When it comes to AEW programming, the focus is generally on AEW Dynamite. However, don’t forget about AEW Dark. Their often forgotten second show airs on YouTube every week for free, as a starting point for many AEW talents who make their way to Dynamite over time. However, lately the episodes have just gotten bigger and bigger. The latest episode clocked in at 2 hours and 46 minutes long, containing 15 matches and other segments. Why has AEW Dark become such a long show?
AEW Dark Started Off With A Very Simple Idea
While at first, AEW Dark was used to simply show off the matches that came before and after AEW Dynamite. Those are matches that would be happening anyways to the crowd in attendance, making it easy to shoot and upload to YouTube for everyone to see. However, once everything slowed down during the COVID-19, AEW Dark took on a new life.
It was used to give some struggling indie wrestlers some work, and this is where names like Will Hobbs, Serpentico, Lee Johnson, Pineapple Pete and more got their starts with the company. Combined with giving AEW stars a chance to boost their win-loss records, the show found a nice niche. This would only be expanded over time, more matches added, more chances for talent to prove themselves. The cards would slowly grow, and the perfect chemistry of Taz & Excalibur on commentary kept fans coming back if not just to listen to them like it’s a podcast.
Enter The Testing Grounds Of AEW
This would bleed into the current era of AEW Dark. Now, it’s the testing grounds of AEW, and could be setting the groundwork for their next show on TNT. From segments like Britt Bakers ‘Waiting Room’, to teams like Top Flight & The Acclaimed, AEW Dark has become a place for AEW to safely try out new ideas and allow the fans to tell AEW what they like, and what they don’t.
While 10 to 17 short matches a week seems like a big commitment, you get to watch some wrestlers improve week by week. You’ll see men like Brandon Cutler & Peter Avalon work their way to eventual wins, KiLynn King & Leva Bates come into their own as part of the AEW Women’s division, and tag teams like The Acclaimed find their place. It’s an easy watch, and you can literally see the future of the company be built before your eyes. Don’t be shocked if a lot of ideas from AEW Dark that got good reactions end up on the next AEW show on TNT, or even Dynamite.
This is why Dark has gotten so long every week, because it’s their risk free space to give anyone interested a shot, try out new ideas, and build up talent to be ready for TV. Are you a fan of AEW Dark? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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