Previously on All Elite Wrestling: AEW Dynamite premiered on TNT, with a tightly paced card of pre-announced matches that left very little room for surprises, except for heels attacking everybody after their matches, culminating in a whole faction of heels debuting as the episode ended.
Welcome to the first ever edition of the Ins and Outs of All Elite Wrestling Dark, our coverage of AEW’s YouTube series that showcases the dark matches from the previous week’s Dynamite. I’m stealing the “Ins and Outs” gimmick from Brandon’s column about the TNT series (with his blessing), because it gives what are really just “Best and Worst of AEW” columns their own specific branding.
First of all, you can watch the show here:
And now let’s talk about the Ins and Outs of AEW Dark for October 8, 2019:
All In: I Just Love Tony Schiavone
Tony Schiavone rules, and I love that he’s both part of the AEW commentary team and the host of this show. I’m not sure I can explain why. I didn’t watch wresting when I was a kid, so it’s not nostalgia. On the other hand, I have watched a bunch of ’80s NWA/WCW in the past few years, so it’s not like I haven’t heard his work from back then. There’s just something in his mix of legit sportscaster vibe and genuine intense love of wrestling that really works for me, and I couldn’t be happier that he’s at AEW. Also, there’s something fitting about him hosting this show, which is literally what the “tape machines” recorded when the live broadcast was desperately out of time.
All In: Make These Guys Matter
Darby Allin and CIMA are great, and I really liked their chemistry together. Strength and experience versus agility and recklessness. CIMA has been wrestling for 22 years, which means Darby Allin was about 4 when CIMA had his first match.
Early in the match, Darby just wouldn’t stop throwing himself at CIMA, hitting no less than three tope suicidas in a row. The first two of those knocked CIMA to the floor while Darby flew directly into the metal barricade, which really raised the question of who Darby was actually hurting here. But that’s the thing about this guy — he sees his own body as just a weapon to be hurled at his opponent with abandon.
As match went on, there was definitely a stretch where Allin seemed doomed. CIMA hit a great swinging DDT and got a near-fall. Then he earned the same with a lungblower, a Michinoku driver, and even a meteora direct to the back of Darby’s head. But as we’ve seen again and again, Darby’s the kid who won’t stay down.
Darby Allin finally got the pin here with the Coffin Drop, which was awesome because we’d never seen that successfully happen before. CIMA can afford the loss, and it was cool to see Darby win. This kid is going places, as long as he gets there before he destroys himself jumping off of and into things and people.
All Iffy: Team El Rey Versus Team Chill Dudes
This was an eight man tag, featuring Private Party and the Best Friends (with Orange Cassidy at ringside) versus the Lucha Bros and the Hybrid2 (which is Angelico and Jack Evans’ tag team name, apparently). I really like all of these guys, and there was a lot of fun stuff in this match, but there was also a lot of nonsense.
Whereas the first match seemed like it could easily be on the regular card, this was the very epitome of a meaningless dark match. It was basically impossible to figure out who was legal at any given moment, and whenever there were two just guys in the ring, at least one of their partners was in the process of climbing in to help out, tag-free.
Still, there were some good spots, like Isiah Kassidy’s corkscrew enzuigiri, and Fenix kicking off Marq Quen’s sunglasses, only for Chuck Taylor to put them on. Orange Cassidy leapt off the top rope to the outside with his hands in his pockets, because of course he did, and he wasn’t even in the match.
The only storytelling that went on was about the tension between the Lucha Bros and Hybrid2, which started with Jack Evans yelling “We’re the A team and you’re the B team” before the match began. So naturally when Pentagon and Fenix ganged up on Chuck Taylor so Penta could get the pin, Jack and Angelico tried to take credit anyway. I’m sure they’ll fight about it soon.
Another small highlight of this match was Jim Ross saying, “I have not figured out Orange Cassidy yet.” I suppose what separates JR from some of the other elder statesmen of wrestling is that he doesn’t seem mad about it. I’ll tell you who’s got Orange Cassidy figured out, though, is the small child in the front row who’s perfectly cosplaying him. I hope this kid keeps showing up on Dynamite and becomes AEW’s version of Izzy.
All In: Building The Women’s Division
The match between Riho and Nyla Rose on the first AEW Dynamite was great, but it also would have been cool to see more than two women wrestle on that show. This was clearly the match we were missing, and while I would have loved to see it on TNT, I was happy to see it at all.
The story going into this match is that Doctor Britt Baker, DMD, and Bea Priestley, no degree, really hate each other ever since Fight for the Fallen, and they’ve each picked up a blonde tag team partner in Allie and Penelope Ford, respectfully. Of the four, Allie is the only one who looked happy to be there as they entered. Britt and Bea were both carrying themselves with a quiet fury, and Penelope just seemed apathetic, which seems to be part of her whole thing.
The match started with Allie and Bea, but Bea ignored Allie and attacked Britt at ringside instead. Britt tried to get in to retaliate, but referee Paul Turner physically held her back. Like, he actually bodily carried her out of the ring, which is farther than most refs usually go. When Allie couldn’t get Bea to fight her, she gave up and tagged in Doctor Baker, but then of course Bea tagged Penelope and fled the ring. Darn heels. Penelope Ford, the aforementioned apathetic one, had to remind everybody that this was meant to be a wrestling match, doing handsprings across the ring to hit a back elbow, and then a waistlock into a pretty nice Northern Lights suplex.
Allie gets in on the action as well, with a surprisingly badass running forearm. Allie was one of my favorites when I was recapping Impact Wrestling, and I’m really enjoying seeing her in a new context, with a lightly rebooted character. She’s still Allie, but now that she’s not literally struggling for her soul, and she’s hanging out with dentists instead of demons, the balance between adorable Allie and serious Allie is much more organic. She’s also still really good at drawing sympathy, like when Priestley stomped her elbow in that nasty “early NXT Shayna Baszler” kind of way that really looked painful.
The match climaxed when Britt and Bea both finally tagged in at the same time, and the Doc immediately ground-and-pounded Priestley with a vicious intensity. This match never quite paid off their feud (I’m sure that will happen on TV), but it certainly kept us going and showed us how deep their animosity goes.
Ultimately it was Penelope Ford who took the loss to Doctor Baker here, tapping out to an unsettling submission hold that involved the dentist’s hand going into her mouth (but not like a mandible claw, this was something else). I don’t know what the hold is called, but it’s perfect for Britt, and Penelope was having none of it.
All Out: We Needed This Again?
This was another match where I liked all the guys involved, but I’m even less sure what the point was, because this was a match we’ve seen before. As commentary noted, Jurassic Express previously faced SoCal Uncensored at AEW All Out, with Luchasaurus and the boys taking a loss. Specifically, Frankie Kazarian pinned Marko Stunt at the end of that match. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but you’ll never guess how this rematch ends!
Marko Stunt is a fun performer, but honestly I’m still not sold on him joining up with Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus. As a duo, a Boy and his Dinosaur has a perfect Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur dynamic going on. When it became a trio, the question became if this dinosaur was collecting Boys for some reason. Moreover, I’m not sold on SCU beating up on this tiny little guy for two matches in a row.
Don’t get me wrong, Stunt gets some offense in. So do Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus, and there’s plenty of back and forth. There’s also Marko flossing at Christopher Daniels, and Daniels showing he’s been practicing when he successfully flosses back. I don’t mind that sort of thing at all.
But ultimately SCU wins again, apparently because Marko Stunt is just too small to beat them. Specifically, Kazarian pins Stunt, again! What purpose does that serve? I was fine with the rematch when I assumed it was going to end with Marko and Jurassic Express proving themselves this time, but then it ended exactly the same way as the first match! Now I don’t want to see a third match, because I’ve lost faith it will go differently, so their chance to add that happy ending has been lost. In other words, I could have done without this entire thing. A questionable ending to an otherwise solid show.
These dark matches don’t seem to be announced in advance, so there’s no way to do a “join me next week when,” but I’ll certainly be here in a week to talk about whatever goes on before and after Dynamite, and I hope you’ll join me.