4/11 AEW ELEVATION REPORT: Bryant’s famous asides, Henry and Wight quips on commentary, Top Flight, Sakura, Kazarian, Diamante, Factory, Gunn Club, Soho

By David Bryant, PWTorch contributor

Full results and analysis on this week's episode of AEW Dark Elevation

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

AEW DARK ELEVATION REPORT
APRIL 11, 2022
TAPED 4/6 IN BOSTON, MASS.
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY DAVID BRYANT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Paul Wight, and Mark Henry

Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts


– Thank you guys for reading this every week; I really do mean it. It is truly humbling that y’all are showing up to read my absurdly long, ridiculously whimsical pro wrestling reports. So, again, thank you for spending so much time with me, and thank you for visiting PWTorch.com. If you want to follow me on Twitter, you can @IamDavidBryant. (Despite what you’re thinking, I promise there is zero Serpentico fanfiction involved, for now.)

-Tonight’s AEW Dark Elevation taping emanated from the Agganis Arena in Boston, the city where Triple H went to train, Kofi Kingston went to college, and southern hospitality went to freeze to death.

(1) FRANKIE KAZARIAN vs. TEDDY GOODZ

Dark Elevation opened with Tony Schiavone greeting the viewers and introducing my favorite sit-down comics, Paul Wight and Mark Henry. Then, Frankie Kazarian came out and posed on stage as columns of gleaming flames erupted around him. Kazarian wore a shirt that said, “I’m a Killer Kowalski Guy” because everyone in marketing agreed that sounded better than “I’m a Suicide Guy.”

“He really was trained by Killer Kowalski,” Wight affirmed. (And he really was Suicide in TNA.)

Kazarian pumped fists with an audience member and fired up the already fiery crowd by beating his open palm on the ring steps like he was trying to scare off a family of nesting raccoons. Teddy Goodz, Kazarian’s opponent for the night, awaited his arrival in the ring. Roberts announced Goodz, and Goodz raised his arm and posed with an air of optimism I’m always surprised to see in people who did not get a ring entrance.

Kazarian and Goodz went straight into a collar and elbow tie-up before Goodz shifted Kazarian into a side headlock. Kazarian shoved Goodz away but kept hold of Goodz’s arm and pulled him into a side headlock of his own. Goodz used both arms to push Kazarian into the ropes, and Kazarian bounced back with a shoulder tackle. The moment Goodz hit the mat, Kazarian jumped down to the canvas. The referee went to count Kazarian’s cover, but instead of going for a cover, Kazarian opted for a ground-based side headlock.

Goodz rolled Kazarian’s side headlock over and scored a one-count. Kazarian quickly rolled off his back and kept hold of the vice-like side headlock he’d applied to Goodz. Goodz rolled his way out of the side headlock, ran into the ropes, bounced off the ropes, and Kazarian caught him with an arm-drag. Kazarian then held Goodz in a kneeling abdominal stretch while applying an armbar.

Goodz managed to get to his feet, but Kazarian kept hold of his arm and held him in a wristlock. Goodz tried to counter the wristlock, but when he could not do so, he used the edge of his foot to pry at Kazarian’s fingers.

“What’s that?” Henry asked.

“Nice invocation,” Wight said.

Goodz managed to escape, but Kazarian immediately whipped Goodz into the ring ropes. Kazarian tried to catch Goodz in another arm-drag, but Goods refused to allow it and went for a clothesline. Kazarian ducked Goodz’s clothesline, captured Goodz in a waistlock, ran Goodz toward the ring ropes, and tried for an O’Connor Roll. However, Goodz countered Kazarian’s pinning attempt by holding onto the ring ropes.

Kazarian released Goodz, rebounded off the upstage ring ropes, and floored Goodz with a running lariat. Goodz hobbled to his feet, and Kazarian clotheslined him over the top rope and to the floor. The crowd applauded Kazarian’s offensive, and he walked around the ring, looking out at them.

Goodz pulled himself up to his knees using the ledge of the apron, and Kazarian reached over the top rope, seized Goodz’s head, and pulled him upright onto the apron proper. Goodz forced Kazarian to break his hold by grabbing Kazarian’s head and stunning him neck-first across the top rope. The force of the move caused Kazarian to fall to the mat and Goodz to fall to the floor. Goodz slid back into the ring just as Kazarian got back to his feet, and Goodz floored Kazarian with a huge rolling elbow strike. Goodz plunged a two-handed axe-handle into Kazarian’s doubled-over spine.

Kazarian hobbled into the downstage left corner, and Goodz mud-stomped his chest, forearmed his head, and mud-stomped his chest some more. Goodz grabbed Kazarian’s ankles and tried to rip him out of the corner into an inverted flapjack slam, but Kazarian, who is 50 percent cat, defied gravity by landing on his feet! Kazarian hit Goodz with two chops to the chest, Irish whipped Goodz into the ring, and caught Goodz with a hard elbow, dropping him to the mat.

Goodz popped back up and executed a jumping lariat kick onto Kazarian. Kazarian stumbled but caught hold of Goodz and managed to eke out a bodyslam. Kazarian held up his arm for the crowd, and the crowd reacted gleefully. Kazarian then ran into the stage right ring ropes and executed a springboard leg drop onto Goodz.

Goodz crawled into the upstage left corner, and Kazarian followed him. However, as Kazarian approached, Goodz grabbed his trunks and pulled him face-first into the middle turnbuckle. Goodz made it to his feet while Kazarian pulled himself back to a vertical base in the corner. Goodz ran toward Kazarian in the corner, but Kazarian caught Goodz with a back elbow across the face.

“Why are you punching yourself in the face?” Henry joked.

Kazarian went to a seated position on the top turnbuckle, but before he could finish climbing the ropes, Goodz hit him with a running uppercut. Goodz pulled Kazarian off the top rope, held him in the piggy-back position, and attempted a running backpack stunner. However, Kazarian countered by grabbing Goodz’s neck in a crossface chickenwing. Goodz fell to the mat, Kazarian maintained the chickenwing, and Goodz tapped out.

WINNER: Kazarian in 4:00

(David’s Analysis: This was a good match because Kazarian is almost incapable of having a bad match, and one of the wrestlers was named Goodz. Sorry I didn’t make as many jokes as I usually do when recapping matches, but it was because this one kept me engaged throughout. There wasn’t much that was funny about it, but there was a lot that was entertaining. Solid work. )

– After the match, Kazarian motioned across his lower stomach to indicate he was either coming for a title or had constipation.

– AEW ran a commercial for Dynamite, and it featured a stirring collage of soundbites taken from various promos. It was one of AEW’s better commercials. Hopefully, a few of the people watching Dark Elevation will check out Dynamite sometime.

(2) ASHLEY D’AMBOISE vs. DIAMANTE

A bandana-wearing Diamante came out of the heels’ tunnel, looking like she found someone’s wallet chock full of money, and instead of returning, ate it. (Did you know Diamante does not have any official shirts on ShopAEW.com? I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, but Aubrey Edwards has three.)

“Diamante and Ashley D’Amboise were tag partners not that long ago,” Schiavone explained. (And by “not that long ago,” he means last week.)

“I think Diamante took exception to D’Amboise’s sportsmanship behavior last time,” Wight explained the Dark-Elevation-Exclusive angle to any viewers who might have missed last week. “That’s what started it, I think.”

Ashley D’Amboise was already waiting in the ring. (Wait, we’re doing full-blown angles with the “already-waiting-in-the-ring” folks now?) She looked almost as mad about that wallet as Diamante did.

“Ashley’s got a serious look on her face,” Wight stated.

The bell rang, and both women ran toward one another, locking up in a forearm fight. D’Amboise got the best of it, slamming multiple forearms into Diamante’s head. Diamante tossed D’Amboise into the ring ropes, but D’Amboise bounced right back at Diamante with a clothesline. Diamante jumped back to her feet, and D’Amboise took her back down with a second clothesline.

“I love that emotion, man,” Henry said. “You gotta have it yourself, or it’ll get used against you.”

D’Amboise dropkicked Diamante, and Diamante crawled into the corner to regroup. Diamante pulled herself up into the scarecrow position because that always bodes well, and D’Amboise pistoned her way toward her, looking for a running shoulder block. However, Diamante managed to catch D’Amboise with a shoulder of her own and toss her over the top rope to the apron. D’Amboise was undeterred and leaped back into the ring with amazing agility. D’Amboise struck Diamante with a rapid roundhouse kick followed immediately by a somersault neckbreaker. The crowd applauded. (Wow, they are giving D’Amboise a lot of offense.)

D’Amboise covered Diamante, but Diamante kicked out at one. D’Amboise grabbed Diamante in a Rock Bottom-style side slam, but Diamante countered with an arm-drag, mid-slam! Diamante whipped D’Amboise into the upstage right turnbuckles, but D’Amboise caught herself using the ropes. D’Amboise jumped up to perform a headscissors on Diamante, but Diamante countered by tossing her onto the apron. D’Amboise moved to attack Diamante from the apron and got nailed with a hot-shot stunner on the top rope. With D’Amboise collapsed on the apron, Diamante ran the ropes and used the momentum provided to kick D’Amboise off the apron with a baseball slide!

“That’s one thing I like about Diamante,” Wight said. “She’s got the willingness to be mean.”

With D’Amboise rolling on the floor, Diamante slid under the bottom rope and sat on the apron. Diamante looked out at the crowd and motioned with her hands to get them hyped up. (Wait, isn’t she the heel here?) The crowd reacted exactly how Diamante had hoped, and Diamante hopped off the apron to the floor. Diamante grabbed D’Amboise’s arm and swung her into the steel barricade. She kept hold of her arm and then swung D’Amboise onto the apron opposite the barricade. Still, Diamante kept hold of D’Amboise’s arm and swung D’Amboise from the apron back into the steel barricade. Finally, mercifully, Diamante tossed D’Amboise back into the ring. (That was a lot.)

“Diamante passed me in the parking lot one night after the show, and she looked at me like she wanted to punch me in the throat,” Wight said. “Diamante looked at me like I was someone she wanted to take out to boost her rep.”

“And it’s not like you’re an intimidating figure over seven-foot-tall,” Schiavone replied.

“Well, apparently at the Coffee Pot, I’m not very intimidating at all,” Wight went completely off-topic. “I asked for two Splendas.” (Okay… I’m trying to follow the story here. Did somebody mess up Wight’s coffee so bad he felt the need to tell 200,000 people?)

Diamante executed a German Suplex on D’Amboise, but mid-suplex, D’Amboise countered with a cazadora roll-through. (I know I’m making jokes, but this match is good, y’all. You need to see it.) D’Amboise pinned Diamante and got a two-count.

“What did you call that, Tony?” Wight asked?

“A cazadora,” Tony answered.

“I say if you can’t spell it, don’t say it,” Henry deadpanned.

D’Amboise hit Diamante with a spinning back kick and ran the ropes, but Diamante caught her with a hip-toss.

“Ooo, Diamante just side chucked her,” Henry said.

“Spell Diamante for me?” Schiavone asked.

Diamante captured D’Amboise in a waistlock and executed a German suplex, maintaining her hold. Diamante immediately rag-dolled D’Amboise back up to her feet and executed a second German suplex. D’Amboise tried to escape by pulling at Diamante’s fingertips, but Diamante subdued her by pounding away at D’Amboise’s back. Diamante then executed a THIRD German suplex. Finally, she released D’Amboise but immediately wrapped her back up in a modified abdominal stretch. (There’s more going on here than an abdominal stretch, but I don’t know the name of this move. It looks painful, and I probably should know it, but I just don’t.) Oh, and apparently, it was painful because D’Amboise tapped out.

“This shows you how competitive our women’s division is,” Wight said.

WINNER: Diamante in 3:00

(David’s Analysis: Oh boy, was this good. That has got to be close to the best use of three minutes I’ve ever seen on this show. If you’re at all interested in what the future may hold for AEW’s women’s division, take three minutes and watch this match. BTW, give D’Amboise a contract and Diamante a shirt.)

– After the match, AEW ran an ad for Battle of the Belts II on Saturday, April 16. (I hate that this won’t be live. I’m going to have to avoid spoilers like a mofo.)

(3) THE GUNN CLUB (w/Billy Gunn) & CHAOS PROJECT vs. DARK ORDER (John Silver & Stu Grayson & Alex Reynolds & Alan Angels & Preston Vance)

Up next, we have a ten-man cluster-match staring Chaos Project, The Gunn Club, and Dark Order! This should be easy to cover. Serpentico came out of the tunnel first, followed by his abuser, Luther. Serpentico then adorably bent over and slapped his own ass while standing atop the ramp; however, Serpentico’s ass thumping was interrupted by The Gunn Club, which is the probably most heelish thing they’ve ever done.

Billy Gunn, who secretly owns a Dorian Grey painting, came out last. All five members made their way down the ramp as Serpentico reached out to touch Colten Gunn’s butt. (That is not Serpentico fanfiction. That happened.)

“Luther has become one of my favorite characters here in AEW, just because of his diversified background,” Wight said. “Digging further into it all —”

“Yeah?” Schiavone interrupted incredulously.

“Listen — What I’m going to tell you guys today is so heavy it’s going to blow your mind!” Wight continued. “Luther… is… a direct descendant of Danish kings. Luther has royal blood in his family’s history on his mother’s side.” (OMG! That actually explains a lot, actually.)

“Don’t believe me?” Wight asked. (Oh, we do.) “Look it up. It’s a fact. I’ve seen the family tree.” (No, thank you. I’m already on the internet, and on the internet, gossip is considered a primary source.)

Dr. Luther, his royal highness and Ancient Egypt’s wizard convoy to the United Nation’s NASCAR team, spoke dolphin to us while Serpentico climbed the ring ropes and John-Silvered for the hard camera. (Awww, I’ve never seen guns so unloaded.) Speaking of guns, Serpentico began enthusiastically shooting finger guns at the hard camera until he fell off the ropes. (I enjoyed that. That was nice.)

Dark Order’s music hit, and a bunch of people came out. There was Stu Grayson, Evil Uno, Preston Vance, Alan Angels, “Long” John Silver, Alex Reynolds, Ryan Renolds, Ryan Gosling, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, probably, IDK. Dark Order has too many members.

As Dark Order made its way to the ring, Schiavone ran down upcoming events and available tickets using an ordinary cadence. Dark Order then climbed onto the ring apron, faced the hard camera, and performed Lady Gaga’s signature “Mother Monster” hand sign.

“It’s been a while since I’ve seen Number Ten,” Wight said. “He looks massive. He looks at least eleven or twelve by now.”

“You want to talk about impressive, take a look at Billy Gunn,” Henry said.

“Yeah, they broke the gene pool when they made him.”

Aubrey Edwards was the referee. (I wouldn’t normally state who the referee was, but this lovable rock star has three t-shirt designs, and merch is made to move.) Once she had the teams properly sorted, she rang the bell. Angels and Austin started things off for their respective teams by locking up with a collar and elbow tie-up.

Austin (who looks like a slightly older version of his dad) got the best of the tie-up and shifted into a hammerlock before slugging Angels in the back with his forearm.

“He is hopped up on something. I’ve known that kid since he was seven years old,” Wight said, referencing Austin Gunn. “He is WIDE OPEN twenty-four seven.” (Wait. Was that a poppers reference? Which one of y’all told Paul Wight about poppers???)

Austin tagged Colten, and together, they double-teamed Angels by whipping him to the ropes. Both Colten and Austin bent over mid-ring and assumed the “looking for trouble” position. Trouble found them when Angels stopped his momentum, front-kicked one Gunn brother, and then back-kicked the other. Angels tagged in Reynolds.

Reynolds and Angels threw Colten and Austin into the opposite ring ropes and caught them with double drop toeholds. Colten and Austin fell into the oddest position — side by side on all fours. Reynolds and Angels made a show of licking the palms of their hands, and together, they took great pleasure in slapping the Gunn Brother’s buttcheeks. (That was awkward AF. It was also hilarious.)

“I think the “Ass Boys” got a wack on the ass!” Schiavone exclaimed. (You think?)

“Ass Booooys,” Wight began singing, “We’re talkin’ ‘bout da Ass Booooys! Yeah!”

Both Gunn brothers literally hopped around massaging their buttocks. Billy Gunn, Muscle Milk’s version of Benjamin Button, rescued his older sons, running in with a double clothesline out of nowhere! Angels and Reynolds both went down. (BTW, if you’re trying to build muscle, make sure you opt for whey protein and not milk protein. Whey protein hits faster after workouts.) Billy and the referee got into an argument, and Billy turned his buttocks towards her and slapped it.

“He better be careful,” Wight said. “Aubrey Edwards is gonna light him up!”

Billy got back on the apron, and Colten officially tagged him in. Billy rammed Reynold’s head into the downstage right turnbuckle, mud-stomped his chest, and nailed him in the head with a straight right hand. Reynolds tried to fight back, punching into Billy’s midsection, but Billy kept himself just out of harm’s way, and Reynolds was unable to get a good shot in.

Billy, a man whose age got stuck on Groundhogs Day, tagged in Luther, a man who works with the Metropolitan Police Department as a ghostbusting clairvoyant.

“Here comes Danish royalty!” Schiavone exclaimed.

“Oh, no. No…” Henry trailed off.

Serpentico tagged Luther before Luther could so much as get in a single punch. Luther wrapped his arms around Reynolds, pulled him into a bear-hug, and executed an inverted waistlock takedown. Serpentico then tried to powerbomb Luther on top of Reynolds. (Wonder where he learned that behavior…) Poor Serpentico failed miserably, and Luther decided to instead slam Serpentico, who probably has his own greeting card section at Hallmark by now, onto Reynolds’ not-at-all cushioned body.

Serpentico was too injured to stand, so Luther picked him back up and hurled him toward Reynolds, who kicked Serpentico’s face in. However, taking pity on Serpentico, Reynolds tossed Luther onto the apron and then sent him to the floor with a hot-shot stunner. (Luther looked like he was about to land on his feet, but his boots slid on the floor, and he fell on his hip. That looked painful, and I hope Luther is okay.) Serpentico used Reynolds’ distraction to his advantage, and that’s not a heelish thing to do because Serpentico is small, fragile, and always punching up.

Serpentico attempted to honor Billy Gunn by doing a DX crotch chop, followed by The Famouser; however, he missed. Billy rolled his eyes and entered the ring without tagging in, helped Serpentico up, and then violently threw Serpentico into downstage right turnbuckles. (Hey!) Billy indicated that he would show Serpentico how it’s really done. Billy crotch chopped Reynolds, shouted, “Suck it,” and went for The Famous; however, Reynolds spotted Billy and clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor.

“Somebody got a little too confident,” Schiavone said. “A little too arrogant.” (And a little too mean-spirited toward poor Serpentico.)

Reynolds tagged in John Silver. John Silver burst out of Dark Order’s corner like a pint-sized superhero in a shiny yellow cape. Silver clotheslined Serpentico twice and then grabbed the nearly Marko-Stunt-sized little man and threw him across the ring like a bag of trash he was too lazy to carry to the end of the driveway.

Austin ran in, and Silver caught him with a back body drop. Colten came in, and Silver caught him with a clothesline. Proud of himself, John Silver then John-Silvered in the ring, and the crowd encouraged him. Serpentico scurried onto the apron, hoping to recover, but Silver had a heart as cold as the metal it’s named after and confronted Serpentico on the apron. Silver wrapped his arms around Serpentico’s bird-boned frame and back-body-dropped him on the apron. Silver then executed a running cannonball off the apron onto Austin, shoulder tackled Colten to the floor, splashed Luther to the floor, and ran back into the ring.

When Silver arrived in the ring, Billy was waiting for him. Billy went after Silver with a clothesline, but Silver ducked. Silver then ran the ropes like a live-action Rocketeer, and in a stroke of luck, Billy caught John Silver and executed a tilt-a-whirl bodyslam on him. However, Billy couldn’t gloat for long because moments later, Vance pump-kicked him so hard he bumped onto his shoulders. (Is it safe to take that kind of bump at the age of… I want to say… thirty-seven?)

For reasons unknown, Austin climbed into the ring and began mocking Dark Order’s Lady Gaga hand gesture. Grayson was not amused by this and executed a Night Fall on Austin. Colten came to his brother’s rescue, executing a Colt 45 on Grayson. However, as soon as Colten did this, Angels flew off the top turnbuckle (out of nowhere) and flattened Colten with a flying crossbody block. Luther jumped into the ring and hit Angels with a spinning heel kick. (How is any of this legal? There were like seven men in the ring, and not a one of them tagged in!)

Reynolds ran at Luther, and Luther attempted to clothesline him; however, Reynolds ducked. (Where is the referee?) Reynolds then performed a spinning elbow onto Luther’s jaw, knocking him clear out of the ring. (This is putting the moan in pandemonium.) Serpentico jumped into the ring and superkicked Reynolds. (Oh, there she is. She’s in the corner frantically pointing at things. How helpful.)

Serpentico leapfrogged Reynolds, and Vance caught him, picked him up, and executed a spinebuster on poor Serpentico. Vance then did the DX chop and motioned for his fellow Dark Order members to come gang up on Serpentico. (They could’ve at least done a ref bump? Maybe throw a pillowcase over her head? Have a leprechaun drag her under the ring? Almost anything would make more sense than this.) Vance, Reynolds, and John Silver executed a three-man pendulum powerbomb on Serpentico, and Silver (who may or may not be the legal man. IDK? Should I know? This feels like Andy Warhol’s version of a wrestling match?) pinned poor Serpentico’s pillaged body and got the win his team cheated hard for.

WINNER: Dark Order (Stu Grayson & John Silver & Alex Reynolds & Preston Vance & Alan Angels & Actual Angels & Angels in the Outfield & Minnie Driver) in 6:00

(David’s Analysis: The audience gave this a standing ovation, so I am clearly in the minority when I say that I did not like this. However, you might like this. In fact, I’d even recommend this despite my personal misgivings because the audience is living for it, and that’s what matters most. But, IDK, I guess I liked parts of it. Billy Gunn was great, Serpentico and Luther’s interactions were funny, and John Silver running around ringside like a wild bird trapped inside a house is always exhilarating. The wrestlers in this match were very talented, but… still, the total lack of rules really, really hurt this for me. I can suspend disbelief to a point, but after seeing this, what is there to keep anyone from breaking rules in AEW? I mean, maybe if they’re afraid of referees frantically pointing at things… sure.)

(4) EMI SAKURA & THE BUNNY & LUFISTO vs. RUBY SOHO & SKYE BLUE & ANNA JAY

(WARNING: I am mildly biased in Emi Sakura’s favor.)

Emi Sakura, The Bunny, and LuFisto came out to Sakura’s spellbinding music! (It’s actually really good. It’s got the “We Will Rock You” stomp-stomp-clap in it.) Anyway, her royal majesty, mighty and powerful, heralded by soothsayers and feared by Cornette, Emi Sakura came out first dressed in her most regal attire. After her, The Bunny came out dressed like The Bunny, and LuFisto came out dressed to the NINES for her AEW debut. All three women posed in the ring, and it was a festival of facial expressions. The Bunny looked malevolent, LuFisto looked Maleficent, and Sakura looked magnificent because she is magnificent.

Ruby Soho came out next, trailed by Skye Blue and Anna Jay (no blue jay jokes, I promise). Ruby Soho fist-bumped both Anna Jay and Skye Blue before skipping down the rampway looking more than happy. Soho posed on the ring apron, and in a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it moment, Blue winked at the camera. (Nice touch.) The face team went to the face team’s corner, and then the Sakura’s team went to the Sakura team’s corner because it’s Sakura, and she will not be disparaged as a heel on my watch!

Blue and LuFisto (Who is quite the indie legend, BTW.) started the match off first. LuFisto piefaced Blue twice, and Blue became enraged at the disrespect, plowing four forearms into LuFisto. Blue and LuFisto ran the ropes, and during this, Soho tagged herself in. Blue ducked a running clothesline from LuFisto and then hit LuFisto with a knee strike, pinning her against the stage right ring ropes. Soho entered the ring, nailed LuFisto with a forearm, and whipped LuFisto into the upstage left corner. LuFisto hung in the scarecrow position, and Soho charged toward her, but when LuFisto moved out of the way, Soho crashed into the turnbuckles.

The Bunny ran down the apron to punch Soho. Soho stopped her, but the distraction was enough for LuFisto to gain the upper hand. LuFisto grabbed Soho’s ankles and yanked her to the mat, smashing Soho’s face into the canvas. Soho struggled to right herself again, and LuFisto took the opportunity to run her down with a clothesline. With Soho reeling and stumbling around the ring, LuFisto tagged in the ever-lovely, ever-purple Sakura. (I was listening to Tori Amos’s “Purple People (Christmas in Space)” the other day, and when she sang the lyric, “Hey, do you do judo in your finery?” I immediately thought of Sakura and her purple ring attire.)

Soho pulled herself up in the corner, and Sakura ran at her, crashing into her with a running crossbody block. Sakura then pinned Soho by merely sitting on her torso, and she would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for that meddling Skye Blue. Blue clocked Sakura from behind with her forearm. The referee forced Blue back onto the apron, but the damage was already done, and Sakura’s rightful victory had been denied. Sakura tagged in The Bunny.

The Bunny kicked Soho from behind, grabbed Soho’s head, and slammed her face-first into the mat. The Bunny then straddled Soho, held her hair in her fists, and pounded away at her face. The Bunny screamed like an unhinged lunatic in Central Park, climbed to her feet, adopted an elegant-looking face, and “took a bow” for the crowd. (Interesting.)

“She said, ‘Enjoy the show,’” Henry said. “Get you some popcorn and a drink.”

“Regardless of how whacked out she is, The Bunny is very, very talented in the ring,” Schiavone said. (Hm…)

Soho plunged three fists into The Bunny’s stomach before rolling her up for a one-count. The Bunny spryly returned to her feet and tore through Soho with a running clothesline. Once again, The Bunny gloated, having learned nothing from her earlier folly, and bent down to scream at Soho. Soho used this respite to recover, and when The Bunny attempted to kick Soho, Soho grabbed her leg. Soho planted a knee into The Bunny’s stomach and ran to the face team’s corner to tag in Jay.

Jay blitzed into the ring, hammering The Bunny with a forearm, Sakura with an elbow knockdown, and LuFisto with a shoulder block, knocking her off the apron. The Bunny attempted to attack Jay from behind, but Jay spun around, caught The Bunny’s arm, and whipped her into the face team’s corner. However, the impact of The Bunny hitting the turnbuckles was enough to knock Blue off the apron. Jay ran toward The Bunny and caught her with a spinning back leg lariat. Soho, the only member of the face team left on the apron, then tagged herself back into the match.

Soho caught The Bunny’s head between her knees and executed her signature Deadly Nightshade into the middle turnbuckle. (I love when she does that!) Soho pulled The Bunny out of the corner, hooked both of The Bunny’s legs, and went for a pinfall. However, she only got a two-count because Sakura ran in to save her friend. (Are they friends? I’m not sure that tracks.) Jay ran into the ring to counter Sakura’s interference, throwing Sakura through the ring ropes and down to the floor.

The referee quickly restored order without frantically pointing at things, and Soho attempted an Irish whip. However, The Bunny hooked her arm on the top rope and refused to let go. Soho tried to rip her off the rope, but The Bunny was too strong. The Bunny used her strength to yank Soho downward, hot-shotting her across the middle rope. Soho slowly got to her feet but was less than happy, and The Bunny nailed her with a not-at-all-bad looking superkick! The Bunny hooked Soho’s leg and covered her in a way that looked both effective and entirely in character. However, Soho kicked out at two.

The Bunny screamed miserably and dragged Soho into the Sakura team’s corner by her neon-orange hair. The Bunny tagged in LuFisto. LuFisto seized Soho’s arm, pulled Soho up onto her shoulders in the fireman’s carry position, and executed a — wait, no! Soho escaped and landed on her feet! Soho took hold of LuFisto from behind and executed a Destination Unknown. She then hooked LuFisto’s leg, covered LuFisto, and picked up the win!

WINNER: Soho & Blue & Jay in 4:00

(David’s Analysis: This was a nice match. I wish Sakura had been in it more. We didn’t even get her “We Will Rock You” chops. However, other than that, it did not disappoint in the slightest. — Also, why is The Bunny not sucking anymore? It is so much harder to make fun of her when she doesn’t suck! It’s like she’s actually getting good at this. I’m not sure if that should be reassuring or terrifying, but I’m gonna go with reassuring… for now. *narrows eyes*)

(5) JORA JOHL vs. PENTA OSCURO (w/Alex Abrahantes)

The screen and arena went black, and then a dim red light illuminated a tombstone on the stage. Penta Oscuro slowly rose up from behind the tombstone and was joined by an eerily cloaked Alex Abrahantes. Penta held a shovel over his shoulder and stared down the cameraman as he stalked his way toward the ring. The director cut to a close-up of the tombstone, which read: Penta Oscuro.

The off-green color of faux money filled the onstage screens, and Jora Johl, a member of A.F.O. came out alone. Johl sported a sleek, streamlined look, wearing a sleeveless white zip-up that matched his trunks and boots. Johl made his way to the ring as Roberts announced him to the audience.

Johl paced in the ring as Penta stood still, his eyes following him back and forth.

“Do you notice a difference in styles here?” Wight asked. “Before the match, Johl is making eye contact with the crowd, but Penta never took his eyes off Johl – staring a hole into the back of his head.”

The crowd began chanting for Penta, and Penta slowly walked up to Johl. Penta made his signature hand gesture and attempted to pieface Johl with it, but Johl caught Penta’s wrist. Penta countered Johl’s grasp, capturing Johl’s wrist and applying a wristlock. Johl rolled out of Penta’s wristlock, but Penta reapplied it almost immediately. Johl then twisted underneath Penta’s arm and applied a wristlock of his own. Penta struck Johl’s wrist with his forearm, forcing Johl to break the freshly applied wristlock. Once again, Penta went to make his signature hand gesture and pieface Johl, but this time, Johl kicked Penta in the stomach and slapped on a side headlock.

Penta ran both himself and Johl into the ring ropes and used the ropes’ spring to catapult Johl across the ring. As Johl rebounded back toward Penta, he caught Johl with a superkick. Johl wobbled in place but did not fall down and instead caught Penta with a superkick of his own. Now it was Penta’s turn to wobble, and Johl started to run the ropes; however, as soon as he came at Penta, Penta straightened his back and stopped him in his tracks. For a third time, Penta made his signature hand gesture and attempted to use it to pieface Johl. This time, Penta was successful. (Yay!)

Johl responded with a kick to Penta’s stomach (Boo!) and a chop to Penta’s chest. Penta staggered backward into the upstage left corner, and Johl chopped Penta a second time. Johl held a finger to his lips and “shushed” the audience as though he were Paul Wight and sliced Penta’s chest with a third knife-edge chop. Penta held his chest but then looked Johl in the eye and told him to chop him again! Johl took Penta up on that offer, but when he swung his hand, Penta ducked under Johl’s arm and pinned Johl in the same corner from which he came.

Penta slammed an open-hand chop into Johl’s chest, and Johl nearly crumbled to his knees with only a hand on the ropes to keep him from falling down completely.

“And Penta says, ‘That’s a receipt,’” Wight said.

Penta chopped Johl a second time, and Johl sold it like he was being murdered a little bit. Penta straightened Johl back up, leaned him against the corner, and lit him up with a third chop. Penta then walked with purpose to the middle of the ring, beat his chest in triumph, and posed for the hard camera. Johl ran at Penta, but Penta jumped onto the upstage middle rope and executed a springboard crossbody onto Johl. Johl jumped back up; Penta ran the ropes and caught Johl with a running hurricanrana. Johl rolled out of the ring to regroup. Penta went for a tope suicida, but as he dove through the ropes, Johl caught him with a forearm to the head; this left Penta hanging on the middle rope, half of him inside the ring and half of him out.

Johl climbed back into the ring and pulled Penta to the center. Johl ascended to the second turnbuckle and jumped off toward Penta, but Penta superkicked Johl in mid-air! Johl collapsed against the turnbuckles, and Penta ran toward him. However, Johl spotted Penta and hit him in the head with a bicycle kick. (Ferocious!)

“This great athlete from India is really showing us something here,” Schiavone said.

“We’ve been impressed with Johl since his first appearance here on Elevation,” Wight said.

Johl executed a double-underhook brainbuster on Penta that looked absolutely devastating; Johl hooked Penta’s leg, covered him, and the referee counted to one, two — no! It was a kick out! Penta wagged a knowing finger at the audience as Abrahantes paced back and forth at ringside, red-tinged eyes peeking out from beneath his burgundy hood.

“That guy needs some sunshine,” Wight said, referencing Abrahantes vampirey complexion.

“Boy, does he ever,” Schiavone agreed. (Don’t advocate for skin cancer.)

Johl whipped Penta into the ropes; Penta pounded back, running toward him and attempting a clothesline on Johl. However, Johl sveltely ducked underneath Penta’s swing and attempted a clothesline of his own. Penta ducked that clothesline attempt and executed a rope-assisted slingblade onto Johl. Johl crashed to the ground, pulled himself up, and received a second slingblade from Penta.

Penta flung a kick into the back of Johl’s thigh and used Johl’s head to attempt to whip him across the ring. However, Johl reversed out of Penta’s head-whip attempt and sent Penta into the downstage left corner. Penta grabbed the ring ropes to stop his momentum just as Johl sprinted toward him. Penta then reverse leapfrogged Johl, grabbed Johl’s shoulders, and hit him with a big-time backstabber.

Johl writhed on the mat in pain as Penta played to the cheering crowd. Penta seized Johl’s arm, paused to look at the hard camera, and executed his Sacrifice finisher.

“That’s a dislocated shoulder,” Wight said.

Penta covered Johl, hooked his leg, and got the pin.

WINNER: Penta (w/Alex Abrahantes) in 4:00

(David’s Analysis: This was a basic but solid match. Johl was skillful in the ring and had a great look. Penta was Penta, and that’s a good thing. Penta’s mannerisms and movements are highly entertaining, and everything he does seems to have a purpose. I’m interested in seeing what happens to this darker version of Penta once his brother returns from injury. Will his brother go dark, or will he be the light that redeems Penta?)

(6) TOP FLIGHT (Dante Martin & Darius Martin) vs. THE FACTORY (Nick Comoroto & Aaron Solo) (w/Q.T. Marshall)

Bowling-alley-mascot Q.T. Marshall made his way out of the heels’ tunnel, leading Nick Comoroto and Aaron Solo down the ramp. Together, all three men walked to the ring. Next up, Spiderman and his brother, Darius Martin, came out of the faces’ tunnel. Dante Martin paused atop the rampway to look at Darius, and the two brothers fist-bumped before kneeling, posing, smiling, and finally walking to the ring. The director cut to shots of the crowd applauding Top Flight’s entrance.

“That’s what I’m talking about right there,” Q.T. Marshall said on the mic. (Oh, God. He’s on the mic.) “Cut their music; cut their music!”

The crowd booed rabidly.

“Boy, you guys in the audience really turned real quick, huh?” Marshall said.

Dante Martin took off his jacket and stood in the ring, fully shirtless and brimming with the exact opposite of Marshall’s energy.

“Hey, before you guys do something you’re going to regret,” Marshall held up a calming hand. “Um — ”

The crowd interrupted Marshall with a constructive “Shut the f— up” chant, and I couldn’t agree more.

“Come on, get it out, dude,” Schiavone grumbled. “We got a show to do.”

“Yeah, you’re wasting time,” Wight sniped.

“Shut the f— up,” the audience added… constructively.

“I wouldn’t expect anything more from Boston,” Marshall sneered.

“Why, thank you,” The Bostonian crowd quietly thought.

(Marshall — can I call you Marshall? I’m gonna call you Marshall. I don’t know what restaurants your discount-country-club-looking @ass has eaten at while in Boston, but if you so much as taste the food in that fine city, you will never disparage its name again.)

“Hey, so guys, real quick — again, before you do something you’re gonna regret,” Marshall wasted more of my time. “I’ve got an offer for you. (What are you, Matt Hardy?) I mean, I look at the two of you, and I think, ‘Man, if you just had the proper fundamentals, you guys could really be something.’”

Spiderman and Darius looked at each other with annoyance and confusion.

“So, here’s what I’m willing to offer you guys… Half-price training at The Factory!” (Wait, he hasn’t said what he even wants in return? Does he want them to lay down for him? Does he want them to explain why he keeps getting those enlargement emails in his spam folder? Like what is it? Spit it out.)

Aaron Solo paraded around the ring, applauding Marshall’s pathetic “offer.”

“Man, normally I only do that for family, guys,” Marshall said.

“Wow,” Henry’s eyes rolled into the back of his head, I assume.

“I mean, think about it; our initials are already T.F. — T.F. as in “The Factory” — T.F. as in “Top Flight” — T.F.,” Marshall said, making only marginal amounts of sense. “I know you’re not wearing it today, but I saw you in it earlier — you guys already started wearing black and blue. You don’t even have to afford new gear!”

Dante pointed at Marshall and stared at the crowd as if to ask, “Who is this man, why is he talking to me, and how do I return him to the 1970s?”

“I-I’ll tell you what,” Marshall said. “Solo, Comoroto… go head… do it.”

Comoroto and Solo stripped off their shirts, and it was nothing like when Dante Martin did it. The two men offered Top Flight their used, second-hand, Marshall-touched shirts. (Don’t do it! It would be a travesty and a betrayal of your fans! Do not put on a shirt. Ever.)

“Guys, look, look, this is what The Factory is — literally giving you the shirts off our backs!”

Comoroto and Solo then tried to put their shirts on Dante and Darius. Dante smelled Comoroto’s shirt and made a face like he’d just smelled the inside of a ten-year-old band-aid.

“You can wash ‘em; you can wash it!” Marshall was quick to add. “So, what do you say?”

Dante and Darius stared at Marshall like he’d just told him he was Suicide in TNA.

Not getting an answer from Top Flight, Marshall turned to the receptive crowd, “What do you guys say?” (Hang on, let me turn the volume up.)

Dante and Darius looked out at the crowd, their faces swarming with confusion as to why Marshall’s shirt says Mary Tyler Moore, but his haircut says Colonel Nathan Jessup.

The crowd booed vociferously.

“Don’t listen to them! Don’t listen to them!” Marshall pleaded. “They like the Red Sox. And, you know, we’re Yankees fans in The Factory.

“Oh, that’s heat,” Henry said. “He said the Yankees. That’s heat.” (I like you, Mark, but you need to stop while you’re ahead.)

The crowd booed very loudly, and Marshall seemed unsure if Dante and Darius could hear him over all of that booing, so he raised his voice and shouted, “I said, we’re YANKEES FANS in The Factory! YANKEES FANS!”

The crowd booed more than vociferously.

Martin & Martin (not the law firm) threw Solo and Comoroto’s shirts at them, and all four men began brawling wildly in the ring. Darius clotheslined Solo over the top rope to the floor, and Dante hit Comoroto with a gravity-defying dropkick. Comoroto didn’t fall down, but he did sway, and Darius nailed him with an even higher high-flying dropkick. Somehow, someway, with the unfettered determination of a mother who thinks you should eat more on Thanksgiving, Comoroto managed to remain on his feet. Dante and Darius nailed Comoroto with stereo dropkicks, and Comoroto fell onto the upstage ropes. Top Flight ran into the downstage ropes, bounced off the downstage ropes, and went for an — oh crap.

Comoroto took down both members of Top Flight with double clotheslines. (And somehow, they even managed to take those clotheslines as if they were acrobats in a classy circus.) Darius rolled out of the ring, and Spidey used the upstage left turnbuckles to pull himself upright. Comoroto roared and charged at Dante, but Dante got both his feet up and did some kind of magic trick like a fully vertical double kick without wires.

Dante ran the ropes; Comoroto swung a clothesline; Dante ducked underneath the aforementioned clothesline; Comoroto dashed toward Dante, and Dante clocked Comoroto with one BIG damn elbow.

Dante attempted a springboard dropkick, but as he began to fly (cause, you know… he can do that… he’s magic), Solo ran into the ring and cut Dante down with a clothesline to both of his legs. Dante splattered to the canvas, and if he wasn’t Spiderman, it would have hurt like hell. (Thank goodness he is.) Comoroto mounted Dante and pounded away.

Finally, Comoroto pulled Dante up by his head, tossed him into the downstage right turnbuckles, and planted two fists into Dante’s stomach and one into Dante’s chest. Dante teetered along the downstage ropes but was unable to hold himself up and collapsed completely. Comoroto seized Dante’s neck, pulled Dante into the downstage right corner, and tagged in Solo.

Comoroto held Dante in a rigid side headlock as Solo stepped in to kick Dante’s ribcage like it were a particularly offensive football. Solo used both his hands to grab Dante’s neck, and Dante began to fight his way to his feet, slugging Solo’s midsection repeatedly. However, the moment Dante made it all the way upright, Solo hit him with a rising knee strike, and Dante all but disintegrated into Solo’s arms.

Solo pulled Dante toward the stage left ring ropes, placed Dante’s neck over the middle rope, and sat on Dante’s shoulders to force his throat downward.

“It’s good to have a mean streak,” Wight said. “In this industry, you’ve gotta have a mean streak.” (Really? That’s your takeaway from all this? Did you root for the bad guys in Spiderman?)

The referee forced Solo to stop choking Dante Martin and back off. In the fleeting moment the referee’s back was turned, Marshall used his watch to hit Martin in the face with a cheap shot. (Knowing Marshall, it was probably a knockoff shot. Did I mention I hate Marshall? I feel like that part can’t be emphasized enough. Is Hook awake?)

“I think he just broke his five-dollar watch,” Henry said.

“Broke his cheap ‘x-lax’ watch,” Wight said. (I chuckled cause truth.)

Solo hooked Martin’s leg, but Martin kicked out at one, a very Spiderman thing to do. (Is Spiderman’s skull made of metal? It isn’t? Are you sure? He does hang out with Iron Man. Alright, fine, that should’ve knocked him out. IDC.)

Solo picked Martin up, put him in a side headlock, and tossed him out of the ring like he weighed no more than one and a half Serpenticos. Solo tried to follow Martin out of the ring, but the referee stopped him because this one has rules. In the split second that the referee’s back was turned, Marshall discount-shotted Martin a second time.

Darius Martin came to his brother’s rescue, and Marshall squealed like a piggy in a fair, pointing at Darius and calling for help. The referee turned to see what was going on, and that moment of diverted attention allowed Solo to slip out of the ring. The referee ordered Solo to get back into the ring, and to my great surprise, Solo begrudgingly complied; he tossed Martin in the ring and followed after him.

Solo kicked Dante while he was down and then picked him up and shoved him against the turnbuckles in the face team’s corner.

“You know we arrive the day before we do these TV shows,” Schiavone said, off-topic again. (Oh, BTW, earlier in the program, Mark Henry was showing off his animal sound impressions. I didn’t say anything at the time because it felt so relevant to what was going on.)

“I’m really glad we come in the day before,” Wight added.

“Yeah, me too, but I’m not hanging out with Q.T. Marshall,” Schiavone said. “I just thank my lucky stars I don’t have to.”

Solo nailed Dante with a back elbow before throwing him to Comoroto. Comoroto caught Dante and executed a spinning pendulum backbreaker. Dante literally ping-pong balled off Comoroto’s knee, flying into the air and plummeting to the mat. Comoroto covered Dante but neglected to hook Dante’s leg, allowing Dante to kick out at two.

“He should’ve hooked the leg,” Wight said.

Comoroto put Dante in a modified, kneeling abdominal stretch. Dante fought his way back to his feet and elbowed Comoroto’s midsection until he was forced to release the hold. Dante attempted to head to his team’s corner, and tag in Darius, but Comoroto caught him around the waist and executed a belly-to-back suplex. However, because Dante is like Dick Grayson if he joined a fight club, he managed to backflip out of the belly-to-back suplex mid-way through the suplex.

Dante stumbled into the corner, and Comoroto ran toward Dante, but Dante sidestepped him. Upon crashing into the corner, Comoroto made a hurried tag. Dante scurried toward Darius, reached out his hand, and Solo caught him around the waist, putting Dante in a waistlock. Dante performed a standing switch, shoved Solo away from him, and did a front flip toward his brother’s outstretched hand. Dante made the hot tag!

The crowd erupted with red-hot delight. Darius executed a rope-assisted dropkick onto Solo’s face, a clothesline onto Solo’s chest, and a forearm onto Solo’s nose.

“The fans are behind him!” Schiavone commented on the rip-roaring applause.

Darius picked Solo up for a vertical suplex, but Solo leaped over Darius’s head, landed on his feet, and grabbed Darius in a waistlock. Darius slipped down and out of Solo’s arms, and then baseball slid across the ring but did so in the direction of the heel’s corner! (Wrong direction! Turn around.) Darius jumped through the ropes, elbowed Comoroto off the apron, and climbed to the top turnbuckle. Then from there, Darius performed a flying crossbody block onto Solo, scoring a two-count for his efforts.

America’s favorite abstinence symbol and least favorite middle school volleyball coach, Q.T. Marshall, jumped onto the ring apron to distract the referee. Comoroto jumped into the ring to attack Darius, but Darius immediately threw him back out. Darius then rushed toward Marshall, but Marshall’s distraction allowed Solo to attack Darius from behind with an O’Connor rollup, scoring a two-count of his own.

Solo and Darius struggled their way into the face’s corner. Solo dug his shoulder into Darius’s midsection and launched Darius over the top rope, but as it happened, Dante managed to tag himself in!

Darius hit Solo with an apron enzuigiri; Dante hit Solo with a superkick; Darius hit Solo with a slingshot flatliner, and finally, Dante executed a sky-high somersault senton onto Solo for one, two – Comoroto broke up the count!

(Ugh.)

Dante answered Comoroto’s interference with a high-flying step-up enzuigiri, and Comoroto blundered into the upstage ring ropes. Dante tagged in Darius. Darius punched Comoroto’s stomach with his right fist, followed by his left fist.

Comoroto overpowered Darius and forced him into a front facelock. Dante tried to free his brother from Comroto’s headlock, but Comoroto picked Dante up with one hand while holding onto Darius. Comoroto then executed a gorilla press drop onto Darius, followed by a cradle elevated neckbreaker onto Dante. (That is some terrifyingly impressive strength. Let’s all hope Diamante doesn’t run into Comoroto in a parking lot.)

Solo climbed onto the top turnbuckle; Comoroto picked up Darius, executed a pendulum backbreaker, and held Darius in place as Solo executed a flying double-foot stomp. Solo covered Darius and hooked his leg with all his might, but Dante broke up the pinfall at two!

Comoroto grabbed Dante and threw him into the turnbuckles. Comoroto then ran at Dante, looking for a spear, but Dante moved, and Comoroto went flying through the ropes and to the floor. Solo attempted a flying heel kick, but Darius ducked underneath Solo’s legs. Solo grabbed Darius in a waistlock, but Darius nailed him with a back elbow to escape. Solo ran toward Darius, going for a Lou Thesz press, but Darius caught Solo in mid-air and tossed him over his shoulders with a pop-up flapjack, sending Solo into the turnbuckles. Solo climbed to the second turnbuckle, looking for some type of offensive maneuver, but Dante clocked him with an apron enzuigiri.

Darius slammed a forearm into Solo’s back and tagged in Dante. Dante leaped over the top rope in a single bound! Darius then trapped Solo with his feet on the second turnbuckle and his head tucked underneath the top turnbuckle. With Solo in place, Dante backed up, ran forward, and dropkicked Solo’s backside, crushing his neck into the turnbuckles while simultaneously ramming his skull into the ring post. Dante covered Solo, hooked Solo’s leg, and the referee counted one, two, three! Top Flight pick up the win!

WINNER: Top Flight in 6:00

(David’s Analysis: This was fantastic and far and away the night’s best match. Dante Martin’s facial expressions are improving every week, Darius is proving to be just as acrobatic as Dante, and Q.T. Marshall is the most hatable man on earth — *Dan Lambert Has Entered The Chat* — The second most hatable man on earth!)

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a solid episode of AEW Dark Elevation, but the best match was unquestionably the last match. If you have time to watch just one match, watch the main event. If you have time to watch two matches, I’d recommend checking out the women’s tag match, and if you have time to watch three matches, check out the ten-man cluster-match with no rules. That said, there were several other matches worth seeing. Penta’s and Kazarian’s were good, and both D’Amboise and Diamante had an impressive outing. I hate to say this (especially after you’ve just finished reading a report long enough to disturb Hemingway’s grave), but tonight’s Dark Elevation is going to be one of those Dark Elevations where I recommend you watch the whole thing. All six matches were that good.

Thank you all for reading. I truly appreciate it. And as always, I’m still working on my sign-off, but until next week, remember, don’t forget.

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