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AEW DARK: ELEVATION TV REPORT
APRIL 12, 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) ZACK CLAYTON vs. 10 (w/-1 & The Dark Order)
Clayton disrespected 10, so 10 knocked him down to the mat and proceeded to throw a few right hands. Clayton landed an impressive drop kick. Clayton raked 10’s eyes along the top rope (not so sure how that worked with the mask on). In the corner, Clayton landed a stiff chop, then a few upper cuts. Clayton draped 10 across the top rope, then sling shotted him into the middle rope. Clayton maintained control as -1 cheered 10 on from the outside. -1 slapped Clayton across the face. 10 fired back up and laid in a few clotheslines. 10 nailed Clayton with a running pump kick, then hit a spinebuster. 10 and -1 high-fived. 10 couldn’t get the full nelson in, and Clayton hit an impressive powerslam for a close two count. 10 was able to lock in the full nelson for the tap out victory.
WINNER: 10 in 5:00
(Moynahan’s Take: This was a fun opener, with Clayton performing very well in defeat. 10 looked good even with the reduced offense and -1 was fun as always.)
– Tony Schiavone and Paul Wight welcomed us to the fifth episode of AEW Dark: Elevation then previewed tonight’s show.
(2) MIRO vs. HAYDEN BACKLUND
Tony Schiavone mentioned that Backlund is in fact a distant relative of former champion Bob Backlund. Miro placed Backlund and proceed to lay in a few stiff shots. With Backlund on the mat, Miro landed a few kicks, then threw him to the outside. Miro went outside, but Backlund pulled Miro’s arm into the post. Back inside, Miro jumped the top rope and hit Backlund with a clothesline. Miro threw Backlund down hard to the mat. Miro called for the end, then locked in Game Over for the tap out.
WINNER: Miro in 2:30
(Moynahan’s Take: A nice squash for Miro in this one. Not much offense to speak of for Hayden Backlund, but it was interesting to hear he is related to Bob Backlund – I think so anyway.)
– An ad for the AEW Casino mobile game aired.
(3) TAY CONTI & HIKARU SHIDA (w/-1) vs. KATALINA PEREZ & LEILA GREY
Conti and Perez locked up to kick things off. Conti didn’t take too kindly of a chop from Perez. Shida tagged in, but Perez charged her into her own corner and tagged in Grey. Perez and Grey hit a double suplex on Shida. Grey hit a shotgun dropkick off the ropes, then tagged Perez back in. Shida and Perez slugged it out, with Shida getting the upper hand. Conti and Grey each tagged back in and Conti proceeded to take Grey down with a few takedowns. Shida came off the top rope with a dropkick. All four women hit the ring. Conti and Shida took down Perez and Grey, then locked in dual submissions. Shida and Grey, the legal women, stayed in the ring after the holds were broken up. Shida hit a knee to Grey’s face, then covered for the win.
WINNERS: Tay Conti & Hikaru Shida in 4:00
(Moynahan’s Take: An enjoyable tag match, with Shida and Conti looking strong with the win. I continue to wonder how their inevitable championship match will come to fruition, but time will tell on that one.)
(4) THE HYBRID2 (Jack Evans & Angelico) vs. CARLIE BRAVO & DEAN ALEXANDER
Angelico and Bravo kicked things off for their respective teams. Bravo had Angelico locked up, but Angelico used his flexibility to get himself free. Angelico threw Bravo into his corner, then distracted the ref so Evans was able to lay in a few shots. Evans tagged in and hit a standing corkscrew moonsault for a two count. Evans evaded Bravo in the corner, then hit him with a spinning kick. Evans hit a back elbow then came off the top with a side kick. Evans knocked Alexander on the apron, then tagged Angelico back in. Alexander finally tagged in and took out both members of TH2. Evans took out Bravo, which left Angelico to lock in the Navarro Death Roll on Alexander for the win.
WINNERS: TH2 in 4:30
(Moynahan’s Take: Another tap out win in three matches thus far tonight. A solid, albeit quick, match. TH2 continue to look good, even with the short time.)
– Backstage, Dasha interviewed Thunder Rosa, relaying how Diamante said she has a huge target on her back. Thunder Rosa agreed, saying of course she does since she’s the best women’s wrestler in the world. Thunder Rosa tells Diamante she is ready whenever she wants.
(5) ORANGE CASSIDY (w/Best Friends & Kris Statlander) vs. JOHN SKYLER
Skyler was frustrated right from the jump, yelling at Cassidy that this was a wrestling show. Cassidy acted as if he was ready to lock up but quickly evaded, further angering Skyler. Skyler laid in a few kicks, but Cassidy rolled him up for a quick two. Cassidy used his speed and evasiveness against Skyler, then dropkicked him out of the ring. Cassidy charged toward the ropes, but Skyler hit him with a spear. Skyler hit a swing through body slam, but Cassidy kicked out of repeated pin attempts. Cassidy and Skyler found themselves in an old-school crisscross, ending with Cassidy hitting a spinning DDT, then the Beach Break for the win.
WINNER: Orange Cassidy in 4:30
(Moynahan’s Take: Another quick match. Cassidy worked well here, as did Skyler, who has the build of Hugh Morris. Not a bad match for the time given.)
– AEW’s Rising Star profile this week was on Shawn Dean. Dean talked about his time in the Navy and how it helped him develop into who he is today. Dean then went into his Arena Football days, which led into his professional wrestling career. Highlights on Dean’s time on the independents aired as he talked about his struggles growing in the business. Dean then read a tweet from Tony Kahn when Kahn officially welcomed him to AEW as a full-time performer.
(Moynahan’s Take: I had to add this here because this was the best Rising Star segment thus far. I am an immediate fan of Sean Dean and am rooting for him moving forward. A great, simple, meaningful segment.)
(6) KONOSUKE TAKESHITA vs. DANNY LIMELIGHT
Excalibur joined commentary for this one. He spoke of Takeshita’s experience in wrestling, primarily the DDT promotion in Japan, at only 25 years old. Limelight and Takeshita traded holds in the early going. Limelight got a close pin attempt on Takeshita, but Takeshita kicked out, and the two ended in a stand-off. Limelight slapped Takeshita but was met with a leg lariat for a takedown. Takeshita hit a big clothesline, then went to the middle rope for a senton splash. Limelight fought back, knocking Takeshita down, then hitting a double stomp to his back. Takeshita laid in a stiff chop on Limelight, a few in fact, but Limelight raked his eyes as a counter. Limelight hit a swinging neck breaker, then came over the top rope with a senton of his own for a two count. Limelight continued to trash talk Takeshita throughout. Takeshita nailed Limelight with a Blue Thunder Bomb. Takeshita hit a big running boot to the face, then hit a brain buster for a very close pinfall. Takeshita went for a waist lock, but Limelight fought his way out, and the two stood toe-to-toe, trading shots. Takeshita caught Limelight with a powerbomb, but Limelight kicked out of the pin attempt. Limelight spring boarded off the ropes to hit an impressive DDT on Takeshita but could only get a two count. Takeshita hit a huge elbow strike then a spinning discus lariat. Finally, Takeshita hit a wheelbarrow into a German suplex for the win.
WINNER: Konosuke Takeshita in 9:00
(Moynahan’s Take: I’m not sure what will come of the rest of the show, but this is the match to see tonight. Just great. It was my first time seeing Takeshita and I am immediately impressed. It’s important to call out Limelight’s work here as well, who looked just as great.)
– Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela were backstage. They were not on the same page, as Kiss was getting ready for the match and Janela wasn’t even sure who they were wrestling.
(7) FTR (w/Tully Blanchard & Wardlow) vs. MIDAS BLACK & JAY LYON
Dax and Lyon locked up to start, with Dax immediately knocking Lyon’s mask right off. Dax hit a side suplex on Lyon, then threw him into the corner for a chop to the chest. Cash tagged in and laid out Lyon. FTR proceeded to make quick tags while keeping Lyon in their corner. Dax was intense as he dismantled Lyon with a series of chops and forearms. On the outside, Tully even got a shot in on Lyon. Lyon hit a handspring off the rope and hit Dax with a kick to the face. Black finally tagged in and chopped away on Dax, but Dax caught him with a brain buster. Cash tagged back in and hit the Goodnight Express on Black for the win.
WINNERS: FTR in 5:00
(Moynahan’s Take: Typical great tag team work by FTR, who basically dismantled their competition here.)
(8) PAC & REY FENIX vs. ANDRE MONTOYA & VARY MORALES
Fenix went to give Montoya a handshake but quickly pulled back and slapped him. Fenix threw Montoya to the outside, but he tagged in Morales quickly before doing so. PAC tagged in, and he and Fenix laid out both opponents, then mocked the Young Bucks’ pose. PAC laid in some vicious kicks to the head of Montoya. Fenix tagged in, then helped PAC lay in a series of kicks, then a double dropkick, on Montoya. Morales tagged in but did not have better luck. PAC hit a snap suplex on Morales but missed a follow up charge in the corner. Montoya tagged in hot and took it to both PAC and Fenix. Morales went over the top rope and landed on PAC. Back inside, Montoya was caught by PAC and Fenix in a series of kicks. PAC held up Montoya for Fenix, who came off the top with a kick to the head. PAC followed up with a power bomb, then Fenix came off the top with a frog splash for the win.
WINNERS: PAC & Rey Fenix in 5:30
(Moynahan’s Take: Basically, a five-minute squash here by PAC and Fenix. Not too surprising but a good showing by the incredible team.)
(9) DANTE MARTIN vs. BARON BLACK
The two traded reversals in the early going. Martin was impressive here, using his speed and agility to evade Black. Well, until Black caught him and slammed him to the mat. Martin floated over and nearly picked up a quick win before Black kicked out. Martin nailed Black with a clothesline, a drop kick, then a head scissors takeover. Martin came off the top with a moonsault for a close two count. Martin went to the top, but Black came from behind and threw him off the top. Martin, amazingly, landed on his feet. Black charged in but was met with a thrust kick. Martin came off the top with a 450 splash for the win.
WINNER: Dante Martin in 3:30
(Moynahan’s Take: My review won’t do this one justice; Martin looked incredible here, using his agility and speed against an also impressive Black. Check this one out.)
– Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky were backstage. They were angered by the fact that so many undeserving wrestlers have received TNT Championship opportunities with much lesser records. They said tonight will end the same as last week, with their arms raised in victory.
(10) BRITT BAKER (w/Reba/Rebel) vs. SKYE BLUE
Blue made her AEW debut in this one. Baker and Blue traded holds until Baker hit Blue with a shot, rocking her back. Blue nailed Baker in the knee, then a dropkick for a two count. Baker bailed to the outside to regroup. Blue attempted a slide to the outside, but Baker moved. As Baker distracted the ref, Reba choked out Blue with her crutch. Back inside, Baker laid in a series of stiff forearms on Blue, but Blue hit a back elbow in defense. Blue nailed Baker with a forearm shot but Baker threw her face-first into the middle turnbuckle. Baker nailed Blue with a thrust kick, then dropped her headfirst into the mat. Baker nailed Blue with another kick to the face, then covered for the win.
WINNER: Britt Baker in 5:00
– After the match, Tony Schiavone headed to ringside to interview Baker. Baker said she would play by the rules and win all of her matches in order to rise in the rankings, then stormed off.
(Moynahan’s Take: Solid match here, but I felt like Baker gave up too much offense.)
(11) QT MARSHALL & NICK COMOROTO (w/Aaron Solow) vs. ANDREW PALACE & COLE KARTER
Marshall went right after Karter at the bell. Palace tagged in, but Marshall quickly nailed him with an uppercut, then tagged in Comoroto. Comoroto nailed Palace with a back breaker. Marshall tagged back in and proceeded to lay into Palace as the crowd chanted “Cody is better” at him. Comoroto was back in, but missed a charge as Palace evaded, then tagged in Karter. Comoroto caught Karter with a neck breaker across the knee, then threw Palace back into the ring. Comoroto press slammed Palace into a powerslam. Comoroto could have made the cover but tagged in Marshall, who hit a Diamond Cutter for the win.
WINNERS: QT Marshall & Nick Comoroto in 4:00
(Moynahan’s Take: A good victory for The Factory members.)
(12) MT NAKAZAWA vs. MIKE SYDAL
Nakazawa claimed someone was speaking to him in his headset, which gave Sydal the chance to practice his yoga while he waited. They finally got going. Nakazawa was rocked into the corner but caught Sydal with a boot to the face then a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle. Nakazawa grabbed Sydal’s legs then rammed him into the post. Nakazawa dropped Sydal down on the top rope in a split legged position, then dragged him across it. Sydal used his flexibility to evade Nakazawa, then nailed him with a kick to the head. Sydal kicked Nakazawa off his feet, then landed a standing moonsault for a two count. Nakazawa tried hitting Sydal with his laptop, but Sydal ducked then nailed Nakazawa for the pinfall victory.
– After the match, Nakazawa nailed Sydal with his laptop, but Sydal ran him off after getting back up.
WINNER: Mike Sydal in 5:00
(Moynahan’s Take: MT Nakazawa won this match. Enough said.)
– Backstage, PAC and Fenix were fired up after their win earlier. They spoke directly to the Young Bucks about their match on this week’s Dynamite, saying they’ll be leaving with the titles.
(13) SHANNA vs. LEYLA HIRSCH
Hirsch quickly took Shanna to the mat, but Shanna was able to reach the ropes for the break. They continued working on the mat until Shanna broke loose. Hirsch went right back to the mat again, locking in an arm bar on Shanna until she reached the ropes again for the break. Shanna bailed to the outside, then nailed Hirsch with a knee to the stomach as she charged in. Back inside, Shanna nailed Hirsch with a kick across the chest. Hirsch locked in a cross-arm breaker. Shanna tried turning it against Hirsch by jockeying for the pin attempt. Shanna hooked Hirsch’s arms, but Hirsch reversed it into another arm breaker for the tap out win.
WINNER: Leyla Hirsch in 4:00
(Moynahan’s Take: A great palette cleanser after the previous match. These two had an aggressive match, mostly keeping it on the mat, but trading reversals and holds throughout.)
– Backstage, Alex Marvez was interviewing Konosuke Takeshita but was quickly ousted by Kenny Omega who said he would conduct the interview since he speaks Japanese. MT Nakazawa translated for him anyway. Omega said Takeshita helped him in his early time in Japanese and now it was time to help him again in a tag team match. Takeshita thought Omega was asking him to team together against the Sydal brothers. Omega corrected him, saying Takeshita would tag with MT Nakazawa next week.
(14) BRANDON CUTLER vs. PENTA EL ZERO M (w/PAC & Rey Fenix)
Penta and Cutler traded arm bars to start, until Penta took him down to the mat. Cutler tried to evade a move, but Penta nailed him with a kick to the chest. Cutler came off the top rope with a springboard, but Penta caught him again with a kick to the face. Cutler sent Penta outside. As Cutler charged toward the ropes, Penta hit him yet again with a kick to the face. Cutler hit a tope suicida on a second attempt to the outside. Cutler turned his back for a second and Penta caught him with another kick. Penta climbed to the turnbuckle and cannonballed right onto Cutler to the floor. Back inside Penta went for his finisher but Cutler rolled out, then came off the top rope with a clothesline. Cutler landed a suplex for a two count. Penta rolled up Cutler for a close pinfall. Cutler evaded a pump handle slam attempt. With Penta on the mat, Cutler attempted to climb the ropes, but Penta kicked him down. Penta hit a pump handle this time, but Cutler kicked out at two. Cutler looked to be bleeding a bit from the nose as he attempted another springboard off the ropes. Penta caught him in a submission but snapped Cutler’s arm instead. Penta hit the Fear Factor for the win.
WINNER: Penta in 6:00
– After the match, Death Triangle posed with the defeated and knocked out Cutler.
(Moynahan’s Take: This one was very enjoyable. Go out of your way to watch it.)
(15) THUNDER ROSA vs. DIAMANTE
Thunder Rosa took Diamante down early with an arm bar. Diamante fought back by pushing Thunder Rosa into the corner. Thunder Rosa took Diamante down again with a float over into another arm bar. Diamante bailed to the outside to compose herself, but Thunder Rosa hit her with a dropkick between the bottom ropes. The two scuffled on the outside until Diamante was thrown into the post, arm-first. Diamante used the post to her advantage and took down Thunder Rosa with a flip over takedown. Back inside, Thunder Rosa hit a face buster for a two count. Thunder Rosa continued to focus on Diamante’s arm. Diamante fought back and laid in a few stiff forearms across the chest of Thunder Rosa. Thunder Rosa came right back by attacking Diamante’s arm yet again. Thunder Rosa hit a missile dropkick in the corner, then took Diamante down with a double underhook suplex. Thunder Rosa locked in a cross-arm breaker, but Diamante was able to wiggle to the ropes for the break. Diamante hit a snap suplex into a float-over pin attempt for a two count. Diamante fought out of a DVD attempt, then hit a stunner for another close pinfall. The two stood toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring, slugging it out. Diamante got caught and was slammed hard to the mat. Thunder Rosa hit the Fire Thunder Driver for the win.
WINNER: Thunder Rosa in 8:30
(Moynahan’s Take: Wow, what a great match. It’s no surprise as I enjoy Thunder Rosa’s work, but Diamante really needs to be featured more. I’ve seen her a ton on Dark and Elevation and it’s time she find her way back on Dynamite more consistently. Check this one out.)
(16) SCORPIO SKY & ETHAN PAGE vs. SONNY KISS & JOEY JANELA
Sky and Janela locked up to start. Janela must have ticked Sky off, as he took exception to Janela and knocked him down hard to the mat. Kiss and Janela hit Sky with a double takedown, then followed up with a couple more double team moves. Janela got a close two until Page broke up the attempt. Janela went to the top but Sky pulled him down hard. Page tagged in, then dragged Janela to the outside and threw him against the metal barrier. Sky joined in and threw Janela back into the barrier before throwing him back into the ring. Page and Sky worked over Janela in their corner, making quick tags in the process. Janela fought out of the corner, then rolled across the ring to make the hot tag to Kiss. Kiss knocked Sky down with an enziguri and got a close pinfall. Janela tagged back in, and they both hit a double plancha to Page and Sky on the outside. Janela and Sky went back inside, and Sky nailed him with a DDT for a close two count. Page tagged in and threw Janela off the top rope, then set him up for an Ego’s Edge but Janela got out of it. Janela came off the top with a moonsault on Page, then tagged Kiss back in. Kiss came of the ropes with a split-legged leg drop. The match broke down from here, as Janela hit a tope suicida on Sky on the outside. Kiss was pushed off the top, however, by Sky. This allowed Page to hit the Ego’s Edge for the win.
WINNERS: Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page in 9:30
(Moynahan’s Take: Page and Sky continue to work well as a team. I like what I’m seeing from them thus far, although I think they are victims of an overcrowded roster. Time will tell where they end up as a duo.)
(17) BEST FRIENDS (Trent & Chuck Taylor w/Orange Cassidy & Kris Statlander) vs. RYAN NEMETH & CEZAR BONONI (w/JD Drake)
Trent tagged in early for his first action after months of being on the shelf. Nemeth nailed him with a forearm, but Trent fired back with a chop across the chest. Trent hit a northern lights suplex for a two. Taylor tagged in, and Best Friends landed a double elbow drop on Nemeth. Taylor missed an elbow in the corner and was then nailed by Bononi from the apron. Bononi tagged in but didn’t stay long. Nemeth and Bononi cut the ring off, keeping Taylor on toward their corner. Trent tagged in and took out Nemeth and Bononi. Trent flew over the top to the outside, right onto Bononi. Trent nailed Nemeth with a spinning DDT. Taylor tagged in and Best Friends hit Nemeth with a double team move for a close two count. Bononi was back in and hit Trent with a pump handle slam for a close two count. Outside, Taylor threw Bononi into the post. Inside, Trent hit Nemeth with a fall away slam, then set him up for Strong Zero for the win.
WINNERS: Best Friends in 8:00
– After the match, each member of Best Friends stood in their own corner, then met in the middle for a celebratory hug.
(Moynahan’s Take: This was slow in spots, but it was great to see Trent back in action. Unless I missed something, it was a little odd to see the in-ring return on Elevation vs. Dynamite, or even Dark for that matter.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Wow was this a stacked edition of Dark: Elevation or what? Luckily, however, there were a ton of solid to great matches this week that are worth checking out. I won’t give out a specific match of the week honor with that in mind, but go out of your way to watch Takeshita/Limelight, Martin/Black, Shanna/Hirsch, Cutler/Penta, and Thunder Rosa/Diamante.
CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ELEVATION REPORT: 4/5 AEW DARK ELEVATION REPORT: Adam Page vs. Bill Collier, Britt Baker vs. Alex Gracia, a Jake Roberts promo, more