Rarely in wrestling or in life does darkness rise to stand against darkness. Left unchallenged, an evil-minded phenomenon may freely infect whoever and whatever it intends. For the House of Black, the intentions have been clear. They are present in All Elite Wrestling to disturb the balance of normalcy. They seek to corrupt that which grows naturally within the walls of Tony Khan’s young alternative. And furthermore, they are succeeding.
Look no further than their growth over many months. A legitimate monster capable of manhandling any competitor AEW employs and beyond – Brody King. A mammoth athlete with abilities immeasurable and a passion undeniable – Buddy Matthews. A young woman with an aura of wickedness growing exponentially in both confidence and connection – Julia Hart.
When the lights go out in an arena, it can mean many things in today’s professional wrestling. In AEW, it is often followed by the first few ominous notes signaling the audience to the arrival of All Elite Wresting’s House of Black. Curious as they are chilling, they both move and work as a single unit resolved in one shared goal. They aim to end their opponent. By any means necessary.
Oftentimes, even without a winning pinfall, they achieve their goal. By toying with those across the ring, by implanting seeds of doubt and fear in their minds, and by simply overwhelming them with a commitment to violence not often witnessed…even when they lose, they win. Those who survive to fight another day do not leave the ring the same as they entered it just minutes before.
It is when an infection is at its most dangerous – when it is all but invisible. The whispers it leaves may be allowed to prowl freely through the gates of the soul. As it expands, it blackens the path it leaves behind. Slowly at first, undetected, but then unmistakably so. And when it’s finished, you’re either left a shell of what you once were or you’re something else entirely. Just ask Brain Pillman Jr and Griff Garisson about the Julia they knew once and the Julia we do now.
So, when faced with such daunting and near impossible odds, who would rise to stand and look evil in the eyes but two men who have been overcoming demons their entire lives? Two men who don’t scare easily. Two men born and bred in the depths of the same darkness they seek to overthrow. Two men looking to right wrongs allowed to stand for far too long. No more.
All Elite Wrestling could only hope for two men to strike fear into the same menace that infects its very soul and threatens its very existence. The battle between good and evil began long ago but will continue in Queens. Two men – two purveyors of good – step to an army of shadows once more. With voices of silence and a mission of justice…
You know the rest.
Sting and Darby Allin are men who have made careers out of going to war against the odds. Not only that, the stubbornness to leave well enough alone has proven critical in making sure these epic showdowns with the devil of the day continue to take place on the largest stages the wrestling world has to offer. Friday night is a night like no other, but it is also a night that resembles many prior in the lives of Sting and Darby Allin. It’s a night they are outsized, outnumbered, and surrounded by things and people that would and WILL absolutely do them harm.
Make no mistake, harm will come. It will come in relentless waves full of vicious intent. Mercy will not exist. At times, the odds will seem as though they may be too difficult to overcome. It’s nothing new for these heroes, because as a wise, if not slightly unhinged, man’s tattooed chest will remind us, mid-match under burst blood vessels and bleeding skin, “nothing’s over till you’re underground.”
The conflict between these creatures of darkness ignited a flame months ago that may just fade to black inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Perhaps it isn’t so simple and perhaps it is. Whichever the outcome, the fans of AEW will be winners if not for nothing more than the gift of violence and commitment to craft about to be displayed by five of the most polarizing talents in wrestling today.
AEW Rampage Grand Slam. September 23, 2022. No disqualification. There will be blood.
Friday night in Gotham…