5 Directions AEW Could Take The Elite vs Dark Order
On the upcoming Fight for the Fallen edition of Dynamite, AEW is set to present a massive 5 vs 5 Elimination Tag Team Match between The Elite and Hangman Page & The Dark Order. Stakes are high in this mammoth match up as Hangman puts his, as well as the Dark Order’s, chance at title glory on the line. If they can beat The Elite they earn title matches, but if they lose they aren’t allowed to challenge while The Elite hold the gold. As fans eagerly await the outcome of this highly anticipated tag match, I believe that AEW have planted enough seeds that I can predict 5 directions they could take The Elite vs Dark Order.
1. (The Worst Case Scenario) A Sobering Defeat
The worst thing AEW could do with this match is have the Dark Order lose. Cutting the legs out from under the fan-favorite faction this early in the feud would only raise the ire of the passionate fanbase. The heat that The Elite would garner would be immense, but I don’t think it’s worth the cries of burial and mismanagement that the decision would be met with.
The argument could be made that there’s value in prolonging this feud. That having Hangman and the Dark Order working hard and finding another way to the title would make for a compelling storyline, but that is just over-complicating a story that has already gripped the fans. I do believe there could be value in extending this feud, just not here, and not now. Unless they pull off absolute booking magic, I don’t see a good outcome where the Dark Order loses here.
2. Kenny Omega DQ’d
One thing I’m certain about is that Kenny Omega will not be pinned in this match. It goes against the entirety of what this storyline has been telling us up to this point. Kenny Omega is afraid of losing, and he’s especially afraid of losing to Hangman Page. In the chaos of a 5 on 5 tag team match, any number of scenarios could lead to the unprecedented event of the champion getting pinned by his would-be challenger.
But Kenny has spent the past year establishing himself as the archetypal American opportunistic, chickens*** heel. So why would he chance getting eliminated? When instead he can go out on his own terms, and give his team an advantage in the process. I see him going to town on Hangman with a chair, DQ’ing himself, but getting his biggest threat eliminated as well. Kenny has made it clear that he doesn’t believe the Dark Order to be a viable threat. So removing Hangman and himself from the match, to leave two of the best tag teams in the world, (The Young Bucks and The Good Brothers,) against the dorks of the Dark Order, would be a viable strategy.
3. Matt Jackson Pins Hangman Page
Although the two main figures in this feud right now are Page and Omega, it shouldn’t be forgotten the role The Young Bucks, and especially Matt Jackson, has played in this storyline. Back in the early days of AEW. Before Kenny Omega became the twisted egotist we know today. When he was still the humble face, happily grinding in the tag division alongside his friends. Kenny was trying desperately to keep The Elite together while it was Matt Jackson and Hangman Page constantly at odds.
At the time, Hangman was spiraling into alcoholism, believing himself to be the least valuable member of a faction comprised of the best wrestlers in the world today. This belief caused him to act bitterly towards his friends. And while Kenny and Nick Jackson were patient with their struggling stablemate, Matt was far less forgiving. Often taking shots at Hangman's insecurities and alcoholism. This rivalry dominated the build to the critically acclaimed tag team championship match between The Young Bucks and Page/Omega at Revolution 2020.
This upcoming elimination match will be the first time Hangman Page and Matt Jackson will be on opposite sides of a ring since Revolution 2020, and they’ve already referenced the animosity between the two in the build up. But why do I think Matt Jackson will pin the man marked to be the next world champion? Assuming I’m correct about Kenny getting himself DQ’d, and I believe I am, you then need someone to pick the bones and score a pinfall over Page. And I believe that should be Matt. Not only do they have the most history out of anyone in this match, but to bolster my point further it was Page that pinned Matt in that match at Revolution.
Matt Jackson has done a good job of making himself a detestable troll, watching him delight in pinning a chair-beaten Hangman as if he’d earned it, knowing the full history between the two characters, that’s exactly the kind of storytelling this feud is built on.
4. V’s Time to Shine
As will probably become common in these articles, I just wanted to throw in something that I’m not confident will happen, but it would be cool if it does. As of the last episode of AEW Dynamite it appears the four members of Dark Order backing Hangman will be Evil Uno, Stu Greyson, Alex Reynolds, and John Silver. Those are the four main members of Dark Order and I wouldn’t want to tamper with that. But based solely on what Kenny Omega said on the last pandemic episode of Dynamite when the Dark Order first confronted him on behalf of Hangman. “Who are you going to send after me? V? V wouldn’t last 2 minutes against me.”. I think a case could be made for Alan “V” Angels’ inclusion in this match.
Not only was he called out by name by Kenny Omega, but he’s also already proven to be able to hang with Kenny when the two had a match in the earliest days of the pandemic. The match ended up going far longer than anyone thought it should, actually garnering heat from fans who believed the best wrestler in the world shouldn’t be going 7+ minutes with a jobber. But that was Kenny Omega as a directionless face. Kenny is now a ruthless and desperate heel and I would love to see them revisit that match-up. Giving V a prolonged segment at the beginning of this match against heel Kenny Omega. Proving that he CAN go 2 minutes with the champ, before punctuating that with making him an early elimination, and ultimately putting the faces at a disadvantage.
5. A Hungy Sole Survivor
5 on 5 elimination matches are some of my favorite matches in professional wrestling. They just lend themselves to so many storytelling tropes that a lot of regular multi-man tags just can’t. The idea of one side dwindling in numbers while the other side’s advantage grows larger and larger until the odds seem insurmountable. It’s the most compelling a match can get in my opinion.
Everyone knows WWE’s version of the match. The Survivor Series 5 vs 5 (Or sometimes 4 vs 4, or 5 vs 5 vs 5, or 10 vs 10) elimination match is usually a good representation of the many stories that can be told within the stipulation. The main problem with the yearly Survivor Series matches is they often struggle to give the matches any stakes. Usually stapling the Smackdown vs RAW aspect to the match to give it the illusion that the outcome means anything, but most of the time it doesn’t. But when they do manage to give them proper stakes, by god is it magical. One of my favorite matches ever is the 2014 Survivor Series elimination match. Team Cena vs Team Authority was so well crafted, and one of the main reasons for that was how they used the trope of the Sole Survivor.
The idea of a sole survivor, the last man standing for their team, the last hope a team has to accomplish a goal that could change the course of multiple characters, and perhaps even an entire company—that's compelling. In 2014 it was Dolph Ziggler. Still a cult favorite amongst the fans who often got screwed out of his achievements by either bad luck or worse booking, he was put down 3 vs 1 against Rusev(Miro,) Luke Harper(Brodie Lee,) and Seth Rollins; with the future of the entire company on the line. Watching Ziggler fight through 2 big monsters and Seth Rollins was exhilarating at the time. And yes, Sting came in and handed Ziggler the win. And yes, the outcome of the match was undone within 2 months. I never claimed WWE was good. But the buzz nearly, (and I emphasize nearly,) rejuvenated Ziggler’s career.
Now what the heck does any of that have to do with Elite vs Dark Order? Well imagine a similar set up. A 3 on 1 disadvantage. But without the interference of a legend, in a company fans have faith will follow up on their own booking, with a white hot fan favorite midcarder. John Silver would make the ideal Sole Survivor in this match. Not only is he an amazing performer, but he may be the biggest crowd pleaser in the company today. Him working from underneath 3 members of The Elite, after coming off of a shoulder injury, to not only win the match, but earn him and his friends title opportunities. That could generate some of the loudest crowd reactions in AEW’s history.
It’s easy to see I’m infinitely excited for this match up. There’s so much story under this umbrella that really it could go any number of ways. But based on what we know about The Elite, Dark Order, and how AEW books their matches. I’m confident we see one or multiple of these options come to life in an AEW ring.