It’s Monday and you know what that means: AEW Dark: Elevation with Tony Schiavone and Paul Wight.
Tay Conti (w/ -1) defeated Ray Lyn (4:19)
Lyn is a former OVW Women’s champion. Conti got the advantage early with a hammerlock, and Lyn got out of it by pulling Conti’s hair and hitting a forearm. Conti looked more annoyed than hurt and came back with a series of judo throws. The two got into each other's faces and exchanged spinning hook kicks, forearms and slaps in the middle of the ring and full nelson attempts until Conti hit Lyn with a cutter.
A backbreaker sent Lyn to the floor where Conti threw Lyn into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Conti went for a move off the top, but Lyn dodged and still managed to turn right into a pump kick. After a running knee in the corner, Conti won with a hammerlock DDT and continues to impress. Hopefully, she gets a big win on Dynamite Wednesday night against Nyla Rose.
Lee Johnson (w/ Dustin Rhodes) defeated Adam Priest (5:42)
There was a very good mat exchange to open the match which ended with deep arm drags. Johnson's offer of a handshake was utilized as an opening to play dirty by Priest, who took the advantage. Priest tied Johnson's arm up into his own leg and turned that into a neckbreaker for a near fall with an enziguri and a German suplex getting another near fall.
Johnson countered a second German suplex attempt with a flying hangman’s neckbreaker and followed up with a pair of clotheslines. Priest went to the floor and Johnson followed him with a tope con hilo. Back in the ring, Johnson finished off Priest with a devastating looking fisherman’s buster onto Johnson’s own knee, called the Brain Dog.
The Varsity Blonds defeated Fuego Del Sol & Jake St. Patrick (5:44)
This featured lots of great double teams by the Blonds and they feel like Midnight Express clones in a good way. St. Patrick eventually escaped a single leg crab and got the tag to del Sol. del Sol hit the spinning DDT on Brian Pillman Jr., but Pillman rolled out of the ring. Griff Garrison was the legal man anyway, so he hit a rolling forearm (called a discus punch on commentary but it looked like more of a forearm to me) and covered del Sol for the win. I’m digging the Varsity Blondes vibe.
Max Caster defeated RYZIN (6:28)
Caster’s pre-match rap was fantastic, like John Cena at WrestleMania XX awesome. Also, apparently, RYZIN is an ordained minister, according to the commentary team. RYZIN tweaked Caster’s knee with a dropkick, but Caster came back with a stiff lariat and was off to the races. I really appreciated that whenever RYZIN got any sort of advantage, he got it by going back to Caster’s knee and Caster would get the advantage back by going right to RYZIN's arm.
RYZIN went to the ropes for a middle rope moonsault, but found nothing but Caster’s knees and, again, Caster went back to the arm. All of the work on Caster’s leg paid off as when he went for a suplex, his leg gave out. Caster went back to it and got a quick brainbuster (not trying to hold him up too long because of his bad knee) and then dropped the top rope elbow for the win to end a very good match.
#AEWRisingStar Profile: Red Velvet
Red Velvet’s dad was a boxer and she trained to be a dancer. She fell in love with wrestling when she was nine and started training in 2015. Cody Rhodes said that she is not completely signed. She has definitely improved a lot since I first saw her on Dark. Clips of Velvet looking good in the ring concluded this week's profile.
Big Swole & Red Velvet defeated Leva Bates & Madi Wrenkowski (4:51)
Swole and Velvet both come out to Swole’s music and dance. Velvet and Bates started out, exchanging arm drags. Velvet’s were quite smooth while Bates' were kind of clunky. Wrenkowski tagged in and got an eye poke but ate a clothesline. Swole got the tag and worked over Wrenkowski who got a near fall after a facebuster. Wrenkowski and Bates did not mesh well as a team, disagreeing on tactics. Wrenkowski hit Bates with her book, bur Velvet then overwhelmed Wrenkowski with a spinning hook kick and Just Desserts (shotgun dropkick) for the pin and win.
After the match, Nyla Rose, Vicki Guerrero and Jade Cargill came out for a staredown with Swole and Velvet.
Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs (w/ Hook) defeated Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs (3:36)
Hobbs destroyed Nelson in the corner to start. Nelson came back, but got pounced jumping off the middle rope. Hobbs destroying people while alternating between smiling and sneering never disappoints. Starks got the tag and got advantage on Issacs after a minute or so with a flying forearm. Isaacs hit a stunner and Nelson came off the top with a crossbody for a near fall. Hobbs had to break up that pin attempt and then delivered a spinebuster on Isaacs. After Hook tripped up Nelson, Starks used the Roshambeaux to finish him off. (Shoutout to Starks’ Twitter for the spelling of his finisher.)
Danny Limelight defeated Baron Black (4:46)
This was a a nice back and forth effort here. Black locked in a Texas clover leaf, but Limelight made the ropes. The match went to the floor where Limelight hit a running kick and a springing double stomp to the back. Back in the ring, Limelight got the win via tapout with a rear naked choke.
Orange Cassidy defeated Ryan Nemeth (6:58)
Nemeth was the Ohio Valley Wrestling rookie of the year in 2010. Okay, then. After the usual awesome shenanigans from Cassidy, he went for the Orange Punch, but Nemeth caught him and back suplexed him to take advantage. Cassidy then sold Nemeth’s nothing offense. Most of what Nemeth did was whipping Cassidy into the turnbuckles and swiveling his hips. Cassidy came back with a crossbody, but Nemeth got the heat back and then went to his best move: a hammerlock. Seriously.
Cassidy escaped, walked into a dropick and then came back with a tornado DDT. Nemeth countered a diving DDT with a dropkick and then hit his own jumping DDT for a near fall. Nemeth got caught in the mouse trap, giving Cassidy the win. This got going a bit toward the end, but Nemeth is still nothing to write home about.
After the match, Nemeth hit Cassidy with a hangman’s neckbreaker and Chuck Taylor ran out to make the save. JD Drake (last seen jobbing on Tuesday Dark) then ran in to help out Nemeth. Last I checked, Nemeth was aligned with Cezar Bononi and Peter Avalon. so I'm not sure if this is an upgrade.
Ethan Page defeated Dark Order's Alan “5” Angels (7:04)
Thumbs In The Middle Pointing Down
Page hit a sweet backbreaker out of a double underhook suplex while Angels was hung up on the ropes. Angels mounted a comeback and got a near fall out of a standing sliced bread. Page came back with a spinning kick and a tilt-a-whirl slam for a near fall. Page went for a crucifix powerbomb, but Angels escaped. However, he got destroyed with a clothesline. The launching crucifix powerbomb (Ego’s Edge) got Page his second AEW singles win.
Page cut a not great promo after the match that was mostly lots of shouting.
Ryo Mizunami defeated Leyla Hirsch (8:00)
Schiavone called Hirsch’s boots “shooter boots.” Hirsch shrugged off two or three of Mizunami’s chops, so she followed up with 20 or 30 more. Mizunami followed that with her rope pulling taunt, but Hirsch clotheslined her from behind. A slam and legdrop from Mizunami only got a two count. Hirsch mounted a comeback with some headbutts and a clothesline in the corner. Hirsch hit an avalanche hurricanrana out of the corner, a running knee, and a release German suplex. She then rolled into a cross armbreaker attempt, but Mizunami did not let her cinch in the hold and got to the ropes.
Hirsch worked her over with forearms in the corner and Mizunami came back with a stiff lariat. Hirsch came back with some lariats of her own, but charged into a lariat from Mizunami and a leg drop for a near fall. Mizunami went for a head and arm triangle, but Hirsch countered into an armbar which was countered by a Mizunami power bomb.
Hirsch came back with a clothesline for another near fall. An angle slam from Hirsch got another near fall, but Mizunami countered into a head and arm triangle for the tapout to finish a great main event.
There’s an old saying where I come from that if you have three main events, you actually have no main events. But, Mizunami and Hirsch was a great main event for the third string show. Other than a couple of backstage interviews with Dasha and the spotlight segment on Red Velvet, I still don’t see much of a difference between Dark and Dark: Elevation. Seriously, this show should be over before Raw starts.