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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 74) Review 8.01.22

August 1, 2022 | Posted by Robert Winfree
AEW Dark: Elevation Image Credit: AEW
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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 74) Review 8.01.22  

Alright everyone, time for another episode of AEW Dark: Elevation. Tonight we’ve got Athena, Cole Konrad, Julia Hart, and more than a few multi-man matches to pad the old run time. The main event has some potential when Willow Nightingale, Toni Storm, and Hikaru Shida team up to take on Marina Shafir, Emi Sakura, and Nyla Rose.

Tony Schiavone and Mark Henry are on the mic tonight.

Match #1: Julia Hart vs. LMK

Hart stalks LMK then they trade slaps. That annoyed Hart who trips LMK down and she unloads with strikes on the mat. LMK grabs a small package for a 1 count. Now LMK fires up with strikes but Hart cuts her off with a back elbow then lands knees to the face from a cravat hold. LMK unloads more strikes in the corner, then Hart hits her with the handstand clothesline. Hart with an enzi-lariat then grabs her Rings of Saturn variant to get the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Julia Hart won in 2:35

Rating: Mammut. . . SQUASH

Extended squash but a squash never the less. Hart continues to grow into his persona and she’s definitely cleaned up a lot of her ring work. The finish here got a little sloppy, but this was pretty clean as a general rule.

Match #2: Leila Grey vs. JC

They tie up, Grey grabs a side headlock and JC counters into an arm wringer. Next they trade arm wringer escapes and counters then Grey forces JC into a corner and starts laying in strikes. JC with a counter in the corner then an uppercut but she runs into an X-Factor from Grey. Grey starts with strikes in the corner then a snap suplex and a senton. Grey hits a facebuster across the knee and pins to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Leila Grey won in 2:23

Rating: Kabocha. . . SQUASH

Nice little squash for Grey here as she looks to establish herself as a main roster player.

Match #3 – 10 Man Tag Team Match: Butcher, Blade, Angelico, and Private Party (Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy) w/ Jora Johl vs. Joey Ace, Victory Chase, Julio Cruz, and Waves & Curls (Jaylen Brandyn and Traevon Jordan)

The roster guys jump the jobbers at the bell and unload on them for a bit before isolating Brandyn for a Doomsday Blockbuster. Jordan gets wiped out by Quen on the outside. Cruz comes in and takes out Kassidy but Butcher and Blade tag in and take out Cruz with a clothesline. Chase comes in and is immediately dropped by Butcher. Blade tags in and Chase takes a tandem leg drop. Now Ace is in, as is Angelico. Angelico grabs a new submission hold, kind of a pendulum bow and arrow/cloverleaf, and Ace gives it up.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Butcher, Blade, Angelico, and Private Party won in 2:12

Rating: Queensland Blue. . . SQUASH

A bit too crowded for my tastes, but thankfully it didn’t over stay it’s welcome.

Match #4 – 8 Man Tag Team Match: The Factory (QT Marshall, Anthony Ogogo, Aaron Solo, and Nick Comoroto) vs. Bobby Orlando, Bryce Donovan, Brett Gosselin, and T.U.G Cooper

Marshall and Gosselin start us off, but Marhsall tags in Solo. Solo unloads with strikes right away, then hits a back suplex and tags in Comoroto. Suplex with a drop kick assist from Comoroto, and Gosselin tags in Cooper. Comoroto tags in Ogogo who goes to the strikes right away then hits a belly to belly suplex. Orlando tags in and gets shut down immediately as Ogogo hits a modified F5. Ogogo headbutts the other jobbers off of the apron, Donovan objects and jumps at him into a right hand. Comoroto and Solo hit the double stomp Decapitation then Marshall tags in. Marshall sort of struts, then hits the Diamond Cutter to end this.

OFFICIAL RESULT: The Factory won in 3:33

Rating: Red kuri. . . SQUASH

Putting this on right after another big multi-man match was not a good layout decision. But Comoroto and Ogogo looks to be steadily improving their work.

Match #5: Cole Karter vs. Serpentico w/ Luther

Luther looks like he got on some gear during his time off, he’s slimmed out a bit as well as gained a fair bit of mass and definition in his arms and shoulders. Serpentico jumps Karter off of a distraction and lands strikes, but Karter cuts him off with a drop kick. Scoop slam from Karter then a back suplex. The crowd is surprisingly pro-Serpentico. Karter heads up top, but Luther holds him so Serpentico can land a kick. Serpentico with some stomps in the corner then he distracts the ref so Luther can lay in punches behind the refs back. Some punches from Serpentico then he grabs a chin lock, Karter fights back with strikes but Serpentico hits a hurricanrana then a Flatline for a 2 count. Serpentico heads up top but takes too long so he doesn’t hit the flying nothing and Karter fires up with clotheslines and a boot. Karter runs into a back elbow but hits a snap powerslam. Now Karter heads up top and hits a 450 Splash to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Cole Karter won in 4:02

Rating: 2 stars

Karter has the look, and he’s clearly a good athlete, but he really struggled to get the crowd to care about him at all. Even the cheap shenanigans from Luther couldn’t generate much sympathy or good will for him out there.

Match #6: Athena vs. Christina Marie

They tie up and Athena tosses Marie down then hits an arm drag and trips up Marie in the ropes. Twisting hilo from Athena connects, then Marie fights back with a throat chop and a Snake Eyes. Scoop slam from Marie gets a 1 count, then she grabs a chin lock. Marie switches to a sleeper hold, Athena starts fading then revives herself and fights free with a headlock throw. Strikes from Athena then an exploder suplex and a discus elbow. Athena hits an elevated Codebreaker then heads up top to hit The Eclipse and pick up the win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Athena won in 2:48

Rating: Trombone. . . SQUASH

Relatively giving match from Athena as Marie didn’t look like a complete chump, but at the same time this still qualifies as a squash.

Cole Karter gets an interview in the back, he’s asked about joining The Factory and speak of the devil here they are. Marshall talks (never a good idea) and says he’s not like other programs that Karter might have had dealings with. The Factory is sacred, it’s family, and Karter decides to join up. Karter as a heel is definitely a better fit for him.

Match #7 – Trios Match: Toni Storm, Willow Nightingale, and Hikaru Shida vs. Marina Shafir, Emi Sakura, and Nyla Rose w/ Vickie Guerrero

Storm and Shafir start us off, they tie up then Shafir hits a mat return but Storm counters into a front headlock. Shafir with a single leg, Storm fights up and counters into another front headlock. Ankle pick from Shafir, Storm rotates through and grabs a side headlock then hits a misdirection drop kick. Nyla tags in and boots Storm down, then Storm starts to stick and move before she gets caught with a powerslam. Emi tags in and starts chopping away at Storm before tossing her across the ring. Shafir tags back in and hits a back suplex. Leg kicks from Shafir then a judo toss. Another hip toss from Shafir then she tags in Nyla. Nyla misses an elbow drop, then misses a knee drop before stomping on Storm and telling her to hold still. Nyla then tries a splash, but Storm moves again and tags in Willow. Willow starts striking with Nyla and gets the better of things, Shafir tries to save Nyla but Willow wipes her out with a Pounce. Corner clothesline from Willow to Nyla then she heads up top and hits a drop kick for a 2 count. Shida tags in but Nyla catches a knee attack and Shafir tags in. Judo throw from Shafir then she tags in Emi. Emi chops Shida in the corner then tries the corner cross body but Shida intercepts her with a hurricanrana but she runs into a tilt a whirl backbreaker. Now Emi goes for the Queen’s Gambit but Shida fights free and lands a roundhouse kick then an ax kick. Everyone jumps in for a brawl and Shafir and Nyla take a double suplex from the other team. Shida then stacks up Nyla and Shafir in the corner and suplexes Emi onto them setting up Storm for a hip attack onto all three of them. A Falcon Arrow from Shida to Emi connects and Shida gets the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Toni Storm, Willow Nightingale, and Hikaru Shida won in 8:05

Rating: 2.5 stars

Solid trios match, Willow and Nyla actually had an interesting bit of interaction there, especially given how generally protected Nyla is. Shafir still needs a lot of work, I appreciate the style she’s going for but there’s mechanical issues to be ironed out, plus she still struggles with mid match communication. All in all a solid main event though.

The final score: review Average
The 411
A bit squash heavy this week, and frankly a poorly thought out layout hold this back from being Good. But the main event was solid, Cole Karter makes the somewhat predictable heel turn in a backstage segment, and Julia Hart continues to grow into her current gimmick. Putting two big multi-man matches like that back to back was a bit of a head scratcher though, to say nothing of how forgettable those matches were. Ultimately this falls into the Average category for Elevation.