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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 100) Review 1.30.23

January 31, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
AEW Dark: Elevation Image Credit: AEW
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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 100) Review 1.30.23  

Well everyone, we did it. Elevation has hit number 100, and as a result we’ll have a very special- wait, I’m being told this is just a normal episode. OK then. Tonight we’ve got Red Velvet, Rush, the budding feud between Athena and Yuka Sakazaki continues, Top Flight, and a main event of Claudio Castagnoli defending the ROH title against Blake Christian. Paul Wight, Matt Menard, and Ian Riccaboni are on commentary.

Match #1: Red Velvet vs. Billie Starkz

Velvet grabs a side headlock and then hits a takeover. Billie counters into one of her own and we get a stand off. We get a handshake, then Velvet tries a cheap shot but Billie counters with a German suplex. Now Billie goes up top but Velvet cuts her off with a back hand then an iconoclasm for a 2 count. Some evasive moves from both women before Velvet lands a calf kick. Billie with an elbow then a sort of kick, didn’t really land. Velvet with a drop toe hold into the ropes then a Meteora into the back. Velvet gets caught in a Tiger suplex from Billie that gest a 2 count. Billie goes up top and hits a Swanton Bomb but Velvet counters on the cover into a crucifix for 2. Velvet counters an electric chair position with a Poisoned Rana then polishes Billie off with a tornado kick, I’m assuming it has a name involving stirring.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Red Velvet won in 3:22

Rating: 2.5 stars

Solid little match, Billie Starkz was impressive here and might deserve another look.

In the back Athena gets interviewed, she takes the mic and tells the interviewer to leave. She’s looking for a partner for her match tonight, she looks around and finds Diamante. Diamante reminds us that Athena kicked her head in and doesn’t want anything to do with this, but Athena offers her a title shot if they win tonight. That changes Diamante’s mind.

Match #2 – Tag Team Match: The WorkHorsemen (JD Drake and Anthony Henry) vs. Dark Order (John Silver and Alx Reynolds) w/ Evil Uno

Silver and Henry start things off. Henry grabs a side headlock, then they hit the ropes for a bit and Silver lands a shoulder block. Back to the ropes and Silver lands a shoulder block then a running kick to the chest. Drake tags in and wallops Silver then hits a hilo. Cheap shot to Reynolds and Drake starts brawling with Silver then hits a scoop slam and falling headbutt. Henry tags back in and lays in a kick then a snap suplex. Silver with a quick Victory Roll for 2 then tags in Reynolds. Reynolds runs wild and hits a hard discus elbow to Henry before diving onto Drake. Pop up knee from Reynolds then a Tiger Driver for a 2 count. Henry avoids the ping pong sequence and hits Reynolds with a reverse exploder suplex then Drake follows up with a Shining Wizard, then Henry with a Frog Splash but only a near fall. Drake tags in, then he tags in Henry but Silver is here to disrupt things and take out Drake with a German suplex. Now Henry eats the ping pong sequence and that’ll do it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Dark Order won in 4:25

Rating: 2.5 stars

A solid match here, not surprising given the talent involved as Drake and Henry are a solid team while Silver and Reynolds continue to be themselves.

Match #3: Rush w/ Preston Vance and Jose vs. Brian Pillman Jr.

They tie up, hit the corner then Rush lands in a chop. Pillman ties up again, he gets Rush in the corner then misses a punch and takes another chop. Rush with a shoulder block then they hit the ropes for a bit before Pillman lands a chop and a leg kick. Rush with a few more chops then a discus punch that floors Pillman. They head out of the ring, this bodes ill for Pillman as Rush slams him around the barricades. Rush with some knees to the head, allegedly as the camera angle doesn’t do that sequence any favors, then Rush distracts the ref so Vance can stomp on Pillman. Back in the ring now and Rush with some kicks but Pillman looks to fire up with chops, Rush hits him back and we get a trade of chops for a while. Eventually Pillman lands a super kick and a drop kick to stagger Rush, then Rush cuts him off with a belly to belly into the corner. Rush sets for the Bulls Horns, hits it and we’re done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Rush won in 4:15

Rating: 3 stars

High paced, physical, and a surprising amount of fun in this one. Pillman getting more chances in AEW is a nice thing, and Rush is still a very good wrestler.

Post match Rush with the electrical cord and whips Pillman before choking him out with it.

Match #4 – Tag Team Match: Athena and Diamante vs. Yuka Sakazaki and Skye Blue w/ Madison Rayne

Yuka and Diamante get things started. Diamante grabs a side headlock then hits a shoulder block. Yuka wit ha rolling snapmare and a kick then a sliding clothesline. Blue tags in and Diamante takes some tandem moves. Elbow from Diamante then Athena tags in. Head scissors from Blue then a kick to the head. Athena avoids a corner attack but Blue clocks her with a punch but as Blue heads up top Diamante distracts her and Athena is able to kick Blue to the floor. Diamante tags in and she and Athena both toss Blue into the barricade. Back in the ring Blue is still being isolated and Diamante lands a 10 punch. Athena back in and lands a few kicks to Blue. Blue fights back with strikes but can’t make the tag out and Athena clobbers her with an elbow. Diamante back in with a suplex, tags Athena back in but Blue fights out of the corner and is able to tag out. Yuka comes in and starts unloading on Athena with elbows. Kick from Yuka then she heads up top for a drop kick. Northern Lights Bomb from Yuka and Diamante has to break up the pin, then folds up Yuka with a German suplex but Athena takes down Blue with a powerbomb. Athena avoids a Rocket Launcher and tags in Diamante as Yuka ejects Athena with a headscissors. Diamante tries another German suplex but Yuka crushes her with elbows, Athena loudly complains about her ankle as Yuka hits a Rocket Launcher to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Yuka Sakazaki and Skye Blue won in 7:10

Rating: 2.5 stars

The heat segment on Blue was a little bit too long and lost some of the intensity, but all four women are pretty talented, and Yuka vs. Athena has some serious potential as Yuka packs a wallop when she wants to.

Mark Sterling does his usual boring schtick on the way to the ring. This is just death every time. His obscure law of the evening is that Kentucky mandates one shower a year for each citizen, he thinks the fans are breaking that law, and Daivari will be buying a bar of soap for everyone in attendance.

Match #5 – Tag Team Match: Ari Daivari and Tony Nese w/ Mark Sterling vs. Top Flight (Dante and Darius Martin)

Ari and Darius start, they trade shoves then hit the ropes and Darius lands a drop kick. Dante tags in and he and Darius unload in the corner as Ari takes a bit of tandem offense. Standing moonsault from Dante, man that was pretty. Darius tags in, but Ari is able to pull the hair to set up Nese with the Macho Man hangman. Nese tags in and hits a wheel kick. Ari tags back in and he and Nese unload with punches in the corner. Nese back in but Darius starts fighting back and hits a double rana then tags in Dante. Dante runs wild and hits a cross body but Ari breaks up the pin. Ari and Darius fight, with Darius hitting a heat seeker dive before Nese follows with a pescado leading to Dante diving onto everyone. Nese catches Dante with a gutbuster then tags in Ari. Double team finisher from Nese and Ari but Darius breaks up the pin. Darius ejects Nese but Ari hits him with a super kick only for Dante to fly in with the Nose Dive to get the win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Top Flight won in 5:02

Rating: 2.5 stars

This was solid but never quite clicked enough to hit three stars for me. Ari continues to take up space, while Top Flight are really coming into their own recently.

Yuka Sakazaki gets an interview in the back, this is interrupted by Dark Order. Dark Order loves Yuka Sakazaki, and offer her a spot in Dark Order since they’ve lost their female member. Yuka says “Hai” but Dark Order think she’s just greeting them, then Silver makes fun of Lexi’s ears for some reason. Dark Order just leave thinking Yuka doesn’t like them, but Yuka looks at the camera and gives another “Hi” while throwing up the Dark Order salute. OK, Yuka is awesome in case you weren’t aware.

Match #6 – Tag Team Match: Kings of the Black Throne (Malakai Black and Brody King) w/ Julia Hart vs. Turbo Floyd and Truth Magnum

Black and Magnum start us off, Black gives a clean break out of the corner. Another tie up, clean break then Black with a head fake and Truth jumps out of the ring. Back in the ring Black lands a shoulder block then a leg sweep. Arm drag from Black as commentary reference Paul Wight’s performance in Jingle All The Way. Did not see that reference coming. Brody tags in, as does Turbo. Turbo looks to fire himself up, but Brody just floors him with a chop. Chop for Truth as well. Sick lariat from Brody but Truth breaks up the pin. Black ejects Truth, now Black tosses Turbo to Brody for Dante’s Inferno and we’re done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Kings of the Black Throne won in 2:55

Rating: Winterhorn squash

Delicious squash, our first real squash of the night as well.

Match #7 – ROH World Title Match: (c) Claudio Castagnoli vs. Blake Christian

Blake had a pretty good outing about a month ago against Dralistico, nice to see him back. Code of Honor is followed, then Claudio hits a quick drop kick as the bell rings. Claudio with a scoop slam and some elbow drops. Blake fights back with body shots but can’t lift Claudio who drops him with a knee to the body then a leg drop. Blake low bridges Claudio then misses a baseballs slide and Claudio with a Military Press and drops Blake on the apron. Claudio picks up Blake and drives him into the ring post then gets back in the ring looking for the count out. Blake is able to get back in the ring before the count where Claudio wipes him out with a clothesline for a 2 count. Elbows from Claudio then he catches a jumping Blake with a tilt a whirl backbreaker then a double stomp all for a 2 count. Now Claudio keeps zeroing in on the back of Blake, but Blake hits an enziguri then a kick out of the corner and a running bulldog. Blake with a handspring attack then a Spear on the apron. Claudio is out of the ring, and Blake with a Fosbury Flop to take out Claudio. Back in the ring Blake with a double stomp to the back and a 2 count. Blake tries to strike with Claudio, this amuses Claudio more than anything and Blake has to counter a Giant Swing with a Victory Roll for 2, then he hits a full rotation Death Valley Driver. Blake up top, Claudio is a ways away but he still hits the 450 Splash for a near fall. Claudio rolls through on a double stomp attempt, Riccola Bomb out of a darn near deadlift, because Claudio is a monster. Giant Swing from Claudio and Blake gives it up after 20 or so rotations.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Claudio Castagnoli retained the title in 7:18

Rating: 3 stars

Solid match, Claudio looked like the monster he should while Blake’s fire and comeback was legitimately impressive. Good match to close the episode.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Darn good for Elevation, some solid ring work, a couple of amusing backstage bits, no major technical issues, most of the action was well executed, I joked at the top that they weren't doing anything special for 100. Well turns out they turned in one of the better entries into this series.