Previously on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dark: Trent pulled off an upset against Pentagon Jr, Awesome Kong killed a Librarian, and Kenny Omega defended a AAA belt against Jack Evans.
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 3, 2019:
All Out: Format Creep
There was a sweet spot where this YouTube show was starting to really feel like a real TV show, and now it seems like it kind of slipped off the edge and has stopped being a real TV show again, which is a shame. This episode starts with a whole bunch of clips from Dynamite, before finally cutting to Tony and Dash in the arena (not in the CGI control center, interestingly enough). This is the second week in a row without the Cody interview segment, and this episode doesn’t even have a long getting-to-know-you video package like last week’s had for Shanna. It all adds up to this feeling less like the B Show and more like a bunch of “What you missed on Dynamite” clips stuck together. That’s unfortunate, and I hope they pull it together and give this show it’s identity back soon.
All In: Rewarding Bad Behavior
Supposedly Shanna was meant to be this week’s guest commentator, but then Nyla Rose beat her up and throw her into a garage door backstage, so now Nyla gets to be guest commentator instead! I’m not sure why it works that way, but Nyla’s a lot of fun in the role. She’s a heel on the mic, but in a really dorky way, making bad puns and sophomoric joke, which is surprisingly delightful. Does it make up for the lack of women’s matches on this week’s episode? No it doesn’t, but at least there’s one woman around doing something.
All Out: The Overall Vibe
I tried to just recap this episode match by match, but it was inescapable that I have the same complaint throughout the show, so I’m going to go ahead and start with it: All three matches on this show are face-offs between colorful weirdos and intimidating tough guys, and the colorful weirdos don’t pick up a single win. Brandon Cutler got a complete visual makeover just to put over Jimmy Havoc, although honestly, that’s the match where this problem bothers me the least, because Jimmy Havoc is essentially a weirdo himself, just a black-clad spooky one.
But then you have Sonny Kiss, who so many people were so excited to see welcomed into this company, jobbing for the “Chairman” Shawn Spears, whose entire gimmick is that he once hit Cody with a chair that everyone in the company immediately told the press was gimmicked to be as safe as possible, and then swore it would never happen again when that wasn’t good enough.
And then you have Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt once again getting stomped by a pair of full-sized men, just to set up a confrontation between Luchasaurus and Jake Hager. To be fair, I understand why people have a hard time buying Marko Stunt as a legit competitor, although I think they deal with that problem pretty well by having most of his effective offensive be him getting thrown by other guys. But signing guys like him, Jungle Boy, and Sonny Kiss make AEW seem like they want to be something entirely new in wrestling. Having those guys lose on the B- Show to guys who used to be in WWE and Impact make AEW seem like they’re afraid to REALLY be something entirely new in wrestling.
So that’s the essence of my problem with the show, but let’s go ahead and look at a few of the specifics.
All In: Sorcerer Versus Warlock
Brandon Cutler was out here looking like a normcore dad wrestler for months, and he still got made fun of for being a D&D guy, so now he’s like “Screw all y’all, I’m a dragonblood sorcerer.” There’s no reason Cutler shouldn’t look like this, especially as he gets in the ring with the guy in the pirate coat and the mask made of bones. Of course, it’s hard to build much in the way of character when you’re job is to lose every few weeks. And those stats they put on the screen are really bad news for jobbers, who have to enter with an announcement about how easy they are to beat underneath their name and Twitter handle.
Jimmy Havoc getting fined for stapling guys in the head and then stapling the check for the fine to another guy’s head is admittedly pretty funny. And Havoc makes a good point in the backstage segment, that if you hire Jimmy Havoc some heads are going to get stapled. It would be nice to see Cutler eventually get revenge for this or basically any of the other things that have been done to him.
All Out: Chairman Of The Bored
Look, Shawn Spears staring at Sonny Kiss’s butt while he twerks, and then looking around like “What am I supposed to do, does anyone know?” is funny stuff, and I can’t pretend otherwise. Plus there’s Shawn shaking his own butt later on, which is great. And I’m still impressed that they’re doing all this without any gay panic bullshit from Sonny Kiss’s opponents.
I’m just distracted by my desire to see Sonny Kiss get a match on TNT that’s not a battle royal, and by the question, “What does beating Sonny do for Shawn, especially when beating Shawn still would have felt like a big deal for Sonny?”
All In: Dino-Friends
This whole video package about Jurassic Express living out in the jungle is pretty great. It was already on YouTube last week, which adds to the feeling of this show not having much identity of its own this week, but I like it so much that I didn’t mind seeing it again. This is the kind of fun, out-there character stuff that I wish AEW would do more of (especially on TV!) Whether it’s believable or “legit” isn’t really a concern, because it fits the characters and it’s just fun.
All Out: Dino-Enemies
But of course this is all leading back to Proud & Powerful beating Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt, just to set up a post-match confrontation bringing in Sammy Guevara, Luchasaurus, and Jake Hager. Luchasaurus versus Hager seems to be the thing they’re really building up to, but I can’t say I’m that excited for it. Given how well-matched they are in size, I can only assume Hager will win that match, because Luchasaurus is a silly character who was in like half a season of Lucha Underground, whereas Jake is a big scary human man from WWE and MMA (and also Lucha Underground, somehow). So I guess what I’m pleading for is for AEW to stop being predictable along this particular axis. Prove me wrong, AEW. Push the weirdo.
That’s all for this week, join me next time for more wrestling too elite for TV.