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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 107) Review 3.20.23

March 21, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
AEW Dark: Elevation Image Credit: AEW
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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 107) Review 3.20.23  

Hey there people, time for another episode of Elevation brought to you by the people at AEW. Tonight we’ve got Skye Blue, Brandon Cutler, Hardy Party, Athena, and a main event of Dark Order taking on Tony Nese and Ari Daivari. Paul Wight and Matt Menard welcome us to the show.

Match #1: Skye Blue vs. TFA (Taryn from Accounting)

TFA attacks just before the bell and hits a modified Overdrive. Some kicks from TFA then she tries a Razor’s Edge but Blue counters into a Small Package for 2. Blue fires up with strikes, including a slow motion knee strike. Elbow from Blue then she heads up top and hits a crossbody for 2. TFA avoids a Skye Fall with a knee then an Argentine backbreaker into a facebuster gets a near fall. Blue lands a kick to the body then hits a Code Red for 3.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Skye Blue won in 3:02

Rating: 2 stars
Thoughts: Probably should have been a bit less competitive as Blue should be winning these kinds of matches a touch easier than this. A few slower portions, TFA seemed to lack a degree of speed in there, but mostly competent.

Match #2: Jake Hager w/ Angelo Parker vs. Adam Knight

Knight is a rather large fellow. Hager with a quick mat return then he poses. Now Knight tries a mat return but Hager fights him off only to eat a clothesline. Some stalling from Hager now, then he pushes Knight into the corner and unloads with body blows. Clothesline from Hager connects then a Vader Bomb gets the 3 count.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Jake Hager won in 2:03

Rating: Futterkurbis Pyriformis squash
Thoughts: Decent squash, Hager seems to be knocking the ring rust off over the last little bit and might actually be a relevant roster member in the near future.

Match #3: Emi Sakura vs. Zoe Sager

They tie up, Emi then unloads a chop in the ropes to Sager. Emi then avoids a tie up, leading to Sager firing some punches then a dropkick but Emi pops up and tosses her by the hair. Scoop slam from Emi then a back rake. More chops from Emi as she keeps getting the better of Sager, but Sager keeps trying to fight back with elbows, then Emi slaps her and hits a double underhook backbreaker for a 2 count. Sager fights out of a spinning backbreaker and lands an enziguri then a pump kick in the corner followed by a running knee. Sager heads up top, and hits a dropkick for another 2 count. Emi counters a suplex into a Whirling Dervish to retake control. Corner crossbody from Emi, then a Romero Special which she rolls through several times before switching her hand position to grab a Dragon Sleeper in the Romero Special and that gets the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Emi Sakura won in 4:03

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: Fun little match, Emi has a talent for bringing out the fire in her opponents and Sager showed a fair amount of it. Emi’s also a very giving worker so you frequently get to see what her opponents are capable of, and again Sager didn’t disappoint.

Match #4: Brandon Cutler vs. Jason Geiger

Geiger looks unimpressed by Cutler. Cutler grabs a side headlock then hits a shoulder block. Geiger lands a back elbow to cut off Cutler then he takes over with strikes and a suplex. Leg scissor into a straight ankle lock from Geiger but Cutler gets to the ropes quickly. Corner offense from Geiger but Cutler hits an elbow and they start trading strikes but Cutler dodges one and hits a palm strike. Now the dancing elbow drops from Cutler but Geiger counters one into an armbar attempt, then switches to the back mount and grabs a rear naked choke but Cutler slams free in the corner. Cutler hoists Geiger onto his shoulders and here’s the airplane spin from Cutler. They both wind up dizzy and Geiger jumps on the back of Cutler for another rear naked choke but Cutler starts spinning again and he’s able to spin Geiger down then fall on top of him but only a 2 count as Geiger grabs the choke again. Cutler flips backwards and we get the Bret Hart and Roddy Piper style pin for Cutler’s victory.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Brandon Cutler won in 3:37

Rating: 2 stars
Thoughts: The comedy here didn’t quite click the way other Cutler performances have, I’m not sure if that’s down to the crowd or just not having a ton of chemistry with Geiger but something wasn’t quite connecting this time. That said I’d be curious to see Geiger again in a more serious match, and Cutler’s general overness as the goofy stooge is kind of heart warming.

Ethan Page has a mic and cuts off the music as they’re coming down. Page calms the crowd and objects to being booed as he’s Canadian, and just wants to be a Canadian host. He hands the mic to Hardy who’s happy to be back in wonderful Winnipeg. Page gets the mic back and shames a crowd member for not being Canadian enough as he’s kind of a jerk, then he let’s Kassidy finish the introduction. Actually Page wants an “Oh yeah, eh” instead of the usual Kassidy bit, the crowd plays along and we get the music back. Stokely being unhappy in general while Page has kind of bonded with Hardy and Kassidy is amusing asthe wrestlers dance their way to the ring.

Match #5 – Trios Match: Matt Hardy, Isiah Kassidy, and Ethan Page w/ Stokely Hathaway vs. Massive Damage, Mo Jabari, and Sebastian Wolfe

Jabari and Kassidy start things off, they trade some chain wrestling sequences then run the ropes with Kassidy hitting arm drags then a neckbreaker. Hardy tags in and they hit double elbows. Jabari with a few strikes then tags in Wolfe who’s hip tossed then they trade arm wringers before Hardy starts bouncing him around the corner buckles. Page tags in and he and Hardy both hit the second rope for a double elbow drop. Page then tags in Kassidy who jumps onto the arm of Wolfe. 10 punch in the corner from Kassidy but Damage distracts him allowing Wolfe to trip him off the ropes. Jabari tags in now but Kassidy is able to tag in Page who runs wild for a bit including a powerslam on Jabari. Everything breaks down and we get triple Side Effects, then Poetry in Motion to Jabari before he’s sent into Page for the Ego’s Edge and that’ll do it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Matt Hardy, Isiah Kassidy, and Ethan Page won in 4:05

Rating: Gem squash
Thoughts: Fun little squash, this team has started to gel and it’ll be kind of sad when it breaks up as all three men have found a nice little groove. Page is still a glorious heel but his schtick is starting to warm on people I think.

Post match Stokely grabs a Dragon Sleeper on Jabari, sending a message to Hook sort of. Kassidy and Hardy hold up Stokely as everyone starts dancing to celebrate though Stokely goes back to being a sourpuss.

Match #6 – Tag Team Match: Top Flight (Dante and Darius Martin) vs. Michael Allen Richard Clark and Shaun Moore

Darius and Moore start, they trade arm wringers then Darius grabs a cravate. Side headlock from Darius then Moore just kicks him to stop the antics. Manhattan Drop from Darius then a neckbreaker. Dante tags in and unloads in the corner, then Darius tags back in and hits a suplex, Dante back in with a hilo after tagging in. Double drop kick to Clark then Darius tags back in. Clark trips up a running Darius and Moore hits a dropkick to stop the momentum. Clark tags in and hits a powerslam then does some pushups on Darius. Darius just kicks him in the face then lands punches but Moore tags back in and they keep Darius isolated. Darius fights out of the corner and tags in Dante. Dante runs wild for a bit and he’s still a ridiculous athlete, he hits a high crossbody but Clark breaks up the pin. Darius with an assisted DDT to Clark then Dante dives onto him. In the ring Darius spikes Moore with a lifting DDT, then Dante follows up with his between the legs Frog Splash to get the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Top Flight won in 4:15

Rating: Giromontina squash
Thoughts: Almost competitive enough to get a rating, but ultimately fell just a little short. That said Moore and Clark were solid here, while Top Flight continues to look very good.

Match #7: Athena vs. Taylor Rising

Athena lands an elbow to floor Rising right away. Athena kicks Rising to the floor then follows her out there and begins slamming her into the barricades. Rising counters and sends Athena into the ring steps, but when she tries to follow up Athena hits an Alabama Slam on the floor to absolutely cut that off. Back in the ring now Rising tries to fight back with a back elbow and a diving hurricanrana. Rising hits a Pedigree but only 2. Rising heads up top, but misses a flying nothing and Athena hits a shotgun dropkick then a Meteora in the corner. Crossface from Athena and that’ll do it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Athena won in 3:21

Rating: 2 stars
Thoughts: They packed some physicality into that one for as short as it was. At least this one felt less rote than the last dozen Athena matches on Elevation, and Rising looked pretty good here.

Post match Athena with a gordbuster over the ropes to send Rising out of the ring and to the floor. On the floor Athena face plants Rising onto the belt.

Match #8 – Tag Team Match: Naturally Limitless (Keith Lee and Dustin Rhodes) vs. Levi Knight and Jessie V

Dustin and Knight are up first, and Dustin runs him over then hits an arm drag and tags in Lee. Lee and Dustin with some corner work then Lee hits a back body drop. Jessie tags in and runs into Lee but can’t knock him over, then Lee hits a shoulder block to floor him. Lee wrenches on the arm for a bit but Jessie fights back with strikes but that just annoys Lee who lands a headbutt. Jessie runs into a standing belly to belly suplex and he runs over to tag in Knight who gets one of his own. Dustin tags back in and lands some strikes then a snap powerslam to Jessie. Lee lifts Dustin, no mean feat, and tosses him into Jessie and Knight. Spinebuster to Jessie from Lee then Dustin hits the Reckoning to pick up the win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Naturally Limitless won in 2:41

Rating: Jack be Little squash
Thoughts: Decent squash, Lee and Dustin are still figuring out their team dynamics and chemistry so this kind of match is appropriate for them.

Mark Sterilng talks on the way to the ring, giving introductions to Tony Nese while mocking Winnipeg sporting history. Well nice to know cheap heat still exists I guess.

Match #9 – Tag Team Match: Dark Order (John Silver and Alex Reynolds) vs. Tony Nese and Ari Daivari w/ Mark Sterling

Ari and Nese attack just before the bell and we’ve got ringside brawling. Silver winds up isolated in the ring, he swings chops at Nese but Sterling distracts the ref allowing Nese and Ari to stomp on Silver on the floor. Back in the ring Ari tags in and lands some stomps then tags Nese back in. Silver tries to fight out of the corner, but Nese wipes him out with a spinning kick after rolling through a Sunset Flip. Again Silver tries to fire up with strikes, runs into a series of kicks though but he flips out of a German suplex then hits a double stomp to Nese and both men are down. Both men tag out and Reynolds runs wild for a bit, sending both Ari and Nese out of the ring then hitting a suicide dive onto both of them. Back in the ring Ari runs into a pop up knee then a Tiger Driver from Reynolds but Nese breaks up the pin. Silver and Nese fight, both are sent out then Ari hits a reverse DDT on Reynolds. Nese tags in but Silver breaks up their tandem move. Kicks are sent all over the ring before Ari eats an assisted uppercut. That leaves Nese to take the ping pong sequence to get the win for Dark Order.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Dark Order won in 4:55

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: Again, competent but this felt a little heatless. Still it’s nice to see Dark Order actually gaining momentum and possibly having some direction at the moment.

The final score: review Good
The 411
This was about the right mix of competitive matches and squashes, and while there wasn't a really standout match there wasn't anything really bad either. Taylor Rising put in a good showing, Dark Order picked up a win, Emi Sakura continues to be valuable in her role, honestly apart from some timing issues in the opener there wasn't a whole lot wrong here. Good episode of Elevation.