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The Ins And Outs Of AEW Dark 4/7/20: Friends In Wardlow Places

Previously on AEW Dark: The first matches in round one of the TNT Championship Tournament were announced, Preston Vance solidified himself as AEW’s Brendan Vink, and Jon Moxley met AEW’s next breakout star, Faboo Andre.

As a reminder and disclaimer, I think it’s great that AEW’s using Dark to give out-of-work indie wrestlers a spotlight and a payday, and the “Jobbers of the Week” gimmick is just a borrowed gag from the WWF Superstars column. Not an insult. Jobbers are the best.

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:


Jobbers Of The Week


Up first this week is Lee Johnson, who sadly goes one-on-one with his trainer, QT Marshall, instead of debuting as a tag team called LEE MARSHALL. I want them using 1-800-COLLECT to call in and let AEW know they can’t wrestle tonight, because they’re already in the next town. They should also refuse to stop calling Excalibur a “weasel,” whether it makes sense or not.

If you’ve seen a trainer vs. student match at your local wrestling school, this is basically it. Marshall gets to look way better than he’s ever looked in an AEW ring (because he’s 100% in charge of what’s going on), and Johnson’s got some good athleticism, but is clearly nervous and rushing. It’s normal. QT wins, of course, but not before getting busted open when Johnson’s elbow catches him in the cheek during a speed-run of the Lethal Combination.


Kip Sabian main-events the show against Tony Donati, who looks like Adrian Neville had a baby with Bo Dallas when they were both in NXT. The fact that he’s wearing hot pink tights and tells the camera he’s the, “toughest wrestler around,” makes me believe he could’ve walked into All Elite Wrestling straight from a WCW Saturday Night taping.

Three notes:

  • Whoever is assigning these AEW Dark jobber themes is punching above their weight right now. Faboo’s theme killed it last week, and this week Donati’s entering to a song that’s either a pop banger from the early 1960s or a Foster the People B-side.
  • Sabian still needs Penelope Ford interference to win a match against Tony Donati, a guy we’ve never seen or heard of who doesn’t even have a Twitter handle to put on his title card. Wanting to do “heel things” in matches shouldn’t be at the expense of making you look even mildly competent. Have Ford interfere when he’s wrestling Darby Allin, sure, but if the man can’t beat a guy Tony Schiavone could’ve taken to the wood shed, that not good heel work, that’s sad
  • Jimmy Havoc sits in on commentary for the match and sounds like Nigel McGuinness just got back from the dentist. I also love that he mentions how he and Sabian live together, which doesn’t do Sabian’s character’s “bad boy” image any favors — would you have thought Ric Flair was that cool if you found out the Horsemen were splitting rent four ways on a two-bedroom apartment? — but DOES make me want to see a Being The Elite spinoff that’s just, like, Sabian forgetting to Venmo his half of the cable bill and Havoc getting mad and stapling it to his forehead.



Finally (because this entire episode is only 18 minutes long, which will probably be the norm going forward until the pandemic’s over and the state’s not locked down), here’s Ryan Pyles on his way to get eaten for breakfast by WARDLOW & ASSOCIATES.

The match is just that Brock Lesnar and Kofi Kingston WWE Championship match from the first Smackdown on Fox — Pyles runs at Wardlow, Wardlow scoops him up, hits an F-5, and pins him — only about 12 seconds longer. That’s such a sad thing to type, isn’t it? Pyles, who didn’t even get to break out his finishing hold which I assume is the PYLES DRIVER, gets thrown so awkwardly by Wardlow that his upper body doesn’t even make contact with the mat. He lands on the side of his ankles, ends up on his knees, and has to like, bend over and pretend there was impact.

Here it is in slow motion GIF form. That’s what happens when you think you’re a bad-ass and don’t guide your opponent to the mat so the bump’s safe and clean, and/or your opponent’s not experienced enough to know how to salvage it on the way down. Sometimes you throw them at your own back. This poor guy could’ve had his knees DESTROYED on this, and it wouldn’t have even looked good. Here’s Brock Lesnar doing the same version, if you wanna compare and contrast. Not that it’s fair to compare Brock Lesnar to Wardlow. Brock spins a bunch, but he’s ostensibly doing the same, normal F-5, and Moore’s bumping off it the same way. Brock didn’t just like, throw his little ass to the wind.

Anyway, that’s it for this week’s Dark. We may have to consolidate these into the weekly Dynamite columns until things get back to some version of normal, but thanks for reading!