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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Mar. 22, 2021): Cargill and Velvet have unfinished business

Episode 2 of AEW Dark: Elevation featured a triple main event, an unlikely ally for Ryan Nemeth, and beef still sizzling between Red Velvet and Jade Cargill.

Let’s hit the story beats first. Big Swole & Red Velvet earned the win against Leva Bates & Madi Wrenkowski. After the match, Jade Cargill, Nyla Rose, and Vickie Guerrero came out on stage for some trash-talk. No physical contact took place, but it is clear that Cargill and Velvet still have unfinished business.

During that same match, Bates and Wrenkowski were forced together as a team, and it predictably combusted. Bates did not like Wrenkowski’s bending of the rules, so Wrenkowski hit her own teammate in the face with a book. Bates ditched Wrenkowski to finish the contest alone.

Orange Cassidy successfully dispatched Ryan Nemeth. Afterward, Nemeth put the boots to Cassidy. Chuck Taylor ran in for the save. JD Drake ran in to protect Nemeth.

That was an odd choice to have Drake in that spot. He doesn’t quite look the part to fit in with the pretty association of hunks between Nemeth, Peter Avalon, and Cezar Bononi.

Here’s the Dark: Elevation lineup with ratings (Dynamite, competitive, showcase, squash) on which matches are worth your time toward Dynamite:

  • Tay Conti vs. Ray Lyn (showcase)
  • Lee Johnson vs. Adam Priest (showcase)
  • Fuego del Sol & Jake St. Patrick vs. Varsity Blonds (showcase)
  • Max Caster vs. Ryzin (showcase)
  • Rising Star: Red Velvet (Dynamite)
  • Leva Bates & Madi Wrenkowski vs. Big Swole & Red Velvet (showcase)
  • Ricky Starks & Will Hobbs vs. Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs (showcase)
  • Baron Black vs. Danny Limelight (competitive)
  • Orange Cassidy vs. Ryan Nemeth (competitive)
  • 5 vs. Ethan Page (competitive)
  • Leyla Hirsch vs. Ryo Mizunami (competitive)

Black versus Limelight was the best of the bunch. It was quick but good with flashy moves. The triple main events played out with the quality you would expect from those involved. Hirsch versus Mizunami was my favorite of the three as an entertaining slugfest. The Rising Star segment for Velvet was done well. Personal clips on the dance floor and of her father boxing made this a nifty piece.

Watch the show here.

Tony Schiavone and Paul Wight handled commentary duties.

Tay Conti defeated Ray Lyn. -1 was ringside. Conti overwhelmed Lyn with a stunner then an around-the-world backbreaker. A pump kick, running knee, and hammerlock DDT ended the contest.

Lee Johnson defeated Adam Priest. Dustin Rhodes was ringside. Johnson rallied with a neckbreaker and a leaping cannonball over the ropes to the outside. After a roll-up exchange, Johnson threw Priest into the corner on a buckle bomb. A very cool fisherman’s neckbreaker earned the W.

Dasha Gonzalez interviewed Ryan Nemeth. Nothing offends and disgusts him more than someone like Orange Cassidy. OC may think he is cool, but Nemeth will show him that he is certainly no hunk.

Varsity Blonds defeated Fuego del Sol & Jake St. Patrick. Fuego connected on the tornado DDT to Brian Pillman Jr., but Pillman was not the legal man. Griff Garrison blindsided Fuego with a discus punch to win.

Max Caster defeated Ryzin. Caster’s rap about Ryzin included streaking and maxi pads. Caster faked a knee injury to pounce for a brainbuster and flying elbow drop to triumph.

Rising Star: Red Velvet. Her father was a pro boxer. Velvet wanted to fight, but she was not destined to be a boxer. Lil Cupcake became a pro dancer then fell in love with professional wrestling. Cody Rhodes revealed that Velvet is not completely signed to AEW. He was impressed with how she stepped up to the occasion to replace Brandi against Jade Cargill. Velvet closed by saying she had the blood of a fighter, so bring everything you got.

Big Swole & Red Velvet defeated Leva Bates & Madi Wrenkowski. When Wrenkowski gained control by choking Swole, Bates ran in upset at her partner’s antics. Wrenkowski dragged Swole to the corner for a tag, but Bates flapped her yap about sportsmanship. Wrenkowski responded appropriately by whacking Bates in the face with a book. Bates ditched her partner. Velvet used the hot tag to stir it up with a shotgun dropkick on Wrenkowski for victory.

Dasha Gonzalez interviewed Ethan Page. He only cares about his win-loss record and plans to add more numbers to the win column. Since the Dark Order is always picking on 5, Page will do them a favor and make sure 5 is not around anymore.

Ricky Starks & Will Hobbs defeated Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs. Hook was ringside. Starks was in trouble after a stunner and flying crossbody. Hobbs broke the pin then crushed Isaacs with a spinebuster. As Nelson ran the ropes, Hook hooked his foot. That trip allowed Starks to finish the match with a Roshambeau slam.

Danny Limelight defeated Baron Black. Limelight turned the tide by pushing Black into the ring post. A springboard double stomp to the back paved the road for a rear naked choke submission.

Orange Cassidy defeated Ryan Nemeth. The Hollywood Hunk was in control after a DDT. He wiggled his hips setting up a neckbreaker, but OC countered into a mousetrap pin to win.

Ethan Page defeated 5. Mr. Ego ate a spinning heel kick then fired back with a ferocious clothesline to flatten the masked man. That led to a crucifix powerbomb for victory. Page had a message on the mic for future competition. They were just given a free lesson in how to be the best professional wrestler. His beautiful face will be in AEW for a very long time.

Ryo Mizunami defeated Leyla Hirsch. Legit rallied with a headbutt and a super hurricanrana. She followed with a running knee strike and release German suplex. Hirsch went for an armbar but couldn’t lock it in. Mizunami came back with clotheslines and a running leg drop. On the kick out, Mizunami transitioned to a head and arm triangle choke. Hirsch countered to an armbar. Mizunami used a powerbomb to escape. Hirsch had momentum with clotheslines and a powerful slam. When Hirsch covered Mizunami for the pin, Mizunami surprised Hirsch with a head and arm triangle. Mizunami rolled around the ring to coerce the tap out.

Episode 2 of Dark: Elevation clocked in at 1 hour and 25 minutes. That’s much shorter than the debut but still too long. For those that care about such matters, a women’s match closed the show for the second week in a row. That’s progress for the women’s division.

None of the stories from the debut carried over to episode 2. One small continuation was that Team Taz’s teamwork was much better with Ricky Starks and Will Hobbs than with Starks and Brian Cage. Another continuaton from an episode in the women’s tournament was heat between Madi Wrenkowski and Leva Bates. It’s nice to see stability in these tales to add intrigue. Time will tell if tonight’s stories will progress promptly within Elevation or take several weeks until resurfacing.

We’ll close with a rundown of my favorite moves from the show. First was a straitjacket swing from Big Swole to Wrenkowski. I love those types of spinning moves. Next was Will Hobbs powerhousing Jorel Nelson out of the air with a shoulder tackle. I love car crash collisions. Roar!

Best of all was Lee Johnson’s fisherman’s neckbreaker finisher. It looks cool, and, more importantly, it looks painful.

Share your thoughts on Dark: Elevation. Who stood out most for episode 2? Which was your favorite match?

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