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AEW DARK ELEVATION REPORT
AUGUST 1, 2022
TAPED 7/27 IN WORCESTER, MASS.
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY DAVID BRYANT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Tony Schiavone & Mark Henry
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
– Hey! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my rundown of this week’s Dark Elevation. I love running down things that aren’t stairs, and it’s an honor to have you join me. (Here. Not the stairs.) I know there are a lot of places you can go to read rundowns of wrestling shows that don’t involve stairs, and it means a lot to me that you decided to come read this one.
– Other places that don’t involve stairs are my social media accounts. Both my Twitter and Instagram are stairs-free and can be found @IamDavidBryant, as in: “I am David Bryant, I like elevators, and my figure skating coaches need to stop pushing stairs on me!”
– Tonight’s AEW Dark Elevation taping emanated not-live from the DCU Center in Worchester, Massachusetts. I’ve never been to Massachusetts except to drive through it, although I do hope to fix that someday. However, I have been to Manhattan, and upon tasting Manhattan’s clam chowder, I became infinitely more grateful that Massachusetts exists.
– The show began with a pitch-black screen. For a moment, I thought my television was broken from having had Q.T. Marshall on it recently, but in actuality, the lights were off in the arena because of course they were. It’s AEW.
(1) JULIA HART vs. LMK
“Oooh, it’s scary,” Mark Henry deadpanned.
The lights came up, and Julia Hart stood atop the stage looking like a “wanted” poster from The Book of Revelation. Hart’s blonde hair billowed behind her as she stalked her way to the ring where LMK awaited her arrival.
Hart slowly (very slowly) strode across the ring toward a defiant LMK. LMK slapped Hart, and at first, it looked like Hart might sell the slap, but instead, the slap motivated her. Hart blustered with rage, tripped LMK, mounted LMK, and pounded away at LMK’s head. The referee physically pulled Hart off of LMK (Should a referee be doing that? She wasn’t “technically” doing anything illegal.), and Hart snarled at the referee. (I’m just now noticing how much Hart looks like a Reputation era Taylor Swift. It’s uncanny.) LMK took advantage of Hart’s distraction and rolled up her for a one-count.
LMK nailed Hart with a plethora of forearms, and Hart answered with a single back elbow strike that sent LMK tumbling. Hart pulled LMK back up and hit her with multiple knee strikes, during which Hart lost her footing. (Even the darkest horror films need comic relief.) Hart snapmared LMK across the ring and went on the offensive, but LMK turned things around and trapped Hart in the downstage right corner, pelting Hart with a hailstorm of forearms. LMK then Irish whipped Hart toward the opposite corner, but Hart reversed LMK’s whip, and LMK crashed into the upstage left turnbuckles.
Hart hit LMK with a handspring clothesline, a running back elbow, and a clothesline across her spine. Hart applied her Rings-of-Saturn inspired finisher, and LMK quickly tapped out.
WINNER: Hart in 3:00
(David’s Analysis: This was a short match and a total squash. However, that is what Hart’s character needs right now. They should be portraying her as an unstoppable monsteress, and so far, they have succeeded… despite that one literally slip-up mid-match, which was funny. )
– After the match, Hart mouthed the words, “The house always wins.” (Do they, though?)
– After that, a rousing advert hyped All Out in Chicago, making me wish I could teleport.
(2) LEILA GREY vs. J.C.
Leila Grey’s music hit, and did you know she has a 0-5 win-loss record? Maybe the local jobber might actually stand a chance this time? Let’s find out together.
Local jobber, J.C., was already awaiting Grey’s arrival in the ring, and the two competitors started the match with a collar and elbow tie-up, but J.C. quickly gained the upper hand with a series of headlocks, waistlocks, and wristlocks in that order. J.C. managed to briefly secure a wristlock of her own, but Grey escaped by yanking on J.C.’s hair.
Grey whipped J.C. toward the upstage left turnbuckles and ran at her, but J.C. caught Grey with a Deadly Nightshade, ramming her face-first into the middle turnbuckle. (I really like the stonework on J.C.’s outfit. Did you know Swarovski is discontinuing rhinestones? Seriously, WTF is up with that? That’d be like wrestling discontinuing punches. Now I have to find another company, and I am very picky about my crystal embellishments. Also, I’m just now realizing none of this has anything to do with wrestling, and now thanks to me, PWTorch’s search engine optimization is probably as screwed up as Swarovski discontinuing the thing it sells.) J.C. ran the ropes, but Grey countered by catching J.C.’s head and executing a sitout facebuster.
“That’s right, baby,” Grey said, arms spread wide and taunting the audience.
Grey flung J.C. into the upstage right corner, choked her with a stretching boot, nailed her with a hip attack, and pummeled her with forearms. Grey then took hold of J.C.’s person and executed a snap suplex, followed by a leaping senton. Grey taunted both J.C. and the crowd before hitting J.C. with a leaping knee to the face for a finisher. Grey covered J.C., got the pin, and as it turns out, no chance was stood.
(Swarovski is also discontinuing beads.)
WINNER: Grey in 3:00
(David’s Analysis: That leaping knee finisher was awkward looking. I’m not sure what happened, but something definitely happened because J.C. seemed unable to get her face to fully connect with Grey’s knee despite visibly trying to. However, everything else in the match looked pretty good, and it’s nice to see Grey get an actual win for once. J.C. displayed a decent bit of graceful athleticism, including escaping a wristlock via flip. I hope we get to see her again, and I hope Swarovski reconsiders discontinuing itself.)
– After the match, Grey danced in the ring while J.C. writhed in pain.
– After that, a graphic advertising the next match popped up on screen, and good God, that’s a lot of people.
(3) PRIVATE PARTY & ANGELICO & THE BUTCHER & THE BLADE (w/Jora Johl) vs. JOEY ACE & WAVES & CURLS & VICTOR CASE & JULIO CRUZ
Angelico & Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen & The Butcher & The Blade came out first, and Angelico looked like a tall cat on his way to a rave. The team of Joey Ace & Waves & Curls & Victor Case & Julio Cruz & Bob From Catering & Tony’s Neighbor were already waiting in the ring.
“Ten. Man. Tag.” Henry said, sounding more exasperated than excited.
Tonight’s ten-man clustermatch started with Team Tall Cat attacking Team Too Many from behind; this led to an all-out brawl. At one point, Quen put one of the men from the other team on his shoulders (I’m not sure who because this is total chaos), and Kassidy took him down with a flying crossbody. Another person took a spinning back kick from Kassidy, and then Quen threw that person over the top rope and gave him a hotshot stunner. The guy fell to the floor (I think it’s Jordan?), and Kassidy executed a somersault plancha onto him.
Cruz (at least this one has his name written on his singlet) ran into the match. (To be clear, he was not tagged in.) Kassidy tagged in The Blade, and The Blade whipped Cruz into the downstage ring ropes, and The Butcher (where’d he come from?) caught Cruz’s rebounding body with a kick. The Blade added in a second kick for good measure.
“Well, I know this one is named Cruz,” Schiavone said.
“How’s that?” Henry asked.
“It’s on the back of his singlet.”
The Butcher ran the ropes and hit Cruz with a running clothesline, and Cruz tagged in (So, we ARE doing tags?) Chase. (Chase also has his name on his singlet. That’s helpful.) The Butcher tagged in The Blade, and together The Butcher and The Blade double-teamed Chase, jointly executing a leg drop followed by a backdrop. Chase tagged in Ace, and The Butcher and The Blade double-teamed Ace. (Are both The Butcher and The Blade legal at the same time? Is that possible?)
The Blade tagged in Angelico, and Angelico immediately applied a scorpion cross lock on Ace (Or Chase? Or someone. Who knows?) Someone tapped out.
WINNER: Private Party & Angelico & The Butcher & The Blade in 2:00
(David’s Analysis: Hoo-boy, that was a thing that happened.)
– After the match, Angelico danced like a cat in a super sexy nightclub.
– After that, a graphic advertising the next match popped up on screen, and good God, that’s a lot of people. Didn’t we just do this???
(4) THE FACTORY (Aaron Solo & Nick Comoroto & Anthony Ogogo & Q.T. Marshall) vs. BRYCE DONOVAN & BRG & TUG COPPER & BOBBY ORLANDO
The Factory’s music hit, and Q.T. Marshall, the personification of the word “disappointment,” came out first, followed by his teammates Nick Comoroto, Aaron Solo, and Anthony Ogogo. Their opponents, Bryce Donovan & BRG & Tug Copper & Bobby Orlando were already bracing for Q.T. Marshall’s arrival in the ring.
“I don’t know anyone who is universally booed as much as Q.T. Marshall,” Schiavone said.
Q.T. Marshall, the human equivalent of gravity, started the match off against BRG. Marshall looked BRG up and down, realized he’d look pathetic standing next to a real man like BRG and tagged in Solo. Solo kicked BRG, slammed BRG’s head into a top turnbuckle, and gave BRG a belly-to-back suplex. Solo tagged in Comoroto.
Comoroto lifted BRG into the delayed vertical suplex position, and Solo drop kicked him to the mat. Comoroto covered BRG, but BRG kicked out at two and escaped Comoroto’s clutches via a throat punch. BRG the tagged in Cooper. Comoroto Biel threw Cooper, ran Cooper into the upstage right turnbuckle, and tagged in Ogogo.
Comoroto held Cooper in place while Ogogo kicked Cooper’s midsection. Ogogo then tossed Cooper toward the face team’s corner via a huge belly-to-belly suplex. Cooper tagged in Orlando. Orlando rushed the ring and attempted a clothesline which Ogogo easily ducked. Ogogo picked up Cooper for an Olympic Slam, but Cooper slid down Ogogo’s back and executed a sunset flip. Cooper tried to cover Ogogo, but he didn’t even manage to get a one-count.
Cooper ran the ropes and leaped toward Ogogo, but Ogogo caught him and executed a modified F5. Ogogo knocked all of Cooper’s teammates off the apron and then turned his back on the face team’s corner. Donovan scurried from the floor to the top turnbuckle and jumped off onto Ogogo; however, Ogogo punched Donovan out of the air.
Ogogo tagged in Solo, and Solo immediately tagged in Comoroto. Comoroto then executed a backbreaker on Cooper while Solo executed a simultaneous flying double stomp. Comoroto then tagged in Q.T. Marshall, the Ford Pinto of professional wrestling, and Marshall hit Cooper with a Diamond Cutter. Marshall covered Cooper (gross) and scored a three-count.
WINNER: The Factory (Solo & Comoroto & Ogogo & Marshall) in 4:00
(David’s Analysis: This was a much better match than the last one, but that’s not a high bar. All of the local talents did a stellar job of selling for The Factory, and Marshall remained as delightfully hateable as ever.)
(5) SERPENTICO (w/Luther) vs. COLE KARTER
Serpentico came out first, followed by… LUTHER! Luther is back from his Foona-Lagoona Baboona hunting expedition! Serpentico jumped onto Luther and hugged him the entire way down the ramp. Out next was Serpentico’s less handsome opponent, Cole Karter.
As the bell rang, Luther was giving Serpentico advice that he should probably not take. Karter and Serpentico then circled one another, and Luther took the opportunity to reach through the ropes and trip Kater.
“…Dr. Luther,” Schiavone said.
“What does he have a doctorate in?” Henry asked. “Crazy?” (No, it’s in elf training. He’s an elf trainer. Ask Paul Wight.)
Serpentico attempted to whip Karter across the ring, but Karter reversed Serpentico’s whip and caught the little guy’s rebounding body with a high-flying dropkick. Karter then bodyslammed Serpentico’s delicate frame and smiled for the camera. (My God, his teeth are white.)
Karter tried to pin Serpentico, but Serpentico, whose courageous heart is his biggest muscle, managed to kick out at two. Karter, whose heart is three sizes too small (which, despite Dr. Suess’s attempt at gallows humor, is a serious medical condition), climbed to the top rope. However, Luther stopped him from further abusing poor Serpentico. Serpentico then executed a step-up enzuigiri on Kater, and Kater tumbled off the top rope to the ground.
Serpentico punched and stomped on Karter, and when the referee pulled Serpentico off of Karter (Again, why is a referee doing this? Kicking someone is not an illegal move.) Luther interfered by tapping Karter’s head with his fist. Serpentico then ran the ropes and hit Karter with an inverted senton splash. Serpentico covered Karter, but Karter refused to do the right thing and kicked out at one.
Serpentico put Karter in a chinlock, but Karter declined to stay down and slugged Serpentico’s dainty torso multiple times. Karter attempted to bodyslam poor Serpentico, but Serpentico was by far the better athlete and escaped Karter’s bodyslam, landing on his feet. Serpentico then fought back valiantly with a huracanrana and a leaping flatliner. Serpentico covered Karter and got an impressive two-count.
“No!” Luther shouted. “That was three! Two is three!” (Luther is why we have Common Core Math.)
Serpentico climbed to the top turnbuckle, or as Henry called it “the high-rent district,” and jumped off, attempting a double foot stomp. However, Karter rolled out of the way and hit poor Serpentico with two big lariats and an unreasonably big boot. Serpentico charged at Karter, but Karter caught him with a powerslam. Karter then scaled the turnbuckles and jumped off, executing his 450 splash. (It looked like his face got some of Serpentico’s knees, and I hope everything is okay because his face is like 70-percent of his character.) Karter covered Serpentico and got the cheap win.
WINNER: Karter in 5:00
(David’s Analysis: This was the best match so far. Luther was as entertaining as always, and at one point, he shouted, “Hit him in the brain.” Serpentico is great at comedy, and there was a spot before the match where he tried to clean the cameraman’s lens for him. Kater is charismatic, talented, and handsome but not as handsome as Serpentico. )
(6) ATHENA vs. CHRISTINA MARIE
Athena came out of the faces’ tunnel sporting a metal pair of wings that folded down when she pushed a button. Athena’s opponent, Christina Marie, was already in the ring awaiting her arrival.
The match started with a quick collar and elbow tie-up, followed by a fast exchange of offense that saw Athena flitting around the ring and swinging off the ropes. Athena swept Marie’s legs, hopped onto the apron, executed a slingshot corkscrew crossbody onto Marie, and picked up a two-count. (This is all happening so swiftly that it looks like my TV is stuck on fast-forward.)
“Look at that speed!” Henry exclaimed. “Wow.”
Marie throat punched Athena and threw her to the canvas by her hair. However, Athena popped right back up and dashed toward Marie, but Marie slammed Athena’s face into the turnbuckles and swept Athena up into a bodyslam. Marie covered Athena but was only able to get a one-count.
Marie then trapped Athena in a chinlock, and Athena actually began to faint. However, the crowd rallied behind Athena, and she made her way back to her feet, throwing Marie off her in the process. Athena then performed a handstand headscissors takedown that was frankly breathtaking.
Athena executed a backdrop driver that got an “Oh!” from Henry and followed that up with a rolling elbow and a twisting lung blower.
“Oh, my God!” Schiavone said.
“This is my ring now!” Athena shouted.
Athena climbed to the top rope, jumped off, and executed her Eclipse finisher. Athena then covered Marie and got the three-count.
WINNER: Athena in 3:00
(David’s Analysis: That was short but fast-paced and action-packed. Athena is electrifying to watch, and I’m thoroughly convinced that she should be the one to dethrone Jade Cargill. This match was the best three minutes on the show so far.)
– After the match, Athena celebrated on the ropes.
– After that, they cut to Karter being interviewed backstage. (Wow. He is very good-looking. I hope they don’t do anything to mess up his promising future.) Because this was an interview taking place on a wrestling show, it was quickly interrupted by Q.T. Marshall, the cold shower of showers. Marshall and The Factor crowded Karter, and Marshall asked Karter to join The Factory, extending his hand for a handshake. Karter shook Marshall’s hand and said “yes” to ruining his promising future.
(7) EMI SAKURA & NYLA ROSE & MARINA SHAFIR (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. HIKARU SHIDA & WILLOW NIGHTINGALE & TONI STORM
*Stomp* *Stomp* *Clap* (Yasss!) Emi Sakura’s “We Will Rock You” entrance theme played, and she came out dressed like the regal queen we all know she is. Marina Shafir’s music hit. (I’m just now noticing that all the fonts in her video package are available as part of Envato Elements’ subscription package, which means AEW shops for font in the same locations that I shop for font, and for some reason, that feels weird.)
Nyla Rose’s music hit next, and that means we are about to get to see the entrance of “Fashion Icon” Vickie Guerrero.
“Every time Nyla Rose comes out, my eyebrows get burned,” Henry said, referencing how hot and fresh Vickie Guerrero’s fashion choices are.
Tonight, Guerrero blessed us with a white satin dress that was covered with an outer layer of fringe-lined black lace. This produced a shimmering shade of gray that can only be described as akin to the Swarovski specialty color Silver Night which is no longer available because the world hates me. Guerrero’s dress also featured teardrop sleeves and a scoop neckline that modestly showcased a glittering single-line necklace paired with silvery hoop earrings.
Willow Nightingale came out next, and she looked Ruby Soho levels of happy. After Nightingale, Toni Storm’s music hit, and the crowd erupted.
“Huge ovation for Toni Storm,” Schiavone said.
Hikaru Shida came out last wearing a blue and gold cape and carrying a kendo stick which is actually not called a “kendo stick.” Those things are called shinai, and they are used in the sport of kendo. Calling them “kendo sticks” is like calling a shuttlecock a badminton ball. Anyway, all three women posed on stage before making their way to the ring.
“Oh, it’s not over,” Schiavone added, still referencing the crowd’s ovation.
Storm and Shafir started things off with a very brief collar and elbow tie-up before Shafir grounded Storm with a waistlock takedown. Storm pulled Shafir into a front facelock, but Shafir swept Storm’s leg. Both women continued trading waistlocks, facelocks, headlocks, chinlocks, goldilocks, locks-of-love, and probably some other locks, too. IDK. It happened really fast.
Storm ran the ropes and hit Shafir with a front dropkick, and Shafir hurried to her team’s corner to tag in Rose. Rose dropkicked Storm, and Storm collapsed to the ground. Rose went for a clothesline, but Storm ducked, and the two women traded forearms and clotheslines until Storm ran the ropes and rebounded onto Rose with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors takedown; however, Rose countered Storm’s takedown by catching her mid-whirl and powerslamming Storm to the mat. Rose pinned Storm, but Nightingale broke up the pinfall at two.
Rose then tagged Sakura, and Sakura came in strong with a double axe-handle followed by a wild inverted hair Biel throw that looked like Storm got murdered a little bit.
“Some might say that was a hair Biel,” Schiavone said, “but that looked like a hair twirl!”
Sakura put Storm in a one-armed paradise lock and sat on Storm’s back, pretending to drink tea. Sakura eyed the hard camera as she sipped her imaginary tea, and I am still unable to get over just how good she is at facial expressions. Sakura tagged Shafir back in.
Shafir hit a belly-to-back suplex on Storm that looked… interesting. Shafir nailed Storm with a spinning back kick and then trapped Storm in the heel team’s corner before looking totally lost as to what to do next. Shafir then executed two of her Judo throws, removing Storm from the heel team’s corner and probably her arm.
Storm used the stage left ring ropes to pull herself upright, and in the process, she accidentally rammed her face into Guerrero’s open hand. Guerrero tried to laugh the mishap off with a cackle, but Storm was unable to get in on the joke due to her being unconscious. Shafir used this momentary distraction to tag Rose back into the match.
Rose went for an elbow drop but missed. Rose went for a knee drop but missed. Finally, Rose went for a flying crossbody but missed that as well. Tired of watching Rose beat herself up, Storm tagged in Nightingale.
Nightingale darted across the ring and knocked Rose’s tag team partners off the ring apron. Nightingale then hit Rose with a furious mix of forearms and chops. Shafir ran into the ring to attack Nightingale from behind, but she seemed a little lost. Shafir tried to Irish whip Nightingale toward the upstage left corner, but Nightingale cartwheeled her way out of the whip. Nightingale ran the ropes and rebounded with a flying shoulder tackle on Shafir.
The crowd applauded loudly, very much behind Nightingale. Nightingale clotheslined Rose, climbed the turnbuckles, and executed a shotgun dropkick. Nightingale then covered Rose and got a two-count. Nightingale tagged in Shida, and the crowd’s excitement grew even louder as Shida entered the ring. Shida ran the ropes and dove toward Rose, but Rose caught Shida in mid-air and walked her to the heel team’s corner, where Rose tagged in Shafir.
Shafir kicked Shida’s inner thighs three times, and one of those times, it even looked like she made contact. Shafir executed another Judo throw, grabbed Shida’s leg, looked totally confused, and decided to tag in Sakura before she accidentally hurt someone for reals. (Shafir has been looking better recently, but tonight is not her night.)
Sakura threw Shida into the downstage right corner and performed her “We Will Rock You” chops. The crowd stomped and clapped along as Sakura stomped and chopped Shida’s chest. Sakura went for her signature running crossbody, but Shida spotted her and countered with a hurricanrana. Shida then ran the ropes, but that decision proved to be a poor one because Sakura caught Shida mid-run and used her momentum to execute a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker that looked genuinely painful.
Sakura went for her Queen’s Gambit finisher but took a little too long in setting up the move, and Shida managed to wriggle her way out of it, landing on her feet. Shida then hit Sakura with a roundhouse kick and an axe kick. However, before Shida could continue, Sakura’s teammates ran into the ring and attacked Shida from behind.
“Oh, come on, referee,” Henry said, “get control of this situation!” (You must be new to AEW.)
Shida’s teammates ran into the ring to counter Sakura’s teammates, and everyone was doing a lot. (However, it looked really cool. I have to give them that.) Shida’s team executed a triple-team suplex that, again, looked really cool. (That was probably the most entertaining moment of the night for me.) Shida grabbed Sakura and suplexed her into both Rose and Shafir, and the audience seemed to be enjoying this significantly.
Storm hit all three members of Team Fashion Icon with a running hip attack, and I cannot emphasize enough just how into that the crowd was. (Storm is over, and I hope they don’t miss the boat on her like they have with so many others.) Storm staved off Rose and Shafir from interfering while Shida executed her Falcon Arrow finisher on Sakura. Shida covered Sakura, and Team Shtormingale picked up the win.
WINNER: Shida & Nightingale & Storm in 9:00
(David’s Analysis: This match and the Athena match made an otherwise lackluster episode of Dark Elevation worth watching. It was nice to see these women be given enough time to put on a compelling match, and Shida, Nightingale, Storm, Sakura, and Rose really made the most of every moment. Shafir had a bit of an off night, but to be fair to her, she made it through the entire match without accidentally killing anyone, and that’s something.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a rough episode of Dark Elevation. It looked good on paper, but several of the matches ended up clunkier, shorter, or more chaotic than I expected. However, the two good matches on this card were really good. My “match of the night” award (not an actual award) goes to Shida & Nightingale & Storm vs. Sakura & Rose & Shafir (w/“Fashion Icon” Vickie Guerrero). If you have time to watch a second match, check out Athena vs. Marie. That match is very short but very fun. Those two women managed to pack ten minutes’ worth of action into a three-minute match. If you have time for a third match, I’d spend it on Serpentico vs. Karter because Serpentico is very handsome and has really nice hair. Karter is okay, too.
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, bad painters are caught red-handed, mediocre painters are caught green-thumbed, and good painters work hand-in-glove with the tools of their craft.