All Elite Wrestling presents Dark: Elevation
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Opening Contest: Luther, Bulk Nasty, Tito Oric, Jake Omen & RC Dupree vs. Dark Order (Alex Reynolds, Alan Angels, 10, Evil Uno, Stu Grayson & Colt Cabana): Reynolds works over Oric in the early moments, but Oric tags in and gets controlled. Uno eye pokes Oric followed by a neckbreaker. Reynolds tags in and delivers a running uppercut off the ropes after a splash in the corner. Luther tags in and is met with forearms by Reynolds. Luther nails Reynolds with a spin kick followed by a snap suplex for a one count. Luther tries to slam Omen onto Reynolds, but fails. 10 enters the match and shoulder blocks a few guys before slamming Nasty to the mat. 10 pump kicks Luther off the apron and Angels hits a suicide dive onto Luther. Reynolds hits an assisted moonsault to the floor. 10 delivers a spinebuster and tags in Uno. Uno and Grayon hit Fatality for the win on Oric. (*. A simple squash for Dark Order, but they displayed some fun offense. I didn’t really see much out of anyone on the losing side in this match.)
Second Contest: Julia Hart vs. Kris Statlander: Statlander gets the early control with a headlock on the mat. Hart gets up and they do a test of strength until Hart leg sweeps Statlander to the mat and gets a couple of two counts. Hart tries to prevent a bridge up, but Statlander holds Hart up with her feet before dumping Hart to the mat. Statlander delivers a back suplex and sends Hart into the corner chest first. Hart is on Statlander’s shoulders, but Hart elbows free after dropping to the mat and hits a bulldog for a near fall. Statlander forearms Hart a few times and tries for a clothesline, but Hart counters with a kick to the back and a standing moonsault. Hart sends Statlander into the middle turnbuckle face first and keeps control by choking Statlander on the mat. Statlander gets to her feet despite Hart on her back, but Statlander drops down. Statlander breaks free by tossing Hart into the corner. Statlander uppercuts Hart in the corner and hits a reverse suplex. Statlander drives Hart down to the mat with a delayed vertical suplex. Hart ducks a kick and nails Statlander with a kick to the jaw. Hart delivers a cartwheel clothesline and a running back elbow. Hart goes to the top as Statlander fell to the mat. Hart hits a twisting splash for a near fall. Hart keeps a head scissors on Statlander on the mat, but doesn’t get a submission. Statlander manages to break free and hits a German suplex. Statlander nails Hart with a kick to the head and hits Night Fever for the win. (*1/2. There were a few awkward moments, but it was a fine extended showcased match for Statlander. Hart got a few spots to shine and she displayed some solid offense, but there was never a doubt here for Statlander to win. I also like the aggression that Hart displayed since the misting she suffered from Black.)
Third Contest: Konosuke Takeshita vs. Brandon Cutler: Takeshita is from DDT Wrestling in Japan. Takeshita controls Cutler with a wrist lock, but Cutler countered and bragged about it. Takeshita shoulder blocks Cutler followed by a heel kick. Takeshita slams Cutler to the mat and goes to the middle rope hitting a senton splash for a two count. Takeshita elbows Cutler in the corner, but misses a splash. Cutler delivers a kick from the apron and delivers an elbow drop. Cutler decides to dance a little bit and elbow drops Takeshita again. Takeshita avoids another elbow drop to deliver a few forearm shots. Takeshita comes off the ropes to hit a leaping clothesline. Takeshita plants Cutler with a DDT for a two count. Cutler grabs the referee to elbow strike Takeshita a few times, but runs into a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Takeshita nails Cutler with a stiff forearm and continues with a flurry of strikes in the corner. Cutler sprays come cold spray into Takeshita face, but only manages a tow count. Takeshita gets out of a backslide, as well. Takeshita blocks an inside cradle and spikes Cutler with a brainbuster for a two count. Takeshita delivers a running knee strike for the win. (*1/2. Takeshita was a lot of fun to watch. It would have been better to have just finished the match after the brainbuster spot than doing the running knee strike. An effective showing for Takeshita this time around in AEW.)
Smart Mark Sterling cuts a promo saying that they demanded the best in AEW, but the best AEW got them was the Steel City Brawler. Sterling says that a lot of jokes have been getting chances instead of Nese. Sterling believes the fans want to chant for Nese and not for Brawler.
Fourth Contest: Tony Nese vs. Steel City Brawler: Brawler knocks Nese down with an elbow strike, but is met with a palm strike. Nese leaps over the top rope to drop Brawler throat first over the top rope. Nese returns with an elbow strike and pummels Brawler on the mat. Nese continues with stomps against the ropes. Nese stomps Brawler in the corner and chokes Brawler. Brawler tries to fight back with strikes, but Brawler delivers a headbutt and clothesline. Brawler clotheslines Nese again leading to a splash in the corner. Nese drops down in the corner, but comes back with a running dropkick and a running knee strike in the corner. Nese covers Brawler for the win. (*. Brawler didn’t come across like a good wrestler or one that knew a lot of moves in the ring. There wasn’t a lot of showcasing here for Nese offensively as this felt more character work than in-ring showcasing.)
Fifth Contest: QT Marshall vs. Minoru Suzuki: Marshall kicks Suzuki followed by a strike to the back for the advantage. Suzuki blocks a clothesline and drops Marshall’s arm over the top rope. Suzuki puts an arm breaker on Marshall in the ropes, but can’t win that way. Suzuki beats on Marshall around ringside with a chop. Suzuki slams Marshall’s face on the apron and they return to the ring. The referee is distracted by QT’s students, but the referee tosses them from ringside. Marshall taunts Suzuki a few times and delivers forearms, but Suzuki doesn’t budge. Suzuki knocks Marshall out with a forearm strike. Marshall tries to fight back with forearms, but misses a clothesline and decks Suzuki with a comeback clothesline for a near fall. Marshall tries for a suplex, but settles for a knee lift. Marshall runs the ropes and locks in a choke, but delivers another forearm strike. Suzuki spikes Marshall with a piledriver for the win. (*1/2. That was just fun to see Suzuki beat up Marshall for a few minutes. Marshall sold well and his heel work continues to be quite good.)
Sixth Contest: John Silver vs. Vince Valor: Valor is a mainstay in the Upstate NY wrestling scene having usually wrestle for companies such as ESW and Xcite. Valor shoves Silver away at the start of the match. Valor knee lifts Silver, but misses a clothesline and Silver delivers a running uppercut. Silver clotheslines Valor in the corner followed by a pump kick. Silver splashes Valor over the middle rope. Silver has Valor on his shoulders hitting the Spin Doctor for the easy win. (NR. Valor did essentially nothing, so check him out in ESW to see his skill set. Silver got a decent crowd reaction for the squash.)
Seventh Contest: Ruby Soho, Anna Jay & Skye Blue vs. Nyla Rose, Emi Sakura & The Bunny: Blue and Sakura kickoff the six woman tag match. Blue takes Sakura down to the mat and delivers a kick to the head. Rose tags in and clotheslines Blue to gain control. Blue tags out to Jay and Rose plants Jay with a side slam. Soho forearms Rose a few times and tries for a clothesline, but Rose doesn’t budge. Rose tosses Soho into the corner and runs into a boot. Rose blocks a head scissors and rams Soho head first into the corner for a two count. Rose tries for a suplex, but Soho lands on her feet and tags in Blue. Blue kicks Rose followed by a few strikes and another kick to the face. Blue goes to the top, but Bunny gets involved and is kicked away. Rose catches Blue on a crossbody to deliver a slam for a two count. Rose tosses Blue across the ring and splashes Blue in the corner. Bunny tags in and rams Blue into the corner followed by several stomps. Bunny controls Blue on the mat with several strikes. Bunny elbows Jay on the apron and gets in Soho’s face. Bunny gets out of a rollup and clotheslines Blue. Sakura returns to the match and Blue is double teamed by Bunny and Sakura for a moment. Sakura hits a running crossbody in the corner on Blue, but tags out to Bunny. Blue is choked by Sakura while the referee is distracted. Blue arm drags Bunny and tries to tag out, but has to kick Bunny away and Jay gets tagged in. Jay cleans house with strikes and a flatline to Bunny. Jay elbows Bunny in the corner followed by a running splash. Jay puts a choke on Bunny, but Rose stops that. Soho nails Rose with a kick to the floor and avoids Sakura on the apron. Blue goes to the top and takes Sakura and Rose out with a dive. Bunny almost pins Jay with a handful of tights. Jay avoids a knee lift and locks in Queens Slayer to force a submission. (**. They made good use of their time and I liked that Blue Skye got a lot of time to shine in the match. The crowd was responding well to the match, as well.)
Main Event: Max Caster vs. Penta Oscura: Caster boots Penta to start, but Penta comes back with a superkick. Penta head scissors Caster to the floor, but is tripped by Anthony Bowens from the floor. Caster stomps on Penta to gain the advantage. Caster back elbows Penta and gets a two count. Penta hits a middle rope crossbody to Caster on the mat followed by a few Sling Blades for a two count. Penta chops Caster against the ropes. Caster forearms Penta followed by a backbreaker for a two count. Caster signals for a hurricanrana off the top, but Penta kicks Caster over the middle rope and delivers a double knee off the top for a two count. Penta has his knee on Caster’s back when Bowens gets on the apron to distract Penta. Caster hits a suplex for a near fall. Bowens has Penta against the ropes, but Caster can’t followup. Penta kicks Bowens off the apron and nails Caster with a kick to the head. Penta pulls back on Caster’s left arm and covers Caster to win the match. (*. There wasn’t much to the match here, but I think there’s a lot of potential with Caster down the line. Bowens is a great wrestler too, so they will be fun to watch as their AEW careers continue on.)
There wasn’t a standout match by any means, but it’s an easy hour of programming for AEW to get through. It’s fun to see some wrestlers get some shine that they may not get to showcase on Dynamite or Rampage. I’ll see you for AEW Dark, as well!
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