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    Thursday, May 14, 2020

    Welcome to the Dark Side (5/13/20): One Hour Too Long

    AEW's ethical shortcomings is a conversation we can have for another day. Considering that they are a company starting off, they warrant a little more understanding compared to their WWE counterparts—however, their choice to still go on live television and further expose their cast and crew to further exposure is inexcusable.

    Something else that is completely inexcusable is the creative decisions for this edition of AEW Dark. This week's episode of AEW Dark went as follows:

    Match 1-8: Enhancement Match
    Match 9: Decent No-DQ Match

    That's right, friends. If you don't believe me, watch the show for yourself and come back to me.

    I get having one or two enhancement matches to introduce new talent. To have eight in a row culminating to an hour-long show is just plain lazy. If the purpose is to have these guys look strong by squashing their opponents and boosting their 2020 record, then you are doing a poor job. I mean, the supposed points you give to each wrestler for wins and losses aren't specific anyway, so it is hard for us to buy the legitimacy of the whole system. This is especially true if you put them in matches with a guarantee of them winning. Wrestling matches are passionate, not stupid.

    So instead of reviewing what was given to us, I will be formulating a show utilizing the signed AEW talent present in this edition of Dark. By doing so, I am minimizing how many people have to go to work and creatively executing one of AEW's key promises: to treat fans as people with brains.

    Jimmy Havoc vs. Luther

    This match was pretty decent, so I am keeping it. With the background of the two men involved, I am not surprised that it took a couple of chairs for them to put on a pretty good 15-minute match. It could have done without Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford's interruption but I see why they did it: to build their relationship as a unit. Best thing on the actual card. Now let's go onto the made-up stuff.

    Rey Fenix vs. 10

    This was the least obvious match to put together, but looking at it, it actually makes sense. The Dark Order claims to be the lions of AEW. Why not have this match start the bubble of a feud between the villainous Dark Order and the disgruntled Death Triangle? While Brodie Lee focuses on the champ, we could have a side storyline of Fenix being the sole man standing for his faction. He certainly has the charisma to pull it off. Then once PAC and Pentagon can join him, we can have classic faction warfare—something AEW clearly is going for (e.g. The Elite vs. The Inner Circle).

    Jurassic Express vs. Private Party

    The match alone would be awesome. A face against face bout between two of the most over teams in AEW? Yes, please. Both teams would work well together considering the workrate of both teams. In terms of possible story beats, you could have it be the start to a rivalry of arguably the two true AEW breakout teams for dominance over AEW's future.

    Britt Baker D.M.D vs. Kris Statlander

    These two will be part of a match on the following episode of Dynamite to determine the next challenger to Nyla Rose's championship. Anything that you build between the two adds to the legitimacy of Dark as a show to watch. Maybe someone got injured and has to go into the match with it. Maybe the two ladies try to kill each other and the aggression relays over to the Dynamite match. These possibilities allow for some sort of purpose for both women having match on Dark to begin with.

    Orange Cassidy vs. Colt Cabana

    Legitimately, this could be a show-stealer on any card. One of the flagbearers of comedic wrestling faces the hot new face of the style—the story writes itself.  Imagine the spots. Imagine the sequences. It definitely won't be the most intense of matches but it will surely be hilarious as all heck. These two men have faced off before, but never on a big stage. This could be the match everyone talks about bringing more eyes on the show. Just the allure of how the match would play out would be enough for people to want to tune in.

    Conclusion: Needless to say, I was thoroughly underwhelmed by this episode of Dark. If AEW continues to put their wrestlers' health at stake, the very least they can do is put them in matches that actually make sense. A single decent hardcore match doesn't make up for the lack of direction this episode showed.

    Rating: D-


    Jacob Tambunting is a freshman at the Ateneo de Manila University currently studying BS Psychology. In his high school years, he authored plays for competitions, essays for projects, and fan fiction for fun.  He currently lives with his two parents, his two siblings, and his two dogs, and is probably writing something angsty on his 10-year-old laptop.
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    Item Reviewed: Welcome to the Dark Side (5/13/20): One Hour Too Long Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jacob Tambunting
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