The Ins And Outs Of AEW Dark 3/17/20: Book Of Love

Previously on AEW Dark: We met ABADON, who looked like a newborn baby someone forgot to clean up for 30 years. Also, Colt Cabana got into an argument with the Librarians about podcasts being better than books, which to me is like arguing that Touts are better than movies.

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:

Chuck Tingle Presents AEW Dark


We open this week’s show — maybe the last episode of pro wrestling TV with a live crowd we’re going to get for a while — with the BATTLE FOR MEDIA SUPREMACY as Colt Cabana (representing podcasts) takes on Librarian Peter Avalon (representing books). I wish they’d included Dustin Rhodes for movies and Chris Jericho for music and made it a fatal four-way. Too bad Aron Stevens isn’t in AEW or we could’ve added theater as well.

As you’d imagine, this match is just Cabana dicking around until it’s time for him to win. Defeating Peter Avalon isn’t exactly a difficult task in AEW. Pretty sure Tony Schiavone could Buckshot Lariat the man and pin him in under five minutes. The major highlight, however, is when Cabana gets into a human tug of war with Leva Bates as the rope and inadvertently (?) causes ROMANCE IN THE WORKPLACE.


Assuming they work at the same library now (per The Librarians) and are co-workers at the same traveling pro wrestling promotion, they might need to sign a Consensual Relationship Agreement before the company’s taken over by goth incel cults. And of course, leave it to Colt to use mid-match love as a catch-as-catch-can transition.

Dice Dies


In this week’s most important development, Brandon Cutler isn’t rolling a D20 before his matches now. Did my constant insistence that they book the character and his matches around random die rolls make them stop doing it? Did it just not look great on camera? If that’s the case, just pre-tape all 20 number roll possibilities and run the one that most accurately describes what you already booked. [sigh] It was me, wasn’t it.

Anyway, Cutler teams with Michael Naka-(naka naka)-zawa to face the Hybrid 2, which gives Evans and Angelico a much-needed win in 2020 and shows that both versions of terrible Shawn Spears teams would be better without Shawn Spears. This was Cutler’s best-ever AEW match for me, at least in terms of his personal performance, and Nakazawa uses his “Turkish oil” to escape two versions of vertical suplexes AND to facilitate a hot tag. Unfortunately there’s a malfunction at the junction when Nakazawa attempts to use OIL MIST, giving Taz the incredible call of, “Can you drink the oil?”



The most surprising result of the week has to be Best Bout Machine Penelope Ford getting an upset win over former AEW Women’s Champion (and number two ranked, if that means anything) Riho. Ford’s great here using Kenny Omega’s mannerisms, and Kip Sabian continues being the least effective second in professional wrestling. Brother could manage Actual Kenny Omega in a match against a sandwich and the sandwich would gorilla press him. But hey, it causes a mild distraction that allows Ford to do a running handstand into the ropes (which I guess Riho would’ve seen coming even MORE without the interference?) and cutter Riho for the win.

Number one, I like Riho taking some losses. The only thing that kept American fans from connecting with her immediately, I think, is the pro wrestling concept of someone being “pushed down our throats,” without being allowed to develop. It’s the difference between beginning of AEW Hangman Page and NOW Hangman Page. Riho just kinda showed up and was demure and suddenly was the unstoppable champion. She’s great, though, so I’m sure she’ll find her footing and settle into the right spot. Number two, I think Penelope Ford is stupid talented and just rough as hell around the edges, and giving her the time and space to continue working with experienced folks and develop as a TV personality is a great call. Plus, her new entrance theme is that perfect pro wrestling mix between “easily recognizable” and “fucking annoying.” ♫ I’m listening to all the quiet words, typing what I heard, she’s a BAD BAD GUHL~!

Order Up


Your final Dark main event with fans (for now) (🤞) is Christopher Daniels versus the third in command to an evil cult who has been given the haunting name Stu. The intention is for it to be the final moment of “triumph,” so to speak, before the Exalted One is revealed on Wednesday’s Dynamite and presumably reigns terror down upon All Elite Wrestling forever and ever. Only now the reveal is happening on a show from a closed location with no fans, so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes over. Daniels is going to shock and betray all eight other people allowed at the public gathering!

The Fallen Angel and “Stu” — I mean, even their names make it sound like they’re on opposite sides — have a very good 10-minute match to close out the show, culminating in a post-match attack from the Dark Order and saves from SCU and Colt Cabana. I’m sad Cabana didn’t accidentally make Creeper Alex Reynolds fall in love with Creeper John Silver.

And … well, that’s Dark. Now AEW moves into the same period of uncertainty and bizarre production necessities WWE’s been dealing with all week, and we’ll have to wait and see how their interpretation of Wrestling In The Time Of Coronavirus plays out. It’s gonna be real fucking weird if they do a bloody-ass War Games match in an otherwise empty building in the middle of a global pandemic.

See you next week, I think?