AEW Elevation and Dark deserve more respect for what they do

AEW, Sonny Kiss (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
AEW, Sonny Kiss (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

AEW Dark Elevation and AEW Dark have showcased many signed and unsigned wrestlers over the years. During the pandemic, it provided a paycheck and a platform to independent wrestlers during the pandemic. It has exposed a variety of talents to fans and found a place for signed talent who haven’t been on TV as much.

Both shows have a mix of veterans, up-and-comers, and talent in between. It provides a place to get in camera work and hone skills. Talent has opportunities to work with wrestlers of different backgrounds and experiences. It allows wrestlers that have been conditioned by other TV platforms to unlearn that mindset and find themselves again.

In some cases, it’s been a way to pad records to move a wrestler up in division rankings. Britt Baker frequently wrestled on both Dark Elevation and Dark to help her move into position to become the number one contender before eventually winning the AEW Women’s Champion.

Some really great matches have taken place on these shows such as Kenny Omega vs. Joey Janela,  Big Swole vs. Diamante in a 3 Strikes match (a first of its kind in AEW involving women), and Penta Oscuro vs. Wheeler Yuta.

Joey Janela turning on Sonny Kiss and ending Bad Romance was one of the more confusing things that AEW has done, but it led to some great matches between the two. The YouTube shows have been the only way for fans to watch Kiss wrestle in AEW for the last two years. They had a trilogy of matches that concluded with a no DQ, no count out, no rules match. The match included Kiss doing a frog splash from a ladder and ended with Janela hitting a Gotch-style piledriver through a table. It’s a match that should’ve been on TV. However, it did reward fans who regularly watch Elevation and Dark. 

This week, Dark was used to show two matches that took place in other promotions. The show kicked off with AEW Women’s Champion, Thunder Rosa facing Miyu Yamashita in TJPW’s prestigious Summer Sun Princess event. It was an Eliminator Title match. Yamashita won and earned a title shot against the champion. The show was bookended by PAC vs. Shota Umino. It was PAC’s first title defense of the AEW All-Atlantic Championship and took place in RevPro in Sheffield, England.

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Both matches were fantastic. They showcased wrestlers that some AEW fans may not be that familiar with. I would really like to see Dark have more exclusive matches like this. It’s a great way to build up interest in the show while showing matches that fans might not be able to see otherwise.

Some fans are convinced that the Dark Elevation and Dark are like WWE’s main event. Those of us who watch regularly know that it’s much different.  Having exclusive matches like the two shown this week brings a fresh approach to the show and helps it to stand out. Must-see matches that are exclusive to Dark would help get more buzz and more views.