SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW DARK ELEVATION REPORT
JULY 18, 2022
TAPED 7/13 IN SAVANNAH, GA.
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY DAVID BRYANT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Excalibur, Mark Henry, Caprice Coleman (I’m having Paul Wight withdrawals.)
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
– Hey! I’m back from another vacation. I’m sorry to keep missing so many weeks, but I haven’t forgotten you guys. I just got distracted doing life stuff. Anyway, welcome back, and thank you for visiting PWTorch.com. Most of all, thank you for granting me your time. I know your time is a gift, and I will never take it for granite (because taking things for “granite” isn’t a thing and because your time is made out of time and not granite.)
– However, my social media accounts are a thing, and I’d love it if you checked them out. Both my Twitter and Instagram accounts can be found @IamDavidBryant because I am David Bryant, and I am not as creative as I’d like to think.
– Tonight’s AEW Dark Elevation taping emanated not-live from the Enmarket Arena in Savannah, Ga. I genuinely love this city and have visited more times than I can recall. Of all the hotels I’ve stayed at in Savannah, I highly recommend potential visitors consider the Kimpton Brice Hotel. (Look up the building’s history as a horse stable!) And don’t forget to visit The Pirate’s House restaurant. The Brice is within walking distance of this historic dining facility that is built around an Herb House, garden, and underground tavern built in 1733. Ask your waiter for a “pirate” to visit your table, and one will. Ask your “pirate” for a tour of the restaurant and its underground speakeasy. It is fascinating. Also, you absolutely MUST get the Chatham Artillery Punch. It comes in a beautiful, high-quality souvenir mug, and if you are a teetotaler like me, they are happy to make a “virgin” version of the award-winning drink. (Full disclosure: I was in no way paid for this endorsement. I just really f’ing love this restaurant!)
– Before the start of the show, an advert aired for ROH presents Death Before Dishonor. I will be ordering this PPV and given how good the matches were on the last one, I have high hopes.
– Excalibur set the show as Bobby Fish made his way down the ramp. Fish sliced a thumb across his throat, singling plans to murder his opponent.
(1) BOBBY FISH vs. BLAKE LI
Fish’s opponent, Blake Li, was already awaiting Fish’s arrival in the ring and seemed unphased by Fish’s threats of premeditated murder. The referee quickly rang the bell while Fish was still fixing his kneepads, and Fish hurried to finish pulling them back up.
Fish and Li went for a lockup, but Fish quickly took Li off his feet with an over-the-shoulder snapmare takeover. Fish then caught Li in a rear chin lock, fought his way to his feet, and threw Fish into the downstage ring ropes. Fish rebounded off the downstage ropes into Li, flooring him with a shoulder tackle takedown.
Fish then ran the ropes, Li rolled under Fish’s feet, and Fish caught Li in an old-school sleeper hold. Li twisted his way out of Fish’s headlock, and Fish punched Li’s torso, kicked Li’s hamstrings, and took Li down with another snapmare takeover. Fish hopped over the top rope, landed on the apron, and executed a slingshot senton back into the ring onto Li. Fish then went to cover Li but did so sloppily, trying to hold down Li’s face with his forearm. Li kicked out at two.
“Fish knows exactly what he’s doing in there,” Coleman said. (Is that what you call not hooking the leg?)
Fish kneed Li in the face and planted a shin into Li’s right hamstring. Fish clocked Li with a forearm, scooped Li up, and bodyslammed Li back first onto the ropes. (That looked dangerous AF.)
“What was that?!” Henry exclaimed. (Attempted premeditated murder?)
Fish pulled Li up by his trunks, punched Li in his kidneys, and wrapped Li in a second sleeper hold. Li jumped onto the apron to avoid Fish, but Fish slid out of the ring to the floor and roundhouse kicked Li’s legs out from under him. Li splattered face first onto the hardest-part-of-the-ring.™
Li crawled around ringside, but Fish wasn’t about to let him escape his murdering so easily. Instead, he pulled Li back to his feet, just so he could take him down again, using a dragon screw leg whip to throw Li into the guard rails.
Li then smacked a customer’s beer out of his hands, which I hope someone in AEW paid for.
“He just knocked a guy’s beer out of his hands!” Henry said. “What does that have to do with wrestling?” (At least ten bucks.)
Fish tossed Li back into the ring. Li met Fish in the ring with a right forearm, a right chop, and a kick to Fish’s chest. However, instead of taking the kick, Fish caught Li’s leg and kneed Li’s hamstring. Li fell backward onto the mat, and Fish executed a grounded drag screw leg whip. Fish then applied a knee bar to Li, and Li tapped out. The referee had to plead with Fish to release the submission hold.
WINNER: Fish in 4:00
(David’s Analysis: This was a short and to-the-point match. It was slower than what you usually see on Dark Elevation, but given AEW’s recent injuries list, that might not be a bad thing.)
(2) MARINA SHAFIR & NYLA ROSE (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. SKYE BLUE & BRITTANY
The team of Nyla Rose & Marina Shafir came out first, accompanied by “Fashion Icon” Vickie Guerrero. (She’s Baaack!) Tonight, Guerrero blessed us with umber-brown hot pants and a matching mid-riff top. She tastefully paired this ensemble with a cut-out trench coat cover-up worthy of Trish Stratus herself. (Outfits like these remind us that despite her Karen-esque gimmick, Guerrero is in deceptively good shape.)
“I didn’t need those eyebrows anyway,” Henry said as Nyla Rose’s pyro flamed into the air.
(Actually, having now seen Guerrero’s wardrobe up close, she might be serving that outfit to us in blueberry-black — that or the color on my TV is jacked. IDK. It looks great on her.)
Rose and Shafir entered the ring as Guerrero politely asked a ringside camera to “get out of the way.” Next, Skye Blue’s music hit, and Blue and Brittany (who is dressed like Harley Quinn) came out of the faces’ tunnel.
“Skye Blue is one of the most popular young competitors here in AEW,” Excalibur said with a straight face.
Rose and Brittany began the match by circling one another. Rose lunged in for a collar and elbow tie-up, but Brittany sveltely ducked underneath Rose’s arms. (On commentary, Coleman proudly let us know that he trained Brittany.) Brittany then used her advantage to celebrate for the audience and taunt Rose. (On commentary, Coleman pulled up his collar and sunk into his seat.)
Rose was not impressed by Brittany’s offensive time wasting and offered Brittany a free shot. Rose turned her back on Brittany and held out both arms, nodding for the hard camera. (Rose’s facial expressions don’t get enough credit.) For some reason, Brittany believed Rose and ran toward her with all her might. However, because Rose is smarter than braindead, she turned around and clotheslined an unsuspecting Brittany like she wanted her to die. Now it was Rose’s turn to celebrate, and she did so by bashing Brittany’s face into a turnbuckle.
“There are no free lunches in life,” Excalibur said. (I hate that idiom, and it’s not even factually correct.)
Rose tagged in Shafir, and Shafir hit Brittany with three bodyshots, placed Brittany in a wristlock, and then shoved her elbow into Brittany’s elbow. Shafir pulled Brittany deeper into the center of the ring and sent two uppercuts into Brittany’s armpit. Shafir attempted to swing Brittany by her locked wrist, but Brittany countered by holding onto Shafir’s arm and pulling Shafir into multiple forearm strikes. However, Shafir countered with a punch to Brittany’s ribcage.
“A liver shot can shut down the body,” Excalibur said about the most disgusting alcoholic beverage I’ve ever heard of.
Shafir tagged in Rose and took Brittany to the mat with an over-the-shoulder snapmare takedown. Rose then ran the ropes and executed a surprisingly dynamic crossbody splash onto Brittany. (The crowd applauded for Rose.) Rose rammed Brittany’s face into the top turnbuckle, and Brittany desperately needs to tag in Blue — IDK how she leaves the building walking if she doesn’t.
Rose applied a wristlock of her own and used it to wrench Brittany’s arm. Rose then whipped Brittany into the upstage left corner.
“I want to apologize,” Excalibur said. “That was not a liver shot; that was a bolo punch to the ribs.” (Bolo punch is one of the dumbest names for a holiday beverage I’ve ever heard of.)
Rose tried to bodyslam Brittany in front of Blue, who was contemplating how great it was to be one of the most popular young wrestlers in all of AEW. However, Brittany got away, and Rose decided to take a swing at Blue on the apron. Blue ducked, and Rose turned to take a swing at Brittany. Brittany rolled underneath Rose’s swing and tagged in Blue. The crowd roared with electrifying excitement.
Rose ran at Blue, and Blue grabbed Rose’s head, stunning her with a guillotine on the top rope. Blue pounded away at Rose with multiple forearms and then side-kicked Rose’s leg. Blue hit Rose with a second kick, this time to her thigh, and Rose fell to her knees. Blue then kicked Rose in the face, and Rose toppled over. Blue climbed to the top rope in the heel team’s corner (Where’s Shafir?) and executed a flying crossbody on Rose. Blue went for a pin, but Rose kicked out at two. (It was a vigorous kick-out, BTW.)
Rose and Blue ran at one another, but Rose had the size advantage and clotheslined Blue all the way to the mat. Rose yanked Blue back up and bulldozed her into the heel team’s corner; Shafir tagged herself into the match. Shafir hit Blue with multiple knee strikes and took her down with a judo throw. Shafir then dragged Blue into the middle of the ring, bent her arm behind her head, and stood on her hand.
Shafir backed off of Blue and let her stand up. Blue attempted an arm drag, but Shafir was too powerful and countered with multiple hip attacks into Blue and took Blue to the mat. Shafir pulled Blue back up to her feet with a waistlock and executed a slightly terrifying German suplex. Shafir went for the cover, but Brittany broke it up at one.
Both athletes returned to their feet, and Blue threw a clothesline at Shafir, but Shafir ducked. Shafir kicked Blue in the stomach, and Blue hit Shafir with an enzuigiri. Shafir crawled toward the heel team’s corner and tagged in Rose. Rose rushed into the ring and took Blue down with a running body block. Rose then devastated Brittany with a delayed bodyslam.
(It appears Brittany is now the legal woman. I must have missed the tag, but good thing AEW is always on top of that kind of thing.)
Rose tagged Shafir back into the match. Rose executed a painful-looking powerbomb on Brittany and immediately ran to the face’s corner to side-kick Blue off the apron. Shafir put Brittany in her Greedy submission (which did not go smoothly), and Brittany tapped out.
WINNER: Rose & Shafir in 5:00
(David’s Analysis: Brittany has a nice look — full disclosure: I’m a super biased DC comics mark — and she moves well in the ring. Speaking of movement in the ring… Rose provided an astonishing amount of the “movement” in this match. She’s getting really good, especially for her size, and I don’t understand why she isn’t used more. I’m not saying they have to put the title on her, but there’s a lot she can do outside of vying for a title. If nothing else, she could be putting other women over on a more visible level. Beating someone as menacing as Nyla Rose is a statement in and of itself. And as for Blue, she might not be the most popular young star in AEW, but we’ll never know what she could be if they don’t give her more of a chance to be it. I see her on Dark and Dark Elevation all the time, but never on T.V. that seems like a waste. I love the women’s division in WWE — full disclosure, that’s about the only thing I love about WWE, RN — and I don’t understand why AEW can’t find a way to replicate that, especially given the talent they now have.)
– After the match, Rose and Shafir were joined in the ring by “Fashion Icon” Vickie Guerrero, and I now think she is serving us that outfit in more of a deep-space-black, but I’m gonna get my TV set checked out and ask Wade Keller to contact AEW for comment because this is vital information.
– After that, an advert aired for the return of AEW Grand Slam. I hope they can top last year’s, but I don’t know how they would go about doing it. Omega vs. Danielson at Grand Slam is one of my favorite matches of the last ten years. In fact, it might be topped only by Punk vs. MJF in a dog collar match and Page vs. Omega Part 2. Maybe they could do an Omega vs. Page rematch? The last one was spectacular, and this show could be a chance for the non-paying audience to see just how good these two are in the ring together. (Whatever they do, I really hope they don’t “Forbidden Door” this one because Grand Slam could become a major marquee attraction for AEW if it’s executed as well as last year’s was.)
(3) JULIA HART vs. AMBER NOVA
“I’m afraid of the dark guys,” Henry adorably said as the lights went out in the arena.
Julia Hart’s entrance music hit, and, speaking of not “Forbidden Dooring” something, I really hope they “All Out” this character change by Hart. This could be a great opportunity to redefine her if they can get it right.
Hart’s entrance was bad-ass! I did not think she would be this good at playing evil, but I’m glad she is. Her opponent, Amber Nova, was already in the ring. (Oh! I remember Amber Nova. She’s been good the few times we’ve seen her. Welcome back!)
After the bell, Nova and Hart stared each other down from across the ring with Hart in all black and Nova in her IRL Liberty Bell gimmick. This was an interesting juxtaposition of character styles, and I am intrigued to see what these two polar opposite personalities do to each other.
Hart knee Nova in the midsection grabbed her neck, clubbed her back, and kicked her stomach. Nova sold like she was being murdered. (Hart should have been a little tighter here. Nova is experienced enough that she can take it, and it would better suit Hart’s new personal. As I said earlier, it is important that they “get this right.”)
Hart beat Nova down in the corner with a series of kicks and a vicious version of her leg-stretched boot to the throat. The referee forced a break, and Hart backed up and watched Nova crawl around the ring like a snake watching a mouse.
“Nova is in a lot of trouble,” Coleman said. “And Julia is being so aggressive.”
Nova tried to fight back. She attempted a kick to the face, forearms galore, and a shoulder tackle. However, Hart was unphased and threw Nova to the mat so hard she went sprawling across the canvas. Hart continued to watch Nova struggle to pull herself up in the corner with the curious fascination of a demonic sociopath.
Once Nova had pulled herself entirely upright, Hart executed a handstand lariat on Nova and followed by throwing Nova to the mat with a hairmare. Hart grabbed Nova’s hair and held her head up for the hard camera in an image straight from a horror movie. Then, Hart trapped Nova in her new Rings-of-Saturn-inspired finisher. The commentators stated this was her new finisher, but I didn’t catch the exact name of it. Either way, an absolutely slaughtered Nova tapped out with the urgency of a fleeing exorcist.
WINNER: Hart at 71 seconds
(David’s Analysis: They’re getting Hart’s character right.)
– After the match, Hart glared at the hard camera, and I’m just now noticing that one of her eyes is white. How did I not notice that before? I need to start paying even closer attention.
(4) ETHAN PAGE (w/Dan Lambert) vs. LEON RUFFIN
Ethan Page was accompanied out of the heels’ tunnel by confused-Wal-Mart-shopper Dan Lambert and made his way to the ring while Lambert lagged behind but not far enough to be off my television screen. Page’s opponent, Leon Ruffin, was already waiting in the ring. Ruffin got a good response from the crowd and looked way too happy to be in the same building as Dana-White-Wannabe Dan Lambert.
After the bell rang, Page took off his jacket to reveal the pectoral version of Tony Nese’s abs. Both men sized one another up, and Ruffin literally jumped up and down with excitement. (The crowd obviously loves him; however, bouncing like that, he looks like one of those dogs that pees when it sees its owner.)
“Ruffin has a black belt in taekwondo,” Excalibur said. (Oh. Nice!)
Ruffin applied a firm side headlock on Page, but Page was so strong he lifted Ruffin clean into the air — this was done despite Ruffin’s refusal to let go. Page threw Ruffin across the ring like he were Serpentico and posed for the hard camera. The crowd booed vociferously, and Page slapped his ass as a sign of disrespect for the crowd and a sign of respect for his gay fans, I’m assuming.
Page threw Ruffin into the upstage left turnbuckles, but Ruffin managed to hop the ropes and perform a guillotine on the top strand. Page held his throat as he stumbled backward, and Ruffin Dante-Martined all over the ropes. (It looked spectacular.) Ruffin leaped over Page and hit him with a single-leg dropkick into a backflip. (The crowd exploded, and I now fully understand why they like this guy so much. He’s awesome.) Ruffin backed up into the downstage right corner and charged toward Page in the upstage left corner; however, Page met him with an inside-out shoulder tackle.
Page mounted Ruffin and began pounding away at his face and torso. Ruffin’s only possible defense was to put up both of his forearms in hopes of keeping his nose intact. Page then let Ruffin up and paced in the ring. The camera then inexplicably cut to Dan Lambert, who looked a lot like that one teacher every kid starts rumors about. (Please get him off of my screen; his previous appearances are probably why the color is out whack.)
Page whipped Ruffin across the ring and caught him with a back elbow. Page posed for the hard camera again, and Ruffin made his way back to his feet. Ruffin hit Page with four forearms, but Page no sold them, and then hit Ruffin with a single forearm that shattered the windshield of his soul. Page executed a vertical suplex without even pulling Ruffin upright first. Page mocked Ruffin’s mannerisms and then picked up the poor guy and performed a pendulum backbreaker.
Ruffin made a valiant effort to fight back, hitting Page with a series of forearms. Ruffin then ran the ropes. Page missed Ruffin with a clothesline, Ruffin hit Page with a forearm, Page missed Ruffin again, and Ruffin executed a springboard forearm off the stage left middle rope. Then, Ruffin climbed to the top of the downstage left turnbuckle and performed a huge twisting cutter onto Page. (The crowd was on their feet.)
Ruffin tried to pin Page for the win but was only able to get a two-count. Ruffin waited for Page to get back to his feet and then darted toward him. Page caught Ruffin’s body and threw him over the top rope, but this only served to allow Ruffin to perform a top rope guillotine on Page. Page then Dante-Martined on the ropes again, but Page caught him before he could execute his planned offense.
Page set Ruffin up in the Ego’s Edge position, but Ruffin rolled down across Page’s back and grabbed both his legs in an attempt to execute a sunset flip. Page punched his way free of Ruffin’s grasp, but stumbled into the ropes, rebounded backward, and Ruffin was able to perform his planned sunset flip. Ruffin covered Page for a two-count.
Ruffin ran the ropes, hoping for more offense on Page, but Page caught him, held him in the air in the press slam position, and then transitioned that into a powerslam. Page pinned Ruffin, hooked Ruffin’s leg, and got a one – two – kick out! A clean kickout! I truly thought that was the end of this match. I did NOT see that one coming.
The crowd was ecstatic, and Page was livid. Page slowly climbed to his feet, looking down at Ruffin and laughing. Ruffin climbed to his feet, and the crowd chanted for him, LOUDLY. As loud as anything you’d hear on live TV.
Dazed and confused, Ruffin put up both fists, stumbled toward Page, looked him in the eye, and despite knowing the match was all but lost, Ruffin definitely punched at him one last time. Page hit Ruffin with a straight right, picked him up, and put him in the Ego’s Edge. BUT WAIT! Before Page could hit the Ego’s Edge, Ruffin grabbed him around the neck and put him in a sleeper while on his shoulders! Page dropped Ruffin, Ruffin attempted a springboard backdrop, and Page caught Ruffin in midair, finally hitting his Ego’s Edge finisher.
Page covered Ruffin, the referee dropped to the mat, and the match was over in three. (Holy shit.)
WINNER: Page in 6:00
(David’s Analysis: Watch this match. There was minimal Dan Lambert, and it was a really fun match.)
– After the match, the director showed Dan Lambert yet again. Why? Who is this appealing to? Dan Lambert is like a lesser Bobby Heenan for people who drink wine out of boxes. Please. Stop.
– After that, another advert for ROH’s Death Before Dishonor PPV aired. This ad focused on FTR vs. The Briscoes!
(5) THE DARK ORDER (Preston Vance & Evil Uno) vs. TERRELL & TERENE HUGHES
The words “join the Dark Order” played over the speakers, and the crowd roared to life. The team of Evil Uno & Preston Vance made their way out of the face’s tunnel, and the director cut to numerous Little Monsters raising their paws in the audience. Dark Order’s opponents, Terrell & Terence Hughes, were already waiting in the ring.
Uno and Terrell started things off by sizing one another up before jumping into a collar and elbow tie-up. Terrell then took control of Uno with a side headlock. Uno shoved Terrell off of his person, and both men ran the ropes, but Uno came out ahead, taking Terrell down with a shoulder tackle. Terrell jumped back to his feet and pounced on Uno, but Uno caught him and executed an atomic drop; then, Uno yanked Terrell down to the canvas. Uno stomped on both of Terrell’s hands, pulled him upright, and smashed Terrell’s head into the face team’s top turnbuckle. Uno then Tagged in Vance.
Vance whipped Uno into Terrell, hitting him with a corner splash. Then, Vance grabbed Terrell around the waist and executed a huge over-the-top belly-to-belly suplex. Terrell flailed toward his team’s corner and tagged in his brother, Terence. Terence raced into the ring, but as soon as he entered, Vance captured him in a very, very delayed vertical suplex.
“He only had him up there ten seconds,” Henry quipped. “That’s all. No big deal.”
Vance tagged Uno back into the match, and Uno captured Terence in a front facelock. Uno then hyped the crowd for a second vertical suplex before performing one on Terence. Once Terence made it back to his feet, Uno hit him with two knife-edge chops and whipped him toward the ropes. However, Terence reversed Uno’s whip, and when Uno crashed into the stage left ring ropes, Terrell kicked him from behind. Uno spun around and hit Terrell with a forearm, but Terence used the distraction to put Uno in a waistlock. Uno performed a standing switch on Terence, and Terence performed a standing switch on Uno. Terence then attempted to roll Uno up for the pin, but Uno held onto the ropes and tossed Terence off of him.
Uno clocked Terence with a back elbow, but before he could capitalize, Terrell clocked Uno with a clothesline from the apron, knocking Uno down. Terence mounted Uno and began pounding away at his face with a vengeance. Terence and Terrell then celebrated before an unhappy crowd.
Uno collapsed in the corner, and Terence tagged in Terrell. Together, Terence and Terrell took turns delivering running hip attacks to Uno’s face. Terrell put Uno on his back, and I thought he was going to pin him, but he did not. Instead, he decided to walk on him. (That was not a wise decision. You could have gotten a pinfall there, maybe!)
Terrell tagged Terence back into the match. Together, both brothers Irish whipped Uno into the stage left ring ropes, but Uno held on and delivered a hard kick. (I hope he was okay. That looked a little snug.) Uno handed one brother the other brother’s leg and then executed an assisted neckbreaker on the one-legged brother. Uno attempted to tag Vance, but Terence desperately held onto Uno’s boot. However, Uno kicked Terence off of him and tagged in Vance.
Vance dashed into the ring with multiple clotheslines to both brothers, a belly-to-back suplex, and a massive spinebuster.
“Spine on the pine,” Excalibur said. (I like that idiom. Keep that one. Ditch the “free lunch” one.)
Uno delivered a DDT to Terrell on the apron, and Vance hit a wicked discus lariat on Terence. Vance covered Terence, the referee dropped to the mat, and the match was over in three.
WINNER: Dark Order (Vance & Uno) in 5:00
(David’s Analysis: This was a decent match. There wasn’t anything wrong with it; I’m just still on a high from Page vs. Ruffin. The Hughes brothers did a good job and have a lot of presence in the ring. There were a couple of clunky spots between Uno and Vance, but nothing to turn your nose up at. All-in-all … thumbs in the middle?)
– After the match, Uno took great pleasure in waving to the fans, and the fans took great pleasure in being waved at him.
(6) THE BUTCHER & THE BLADE & ANGELICO vs. BRANDON BULLOCK & BRYCE CANNON & JAMESON RYAN
Angelico came out first, dancing out of the heel team’s tunnel. Close behind him were the brooding figures of The Butcher & The Blade (No Bunny). The Blade feigned punching the ringside cameraman but did not go through with it. Then, all three members of team “odd couple” made their way into the ring. The Butcher & The Blade & Angelico’s competition, Brandon Bullock & Bryce Cannon & Jameson Ryan, were already awaiting their arrival in the ring.
The match began with Angelico and Cannon engaging in a brief test of strength followed by a wild wristlock exchange that Angelico won by pulling Cannon to the mat with a wristlock takedown. Angelico hooked his arm around Cannon’s neck and applied a rear naked choke. While maintaining that choke, Angelico walked Cannon toward the heel team’s corner and tagged in The Blade.
The Blade attempted to go in for a front facelock, but Cannon countered with a step-up enzuigiri. Having escaped The Blade’s grasp, Cannon quickly tagged in Ryan. Ryan hustled his way into the ring and was immediately knocked to the canvas with a huge forearm. Ryan decided this match was too full of “nope” for him and immediately tagged in Bullock. The Blade forced Bullock into the heel team’s corner and tagged in The Butcher.
The Butcher scooped up Bullock and threw him over his shoulder like a damsel in distress. Bullock fought his way off The Butcher’s shoulder, punched The Butcher, ran the ropes, and was stopped in the middle of his tracks by a crossbody block courtesy of The Butcher. The Butcher tagged in The Blade.
As The Blade entered the ring, The Butcher ran to the face team’s corner and knocked Bryce and Ryan off the apron. The Blade tagged in Angelico and immediately joined The Butcher to jointly encroach on Bullock. The Butcher and The Blade executed a Drag The Lake on Bullock.
Bryce and Ryan ran into the ring, but The Blade made quick work of them, and Angelico executed the Navarro Death Roll on Bullock. Angelico then held onto Bullock’s leg and pulled backward at an awkward angle. Bullock tapped out.
WINNER: Butcher & Blade & Angelico in 2:00.
(David’s Analysis: This was a very quick match. I’m amazed they got in as much as they did in just two minutes’ time. It’s hard to judge how good or bad Bullock, Ryan, or Bryce were going off of this match, but they seemed good enough. The Butcher & The Blade & Angelico came off like unstoppable monsters.)
(7) TONY NESE (w/”Smart” Mark Sterling) vs. JOHN WALTERS
At first glance, I misread Tony Nese’s opponent for this match as being John Waters, and now I have a litany of “Pink Flamingo” jokes that will go unused.
Tony Nese’s abs came out first, followed by Tony Nese and Mark Sterling. Nese taunted fans on his way down the ramp, and Sterling wore a pink suit, lavender tie, and matching handkerchief. While that ensemble may sound gaudy on paper, it’s actually very suiting (because it’s a suit) for Sterling’s character, and it goes well with his complexion. Sterling also opted for a periwinkle shirt which did an excellent job highlighting his silken necktie.
I’m documenting Sterling’s wardrobe because I don’t think anyone got a chance to see it thanks to Nese’s abs blocking their view. Has he checked with his doctor to make sure he’s not harboring an alien or something?
John Walters awaited Nese’s abs’ arrival in the ring, and Walters had a normal amount of abdominal muscles. (I’m sorry to get hung up on this, but Tony Nese is like the Dolly Parton of abs.) Walters raised his hands above his head upon being announced, and Excalibur explained he was making his AEW Debut here tonight.
The bell rang, and both men circled one another before Nese stopped the action to kneel on one knee and flex his muscles. (I wonder if they digest his food super-fast?) Nese and Walters then entered a quick collar and elbow tie-up before Nese shifted Walters into a side headlock, busting him open with his abs. (Just kidding; this isn’t a Moxley match.)
Walters shoved Nese off of him, and Nese ran the ropes only to rebound on Walters and take him down with an ab-assisted shoulder tackle. (Is there like a magic protein drink I’ve not tried because I’ve done 8-minute abs, and this is not the result.) Nese picked Walters up and hung him on the upstage right turnbuckles in a tree of woe. Nese then kicked Walters’ abs three times before getting down on the ground and performing alternating oblique crunches while continuing to kick Walters’ stomach.
Nese flexed some more, and everyone in the crowd side-eyed their FitnessPal app. Walters took advantage of Nese’s diverted attention and went on the offensive with a series of chops and forearms. Walters Irish whipped Nese, and Nese reversed the Irish Whip, sending Walters into the upstage right corner. However, Walters stopped himself at the turnbuckles and captured Nese in an elevated headscissors.
Walters kicked Nese’s shoulder, executed two arm drags on Nese, and nailed Nese with a dropkick to his abs. (That could be deadly.) Nese pulled himself up in the upstage right corner, and Walters tried to trap him there, but Nese punched Walters in the throat. Nese then executed his signature running bulldog over the top rope, and the recoil sent Walter’s flying across the ring. Nese reentered the ring to execute running a shotgun dropkick, and Walters collapsed into a seated position in the upstage left corner.
Nese capitalized on Walters’ prone position by hitting him with his Running Nese finisher. Nese covered Walters, hooked Walters’ leg, and the referee counted to three, allowing Nese and his abs to pick up the win.
WINNER: Nese (and his abs) in 3:00
(David’s Analysis: This was another quick match, and it was an interesting choice to close out Dark Elevation. Usually, Elevation saves its longest matches for the end. Nese looked good here, and, frankly, everywhere. John Waters’ performance was absolutely “Divine!”)
FINAL THOUGHTS: I enjoyed this episode of AEW Dark Elevation better than the last one I reported on. My “match of the night” award (not an actual award) goes to Ethan Page vs. Leon Ruffin. I rarely insist that you guys have to find time to see a match on Dark Elevation — usually, it’s just a “suggestion” — but this week, I must insist you find a way to checkout Page vs. Ruffin. That match made this show for me. I hope they have Ruffin back, and I hope they eventually give Page his due. If you have time to watch a second match, check out Marina Shafir & Nyla Rose vs. Skye Blue & Brittany, and if you have time for a third match, I’d spend it on Julia Hart vs. Amber Nova. Hart vs. Nova wasn’t a masterpiece by any means; in fact, it was a 71-second squash. However, I think it’s fun watching Hart’s character develop, and I’m interested to see how AEW chooses to use her going forward.
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, never take anything for granite because granite is a rock.
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