The Elite vs House of Black: Gentle Into Good Night

Seldom does it take just one person to change the status quo. It can be done, yes. But oftentimes when it comes to impacting the world, you need people by your side. Good or bad, you need acquaintances. 

Enter The Elite.

Many have come and gone in the group, from Cody Rhodes and Stephen Amell, to ‘Hangman’ Adam Page and Adam Cole, but the constant comes down to three men. Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson, and Kenny Omega. 

From the moment they kicked AJ Styles out of The Bullet Club, the trio has been on a mighty trajectory in changing the business, and that’s not even counting the times they’ve individually changed the business beforehand.

Without The Elite, the independent and international wrestling scene wouldn’t have seen the growth it had and wrestling fans wouldn’t have found places beyond WWE and Impact Wrestling to watch. Without The Elite, there is no Hot Topic deal, no AEW, none of the radical shifts we see today. The Elite sold this seat.

Seeing the comradery amongst the members, even extended to some long gone, there’s a pride and a love that keeps the story going forward. There’s lore that is out there in the open and lore that is meant to be deciphered like ancient relics pieced together, solving a mystery. It’s always subtle, too. Quiet, unofficial confirmations that stir up fans, yet keep them in waiting, for whatever it is.

On their own, the group has revolutionized things in their own way. Kenny has done so in his powerful story with his Golden Lover, Kota Ibushi, and with his rival, Kazuchika Okada. The Young Bucks helped place tag team wrestling to the forefront and change the conversation entirely for those who were still in the WWE mindset of tag teams not mattering, be it the fun, extracurricular feud with WWE’s The New Day, or with AEW feuds against The Lucha Bros and FTR. 

These accolades are not it alone, however. Omega and the Jacksons maximize any time they are on screen, if given that opportunity. At a flip of the coin, they can deliver hidden subtext, out-there melodrama, wacky hilarity, or simply, compelling in-ring action. It’s a healthy balance that is not easily achieved. How do you maintain that serious and important aura if you’re being a jackass for giggles? 

The answer? Pacing. Drama can be compelling, but without humor, there is no soul. There is no heart. You’ve got to make the people smile and care before you rip their heart out or leave them impulsively standing on their feet, cheering and clamoring for more. Be the light that rages until the setting of the sun.

That’s the kind of power and connection that most wrestlers wish they could have with their audience. When I see The Elite on my screen, past or present, I never get the sense it’s just for a payday, for glory. Rather, I buy into them, believing The Elite to be among those that truly give a damn about the medium of professional wrestling, that it’s what they live for. Every word said, every joke told, every match fought. It bleeds, sweats, and cries passion. 

The toll it has taken on them matching with the amount of times they’ve gotten back up, through injury and through trauma, speaks to the monument of the art and storytelling. This is their lives beyond their lives. 

But in the midst of their shining example, there is a shadowy darkness that seeks to obscure the shining love they bring with a hollow darkness – a House that seeks dominion.

The House of Black is the obsidian death that yearns to blind the world. Their members, Malakai Black, Brody King, Buddy Matthews, and Julia Hart maintain their means to an end, to seat prospects to their congregation in unholy sermon, for worship in gothic terror.

Malakai, he strikes with deathly leg and blackened mist; Brody’s overwhelming strength and lack of mercy sends his victims straight to the River Styx; Buddy’s power and speed seal the deal with fatal knee and unheavenly jumps. Julia is the harbinger, and collected, all four seek to claim the sought-after, sinful gold that is the AEW Trios Championship, to make it their own. They are inevitable.

Normally, horror requires a slow build, and while The Elite racked up victory after victory, evil’s union grows its shadow, in defiling members of the AEW roster, blackening out arenas and leaving with crushing brutality.

The jokes sought persistence among the light-hearted Elite, while glitches and blackouts reminded them their time up, so said the dying light on the withered height. To the hungry House, they sat awaiting scraps while Omega and the Bucks ate well and ate the wealth of professional wrestling. Their feast is nearly over, and the House is coming and it always wins. On the March 1, 2023 episode of AEW: Dynamite, they proved as much when instant dark corruption punished them in fashion, for the reckoning is set for a Revolution.

Yet, as their opponents have shown, The Elite are not the hollow men, the stuffed men, shape without form and shade without color – they are the light that forbade darkness further encroachment. The Elite will not go quietly into that good night, they’ll rage, rage until the dying light, like the 1951 poem by Dylan Thomas. Even if they lose, even if they are stripped of their title, the spirit of The Elite will carry on – a legacy never to be tarnished, a stamp to never be blotted out.

You can’t fade The Elite into black.