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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 89) Review 11.14.22

November 15, 2022 | Posted by Robert Winfree
AEW Dark: Elevation Image Credit: AEW
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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 89) Review 11.14.22  

Hello people, it’s time for more Elevation action. Tonight we’ve got Tay Melo, Matt Hardy, 10, Athena, and a main event of Mei Suruga and Emi Sakura taking on Riho and Willow Nightingale. That has some potential. Paul Wight and Matt Menard are on commentary.

Match #1 – Tag Team Match: Gates of Agony (Toa Liona and Bishop Kaun) w/ Prince Nana vs. Big Cuzzo and Teddy Goodz

Kaun shoulder blocks Teddy down then tags in Toa. Toa lands some clubbing blows then drops Teddy with a clothesline. Teddy fights off the shoulders and tags in Cuzzo. Cuzzo runs wild for a second before getting Pounced into the ropes by Toa. Kaun with a fireman’s carry double knee gutbuster to Cuzzo and that’ll do it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Gates of Agony won in 1:37

Rating: Reticulata. . . SQUASH

Gates of Agony have a good look, but they’re not terribly good in the ring.

Post match Teddy eats a belly to belly suplex from Toa, in case you forgot they’re the heels.

Match #2: Tay Melo vs. Paris Van Dale

Tay with a quick monkey flip then looks for an armbar but Paris kicks her away. Judo throws from Tay then a hook kick to the back. Running knee in the corner, then another couple of knees trikes before Tay tries the DD-Tay, but Paris avoids that only to eat the Tay-KO and Tay gets the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Tay Melo won in 1:33

Rating: Romanesco. . . SQUASH

Basic squash.

Match #3 – Trios Match: Matt Hardy and Private Party (Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen) vs. Kyle Bradley, Smiley Fairchild, and Channing Thomas

Smiley and Quen get us going, Smiley with a double springboard arm drag but Quen cartwheel through that then hits a drop kick. Kassidy tags in and hits the arm then tags in Hardy to drop an elbow on the arm as well. Hardy clocks Bradley when Bradley gets a little froggy then tags in Kassidy. Kassidy cheap shots Thomas then hits Poetry in Motion and tags Quen. Quen dives onto Thomas then Hardy gets Smiley on his shoulders so Quen can hit a drop kick Doomsday Device. Quen gets pushed off the corner by Bradley and Smiley tags in Thomas. Thomas with a knee drop then tags in Bradley. Bradley has a suplex countered then Quen tags in Hardy. Hardy runs wild then hits Thomas with a Side Effect. Double kick from Quen and Kassidy then a sit out Razor’s Edge but Thomas and Smiley break up the pin. That leads to things breaking down, but Thomas and Smiley get low bridged then stereo asai moonsaults from Kassidy and Quen as Hardy locks up The Leech on Bradley to get the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Matt Hardy and Private Party won in 3:46

Rating: Spaghetti. . . SQUASH

I feel like Private Party have really plateaued in terms of their in ring stuff, they’re both athletic but struggle with connective tissue and telling a compelling story. These are the kinds of matches they should have been having to help build those skills 18 months or so ago.

Match #4: Athena vs. Kayla Sparks

Athena ties up with Kayla, Kayla grabs a side headlock then Athena heads out of the ring. Kayla hits a baseball slide, which annoys Athena. Athena slams Kayla into the ring apron then crushes her with a gordbuster on the floor. Meteora into the ring steps and Athena heads into the ring to demand the count, she mockingly counts along but Kayla gets back in the ring. Some attempted mat wrestling from Kayla and Athena just drops her with a super kick. Kayla hits the Regal Cutter for a 1 count. Another super kick from Athena then she unloads with mounted punches. Some clubbing blows from Athena then a guillotine choke from Athena gets the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Athena won in 3:08

Rating: Verrucosa. . . SQUASH

Athena seems committed to the angry jobber killer persona, which is a step up from her total lack of personality in AEW before this point but I still question how far she’ll go given how the top heels in AEW suck up so much of the oxygen and air time.

Post match Athena holds the choke, then hits the O Face for good measure.

Match #5 – Tag Team Match: The Butcher and The Blade w/ The Bunny vs. Waves and Curls (Jaylen Brandyn and Traevon Jordan)

Butcher and Blade jump Brandyn and Jordan at the bell, tossing Brandyn outside. Butcher chops down Jordan then lays in a headbutt. Jordan avoids a back suplex then runs into a big boot. Brandyn tags in and gets kicked down. Blade tags in and lays in a chop, then gets Brandyn on his shoulder so he and Butcher can steal the finish of the Holy Demon Army (a chokeslam assisted back suplex) leading to Jordan breaking up the pin. Bunny distracts Jordan and Blade clotheslines him out of the ring. Butcher tags in, Drag the Lake follows and we’re done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Butcher and Blade won in 1:15

Rating: Tschermak. . . SQUASH

Delicious squash, though I’m not sure if I’m giving points or taking them away for the Taue and Kawada move.

Match #6 – ROH Pure Title Match: (c) Daniel Garcia vs. Leon Ruffin

Garcia with a quick takedown then some gator rolls and he mocks Ruffin. Kicks and chops now from Garcia, then a clothesline out of the corner. Ruffin snaps Garcia over the top rope then avoids Garcia and hits a drop kick then an arm drag. Body shot from Garcia then he shoves Ruffin off the top and to the floor. Garcia follows Ruffin out there and hits a back suplex onto the apron. Back in the ring Garcia lands a kick to the head. Some more kicks from Garcia then he starts stomping on Ruffin. Chop from Garcia but he runs into an enziguri. A few more strikes from Ruffin then some flying forearms then he rebounds off the ropes and hits a clothesline. Corkscrew cutter from Ruffin gets a 2 count. Garcia lands a closed fist punch to the head and gets his first warning because of it. Butterfly suplex into the corner from Garcia then the hammer and anvil elbows into a choke and Ruffin fights to his feet with Garcia on his back but Garcia switches to a Dragon Sleeper and we’re done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Daniel Garcia retained the title in 5:40

Rating: 2.5 stars

Decent match but it felt slow and over stayed it’s welcome.

Match #7: Jora Johl vs. 10

Jora attacks 10 at the bell and hits something very similar to an Attitude Adjustment for a 2 count while Wight jokes about taking a similar move from another guy from Boston. 10 fires up with clotheslines then a release Blue Thunder Bomb a la John Cena. Spinebuster from 10, but Jora lands a super kick to avoids the Brodieline, but 10 just hits it on the second attempt and gets the win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: 10 won in 1:30

Rating: Winterhorn. . . SQUASH

Average squash, nothing to see here.

Match #8: Serpentico vs. AR Fox

Serpentico attacks at the bell but Fox turns it around and drop kicks him out of the ring. Fox lands a kick from the ring then a Shooting Star Press to the floor. Back in the ring Serpentico avoids a double stomp and lands a hurricanrana then a kneeling super kick and DDT follow up for a 2 count. Fox avoids a corner attack and trips up Serpentico then rolls through into a twisting Brainbuster for a 2 count. Bounce back Stunner from Fox then a rolling Cutter to follow up but only a near fall. Fox heads to the apron and rolls through into the ring but is caught in a Flatliner, then he grabs the ropes on the pin and that might save Fox. Fox with a Spanish Fly off the top then a 450 splash to get the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: AR Fox won in 3:07

Rating: 2.5 stars

Fun little match, they put a lot into a short amount of time but it didn’t quite feel over stuffed.

Match #9 – Tag Team Match: Mei Suruga and Emi Sakura w/ Ballyin Akki vs. Riho and Willow Nightingale

Willow and Emi start us off, they argue about who should be wearing purple then start running into each other but neither woman will hit the mat until Willow hits a misdirection shoulder block. Emi responds with a shoulder block that drops Willow then Mei comes in as well for a double team but Willow over powers both of them then tags in Riho. Riho tries a 619 but Emi blocks it before landing a Mongolian chop. Double underhook gutbuster from Emi then Mei comes in for some tea taunting. Emi tosses Riho around then tags in Mei. Mei bites the arm of Riho and grabs a full nelson. Riho fights back with a roll through into a double stomp. Willow tags back in and hits a corner attack then a Pounce that launches Mei across the ring. The straps are down for Willow but Mei rakes the eyes to escape a fireman’s carry then hits a drop kick and tags out. Emi with chops in the corner and hits her corner cross body. Willow catches a running Emi with a spinebuster and tags out. Riho hits a cross body then grabs a satellite Sunset flip for a 2 count. Emi hits a tilt a whirl backbreaker then drops Willow onto Riho to set up the Transformer from Emi and Mei. Emi now heads up top for a moonsault but takes too long and Riho is able to roll away. Riho up top for the double stomp and a near fall. Emi hides behind the ref and Akki trips up Riho. Rolling cradle form Emi and Willow has to break up the pin. Mei and Emi go for Willow but Willow hits a double clothesline to floor them both. Willow with a Death Valley Driver to Emi, Riho follows up with a running double knee strike and picks up the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Riho and Willow Nightingale won in 6:14

Rating: 3 stars

Enough better than average to earn the 3 star mark, this was a fair bit of fun and Willow is getting over. Good main event.

The final score: review Average
The 411
More of an average kind of episode this week, mostly saved by the last two matches. Several matches were pretty lethargic and the crowd, even by Elevation standards, was relatively dead. The last two matches warrant your attention though, and Willow Nightingale has been a delightful addition to the AEW women's side of things, she and Riho made for a pretty good team.