Having spent the past few months not being sure what AEW Dark is or wants to be, I wasn’t convinced that this week’s show would have any answers.
With everything going on in the world, a load of dark matches filmed in front of an empty stadium didn’t fill me with a sense of happy anticipation, especially with a product that doesn’t have a personality of its own to start with.
Yet that was the situation AEW found themselves in and that was what I sat down with my morning cup of coffee to pass my critical eye over.
So, against my better judgment, let’s lace up our boots and head to the ring for the AEW Dark Review: Mar. 24 Edition.
Joe Alonso vs. Jake Hager
I’ve had a lot to say on squash matches over the years, mainly that they don’t seem to exist anymore.
Normally, the sacrificial lamb will be led to the slaughter, only to put up a hell of a fight instead of just standing there and getting their throat slit and it’s annoying.
I understand that no wrestler wants their stock to suffer by getting their asses handed to them in swift fashion, but the true skill of that situation is being able to make your opponent look like a million bucks.
It’s a dying art.
Luckily, we got a very good example of it on tonight’s AEW Dark.
Joe Alonso got in the occasional shot here and there, but he took his beating like a true pro, leading an already well protected Jake Hager to look even stronger after the bell had rung.
Maybe the squash match isn’t dead after all?
Winner: Jake Hager
Tag-Team Match: Matt Sells And Jon Cruz vs. The Natural Nightmares
Teaming up QT Marshall with Dustin Rhodes might just be the most sensible decision that AEW has made since deciding another Monday Night War wouldn’t be one they could win.
And it seems to be a permanent partnership as they’re now known as The Natural Nightmares and, seemingly, have Brandi Rhodes managing them.
Hey, the further she’s away from Mel and that asshole Luther, the better.
This was a pretty good tag-team match, nothing sensational, but it kept the show ticking over nicely and gave QT Marshall another tick in the win column. It’ll be interesting to see how far they go with this, as the tag-team division is currently quite packed, but it’d be nice to think that they could work their way up to at least challenge for the belts, even if they ultimately come up short.
Winners: The Natural Nightmares
Tag-Team Match: Shawn Spears And Robert Anthony vs. SCU
I have a couple of questions here.
1: Why would anyone want to team with Shawn Spears at the moment?
2: Why has Shawn Spears aligned himself with Tully Blanchard?
If you’re a professional wrestler who’s put themselves forward for the #SEARCHFORSPEARS, then I have to question your sanity. All that’s going to happen to you is that you’ll put in a decent display, he’ll get annoyed at something you do, and then you’ll find yourself on the end of a two on one handicap match after Spears and Blanchard head for the hills.
I know that we’re heading towards a payoff somewhere down the line, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it’s going to be.
As for the whole Tully Blanchard situation, this isn’t like Arn Anderson and the Rhodes Family.
The Enforcer has brought a whole new dimension to Cody and his blood, but unless it turns out that everything Tully has been filming suddenly turns Spears into the world’s greatest wrestler, this has just been a waste of time.
Suge D vs. Kip Sabian
I’ve been very vocal in my support for both Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford over the past few months, so I’m gonna make a change here and look at Suge D’s debut.
I follow Suge over on Twitter and had no idea until yesterday that he was going to be on the show, but he was so psyched about the opportunity to appear that I was hoping and praying that it wouldn’t be a case of putting the cart before the horse, so to speak.
The last thing I’d want is for him to make his AEW debut and fall flat on his face.
Yeah, there was no chance of that.
He put in a really good performance, getting in more than enough offense so people unfamiliar with this work could see how crafted he is in the ring and took enough punishment that when he tapped out in the end, as apparently nobody is allowed to win their debut match within AEW, he put Sabian over with style.
I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we see Suge D on AEW Dark.
Winner: Kip Sabian
Brandon Cutler vs. Colt Cabana
They need to turn Brandon Cutler heel.
This is the conclusion I’ve come to after seeing the D&D fanatic lose match after match after match, as the Face gimmick isn’t working for him he needs to become a bastard to pick up that elusive first win.
This would’ve been the perfect time to pull the trigger on that move as well. After he got pinned 1-2-3 by Colt Cabana, who was his brilliant self, playing to a non-existent crowd as if his life depended on it, they both shared a moment in the ring together.
Right there, Cutler should’ve blindsided Cabana. In doing so, he could’ve gone on from here to use every trick in the book to finally have his hand raised in victory.
As it is, he lost and we have to wait another week to see if anything changes.
Winner: Colt Cabana
Tag-Team Match: Corey Hollis And Mike Reed vs. Sonny Kiss And Joey Janela
Having spent the past week doing commentary and pissing off Jim Cornette, which I love him for, it was time for Joey Janela to step back into an AEW ring alongside Sonny Kiss.
This was a very good team-up, at least for Kiss as he’s been on a horrible run lately having lost five on the bounce, mainly because he’s been tagging with Brandon Cutler who couldn’t get a pinfall on a medical dummy.
This was a very competitive bout, with Hollis and Reed holding their own, but it was only going to end one way.
After Janela had hit his flying elbow off the back of his partner, one beautiful looking “Kiss Is It” later and they’d picked up the win.
I’m not sure how long they’re are going to stay together as a team but it wouldn’t do a very talented, very underutilized Sonny Kiss any harm to start picking up a few more wins and regain some much-needed momentum.
Winners: Sonny Kiss And Joey Janela
Having gone into tonight’s show not expecting any great shakes, I’m pleasantly surprised to report that this was the best episode of AEW Dark that I’ve seen in a long time.
And the reason behind that was there was no crowd in attendance.
Having no fans to play up to, to do comedy bits for and to send home happy, the wrestlers just went out there and wrestled and the whole event was a lot better for it.
Maybe that’s the way they should carry on, going forward, cut out pandering to the crowd and just let their performers perform.
I’m going to finish up this review the way I’ve been finishing up everything I’ve been writing over the past couple of weeks and that’s by reminding you that during this crisis we all find ourselves in, don’t forget that you can play your part.
If you love wrestling then support those whose livelihoods are going to be affected by this outbreak. Head over to Twitter and say hello, buy their Merch, donate to the companies with Go Fund Me pages who are trying to raise the cash to put on no audience shows to keep their people in work and all of us entertained, because now is the time we need to stick together.
Look out for each other, spare a brother or sister a dime and, most importantly of all, stay safe, Wrestling Community.