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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 99) Review 1.23.23

January 23, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
AEW Dark: Elevation Image Credit: AEW
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Winfree’s AEW Dark: Elevation (Ep. 99) Review 1.23.23  

Hey there people, back to Elevation time. Tonight we’ve got a pretty short episode, and it looks to be pretty squash heavy. Butcher and Blade will be in action, as will LFI, Dark Order, and Emi Sakura. Anyway Ian Riccaboni has joined Paul Wight and Matt Menard, probably a good call as Menard and Wight have good chemistry but it still feels like a lead voice is needed.

Match #1: Skye Blue vs. Zoe Dubois

They tie up, Blue with some quick throws. Blue with a kick from the apron but Zoe off balances her with a rope shot then hits a pump kick in the corner. Suplex from Zoe then she rolls through for a second, and rolls again for a third. Blue fights back with elbows, they mistime a spot and Blue lays in more strikes then hits a head scissors. Knee to the head from Blue, then a super kick is blocked and she rolls through with a roundhouse for a 2 count. Cross chop from Zoe then Blue kicks her away before flooring her with a super kick. Skye Fall connects and we’re done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Skye Blue won in 3:10

Rating: 2 stars

This probably should have been more of a squash, but Zoe has a pretty unique style that leans heavily into controlled ballet movements. Not the kind of thing you usually see and it helped her stand out.

Match #2 – Tag Team Match: The Butcher and The Blade w/ The Bunny vs. David McCallion and Richie Slade

Blade goes right after Slade with strikes in the corner, the running chops are definitely in there. Cheap shots from Bunny then Butcher comes in to hit a Polish hammer. Toss from Butcher and David tags in. Butcher with strikes to David then a clothesline in the corner. David slips free but runs into a clothesline. Gutbuster from Butcher and Slade breaks up the pin. Blade attacks Slade and they toss him onto David. Drag the Lake to David and that’ll do it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Butcher and Blade won in 2:24

Rating: Spaghetti squash

Delicious squash. Butcher and Blade are getting some more positive reactions lately, curious to see if they try and run with them more as faces or not.

In the back Athena is shoving people around while looking for Yuka Sakazaki. Yuka is here for a “Hiiiiii” then they engage in a slightly awkward pull apart brawl. I’m down to see those two square up.

Match #3: La Faccion Ingobernable (Rush and Preston Vance) w/ Jose vs. Papacito Negro and Papacito Blanco

Rush and Blanco start us off, they trade some shoves then Rush unloads with chops and a discus punch. Now Rush just dumps Blanco of the top rope, Vance cheap shots Negro and Rush starts slamming Blanco around the barricades for a bit. Back in the ring Vance tags in, there’s a minor communication issue then Vance hits a spinebuster on Blanco. Negro tags in and he and Vance start trading strikes before Vance lands a shoulder block. Vance unloads with strikes in the corner, then tags in Rush to set up more corner offense then they slam Negro down. Vance tags back in after some football pantomime and sets up Rush in the corner for a Bulls Horns. Vance with a discus lariat to Blanco and they stack both me up and pin them at the same time.


Rating: Tschermak squash

Good little squash, Rush and Vance definitely can generate some heat for themselves.

Post match they tear off the masks of both men and pose with them.

Match #4: Emi Sakura vs. Brooke Havok

Emi avoids a tie up, then Havok with some strikes and a drop kick. That seems to annoy Emi, who grabs her and starts dragging on the ropes before tossing her around. Emi with a spanking to Havok then she rakes the back. Stomps from Emi, then she calls on Havok who lands some elbows before eating a chop. Those chops from Emi are stiff, but Havok keeps trying to trade with her. Neckbreaker from Havok then a seated satellite DDT for a 2 count. Emi counters a suplex with a Whirling Dervish, then lays in chops in the corner before the corner cross body connects. Double underhook backbreaker from Emi then she climbs the ropes for a moonsault which will end things.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Emi Sakura won in 3:16

Rating: 2.5 stars

Emi’s value on the roster is stuff like this more often than not, she’s a great trainer and pretty darn good at helping newer wrestlers through some paces on a bigger stage. Havok looked pretty solid here, no major issues of execution and she showed the traditional babyface fire.

Mark Sterling with a mic on the way to the ring, he insults the fans per all the usual uninteresting regional things. Stop letting him do this, it’s not entertaining, not really generating meaningful heat, and is more apt to draw a skip forward than anything else.

Match #5 – Tag Team Match: Ari Daivari and Tony Nese w/ Mark Sterling vs. Big Fonz and Jordan Cruz

Cruz and Nese start off, Nese does the usual pose then grabs a side headlock. Cruz counters into a hammerlock then an ankle pick and poses as well. Arm drag from Cruz, then a cheap shot from Ari lets Nese take over. Ari tags in and stomps on Cruz in the corner. Fonz tags in and starts running over Ari before Nese tags in and lands a spin kick. Cruz eats a uranage from Ari, then Nese takes out Fonz with a Running Knese to end things.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Ari Daivari and Tony Nese won in 2:20

Rating: Winterhorn squash

Decent squash, Cruz looked pretty good actually while Fonz is quite a big guy for the average American indy wrestler.

Match #6 – Trios Match: Serpentico, Peter Avalon, and Ryan Nemeth w/ Luther vs. Dark Order (Evil Uno, John Silver, and Alex Reynolds)

Our random Luther fact of the episode, he’s up for the starring role in an upcoming Anthony Hopkins biopic. Silver and Nemeth start us off, they tie up and trade holds before Nemeth hits a mat return. Silver is unimpressed by the gyrations of Nemeth and wipes him out with a running uppercut. Powerbomb from Silver and he poses. Serpentico gets tossed, then Avalon is clotheslined over the top rope. Uno tags in for an avalanche then tags in Rynolds. Cravate throw from Reynolds gets a 2 count. Some misdirection from Nemeth, Reynolds avoids clotheslines from Serpentico, Avalon, and Nemeth before he’s booted by Luther. Avalon tags in and hits a suplex. Serpentico tags in and attacks the arm. Avalon tags back in and trades with Reynolds before Reynolds counters a suplex with a Small Package for 2. Cheap shot from Avalon but Reynolds back drops him and tags in Uno. Serpentico tags in as well but Uno gets to run wild for a bit. Uno with a One Winged Angel over the knee but only a 2 count. Silver tags in, then Reynolds and they set for the Abyss but Avalon trips up Silver. Nemeth tosses Uno and hits a DDT on Reynolds, Serpentico follows with a superkick then Avalon comes in with a splash for a near fall as Uno breaks up the pin. Uno wipes out Serpentico but it’s time for everyone to get their stuff in. Eventually Silver and Reunolds unload their ping pong style finisher and get the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Dark Order won in 5:22

Rating: 2.5 stars

Perfectly acceptable trios match. I’m not sure what they’re doing with Dark Order these days in terms of direction but they’re at least getting some wins on shows like Elevation.

The final score: review Average
The 411
Breezy run time this week, but also a somewhat slight episode in terms of meaningful action. Just not a whole lot happening this week, but Butcher and Blade getting more positive reactions might start a trend for them, Dark Order is winning matches, and Emi Sakura continues to be valuable for her ability and willingness to work with younger talent still on the ascent. For 30ish minutes, I'll give this one a passing grade.