by Parker Klyn
Tonight is week two of AEW’s Deadly Draw Women’s Tag Team Cup, as we conclude the first round of matchups. Shaul Guerrero is the ring announcer, and Tony Schiavone is joined by Veda Scott on commentary.
Previously announced for today’s show was AEW backstage interviewer Dasha Gonzalez & former WWE developmental talent Rachael Ellering (daughter of Paul Ellering) vs. Ivelisse and Diamante.
The opening video package and song for this tournament is excellent. AEW has a bit of a depth problem in their women’s division but it really makes them look like stars.
Big Swole was interviewed backstage, and the interviewer had a surprise for her. It was Lil Swole, known as Nicole Savoy in the indies. It was also revealed that Leva Bates is teaming with Rache Chanel, and they faced off next.
First Round: Big Swole & Lil Swole defeated Leva Bates & Rache Chanel (with Peter Avalon)
This was the weakest match of the tournament yet. Bates and Chanel did some comedy, so while the Swoles looked dominant, it was hard to take their opponents seriously. Bates’ work was okay but Chanel looked really weak. Lil Swole looked very competent, however –– she deserves a contract in this division, although the fact that she is in fact bigger than Big Swole is a bit comedic.
Bates did her shushing gimmick during her entrance. She also brought a fashion book as a gift for Chanel. This was also Big Swole’s first match back from kayfabe suspension.
Chanel and Lil Swole started off. Schiavone and Scott put over Lil Swole’s technical aptitude. Chanel and Bates teased dissension, as well as being in over their heads against their more-talented opponents.
The Swoles performed some cool tag maneuvers and Lil Swole locked in a modified crossface on Chanel, but Avalon distracted the ref and Chanel attacked with a ruler.
Lil Swole eventually made a comeback to get the hot tag to Big Swole. Big Swole got a visual pinfall on Bates, but Chanel broke it up in a mistimed spot. The finish came when the Swoles hit a combination flatliner/blockbuster on Bates.
We got an advertisement for All Elite Heels, the new women-focused wrestling community established by Brandi Rhodes.
Ivelisse and Diamante were shown meeting after their chip selections.
Dasha was told by Shaul Guerrero that she’d be competing in the tournament, which surprised her. When she drew her chip, Rachael Ellering showed up, and they tried to get across that they recognized and remembered each other from working in WWE.
First Round: Ivelisse & Diamante defeated Rachael Ellering & Dasha
As far as I can tell, this was only the second professional match of Dasha’s career, and her first in almost five years. You honestly wouldn’t have known it. While still very green and indecisive at times, Dasha’s a great athlete and she didn’t have a single noticeable botch.
In terms of the match, it wasn’t anything special but it was still better than everything else in the tournament’s first round. There was a classic, simple tag formula with by far the best face/heel dynamic we’ve seen in the Deadly Draw.
Dasha performed a corner arm-drag and a kip-up at the bell. She kept the offense up with a running dropkick before tagging in Ellering. Dasha also performed a nice cartwheel splash.
Ivelisse and Diamante eventually cut off Dasha and worked her over, performing frequent tags and hitting lots of double-teams. Dasha eventually escaped to Ellering for the hot tag.
Ellering hit some great knife-edged chops on Ivelisse and nearly got a pinfall with a running senton. Diamante held Ellering against the ropes, but Ellering escaped and Ivelisse hit her partner off the apron. Ellering almost got the pinfall with a springboard leg drop, but Diamante broke it up.
After tagging in, Diamante hit a nice-looking cazadora stunner on Dasha, who kicked out. The heels hit a couple more double-teams. Diamante dispatched Ellering, and Ivelisse hit the running Yoshi Tonic for the win.
Alex Marvez interviewed the Swoles backstage. They were really charismatic, and I expect them to be the favorites (along with Brandi and Allie) going forward.
Marvez then interviewed Dasha. She views this match as a starting point, and hopes that she gets a chance to compete again. She thanked AEW for the opportunity.
Finally, Marvez interviewed Ivelisse and Diamante. Ivelisse said they got off to a rocky start, but their respect for the craft is what pushed them through.
Next Monday will be the semifinals, where Big & Lil Swole will face the Nightmare Sisters and Ivelisse & Diamante will face Tay Conti & Anna Jay.
The show was about 37 minutes, almost the exact same length as last week.
Overall, I thought the second week of the Deadly Draw was better than the first. The opener was pretty miserable as a match, but Lil Swole is someone AEW should be chomping at the bit to bring in more often. The main event was a good match, with the novelty of Dasha competing making it even more compelling.
I’m still waiting to see what the outcome of this tournament will be, although the idea of it returning next year with (hopefully) access to international talent should make it a far more worthwhile endeavor.