AEW Dark set to become a studio show (Updated)

The addition of Rampage to AEW’s schedule was bound to cause changes. Those were minimal for the first couple weeks as they aired the Friday night show live, but as they’ll often tape it on Wednesdays before or after the live Dynamite broadcast, that means less time for their YouTube exclusive Dark and Dark Elevation.

We’ve already seen the Monday and Tuesday Dark shows feature less matches in the Rampage era. And according to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, that’s only part of the changes we’ll see at least one of the Darks.

Most weeks, Dark will be filmed at a studio away from where AEW is traveling that week. The WON report lines up with what Tony Khan said in an interview with PWInsider earlier this summer.

“Before Dynamite, we used to tape Dark. That’s going to change. I’m going to tape Elevation before Dynamite now. So it’s going to be a shorter Elevation and I may add matches that I’ll explain where I’ll add them from. I’m going to procure a venue for use to tape Dark and other content that’ll be great. And I’m really looking forward to this. I think it’s going to be tremendous and it will be where we’ll shoot Dark and we’ll do tapings.”

Khan said they were advantages to taping both their original “developmental” series while putting together their other shows, there are also benefits to working with the younger, greener talent in a dedicated environment:

“And it’ll be, as it’s been, it’s been a developmental situation and it’ll continue to be developmental. And it’s been great doing it all under one roof, all at one taping. There have been advantages, but there’ll be some advantages now to doing it as its own taping and being able to give 100% attention to these and not having to also to think about Dynamite and soon Rampage and Elevation also.”

Personally, I think it will be cool to see one AEW show in a different setting each week. I also imagine the ability to focus on up-and-comers completely instead of while also creating three other shows will be a boon for the younger wrestlers.

What do you think, Cagesiders?

UPDATE: According to Andrew Zarian, Dark’s new home will be Impact’s old one:

Meltzer’s confirmed Zarian’s report.


Uh, oh...

The Tuesday Night Developmental War is about to begin!

Count me as (cautiously) optimistic.....

I think this allows the Dark shows space to breathe which is always good when creating a completely different product. But I hate that it means there won’t be a dedicated audience in attendance (or at best will be a smaller one).

Give Schiavone a podium if it's gonna be in a studio.

Do it, you cowards!

A skinny microphone even

It had to happen.

Dark and Elevation, aside from the first few weeks, were pretty much same. This will allow more focus on the talent on Dark but now they might experience different reactions when someone migrates over from Dark to the main shows.

I doubt that'll be an issue.

AEW has consistent tiers of wrestlers with those on Dark being the lowest. There isn’t going to be an equal footing situation as with NXT/WWE. Aside from veterans coming in to help, everyone else will have to climb their way up through Elevation before reaching Dynamite.

At least, that’s how it’s generally been presented and there isn’t much of a reason to change that.

I'm actually cool with this...

Dark IMO found its footing around the time when they aired those matches taped at midnight in Daily’s Place with Tax and Excalibur basically becoming the mainstay commentary team on that show. Had a much more chilled out vibe. The studio show can replicate that much better than the arena shows


The Daily’s Place Dark felt like NXT in 2012-13 when it was clear SOMETHING is happening here, but it was still the best-kept secret in wrestling.

In arenas, the Dark before Daily’s Place and the pandemic felt like Main Event + the post-show dark match…and it showed why the post-show dark match really shouldn’t make air in the first place (it’s just a breather big match for the crowd that doesn’t mean anything and assures the crowd one BIG match, even if the show itself has none.)

This is a great idea, it will make the show look different and turn it fully into Developmental as I assume the big talent will rarely get off the road to go to the studio.

It also lowers the load of the on the road production team and facilitates a more livelier show if they let a small audience in. Great idea all around.

I believe TNA/Impact used to be free admission as part of park admission

May not be a bad idea to see if they can get that deal with Universal Studios for Dark as well.

Makes sense.

Good idea.

Does this mean Shida will actually get used again on Dynamite/Rampage and not be stuck in Dark/Elevation limbo forever?


You know the answer to this question

Would be extremely funny if that studio venue was Full Sail

Probably won’t be (I would guess Georgia for Turner Media and tax reasons), but it would be funny

NXT is still working with Full Sail, just not as a venue while the pandemic is ongoing.

Students are still helping with production.

I thought they recently said their whole deal was over.

At least that they’re completely done with it as a venue, which is part of why they’re putting all of this effort into a CWC set redesign.

Triple H said on June 11 that for now the CWC was NXT’s home but that the partnership with Full Sail was still very strong and that he was looking forward to having students back.

But on August 20 Dave Meltzer reported that NXT- Full Sail University partnership is now over but that it was unknow if NXT would still continue to use Full Sail Students

Ah, thanks.

Andrew Zarian

Hearing that the possible new home for AEW Dark will be in Universal Studios in Orlando at a Sound Stage similar to what IMPACT use to do.
Wanted to add a little more to the story @davemeltzerWON reported on in this week’s Observer newsletter.

"What’s (insert wrestler here) doing in the Dark Zone?!?"

What's the impact zone doing in the dark zone?!!

Call Vinny Mac & Buy The Old WCW Saturday Night Displays!!

Went to one of those back in the day

My sign said today is Thursday, which it was. Even made it on tv

Wonder what the commentary situation will be...

Have Taz and Excalibur do it after the fact, or have a different team. Neither sounds as naturally fun as what they are doing now.

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