It’s Monday and you know what that means.
Note to whoever described this for YouTube: “Over two hours of wrestling action” is not the flex you think it is.
A Jon Moxley promo opened the show.
Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor defeated Ryan Nemeth and JD Drake (6:54)
This marked the debut of Cassidy’s new theme song, “Where is My Mind?” by the Pixies. This match was designed to give Cassidy and Taylor some shine before their Arcade Anarchy match with Miro and Kip Sabian on Dynamite and was taped before Dynamite last Wednesday so there was a lot more crowd energy than your usual Dark match.
Cassidy really played up the lazy, unmotivated aspects of his gimmick here, subtly sending the message that maybe this isn’t a show we should be bothering with? Cassidy countered a suplex attempt into a cutter on Drake and then hit him with a spinning DDT for a near fall. The Orange Punch and Beach Break on Drake finished it.
Post match, Kip Sabian, Miro and Penelope Ford cut a promo on Cassidy and Taylor. After it looked like they left, Miro and Sabian came back in and jumped Cassidy and Taylor.
Jon Moxley defeated Bill Collier (5:20)
Collier, a 14-year veteran, made his AEW debut in a match also taped before Dark last week. Moxley hit Collier with a piledriver and won the match with the bulldog choke, good for his 30th win in AEW.
Just to really pad the runtime for this show, Cody Rhodes came out with his arm in a sling to award a Nightmare weight belt to a young fan from the Boys & Girls Club of North Florida.
Penelope Ford (w/ Kip Sabian) defeated Leila Grey (3:36)
I hope this is the start of AEW doing the same thing they did with Tay Conti with Ford where they built her up with a bunch of wins on the Dark shows on her way to a big victory on Dynamite. Ford has added a nice spot to her repertoire where her opponent is prone on the apron and she runs the ropes, slingshots over them, and drops her knees on then. She dominated and after a brief Grey comeback, Ford hit her with a spinning kick and the Juicebox for the win.
Gunn Club defeated Rex Lawless and Milk Chocolate (4:52)
Milk Chocolate is the tag team known as Brandon Summers and Brandon Watts. They have been teaming for seven years, but I believe this is their AEW debut. Also, when you think of young guys who need elevation, you think of 57-year-old Billy Gunn.
Austin got worked over for a bit before Colton got the hot tag. The 3:10 to Yuma didn't quite look as good as usual, but it was good enough to get the pin on Watts.
-- Alex Marvez interviewed Thunder Rosa about her main event with Britt Baker a few weeks ago. Rosa talked about empowerment and representing Latina women, but Diamante (who was never identified by anyone) doesn’t want to be represented by her. “You don’t even go here!” was a pretty funny line when Bianca Belair did it on NXT last year, but it’s been done.
Joey Janela defeated Chandler Hopkins (7:12)
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Hopkins hit a very impressive swan dive plancha. There was also some awkward standing around from Janela while he was waiting for Hopkins to set up a kick. Hopkins hit a spanish fly and a frog splash, but only got two. He went for a shooting star press but Janela got his knees up. A falcon arrow (called a small package by Tony Schiavone) only got two. I mean, it was like a short falcon arrow, I guess?
A suplex attempt was countered into a death valley driver from Janela where he absolutely spiked Hopkins. Schiavone called it a canadian destroyer. The elbow off the top finished it.
-- Dasha interviewed Jack Evans, who gave the goofiest interview possible, calling Jungle Boy “Jungle Dork” while Angelico danced to no music in the background.
Thunder Rosa defeated Alex Gracia (5:03)
Rosa got her name because she was a social worker at a place called “Thunder Road.” Rosa looked great, but Gracia looked green and confused out there at points. A fire thunder driver got Rosa the win in an uneven match.
Leyla Hirsch defeated Vipress (3:29)
Vipress worked over the arm. I’m not sure commentators should phrase things like “She’s still selling that shoulder” as Paul Wight did while Hirsch was, well, selling her shoulder. Hirsch came back with a trio of german suplexes and got the tap with a cross armbreaker.
Frankie Kazarian defeated Danny Limelight (8:35)
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Kazarian has a 10-0 record in 2021. This was a showcase before his match with Christian Cage on Dynamite.
The way Limelight walks the ropes is just fantastic. Kazarian got a near fall with an electric chair drop into a bridge. Kazarian caught Limelight coming off the ropes in a cross face chicken wing (a new move for Kazarian) and Limelight tapped.
I’m not sure this accomplished the goal of getting me excited for Cage vs. Kazarian. The match wasn’t that good and Kazarian didn’t particularly look good either. I know Limelight is a guy they see something in, but it shouldn’t take Kazarian nearly nine minutes to defeat him.
Ethan Page defeated Fuego del Sol (5:20)
Del Sol is “Alabama 's top luchador.” He went for the tornado DDT early, but Page shrugged it off and dominated the match. Del Sol made a brief comeback and tried a second tornado DDT, but got caught in the ropes. Page hit a Billy Robinson-style backbreaker, using the turnbuckles instead of his knee. Ouch. Page finished with the launching crucifix powerbomb for the win.
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Women's Champion Hikaru Shida and Tay Conti defeated Jazmin Allure and Tesha Price
The Dark Order came out on the stage to show support for Team Conti. Conti is the number one contender and Shida is the World Champion which is an interesting dynamic for the team. They performed well as a team, hitting double judo throws and double triangle chokes on their opponents before Conti finished Price with the hammerlock DDT.
Jungle Boy (w/ Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt) defeated Jack Evans (w/ Angelico) (8:13)
Jungle Boy has wrestled the most matches for AEW with 62. Jungle Boy countered an armbar with a sitout powerbomb in a great spot, and followed that up with an amazingly stiff lariat. Evans missed a moonsault and got caught in a belly-to-belly and a German suplex for a near fall. Evans came back with a northern lights suplex and a Michinoku driver for a near fall. Evans came off the middle ropes with a dropkick, but Jungle Boy evaded it by catching his leg and locking in the snare trap for the win.
This was a very good match that could have finished the show...but let’s see some more jobber matches.
Lee Johnson and QT Marshall defeated Adam Priest and Aaron Frye (2:47)
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There isn’t good teamwork or communication between Marshall and Johnson, but Marshall got his team the win after hitting a cutter on Priest.
Ryo Mizunami defeated KiLynn King (9:40)
I don’t know why, but King’s look screams Becky Lynch clone to me. I don’t think it’s just the red hair, but it could be. Mizunami put her sunglasses on referee Bryce Remsburg and then held him like a baby. King had a height advantage and used it to taunt Mizunami with an offer for a test of strength. So, Mizunami kicked her in the gut. This was a good back and forth match. Mizunami hit a uranage and a spear, finishing off King with a legdrop off the top. They shook hands afterward.
Dark Order’s 5 and 10 defeated D3 and Vary Morales (3:55)
D3 is the only Italian citizen to wrestle for AEW. 10 hit the spinebuster on D3 and followed up with a pump kick, getting the submission with a full nelson.
-- Dasha interviewed Ethan Page in the locker room where he did the “the company is overlooking me” promo. This was a pretty tired promo to be running two hours into the show.
Private Party (w/ Matt Hardy) defeated Bear Country (8:03)
Hardy tried to interfere, but Marko Stunt ran in to break it up. This angered Bear Country and, in the confusion, Bear Bronson got rolled up by Marq Quen (who held the tights) for the win. Bear Country went after Stunt in the post match sequence but Jurassic Express came out to save him. They got into a pull-apart brawl that had to be broken up by the referees.
Scorpio Sky defeated Mike Sydal (6:28)
This is the sixteenth match of the show. Mike is actually older than his brother, Matt, even though he started in the sport seven years later. Sky clipped Sydal in the knee and got the submission with a kneebar. Sky kept the hold on after the bell, so Matt had to run in to break it up. Ethan Page then ran out to attack Matt after the match. Sky looked on approvingly and the two walked out together to close the show.
Last week’s final thought: “But seriously, end this before Raw starts.”
Two and a half hours of mostly squashes is a chore to sit through. These shows (both Dark and Elevation) constantly feel like they have hit their runtime and then get padded with more for no reason. They have also lost the mission of elevating young talent when QT Marshall, Billy Gunn and Frankie Kazarian are getting wins on the show.
Another frustration of mine is when they announce other matches for either Tuesday's Dark or Dynamite during the show via social media but there's no mention of it on the actual show we're watching. Tonight's example: Moxley is now facing Cezar Bononi Wednesday.
Elevation should be a wrap before Raw starts as no one needs more than an hour of Dark.