has been incredibly smart in holding back on Cassidy. It’s been frustrating for those of us who know what he can do, but hearing the crowd here go wild when he does anything at all makes you realize what a perfect build he’s actually been getting.
He does the usually fake kicks and hand-in-pockets stuff, but he also expertly dodges PAC’s moves and hits him with a killer DDT that PAC sells the hell out of. For all that people who don’t really know him are dismissive because of his character, Orange Cassidy really is a great wrestler. We only see a little bit of it here, but by the time we eventually get a whole match of it, he’s going to be on fire.
Eventually PAC takes out Orange and dominates like you knew he would, eventually tapping out Chuck Taylor with a painful-looking brutalizer. This being AEW, that also counts as a victory for Jack Evans and Angelico, which keeps them afloat in the midcard while PAC stays at or near the top. The Best Friends may not fair so well, rankings-wise, but not seeming impressive until suddenly they do is their whole thing. Especially Freshly Squeezed Orange Cassidy, who’s on his way to mega-stardom, just you watch.
That’s all for this week, join me next time for more wrestling too elite for TV.