The Ins And Outs Of AEW Dark 12/24/19: Bad Santa

Previously on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dark: Kris Statlander came into her own, and Orange Cassidy got in the ring with PAC.

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 24, 2019:

All In: The Spanish God Finally Wins A Match

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As the delightful commentary team of Excalibur and Colt Cabana are quick to point out, neither Sammy Guevara nor Brandon Cutler has ever won a singles match in AEW prior to this, so they both have plenty to prove. Of course, it’s not hard to guess that as a member of the Inner Circle, Sammy needs that first win a lot more than Brandon, who’s job is pretty much to sympathetically lose matches on YouTube.

Still, this wasn’t a squash match. Cutler got to do some offense and let you believe that his moment might yet come, while Sammy got several moments to show how his cockiness often keeps him from doing the thing that would get him the quick win he needs (usually pinning his opponent). So even though Sammy wins, he reminds you why he often loses. And even though Brandon loses, he shows you how he might one day win (come on guys, at least let him beat the Librarian or somebody).

All In: Verses From Scripture

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This is the sort of thing that probably makes a certain kind of wrestling fan mad, but I’m the other kind of wrestling fan. I loved seeing Joey Janela cut a promo on Shawn Spears that was literally just the chorus from the 2013 Kesha/Pitbull hit “Timber.” Even better is when Janela walks away and Jen Decker says “That sounds so familiar!”

All Out: Another Fine Mess

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I like all four of these teams: Proud & Powerful, the Best Friends, Private Party, and Hybrid2, but this match has a lot working against it. First of all, it’s 8 guys in a ring on AEW Dark, so you know from moment one that it’s going to be a chaotic mess. Even moreso when it’s refereed by Bryce Remsburg. He’s a talented ref don’t get me wrong, but his entire gimmick, especially in AEW, is being a diminutive well-meaning man who doesn’t stand a chance of getting anyone to listen to him. On top of that, you have the weird multi-team rules like WWE also does, where there’s only supposed to be two legal men at a time, even though there’s four teams. It’s not what you want.

Still, at least everyone gets their spots in (what’s Dark for, if not that?), including Orange Cassidy, who is revealed under the ring and then does his jumping-with-hands-in-pockets trick. Ultimately Santana and Ortiz win, which is absolutely how it should go, but the whole thing was very much a “here’s all these guys you like” dark match, and while I can’t really blame it for being that (especially on Christmas Eve) I can’t pretend I found it exciting to watch, for all the talent involved.

All Out: Empty Threats

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This directly follows up from the bit on last week’s Dynamite where PAC snuck into the locker room to beat up Michael Nakazawa as message to Kenny Omega. This time the Bastard makes like he’s going to literally murder Nakazawa with his body and a chair, but then he doesn’t at the last minute and tells Kenny it’s his last warning. This would have been very dramatic if I’d thought for a second that PAC might murder Michael Nakazawa. This is a recurring problem in wrestling, where the stakes get too high and outstrip the things that can actually occur on a wrestling show. PAC is plenty scary without trying to make us believe he might deliberately break a man’s neck, which he’s clearly not going to do.

All In: Be Good For Goodness Sake

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Now this, on the other hand, this is the kind of silliness I’m up for. Shawn Spears, dastardly heel that he is, is about to tell all the kids in the audience that Santa Claus isn’t real (and just wait till they find out about pro wrestling), when Santa himself comes out in the form of Joey Janela. Wrestling in a Santa suit is exactly the kind of silly shit that Janela can get away with, but which kind of reads like an insult to Spears. And that’s what makes it great that it’s Spears that he’s doing it to. Partway through the match, we get a surprise guest spot not from the real Santa, but from another guy who you hear a lot about around Christmas.

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That’s right, Jesus Christ himself is in the crowd, and Joey Janela brings him out to ringside for a quick benediction. I was surprised at first, but on reflection this was filmed last week in Corpus Christi, and where else would Jesus go to watch live wrestling than a place that’s literally named “body of Christ.” I was hoping Jesus might get to hit a move on Spears, since we know he’s a big pro wrestling fan, but I guess the last thing you want to do is open up a legal liability situation with the Son of God. So Jesus goes back into the crowd and the now Blessed and Holy Joey Janela finishes off Shawn Spears.

Afterwards, he celebrates with White Claws and a Stone Cold Stunner. Apparently that led into a whole thing that we don’t get to see here, which is probably for the best (some things are too silly even for the YouTube show). Overall, this was a pretty slight episode, but considering it literally ran on Christmas Eve, I think that’s just fine.

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That’s all for this week! Next week’s a best-of show, but join me in two weeks for more wrestling too elite for TV.

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