5/9 AEW DARK ELEVATION REPORT: Bryant’s signature asides, Big Show and Henry banter, Marshall roasted, Sonny Kiss vs. “Pretty” Peter, Abandon vs. Sakura, Keith Lee, more


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AEW DARK ELEVATION REPORT
MAY 9, 2022
TAPED 5/4 IN BALTIMORE, MD.
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY DAVID BRYANT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR 

Commentators: Paul Wight & Mark Henry 

Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts 


– Hey! Welcome back to the longest, most overwrought report on the net. I want to give a special shout-out to the two people who sent me nice messages on Twitter regarding these reports. That may seem like a super small thing, but it made my day. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you all for reading. Out of all the wrestling reports I write on Mondays, this one is by far my favorite.

– If you want to follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you can do so @IamDavidBryant. (I use the same handle for both.) I promise I’m not as crazy as I seem, and in fact, I can conclusively reassure you I’m worse.

-Tonight’s AEW Dark Elevation taping emanated from The Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena in Baltimore, Md. (The city; not the physician.) My fondest memory of Baltimore includes visiting an IHOP there. They brought us a balloon that accidentally came untied from a chair and got stuck in their ceiling fan. It took two people to get the balloon untangled and fix the fan. However, out of the kindness of their Maryland-sized hearts, they brought us a second balloon which also came untied and got stuck in the ceiling fan, and it was unfixable. They did not bring us a third.

– Before the show started, an advert for Double or Nothing aired. I personally can’t wait for C.M. Punk vs. “Hangman” Page. That’s been a mini-dream match of mine since Punk first joined the company, and I truly believe both men will do all they can to deliver for the fans.

(1) RYAN MOONEY & JOSH FULLER & BRANDON SCOTT & DIEGO vs. DARK ORDER (Evil Uno & Alex Reynolds & Alan Angels & Preston Vance) 

(I’m truly saddened to learn Stu Grayson chose not to renew his AEW contract. While I personally think the Dark Order gimmick is played out, Grayson was one of my favorite in-ring talents, and I believe he could have been one of the company’s greatest assets had he been presented differently.)

The URL for “JoinTheDarkOrder.com” filled the screen.

“Welcome everybody to another exciting night of AEW’s Dark Elevation!” Paul Wight said. “I’m your host, Paul Wight. Beside me is ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ Mark Henry, and now to our very own Justin Roberts!”

Dark Order walked on stage with Anna Jay by their side. Once the four members representing Dark Order (Evil Uno & Alex Reynolds & Alan Angels & Preston Vance) made their way to the ring, Anna Jay returned to the back. The director cut to shots of fans looking excited!

“You sent me to the wrong website,” Wight accused Henry. (Does he need glasses? Can he not read the giant screen above his head?)

“I don’t know what website you went to, but it’s DarkOrder.com,” Henry said… who apparently also needs glasses.

Once on the apron, Dark Order offered up their ritualistic salute to Lady Gaga (who dropped a new song this week) and entered the ring. Already in the ring was the team of Josh Fuller & Brandon Scott & Ryan Mooney & Diego. (Upon hearing the name Diego, I hurriedly texted my boyfriend and was assured other people in this world share his name.)

“‘Ten’ looks like he goes to the gym,” Wight said.

“‘Ten’ looks like he owns a gym,” Henry said.

“‘Ten’ looks like he’s been in several gyms.”

“‘Ten’ looks like after he lifts the weights, he eats them.”

“Well, you do need Iron in your diet.”

Angels and Fuller started things off in a less than cordial manner. Fuller shoved Angels, and Angels answered that shove with a chop to Fuller’s chest. Angels then smashed Fuller’s skull into the upstage right turnbuckle pad.

“Is it okay to say, ‘ow,’ in pro wrestling?” Wight asked.

“It’s okay to say ‘ow’ in pro wrestling,” Henry answered, “but you will be judged.”

Angels climbed to the second turnbuckle and railed on Fuller before executing a backflip and landing on his feet. Then, as Fuller hung in the scarecrow position, Angels ran toward him with a running forearm. Angles then attempted to whip Fuller, but Fuller reversed the whip, and Angles reversed Fuller’s reversal by somersaulting out of the whip altogether.

Fuller ran the ropes, and Angels dropped to the canvas to avoid him. Fuller jumped over Angels and continued to run the ropes until Angels caught him with a running dropkick. Angels trapped Fuller in a wristlock and tagged in Vance. Vance immediately tagged in Uno. (The crowd was applauding, thoroughly into the action.)

Angels thrust Fuller toward Vance and Uno, and both men caught Fuller with a double shoulder tackle. All three men then John-Silvered without John Silver, and that just doesn’t feel right.

“I think Uno won that pose off,” Wight said.

Uno threw Fuller into the downstage right corner and slaughtered Fuller’s already bright red chest with more chops. Uno then slammed Fuller’s head into the top turnbuckle in the face team’s corner and tagged in Reynolds.

Reynolds ran the ropes like he’d found John Silver’s spinach stash and hit Fuller with a running elbow followed by a flying corkscrew elbow. Reynolds waited for Fuller to return to his feet, and the moment he did, he hit him with a dropkick takedown. Fuller flailed on the mat like a fish out of water, and Reynolds pulled him back up. Reynolds cut into Fuller’s chest with yet another knife-edge chop, hitting him so hard his elbow pad flew off his arm and went into the audience.

“Boy, this kid’s turning into hamburger meat,” Wight said. (Backstage, Cheeseburger commiserated with Taz.)

There was a commotion in the crowd, and Reynolds turned to see what was going on. Reynolds then nodded to a fan who threw his elbow pad back into the ring. The crowd roared with excitement, and Reynolds looked at the fan, nodded, and slipped the pad back onto his arm. (How do you hit someone so hard that your elbow pad flies off?) Reynold’s chopped Fuller yet again, and this time his elbow pad stayed on. (They’re gonna knock this guy’s solar plexus into another solar system.)

Reynolds whipped Fuller, but Fuller reversed the whip, and just as Reynolds struck the stage left ring ropes, Mooney kicked him in the back from the apron. Reynolds spun around and knocked Mooney off the apron with a forearm, but the distraction allowed Fuller to attack Reynolds from behind. Fuller put Reynolds in a front facelock and tagged in Scott.

Scott hammered Reynold’s back with a double axe-handle and then seized Reynold’s by his waist, executing a belly-to-back suplex. However, Reynolds landed on his feet! Reynolds grabbed Scott’s neck and took him down with a cravate suplex. Reynolds scurried to Dark Order’s corner and tagged in Uno.

Uno bolted out of the corner, and Mooney jumped into the ring. Uno hit Mooney wiath a clothesline and knocked Fuller and Scott off the apron with a back elbow and a forearm, respectively. Uno turned around, and Diego (But not that Diego) ran toward him. However, Uno spotted Diego and floored him with a big boot. Uno then picked up Diego’s leg and handed it to the referee. Before the bewildered referee could drop Diego’s leg like it was on fire, Uno executed a neckbreaker, taking Diego to the canvas.

Mooney ran in (He may or may not be the legal man, but like I said last week, they broke me, and now, IDC anymore.) and kicked Uno in the stomach. Uno doubled over, and Fuller joined Mooney. (The referee covered his head with his hands, but since he didn’t point at random things, the wrestlers continued breaking the rules.) Fuller and Mooney attempted to whip Uno into the ropes, but Uno countered and pulled both men into one another. Uno then executed a double stunner on both men simultaneously!

Uno tagged in Vance, and Vance clobbered his recently stunned opponents with a double clothesline. Vance hit Scott with a belly-to-back sideslam and noticed that Fuller and Mooney had pulled themselves into the scarecrow position on opposite sides of the ring. Vance hit Fuller with a running forearm and Mooney with a running clothesline. Mooney stumbled out of his scarecrow position and into Vance’s arms. Vance tucked Mooney’s head into a front facelock and went for a delayed vertical suplex. However, during the “delayed” part of Vance’s delayed vertical suplex, Diego jumped into the ring and clawed at Vance’s back, allowing Mooney to escape the suplex.

Diego ran the ropes and jumped toward Vance with a flying crossbody, but Vance caught Diego and moved him into the “delayed” part of his delayed vertical suplex.

“No good deed goes unpunished,” Wight said while Vance held Diego (who may or may not have been the legal man) in the “delayed” position.

Vance finished his delayed vertical suplex but could not cover Diego because he was not supposed to be in the ring. Mooney jumped into the ring and ran toward Vance; however, Vance caught Mooney with a spinebuster. Reynolds ran into the ring for no reason, and so Scott ran into the ring for no reason to counter Reynolds’ no-reason-run-in. Reynolds hit Scott with a knee lift, and Angels climbed to the top rope without being tagged in. However, just as Angels was about to illegally jump into the match, he noticed some men were already standing at ringside with their arms outstretched and decided to jump onto them.

Uno got into the ring, and if there was a tag, I missed it. Vance helped place Mooney onto Uno’s shoulders, and Uno executed a sitout powerbomb. Uno covered Mooney, and the referee counted to three.

WINNER: Dark Order (Evil Uno & Reynolds & Angles & Vance) (w/out Stu Grayson, sadly) in 5:00

(David’s Analysis: Dark Order should change their name to No Order because all of their matches seem to involve zero rules. There were so many run-ins during this match it was hard for me to keep up with who was legal… and I’m pausing and rewinding the match to write a detailed report about it! I can’t imagine how hard it must be for the casual viewer who only watches it once. Still, despite my complaints, this match was enjoyable viewing. It was chaotic, but so is the circus, and I joined one of those once. However, Grayson’s absence definitely felt like there was a hole in the soul of the group without him.) 

– After the match, an advert for Dynamite aired. For the first time,  the ad made sense. I’ve spent weeks making jokes about AEW advertising their A-list show on their hard-to-find D-list show, but this ad ran down the matches for Dynamite. While I’m incredulous that anyone watching Dark Elevation has not yet heard of Dynamite, I can buy that there are people who might not have caught LAST WEEK’s Dynamite. Advertising the specific card for THIS WEEK’s Dynamite to those viewers makes sense and encourages appointment viewing.

– After the advert, Henry said, “We’ll be right back on Dark Elevation with Abadon!” (I love the news contained in that announcement, but it still confuses me as to why they are making it. Are there commercial breaks on YouTube that I don’t know about?)

(2) ABADON vs. EMI SAKURA 

(This match is unfair because I am equally obsessed with both these athletes, and it is unacceptable they both can’t win.)

The rather catchy theme music for Emi Sakura filled the arena, and the screens lit up a digital rendering of her regal crown. Sakura posed atop the stage and waved her royal rope, giving us a glimpse of its aurum-colored lining. Sakura then leered at the awed crowd as she made her way to the ring. (Every twitch of her face is a masterclass in acting for the very back row, and I absolutely love it!)

“Emi Sakura — a trainer of many women’s champions,” Wight said. “She’s had an incredible career.”

(OMG! Thank you, Wight! That’s what I keep saying in these reports! I’m begging for AEW to take this athlete seriously. I know they’re probably skittish about heavily pushing a woman who is well into her mid-40s, but they have no problem pushing men in their mid-40s. I’m not saying they should make her champion, but they should make her matter. Give her a few high-profile wins, so she can turn around and use that collateral to put over AEW’s future megastars in matches that last longer than five minutes! When given the tools and the time, Sakura can put on a clinic.)

“I just noticed something!” Wight exclaimed. “Emi Sakura comes out wearing a crown like a queen, and her favorite band is Queen!” (You’re just now noticing that?)

“Whoa, you just blew my mind,” Henry said with a hint of sarcasm that hit so hard it gave me heartburn.

The mystical chimes of Abadon’s music glittered off the speakers and filled the ears of her adoring fans. Abadon’s lusciously painted face filled the screen, and somewhere out there, that lone lightbulb hanging inside Blumhouse exploded.

“And her opponent,” Roberts announced, “crawling to the ring from the Black Hills, Abadon!!!” (She also weighs 1,000 lost souls! Don’t forget that bit!)

Abadon indeed crawled her way out of the stage right tunnel and into the heart of Ammit.

“I love Abadon; she is so scary,” Wight said. “I am so glad I’m far away from her.” (Why? She’s like a living version of Halloween Horror Nights but without the outrageous lines.)

Abadon slithered into the ring like she’d been directed by James Gunn himself and stuck out her tongue like she was a telephone on Elm Street. The director cut to the soon-to-be “Final Girl” Emi Sakura, and she looked as perplexed as a babysitter about to run up the stairs.

The bell tolled, and Sakura and Abadon stared each other down. Sakura cautiously approached Abadon and offered her a test of strength. Abadon carefully took hold of Sakura’s hand and tried to love-bite a huge hunk of meat out of her arm. Sakura’s reaction was priceless enough to be enshrined in The Tower of London, and Abadon’s persistence was as harrowing as The London Dungeon horror attraction that sits on the other side of the Thames and is almost as fun as the actual Tower.

Abadon pounded away at Sakura’s immaculate facial expressions with multiple forearm trembles and pushed Sakura into the upstage left corner. Sakura grabbed Abadon by her shoulders, spun her around, and chopped her chest. Abadon screamed tunefully into Sakura’s face, and Sakura grabbed Abadon’s hair (I think that’s hair) and Biel threw her across the ring. (Abadon didn’t just flip over and land on her back, though. Instead, she actually flung her entire body through the air in order to land on her stomach. It was spectacular. Also, poor Abadon.)

Emi Sakura hung Abadon in the downstage right corner. The Queen then referenced Queen (and blew Henry’s mind) by stomping and clapping until the crowd began to stomp and clap along. Sakura then executed her signature “We Will Rock You Chops,” and she sang along to the song as she did it! (Top that, Adele!) Sakura then backed up, ran forward, and performed a running crossbody onto Abadon, crushing her against the turnbuckles.

“Sakura’s saying, ‘We will rock you,’ and Abadon’s saying, ‘I will eat you,’” Wight said.

Abadon fell to the bottom rope and tried to eat it.

“She’s biting the rope!” Wight said. “She’s — she’s biting the rope.”

Sakura dragged Abadon to the center of the ring and attempted to perform her signature Queen’s Gambit on Abadon. However, Abadon used all her supernatural strength to counter Sakura with a backdrop!

Sakura rolled to the outside to gather her wits, but Abadon was on her like a David Robert Mitchell movie. Abadon followed Sakura to the edge of the apron, ran down the apron, and executed a rolling cannonball to the floor. The crowd applauded like bougie revelers at a Purge auction, and Abadon howled melodiously.

Abadon kneed Sakura in the stomach and rolled her back into the ring. Sakura and Abadon crawled toward one another, but just before they could bump heads, Sakura reached out and clawed at Abadon’s eyes like she were the Jeepers Creepers monster. Abadon tumbled backward and grabbed at her face.

Sakura then stomped away at Abadon’s spine and sat on Abadon’s back, pretending to drink tea. This was adorably evil and perfectly perfect. Sakura then took hold of Abadon’s person and executed a Queen’s Gambit. Sakura covered Abadon, but like the unkillable monsteress she is, Abadon kicked out at two.

Sakura implored the referee to reconsider his two-count, but despite this working as often as never, he refused. Sakura screamed at the sky like a heavenly angel. Abadon slowly righted herself, and Sakura attempted a second Queen’s Gambit. However, this time, Abadon slid down Sakura’s back and landed on her feet! Abadon bit Sakura’s neck, executing what I’m going to call a “Bram-Stroker.”

Abadon’s “Bram-Stroker” submission maneuver took Sakura to her knees and allowed Abadon to jump into the ropes and rebound with a running Kujo-like bulldog. Sakura’s face bounced off the mat, and in the process, she flipped over onto her back. Abadon ran the ropes, rebounded off the ropes, and jump-scared into the air, landing a running senton onto Sakura’s torso. Abadon put her face right next to the camera and snarled like a gremlin after midnight.

Abadon mounted Sakura and punched her nine times in honor of the nine episodes of Mike Flanagan’s Haunting of Bly Manor.

“I like to look at the crowd and see how uncomfortable they are making eye contact with Abadon,” Wight said. (IDK, man. They’re watching this like VIPs at the Squid Games.)

Sakura wrestled away from Abadon’s delightful clutches and cut up her chest with two butcher-knife-edge chops. Abadon responded to those chops by screaming like a Kersey Valley scare-actor, and Sakura did her best Janet Leigh. After their screaming contest, Sakura swung Abadon into the ropes and swung a clothesline at Abadon as she came back around; however, Abadon ducked.

Abadon made one more run for it, heading across the ring, bouncing off the opposite ropes, and sliced into Sakura’s neck with a clothesline from Hellraiser. Sakura went down; Abadon picked her up, and then Abadon executed her wicked-looking finisher: The Black Dahlia (which was actually a crime thriller and not a horror film). Abadon covered Sakura’s corpse (don’t worry, she’s alive), and the referee made the three-count-Dracula.

WINNER: Abandon in 5:00

(David’s Analysis: I like horror movies, I like Abadon, I like Sakura, and I liked this match. This match is a great example of how two unapologetically entertaining athletes can make every move exciting without swan-diving to the outside or dropping an elbow from the International Space Station. Sure, sometimes I’m in the mood for a Shane McMahon match, but sometimes I just want to see two performers who can milk every blink of their eye for every cent that it’s worth — and it’s worth a lot to me. If you like fun, check out this match.) 

– After the match, they aired a hilarious moment from Arn Anderson’s appearance on AEW’s “Hey (Ew)” interview show. Unfortunately, the main joke of the segment involved elaborate pantomime, so I can’t describe it in a way that would do it justice. However, if you want to watch it for yourself, the program airs on AEW’s official YouTube channel. (There’s also an episode in which Hook sits in silence and eats chips the entire time. Nothing else happens. There’s just one camera angle, and he just eats chips. It has the second-most views of any episode in the show’s history.)

– After this YouTube snippet, they re-aired the exact same Double or Nothing advert they played earlier. If you’re wondering why, it’s because they’re very likely padding the show for time.

(I read that a blackout prevented AEW from filming two of the planned matches for this show and caused mass confusion when the audience slowly started to question everything they knew about professional wrestling because no one “surprise debuted.”)

(3) SONNY KISS vs. “PRETTY” PETER AVALON (w/”Hollywood Hunk” Ryan Nemeth) 

(Fun Fact: I’m a Sonny Kiss stan.)

“Pretty” Peter Avalon came out first, resigned to being the second prettiest person in tonight’s match. Avalon was accompanied to the ring by “Hollywood Hunk” Ryan Nemeth, who was wearing a jacket he purchased at Miz’s yardsale. Meanwhile, Avalon wore the AliExpress version of Ric Flair’s robes.

Peter Avalon stepped through the ropes like he was Stacy Keibler in the Diva’s Era, and it was actually kind of excellent. Keep doing that.

“He’s a handsome man Mark!” Wight said. “You got to give him credit!”

“I… um. I…” Henry’s voice sounded like it needed a bathroom break. “He has… confidence?”

Up next was Sonny Kiss!

(Fun Fact: Sonny Kiss has no less than ten emojis in her Instagram bio, which is just the right amount.)

Kiss came out wearing a banging outfit, and by banging, I mean drum kits were in flames. Kiss’s music was okay. (They should contact me about composing something better for Kiss. I’d literally do it for free.) Sonny made her way down the ramp and waved at the fans as her music continued to play. (Or… You know what else would slap? If Tony Khan got Charli XCX’s to grant him the rights to “New Shapes.” If they sent me the stems, I would literally make the remix for free.)

Sonny Kiss did a split on the top rope, and the ropes rejoiced.

“There’s a lot of things people can say about Sonny Kiss,” Henry said, “and they’re all good.”

“‘Pretty’ Peter is pretty upset,” Wight said.

“Sonny stole his thunder,” Henry told it like it is. “He thought he was doing something.”

Avalon and Kiss circled one another before entering a collar and elbow tie-up. Avalon instantly shifted their tie-up into a side headlock. Avalon then executed a side headlock takedown, but the moment they hit the mat, Kiss countered with a headscissors escape. Both individuals popped up, and Kiss grabbed Avalon in a headlock of her own and snapped him down to the mat. Avalon answered that with a headscissors escape of his own, and both athletes jumped to their feet.

(Fun Fact: Sonny Kiss prefers the pronouns “she” and “her” but is also fine with people calling her “he” or “him” if they choose to.)

Avalon clamped on a standing side headlock, and Kiss bulldozed Avalon into the stage right ring ropes. Kiss whipped Avalon across the ring, but Avalon rebounded with a shoulder tackle takedown, flooring Kiss. Avalon celebrated by Val-Venusing…

“I didn’t need to see all that,” Henry bemoaned.

“Whatever works,” Wight said.

“It’s a family show.”

“Is it?”

Avalon ran the ropes, and Kiss dropped to the canvas to avoid him, leapfrogged over him, and caught him with a humungous hip toss.

“Big, high hip toss by Sonny Kiss,” Wight said.

Kiss executed a huracanrana, and Avalon bounced his way into the downstage right corner. Kiss met him in the corner with a backward somersault uppercut. (This is a very fast-paced match.) Kiss then went for a cutter on Avalon, but Avalon circled through, went under Kiss’s arms, and trapped Kiss in a wristlock.

Avalon kicked Kiss in the ribs, and it looked like this fast-paced match was about to slow down. Avalon went to the second rope, but Kiss punched his stomach, hit him with a forearm, and nailed him with a super-high leg lariat.

(Fun Fact: Sonny Kiss does not get high, drink, or smoke, and neither should you unless you want to.)

Kiss grabbed Avalon off the top rope and held him over her head for a delayed press slam.

“Look at the strength of Sonny!” Wight said.

Sonny dropped Avalon behind her like she were the Ultimate Warrior or Chyna, and he hit the mat so hard he bounced.

“Not just a pretty face!” Wight said.

Kiss executed a standing moonsault knee strike. Kiss then hooked Avalon’s leg, but her extremely cool-looking move was only good for a two-count.

“I thought it was over,” Henry said.

“I thought so, too.” Wight said.

Kiss performed a quick spinning back kick and then ran into the stage right ring ropes. However, Nemeth grabbed her ankle from the outside and tripped her. (Nooo! She was on a roll!)  Kiss jumped to the floor and read Nemeth like he was a discarded library book. However, this distraction allowed Avalon to attack Kiss from behind with a dive off the ring apron.

Kiss hit the floor, and Avalon and Nemeth scowled at the camera, locking their fingers in something similar to what Bowens and Caster do but less cool. Avalon then stomped on Kiss’s back, picked Kiss up off the floor, and chopped Kiss so hard she did a tumble in the process of falling to the ground. Avalon tossed Kiss back into the ring, covered her, hooked her leg, and still only got a two-count.

Kiss held her chest and gasped for air as she made her way back to her feet. Avalon moved to attack Kiss, but Kiss blocked his offense. Kiss then clobbered Avalon with a forearm to his chest, a kick to his left thigh, a kick to his right thigh, and a superkick to his face.

(Fun Fact: If you Google the phrases “Sonny Kiss,” “Figure Skating,” and “Fanart,” you’ll see Sonny Kiss figure skating fanart.)

Kiss went for a running boot, but Avalon caught Kiss’s leg and pulled her into a side split. The crowd “ooo-ed,” and Kiss played it off like it hurt. Avalon covered Kiss, but Kiss thankfully kicked out at two.

“That was close,” Henry said.

“Avalon was unable to use that flexibility against Kiss,” Wight said. (That’s not how flexibility works. As someone who does splits as part of my act, I assure you, it is not painful.)

Avalon bodyslammed Kiss into the moonsault position, climbed to the top rope, and executed a moonsault. However, Kiss rolled out of the way.

“Nobody home!” Henry said.

“Big belly flop on the mat,” Wight expounded.

Kiss nailed Avalon with a dropsault followed by a corkscrew uppercut.

“She did a dropkick and a backflip at the same time,” Wight said. “That’s pretty athletic.”

“I’ve never seen that before,” Henry said. (You sure about that?)

Kiss whipped Avalon into the downstage right corner and ran forward; however, Avalon caught Kiss with his shoulder and tossed her onto the apron. Avalon failed to capitalize on the maneuver because the moment he turned around, Kiss kicked him with a standing leg lariat.

“Look at that flexibility! Right over the top rope,” Wight said.

(Fun Fact: Sonny Kiss is reportedly dating Killian Murphy, which means she’s probably seen him naked, which means no fair!)

Kiss jumped from the apron to the top rope and then jumped off the top rope onto Avalon, executing a flying crossbody. Kiss pinned Avalon, but he kicked out at two. Kiss floored Avalon with a side-kick, nailed him with a splitting leg drop (something that suddenly no longer hurts), and covered Avalon. The referee went to count the pinfall, but Nemeth hopped onto the apron to distract him.

(Fun Fact: 100% of referees have ADHD.)

Kiss got in Nemeth’s face, shouting for him to stay out of her business, and Avalon charged toward Kiss. However, Kiss lurched out of the way, and Avalon crashed into Nemeth. Kiss kicked Avalon, Avalon sprinted toward Kiss again, Kiss did a full backbend, and Avalon crashed into Nemeth a second time. Kiss then grabbed Avalon’s waist and shoved him into Nemeth a third time; this time, hard enough to knock Nemeth off the apron.

Kiss pulled a dazed and confused Avalon back into the center of the ring and rolled him up. The referee dropped to the canvas, checked Kiss’s cover, and then counted to three.

(Fun Fact: Sonny Kiss is fun, and that’s a fact.)

WINNER: Kiss in 5:00

(David’s Analysis: It was great seeing Kiss get a decent-length match on Dark Elevation, and while Avalon isn’t an imposing figure, he is a good wrestler and works well in this role. Hopefully, this win portends good things for Kiss’s immediate future. Also — Fun Fact: I did not have to riot!) 

– After the match, they aired the C.M. Punk narrated Dynamite advert again.

– After the Dynamite advert, they aired an advert for Forbidden Door. It was a very good ad, but it called Forbidden Door the most anticipated PPV of the year, and I’m pretty sure they just told me the same thing about Double or Nothing in an earlier ad…

(4) TONY DEPPEN vs. JOHN SILVER 

John Silver came out first, accompanied by Anna Jay and Alex Reynolds. However, Silver then walked to the ring alone. Well… I say “walked,” but it was actually more like he march. (John Silver is definitely the long-lost grandson of Popeye.)

“They say dynamite comes in small packages,” Wight said. (They do?) “And there’s a lot of dynamite right there.” (I just Googled it, and apparently, that is indeed an idiom.)

Silver saluted Lady Gaga before getting in the ring. Silver’s opponent, Tony Deppen, was already awaiting his arrival, and a chyron noted this was Deppen’s AEW debut. (Good luck.)

After referee called for the bell, both men jumped into a collar and elbow tie-up. Silver shifted the tie-up into a side headlock, but Deppen whipped Silver into the ropes. Silver rebounded off the ropes and took Deppen down with a shoulder tackle. Silver then promptly John-Silvered. (The crowd ate it up like Popeye eats spinach.)

Deppen ran the ropes, and Silver dropped to the canvas to avoid him, leapfrogged over him, and then cartwheeled over him. (Silver has so much energy in the ring. I love watching him explode like a human firework all over the canvas; it’s exhilarating.)

Silver decided to run the ropes himself. Deppen went for a clothesline, but Silver ducked. Deppen went for a second clothesline, but Silver ducked a second time. Silver then rebounded off the ropes and hit Deppen with a flying uppercut.

“He moves so fast; it’s like getting hit with a cannonball,” Wight said.

Silver propped Deppen up in the corner and then executed a Biel throw, tossing Deppen across the ring. Deppen pulled himself up in the opposite corner while Silver half-John-Silvered, flexing only his left bicep. (Isn’t it weird how one bicep is always a little larger than the other? It doesn’t matter if you add extra reps or whatever; it just is. In fact, if you check enough of my shirtless selfies, you’ll start to notice I go to ridiculous lengths to showcase my favorite side.)

Silver ran toward Deppen, but Deppen leaped over him. Deppen swept Silver’s legs, bounced off the downstage ring ropes, and hit Silver with a jumping knee drop. Deppen then covered Silver, but he was only able to muster a mere one-count.

Frustrated, Deppen mounted Silver and clocked him with four open-handed strikes to the head. (Those looked really, really open.)

“Palm strikes are smart,” Wight said. “It’s better than breaking your knuckles.”

Silver chopped Deppen; Deppen forearmed Silver; Silver punched Deppen; Deppen punched Silver, and Silver punched Deppen seven times and nailed him with two kicks. Silver ran the ropes, but Deppen stopped him mid-ring with a rising knee strike. Deppen ran the ropes, but Silver stopped him mid-ring with a clothesline.

Silver picked up Deppen and held him over his head in the gorilla press position. However, instead of press slamming him, he threw Deppen face-first into the downstage right turnbuckles. While Deppen sat heaped in the corner, Silver ran the ropes once more and planted Deppen with a running knee.

Silver hoisted Deppen onto his shoulders in the fireman’s carry position, carried Deppen to the middle of the ring, spun around in circles, and threw Deppen in the air, executing a spinning rack bomb. Silver covered Deppen, hooked his leg, and the referee counted to three.

WINNER: Silver in 4:00

(David’s Analysis: This was another good match. So far, we’re four matches into the show, and all four matches have been enjoyable. That has not been the case these past few weeks. Let’s hope the enjoyability continues!) 

– After the match, that advert for Double or Nothing played again… At least it has Hook in it.

– After the advert, they showed another clip of their YouTube show, “Hey (Ew).” Arn Anderson talked about the Lethal Weapon movies, checking guns at airports, gendering inanimate objects, adult diapers, “monster bongs,” and the practicality of muskets used during the War of the American Revolution.

– After the YouTube snippet, they aired another advert for Dynamite. (It was quite a stirring advert, actually.)

(5) THE FACTORY (Q.T. Marshall & Nick Comoroto w/Aaron Solo) vs. KEITH LEE & SHANE STRICKLAND 

Dadcore edgelord, Q.T. Marshall, came out first, followed by “Bigfoot” Comoroto and “Littlefoot” Solo. Marshall stopped atop the stage to cup his hand to his right ear because he wanted to hear the booing better.

One fan in the audience wanted to slap hands with Marshall (just one), and Marshall walked over to him, held out his hand, and yanked it away at the last minute because of course he did. I’m surprised he didn’t also pretend to comb back his hair like they did when he was a teenager in the 1940s.

“When I see Q.T. Marshall walk to the ring, and I see that smug look on his face,” Wight said, “I just wanna slap it off.”

“Somebody will,” Henry said. “Very soon.” (From your lips to God’s ears.)

Swerve Strickland’s music hit, and he came out first. (This man exudes confidence and whatever the opposite of Marshall is.) Strickland stopped atop the stage, and the music switched from his to Keith Lee’s. Lee bounded out of the face’s tunnel with a hood over his head, looking both terrifying and like someone you definitely want eating at your lunch table. Together, Strickland and Lee walked to the ring.

Once in the ring, both Lee and Strickland posed for one another, and if I were Marshall, I would rather fly into the sun than live through his match. The crowd began doing the “Who’s house; Swerve’s house” chant, and it was loud.

“The Baltimore crowd definitely loves Swerve,” Wight said.

Marshall kicked Strickland in the stomach, and then he cupped his ear to hear the crowd’s groundswell of boos. Marshall attempted to whip Strickland across the ring, but Strickland executed a short-arm reversal and blistered Marshall’s chest with a knife-edge chop. Keith lee applauded in approval, and Strickland bulldozed Marshall into the face team’s corner. Strickland then tagged in Lee.

Lee punched Marshall, and I just now realized Marshall has rhinestones all over his trunks, and they’re making things worse. Lee captured Marshall’s arm in a wristlock and lifted him over his head. Lee then attempted to slam Marshall (I think), but it looked like something went wrong because Marshall just sort of crumbled over Lee’s left arm like the flavorless water biscuit he is. However, Marshall sold the “bump” like a pro and managed to polish over what had just happened. (As hatable as Marshall’s character is, and it is, he’s also a master of his crafts, and it shows in moments like that.)

Lee pulled Marshall’s glittery ass (seriously) back to his feet and hit him with a chop. Lee then invited Marshall to chop him, and Marshall tried, but Lee barely felt it. Lee then took a shot at Marshall and almost smacked the bland out of him. Marshall splattered to the floor like colorless paint.

Truman-Show extra, Q.T. Marshall, clutched at his marshmallow throat as Lee led him into the upstage left corner. Lee then Biel threw Marshall across the ring toward the heel team’s corner. Marshall tagged in Comoroto.

Schoolhouse Rock  Lumberjack, Nick Comoroto, stepped through the ropes and into a double overhead chop from Lee. Solo attempted to distract Lee on Comoroto’s behalf, but unlike most wrestlers, Lee had taken his Adderall that day, and Solo’s distraction did not work.

Lee ran the ropes (no, really), and Comoroto and Marshall caught him with a two-man pancake slam. Comoroto draped Lee across the middle rope and ground his knee into Lee’s back, choking him in the process. The referee began counting to five, and Comoroto milked the count all the way to four. Finally, Comoroto backed off.

Norman Rockwell milkman, Q.T. Marshall, sneaked up to where Lee lay across the ropes and nailed him with a cheap shot from the floor. Comoroto cornered Lee and nailed him with four rope-assisted shoulder blocks. Then Marshall, a man whose favorite playlist is a white noise machine, wrapped the tag rope around Lee’s throat and began choking the life out of him. Comoroto tagged in Marshall. Marshall stepped through the ropes, stomped on Lee’s foot, and hit Lee with two clotheslines. Marshall then tagged in Comoroto.

Figure three on the March of Progress chart and creationism’s last hope, Nick Comorot made his way into the ring and immediately speared Lee. Comoroto then placed Lee in a front facelock, and Lee managed to muscle Comoroto off his feet and almost got him onto his shoulders.

However, Comoroto, a man I’m 80 percent sure drives a station wagon with “wooden” paneling, clubbed away at Lee’s back and managed to reapply his front facelock. Lee once again muscled Comoroto off his feet, and once again, Comoroto managed to reapply his facelock. Finally, Lee had had enough and tossed Comoroto into the air, executing a back body drop. (It looked like Comoroto had trouble making it all the way over, and I’m very glad he did. That could have ended badly.) Comoroto tagged in Marshall.

TV test pattern enthusiast, Q.T. Marshall, burst out of the heel team’s corner and ran to the face team’s corner, knocking Strickland off the apron. Marshall smashed Lee with a forearm and then strutted for a crowd that feels the same way about him as I do. Marshall tried to suplex Lee, but Lee countered with a vertical suplex of his own. Both competitors looked to be in a bad way, and both men tagged in their respective opponents.

Strickland darted across the ring, running the ropes and planting not one, not two, but THREE forearms into Comoroto’s face. Marshall jumped into the ring to aid his partner and swung a clothesline at Strickland; however, Strickland ducked. Strickland landed two punches and a kick on Marshall. He then climbed the turnbuckles, jumped off the turnbuckles, and executed a flying elbow onto Marshall’s back.

Comoroto seized Strickland and whipped him into the ropes, but Strickland did a flipping combination that I am unable to name and came back with a flying uppercut followed by a leaping flatliner. Strickland covered Comoroto but was only able to score a two-count. Strickland tagged in Lee.

Lee tried to powerbomb Comoroto, but Solo interfered, resulting in Lee crashing into the turnbuckles. The force of Lee hitting the turnbuckles knocked Strickland to the floor. To my GREAT surprise, Comoroto managed to lift Lee into the fireman’s carry position; however, Lee slid down Comoroto’s back to escape. Before Lee could attempt any offense, Marshall superkicked Lee and left him teetering in the ring. Comoroto took advantage of Marshall’s interference by spearing Lee, but he was still only able to get a two-count.

Marshall ran in to interfere, but Strickland jumped off the top rope and nailed Marshall with a stomp. Comoroto threw Strickland out of the ring, but Strickland did a handspring off the apron, landed on his feet on the floor, and punched Solo in the face.

As fast as a blinking eye, Strickland rushed back into the ring, wrapped a waistlock around Comoroto, and executed a release German suplex. Instantaneously, Lee grabbed a totally out-of-it Comoroto, pulled Comoroto onto his shoulders, and executed his Big Bang Catastrophe finisher. Lee covered Comoroto, the referee dropped to the mat, and the match was over in three.

(Great, now if I were Q.T. Marshall, I would take a long walk off a short pier into a piranha match.)

WINNER: Lee & Strickland in 8:00

(David’s Analysis: This was another good match. There were several clunky spots, but Marshall and Comoroto covered them well. Strickland is mind-blowingly charismatic, and Marshall is mind-numbingly awful in all the right ways.) 

– After the match, another advert for Dynamite aired.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’ve been a bit iffy on the past couple of weeks of Dark Elevation, but this was a good episode from start to finish. Every match was enjoyable, well put together, and given enough time to feel like you didn’t waste yours watching it. If you only have time to watch one match, I recommend checking out Abadon vs. Sakura for the sheer fun of it. If you can only watch two matches, check out Kiss vs. Avalon, and if you can only watch three matches, check out the Dark Order tag team match. However, I personally recommend you watch the entire show. This one deserves it.

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, pop rocks and coke are a dangerous combination because cocaine is a schedule II drug.

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