Previously on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dark: Brandon was with you for a Memphis Wrestling tribute and the Gunn Club made their not-edited-out debut.
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 January 21, 2019:
All Out: This Used To Be A Show
I want to be optimistic and think this is still just the holidays leading into the beach/boat shows, and in time we’ll get back to the packaged and polished kind of episodes AEW Dark was giving us in its first couple of months. As things stand right now, though, I can’t help but feel like Dark has given up on being a TV show, which is ironic since some version of it might be coming to TV. On the other hand, why put the effort into making the YouTube show a polished product, when you’re going to have to completely restructure what it is in the near future anyway?
I just really thought we were getting into a groove when every episode had at least one video package acquainting us with a roster member, plus some interviews, backstage segments, and DDP’s daughter awkwardly telling us what the women’s division is up to. Segments are what I’m looking for. As opposed to just Schiavone and Gonzalez standing by the pool at Miami’s scenic Green Screen Resort, introducing us to two dark matches.
All In With Reservations: This Could Maybe Be A Division
There’s also a difference between the men’s and women’s matches on Dark. The men’s matches usually feature people we also see on Dynamite (although often facing opponents who we don’t see there), and might tangentially relate to a Dynamite story, like Jurassic Express proving they can go the distance against a formidable team before they face the Inner Circle.
The women’s matches, on the other hand, mostly seem completely disconnected from Dynamite’s one women’s match a week. It’s a whole separate show, like AEW Main Event, except probably more people watch it.
Anyway, this week it’s Big Swole against former Impact Knockout Diamante, who commentary calls a new signee, so maybe she’s sticking around? She used to be in LAX with Santana and Ortiz (in fact she’s still wearing the tights), so she does have AEW connections. She’s maybe not the strongest in-ring worker in wrestling, but she’s got a lot of personality and I think she works well as a brawler. Or you could have her doing stuff like this:
Not everybody has to work a fast style of wrestling, but if you’re going to, you have to actually be fast, is the thing. You can see Swole trying to pick things up throughout the sequence (which is longer than this gif), but Diamante just isn’t having it. And the sad thing is, there’s still a perception problem with women’s wrestling where if you have match that comes out slow and awkward, it plays out as a series of “look how bad this wrestling is” gifs, and that’s all some people see or remember.
I still think Diamante could do some fine work with AEW if they are bringing her in, but she needs more than they currently seem ready to give. Spend more time on the women, build more storylines that don’t involve Brandi Rhodes, and give us a chance to get to know all the characters. Make it so the quality of any single match isn’t the only thing they can be judged on.
All In: There Used To Be Dinosaurs
Say what you will about Marko Stunt, but he and Luchasaurus have worked out the closest thing to an X-Men “fastball special” that’s probably possible in wrestling. Maybe it would be more effective if Marko had claws, actually. But then he could probably only compete in Lights Out matches and he’d have to feud with Jon Moxley, or at least Jimmy Havoc.
When Stunt first joined the Jurassic Express, he seemed like a third wheel. “Don’t they understand that Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus comprise a dramaturgical dyad?” I thought to myself. I have to admit, I’ve gotten used to him and now I find him pretty entertaining. I mean, he’s kind of annoying, but that’s his whole thing, right? He’s like a little chaos imp. But you know, in a babyface way.
As tiny little men go, Lindaman of Stronghearts (the blond naked-ish guy) is obviously the more impressive specimen, but that’s an unfair comparison because he’s Lindaman. There’s a moment in this match when he and Stunt are in the ring together, and you hear commentary suddenly notice for the first time that they’re close to the same size, because clearly everyone had assumed Lindaman was taller. But no, he’s just a bit broader and built way more like a superhero or Master of the Universe.
Anyway, Stronghearts are great, and I’m always happy to see them in AEW. I get the impression they stay busy doing their own thing on the Asian scene, so I get why they’re not regular features in AEW, but they’re great for spots like this. I don’t think Jurassic Express are going to beat the Inner Circle on Dynamite, but this match makes them look like winners, and they needed that. Plus it was just fun to watch. I could watch Luchasaurus throw tinier men around all day, whether in a friendly or aggressive manner.
That’s all for this week. Join me next time, when it sounds like we may get another half show because they didn’t film anything on the cruise (but maybe that info is wrong, tune in to find out).