AEW: Why you should tune in to Dark

Jimmy Havoc makes his entrance (photo courtesy of AEW)
Jimmy Havoc makes his entrance (photo courtesy of AEW) /

Speaking as an All Elite Wrestling enthusiast, if you’re only tuning in to AEW Dynamite, know there’s more reason than ever to give AEW Dark a slot in your weekly viewing schedule.

Recently, steps have been taken from the TNT network show to raise the profile of its secondary show, AEW Dark, to garner greater exposure. Last week, we saw AEW Champion Jon Moxley compete against Robert Anthony in the main event to bolster up the YouTube views and help push Dark as a program worth taking seriously.

Conditionally, through watching mainstream wrestling for years, we’re led to believe additional shows aren’t as important. For example, WWE’s Sunday Night Heat served as a plug for Monday Night RAW that frequently recapped events the majority of the audience had already seen and placed rushed matches in between those segments.

Not to take anything away from NXT, but we’ve seen time and time again where a new star has come through the ranks and moved on to a larger brand as a shadow of their former selves. Mostly due to main roster fans not being familiar with the star’s past work.

My point? We’re not used to seeing continuity on a wrestling product. What AEW is providing is a record that is seamless between both platforms. A victory on Dark holds just as much value as one on Dynamite. Title shots have been earned on Dark that translate over on Dynamite, not just the wins & losses.

By design, Dark is a progression system. There’s a blend of rising and established talents. What I love particularly about this product is that they take their time. There’s a larger emphasis on matches that allow wrestlers to showcase themselves, which includes their personalities.

In some cases, outcomes are predictable, while others suspend disbelief. To better articulate, the booking takes into account that a certain wrestler or team could not logically win as that would throw everything else they’re involved in off-kilter. Instead, the focus is having the lesser-known personalities get a rub and make them look better than when they entered, despite suffering a defeat.

The promos on Dark take far less time than Dynamite. they’re shorter, sharper and expand on events building up to situations that’ll come to fruition on Wednesday nights.

Another point that I find vital is that Dark provides an element that should not be overlooked: Context.

You can get by just from watching Dynamite, but if you only watch Dynamite, you’re missing the added depth of detailed told the night before. As soon as I embraced both programs, the whole dynamic felt different. It didn’t feel like a two-part system that offered a rewarding experience on either side.

I’ll provide an example, which is a strong opinion of mine from the most recent episode of Dark. As stated further up, Jon Moxley took part in a non-title match opposing Robert Anthony, which was featured as the main event. On commentary, Taz referenced the upcoming championship encounter with his client, Brian Cage, throughout the night.

Jon Moxley did not squash Robert Anthony. As a matter of face, Robert Anthony gave the World Champion a run for his money. Meanwhile, the number one contender Brian Cage looked on by the announce table. Standing there, witnessing a match he’d expected to be finished a lot sooner than it was.

Taz appropriately pointed out that Jon Moxley couldn’t achieve a dominant victory and that did not favor the champion’s chances of retaining at Fyter Fest. He would be going toe to toe with a greater threat.

In my opinion, nothing on Dynamite up to this point has measured up to the impact of this developing situation on screen. It made Brian Cage’s stock jump through the roof and I know that’s stating a lot.

A final point to add, as All Elite Wrestling has broadened their locker-room with new acquisitions, the tag division especially is evolving to a whole new level. This talent is spilling between and will continue to do so. They’re not being lost between different brands and overarching creative influences, it is all happening under the same overall schematic.

Next. WWE NXT/NXT UK: Top 5 Theme Songs for Men, Women, and Tag Teams. dark

If you’re watching Dynamite religiously every Wednesday night, I strongly encourage you to tune into Dark as part of your weekly routine. It isn’t a secondary substitute or a bit extra. Instead, you may discover as I did that it’s integral and equally rewarding as an AEW fan.