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    Thursday, May 7, 2020

    Welcome to the Dark Side (5/7/20): A Gradient of Three

    AEW Dark is a show I honestly never found the point of following. In my mind, if it didn't play a part in the bigger AEW lore and storylines, then what was the point of watching? Although I heard, in passing, about the hype surrounding the Janela and Omega matches, it never became something that I really wanted to sink my teeth into.

    Taking on the AEW Dark column is something I considered as a challenge. That through dissecting the 30-minute to an hour-long show, I may get a better appreciation of pro wrestling as both a pure art form and a piece of a bigger story.

    Episode 32, which aired on May 7, shows the scale of competitiveness one can expect from a wrestling match. There were three matches on the card: a squash match, a semi-squash match, and a relatively longer match.

    Let's break down each one, shall we?

    The first match on the card was Dark Order's newest recruit, 10 (FKA Preston Vance) going up against "One Take" Ryan Pyles (I can respect the joke). The Exalted One Brodie Lee was in 10's corner carefully watching the match. For context, 10 is the wrestler teased having been a disheartened college football player. The match itself was your standard squash showcasing 10's power game well, playing into the fact that he was in football. The story of the match comes when Pyles gets some offense in, making the Exalted One irate, slamming a chair into the ring post.

    The match ends with 10 delivering a spinebuster to pick up the win, making Brodie Lee a very happy camper. It's interesting to see how AEW is building up such an abstract Illuminati-like concept in the Dark Order with this match adding to their dynamics as a group.

    Now, before I say anything about the next match, let me just say: Sammy Guevara is the most underrated heel in AEW. His snarky persona and his persistent need to keep on vlogging is the most infuriating thing to watch, especially coming from the point of view of a member of Generation Z who is sick of obnoxious vloggers in the culture (guilty).

    The second match on the card was a semi-sqaush between Sammy Guevara of the Inner Circle facing "The Captain" Shawn Dean. I call it a semi-squash because it was more competitive than a usual squash match but serves the same purpose of a squash that being to showcase the abilities of the guy going over. It was an interesting matchup, with both guys being a solid combination of both strength and high-flying agility. The match ended with a middle finger from Sammy followed by a Burning GTS. Not the most important match in the grand scheme of things, but it was an overall alright match.

    The final match was a bout between Colt Cabana and "Superbad" Kip Sabian. The backstory for this match was when the two had an altercation during Cabana's interview after the latter had some flattering words for Sabian's girlfriend Penelope Ford. This was an actual match (actual meaning competitive) with either guy looking like they could possibly come out on top.

    The story of the match came in the form of Sabian trying to do his high-flying offense with Cabana, to hilarious effect, dodging his maneuvers nonchalantly. The side story of the match was Penelope's loyalty as she denied Sabian a signature smooch after Cabana said a few words to her. The match ended with Penelope's loyalties answered as she distracted the referee, enabling Sabian to hit the low blow for the win. I can appreciate the ending considering that Sabian's high-flying moves did absolutely nothing to Cabana only for a low blow to finish the job.

    This episode of AEW Dark was entertaining enough but for two-thirds of the episode, there was a lack of competitiveness which really takes away from the overall show. Although all these matches serve a purpose, the entertainment value is decent enough for you to give this episode a watch if you have nothing to do. (Jesus, that sounds so mean.)

    Rating: C-

    Photos from All Elite Wrestling

    Jacob Tambunting is a freshman at 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 (5/7/20): A Gradient of Three Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jacob Tambunting
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