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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 19) Review

July 19, 2021 | Posted by Robert Winfree
AEW Dark: Elevation
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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 19) Review  

Another Monday, another episode of AEW Dark: Elevation. Tonight we’ve got Eddie Kingston and Penta El Zero Miedo in the main event against JD Drake and Cezar Bononi of the Wingmen plus appearances by Powerhouse Hobbs, Lance Archer, Orange Cassidy, and more.

A quick promo from Eddie Kingston and Penta El Zero Miedo in the back, Eddie and Penta are the only guys in over a year to beat the Young Bucks then they get screwed over but that’s OK. Tonight they’re going to make Drake and Bononi pay for their bad luck, sorry but sometimes that’s just how it happens. Penta speaks Spanish, Alex Abrahantes translates for him and he claims they’ll clip the wings of the Wingmen and tonight they’ll dish out a few makeovers to the Wingmen. Seriously, put a title on Eddie Kingston you cowards.

The usual intro follows, and we’ve got fans in attendance for this one. Paul Wight and Tony Shciavone are on commentary, they’re joined by Jake “The Snake” Roberts for our first match. Lance Archer is abusing his opponent on the entrance ramp as they move to the ring for our first match.

Match #1: Lance Archer vs. Zachariah

Archer puts Zachariah on the top rope and chops him to the mat. Spinning uranage slam, then a chokeslam, then the Black Out and we’re done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Lance Archer won

Rating: Delicata. . . SQUASH

Delicious squash.

Match #2 – Tag Team Match: Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico) vs. Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy w/ Kris Statlander and Wheeler Yuta

Taylor and Serpentico start us off. They hit the ropes and Taylor hits a shoulder block then an arm drag. Cassidy tags in, as does Luther. Luther tries to stop the hands going in the pockets, tries to get his own hands in the pockets of Cassidy but Cassidy is able to stop him. Finally the hands go in the pockets, the usual spots follow then Serpentico tags in and gets back dropped. Taylor tags in, on the foot of Cassidy because his hands are still firmly in his pockets. The laziest Hart Attack follows, and Serpentico tags out. Luther has had enough of the shenanigans and kicks down Taylor. Serpentico back in and he gets used as a weapon by Luther for a bit. Luther back in, they’re keeping Taylor isolated with quick tags now. Assisted DDT from Chaos Project but that just gets a near fall. Taylor fights back and tosses Serpentico into Luther then tags out. Cassidy and Luther square off, Cassidy with his leg kicks then hits the ropes for a tilt a whirl DDT but Serpentico saves the matchup. Serpentico avoids a Beach Break and super kicks Cassidy. Both men tag out, here’s Serpentico with kicks to Taylor then Luther lands a clothesline. Taylor is able to fight them off as Serpentico was looking to climb the ropes. Taylor tosses Serpentico at Luther, but Luther catches him then whacks Taylor with Serpentico. All that allows Cassidy to come in with an Orange Punch to Luther, who collapses onto Serpentico then Taylor and Cassidy sit on Luther to get the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy won

Rating: 2 stars

Decent little comedy match, Luther and Serpentico both played off of Cassidy and Taylor well enough, and Luther going for the pockets was a funny spot. Post match The Blade and The Bunny show up on the entrance ramp to remind us there’s going to be a match between Cassidy and Blade on Wednesday.

Match #3: Hikaru Shida vs. Dulce Tormenta

They tie up, trade arm wringers and escapes then Shida goes to a kick. They hit the ropes, Tormenta avoids a drop kick but then gets arm dragged. Running knee from Shida in the corner. Tormenta to the apron, she lands a kick and climbs the ropes then hits a diving arm drag. Shida rolls out of the ring, then heads back in to land an enziguri on a charging Tormenta. Awkward sequence from Shida ends in a 2 count, Tormenta kicks out then avoids a Katana and gets a modified Indian Death Lock into a pinning situation but Shida kicks out. Tormenta misses a corner charge, misses a seated kick and runs into a flying knee. Shida hits an Arawashi Driver but only gets 2 on the cover. Shida sets for the Katana, lands it to the shoulder of Tormenta and she pins to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Hikaru Shida won

Rating: Gem. . . SQUASH

I debated going the squash rating here, but ultimately erred on that side. Tormenta looked a bit awkward, and these two had some communication or timing issues that were rather evident.

Smart Mark Sterling is in the back with Jade Cargill and the head of film and television from a studio. Jade is a big fan of various comic properties, her overall aesthetic is inspired by Storm. Mr. executive sees a lot of potential for Jade and would love to bring her out to Hollywood and get her talking with the right people because they see big things in her future. Not the strongest of these Jade segments.

Match #4: Powerhouse Hobbs w/ Ricky Starks and Hook vs. Lucas Chase

Hobbs overpowers Chase and flattens him with a body block. A spinebuster from Hobbs follows and we’re done. Apparently he calls his version Town Business.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Powerhouse Hobbs won

Rating: Giromontina. . . SQUASH

Delicious squash.

Match #5: Frankie Kazarian vs. Baron Black

The tie up, Kazarian then starts mat wrestling and hits a shoulder block then grabs another side headlock. Kazarian back flips out of a suplex, hits a drop toe hold and goes back to the side headlock. Black with a cheap shot as they were breaking in the corner. More chops from Black and an overhead throw. Kazarian fights back with chops of his own, but Black cuts him off with an Atomic Drop then a Backstabber. Kazarian avoids a corner rush, gets a roll up for 2 then starts laying in running strikes. Running clothesline from Kazarian, then the Crossface Chickenwing follows and Black has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Frankie Kazarian won

Rating: 1.5 stars

They gave Black enough to avoid a full on squash, but not enough to actually build a match. Black has been a real trooper for these shows, I’m a little surprised he’s still without a win. I mean Fuego del Sol got a win recently, you’d think they could get Black at least a feel good one. Post match Brandon Cutler shows up, but trips getting into the ring and Kazarian clobbers him with a clothesline. Cutler had brought some spray in with him, Kazarian gets it and sprays it into Cutler’s eyes. Cutler is very blinded, and Kazarian clobbers him with another clothesline but here’s Doc Gallows from behind to land a big boot. A sit out chokeslam follows and Gallows stands tall.

Powerhouse Hobbs is in the back, he says there’s four because the fifth couldn’t make it. He puts over Starks then says Cage doesn’t cooperate and so he got laid out. Now listen to him, stay home and don’t come back because if he does the same thing is going to happen again.

Match #6: Angelico w/ Private Party (Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen) vs. Jungle Boy w/ Luchasaurus

The tie up, then trade arm wringers and escapes, Jungle Boy goes for the Snare Trap but Angelico gets to the ropes before it gets close. Another tie up, Angelico keeps trying to get the arm and they wind up trading arm wringers and escapes before Angelico gets an arm drag and poses. Jungle Boy gets a rear waist lock, then escapes an arm wringer when Angelico tries to counter. Flipping arm drop from Jungle Boy then a drop kick drops Angelico. Angelico grabs a side headlock, they run the ropes for a bit and Angelico winds up hitting a drop kick to the knee as Jungle Boy was on the apron. Out of the ring now and Angelico slams Jungle Boy around the ringside area for a bit. The ref gets distracted by Luchasaurus so Private Party get in some cheap shots on Jungle Boy. Angelico back out of the ring and starts brawling, he posts Jungle Boy and heads into the ring looking for a count out win. Jungle Boy back into the ring, gets a schoolboy roll up for 2 but Angelico blasts him with an elbow when he gets free. Some chops from Jungle Boy but he runs into a back elbow from Angelico. Angelico goes after the leg again, he ties up Jungle Boy in a hold I don’t recognize but Jungle Boy is able to get to the ropes and force a break. Jungle Boy with a series of strikes, then a drop kick to the knee of Angelico and a running clothesline to floor Angelico. A wrist clutch Angle Slam from Jungle Boy gets a 2 count, they fight back up and Angelico rolls through on a Russian leg sweep into a Mouse Trap pin but only gets 2. Angelico lands a head kick but misses a big boot in the corner so Jungle Boy can tie him up in the tree of woe and hits a basement drop kick. Jungle Boy locks up the Snare Trap and Angelico has to tap.


Rating: 3 stars

Slightly generous, but that was enough better than 2.5 to justify it I think. They worked some smart mat wrestling, peppered in the strikes, and overall really gelled together.

Match #7: Julia Hart w/ Varsity Blonds (Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr.) vs. Red Velvet

They tie up, trade arm wringers and escapes for a bit. Hart hits the softest shoulder block you’ll see, they both evade each other and show off with various split related moves. They shake hands after the sequence in a show of good will. Hart lands a back elbow, Velvet fires back with strikes of her own then hits a single leg drop kick. Split assisted jawbreaker from Hart then a handspring clothesline in the corner and a split bulldog. Hart with a standing moonsault for a 2 count. Velvet takes a kick to the body, then fights back with a back elbow and running clotheslines. Hart charges into the ropes and gets low bridged, Velvet hits a suicide dive onto Pillman then they head back into the ring. Back kick from Hart then she heads up top, and hits a rotating splash for a near fall. Velvet fights back with some strikes, then a really awkward ax kick into the Overdrive to get the win.


Rating: 1.5 stars

Hart is improving with each outing, so kudos for that. She’s good at the acrobatics but when things get physical, especially when contact is required, she’s still struggling. I’m not a fan of the finisher Velvet tried out here, but this kind of show is partially for experimentation so trying out stuff makes sense.

Match #8: Brock Anderson and Lee Johnson vs. Gunn Club (Billy and Colten Gunn)

Colten and Johnson start us off. Quick arm drag from Colten, Johnson returns it and they stand off. Side headlock takeover from Colten, Johnson fights up and gets his own. The tit for tat these guys are doing is pretty smooth. They trade arm drags then stand off, and slap hands in a show of comradery. Anderson tags in and hip tosses Colten. Billy tags in, he and Anderson trade arm wringers then Billy clobbers Anderson with a right hand. Colten tags back in and stomps on Anderson then hits a suplex. Billy back in, hits a backbreaker. Anderson fights back with a few strikes and both men tag out. Johnson is the house on fire for a bit, he floors Colten with a neck breaker and drop kicks Billy. Colten wants the Colt .45, Johnson counters with a small package but Colten is able to use a handful of tights to reverse the leverage and get the pin.


Rating: 2 stars

Very abrupt ending to that one, but Billy plays a great mentor to the younger guys in these matches.

Match #9: Fuego del Sol vs. Luchasaurus w/ Jungle Boy

Fuego tries to go at Luchasaurus early, he’s able to out quick him for a bit but eventually Luchasaurus catches him and tosses him into the corner. Fuego gets caught on a springboard cross body, Luchasaurus with a military press, but Fuego slips free and lands a kick to the head but that just angers Luchasaurus. Luchasaurus counters a tornado DDT then tosses Fuego off. Chokeslam into a knee lift to the face from Luchasaurus and that’ll do it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Luchasaurus won

Rating: Kronenkurbis. . . SQUASH

Predictable squash, but Fuego is quite over in his perpetual underdog role. Post match they play nice with Fuego, because we’re all good guys.

Match #10: Shawn Dean vs. Dante Martin

They tie up, trade acrobatics as they run the ropes before Martin hits a springboard cross body for 2. Dean fights with chops and corner shoulder blocks. Senton from Dean gets a 2. Dean goes to a rear chin lock, Martin fights back and lands a right hand. More strikes from Martin, then he avoids a corner rush and follows with a double springboard moonsault for a near fall. Dean’s turn to fight back with a striking flurry, then a Tiger Driver for a 2 count. Martin evades Dean for a bit, then sets him on the top rope and catches him in a modified Death Valley Driver for a 2 count. Dean gets hit with a scorpion kick, then a flipping stunner from Martin connects to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Dante Martin won

Rating: 1.5 stars

Martin is a bit of a spot monkey, his athleticism is impressive but thus far his matches are just a string of moves with nothing connecting them.

Match #11 – Tag Team Match: Tay Conti and Serena Deeb vs. Vertvixen and Jazmine Allure

Deeb was working a bit more heelish last time out, let’s see if she continues that here. Deeb and Vertvixen start us off. Some quick mat work from Deeb, she’s working the arm of Vertvixen and then tags in Conti. Conti with a rolling schoolboy rollup for 2, then lays in kicks. A lot of roll ups from Conti thus far, then she grabs a triangle choke, switches to an omoplata and uses that to set up arm throws. Super kick from Conti, but Allure is able to get ahold of her hair in the heel corner and stall her momentum. Conti clocks Allure but gets slammed down by Vertvixen. Vertvixen tags in and they start double teaming Conti in the corner. Conti avoids a dive from Allure, kicks her down then tags Deeb. Deeb runs wild for a bit, until Vertvixen hits a cheap kick. Deeb isn’t taking that, she hits a Dragon screw leg whip through the ropes on Vertvixen. Allure gets taken down by the leg, Deeb sets for an Indian death lock, but Vertvixen is in and eats a suplex that also completes the attack on Allure’s knee. Serenity Lock from Deeb as Conti takes out Vertvixen to make sure there’s no interference and Allure has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Tay Conti and Serena Deeb won

Rating: Maliformis. . . SQUASH

Deeb did keep some of the heelish tendencies, but didn’t really engage in any rule breaking. Conti and Deeb make for an interesting pairing.

Cezar Bononi talks on the way to the ring, he laments the lack of Ryan Nemeth and Peter Avalon due to the air ports. He goes off in Portuguese, Drake gets the mic and says that if they can’t make you pretty they’ll damn sure make you ugly.

Match #12 – Tag Team Match: Eddie Kingston and Penta El Zero Miedo w/ Alex Abrahantes vs. JD Drake and Cezar Bononi

Drake and Penta get things going. Penta and Drake stare off, then Penta removes the glove. It takes 3 times of Penta tossing it to Abrahantes before Abrahantes actually catches it. Penta and Drake start trading chops, then Penta lands a super kick. Springboard cross body from Penta then a tilt a whirl headscissors and running leg kick then he tags in Kingston. Kingston goes to the chops, and menaces Drake away when he misses one then Drake tags Bononi. More chops from Kingston, but Bononi fires back with strikes of his own then hits a side slam after a cheap shot from Drake. Drake tags in, and the heels are isolating Kingston with some double team moves. Bononi back in and starts working body shots. Bononi is after the back of Kingston, and sends him into the corner hard enough to drop him. Drake back in and starts laying in strikes in the corner. Kingston fires back with chops and Drake pokes the eye to cut him off. Kingston hits an STO to drop Drake and both men are down. Penta tags in and he hits Sling Blades on both men then starts kicking Bononi in the leg. More kicks from Penta, then a Victory Roll on Bononi and dives to hit a DDT on Drake then he super kicks Bononi. Kingston tags back in and they hit tandem kicks on Bononi. Drake takes stereo kicks from both men but wont stay down for a pin. Penta tags back in, hits a flying double stomp to the crotch of Drake behind the refs back and Bononi has to save the match. Bononi and Kingston start brawling on the outside, Kingston posts Bononi to win that bit while Penta lays in chops. Penta wants the Fear Factor but Drake back drops out of it. Roll up from Drake but the ref sees his feet on the ropes and forces a break. Kick from Drake, then he heads up top for a moonsault but he eats canvas then a super kick from Penta, Backfist To The Future from Kingston, Penta follows up with The Sacrifice arm breaker and pins to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Eddie Kingston and Penta El Zero Miedo won

Rating: 2 stars

Bononi has a good look, but everything he does in the ring feels uncoordinated and either too soft or unintentionally stiff. Those are things that can be worked out given time though. Kingston and Penta are still awesome.

Post match Kingston gets a mic, and lets Penta talk. Penta plays with the crowd for a bit, that man is over like Rover. He speaks Spanish for most of his promo, then goes to English to say he loves the fans. Abrahantes gets the mic and translates, Penta expressed joy to be in Austin, and can’t wait to be back here in this venue with these fans as soon as possible. Kingston gets the mic back, he says last time he talked shit he got in trouble, but he’s going to speak from his heart like he always does. But before he does it feels great to see the fans again and everything tonight felt amazing and he thanks the fans. AEW took a chance on him, and on a lot of guys, that’s why he talks like he does and that’s why he’s AEW forever. So, in closing, if you ain’t with AEW then you ain’t shit. And per usual “tip your waitress, try the veal, and get home safe everyone”. Again, put a title on Kingston.

The final score: review Average
The 411
Solid but unspectacular episode. A few hiccups in some matches drag this down a bit, but the show is designed to build sizzle reels and help younger talent get reps in.