The Ins And Outs Of AEW Dark 11/26/19: Of Lucha Libre And Dead Librarians

Previously on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dark: the Best Friends beat Private Party, Britt Baker stuck her hand in Kris Statlander’s mouth, and the Young Bucks defeated Stronghearts.

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 November 26, 2019:

Wait, What?: Is Friendship More Powerful Than Lucha

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I don’t want to disparage Trent here. He’s no Orange Cassidy, but he’s a great wrestler in his own right. And this match between him and Pentagon Jr was really good from beginning to end. I just have a hard time processing the fact that Trent won. Yeah Trent’s a great wrestler, but Pentagon’s a supernatural skeleton ninja who used to break people’s arms for fun on Lucha Underground. But maybe Lucha Underground’s what’s messing with my perspective here, and I should adjust to thinking of Pentagon Jr as just one of several guys on the AEW roster with a penchant for face paint.

Anyway, this was a very solid showing that made both men look good. Production seemed a little shoddy during the match for some reason, but Excalibur and guest commentator Shawn Spears did their best to hold it together, and hopefully that’s something somebody is working on with Dark.

All In: Women With Stories

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Shanna gets a really nice video package about her career, which references the “Undesirable to Undeniable” concept but doesn’t feature Cody Rhodes (which is fine). It’s hard to believe she was ever told she was too fat to wrestle on TV, but then again not that hard, because being misogynistic to the point of delusion isn’t as uncommon in pro wrestling as you’d like it to be. This is also the first time we’ve heard Shanna speak, and her English is perfect (I didn’t know if it would be since she’s Portuguese), so hopefully she gets to talk more and do more in the future.

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Shanna’s video package is followed by an interview with Big Swole, in which she points out that Shanna’s not the only one with a story of struggle. Swole has defeated Crohn’s Disease and death itself to be here (a great line), and she’s bringing it all to the ring. I’m really glad that Big Swole appears to be a full member of the roster now, and I hope we see her on TNT soon, instead of just every week on YouTube.

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Neither Big Swole nor Shanna has ever won a match in AEW before, so somebody was getting their first win here. I was rooting for it to be Big Swole, just because I’m a particular fan of hers, but by the end of the match I was fine with Shanna winning. It’s interesting how AEW doesn’t seem invested in traditional heel/face dynamics at all. Neither of these women comes off as a bad guy, but they don’t see eye to eye and they both really want to win. Despite an off moment or two, I really liked this match, particularly in the aftermath of getting to know both women involved, and I hope AEW can eventually bring this level of attention to the female wrestlers on Dynamite too.

All In For Now: Witchy Brandi And The Kong

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Okay, so I guess heels do exist in AEW. Brandi’s clearly a witch of some kind, and she and Kong have been stealing women’s hair for unknown nefarious purposes, so there’s nothing nebulous about that gimmick. The Librarians have a heel gimmick as well, although Peter Avalon is clearly framed as the really unlikable one, while Leva Bates presents herself as more sympathetic. No matter who you’re rooting for, though, slamming that book in Awesome Kong’s face was clearly a bad idea.

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This turns out to be a squash match, to the surprise of nobody. Leva’s no match for Kong, who gets to add a swatch of bright blue to her collection of “scalps.” She also makes short work of Peter Avalon I’m still not sure what the ultimate purpose of the Librarians is, but they’re good to have around when your monsters need to make an easy show of strength.

All In: The Standard Is Set

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I’m not sure how Jack Evans of all people gets to challenge Kenny Omega for the AAA Megacampeonato belt on AEW Dark, but it was a good way to let us know that Kenny was definitely going to win. I’m not entirely sure what the deal is with Kenny at this point. It doesn’t seem like his story of not being able to win anymore is over, except that sometimes he still wins. Holding a championship from Mexico is also an odd fit for that story, and now they’ve gone and acknowledged it in AEW, if not on proper TV.

But hey, let’s put all that on hold for a minute and acknowledge that these are two guys who are really great at wrestling, and so of course this was a great wrestling match. Even if there’s a level on which it’s just a countdown to the inevitable V-Trigger into One-Winged Angel, these guys understand the importance of putting on a show, and they have the skills to do it.

That’s all for this week, join me next time for more wrestling too elite for TV, and a recap that I promise seem less rushed because I won’t be trying to get out of town for Thanksgiving!

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