The Ins And Outs Of AEW Dark 3/24/20: Alone In The Dark

Previously on AEW Dark: Two dorks who work at the library and moonlight as professional wrestlers kinda sorta fell in love. Plus, Penelope Ford (who is a ♫ bad bad girl ♫) upset Riho, and Christopher Daniels continued to prove there’s no Exalted One leading the Dark Order. That worked out well for him!

If you’d like to keep up with this column and its thinly veiled Best and Worst format, you can keep tabs on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dark tag page. Make sure you check out the weekly Dynamite version of this column, and keep track of all things All Elite here.

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You can watch the latest episode of AEW Dark here:

All In: The Idea Behind This Episode

Before I actually write anything about the wrestlers or the wrestling, I want to point out how this week’s episode (per AEW CEO and Sheldon Cooper by way of Vince McMahon Tony Khan) is a nice, double-sized gesture to help a bunch of out of work independent wrestlers get a paycheck and a global (YouTube) spotlight.

Not only is it a nice idea, it positively re-contextualizes Dark as a sort of “proving ground” for talent that wants to make it in All Elite Wrestling without needing weird “Tough Enough” or “Gut Check” game show modifiers to do so, and allows existing, underutilized AEW talent like Sonny Kiss to get much-needed wins. Just a good idea all around, I think. So having said that, I would like to affectionately borrow from the Jesus Christ Superstars column and present to you the very first edition of …

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Jobbers Of The Week

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Drawing the short straw and getting Jake Hager duty this week is Joe Alonzo, who is kind of a mid-western Sammy Guevara, down to vlogging on his way to the ring. He’s squinting here because his one bit is pretending the empty arena has people in it.

He doesn’t give us much to write about in his 60 seconds of TV time, but what can he do? He’s wrestling in the middle of the day in front of no fans during a global pandemic that threatens to depreciate his entire industry, and he has to spend most of his minute-long big break jammed into Jack Swagger’s arm pit. After this beating, his fans are now Alonzo mourning.

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Up next is the tag team of Jon Cruz, famous for getting a good match out of Elias Samson back in NXT when that was a logistical impossibility, and Matt Sells, most famous for being the Batista fan Kenny Omega hit with a surge of murderous intent back at Fyter Fest. Think of him like a Zicky Dice somebody stretched on a rack. They’re led to the ring by Secular Lacey Evans Skyler Moore, who you may remember from her good job good effort against Awesome Kong on the first Dark of 2020. “I have a GIRLFRIEND” is still a gimmick several people get to have at once, I guess.

They’re up against the Natural Nightmares, the fun veteran pairing of Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall with recovering hair addict Brandi as their manager. It’s a good use for Dustin, although I hope he throws QT through an apple store window at some point. Dustin feels too legendary and still a little too important to settle on QT as his partner, no matter how much he likes him. With no disrespect to Marshall, it’s kinda like if John Morrison had returned to WWE and started teaming up with No Way Jose. Although, shit, that actually sounds kind of awesome. We could call them “Mo Way Jose.” All right, I like the Natural Nightmares.

Of the not-already-signed jobbers on the show, I think Cruz and Sells are the ones with the most upside. Sells has a ton of personality, and also he made “Sells” his last name so his nickname could be “Sex,” and Cruz needs to stick around if only to lure Luchasaurus back into the Reptile Tribe. Plus, keep an eye on Cruz in the background of this GIF and watch how he reacts to a Russian leg sweep he’s not even taking:

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Matt Sells, but Jon Cruz sells.

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Speaking of “I have a girlfriend” as a gimmick, SUPABAD Kip Sabian accompanied by SUPABAD Penelope Ford get a SUPABAD win via SUPABAD submission over Suge D. You may remember him as Globetrotting basketball player “Sugar Dunkerton” in CHIKARA, where he pulled off easily the greatest impromptu Space Jam dunk in professional wrestling history. I miss 2010-2012 Chikara more than I miss most of my dead relatives.

Kip goes full Zack Sabre Junior Junior on Suge with that finishing submission, by the way. As a quick site note, I know they like having Penelope Ford always interfere, but she probably shouldn’t have to give total in-ring assistance to Kip when he’s wrestling Sugar Dunkerton in the middle of a daytime jobber squash parade. Kip can’t win this on his own? Why does he (kayfabe) even get to work here? Save the Ford stuff for when he’s going up against someone who’s out of his league, not when he’s against someone literally not.

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Shawn Spears’ latest attempt at a tag team partner is none other than 20-year veteran Robert Anthony, seen here looking like “Justin” Thunder Liger in an entrance cape with zip-up shoulder pads. Brother looks like Ultimo Dragon got his job outsourced to Brad in middle management. Long time fans may remember Anthony from Florida Championship Wrestling, here was in WWE developmental alongside guys like Fandango, Dolph Ziggler, and Kofi Kingston. As a fun historical note, he’s wearing that entrance gear because his original gimmick was “Egotistico Fantastico,” a white guy playing a luchador a full eight months before El Generico debuted in IWS. For want of a nail, something something. In AEW, the look plays like he’s been digging through Brandon Cutler’s trash can.

Anyway, they’re up against Christopher Daniels and Franklin Delano Kazarian, and it goes like every other match in Spears’ partner hunt. They do pretty well for a while, a MALFUNCTION AT THE JUNCTION occurs, and Spears decides to bail and leave his poor partner alone to fight 2-on-1. When they lose, he decides they suck and don’t get to be his partner. Spears is actively looking for someone who can win 2-on-1 handicap matches so he can win all the time without doing any work. It’s pretty funny, although he’s lost six matches in a row trying to make it happen. We do get to see what I believe is the first ever Shawn Spears fan during the match, though:

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I’m telling you, he’s not going to be satisfied until Jason Jordan shows up to be his partner.

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Speaking of both Jason Jordan and people who’ve had more success in NXT, this week’s main event features Corey Hollis, notable for jobbing to American Alpha all the time back in 2016 and occasionally being put in a goddamn grave by Aleister Black. He’s also been in TNA, wrestled in ROH’s Top Prospect Tournament in 2014, and was AJ Styles’ final match on the independent circuit. He’s teaming up with 16-year veteran Mike Reed, seen here in full Tyler Breeze cosplay, against the thrown-together but welcomed team of Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela.

The best news of the entire night is that Kiss and the Bad Boy (tag team name SONNY BOY) have good chemistry together and even a combination finisher where Janela hops Kiss to drop an elbow before Kiss does a … well, a balls drop from the second rope. I’m not sure how else to phrase it, he jumps off the ropes and does the splits and lands on your chest with his junk. Whatever works! Kiss desperately needs more wins and a bigger spotlight in AEW, so if they want to do a fish out of water tag team with these two, I’m All In. Although Kiss should 100% still be Dustin Rhodes’ partner instead of QT Marshall, though. That pairing turned my eyes into hearts.

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No showcase of AEW jobbers would be complete without an appearance from Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast and “contemporary of the Young Bucks” Brandon Cutler, seen here totally about to fall for Colt Cabana’s bullshit. Cutler’s entrance roll is back, at least, although a nat 15 doesn’t prevent him from jobbing to an elbow smash and a shin pin. Pretty sure Cutler’s got a -20 on all D20 rolls.

Cabana is reliably Cabana, but Cutler is just brutal here, especially when he almost botches an RVD-style back roll evasion by almost twisting his ankle and falling down, follows it up with the world’s lowest … what is that, a knee strike attempt? And then FULLY botches a backflip. Colt has to stand there and wait for him to stand up to get “caught” by an arm drag.

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Next Week:

Another show like this, I hope. While the quarantine is on, it’s beyond cool of AEW to use their secondary platform to get some hard working people a payday they wouldn’t get otherwise. And it’s not like they’re interrupting any important AEW Dark storylines or anything. What’s a brother got to do to get a Kenny Omega and Riho vs. DoomFly match?

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