It’s Monday and you know what that means. It's time for AEW Dark: Elevation, taped in Cincinnati, Ohio, last Tuesday with Ian Riccaboni and Matt Menard on commentary.
This week's show featured a good main event, a good tag team match in the middle, and a bad angle involving Matt Hardy, Ethan Page and Stokely Hathaway.
Preston "Ten" Vance (w/ Evil Uno) defeated Baron Black (0:45)
Jose The Assistant was on commentary. I assume he was there to scout Vance. Black jumped Vance before the bell and paid for it. Vance dispatched of Black quickly with a spinebuster and the discus lariat.
Eddie Kingston & Ortiz defeated Russ Myers & T-Money (1:55)
There was an “Eddie Kingston with a gas can is my spirit animal” sign in the crowd.
The enhancement guys jumped Kingston and Ortiz before the bell and looked great against Ortiz. Money gave Ortiz an airplane spin while Myers popped him with right hands as Money spun him around. They caught Ortiz with a double-team spinebuster, but he came back with a clothesline on Myers and got the hot tag to Kingston.
Kingston hit Money with the machine gun chops in the corner, followed by Ortiz coming back in with a fisherman’s buster on Money for the pinfall.
After the match, Kingston jumped Myers and had to be stopped by Ortiz and referee Bryce Remsburg from beating him with a steel chair.
Serena Deeb defeated Haley J (1:59)
Deeb gave Haley J the twist and shout neckbreaker where Haley came down at an awkward angle. Deeb then locked in the Serenity Lock for the quick submission.
The Blondes (Griff Garrison & Brian Pillman, Jr) defeated The WorkHorsemen (JR Drake & Anthony Henry) (5:45)
Menard questioned how Drake can be both a WorkHorsemen and a member of the Wingmen. Apparently, he wasn’t paying attention during the August 9th Dark when Excalibur and Taz explained how the WorkHorsemen are a subsidiary of the Wingmen.
This was the first match since Garrison & Pillman lost the 'Varsity' in their team name thanks to Mark Sterling. They also were wearing different gear, a sure sign the team is about to break up.
Pillman got the hometown pop from the crowd and a fan in the front row had a framed and signed poster from one of the Brian Pillman Memorial events from the late 90s.
The WorkHorsemen jumped the Blondes before the bell and there was some pretty good brawling around the ring. Garrison took both Henry & Drake out with a crossbody out of the ring, but Drake hit Garrison with a rebound forearm to take control. Drake slammed Garrison and dropped a headbutt. Drake got a swinging neckbreaker for a near fall. Garrison hit Drake with a rolling forearm and then caught Henry with a vertical powerslam.
Pillman got the tag and hit Drake with a dropkick and rolled up Drake while suplexing Henry for a double pin attempt. Pillman then caught both Drake and Henry with a tope con hilo to the delight of the crowd.
Drake dumped Pillman to the floor and hit his own tope con hilo. Henry tossed Pillman into a sit-out powerbomb from Drake for a near fall. Drake went for a moonsault off the top, but missed. Garrison hit a rolling forearm, Pillman hit a superkick, and then Garrison held up Drake for a dropkick from Pillman. Pillman cradled Drake for the pin to end a fun match.
Emi Sakura & Mei Suruga defeated Nikki Victory & Jaylee (3:25)
Sakura is clearly a great worker and she’s at every Dynamite taping (since she’s on every Elevation show). So why isn’t she part of Dynamite or Rampage? Ever?
This was Suruga's first AEW match in the U.S. since December 2021.
Sakura countered a suplex attempt from Victory into a Cross Rhodes and then gave Victory “We Will Chop You” in the corner. Suruga victory rolled Sakura so they landed on both their opponents with sentons -- called The Transformer and it was awesome.
Sakura then hit Victory with a moonsault to get the… uh, the victory. This was fun as well. Put Sakura in the ring on Rampage instead of Leila Grey this week.
Matt Hardy (w/ Ethan Page & Stokely Hathaway) defeated Lord Crewe (1:44)
Page told Hardy, now of The Firm, that he couldn’t use the Twist of Fate in this match. Page and Hathaway joined on commentary which meant all four guys were talking over each other which was awful. Hardy hit the Side Effect and the Twist of Fate for the pinfall.
After the match, Hathaway gave Page the use of the Twist of Fate and renamed it the Page Turner. Then, they fined Hardy $50,000 for using the Twist of Fate and another $50,000 for shoving Page. This pretty awful segment derailed what had been a pretty good show.
Claudio Castagnoli (w/ William Regal) defeated QT Marshall (9:42)
Regal joined Menard and Riccaboni on commentary.
There are some things in wrestling that never get old and one of them is a nearly bald dude like Marshall claiming he’s having his hair pulled. Castagnoli caught Marshall with an impressive tilt a whirl backbreaker, but Marshall caught him with a knee to take control. Marshall hit an ugly dropkick, but Castagnoli reversed a suplex attempt with his own suplex.
Castagnoli continued to rebound with a series of European uppercuts. He went to set up a giant swing, but Marshall dropped to the floor. So, the Swiss Superman caught him with a running uppercut into the barricade.
Back in the ring, Marshall caught him with a handspring enziguri and a neckbreaker for a near fall. Marshall went for a piledriver, but Castagnoli countered with a double leg takedown. Castagnoli gave Marshall the giant swing for a near fall. Riccaboni called Elevation the “best bell to bell action on Monday night.” Marshall raked Castagnoli’s eyes and cradled him for a near fall, followed by a spinning DDT for another near fall.
Marshall set up the diamond cutter, but Castagnoli caught him with a forearm and then a pop-up uppercut. Castagnoli dropped the Blackpool Combat Club-trademarked hammer elbows followed by the Ricola Bomb for the pinfall in a very good main event.
There were three matches that weren’t just quick squashes and actually were kind of fun and worth seeing. Castagnoli vs. Marshall wouldn’t have felt out of place on Rampage, but the whole Hardy/Hathaway/Page nonsense made everyone come off worse (which I didn’t even think was possible after Hardy’s “rap” on Friday).