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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Dec. 13, 2021): Thunder, Thunder, Thunder Rosa, yoooo!

Episode 41 of AEW Dark: Elevation is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream. Let’s go over what went down on Elevation this week. The announce team was Eddie Kingston, Mark Henry and Tony Schiavone. And before I start let me offer my condolences on the passing of Jimmy Rave. I only met him one time in a Ring of Honor capacity, but he was a super nice guy, and we will all miss him.

Thunder Rosa vs. Gabby Ortiz

Rosa arrived 36-4 for our opening contest this week! Her opponent Gabby Ortiz was waiting in the ring to make her AEW debut. Rosa took her down with a side headlock and Ortiz tried a head scissor before both got back to their feet. Mark Henry was fascinated by Rosa’s comic book look, saying she was referencing Black Adam, while Kingston was complaining about his announcer’s chair being all messed up. Rosa picked Ortiz up and spiked her down with a Fire Thunder Driver for a quick squash victory.

Tony Schiavone interviewed her afterward about her TBS semi-final with Jade Cargill. “Tony you know I’m always thinking, like are you going to set me up again, but I’m really excited and I’m ready to become the first TBS women’s champion.” This brought out “Smart” Mark Sterling and Jade Cargill. Sterling: “I think we got off on the wrong foot so we’re just here to chat.” Rosa: “Are you here to chat or are you here to hit me again?” Rosa also called Sterling a “simp” and the whole crowd got it on chanting it. Sterling: “You are just jealous of her success, she’s done it in less than a year, and she’s the uncrowned rookie of the year.” Rosa: “I’m not jealous of your success. Absolutely not. I’m here to empower every woman that steps into this ring. You’ve been given everything. I had to fight from the ground up. But enough of these words. Next time I see you in the ring I’ll teach you respect and I’ll teach you to be humble... BITCH.” Let’s be real this segment was more important than the match.

Kris Statlander and Red Velvet vs. Nikki Duke and Tina San Antonio

Velvet and Statlander entered with records of 29-8 and 26-5 respectively. Their opponents were waiting in the ring in matching black and yellow outfits, having no previous tag team results in All Elite Wrestling. Duke knocked Velvet down early and she quickly returned the favor. Duke posted her into two turnbuckles and tagged San Antonio in. They exchanged quick tags to cut off the ring and work Velvet over as Statlander encouraged the crowd and her teammate from the apron. Velvet squashed them both with a leg lariat/Flatliner combo and tagged Statlander in, who did a double team spot before a gordbuster and a leg drop to the back was broken up. After a series of kicks from the faces Statlander finished the match with the Big Bang Theory. Kingston: “Lights out! Right on the head.” Indeed.

Gunn Club vs. Joey Sweets, Antonio Zambrano and Jack Tomlinson

The Gunn Club are still undefeated at 20-0 in the trios division, a division which has no rankings and no champion, but it’s apparently a division all the same. You figure it out. Their opponents were waiting in the ring with no record in said same division. Schiavone joked that Joey Sweets has also been called “Joey Sweet Cheeks” and busted Kingston up. Billy Gunn was a pretty big guy in WWE, but in this match he looked positively gigantic. He nearly did an “Ass Man” spot in the match until Aubrey Edwards cut him off, because that would apparently be too risque even for YouTube. Zambrano tagged in and Gunn said “suck this” and tagged in Austin for a leg drop and the pin. I hope the carpenters were well paid.

Emi Sakura (w/ Mei Suruga) vs. Notorious Mimi

Sakura was 10-2 before this match began. Mimi was 0-2. Sakura hit a swinging neckbreaker, whipped Mimi around the ring by her hair, did the “we will rock you” crossbody and posed with Suruga as she cackled like an anime villain. Mimi got one roll up for a near fall and tried hitting Sakura with forearms, but Sakura responded with a backbreaker and put Mimi in the bow and arrow. She let her go and Mimi tried to fire up again with a side slam for a near fall and a leg drop for another near fall. Suruga hit Mimi in the head with the scepter while referee Mike Knox was distracted and Sakura rolled her up with a la magistral cradle.

Anthony Ogogo vs. Jaden Valo

Ogogo brought a 2021 record of 5-1 and third degree burns from being roasted by Hornswoggle on social media. At least he’d fare better doing battle with Jaden Valo, making his AEW debut and looking as small compared to Ogogo as the Gunn Club’s opponents looked next to Billy. Ogogo hit one Olympic Slam and the match was over quick!

Santana and Ortiz vs. Mike Verna and Anthony Gangone (w/ Prince Nana)

The Proud and Powerful brought a 15-3 record to the ring. Verna and Gangone were already waiting at ringside to make their AEW tag team debut. Kingston professed that he knew everybody in the ring well. “I’ve beat them up, they’ve beat me up, we’ve traveled the roads together. Some I like, some I don’t. Actually most I don’t.” This was also Prince Nana’s AEW debut and like the good manager he is he tried to interfere to help his team, but it didn’t help them all that much. Santana hit an Ace Crusher to set up a double team finisher. The matches went by fast in this episode!

Tony Nese vs. Alex Reynolds (w/ The Dark Order)

Nese brought a record of 4-1 to the ring wrestling in front of his hometown fans in Long Island. Reynolds brought a record of 22-12 and he too was working in front of the home town crowd. The two got face to face and mouthed off to each other before the opening bell. Nese gave him a cheap shot before said bell and The Dark Order complained from the top of the entrance ramp.

The two went hard after that, with Nese apparently busting Reynolds in the nose, prompting everybody at the announce table to say “it’s not ballet.” I’ve always had a problem with that comparison. Has anybody seen how athletic ballet is? How good the performers have to be? How high the risk of injury is? If anything ballet and pro wrestling should be compared to each other for the talent required and the risks you take to succeed in it. Nese picked up Reynolds with one arm to throw him into the turnbuckle and then hit the Running Nese (knee to the head) to finish him off. A fun main event!

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by ThunderCats, because Thunder, Thunder, Thunder Rosa’s interview segment was the highlight of this week’s show. Every bout tonight was a one-sided affair and most were almost comically short. The only one that seemed even slightly competitive was Sakura and Mimi, so maybe AEW sees something in the latter. I hope they also see something in Nana as he has a long history in the wrestling business and personally speaking I’m a fan. Don’t bother skipping anything because you can watch this entire episode in under a half hour.

Cageside commentary crew! I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts on the show in the comments section below. If you want to hit me up on social media that would be fine too. See you tomorrow night for another AEW Dark!

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