It’s Monday and you know what that means: a fifteen-match AEW Dark: Elevation card. Tonight, we saw some debuts and returns for the first episode of Elevation outside of Daily’s Place in more than a year.
Thunder Rosa defeated Dreamgirl Ellie
This was Ellie's first match back in AEW since November of last year and she's improved a lot. Rosa was in control for most of the match. Rosa won with the Peruvian Calavera Choke, upping her record to 19-3 this year.
Matt Hardy (w/ HFO) defeated Fuego Del Sol
Before the match started, Hardy cut a good promo burying Del Sol and promoting his upcoming match against Christian Cage. Del Sol was super over and the crowd was cheering him big time. One of the best and most hilarious spots of the night was Hardy hitting Del Sol's head multiple times on the turnbuckle while yelling "delete." The crowd was really invested and waning Del Sol to pull off the upset. Hardy won by submission with the Leech, upping his record this year to 13-3.
Riho defeated Amber Nova
The former AEW Women's Champion got one of the biggest pops of the night. Nova worked as a heel during which helped her big time. This was another example of Riho being one of the best underdog wrestlers in the world. She won with the top rope gut double stomp, improving her record to 15-9.
Powerhouse Hobbs (w/ Hook) Baron Black
This was a short match that Hobbs (17-3) won with a good looking spinebuster.
Yuka Sakazaki defeated KiLynn King
This was Sakazaki’s first match in AEW on U.S. soil since February of last year and also her first match on Elevation. The best thing of having her back was listening to her entrance music with fans yelling "AYAYAYAYAYAYA." King worked as a heel and took advantage of her size difference. There was a few miscommunication spots, but Sakazaki (3-1) won with the Magical Girl Splash.
Varsity Blonds & Gunn Club (w/ Julia Hart) defeated Chaos Project & The Acclaimed
Colten Gunn and Griff Garrison took a page from Chaos Project's book and used the gimmick of their tag partner becoming a weapon. This was super fun with a lot of things happening. Brian Pillman Jr. used a flying forearm to pick up the win for his team. After the match, The Acclaimed again challenged Varsity Blonds for a match that has a lot of implication for the tag team rankings.
Brian Cage defeated Alan “5” Angels
One of the most surprising things here was Angels getting more offense than expected which was nice to see. Cage won with the Drill Claw and is now 11-2 before his FTW title defense against Ricky Starks this Wednesday at Fyter Fest.
Leyla Hirsch defeated Kelsey Heather
This was Heather's AEW debut. This was short and Hirsch (15-4) won by submission with a cross armbreaker.
Scorpio Sky (w/ Ethan Page) defeated Shawn Dean
Page was on commentary putting over Sky, but also promoted his upcoming coffin match on Fyter Fest. Dean showed a lot of great babyface energy. Sky, since turning heel, has improved so much in all departments from promos and in-ring work. He won after hitting the TKO.
Tay Conti defeated Labrava
This was Labrava's debut and also the first Colombian wrestler to compete for AEW. With all that being said, this was a very dominant performance for Conti (19-3). The crowd loved her and she won after hitting the TayKO. I’m sorry to report to Angelico and the rest of HFO that Conti is the best dancer in AEW.
Jungle Boy (w/ Luchasaurus) defeated Lee Johnson (w/ Dustin Rhodes)
Before the match, Johnson and Rhodes had a backstage promo. Rhodes really put Johnson over as the future of the promotion. Jungle Boy also had a backstage promo talking about his next challenge. This was ok, but Jungle Boy has a long way to go in the promo department.
This was a battle between two hot young prospects. As expected, Jungle Boy was one of the most over wrestlers on the show. He and Johnson worked so well together and complimented each other. The best spot was a hurricanrana from Jungle Boy that threw Johnson off the ring. Jungle Boy won this match following a sequence where he and Johnson were doing several roll-ups. until Jungle Boy was able to get more leverage on his to win a really good match.
Red Velvet defeated Leila Grey
Velvet was extra motivated considering Miami is her hometown. She had the upper hand for most of the match and won with the Chef´s Kiss -- her tenth singles win.
Wheeler Yuta, Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor defeated Private Party & Jorah Johl
Jorah Johl came out to the ring with a Milwaukee Bucks shirts for heel heat. Private Party was once again paying tribute to the Hardy Boyz with their gear for the match. In today’s random trivia, Yuta was a student at Villanova.
For most of the match, Private Party ignored Johl and Kassidy and Marq Quen dominated most of the time. There were some interesting spots, but this was pretty much skippable. Yuta won this match with a roll-up on Johl.
Hikaru Shida defeated Julia Hart (w/ Varsity Blonds)
Hart showed some of her gymnastic background to get out of some holds. She needs to work on her striking and when she improves, she is going to be a star. Shida (8-1 this year) won this match by submission with the Full Metal Muffler.
Fun fact: The Fullmetal Muffler is most likely a reference to the Manga and Anime Fullmetal Alchemist.
Darby Allin (w/ Sting) defeated Angelico (w/ Matt Hardy & Isiah Kassidy)
This was Allin’s first match on Elevation. He had the biggest pop of the night, even when the crowd appeared tired.
Allin and Angelico are a great pairing. Allin is flexible and with Angelico’s arsenal of submissions, we were able to see some interesting submissions. Allin (13-2) won with the coffin drop. After the match, Christian Cage and Matt Hardy brawled with each other. Ethan Page came out to stare at Allin as a final preview to their big match.
This was not a great night for Angelico as he lost the match and his title as the best dancer in AEW.
This was a fun but long episode of Elevation. There were too many matches and the crowd was tired for a few of them. The wrestlers were so excited to be in an arena full of fans again with that being the first experience for some in AEW. The in-ring work for this show was solid. The best match was Lee Johnson vs. Jungle Boy, but other matches worth checking out were the main event and Sakazaki vs. King.