Previously on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dark: Sonny Kiss teamed with Dustin Rhodes, the women had a Fatal Four-Way, and Jimmy Havoc, Darby Allin and Jack Evans beat the shit out of each other.
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 5, 2019:
All In: New Friends In The Dark
Dasha Gonzalez (fka Fuentes) joins Tony Schiavone as the new co-host of AEW Dark. I like Dasha and I’m happy to see her here, but it does raise the question of whether or not this show needs two hosts. All Tony does is stand in this non-existent CGI room and intro matches and segments where wrestlers are interviewed in other locations, usually by other people. If Dasha’s going to join Tony, they need to either work on some Gorilla/Brain level gags or start doing interviews from the Control Room or something. Right now it just doesn’t seem like enough of a job for two people.
Meanwhile, Maxwell Jacob Friedman joins Excalibur on commentary for this entire episode. I don’t think I’d want to listen to MJF’s heel-posing-as-a-face shtick week after week, but it’s fun for one episode. Moreover, I like the idea of bringing in guest commentators for Dark, and I hope they stick with that. Excalibur is good enough to anchor the desk on his own, and at his age it may be best if JR just goes to bed when the regular Dynamite card is over. I don’t know if this is the plan, but I’d definitely be interested to see who the guest co-commentator might be next week.
Oil Out: Grease Is The Way
Michael Nakazawa is a strange, oily man. Shawn Spears, by contrast, is a competent but pretty standard-issue heel wrestler. He’ll cheat, for sure (especially with Tully Blanchard as his manager), but he’ll cheat in a violent way. Nakazawa, on the other hand, just pulls a bottle of baby oil out of his shorts and squeezes it all over himself so he can slip out of a hold. Then he squeezes some on Shawn Spears just because it’s gross. Then he squeezes it all over the ring so everybody’s slip-sliding around. Then he squeezes some on Tully Blanchard just to make him mad. Then he takes his underwear off and prepares to attack Spears with it, but thankfully Shawn cuts him off with a kick, and gets the pin with a slingshot jackhammer not long afterwards.
Sometimes I feel like AEW signed some people they’re embarrassed by, and now they don’t really know how to use them. Nakazawa is obviously a very talented performer, but he’s also completely ridiculous. He’s more ridiculous, in his own way, that Orange Cassidy. It’s impossible to take Nakazawa seriously in a match with someone like Shawn Spears, let alone imagine that he might win. But maybe that’s the point. Spears needed a win, and Michael Nakazawa’s there to give him one. Personally, I might prefer it if AEW would just embrace comedy wrestling and put Nakazawa, Cassidy, and Marko Stunt in a three-way match at Full Gear. Otherwise you’re just ruining Tully Blanchard’s suit without much payoff.
All In: Sign These Women
I was looking forward to this tag match between two full-time members of the AEW roster, Allie and Sadie Gibbs, and two women who absolutely should be full-time members of the AEW roster, Mercedes Martinez and Big Swole Aerial Monroe. The first part of the match seemed a little off, with some odd camera edits and awkward spots, but after the ten-minute warning, all four women really found their groove and the match got much stronger.
Sadie Gibbs is showing a lot of promise, and Allie (who still hasn’t appeared on Dynamite!) remains one of the most underrated wrestlers in AEW. Mercedes and Big Swole, meanwhile, are two of the best female wrestlers on the indies, and they bring a lot to the table for a match like this. Sadie and Mercedes both his vertical suplexes on each other’s partners, establishing who the powerhouses are. Allie did her thing where she executes moves and then howls at the moon, which I happen to be a huge fan of. It sort of feels like Allie has integrated the good and evil selves she was struggling between in her last year at Impact. She’s sweet and scary now, and that works for her.
Inevitably, the signed women won the match with a moonsault from Gibbs, but I’m crossing my fingers that we hear news and Martinez and Monroe joining the roster themselves. Of course, AEW might have to be willing to give the women more TV time for that to work, but it seems like a good trade-off all around.
All In: Backstage Builds
Doctor Britt Baker DMD cuts a promo on Bea Preistley, who she’ll be fighting on the Full Gear Buy In show this Saturday. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve really bought into Britt as a character. She talks about her Lockjaw submission hold using medical terminology, which makes it a lot more intimidating, and then she warns Bea that she could rip her off her jaw if she wanted to. It’s pretty perfect really. If you’re going to be a wrestling dentist, it should be about the scary stuff you do to people’s mouths. I hope they re-air this on Dynamite tonight, because everyone needs to see it.
Cody’s “Undesirable to Undeniable” interview of the week is with Jimmy Havoc. We don’t really learn much that’s new about Havoc — would you believe he’s a lifelong misfit who loves horror? — but it’s a nice chance to see him outside the ring, where he comes off as a lot goofier and more endearing.
All Out: Dino-Kids
I’ll tell you what I didn’t really need, which is to see nice young boys Jungle Jack Perry and Marko Stunt, still without their Guardian Dinosaur, fight two hardcore guys like Havoc and Joey Janela. It’s not that it was a bad match, there was actually some really good stuff in it. I just don’t know what it does for anybody to pin the tiny silly kid, and it certainly doesn’t do much for Marko to keep getting pinned.
When Havoc and Janela got into it and Janela stapled Havoc’s forehead I thought okay, this is how they’re getting Jurassic Express a needed victory while keeping Jimmy and Joey looking formidable. But then the two guys who can’t get along won anyway! I know these are dark matches, so I’m not supposed to ask what the point of them is, but this one didn’t do much for me, despite the talent of the guys involved.
All In: Backstage Build Pt. 2
After the match, though, Tully Blanchard got in Joey Janela’s face backstage about putting a cigarette out in his drink. Shawn Spears attacked Janela at Tully’s behest, and they caught Joey’s tongue with a pair of pliers and deliberately burned it with a cigarette (just off-camera, thankfully). It’s nasty stuff, and while I know it’s setting up yet another hardcore match, it’s an interesting way to get there. AEW: At its best when doing nasty stuff to people’s mouths. Sort of like Lucio Fulci with eyeballs.
That’s all for this week, join me next time for more wrestling too elite for TV!