Welcome one and welcome all to the AEW Dark Elevation #35 review. Having spent this past weekend drinking enough Guinness to make even Brendan Behan question my sanity, I missed all of the Halloween PPVs that I would’ve normally spent my time viewing. This meant that when I woke up this morning, I was jonesing for some quality wrestling product. Luckily for me, it was time for my AEW Dark Elevation review and as the show clocked in at around 30 minutes, I figured it would be the perfect way to kick off this week. But, there was a problem.
I’ve said of late that I didn’t know where to put AEW Dark Elevation in the grand scheme of things, but I had settled on it being the perfect accompaniment to breakfast. Which – to a degree – is still true. It’s short, punchy, and has enough action in its time frame to help shake off the cobwebs, but I still found myself questioning what the point was of at least one of the matches on offer.
I understand that AEW is looking at getting a streaming service up and running by the end of 2022 – at least, according to Tony Schiavone – so it makes sense that they’d want to have as many matches as they can in their library for this venture. It’s just that when about 40% of these are going to be squash matches that last less than a couple of minutes, you have to question the logic behind this.
AEW Dark and AEW Dark Elevation could be very good, very entertaining standalone shows in their own rights, but until AEW decides to limit the pointless beatings that don’t do anyone any favors, then they will always fall short.
Kris Statlander and Ryo Mizunami vs. Nyla Rose w/Vicky Guerrero and Emi Sakura w/Lulu Pencil
Fortunately, AEW Dark Elevation got off to a really good start with my Fight of the Night, a tag team bout between Kris Statlander and Ryo Mizunami vs. Nyla Rose and Emi Sakura. This was just a great match from start to finish and – surprisingly – had no interference from either Guerrero or Pencil to leave a bad taste in the mouth. Instead, the bookers allowed all four women to show off what they could do, and even though it ran at around seven minutes in total, it was packed with signature spots and some fantastic offense, the latter being supplied by Nyla Rose.
At one point she managed to get Statlander locked under Mizunami’s arm, before hitting a Swinging Neck Breaker on the latter which – in turn – meant that Mizunami inadvertently DDT’d her own partner. She followed this up by hitting a Senton Bomb from the top turnbuckle that Jeff Hardy would’ve been proud of, before pinning Mizunami for the 1-2-3.
It was an incredibly impressive display from Rose – who most people see as nothing more than a brawler – and all four women should be applauded for making the best of the short time they had on offer.
Winners: Nyla Rose and Emi Sakura
Frankie Kazarian vs. Victor Benjamin
The dictionary definition of elevation is “the process of someone getting higher or more important”. This is what I assumed AEW Dark Elevation would be, a show that took unknown stars or those lower down the card and give them a push into the limelight, yet – as we shall see – it hasn’t always worked out that way. Luckily, it seems that Frankie Kazarian understands the definition of the word a lot better than some behind the scenes, as even though his match with Victor Benjamin only clocked in at a few minutes, he allowed The Savage Gentlemen to get enough offense in – and sold it quite brilliantly – that his opponent came away looking strong.
The result was never in doubt, but The Elite Hunter has been around the game long enough to know that if both participants do the most they can with their time in the ring, then everyone wins. He let Benjamin show off his MMA credibility with some vicious-looking Knee Strikes, as well as his strength when he picked Kazarian off the floor to hit him with a Deadlift German Suplex. And even though I wasn’t that convinced by his manner of winning – I found it hard to believe that an undefeated Mixed Martial Artist would tap out – it showed that if everyone had the same work ethic as Frankie Kazarian, then more wrestlers could be built up within the AEW ranks.
Winner: Frankie Kazarian
Riho vs. Kayla Sparks
And now we get into the section of the show that I deemed to be a tad pointless. First up we had Riho beating Kayla Sparks in a couple of minutes, with the latter not really getting any chance to show what she could do.
FTR w/Tully Blanchard vs. Waves And Curls
Then it was the turn of FTR to lay a beating on Jaylen Brandyn, only for him to make a hot tag that came to nothing, after his partner hit the ring to find that Cash and Dax were laid out. This was just a ruse, and when Jordan came close, FTR hit him with The Big Rig to pick up the win.
Tay Conti vs. LMK
But the worst culprit of all was this bout between Tay Conti and LMK. Conti hit LMK with a Spinning GutBuster, three separate Pump Kicks, and The Hammerlock DDT for the win. I mean, what was the point here?
Now, I don’t blame anyone involved in these matches as they’re only following the booking, but if that’s how this show is going to be going forwards, then whoever is responsible for putting AEW Dark Elevation together needs to either be replaced or be given some slack so they can book a decent show. I’m not expecting PPV quality on every AEW show, but some form of consistency would be nice.
Other than giving TV time to the losers, these three bouts did not benefit anyone.
Winner: Tay Conti
Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, and Wheeler Yuta vs. The Acclaimed and Serpentico
Things got back on track with the final match of the evening, which saw Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, and Wheeler Yuta face off against The Acclaimed and Serpentico. This was one for the fans and all players lived up to their end of the deal.
The Acclaimed came out and ripped on Boston quite expertly, while Serpentico fired off his silly string and goofed for the crowd – including being slammed onto his own teammates after they had tried and failed to do the same to their opponents – while Taylor hit hard, Yuta bounced around the ring like a jumping bean, and Cassidy got the win with his Orange Punch, a move that must have Roman Reigns and the WWE looking through the laws of wrestling, trying to figure out if they can sue.
The only thing I can’t figure out is how they are going to play The Freshly Squeezed one’s upcoming battle with Jon Moxley. Mox straight-up murdered No. 10 in their match and if they then have him and Cassidy go 10 or 20 minutes, then what was the use of that? What needs to happen is a repeat of that performance and for Cassidy to take a vicious beating, but he’s such a popular wrestler I’m not sure that they’d be willing to do that. It does make me long for Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite to roll around, and if Orange Cassidy has his way, it may very well be the brutal beatdown I’m hoping for.
Winners: Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, and Wheeler Yuta.