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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 106) Review 3.13.23

March 13, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
AEW Dark: Elevation Image Credit: AEW
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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 106) Review 3.13.23  

Hey there people, back to the land of Elevation tonight. We’ve got Emi Sakura, Marina Shafir, Brian Cage, Athena, and a main event of the Lucha Bros taking on the Wingmen. Just a shade over 45 minutes this week, my hunch is we’re in squash city but let’s find out. Paul Wight and Matt Menard welcome us to the show.

Match #1: Emi Sakura vs. Zyra

Emi with a quick tie up then some chops to Zyra before calling Zyra on. Next Emi avoids a tie up, but Zyra lands a chop then a shoulder block but Emi bounces up and tosses her down to set up a Romero Special. Emi plays with the crowd, then slaps Zyra before chopping her into the corner. Zyra fires back with chops of her own but Emi isn’t impressed so Zyra instead plants her with a DDT. Top rope cross body from Zyra gets a 2 count, then Emi blocks a suplex and hits a Whirling Dervish. Corner crossbody from Emi, then Kobashi chops in the corner to set up a scoop slam. Emi up top, moonsault and that’ll do it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Emi Sakura won in 3:16

Rating: Shishigatani squash
Thoughts: Decent squash, Zyra got to show a little fire and hung in there with the physicality of Emi.

Match #2: Jake Hager w/ Angelo Parker vs. Levi Shapiro

They tie up, Hager is wrestling in the boonie hat first then hands it to Parker after hitting a mat return. Shapiro avoids a tie up and struts. Hager shoves Shaprio into the corner and unloads with punches to the body and head before he tries to play with the crowd. Shapiro tries to fire up with strikes but eats a Rock Bottom into an arm triangle choke and that gets the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Jake Hager won in 1:53

Rating: Acorn squash
Thoughts: Effective enough squash, though Hager has lost a lot of muscle in his legs and now has some very odd proportions going on.

Match #3: Marina Shafir vs. Mighty Mayra

Shafir shoves Mayra around then goes after the arm of Mayra. Mayra avoids a knee but has a kick caught, then Shafir slips on a scoop slam counter. Shafir winds up tossing Mayra down to try and reset things then lands a body blow before tripping Mayra up with a foot sweep. Judo hip toss from Shafir as she gets a “put some shoes on” chant. Mayra hits the ropes, then slowly eats a counter, they try it again and this time Mayra hits a drop kick, kind of. Shafir has had enough of this, hoists Mayra onto her shoulders and locks up version of the old Bas Rutten neck crank while standing to get the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Marina Shafir won in 2:46

Rating: Aurantia squash
Thoughts: Oof, that was rough. Some of Shafir’s mechanics have come along lately but there was no sense of cohesion here, several spots where the plot was lost, and a couple of botches. Not a good outing for Shafir.

Match #4: Brian Cage w/ Prince Nana vs. Jack Cartwheel

Cage immediately snaps Jack down then lays in strikes but Jack starts avoiding Cage before landing a kick of his own. Some gymnastics from Jack then he’s able to hurricanrana Cage out of the ring to set up a dive. On the floor Cage fires up by F5’ing Jack onto the apron. Cage tosses Jack into the barricade a couple of times. Back in the ring Cage with the curls into the fall away slam. Jack flips out of a German suplex then lands a dropkick before hitting the ropes to land a kick. Now Jack sweeps the legs and follows up with an elbow drop coming into the ring. Jack goes up top, tries a Molly go Round only to be caught in a sit out powerbomb for a 2 count. Cage wants to end things, but Jack avoids a Drill Claw and hits a Crucifix Driver for a near fall. Again Jack goes up top, but Cage avoids the Black Arrow then wipes out Jack with a discus clothesline. Cage with a powerbomb into the Gorilla Clutch and that’ll get the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Brian Cage won in 4:40

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: For the second time out under the AEW banner Jack Cartwheel impresses again, the man has some gymnastic ability to be sure and Cage always makes for a solid base against guys like that.

Match #5 – Tag Team Match: The Butcher and The Blade vs. Midas Kreed and Vinnie Massaro

Blade and Vinnie start, and Blade has no time for Vinnie’s shenanigans and they trade chops before Blade lands a shoulder block. They fight over a hip toss then Blade lands a knee and a snap suplex. Kreed tags in and runs into a kick then Blade hits a running chop. Butcher tags in and lands a leg drop. Kreed lands a dropkick but Butcher fights back with a low crossbody and Vinnie has to break up the pin. Butcher clocks Vinnie then tags out. Stunner from Blade sets up a clothesline from Butcher. Drag the Lake and that’ll do it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Butcher and Blade won in 2:12

Rating: Bunter Patisson squash
Thoughts: Good squash, though I think if they’re going to do anything with Butcher and Blade they should probably get going on that sooner rather than later.

Match #6: Athena vs. Inder Mundi

Athena talks some trash then Mundi tries a few roll ups for a series of 1 counts. Athena avoids a monkey flip and then floors Mundi with a right hand. Some more strikes from Athena then corner attacks setting up a slam. Meteora from Athena in the corner then a spinning chokeslam connects to get the pin. Awkward finish.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Athena won in 2:41

Rating: Casertaosa squash
Thoughts: Fine enough squash, a few awkward moments aside.

The usual Athena post match beatdown follows. I know I’m in the minority here, but I’m just getting bored by this as it’s directionless thus far. I’m not sure what’s entirely to blame for the lack of direction but this whole thing is a bit too meandering for me right now.

Match #7 – Tag Team Match: Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta) vs. Starboy Charlie and Olumide

Olumide and Trent get us going. Trent with a quick side headlock takeover then a shoulder block off the ropes. Olumide avoids Trent for a bit then hits a dropkick. Taylor wants in and here comes Charlie as well. Charlie tries some chops, Taylor no sells him then chops him down. Manhattan Drop from Charlie then a dropkick and running Shooting Star Press but Taylor counters a run with a pop up sit out powerbomb. Trent tags back in, Olumide eats a Busaiku Knee from Trent then Charlie takes a Sole Food into a half nelson suplex. Strong Zero set up, but Olumide breaks it up allowing Charlie to hit a Code Red on Trent. Olumide boots down Taylor as Charlie hits a shotgun dropkick then a second rope Phoenix Splash for 2. Olumide tags back in, but Charlie eats a clothesline from Trent. Trent then hits a German suplex on Olumide leading to Taylor powerbombing Charlie onto Olumide. Dudebuster to Olumide as Taylor kills Charlie with the Awful Waffle and Trent then pins Olumide to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Best Friends won in 4:00

Rating: 2 stars
Thoughts: More competitive than I expected, and Best Friends showing off a slightly meaner side is a nice wrinkle to a team that’s become a little stale overall.

Match #8 – Tag Team Match: The Lucha Bros. (Rey Fenix and Penta el Zero Miedo) w/ Alex Abrahantes vs. The Wingmen (Peter Avalon and Ryan Nemeth)

Fenix and Avalon are first up, Fenix with some quick acrobatics and Avalon says he wants Penta. Penta tags in, and immediately Avalon tags in Nemeth. Nemeth doesn’t want this and tags in Avalon. Avalon takes his sweet time getting into the ring and sets up a cheap shot from Nemeth. Things break down and Nemeth tosses Fenix into the barricade, bless Fenix for taking the bump the way he did. Nemeth tags back in but Penta kicks Nemeth then super kicks Avalon. Sling Blade to Nemeth and Fenix tags in. Fenix with a springboard crossbody to both Avalon and Nemeth. Fenix continues doing whatever he wants setting up a double super kick with Penta then their assisted splash gets a 2 count. Super kicks around for everyone then Nemeth hits a pendulum DDT but Penta breaks up the pin. Avalon tosses Penta but Penta sweeps the legs and gives him the old ringpost-itis. Combination Widow’s Peak and Fear Factor from Penta to both Nemeth and Avalon and that leads to the pin on Nemeth.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Lucha Bros won in 3:21

Rating: 2 stars
Thoughts: Probably should have been more of a squash than it was, but the Lucha Bros back in the tag team scene is probably a good thing in general.

The final score: review Average
The 411
Solid enough show overall but once again it kind of lacked an extra gear, or something that really sticks out in the mind. Cartwheel Jack once again looked pretty good and Cage was a good opponent for him. Marina Shafir continues to be a little underwhelming, especially with where she should be after this much time developing, but we also got hints at a mean streak from Best Friends. All in all, Average for Elevation.