Episode 52 AEW Dark: Elevation is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream. The announce team was Paul Wight, Mark Henry and Tony Schiavone. Let’s talk about what went down (or up) on Elevation this week heading into AEW Revolution.
Jay Lethal vs. Jora Johl
Johl came out with a record of 1-0 flaked by “Big Money” Matt Hardy and Jose the Assistant. Lethal brought a record of 5-1 for 2022 to the ring, giving high-fives and fist bumps to the fans as he made his way down the ramp. Lethal was quick to send Johl outside of the ring, do a dive through the ropes onto him, then do a little Flair strut. Johl got his revenge by kicking Lethal hard off the apron and laying in forearms on the outside. Hardy and Jose both ordered him to turn up the heat back inside the ring. Johl hit a power slam for a two count. He applied the chinlock and Lethal fought back to his feet with elbows and chops, then tried a roll up and a backslide. Step up enzuigiri wobbled Johl but he got out of the way before the Lethal Injection and slammed him hard. Johl kicked him off a roll up but he bounced off the ropes right back into the Injection for the three count. Fun opener!
Matt Hardy had something to say after the match. “Listen Jora, I can’t believe you came out here tonight and embarrassed me. After all the disappointment from Private Party, you’re going to disappoint me too? Unless you impress me, your spot in the HFO, the AFHO will be DELETED.” The crowd chanted “delete delete delete” with Hardy as he stormed to the back.
Red Velvet vs. Sky Blue
Blue brought a 2022 record of 3-2 to the ring. Velvet’s overall record was 44-21. Mark Henry got excited for her entrance and started talking about their favorite cupcakes. The ladies were so evenly matched early on they even threw simultaneous dropkicks and had to get back to their feet. Blue hit a spinning head kick for a near fall as “Legit” Leyla Hirsch came out to the entrance ramp, then sauntered down as Velvet got a near fall of her own. Velvet got distracted and Blue got a near fall, then hit a kick to the jaw for another. Velvet responded with the Final Slice for the pin and stared at Hirsch the whole time. She dared Hirsch to step into the ring but Hirsch declined the offer.
Alan “5” Angels (w/ The Dark Order) vs. Frankie Kazarian
Angels brought a 2022 record of 3-3 to this contest. Kazarian brought an overall record of 63-29. Kaz gave Angels an arm wringer, got reversed, but he knocked Angels down with a shoulder block. Meanwhile Henry and Wight discussed whether or not they’d rip the earring out of Angels’ ear if they were in the ring with him. Henry: “Before the end of the match I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a little blood trickle down the ear.” Kazarian and Angels traded roll ups back and forth before Kaz nailed him with a chop and a Russian leg sweep. Angels responded with a dropkick, a deep arm drag, and yelled “What’s up baby?” at Kaz. Kaz turned Angels inside out with a lariat and hit a gut wrench suplex for two. Angels tried to punch his way out of a hold and got clubbed in the back. Angels stepped through the ropes and hit a shotgun dropkick before kipping back up to his feet. Angels unloaded with chops and kicks. Angels tried to send Kaz outside for a suicide dive but got caught with a blow to the head instead. Kazarian and Angels traded holds on the mat until Angels kicked his way free. Angels tries a small package for two and Kaz tried a backslide for two. Angels hit a forearm and went for a roll up but left himself in position for the chicken wing and quickly got submitted. This match was better than the opener. Well done gentlemen!
Nyla Rose, Diamante, and Emi Sakura(w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs. LMK, Kayla Sparks and Paris Van Dale
The heels — Sakura 23-16, Diamante 33-19, Rose 59-23, respectively, as they made their way to the ring. LMK, Sparks and Van Dale were making their debut as a trio so their individual records were not listed. Justin Roberts didn’t even get the chance to introduce them anyway, which caused Wight to quip they’d “last as long as an Oreo cookie in front of Mark Henry.” Van Dale hit a jawbreaker on Sakura and tagged in Sparks, but she missed a splash in the corner and Sakura tagged in Rose. Sparks avoided the Beast Bomb, chopped down a leg, and tagged in Van Dale. Van Dale got charged into the heel corner for Diamante to tag in. She hit a knee to the face and Rose threw her on top of Van Dale for a near fall. We got the usual cluster of everyone in the ring at once before the heels all took turns doing moves to LMK. Diamante applied the submission to bring it to an end.
Lance Archer vs. Fuego Del Sol
Del Sol actually got to make his entrance without being thrown down to the ring by Archer, sporting a 2022 record of 2-2. Archer brought a record of 46-10. He managed to escape the Blackout but got caught with a right hand coming off the top rope and thrown out to the floor. Archer teased a suicide dive and then ticked the crowd off by not doing it, then went out to punish Fuego some more. He even refused to do a chop just because the crowd wanted him to. Del Sol tried and failed to stun Archer with a drop kick, Fuego bit Archer’s head and went for a tornado DDT, but Archer blocked it with ease. Choke slam, chop on the top rope, Blackout, pin. The result was never in doubt but Fuego Del Sol survived longer than most of Archer’s opponents do on Dark so at least there’s that.
Leyla Hirsch vs. Willow Nightingale
And now you know why Hirsch refused Velvet’s invitation earlier. She brought a singles record of 31-12 to the ring for this contest. Nightingale was waiting for her in the ring with a record of 0-1. She knocked Hirsch down with a shoulder tackle and went for a cartwheel before Hirsch kicked her in the back of the head. Hirsch trapped an arm and delivered strikes as commentary complained that referee Paul Turner wasn’t doing his job. Hirsch missed a flying knee in the corner. Nightingale did her cartwheel and a POUNCE (shades of Monty Brown) before a cannonball in the corner. She went to the top rope for a moonsault but Hirsch got out of the way and responded with a knee to the face before the armbar. Nightingale tapped immediately. She’s 0-2 but has impressed me on Dark both times!
The Dark Order (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson) w/ Colt Cabana vs. Chaos Project (Luther & Serpentico)
Chaos Project sported a 2022 record of 0-2 as they made their way to the ring, with Luther throwing Serpentico again as Henry teased the idea that today was his birthday and he might actually win for a change. The Dark Order came out 24-7 overall. Serpentico got thrown around like a hot potato by Uno and Grayson before Luther broke it up and threw Serpentico into Grayson like a battering ram. Uno carried Serpentico over to Grayson on his back after a failed cutter attempt. Grayson leapt over Uno to deliver a neckbreaker to the birthday boy and Uno quickly made the cover. As Elevation main events go it was “fine” — nothing at all to write home about though.
What to watch/skip
This week’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by Red vs. Blue. Tonight’s must see match was Angels vs. Kazarian followed closely by Lethal vs. Johl. The women’s trios match was a glorified squash but perhaps slightly better than most of them as a result — you can still skip it regardless. Keep your eye on Willow Nightingale and Leah Van Dale. Even booked to take a beating they still managed to showcase their skills in the ring. I could say the same for Fuego Del Sol but we already knew what he could do. This wasn’t a bad episode of AEW Dark Elevation but it felt like a “paint by numbers” episode in many ways.
Cageside commentary crew! Share your feedback and thoughts in the comments section below. You can also hit me up on social media. See you tomorrow night for AEW Dark!