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AEW DARK ELEVATION REPORT
FEBRUARY 14, 2022
TAPED 2/9 IN ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY DAVID BRYANT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Excalibur, Mark Henry, Paul Wight
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
– Hey, welcome back! Thanks for visiting PWTorch.com, and thanks for checking out this report. I set out to make it shorter than my last one, and I failed. Enjoy.
-Tonight’s Dark Elevation taping came to us from the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. (Having seen a breakdown of the card on Reddit, I have a feeling this might end up being an exceptional episode of Dark Elevation. This show’s line-up reads like a rogues’ gallery of people I stan!)
-Dark Elevation opened with my favorite comic book hero Dante Martin. Martin’s energetic theme music blared throughout the arena as Excalibur informed the viewers he’d be filling in for Tony Schiavone. (When are they bringing Eddie Kingston back?)
“If you’re not familiar with Dante Martin, this is a match you need to watch,” Wight informed the select few Elevation viewers who had freshly awoken from a year-long coma.
(1) DANTE MARTIN vs. KEVIN MATTHEWS
Kevin Matthews was already in the ring and looked like he’d eaten an entire box of Sour Patch Kids that had been meant to be shared amongst everyone.
Both men circled each other as Martin fed off the crowd’s energy. Matthews and Martin then lunged into a collar and elbow tie-up that lasted a matter of seconds before Matthews launched Martin into the corner like he was Clark Kent being prematurely ripped out of a phone booth. However, Martin was undeterred and defiantly confronted a trash-talking Matthews. Matthews moved toward Martin, and Martin managed to catch him in a side headlock. Matthews fought off Martin’s headlock, and Irish whipped him across the ring. Martin grabbed the top rope to stop the inertia of Matthew’s Irish Whip, and Matthews ran toward Martin, who did a flip over Matthews’ back, further proving my theory that he’s actually Spider-Man.
Martin knocked Matthews out of the ring and revved up the crowd for a topé suicida, and ran the ropes, but before he could execute an unalive dive, Matthews jumped into the ring and hit Martin with a wicked lariat that “turned him inside out.” (Even Martin’s beatdowns look like they belong in an expensive circus.) Martin was down and out, and Matthews stood over him, shouting, “Do you know who I am?” (Which is a very fair question to ask, all things considered.) Matthews propped Martin up against the top rope, forced his arms underneath the rope, and executed some kind of submission hold. I have no idea what it was called, but it was nifty.
Martin was on all fours, and Matthews stomped on his hand before punching him in the head. He then tried to pull Martin upright, but Martin used his new vantage point to throw some blows into Matthew’s midsection. Matthews kneed Martin’s face, and the force stopped his momentum. Matthews then grounded Martin (ground being his kryptonite) and put him in a rear chin-lock. Martin rallied and fought his way back to his feet with multiple rights and lefts, only to be quickly grounded again when he ran into the ropes, bounced off, and catapulted straight into Matthews’ knee. Matthews attempted a flying crossbody, but Martin rolled out of the way and allowed him to crash and burn.
“This could be the opening Dante needs to get back into this match!” Excalibur said.
Martin landed several strikes before running the ropes and executing a springboard dropkick onto Matthews, followed immediately by a pop-up dropkick so high he almost left the frame of the comic strip. The crowd roared, and Martin fed off them like Popeye feeding off spinach. Matthews bailed to the outside, and Martin ran the ropes, jumped onto the top rope, and executed a springboard crossbody to the ringside floor. (Holy crap! That went insanely high! How does he do that kind of stuff? Is he taking some of that trimetazidine? Is that what that stuff does?)
“The human highlight reel (not named Kofi) does it again!” Wight exclaimed.
Martin shouted triumphantly, and the crowd shouted back. Martin rolled Matthews back into the ring, hit him with an apron enzuigiri, and then followed that with The Nose Dive. Martin hooked Matthews’ leg and scored the pinfall because it’s hard to wrestle people who can fly.
WINNER: Martin in 4:00
(David’s Analysis: Once again, Dante Martin does not disappoint. Say what you want about his in-ring psychology and facial expressions, but Martin manages to deliver edge-of-your-seat action every time he’s on my screen.)
– After the match, an advert for Dynamite aired, letting us know the “TBS era is here!” (Please don’t let that become the name of an era. I do not want to explain that to my kids… if I have kids. I’m never having kids.)
(2) THUNDER ROSA vs. RILEY SHEPARD
Thunder Rosa made her way to the ring wearing green and white makeup with a lime green flower in her hair. The director cut to images of applauding fans, and Rosa posed atop the turnbuckles to acknowledge them. Riley Shepard, her opponent, was awaiting her arrival in the ring.
Shepard and Rosa start things off with a collar and elbow tie-up before breaking apart to size one another up. The crowd chanted, “Thunder Rosa,” as both athletes locked up a second time. Shepard quickly their lockup shifted into a wristlock, but Rosa flipped her way out of it and applied a wristlock of her own. Shepard jammed her elbow into the crook of Rosa’s arm, which forced her to release the wristlock. This opening allowed Shepard the opportunity to snap Rosa up in a side headlock. Rosa grabbed Shepard’s arm and pulled it away from her head, trapping her arm in a hammerlock. Shepard struggled to force Rosa into a waistlock counter, but Rosa executed a standing switch and reapplied the hammerlock. Shepard pulled her arm out of Rosa’s hammerlock, and Rosa caught hold of her again with a second side headlock. Shepard continued to struggle, and Rosa took her down to the mat with a side headlock takeover.
“Nice side headlock takeover,” Wight said.
“I won my first fight in the 6th grade with a headlock takeover,” Henry said, and I believe him.
Shepard shoved Rosa into the ropes; Rosa ran the ropes and tried to tackle Shepard, but Shepard hit the canvas, and Rosa jumped over her. Shepard caught a rebounding Rosa in an attempted arm-drag, but Rosa countered that by pulling Shepard into a front face lock. (This match has a very “grappling-based” feel to it, and therefore, it doesn’t “read” as exciting, but it is exciting.)
Rosa bullied Shepard into the ropes, pushed her against them, and nailed her with an open-handed chop. The referee called for a break-up, and Rosa obliged. Shepard stumbled toward the corner and collapsed onto the turnbuckles, hanging in the scarecrow position. Rosa hit her with another chop. Shepard tried to scarper away, but Rosa tracked her down and trapped her in another corner. Rosa then hit Shepard with two back elbows and a knife-edge chop. Rosa left Shepard hanging in the corner, backed up (She did a flip in the process of backing up.), and executed a running clothesline. Rosa followed that up with a rope-assisted Meteora onto Shepard.
The crowd went wild for Rosa, and she egged them on. (This kind of affirmation and recognition would be overwhelming to some, but Rosa is handling it with grace.) Shepard fell to the ground, and Rosa placed her on the bottom rope facing the center of the ring. Rosa then backed up, ran forward, and hit her opponent in the chest with a double stomp. Rosa picked Shepard up, put her over her shoulder, and said something to the hard camera. (I wish I’d caught what she said because it probably had something to do with Martinez. However, the director showed it from the side rather than head-on. So, I wasn’t able to catch what she said, even after watching it back twice.) Rosa then executed a powerslam, hooked Shepard’s leg with all of her might, covered Shepard, and got the three-count.
WINNER: Rosa in 3:00
(David’s Analysis: Thunder Rosa is so over she has to look down to see Earth.)
– After the match, Rosa found a camera and shouted a message to Britt Baker. (Nice!)
– An advert for Rampage aired, and this one focused solely on Soho. (I like these ads focusing on a single wrestler. It makes that wrestler look like a megastar.)
(3) SERPENTICO (w/Luther) vs. ZACK CLAYTON
Two of my favorites, Serpentico and Luther, came out first. (Has anyone read the book The Whipping Boy? I saw it on my bookshelf yesterday and immediately thought about Serpentico.)
“We saw the human highlight reel; now we get to see the human ping-pong ball,” Excalibur said. (Don’t encourage him.)
Serpentico began making his way down the ring on his own because he is a big boy, and for absolutely no justifiable reason, Luther grabbed Serpentico’s mask and dragged him to the ring. (We are all witnessing this abusive relationship in real-time and doing nothing. This is like the Kitty Genovese effect but on a national scale. SMH)
“I did some research on Luther because I was so enamored with him as a performer,” Wight said. “Did you know he works part-time at a local police department as a medium?”
Serpentico’s opponent, Zack Clayton, was already waiting in the ring. (Oh, I remember him; he’s that Jersey Shore guy.) Clayton looks like he has an unfair size advantage over Serpentico, and I vote the match changed to Luther. (Poor Serpentico. He’s always on the wrong end of everything.) The director cut to some cast members from Jersey Shore sitting in the crowd.
Serpentico attacked Clayton from behind before the bell rang, which was a wise thing to do because that guy has like a foot and a half on him! Serpentico struck Clayton in his midsection multiple times before attempting an Irish whip. However, Clayton quickly reversed Serpentico’s Irish whip. Serpentico then jumped over Clayton, ran the ropes, ducked two clotheslines, and things were looking up until Clayton floored him with an excellently executed dropkick. Clayton then attempted a suplex, but Serpentico fought his way back to his feet. Clayton swung Serpentico into the turnbuckles, grabbed him around the waist, and performed a release German suplex that looked like it murdered Serpentico. (All jokes aside, that looked really, really rough. Serpentico went remarkably high in the air and landed directly on this head. The referee all but tripped over himself, trying to check on him, and my stomach lurched. That could’ve gone badly.)
While the referee checked on Serpentico, Luther distracted Clayton by grabbing his foot from the apron. Clayton then turned his insatiable wrath on Luther, and Luther put up both hands, backing away toward the barricade. Serpentico got back to his feet and nailed Clayton with a step-up enzuigiri.
“Serpentico is miraculously back on his feet,” Excalibur said. (Miraculous indeed.)
Serpentico executed a flatliner on Clayton, which surprised me, and apparently, it also surprised Serpentico, who celebrated like he’d won the Super Bowl. Serpentico got in a few more shots before Clayton nailed him with a right hand. Serpentico fumbled for a second, grabbed Clayton by his waist, and executed a roll through superkick. Serpentico went for the cover, but Clayton refused to stay down for poor Serpentico, kicking out at two. Luther then shouted something at the referee. (Hopefully, he’s explaining that Serpentico is a good person who does not deserve this.)
Serpentico scaled the turnbuckles, posed on top of them, and then attempted a top rope senton bomb, but Clayton cruelly rolled out of the way and let poor Serpentico crash into the rough canvas. Serpentico staggered back to his feet, and Clayton hit him with not one but two clotheslines. He then threw Serpentico into the air and watched callously as the human ping pong ball ping-ponged.
Somehow, someway, with the unfettered determination of a troll being wrong on the internet, Serpentico battled his way back to his feet and leaned against the top rope, hoping for a short respite. However, Clayton was merciless and clotheslined Serpentico over the top rope, sending him all the way to the floor. Clayton posed for the crowd, and they applauded his meanness. Clayton then saw the light and went to the floor to help poor Serpentico back up and make sure he was — nope. Instead of showing kindness, Clayton ran Serpentico’s torso into the steel barricade and punched his fragile skull, which was protected by only the thinnest of masks. Clayton rolled Serpentico back into the ring, and Luther ran to his friend’s aid and pump-kicked Clayton.
Luther then walked up to the cast of Jersey Shore and graciously provided them with a personalized meet and greet opportunity, but they were very ungrateful people. Luther tried to talk to them about the virtues of “getting out of there” early to avoid traffic, but Clayton interrupted Luther and knocked him to the floor. Serpentico ran at Clayton, probably hoping to avenge his abusive friend, but Clayton caught him with a ringside powerslam. Poor Serpentico was ravaged, and Clayton rolled his badly damaged body back into the ring. With Serpentico unable to put up a fight, Clayton grabbed him by the waist and executed a fisherman’s buster for the win. (Which is not what the FTW Title stands for despite me thinking that for like two seconds.)
WINNER: Clayton in 4:00
(David’s Analysis: This was what you’d expect from a Serpentico match. There was a lot of bouncing, a little bit of comedy, and just the right amount of wrestling. However, that release German Suplex looked perilous. I hope Serpentico is okay.)
– A pre-recorded video package aired in which Powerhouse Hobbs talked about his childhood, his upbringing, and how he likes to give back to the community. This was well done and contained some interesting stuff, but it left me a little confusing because Hobbs came off as thoroughly likable. (This video package was part of AEW’s “Who We Are” project. The album will be available for purchase on Feb. 18.)
(4) POWERHOUSE HOBBS (w/Ricky Starks) vs. MATT SYDAL (w/Lee Moriarty)
Powerhouse Hobbs made his way to the ring first, with Ricky Starks accompanying him. When Hobbs got to the ring, he climbed the turnbuckles and sneered at the camera, but after that aforementioned video package, all I could see was a soothing smile. Next up, Matt Sydal came to the ring with Lee Moriarty by his side.
Hobbs leaned over in the corner to speak with Starks, and as soon as he turned around, Sydal caught him with a spinning back kick. Hobbs instinctively went for a clothesline, but Sydal ducked and repeatedly kicked Hobbs’s legs and torso. Sydal ran into the ropes, bounced off of them, ran toward Hobbs, and Hobbs caught him by the neck before throwing him into the turnbuckles. Hobbs went in for a strike, but Sydal ducked him and executed a running Meteora out of nowhere. Sydal then jumped on Hobbs’s back and attempted a sleeper, but Hobbs was having none of it and backed Sydal into the turnbuckles.
Surprised to discover Hobbs is basically the unstoppable monster at the end of every horror movie, Sydal tried to beg off. But that’s not how wrestling matches work, and Hobbs went after him anyway. Sydal leaped out of the ring and ran away. Hobbs chased after him, and Sydal raced around the ring steps before sliding back into the ring from the other side. Hobbs followed him back into the ring, and Sydal jumped back out of the ring. Hobbs jumped out of the ring again and continued to chase Sydal. Sydal slid into the ring yet again, and Hobbs jumped back into the ring yet again. This time, he caught Sydal’s leg, which prevented him from running away a third time.
Sydal cleverly uses Hobbs’s own momentum to roll the larger man up for a quick two-count. Both men promptly got to their feet, and Sydal ran toward the ropes, only for Starks to attempt to trip him from behind. Sydal turned his attention to Starks, and Hobbs took advantage of this distraction by delivering an insane “inside out” clothesline.
“When you got that kind of size and power, all you need is one shot,” Wight said.
“When you got someone as low down and dirty as Starks…” Henry grumbled under his breath.
Hobbs delivered an elbow drop onto Sydal before hurriedly scurrying back to his feet so he could deliver yet another decisive elbow drop. Hobbs punched Sydal three times with his right hand, and the referee broke things up. Sydal rolled toward one corner as Hobbs lumbered after him. Hobbs choked Sydal with his foot, picked Sydal up, lay him flat across the turnbuckles, and clubbed him across the chest multiple times.
Still in full control Hobbs —
“I like Hook a lot more than I like Taz,” Wight said, and my attention was completely enraptured. “Hook’s very likable. I like him.” (I don’t know how we got on this topic, but go on…)
“Don’t we all!” Excalibur said.
“Listen,” Henry said, “don’t get caught up in the smooth taste of —”
“Powerslam!” Excalibur interrupted. (No. No, no, no, let him finish! I want to know exactly what it is that is smooth, and I want to know what Mark Henry thinks it tastes like.)
Henry did not finish. (And dammit.)
Anyway, there was a powerslam in the ring, and some stuff happened. Hobbs covered Sydal and got a two-count.
“I bet Sydal’s gonna wish later he’d just laid there and got pinned,” Wight said… when he should’ve been talking about Hook.
Hobbs applied a trapezius claw to Sydal’s shoulder. With Sydal in agony, Hobbs turned to Starks at ringside, who took a selfie with Sydal’s debilitated body. (Great heel heat, here.) Sydal fought his way back to his feet, and Hobbs picked him up for a delayed vertical suplex. However, Sydal writhed around, refusing to stay in place, and Hobbs was forced to settle for a vertical bodyslam instead. As soon as Sydal hit the canvas, Hobbs reapplied his trapezius claw nerve-hold, and Sydal should win an Oscar for how well he was selling that hold.
Hobbs pulled Sydal upright to attempt another delayed vertical suplex. This time, Hobbs successfully lifted Sydal into the “vertical” position, but Sydal countered that position, using upside-down knees to the top of Hobbs’s head. (Yup, you read that right.) Hobbs dropped Sydal after the second upside-down knee to the top of his head, and Sydal nailed him with a right-side-up knee lift. However, Hobbs no-sold said knee lift, grabbed Sydal by the throat, and threw him into the air. In the air, Sydal slammed his fist into Hobbs’s jaw, and Hobbs took a step backward. Sydal kicked Hobbs in the left thigh two times, and then he executed a roundhouse kick to Hobbs’ head. Hobbs was reeling.
Hobbs fell into the far corner, and Sydal hit him with a running knee. Sydal then climbed to the top turnbuckle, but Starks grabbed his leg and held him in place before he could leap off. Moriarty came to Sydal’s rescue and yanked Starks off the apron. Moriarty grabbed Starks by the neck and slammed him into the steel barricade at ringside. This distraction gave Hobbs the opportunity to pluck Sydal off the top turnbuckle like he weighed as much as nothing, throw him over his shoulders, apply a torture rack, and get the win via tap-out.
WINNER: Hobbs in 6:00
(David’s Analysis: What was that about Hook?)
– After the match, Hobbs and Starks posed for the camera. The duo then walked over to where the Jersey Shore cast had been sitting and did something I didn’t quite catch. Henry called it a “drive-by” on commentary.
– An advert for AEW Revolution aired, and my main takeaway is that Mark Henry had something to say about Hook, and we never got to hear it.
(5) ETHAN PAGE & SCORPIO SKY (w/Dan Lambert) vs. JADEN VALO & STEVE PENA
Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky made their way to the ring first, and waddling alongside them was live-action-Boomer-emoji Dan Lambert. (Remember when your parents told you not to make ugly faces because it might get stuck that way? That way is Dan Lambert.) Already in the ring was the team of Steve Pena & Jaden Valo. Valo is the happiest jobber alive. Valo jumped up and down and waved at the camera with the enthusiasm of a super-friendly guy who doesn’t know you were waving at the person behind him.
“How are you gonna call yourself ‘Men of the Year’ like that?” Wight asked. “Mark, I should start calling us ‘Big-Men of the Decade.”
“I’ll take it,” Henry said.
“Why not just call yourselves ‘Men of the Decade?’” Excalibur asked.
“Without that extra qualifier, I think it sounds a wee bit arrogant,” Wight explained.
Page and Valo (who is Lambert’s antipode personified) started things off with Page kicking Valo, grabbing his neck, and tossing him through the middle rope. Valo managed to hold onto the ring ropes and land on the apron. Page then ran at Valo, and Valo slid under his legs and into the ring. Valo then did a pop-up followed by a flip. (Aw, he does tricks!) The crowd popped. Page floored Valo with a shoulder tackle and then waited for him to get back to his feet. Valo stood, and Page floored him a second time with a big boot. Page then tagged in Sky.
Valo punched Sky, and Sky no-sold it, picked Valo up and executed a pendulum backbreaker. Sky then tagged in Page, and Page executed a pendulum backbreaker of his own. Valo punched Page, but Page no-sold his punches and tagged Sky back in. Sky jumped onto Valo’s face. (Poor Valo is getting the Serpentico beat out of him.) Sky pulled Valo back to his feet and set him up for a third backbreaker, but this time, Valo flipped his way out of Sky’s grasp. Sky went for a clothesline, but Valo ducked and went for a boot, which Sky caught mid-kick. Valo then used his other foot to nail Sky in the side of his head with a step-up enzuigiri. (Good job. Now run!) Valo ran to his corner and tagged in Pena.
Pena shot into the ring like a red-hot bullet. Pena clotheslined the crap out of Sky, kicked Page off the apron, reversed an attempted short-arm clothesline, kicked Sky in the side of his torso, and then kicked him in the side of his legs. Pena finished off this flurry of offense with a quick but accurate basement dropkick. (This happened really fast, and it looked really cool.)
“Pena is impressive!” Wight said. “Holy smokes.” (I agree. I also like Valo. He seems so delightfully friendly. He should befriend the Best Friends!)
Pena tagged in Valo, a Valo clubbed Sky across the back, punched him in his torso, and chopped him across his chest. Valo then swung Sky across the ring with an Irish whip, but Sky reversed it. When Valo hit the opposite ropes, Page grabbed him around the waist to hold him in place while Sky clocked him with a running forearm. Sky then tagged in Page.
Sky ran across the ring to knock Pena off the apron, and Page grabbed Valo around the waist, hoisted him up, and executed The Ego’s edge. As Page delivered The Ego’s Edge, he air-kissed for the hard camera. Page then leaned over Valo’s half-conscious body and got a three-count for the win.
WINNER: Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page (w/Dan Lambert) in 4:00
(David’s Analysis: This was a good match. I don’t think it’s gonna be my favorite match of the night, but everything in it looked solid, and Valo was entertaining. In fact, I’m gonna let Valo think I was waving at him after all.)
– After the match, the camera cut to a quick shot of Dan Lambert, who managed to look like both a melting candle and like that guy from “The Neverending Story” that was made out of rocks.
(6) THE ACCLAIMED & DANIEL GARCIA & 2POINT0 vs. DARK ORDER (Stu Grayson & Alan Angels & Alex Reynolds & John Silver)
Up next is a ten-man cluster-match featuring everyone.
Dark Order came out first, represented by Stu Grayson, Alan Angels, Alex Reynolds, and the man who invented John-Silvering… John Silver. Upon arriving at the ringside, all five members stood on the apron and faced the hard camera, holding up their paws in the same way I held up mine during “The Monster Ball Tour.”
“Have you ever visited DarkOrder.com?” Henry asked sincerely.
Up next was the forever-dapper-looking Daniel Garcia and his friends, 2Point0. Garcia had a black towel around his neck, and all three men scowled their way to the ring. After Daniel Garcia and 2Point0 made their way to the ring, The Acclaimed’s music hit, and Max Caster (who is the human version of a break-up text) implored the audience to “Listen!” Usually, I type out Caster’s lyrics with asterisks in place of the offense parts, but since I don’t have the energy to type up an unintelligible paragraph full of asterisks, I’ll simply listen and respond.
Okay… so there was something about Joe Rogan, something about race, and a forbidden door joke. Holy crap, Max Caster. My expectations for you were low, but wow.
“It’s gonna get weird,” Wight said.”
Then Max Caster and Anthony Bowens scissored on the turnbuckles.
“It just got weird.”
Bowens and Silver started things off with a collar and elbow tie-up. Silver transitioned the collar and elbow tie-up into a front facelock, but Bowens quickly bulldozed Silver toward the ropes before shoving him across the ring. Silver bounced off the opposite ropes, rebounded, and took Bowens down with a shoulder tackle. Silver then John-Silvered for the hard camera, and the fans were very much into the flexing for normal reasons.
“Dark Order just got their first action figures,” Wight said. “I remember my first action figure.”
“Your first action figure was five-foot-tall,” Henry said.
“My first action figure was a mannequin.”
Silver ran the ropes, and Bowens caught him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. However, Silver countered Bowen’s backbreaker with an arm-drag. (Nice exchange. Regardless of what you think of the flexing and rapping, both these guys are good wrestlers. I don’t think I’d ever consider changing the channel in the middle of a one-on-one Silver-Bowens match.) Bowens went for a clothesline, but silver ducked, went into the ropes, and floored Bowens with a shoulder tackle. John Silver then John-Silvered a second time, and the crowd was still into it for normal reasons.
Silver caught Bowens in a front facelock, but Bowens pushed him into the heel’s corner. Bowen’s then tried to take a swipe at Silver but missed. Silver struck Bowens with a forearm before turning around and beating up the entire heel team. Silver then walked toward the face’s corner to make a tag, and in the process, he walked over Bowens’ prone body. Bowens reached out, grabbed Silver’s leg, and held on, preventing him from moving forward.
Suddenly, almost as if it were planned, all members of both teams ran into the ring and brawled. The Acclaimed got the best of the brawl and managed to clear out the ring. Bowens then superkicked Silver and went for a cover. Silver kicked out at two. Bowens beat Silver around his ears with a mix of forearms and elbows to the back of his neck. Bowens then tagged in Lee.
“Look at that combo by Bowens,” Wight said. “I love his intensity.”
Lee Irish whipped Silver into the turnbuckles, and Silver crashed hard, falling to the canvas. Lee grabbed Silver’s wrist and put Silver in a wristlock. Silver refused to cooperate and hit Lee with four forearms. Lee held onto the wristlock but struggled as he tagged in Parker. Parker clobbered Silver with three sharp blows and then tagged in Garcia. Before Garcia could get in any offense, Silver made a comeback; he hit Parker with a chop, then Garcia, then Parker, and then Garcia again. Garcia finally put a stop to Silver’s offense via a kick to Silver’s stomach. Silver bent over, and Parker and Garcia went for a double-team vertical suplex only for Silver to counter by suplexing both Parker and Garcia at the same time. Silver then rushed to the face’s corner and tagged in Reynolds.
Reynolds barreled into the ring, smashing a forearm into Parker and superkicking Garcia. Parker went for a clothesline, but Reynolds ducked him and connected with an elbow. Lee attempted to interfere, and Reynolds nailed Lee with a big boot. Garcia stopped the onslaught by grabbing Reynolds from behind with a wrenching wristlock takedown. The heel team jumped through the ropes and ran at the face team, knocking all four members off the apron. All five members of the heel team then surrounded a prone Reynolds; however, before they could attack, the entire face team jumped into the ring and began swinging, kicking, and kitchen-sinking until order was restored.
Angels was now (I’m guessing) the legal man. He put on a baseball cap, climbed to the top turnbuckle, and performed an Asai moonsault onto heel team at ringside. Angels then pushed back Garcia into the ring, and Uno (who may or may not be the legal man) executed a flatliner on Garcia. Uno covered Garcia and got a two-count. Uno then tagged in Grayson.
Uno draped Garcia over his shoulder for a bodyslam, but Lee attacked him from behind, allowing Garcia to escape. Uno hit Lee with a back elbow, and then Grayson jumped onto the top rope and performed a double springboard DDT on both Garcia and Lee. Grayson went for the cover but failed to get a three-count because Parker ran in to break up the near fall.
Grayson tagged in Angels, and Garcia tagged in Bowens. Bowens went for a clothesline on Angels, but Angels ducked. Angels went for a roundhouse kick on Bowens, but Bowens ducked. Angels then nailed Bowens with a forearm to the face, taking him off his feet. Parker ran in (for no reason) to deliver a big boot to Angels. Reynolds ran in to counter Parker’s run-in, and Parker went for another big boot. Angels dodged Parker’s offense, and Parker crashed into the turnbuckles.
When Parker rebounded off the turnbuckles, Angels caught him in a flapjack, and Silver (who is also in the ring now) nailed him with an uppercut. Caster got in the ring as well and ran at Silver, but Silver dodged him. Caster caught himself in the turnbuckles, but Silver cornered him and delivered a step-up enzuigiri to the side of Caster’s head. Reynolds went for a rolling elbow, but Caster stopped him in his tracks with a superkick. Uno ran in, and Caster blocked a big boot from Uno. Uno then executed a leaping neckbreaker. (I have no idea who the legal men are, and I’m watching this thing so closely as to write a report about it.)
Garcia ran in because why not and pulled Uno toward him with a ripcord to chop him across the chest. Garcia then executed a backdrop driver, and it looked like Garcia (who may or may not have been the legal man) had the advantage, but that advantage was quickly taken away when Grayson ran into the ring. Grayson executed a Nightfall on Garcia, but Garcia rolled out of the ring, and Bowens ran in from behind. Bowens seized Grayson and pulled off a twisting side slam. Angels jumped off the top turnbuckles toward Bowens, but Bowens sidestepped him. Angels landed on his feet and executed a standing Spanish fly on Bowens to get a two-count. (There is no way these two are the legal men.) Lee ran in and broke up the count before grabbing Angels by the head and pulling him to his feet. Once up, Angels tossed Lee out of the ring to the floor, and Bowens grabbed Angels from behind in a waistlock. Angels performed a standing switch and then rolled up Bowens to get a two-count.
Caster tried to run into the ring with his boom box, but Uno wisely yanked it out of his hands. Uno smashed Caster with a forearm and threw him into the steel barricade. In the ring, Bowens executed a step-up enzuigiri to the back of Angels’ head and then nailed him with a rope-assisted twisting DDT. Bowens went for the cover and scored the pinfall.
WINNER: The Acclaimed & Daniel Garcia & 2point0 in 6:00
(David’s Analysis: Bowens is good. He is a burp-basket, and I stand by that fact, but he is also extremely good at what he does. The same can be said for Caster. However, this particular match was a cluster****. Everyone involved is tremendously talented, but there was way too much going on in way too short a time span. If you want to have a match without rules, that’s fine! Just announce the match as having no rules. At least then, it’ll make sense.)
– After the match, Caster slapped hands with an excited kid in the front row (because he’s secretly a face at heart.)
(7) ANNA JAY & TAY CONTI & RUBY SOHO vs. EMI SAKURA & THE BUNNY & NYLA ROSE (w/Vickie Guerrero)
The team of Nyla Rose, Emi Sakura, and The Bunny came out first, accompanied by Vickie Guerrero dressed in normcore so beautiful it redefined the word norm. Tonight, Vickie’s wardrobe consisted of a sleekly collared, olive-green shirtdress accented with stunning black boots — simple but classic.
Tay Conti and Anna Jay came out next, and they were so maddeningly happy to exist they could’ve given Valor a run for his money. Anna Jay’s music then turned into Ruby Soho’s music, and an enthusiastic Soho joined them on stage. Soho, Jay, and Conti all three hugged atop the stage and then made their way to the ring.
Soho and Rose started things off. Both women circled one another, staring down their competition. Rose looked menacing, and Soho looked keen and ready to fight. However, just as Soho was about to pounce, Rose turned around and tagged in The Bunny. Slightly miffed, Soho decided to tag in Jay. The Bunny viciously attacked Jay, plunging a knee into her midsection and then throwing her to the mat by her hair. With Jay splayed on the ground, The Bunny stomped back to the heel’s corner, picked up her jacket, took the jacket back to where Jay lay, and wrapped the jacket around Jay’s throat.
“Are there spikes on that jacket?” Wight asked, aghast. “There are! There are spikes on that jacket!”
The Bunny made a delirious face, cackling as she tried to choke the life out of Jay. Meanwhile, the referee was doing all she could to stop this madness. (At least one referee understands the assignment.) Finally, the referee, who happened to be Aubrey Edwards, grabbed one end of the jacket and got into a tug of war with The Bunny. Edwards would not back down and was so furious she was outshouting The Bunny, which is hard to do. Finally, Edwards was able to wrestle the jacket away and toss it to the timekeeper’s table.
Jay tagged in Soho, and The Bunny went for an immediate clothesline, but Soho ducked and went on the offensive, hammering The Bunny with forearms. Soho Irish whipped The Bunny, but The Bunny reversed it. Rose was waiting to slug Soho when she bounced into the opposite ropes, but Soho spotted her and used the momentum from the reverse Irish whip to knock Rose off the apron. (Cool spot.) Soho turned back around, and The Bunny floored her with a very athletic-looking superkick. (If The Bunny keeps this up, I’m going to have to begrudgingly admit she’s getting better.)
The Bunny tossed Soho out of the ring, and Rose instantaneously attacked her. Rose clubbed Soho across the back and slammed her head into the ring apron. Rose then held Soho’s arms while Fashion Icon Vickie Guerrero slapped Soho across the face. (Guerrero is so good at being evil. I have no idea what she’s like IRL, but she was undeniably born to play this character.)
Rose rolled Soho back into the ring, and the director cut to a close-up of Guerrero and her “I want to speak to your manager” haircut. Guerrero sneered like she’d just seen a poor person in the Country Club, and although she wasn’t speaking, you could definitely hear that facial expression. Also, we got a glimpse of her earrings. Tonight, Guerrero is sporting beautiful but understated chandelier earrings, trimmed in gold and colored by what appears to be hints of pearlescent white. If you’d like a closer look, I took a picture, and it is now my Snapchat story as well as my most recent tweet on Twitter.
Back in the ring, The Bunny racked her nails down Soho’s back, propped Soho up in the heel’s corner, and tagged in Sakura! Sakura grabbed Soho’s hair and used it to throw her like a rag doll. (OMG!) Sakura then cornered Soho and began stomping and clapping to prime the audience for her “We Will Rock You Chops.” She sang along as she executed her signature chops on Soho, and Soho sold each one of them brilliantly. Sakura backed up and ran toward Soho, nailing her with a crossbody block. Soho doubled over in agony, stunned by the blow to her midsection. Sakura went up to the second turnbuckle, threw her arms out, screamed at the audience, and went for a corner slingshot splash, but Soho rolled out of the way! Sakura crashed hard onto the canvas and howled in anguish as she hobbled toward the heel’s corner, desperate to make a tag. However, when it became apparent she wouldn’t make it, Rose jumped into the ring and charged at Soho. Soho grabbed the top rope, pulled it down, and Rose went flying over it, crashing hard to the outside. Rose defiantly pulled herself back onto the apron and reached for Soho’s throat, but Soho hit her with a step-up enzuigiri! Soho tagged in Conti.
Conti ran at Sakura with a clothesline, but Sakura ducked. Conti knocked The Bunny off the apron, turned around, saw Sakura coming for her, and nailed her with five forearms to the chest. Conti slung Sakura into the corner, backed up, ran toward her, and nailed her with a high pump kick. Sakura grabbed her cheek, looked at her hand, and made the face of someone who’d just been unexpectedly shot out of a cannon.
While this action happened, Jay and The Bunny ran at one another, delivering a double spinning snapmare that looked like it broke both their faces. (That was fun! It was random, but it was fun.)
“No bunnies were harmed in the making of this match,” Henry reassured the viewers at home.
Conti sprinted toward a still cannon-fodder-faced Sakura and nailed her with a second high pump kick. She then went for a front facelock, but Sakura blocked that by sticking her fingers into Conti’s mouth. (Yes, she countered a front facelock by surprising her opponent with fingers to the mouth.) Sakura then grabbed Conti in a headlock of her own and executed a twisting flatliner. She hooked Conti’s leg like it was the last life-vest in the Arctic Ocean and screamed with unbridled fury as Edwards dropped to the mat to make the count, but Conti kicked out!
Sakura wailed in frustration and ran scattershot toward the heel’s corner, tagging in The Bunny. (Business is about to cool down!) The Bunny grabbed Conti in a waistlock, but Conti countered her, slamming not one, not two, but three back elbows into The Bunny’s face! (I was wrong about the trajectory of future business.) Conti forced The Bunny to release her waistlock and ran toward the face’s corner, but The Bunny caught Conti by her waistband and pulled her back into the waistlock. Conti struck The Bunny with her hardest back elbow yet, and The Bunny tumbled backward. Conti darted toward the face’s corner and tagged in Soho
Soho dashed toward The Bunny, and The Bunny went for a clothesline; however, Soho saw it coming and ducked. Soho ran to the heel’s corner and knocked Sakura off the apron with her right forearm. However, The Bunny was behind Soho and rushed forward, clubbing the back of Soho’s neck with a forearm of her own.
Meanwhile, Conti and Rose were fighting outside the ring, and Conti ascended the turnbuckles to execute the second Asai moonsault of the night. The director cut back to the ring, and The Bunny had Soho set up for a Down The Rabbit Hole, but Soho countered The Bunny’s finisher with a No Future. The Bunny sold it like she were in a Three Stooges feature, and it was hilariously excellent. Soho covered The Bunny, hooked her leg, and got a three-count for the win! (And not the FTW championship.)
WINNER: Anna Jay & Tay Conti & Ruby Soho in 4:00
(David’s Analysis: This match was so much fun. It’s literally 11:06 a.m. I have been writing this all night, and these women still managed to leave me gloriously entertained. I understand why this match was chosen to be the main event, and it deserved to be the main event. It was far and away the best match of the night. Also, I like Vickie Guerrero a normal amount. That is my story, and I’m sticking to it.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: If you only have time to catch one match on this week’s Dark Elevation, I recommend watching Jay & Conti & Soho vs. Rose & Sakura & The Bunny. If you have time to watch a second match, I recommend watching Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Matt Sydal. If you have time for a third match, I recommend Serpentico vs. Clayton. Overall, this was a “thumbs up” show. It wasn’t the best Dark Elevation I’ve seen, but it was far from the worst. For me, personally, I felt like the ten-man cluster-match brought things down a bit, but I could see certain people liking it. It had a lot of fast-paced action, a lot of cool spots, and a lot. It had a lot.
Thank you all for reading. I truly appreciate it. And as always, I’m still working on my sign-off, but until next week, don’t get too bent out of shape unless you’re a contortionist, and then it’s okay because contortionists are the sexy version of circus clowns.