Meet the new Dark, same as the old Dark, but with Paul Wight on commentary. It’s Monday and you know what that means: it's time for the premiere of AEW Dark: Elevation.
Your hosts are Schiavone and Wight. If Wight doesn’t promise us a “really big show,” I’m going to be disappointed.......He didn’t
Jungle Boy defeated Danny Limelight (8:32)
Limelight looked very impressive here. He went for a springboard senton, but JB got his knees up. JB followed that up with a spinning backbreaker and a stiff lariat. Limelight came back with a single leg crab and pulled JB to the center of the ring, but he escaped and wound up on the apron, exchanging kicks with Limelight. Limelight did a very interesting 619 variant, using the ring post as a fulcrum and swinging around to headscissor JB off the apron and to the floor.
Back in the ring, Limelight hit a springboard destroyer for a near fall. Limelight went up again for a tornado DDT, but JB countered that into a brainbuster, a double underhook suplex, and then he immediately locked on the snare trap for the submission: his 38th AEW victory.
Miro and Kip Sabian (w/ Penelope Ford) defeated Baron Black and Vary Morales (4:48)
Sabian wrestled most of the early stages and looked good against both Black and Morales. After a top rope dropkick from Morales landed on Sabian, Miro got the tag and destroyed Morales in the ring and Black on the floor. After a giant overhead belly-to-belly from Miro on Morales, Sabian got the finish on Morales with the time turner. In the post match, Ford tried to get in the ring to celebrate, but Miro made her stand on the apron instead.
Big Swole defeated Skyler Moore (5:25)
I very much enjoy Swole’s unique charisma. On the floor, she whipped Moore back and forth between the ring apron and the ring barricade. Moore came back by working over Swole’s knee on the mat, showing impressive power by catching Swole coming off the ropes with a body block and hitting a backbreaker for a near fall. Swole came back with the Dirty Dancing spinning forearm for the win in her first match in quite some time due to her battle with Crohn's disease.
QT Marshall defeated Marko Stunt (6:20)
I’m not sure this match has any place on a show that is supposed to be about developing new talent as Marshall is pretty much what he’s gonna be and Stunt is a niche performer that is already part of an established act.
Nick Comoroto -- the guy who does need the time in the ring -- came out with Marshall and then went to the back. It looked like Marshall was wrestling himself out there as there is not much that Stunt could do believably to him. A pop-up forearm got Marshall a near fall. Stunt came back and got a near fall after a running knee and another near fall off a code red. Stunt went for an acid drop, but Marshall countered into a diamond cutter for the win.
Post match, Cezar Bononi, Peter Avalon and Nick Nemeth ran in to attack Stunt which brought out Luchasaurus. Luchasaurus and Bononi have a match on Dark tomorrow night.
They ran a video package called "Rising Star" on Lee Johnson.
Tay Conti (w/ -1) defeated Ashley Vox (4:06)
If -1 doesn’t someday make it out to the commentary booth to bully Wight, what are we even doing here?
This match devolved into a wild brawl on the floor which ended when Conti hit Vox with a spinning backbreaker on the floor. Back in the ring, Conti hit the pump kick and the running knee in the corner with a hammerlock DDT enough to get the win.
In a funny post match bit, -1 and the referee argued about who got to raise Conti’s hand after the match.
Matt & Mike Sydal defeated Joel Nelson and Royce Isaacs (5:56)
The double lighting spiral from the Sydals got the win, but their night was far from complete.
Red Velvet defeated Dani Jordyn (3:53)
This is Velvet’s first match since the big mixed tag with Cody Rhodes against Shaq and Jade Cargill. A bulldog and a standing moonsault from Velvet got a near fall with a spinning hook kick and the “just desserts” (claymore kick-esque) getting the win.
Sydal Brothers Interview
Thumbs In The Middle Pointing Up
An Alex Marvez interview with The Sydal Brothers was interrupted by Michael Nakazawa, AEW World Champion Kenny Omega and Don Callis. This set up an impromptu match between Nakazawa and Matt Sydal later in the show where if Matt won that match, he got a non-title match with Kenny Omega down the line and if Matt won that match, he would get a World title match.
“Platinum” Max Caster defeated Dante Martin (7:54)
Both of these men are part of tag teams trying to get established, but their partners are currently injured. I have enjoyed Caster’s singles push so far.
This featured great mat work from both guys early on. Caster drove Martin down by the arm and locked in an armbar. Caster later got a near fall off of a cutter and went back to work on Martin’s arm with a short-arm scissors. Martin avoided a kneedrop and an elbow drop and came back with both a clothesline and a dropkick, later hitting a tope suicida. Back in the ring, Caster tried to use the boombox which the ref took away. During the distraction, Caster hit Martin with a pop-up low blow and The Below off the top for the win.
Abadon defeated Ray Lyn (3:21)
The match spilled to the floor where Abadon dominated. Lyn went for a clothesline and wound up on the receiving end of a rock bottom. Back in the ring, cemetery drive finished off Lyn.
Powerhouse Hobbs (w/ Hook) defeated Brandon Cutler (2:35)
Cutler got some shine in this match, even getting a near fall off a springboard forearm. But he came off the top with a crossbody and Hobbs caught him and then dropped him with the Town Business to get the win.
Diamante defeated Leila Grey (3:56)
Diamante dominated throughout. She hit the three amigos, positioning herself so the last suplex sent Grey’s legs into the turnbuckles. Grey came back with a back elbow, but Diamante hit the code red for the win.
The Butcher & The Blade and Private Party (w/ The Bunny and Matt Hardy) defeated Dean Alexander, Carlie Bravo, Brick Aldridge and David Ali (4:32)
All of the men on Alexander’s team (except Ali) were wearing Nightmare Factory sweatshirts.
Aldridge got dumped to the floor after a big clothesline from the Butcher where both Hardy and Bunny laid in some cheap shots. Ali got a tag and got powerslammed by The Blade for a near fall. Ali ate the suplex/powerbomb combo (Drag The Lake) from Butcher and Blade for the win.
Hardy’s team has a match on Dynamite against Jurassic Express and Bear Country Wednesday. He made some threats into the camera after the match.
-- “Outside the Ring," hosted by Lexy Nair, is coming this April.
Matt Sydal defeated Michael Nakazawa (2:43)
Thumbs In The Middle Pointing Down
Nakazawa was dressed in khakis, an AEW polo, and had a headset on. Sydal pulled Nakazawa’s pants down and then hit him with a kick to win the match. As a result, Sydal earned the non-title match with Omega.
Omega then ran out and attacked Sydal and decided their non-title match was right now. Omega gave Sydal the one winged angel for the win which brought out Tony Khan. He said that wasn't what was agreed upon and made the match for Dynamite on March 24th.
Riho defeated Maki Itoh (11:07)
Itoh went for the kokeshi early on and missed. Riho sent her into the turnbuckle headfirst, but Itoh no sold it. Itoh dominated for a bit, but Riho came back with a 619 and a crossbody off the top for a near fall. Riho went for a northern lights suplex, but Itoh countered into a DDT and went for a submission with a boston crab. Riho maneuvered that into a near fall and caught Itoh with a running knee.
A northern lights suplex from Riho got another near fall. Itoh dodged an attack from Riho and caught her with a spinning DDT. Both women were selling for a bit, then began exchanging forearms in the center of the ring. Riho caught Itoh with a double stomp and came off the top rope with another double stomp for two. Riho caught Itoh with a running knee, but when Riho went for the knee a second time, she got caught in a single crab. Itoh hit another kokeshi, this time to Riho’s back, and Itoh then put Riho in a nasty looking boston crab. As the match crossed the ten minute mark, Riho got to the ropes to break the hold.
Itoh went for the diving headbutt off the top, but missed. Riho quickly followed up with double knees to Itoh’s face for the win in a great match.
Two hours is too long for this show, but hopefully, that was just for the debut episode and next week will be a more reasonable length. I can’t see many people missing the first hour of Raw for this, although the Riho/Itoh and Caster/Martin matches were very good. Schiavone and Wight were good together on commentary.