Previously on AEW Dark: Dr. Britt Baker continued her oral dominance over the AEW women’s division, Librarian Peter Avalon learned how not to be a dick, and Brandon Cutler as Shawn Spears’ tag team partner was a critical miss.
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.
You can watch the latest episode of AEW Dark here:
Mostly In: The Beautiful People, The Beautiful People
We’ve now clearly established that the AEW Dynamite roster has all the former WWE and New Japan stars and really anyone who seems like a normal but “good” wrestler, and Dark is where they stick everyone unusual. And they don’t pay a lot of attention to Dark, so the inmates have started running the asylum. A few bizarre outliers make it to Dynamite — Pentagon’s usually there, Jurassic Express shows up sometimes, and so on — but if you’re looking for a wrestling promotion in which the strangest people you’ve ever seen get extremely violent and weird with each other, Dark’s your show. It’s the drip tray of Dynamite’s grill. It’s like WWE Main Event run through Google Translate three times.
For example, meet this week’s new star, Abadon. She’s from the local Rocky Mountain Pro and looks like, as Taz astutely puts it, a Marilyn Manson music video. In case you’re wondering about the name and didn’t grow up going to church, “Abaddon” can mean one of two things: a bottomless pit in the realm of the dead (in the Hebrew Bible), or an angel who is the king of a locust army (in the New Testament Book of Revelation). The Holy Bible is extremely Dungeons & Dragons, if you weren’t aware. It’s also an embarrassment of riches for spooky wrestling gimmicks, especially in local indies. Abadon is also what you’d call the leader of a Swedish disco mafia. To sum it up, she’s an approximation of Rosemary. She should wrestle as “Tarragon.”
She does everything in the spoopy wrestler playbook, from the Bray Wyatt back bend and casual no-selling to licking poor Hikaru Shida in the face:
The real highlight of Dynamite is Taz and Excalibur calling this match. Taz says Abadon’s “her mouth fell out, her tongue’s on the floor,” and Excalibur says she, “might’ve gotten into the walk-in fridge.” Shida wins with a running knee, because in pro wrestling the only way to defeat a Godless beast from the pit of literal Christian Hell is to get a running start and knee it in the face. In WWE you can also pick it up on your shoulders and throw it at the ground.
To Abadon’s credit, she’s certainly memorable. It seems like the gimmick’s really all she’s got, but that’s hard to tell in one five minute half-squash that honestly went about two minutes too long. Honestly, I want AEW Dark to get grosser and weirder until everybody on the show is Abandon-adjacent, and then for Cody Rhodes to randomly stop by for an episode and be like, “wait what the fuck is going on with Dark?”
Severino, The Sevster, Makin’ Copies
Also making his AEW debut from Rocky Mountain Pro is Severino Corrente, who kinda looks and dresses like the Great Value brand Santino Marella, from his name down to how he wrestles in little shoes. The most important thing to know about him is that he’s not wearing a cup, and he really should be.
Corrente’s not bad. I go back and forth on whether I think jobber squashes should be SUPER squashy, especially when it’s someone from a local promotion who isn’t going to be here next week. But also I know wrestlers look better when they beat someone who actually looks like they might have a shot of winning. But also if you establish one and do the other, like having Jimmy Havoc kinda struggle against a guy we’ve never seen before and might not ever see again, it makes Havoc look like he can’t even dominate the worst guys. Like I said, I go back and forth. Drop down into our comment section and let me know how you prefer your jobber squashes, and where that line is.
Anyway, Havoc wins by unleashing his entire moveset on Corrente one after the other. After the match he calls out Luther, and then walks up the ramp with his back turned in a real self-fulfilling prophecy of a run-in. THE ORIGINAL DEATH DEALER~ Luther — have there been a lot of facsimile “death dealers?” How did Luther become the original man to DEAL DEATH? — beats up Havoc and then attacks him again backstage later in the show, cementing AEW Dark as the weekly programming where death match guys might run into each other and throw hands. Are we still fining Jimmy Havoc for using a staple gun? Because I want to see what happens if Havoc staples Luther in his “third eye.” I bet it does massive damage, like he’s a boss in a Zelda game.
As In As You Get On Dark: I Respect You, Book Man
Finally this week we have two tag team matches featuring the AEW Dark all-stars: Jurassic Express vs. Kip Sabian and The Librarians, and Private Party vs. Brandon Cutler and Sonny Kiss with multiple post-match run-ins. That’s not to suggest that ANY of these people necessarily “should” be relegated to Dark, just that this is where they go when the Inner Circle needs six segments instead of five.
Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy do their thing and come out on top, of course, as you’d expect. Honestly I don’t know why Luchasaurus doesn’t start matches for his team and just stay in the ring the entire time, he barely ever even takes damage, much less looks like he might lose. Jungle Boy fights for like five straight minutes, Luchasaurus tags in and IMMEDIATELY karate murders everyone, and then either quickly tags back out or like, falls out of the ring for some reason. Anyway, you know you’ve got an easy win coming up with Peter Avalon is on the other side, especially when the big spot of the match is Marko Stunt trying to break up an impending cat-fight between Penelope Ford and Leva Bates and causing everyone to just kinda stand around while a hot tag happens.
All in all, it’s as mildly fun and perfectly watchable as you’d expect.
The Librarians return later in the show with a message for their “Book Marks” and run into Colt Cabana. They assume he’s listening to an audio book and he’s like, I would never read, and they get into an argument about podcasts being better than books. “Podcasts are better” is the babyface stance, by the way. That really takes the “I’m SMART and all you people are STUPID” wrestling trope in brave new directions. It’s like getting cheered for saying water is gross and everyone should stay hydrated by drinking ICEEs.
Private Party win this week’s AEW Dark Sonny Kiss Disheartening Loss Invitational by defeating Kiss and Brandon Cutler, despite Cutler rolling a 17. I’m telling you, make those numbers matter. Go so weird with Dark that the Young Bucks show up one week and immediately get thrown into some goth character’s RPG dungeon and have to superkick monsters to escape.
The match tells a pretty interesting story, honestly, with Cutler and Kiss doing really well against an established team but falling apart because they’ve never tagged before and don’t have any chemistry. Their best chance at victory is ruined because they forget who the legal man is. Private Party both Gins and Juices them to win, and hopefully work their way back up to regular appearances on Dynamite. Pretty weird they got SUPER hot for a couple of months and Dynamite just kinda compartmentalized them off to the side.
After the match, the DEATH TRIANGLE featuring MACABRE GEOMETRY hits the ring and attacks everyone to “send a message” of anarchy to the roster. I would recommend being scared of a faction featuring a pissed-off ninja skeleton, his immortal brother, and a Geordie who wanders around in his underpants outside in the winter despite being constantly damp and is driven to constant, furious anger because he’s the only person at his job who feels like they’re paying attention. Joey Janela, Best Friends, and Orange Cassidy show up to make the save, and to basically be a police lineup of folks Death Triangle’s going to murder.