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AEW DARK: ELEVATION TV REPORT
MARCH 22, 2021
JACKSONVILLE, FLA. AT DAILY’S PLACE
AIRED ON YOUTUBE
REPORT BY PATRICK MOYNAHAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Paul Wight and Tony Schiavone
Ring announcer: Justin Roberts
(1) TAY CONTI (w/-1) vs. RAY LYN
Conti and Lyn traded holds in the early going. Conti picked Lyn up then tossed her around the ring. Conti missed a pump kick, allowing Lyn to hit a dropkick. Conti returned the favor with a spinning back kick. The two went down after colliding. Back up, Conti and Lyn went toe-to-toe, trading slaps and punches. Conti ended the face off with a stunner. Lyn went to the outside, allowing Conti to nail her with a stiff kick to the face as she stood on the apron. Conti rammed Lyn’s arm into the post, then rolled Lyn back into the ring. Conti went to the outside but rolled off the top. Conti followed things up with a running knee lift, then hit a hammerlock DDT (or DD-Tay, as noted by Paul Wight).
WINNER: Tay Conti in 4:30
(Moynahan’s Take: A solid opening match for Conti who continues to get better each and every week.)
– Tony Schiavone and Paul Wight welcomed us to the second episode of AEW Dark: Elevation, and ran down the card.
(2) LEE JOHNSON (w/Dustin Rhodes) vs. ADAM PRIEST
Priest looked aggressive early on, using speed to his advantage. Johnson was faster, countering Priest’s attempts. Johnson attempted an early pin attempt, but Priest was able to power out. Johnson looked impressed by Priest’s ability. Priest went behind Johnson and hammered him with a forearm. Priest sent Johnson into the corner, then charged in hard with a stiff chop to the chest. Johnson attempted to fight back, but Priest kept the offensive advantage. Priest hit a snap suplex then went for a pin attempt for a one count. Priest continued to be aggressive, hitting a side Russian leg sweep/neck breaker combo. Priest and Johnson traded chops. Priest nailed Johnson with an enziguri, then a belly-to-back suplex for a two count. Johnson came back with two running clotheslines, then threw Priest to the outside. Johnson flew over the top right onto Priest. Back inside, Priest got a very close three count, but Johnson picked up Priest and threw him into the turnbuckle. Johnson hit Priest with the Brain Dog finish for the win.
WINNER: Lee Johnson in 6:00
(Moynahan’s Take: Priest looked very impressive here. I’ve mentioned this before in my Dark reviews, but he has a similar build to Dynamite Kid. Toward the end of the match, Johnson nearly didn’t kick out of one of Priest’s pin attempts. In fact, I’m not sure he actually did, but they seemed to cover things well enough.)
– Dasha Gonzales interviewed Ryan Nemeth backstage, asking him how he’s preparing for Orange Cassidy. Nemeth thought that was funny, saying he is a serious pro wrestler and Cassidy is offensive to his craft.
(3) FUEGO DEL SOL & JAKE ST. PATRICK vs. THE VARSITY BLONDS (Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison)
Garrison and Del Sol faced off to kick things off, and Garrison took the upper hand. St. Patrick tagged in, as did Pillman Jr. Pillman took St. Patrick down with a waist lock, then synched in an arm bar. St. Patrick missed a charge into the corner, allowing Pillman Jr. to hit back, then tag in Garrison. St. Patrick bailed to the outside. The Varsity Blonds made quick tags, keeping St. Patrick in their corner in the process. Garrison landed a leg drop on St. Patrick but could only get a two on the pin attempt. Pillman Jr. synched in a half crab, and St. Patrick powered out, then tagged in Del Sol for the hot tag. Del Sol sent Pillman Jr. in Garrison but failed to follow up with his spinning DDT. He didn’t miss the second time, but Garrison came in and nailed Del Sol with a discus punch, then covered for the win.
WINNERS: The Varsity Blonds in 6:30
(Moynahan’s Take: That’s six wins out of their last nine for The Varsity Blonds. Not too shabby. It was interesting that they seemed to play a bit heel in this match. Something to keep an eye on.)
– An ad for AEW’s Double or Nothing Casino game aired, which included Kenny Omega, Dark Order, Britt Baker, and Aubrey, just to name a few.
(4) MAX CASTER vs. RYZIN
Caster came out and cut a rap on Ryzin, primarily making fun of his name. Caster seemed to tweak his knee in the early going but it seemed to be part of the match. Ryzin took advantage, focusing on the knee for much of the match. Caster, a little perturbed by his knee pain, took his aggression out on Ryzin. Ryzin went right back to the left knee of Caster, then went for an inside cradle attempt. Caster nailed Ryzin with a hammerlock/flatliner combo. Ryzin kicked out of the follow up pin attempt. Ryzin hit a dragon screw leg whip, but Caster got his knees up on a follow up springboard moonsault. Caster hit a brain buster suplex, then climbed to the top rope, coming down hard with his elbow drop finisher for the win.
WINNER: Max Caster in 8:30
(Moynahan’s Take: A very slow match that looked a bit sloppy at times. Neither wrestler seemed to have ‘it’ tonight.)
– Red Velvet was featured in this week’s Rising Star Spotlight segment. She mentioned her father was a boxer, and she knew she has the blood of a fighter. She initially wanted to be a dancer but fell in love with wrestling as a child. Cody said Red Velvet has still not been officially signed by AEW but would love to see her full time soon.
(5) LEVA BATES & MADI WRENKOWSKI vs. BIG SWOLE & RED VELVET
Red Velvet and Bates locked up to start things off. Velvet got the early advantage, but Bates was able to tag in Wrenkowski. Velvet charged out of the corner with a stiff clothesline on Wrenkowski. Swole tagged in, as did Bates. Swole hit a diving European uppercut to the back of Bates’s head. Wrenkowski tagged in but missed a running bulldog attempt. Swole landed a few shots to the small of Wrenkowski’s back. Wrenkowski nailed Swole with a running knee strike. Bates and Wrenkowski got into an argument in their own corner, ending with Wrenkowski nailing Bates with her own book. Bates walked out on her partner. Velvet hit a standing moonsault on Wrenkowski for a two. Velvet hit Wrenkowski with a spinning kick, then a shotgun dropkick off the ropes. Velvet covered for the win.
WINNERS: Big Swole & Red Velvet in 5:00
– After the match, Jade, Nyla Rose, and Vicki Guerrero came to the stage. The three starred Red Velvet and Big Swole down as they enjoyed their victory.
(Moynahan’s Take: Great to see Big Swole back in action. She and Velvet worked well together, but I can’t say the same for Bates and Wrenkowski, who seemingly split before they ever really got started.)
– Dasha was backstage with Ethan Page. Page was asked how he prepared for tonight’s match with “5.” He said the numbers he cares about wins, and he’s going to keep racking them up.
(6) RICKY STARKS & POWERHOUSE HOBBS (w/Hook) vs. JOREL NELSON & ROYCE ISAACS
Hobbs charged Nelson into the corner right at the bell. Hobbs picked Nelson up, but he was able to fight out of it. Hobbs didn’t like that, and manhandled Nelson back into the corner. Hobbs nailed Nelson in mid-air as he went for a splash off the middle rope. Starks tagged in and picked up where Hobbs left off on Nelson. Isaacs was in next and got some offense going until Hook tripped up Nelson from the outside. Starks hit the Roshambo finisher for the win.
WINNERS: Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs in 4:00
(Moynahan’s Take: A rather quick match, with Hobbs and Starks maintaining the offense for most of the time. Hobbs looked like a monster here – a powerhouse if you will. There was no mention of the recent dissension with Brian Cage and Team Taz, unless I completely missed it, but I am eager to see how that progresses.)
– An ad for the upcoming “Outside the Ring w/ Lexy Nair” aired, which is set to debut in April.
(7) DANNY LIMELIGHT vs. BARON BLACK
Limelight showed off his quickness early, coming right off the top rope with a hurricanrana. Black went to the outside, and Limelight met him with a corkscrew plancha. Back inside, Black caught Limelight with a Manhattan drop as he came off the top rope. Limelight hit a double stomp, knocking the wind out of Black in the process. Both men were slow to get back to their feet. Limelight went back to the top. Black evaded at first, but Limelight caught him with a German suplex. Black locked in a Texas Cloverleaf submission. The two went to the apron, and Limelight threw Black right into the post, then followed up with a running kick and another double stomp to the back. Limelight rolled Black into a submission, which he calls the Morir Soñando (to die while dreaming), for a tap out victory.
WINNER: Danny Limelight in 4:30
(Moynahan’s Take: A very solid and fast-paced match between Black and Limelight. I went in thinking Limelight would take this, but they went back-and-forth and at times I found myself second-guessing that prediction. Worth checking out.)
(8) ORANGE CASSIDY vs. RYAN NEMETH
Nemeth went at Cassidy early, taking him down and keeping him on the mat. Nemeth had trouble keeping Cassidy down, however, as Cassidy rolled right out of Nemeth’s waist lock. Nemeth charged in again, but Cassidy alluded. Nemeth caught Cassidy as he attempted the Orange Punch. Nemeth kept Cassidy in the corner and landed a series of knee shots. Nemeth threw Cassidy into the corner, but he was able to flip over the turnbuckle then come off the top with a splash. Nemeth, however, came right back, focusing on Cassidy’s left arm. Nemeth kept Cassidy down on the mat, again focusing on the arm. Cassidy got to his feet, but Nemeth nailed him with a drop kick. Cassidy countered Nemeth’s attempt into a DDT but failed to get a pin due to his injured arm. Cassidy came off the rope again but was met with a drop kick by Nemeth. Nemeth hit a rolling DDT for a two count. Cassidy locked in the Mouse Trap pin attempt for the win.
WINNER: Orange Cassidy in 7:00
– After the match, Nemeth attacked Cassidy, again focusing on his arm. Chuck Taylor hit the ring, but so did JD Drake, who came out to help Nemeth. Drake took down Taylor and left the ring with Nemeth.
(Moynahan’s Take: Another fun Cassidy match, although Nemeth got a lot more offense in than expected. An interesting twist post-match with J.D. Drake returning and assisting Nemeth in taking out both Cassidy and Taylor. Something worth following and it would be nice to see more of Drake.)
(9) ETHAN PAGE vs. “5” Alan Angels (w/The Dark Order)
Page looked a little rattled early on due to Angels’ speed, even taking a quick breath. Page took Angels down with a running shoulder block. Angels countered Page into a Russian leg sweep for a two count. Angels missed the follow up, wrapping himself in the ropes. Page hit Angels with a back breaker as Angels’ legs were draped on the middle rope. Angels blocked a series of punches by Page, landing his own in rebuttal, then hitting Page with stiff kicks. With Page now draped across the ropes, Angels charged in with a cross body across his back. Angels went for his finish but Page countered into a spinning kick to the side of Angels’ head, then followed up with a gut-wrench tilt-a-whirl. Angels hit Page with a spinning kick, but Page came right back with a clothesline. Page hit the Ego’s Edge for the win.
WINNER: Ethan Page in 7:30
(Moynahan’s Take: A very good match, perhaps the match of the night to this point. I personally have not seen much of Ethan Page to-date, so I’m keeping a close eye on his AEW run. A good primer match for me, especially with an entertaining Angels as his opponent.)
– After the match, Page took the mic and basically put the locker room on notice.
(10) LEYLA HIRSCH vs. RYO MIZUNAMI
As is usually the case, Hirsch gave up the size advantage to Mizunami in this one. She didn’t let that deter her, a Hirsch went right after Mizunami and matched her toe-to-toe. Hirsch nailed Mizunami with a clothesline but Mizunami nailed her back with a shoulder tackle. Mizunami hit Hirsch with a chop but Hirsch asked for more. Mizunami obliged and chopped Hirsch again and again and again. As Mizunami played to the audience, Hirsch nailed her from behind. Hirsch had Mizunami in the corner but Mizunami turned the tables. Mizunami landed a standing leg drop then locked in a modified camel clutch. Hirsch rallied back with a headbutt, which sent them both reeling. Mizunami was perched on the top rope, and Hirsch ran up and hit a hurricanrana. Hirsch followed up with a release German suplex. Hirsch tried locking in a cross-arm breaker but Mizunami got to the ropes. Mizunami nailed Hirsch with a series of shots, finally taking her down with a huge clothesline. Hirsch got to her feet and came right back at Mizunami with her own clotheslines. Mizunami returned the favor with another stiff clothesline, following up with another leg drop. As Hirsch locked in another arm breaker, Mizunami picked her up and slammed her to the mat. Hirsch got back to her feet and took Mizunami down yet again. Hirsch hit an Olympic slam for a two count but Mizunami locked in her head and arm choke for the tap out victory.
WINNER: Ryo Mizunami in 8:00
(Moynahan’s Take: Okay, so this was great. I certainly recommend it, as both women went back-and-forth through the entire encounter. Highly recommended.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: My first official review of AEW Dark: Elevation is in the books and it was an overall solid episode. If I could compare it against Dark, it feels like it runs at a slightly faster pace, specifically between each match. I really enjoy the idea of the Rising Star Spotlight, as it ties into the idea of this being a true “minor league” showcase for young stars and should help them build a relationship with the audience. Match of the week honors goes to the main event (of three) between Hirsh and Mizunami.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ELEVATION REPORT: 3/15 AEW DARK ELEVATION TV REPORT: Riho vs. Itoh, Jungle Boy vs. Limelight, Max Caster vs. Dante Martin, Q.T. vs. Marko, much more