The Ins And Outs Of AEW Dark 11/8/19: Gearing Up

Previously on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dark: Some goofy guys fought some serious guys, and Mercedes Martinez and Big Swole arrived to show the Women’s Division how it’s done.

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 8, 2019:

Surprise! It’s Dark On A Friday

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AEW Dark usually drops on Tuesdays, but suddenly there it was on Friday of last week. It makes sense to go ahead and drop these before the PPV on weekends when you’re having one, because otherwise you end up in a weird wrestling time warp where you’re either pretending not to know things you know, or pretending to know things you don’t know, depending on when you shoot. Better just to keep things in order, even if it messes with my usual recap-week.

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This match featured wrestling legend Arn Anderson as a very special guest commentator, and then later Chuck Taylor as a noticeably less special guest commentator. Neither made all that big an impression, but I’m still in on the apparent plan to have different guests every week on Dark. That’s one of the fun things you can do with an online show like this that you wouldn’t want to do on TNT.

All In: Swole Up

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Rumors are flying that Big Swole may be signed to AEW, but there’s been no official announcement so far. This was a pretty good illustration of why I hope it’s true. Although Swole gets some offense in, the bulk of this match is about putting Hikaru Shida over as a force to be reckoned with, and Big Swole puts just as much of her considerable energy into that endeavor. The thing where Shida sets up a chair at ringside just to get some extra height on a running knee is almost comically showy, but Hikaru’s so good she’s winning me over to it. This is the kind of solid match between two great wrestlers that really makes you feel like the AEW Women’s Division could be something amazing if they’d just give it a little more time and attention.

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After getting a very excited pin on Big Swole, Hikaru Shida gives an interview backstage. On the one hand, she really doesn’t seem ready to give interviews in English. On the other hand, I’m glad they gave her the chance anyway. I’d probably rather see her cut Japanese promos with subtitles for a while, like Riho and Sakura did on Full Gear, but I appreciate that this is a world where not speaking perfect English doesn’t make you a bad guy or a lost cause.

All Ehhhh: Almost A Story

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So, is AEW bringing in unsigned women for dark matches as some kind of try-out because they’re looking to sign more women? That’s the best thing I can figure out, because the presence of Shazza McKenzie in this match is otherwise baffling. Shazza’s a huge indie star in Australie, and she works in the US with Shimmer and the like. But she had no reason to be in Charlotte NC last Wednesday, other than to lose to Nyla Rose. I don’t know her tag team partner here, Shalandra Royal, so maybe she actually is local talent, but Shazza definitely isn’t and it’s strange how much she seems like she is.

Also, commentary lets us know that Nyla wanted this to be a handicap match but she was forced to team with Leva Bates instead. Weird how that’s something commentary has to tell us, when it could have been an actual segment, if that’s the story they want to tell. And anyway, it does end up being a handicap match since Nyla refuses to ever tag in the Librarian, and instead demolishes Shazza and Shalandra herself. Blue Pants has completed her evolution into No Pants, but the respect she gets has stayed about the same.

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Nyla Rose also got an interview after the match, and she did a fine job of setting herself up as a prideful and put-upon heel who’s going to be looking for comeuppance against the whole Division. Not to beat the same exact drum we’ve all been beating, but I hope AEW gives her some room to tell that story, not just on Dark but on Dynamite.

All In: Gentlemen Of Four Continents

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The team of Kip Sabian, Angelico, and Jack Evans should be called the Famous International Playboys. I don’t know if their alliance will last after this random dark match, but they do fit together pretty well (and Kip’s new buddy Penelope Ford could be the Taya that rounds out their Worldwide Underground). CIMA, on the other hand, probably won’t get to fill in for Christopher Daniels anymore after the latter made his surprise return at Full Gear.

Anyway, this is a match free of consequences, and Scorpio and Kaz are clearly holding back a little in advance of Full Gear, but it’s still six guys who are very good at the wrestling doing that wrestling for a solid twelve minutes with the guys you like more winning, which is probably the sort of thing that AEW Dark viewers are into. I know I really liked the part when CIMA just makes a big trashpile in the middle of the ring.

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That’s all for this week, join me next time for more wrestling too elite for TV!