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AEW DARK ELEVATION REPORT
DECEMBER 6, 2021 (Recorded 12/1)
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY DAVID BRYANT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mark Henry, and Eddie Kingston
Ring Announcer: Dasha Gonzalez
– Dark Elevation opened with tight shots of fans applauding. The camera cut to the stage as Tony Schiavone welcomed us, introduced the announce team, and immediately threw to Riho’s entrance. Riho looked joyful, bubbly, and exuberant. If a rainbow were a person, it would be her.
(1) RIHO vs. ANGELICA RISK
Angelica Risk was already in the ring and watched Riho wave to the crowd. A chyron noted that Risk’s win-loss record was 0-3. (That does not bode well.) The two competitors circled one another with Risk pausing to trash-talk fans. After a couple of laps, they locked up, and the match was officially underway! Risk got the better of Riho and ended their tie-up with a twisting wristlock. She trash-talked Riho, and Riho flipped out of the twisting wristlock, applying one of her own. Risk writhed in pain and stretched her arms toward the ropes, probably hoping for a break.
Riho held tight, and Risk managed to reverse the wristlock back onto Riho. Risk pulled Riho into a headlock, shoved her against the ring ropes, and caught her with a strong shoulder tackle. Risk went for the pin, but Riho did that super-bendy-exit-thing she does (it always impresses me) and escaped her pinning predicament. Apparently, her super-bendy-exit-thing also impressed Risk because she gaped in shock while Riho delivered a dead-on dropkick.
Riho hammed it up for the crowd while Risk used the turnbuckles to pull herself upright. Riho ran toward Risk, but Risk moved out of the way, allowing her opponent to crash and burn on the turnbuckles. Risk then threw Riho to the floor with a hair takedown, and Riho begged off into the corner, looking dazed. To capitalize on her upper hand, Risk delivered a twerking in the middle of the ring like she was Miley at the VMA’s
Risk followed up that (dance) move with a stink face on Riho and took maximum advantage of the opportunity she’d been presented by twerking directly in Riho’s face. (Her win-loss record is making sense now.) Eddie Kingston said, “I kinda like it.” (Sure, Jan.) Risk choked Riho using the second ring rope while gloating to the crowd. (Good heel mannerisms by Risk. Honestly, despite my snarky comments, she’s working overtime to get that crowd to hate her, and it’s exactly what she should be doing.)
Risk yanked Riho to her feet, trash-talked some more, and delivered a fast-swinging neckbreaker. Risk then played to the crowd, yet again, before finally pinning Riho and getting a two count. Mark Henry said, “She’s admiring her work too much.” Eddie Kingston concurred: “She’s having a little too much fun and talking a little too much trash.” (I like it when announcers point out things like that. It makes them feel legit.)
Riho rallied to deliver a drop toe hold, leaving Risk hanging on the second rope. Riho backed up, sprinted, and hit Risk with a tiger feint kick (a/k/a 619). One of the announcers said, “I think a toe went right in her eye-hole.” Riho climbed to the top rope for a flying body press, allowing her to make the cover and score a two count. The crowd chanted, “Let’s go Riho!” with great gusto. (Riho is over in Georgia.)
Riho then pulled Risk to the center of the ring and began to set up what looked like an attempted Northern Lights suplex, but Risk countered the maneuver with a DDT. (Smooth work – both of them.) The DDT proved good enough to get Risk a near-fall, with Riho kicking out at two. Risk beat the mat in frustration and dragged Riho back to her feet. She set up a second DDT but paused to trash-talk the fans some more, yelling, “Shut up!”
This lapse in judgment allowed Riho to counter with an explosive-looking switch. Risk attempted her own standing switch, but Riho countered with a beautiful northern lights suplex getting a two count. Riho backed into the corner and hit a Running Meteora, which the announcers called “the double knees!” Riho went for the pin while clutching her opponents’ leg for dear life. The ref’s hand hit the mat three times, and with that, the match was over!
WINNER: Riho in 4:00
– They replayed Riho’s Running Meteora, and Riho celebrated by waving to the crowd like a character on a float at Disney World.
(David’s Analysis: Angelica Risk has a lot of potential as a heat magnet, and we all know Riho is talented. This match wasn’t exactly a “clinic,” but I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was something intangibly entertaining about it, but I can’t really explain why.)
– An advert aired for Battle of the Belts on Jan. 8 in Charlotte, N.C. (Update: I’m still thinking of going, and I still have not bought tickets. My indecisiveness may or may not cost me. Stay tuned.)
(2) BROCK ANDERSON & LEE JOHNSON & DUSTIN RHODES vs. THE WINGMEN (Peter Avalon & Cezar Bononi & JD Drake w/Ryan Nemeth)
The Wingmen entered first, and Peter Avalon’s robe is a whole mood. Mark Henry said, “Look at him giving it to the ladies in the front row!” (Henry and Kingston are pure gold.)
Once arriving ring, Avalon “Val-Venused” away his robe and performed a dance literally no one asked for. Mark Henry said, “Entertaining the ladies is how you get the ratings up.” (Despite how that quote sounds, it was somehow magnificently funny.)
Dustin Rhodes, Lee Johnson, and Brock Anderson walked out, in that order, and made their way down the ramp together. Anderson and Johnson slapped hands at ringside and played to the crowd. Meanwhile, Dustin warmed up using the ring ropes, and the director cut to a sign reading “American Dream 4-Ever.” (I like that. Dustin should be really proud of what he’s done these past couple of years.)
Johnson and Avalon started things off. Avalon tried for a headlock, but Johnson shoved him aside and ran into the ropes, using their spring to propel himself into a shoulder tackle. The hard-hitting move dropped Johnson to the mat, but he quickly scurried to his feet.
A flurry of counters ensued until Johnson landed a dropkick followed by an arm-drag takedown (judo throw). Johnson put Avalon in a wristlock and tagged in Anderson. Anderson and Lee double-teamed Avalon, with Lee giving him an elbow and Anderson landing a knee drop. Anderson went for an early win, but Avalon kicked out at one. (BTW, the commentators are MAKING this match. I know I’ve mentioned that already, but I cannot stress that point enough. I could listen to Henry and Kingston discussing Peter Avalon for days.)
Still in control, Anderson went for a bodyslam, but Avalon squirmed out of Anderson’s arms and lunged toward his team’s corner. Avalon tagged in J.D. Drake. Drake went for a clothes-line, but Anderson ducked and wrenched his wrist in a twisting wristlock. Anderson punched Drake in the ribs, but Drake was having none of it and elbowed Anderson on the top of his head. Anderson collapsed.
Drake put Anderson in a bear hug, and Anderson elbowed Drake’s head repeatedly but was unable to prevent Drake from tossing him onto the apron. Drake hit a guillotine on the top rope, knocking Anderson to the floor. Cezar Bononi sauntered over to take a cheap shot, and Ryan Nemeth viciously raked Anderson’s eyes. Dustin hopped off the apron and ran to Anderson’s aid which sent the heels cowering away. Drake dragged Anderson back into the ring using his hair and drove him face-first into the top turnbuckle in the heel-team’s corner. With Anderson literally on the ropes, Drake tagged in Bononi.
Bononi chopped Anderson’s chest so hard he rebounded off the turnbuckle, allowing Bononi to bend him at the waist and knee his chest. Bononi delivered a stiff forearm across the back, and Anderson fell to the mat. (I’m surprised he didn’t fall through the ring; that looked rough!) Bononi tried to catch Anderson in a chin lock, but Anderson refused to cooperate, causing Bononi to resort to a hair takedown. (Bonini is looking strong here.)
Bonini tagged in Drake and gave Andreson a pump-handle slam. Anderson collapsed in the corner, and Drake executed a running cannonball senton onto Anderson. He then tagged in Avalon, and Avalon hit a diving splash off the top rope, covering Anderson. Anderson kicked out at two.
Avalon pulled Anderson up, applied a front facelock, and tagged in Drake. Drake pounded Anderson with his forearm before chopping his chest hard enough to knock him down. Drake went for a clothesline but missed, and Anderson hit a DDT. Both men were on the ground, and Lee paced up and down the ring apron in anticipation of a hot tag. Lee built up momentum as Anderson rolled over, crawling and clawing his way to the face’s corner. Lee stretched out his arm, his leg shaking as he reached for Anderson’s hand. Anderson tagged in Dustin.
The crowd popped big for Dustin, and he went straight into a flurry of offense that went into the ropes, into a clothesline, back into the ropes, into a second clothesline, into a counter, into Avalon bending over and patiently waiting for Dustin to slap him. Dustin slapped him in the face. Avalon looked surprised by this because I’m guessing he doesn’t watch wrestling. However, the crowd loved it. Bononi hopped into the ring, but Dustin clotheslined him back over the ropes, sending him all the way to the floor. Avalon charged at Dustin, but Dustin caught him in a scoop powerslam. Tony Schiavone exclaimed, “The kid’s still got it!” (Kid?)
Bonini jumped in the ring, and Dustin tossed him out like the shmuck his character is only for Drake to re-insert himself into the match and attempt an Irish whip. Dustin reversed out of it. Then, Dustin hit another scoop powerslam on Drake and tagged in Lee. Lee jumped over the top rope in a single bound, ran to the opposite side of the ring, rebounded off the ropes, and suicide-dived onto Drake and Avalon on the floor. Anderson then hit Drake with a tackle off the apron. (The action here was so fast, the camera almost missed Anderson’s spot!) Dustin got Avalon in the center of the ring and delivered a neckbreaker for a decisive three-count.
WINNER: Brock Anderson & Lee Johnson & Dustin Rhodes in 6:00.
– Replays of the action aired, including the well-executed suicide dive and the pinfall. Meanwhile, Anderson, Johnson, and Dustin celebrated in the ring.
(David’s Analysis: This match contained some good stuff. I’m consistently amazed by how much wrestlers are willing to put into Dark and Dark Elevation matches. Oh, and Dustin certainly does “still have it.” Also, the commentary during this match was everything — just wanted to point that out a third time.)
(3) BRIAN PILLMAN JR. (w/Julia Hart) vs. SERPENTICO (w/Luther)
Serpentico came out first, and by “came out,” I mean he was dragged out like a housecat to a bathtub full of water by his friend, Luther. (Are we sure about the friend part?) Serpentico stood center ring as Luther kneeled in front of him, posing for the camera. Serpentico’s arms flew open, and streamers burst out of his hands. Once again, Luther tried to eat them because of course he did.
Next up, Brian Pillman Jr. ran out on stage with Julia Hart, who was riding piggyback. They both looked enthusiastic and appreciative of the crowd’s response. A surprising number of people in the front row applauded Pillman Jr. as he climbed through the ropes. Ever the babyface, Pillman Jr. paused and took a moment to acknowledge their adulation. (I paused and took a moment to check Pillman Jr.’s wiki page to see if he was from Georgia. He is not! This is apparently a genuine reaction. Good for him.)
The match-up started with Serpentico charging toward Pillman Jr. with a Vader-esque bell clap followed by two right hands. Pillman Jr. shoved Serpentico a few feet, and pump kicked him. Serpentico wavered, but he was not to be counted out. He hit a throw kick right to Pillman Jr.’s face and got a one-count for his effort.
Forearms were traded, but Serpentico maintained his upper hand with a snapmare takeover, setting up what looked like a punt kick to the center of Pillman Jr.’s back (I couldn’t see exactly what kind of kick it was from the camera angle.) Serpentico put Pillman Jr. in a sitting headlock, and Julia Hart got the crowd to clap for Pillman Jr. to encourage his recovery. (That also happened in Peter Pan.) Much like in J.M. Barrie’s beloved children’s novel, the applause worked. Pillman Jr. rallied to his feet.
Pillman Jr. then gave Serpentico a series of stiff chops, attempted an Irish whip, got whipped into the ropes himself, and then rebounded to give Serpentico a forearm. He finished his explosive offense with a devastating clothesline that turned Serpentico “inside out.” (Quoting Schiavone there.)
Pillman Jr. assumed a three-point stance reminiscent of football and went barreling toward Serpentico with a clothesline in the corner followed by a chop and a right hand for good measure. Pillman Jr. then executed a suplex powerslam (Jackhammer) and went for the cover; however, Serpentico put his foot on the ropes at two.
Pillman Jr. seemed frustrated but accepted the referee’s decision. He hit Serpentico with a forearm to the chest and then placed him in a seated position on the top turnbuckle. Pillman Jr. climbed onto the ropes alongside him, possibly planning a superplex, but we’ll never know for sure because Serpentico gave Pillman Jr. his second bell clap of the night and connected with a top rope senton atomico. That allowed Serpentico the chance to get a two-count on Pillman Jr. Pillman Jr. rolled to the apron, hoping to recover, but Luther doled out what looked like a bicycle kick to Pillman Jr.’s head.
Luther lifted Serpentico in the air to bodyslam him on top of Pillman Jr.’s ribcage, but Pillman Jr. rolled out of the way, and Serpentico was, instead, bodyslammed on the apron for no good reason. (He’s gotta see how this is an abusive relationship, right?) Pillman Jr. seemed to agree with my take (or so I’ll pretend) and thrust kicked Luther clean off the apron. Luther’s bump to the floor was satisfying. Still on the apron, Pillman Jr. traded punches with Serpentico. Serpentico reeled backward, and Pillman Jr. jumped from the apron to the top rope and then used the top rope as a springboard to deliver a flying clothes-line to Serpentico! (That looked great.) Pillman Jr. covered Serpentico and gets the win.
WINNER: Brian Pillman Jr. (w/Julia Hart) in 4:00
(David’s Analysis: While this likely won’t be the match of the night, it’s my favorite match so far. Pillman Jr. looked strong, and Serpentico & Luther are fast becoming one of my guilty pleasures. There was also an adorable “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” moment where a young fan dressed like Orange Cassidy waved at Hart mid-match, and she gleefully waved back.)
– They cut to a video package about Planet Hollywood adding Q.T. Marshall memorabilia to their displayed collection. (My day is complete.)
(4) THE FACTORY (Q.T. Marshall & Nick Comoroto & Aaron Solow & Anthony Ogogo) vs. BARON BLACK & SHAWN HOODRICH & TONY VINCITA & J.D. MUNOZ
Nick Comoroto, Aaron Solow, and Q.T. Marshall came out first. They posed on stage and then pointed toward the heel tunnel. Anthony Ogogo’s music hit, and Tony Schiavone announced he was making his return tonight. All four members of The Factory made their way to the ring. Already in the ring (that’s never a good sign), the team of Baron Black & Shawn Hoodrich & Tony Vincita & J.D. Munoz awaited The Factory’s arrival.
Comoroto and Vincita locked up to start things off, but Comoroto overpowered Vincita and sent him flying to the mat with a Biel throw. Comoroto then cornered Vincita and repeatedly speared him. He dragged Vincita out of the neutral corner he’d entrapped him in and executed a second Biel Throw, which looked quite large and painful. Comoroto tagged in Solow, who promptly delivered a running elbow followed by a pendulum backbreaker and a flying double stomp. Mark Henry cried, “Oh my lord!” (which is an accurate and detailed depiction of what happened.)
Solow tagged in Ogogo, who taunted Black on the ring apron. Ogogo then dragged Vincita’s half-conscious (and fully back-broken) body to the face team’s corner and forced him to tag in Black. Black and Ogogo faced off, and Black showed zero fear, getting right in Ogogo’s face. Ogogo shoved Black, which only seemed to embolden him more. He lunged at Ogogo, attempting a bear hug, but Ogogo dodged him, and Black instead delivered two sharp chops, which Ogogo no-sold. Ogogo grabbed Black and hit an Olympic Slam. (Did Kurt Angle invent this, or was it around before him? I’ve always wondered. It looks like a jacked-up version of a fireman’s carry used by amateur wrestlers. Regardless, Ogogo did an exceptional job executing the thing.)
Black rolled to the ring apron, and Munzo got in the ring despite not being the legal man. Q.T. Marshall responded by jumping in to give Munzo a Diamond Cutter for his efforts. Next up was Hoodrich, who leaped off the top rope and looked poised to put up a serious fight before running right into Ogogo’s fist via a pop-up haymaker. Munzo was “out cold,” and the referee stopped the match due to the knockout.
WINNER: The Factory (Q.T. Marshall & Nick Comoroto & Aaron Solow & Anthony Ogogo) via knockout in 3:00
(David’s Analysis: The point of this match was to make Anthony Ogogo look like he’s an unstoppable monster. It worked.)
– After the match, Anthony Ogogo posed on the bottom rope while facing the hard camera and taunting the crowd.
(5) EMI SAKURA & THE BUNNY (w/Mei Suruga) vs. ABADON & RYO MIZUNAMI
(This is an interesting mashup of gimmicks.) Emi Sakura & the Bunny (w/Mei Suruga) came out first to the Bunny’s entrance music. Abadon & Ryo Mizunami came out together to Mizunami’s music. (Fair warning, I’m a huge Abadon fan. If at any point it sounds like I’m speaking glowingly of her, I am.) Mizunami danced her way out of the face tunnel, and Abadon crawled her way out. When Abadon stood to face her tag team partner, Mizunami became instantly horror-stricken and ran to the ring to get away from her tag team partner, who looked terror-ific.
Abadon played to the crowd, and it looks like she’ll be the one to start the match for her team. Likewise, the Bunny stepped up to represent her team, and the two stared each other down from across the ring. The referee got a smidge too close to Abadon, causing him to startle backward (because she’s so awesome).
Abadon snarled in the Bunny’s face, but the Bunny didn’t seem the least bit scared. Instead of cowering, she smiled back and did that thing she does where she tilts her head sideways and looks all weird. Abadon copied the head tilt thing, and we got a cool moment out of it. However, the Bunny decided she’d had enough and kicked Abadon square in the stomach. Then the Bunny ran into the ropes and kneed Abadon’s face.
Abadon seemed barely phased by the blow and let out a fantastically beautiful, blood-curdling scream. The Bunny responded to being screamed at by punching Abadon in the face and going for a twisting wristlock. Abadon countered with a headbutt and then landed a well-executed sitout facebuster (Sean Waltman would be proud.) Abadon tried for a whip, but the Bunny kicked her in the chest, again… hard. Abadon not only no-sold the kick but let out another tunefully melodic, unsettling shriek. The Bunny ran to her corner like she’d seen the undead (she had) and tagged in Sakura.
Sakura swung a blistering backhand chop into Abadon’s chest and set up for the Queen’s Gambit. Abadon managed to escape (cause she’s good like that) and tagged in Mizunami.
Mizunami darted toward Sakura, crashing into her with a shoulder tackle. Sakura fled into a neutral corner where Mizunami met her with a fast series of Kobashi Machine Gun chops. (Sakura’s facial expressions are perfect here.) The Bunny ran in for the save, looking to splash Mizunami, but Mizunami stepped out of the way, and the Bunny splashed her own tag-team partner instead. Mizunami then began chopping both the Bunny and Sakura, who was, to be clear, trapped behind the Bunny. All the while, Eddie Kingston shouted, “Hit the Bunny! Yes! Yes, hit that psychopath!” (This was great. I cannot put into words how much Kingston and Henry are adding to this show.)
Once the Bunny rolled out of the way, Mizunami tossed Sakura into the opposite corner and delivered a running clothes-line. Just as it began to look like Sakura was done for, Suruga reached across the apron and grabbed Mizunami’s ankle. This was enough for Sakura to gain an advantage and toss Mizunami to the mat with a hair-assisted Biel throw.
Sakura did her signature “stomp, stomp, clap,” and once the audience was stomping and clapping along, she turned her “stomp, stomp, clap” into a “stomp, stomp, chop” across Mizunami’s chest. (I’ve seen Sakura do this bit several times, and it never gets old.) Sakura then hit Mizunami with a running crossbody that seemed to take a lot out of both of them. Sakura leaned over the bottom rope, both catching her breath and arrogantly mugging for the crowd. However, unbeknownst to her, Abadon was lurking right over her shoulder. When Sakura turned to see a human haunted house mere inches from her face, she startled, causing Abadon to burst into a soothingly melodious, discordant screech of her own. Sakura screamed like she was being murdered (which, to be fair, seemed like a distinct possibility). Mark Henry mutter, “What in the Sam Hill!” (That is just excellent.)
Sakura rushed back into the ring, shook off the chills from her encounter with death Abadon, and performed an outstanding double-arm butterfly suplex on Mizunami. However, regardless of how good that suplex was, Mizunami was stronger and kicked out at two. Sakura put on a dragon sleeper and held fast until she eyed Abadon in the corner, looking like the personification of the great beyond. Sakura to scream at the mere sight of such frightening brilliance.
Mizunami managed to pull her head out of the dragon sleeper and delivered a side slam to a still aghast Sakura. (Her facial expressions win all prizes.) After the side slam, both Mizunami and Sakura were down. Sakura rolled toward the Bunny, and Mizunami rolled toward Abadon. They both made their respective tags, and Abadon hurled clothes-lines and elbows at the Bunny, who tumbled to the mat. Abadon pulled the Bunny up and hit a sitout rear mat slam and threw 100 percent of herself into a cover, but Sakura bolted from her corner to break up the count at two! Mizunami scrambled over the ropes and speared Sakura. The Bunny delivered a thrust kick to Abadon, who ricocheted off the ropes and came back with a knife-edge chop. Abadon executed a Black Daliah to get the win!
WINNER: “The Living Dead Girl” Abadon in 5:00
(David’s Analysis: Abadon is glorious.)
– After the match, Mizunami applauded Abadon from a very safe distance. The referee wanted to bring both tag team partners together so he could raise their hands simultaneously, but Mizunami, being petrified of Abdon, was very unclear about the idea.
(6) JUNGLE BOY & LUCHASAURUS & BRANDON TATE & BRENT TATE
Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus made their entrance to raucous applause and wild waving arms. The crowd was fully invested in this act. Jungle Boy ascended the turnbuckles and looked out at the adoring sea of humanity celebrating his entrance music. The camera then cut to what appeared to be a screaming teenage girl from a One Direction concert. Brandon Tate and Brent Tate awaited their fate in the ring.
The bell rang, and the match got underway as Jungle Boy and Brent squared off with a lock-up. The crowd was still singing Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus’ entrance music — loudly. Jungle Boy captured Brent in a waist lock and executed a release waistlock takedown. Jungle Boy then caught Brent in a side headlock, thrust him into the ring ropes, and stopped his resulting rebound with a shoulder tackle. All of this happened at warp speed.
Brent moved to trip Jungle Boy, but Jungle Boy leaped over Brent with a roundoff back handspring (sweet). Jungle Boy hit a hip toss followed by a dropkick topped off with a pop-up which popped the crowd. Brent tagged in Brandon, who was welcomed to the ring with the warm embrace of a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Jungle Boy quickly scooped up Brent’s leg for a near-fall.
Jungle Boy pulled Brandon up by his hair, but Brandon landed his first offense of the match using Jungle Boy’s upward momentum to execute a jawbreaker. Jungle Boy clutched his face (yeah, be careful with that) as Brandon scrambled to tag in Brent. Together, Brandon and Brent swung Jungle Boy into the corner. Brandon ran toward Jungle Boy only to get tossed outside. Brent followed Brandon, running toward Jungle Boy only to be sidestepped and crash into the turnbuckles. Brent hung like a scarecrow in the corner as Jungle Boy charged toward him. Brent dodged Jungle Boy, and Jungle Boy went face-first into the turnbuckles just as Brent had done moments earlier.
Brandon compounded this sudden unfortunate turn of events by nailing Jungle Boy with a rope-assisted enzuigiri from the apron. Brent tagged in Brandon.
Brent went for a roll-up; Jungle Boy rolled right out, and Brandon met him with a springboard crossbody off the top rope. Brandon tagged Brent back in, and the duo attempted a belly-to-back suplex; however, Jungle Boy managed to turn their attempted suplex into a backflip, landing on his feet.
The crowd chanted “Luchasaurus” so loud, I strained to hear the commentators. (These guys are so over. I cannot believe they have yet to hold the AEW Tag Team Titles.) Brandon and Brent attempted a double clothes-line, but Jungle Boy rolled underneath them and straight into his corner. He tagged in Luchasaurus. (Here we go!)
Luchasaurus jumped over the top rope, hit both Brandon and Brent with a double shoulder tackle, landed a clothes-line on one Tate brother, and landed a pump kick on the other. He then grabbed Brent and tossed him into one corner; then, he grabbed Brandon and tossed him into the other corner. Luchasaurus hit Brent with a clothes-line, Brandon with a backsplash, Brent with a backsplash, Brandon with another backsplash, and then Brent with a — nope, Brent rolled out of the way. But that didn’t matter, though, because Luchasaurus is a dinosaur, and dinos stop for no one. Luchasaurus hits both brothers simultaneously with a sick-looking double clothes-line, sending them plunging toward the ground like crash test dummies.
Luchasaurus watched his prey stumble back to their feet, grabbed them both by the front of their necks, and double chokeslammed them into halfway into extinction.
Luchasaurus tagged in Jungle Boy and signaled to the crowd for their double-team finisher.
They then hit what Tony Schiavone called “an assisted powerbomb,” what Eddie Kingston called an “I don’t even know what to call that,” and what I call a “Thorassic Express” because that is what it is called. (You’d know this if you power-stalked Jungle Boy’s instagram, Eddie.)
Jungle Boy makes the pin, and every single member of the roaring crowd looks like Oprah just gave them a free car.
WINNER: Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus in 3:00
(David’s Analysis: I just saw Jurassic Express get a squash win, and Abadon get a clean pin. I can die now.)
(7) THE ACCLAIMED vs. SHAWN DEAN & CARLIE BRAVO
The Acclaimed’s entrance video hit, and AEW’s resident musical historian, Max Castor, implored us to “listen” because he has nice things to say. Spotify, Uber, and Andre Dickens made appearances in… whatever that was. (I’d say it’s not quite Lennon, but Castor wouldn’t be offended because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know who that is.) Once Castor was finished, Anthony Bowens grabbed the mic and bombastically declared, “The Acclaimed have arrived!”
Their opponents, Shawn Dean & Carlie Bravo, stood in the ring, looking like they wanted to beat up Caster and Bowens. (Please do.) When Dean & Bravo’s names were called, the crowd applauded
Castor and Dean kicked things off. Castor kicked Dean in the stomach, hit him with a back elbow, applied a twisting wristlock, and tagged in Bowens. The Acclaimed teamed up for a vertical suplex and then struck their “The Acclaimed have arrived” pose in the middle of the ring. While The Acclaimed were busy showboating, Dean & Bravo snuck up from behind and delivered uppercuts and thrust kicks to take down both members.
With The Acclaimed down on all fours, Dean & Bravo stood on their fingers and performed a delightful parody of The Acclaimed’s signature hand gesture. (I will cherish this memory.) The Acclaimed tried to stand up and promptly received a pair of synchronized dropkicks. The audience applauded vociferously.
Dean whipped Bowens into the corner and slammed him with a hard running clothes-line. Bravo was tagged in, and he nailed a sitout spinebuster on Bowens as Dean went up top. Dean hit a frog splash on Bowens, and Bravo hooked his leg for the cover, getting a two-count. Bravo struck Bowens with a back elbow in the corner and climbed to the second rope. Bravo pounded away at Bowen’s face as the crowd gleefully counted along.
Castor (which rhymes with cheater) reached into the ring, grabbed Bravo’s ankle, and ripped him from his perch. Bowens used the opening to knock Dean off the apron. Bowens hit a back elbow, a hard strike, a knife-edge chop, and a thrust kick, all in a matter of seconds. Bravo was left crumpled on the mat as Bowens tagged in Castor. (Well, crap.)
Bowens hit a side slam on Bravo, and Castor followed that up with a Mic Drop. Castor hooked Bravo’s leg and got a three count.
WINNER: The Acclaimed in 2:00
– The Acclaimed celebrated in the ring and did their scissoring hand gesture, which I’m assuming is about arts and crafts.
(David’s Analysis: That was fun. It wasn’t a masterpiece; it was a two-minute squash, but it was fun. I complain about The Acclaimed, but I love watching them. They are the most delectably hateable thing on TV since Sammy Guevara turned in his heel card. It’s actually impressive how good those two are at not just building up heat but delivering on their comeuppances with gratifying facial expressions. I hope I get to hate them for a long time to come.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: First, Henry and Kingston are national treasures, and whatever they’re paid, it isn’t enough. Second, this show was enjoyable from start to finish. While other recent Elevations had better matches, this show was pleasingly consistent. If you’re pressed for time but want to catch some highlights, check out these three matches: Jurassic Express vs. The Tate Brothers, Abadon & Mizunami vs. Sakara & the Bunny, and The Acclaimed vs. Dean & Bravo. All three combined are just 10 minutes, and they are worth checking out. Thanks for reading, and until next time *I’m just now realizing I have no sign off.*