Tuesday, October 8, 2019

AEW Dark Is The Best Idea of the Year

Allin is the centerpiece to the first episode of Dark
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Wrestling tapings, live or otherwise, often have more matches than what make the telecast. These "dark" matches are for the live crowd only, but sometimes, they can be interesting enough to warrant wider release. While wrestling is still a live experience first and foremost, there's no denying that with the insane availability of avenues for release putting these matches out there makes too much sense. There's no need anymore for "dark" matches. I would wager that most people who go to wrestling shows live don't go for exclusive matches anyway, which I feel would be the only reason not to keep cameras rolling.

All Elite Wrestling had at their first Dynamite television event four dark matches spread before and after the live telecast, one of which being Darby Allin vs. CIMA, a match that I know I'd want to watch. Thankfully, I can. AEW announced that they would release all four dark matches on a YouTube show hosted by Tony Schiavone. The show, called Dark, debuts tonight. It is the best idea I've heard in ages. Making all the wrestling you produce available for consumption is what every promotion should be doing, whether or not those "dark match main events" are just bullshit five minute matches where John Cena runs through Kane.

The argument against it doesn't really exist unless you have a really self-absorbed fan who really believes that the dark match is strictly for the live crowd. It's not one worth having. What Dark does is provide something for the eager and hardcore fan to watch without it really being mandatory viewing. It's the second helping, so to speak, and the fact that at least the first episode features wrestlers that aren't in midcard hell like you'd find on WWE's extraneous programming (Main Event) makes it a little more special. Allin, for example, will go from wrestling CIMA before the live cameras started rolling to facing off against Jimmy Havoc for the first shot at Chris Jericho's AEW Championship. Right away, Dark is both important, but not entirely mandatory viewing like Dynamite is.

In 2019, no promotion should have matches its entire audience can't see. AEW making it possible for 100 percent viewing is both a long time coming and also a brilliant touch into their entry into the mainstream.