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AEW Dark Elevation recap (July 12, 2021): Sting gets physical

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Episode 18 of AEW Dark: Elevation featured the Acclaimed and Varsity Blonds brewing a top 5 tag team feud, Jade Cargill taking a break to explore Hollywood, another intriguing Miro promo, the newest member of the Hardy Family Office, and Sting getting physical in the ring.

The main event saw Darby Allin in action against Angelico. The idea was to promote the upcoming Coffin Match between Allin and Ethan Page on Wednesday night Dynamite, but it may have caused more harm than good for Allin.

Allin tweaked his knee on a jump, so that’s where Angelico focused his attack. Angelico used his lanky arms for an awesome leg lock big swing.

Allin was in pain, but he was still slick enough for an over-the-top stunner and a Coffin Drop to win.

A post-match brawl erupted. Sting, Matt Hardy, and Isiah Kassidy were ringside for the bout. Afterward, HFO sized up Allin and Sting. Christian Cage ran in to brawl with Hardy. Sting hit Stinger splashes to Private Party. Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky came out on stage for a long-distance staredown to hype the Coffin Match.

Sting grabbed a mic to pop the crowd with a Stinger howl. Allin said it will be his pleasure to close the coffin on Page.

The skirmish was AEW’s typical pattern, but how about Sting dusting off the cobwebs to get physical in his Elevation debut. That was a pretty cool treat to close the show. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to walk down the hall shouting, “It’s Sting!”

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

  • Dreamgirl Ellie vs. Thunder Rosa (showcase)
  • Matt Hardy vs. Fuego Del Sol (showcase)
  • Riho vs. Amber Nova (showcase)
  • Will Hobbs vs. Baron Black (squash)
  • KiLynn King vs. Yuka Sakazaki (competitive)
  • The Acclaimed & Chaos Project vs. Gunn Club & Varsity Blonds (competitive)
  • 5 vs. Brian Cage (competitive)
  • Leyla Hirsch vs. Kelsey Heather (squash)
  • Scorpio Sky vs. Shawn Dean (showcase)
  • Tay Conti vs. Labrava (showcase)
  • Lee Johnson vs. Jungle Boy (competitive)
  • Red Velvet vs. Leila Grey (showcase)
  • Private Party & Jora Johl vs. Chuck Taylor, Orange Cassidy, & Wheeler Yuta (competitive)
  • Hikaru Shida vs. Julia Hart (showcase)
  • Angelico vs. Darby Allin (competitive)

Trimming the fifteen match schedule down to my fave five, Jungle Boy and Johnson was the peak. Two talented youngsters strut their stuff. Cage and 5 is my next pick. They have good chemistry with 5’s high-flying and ability to get wrecked by the Machine. Allin and Angelico had a nice little dance. Sakazaki’s return against King had plenty of rocking moves. The 8-man tag with the Gunn Club, Varsity Blonds, Acclaimed and Chaos Project was chaotic fun. Also be sure to check out the promo from Miro.

Watch the show here.

Tony Schiavone and Paul Wight handled commentary duties. Justin Roberts was the ring announcer.

Thunder Rosa defeated Dreamgirl Ellie. Thunder outlasted, outsmarted, and outworked to win via Peruvian necktie submission.

Matt Hardy defeated Fuego Del Sol. Private Party, Butcher, and Angelico were ringside. Hardy cut a promo questioning if anybody has seen a bigger loser than Fuego. Hardy will delete the idea of Fuego earning an AEW contract.

Fuego started with fire, but Hardy shed off a tornado DDT to send Fuego crashing down to the floor. Hardy dominated from there. Fuego showed heart to escape a superplex and counter into a headscissors takedown off the turnbuckles. As Fuego picked up Hardy off the mat, Money Matt reversed position for a Twist of Fate then the Leech submission for victory.

Riho defeated Amber Nova. Riho rallied for a northern lights suplex then a flying double stomp to win.

Dustin Rhodes pumped up Lee Johnson before his match with Jungle Boy. This is a big opportunity for Big Shotty to bring his best.

Will Hobbs defeated Baron Black. Hook was ringside. Black attacked before the bell, however, Hobbs quickly flattened him with a spinebuster to win.

Yuka Sakazaki defeated KiLynn King. Speed versus power. King had to take a breather early to regroup, so Sakazaki attacked with a flipping senton out of the ring. King rebounded by slamming Sakazaki onto the apron. The action was back and forth with Sakazaki earning an edge on an airplane spin slam. That set up Sakazaki’s springboard splash for victory.

Gunn Club & Varsity Blonds defeated The Acclaimed & Chaos Project. Julia Hart was ringside. Max Caster rapped about Colten Gunn looking so ugly that Billy Gunn should have worn a condom. Caster also riled up the home crowd with a reference to the Miami Heat being swept out of the NBA playoffs. Colten cleaned house on a hot tag. Billy occupied Luther setting him up for Brian Pillman Jr.’s springboard clothesline finisher.

After the match, the Acclaimed declared their intentions for a title shot. Since the Blonds are ranked ahead, the Acclaimed challenged them to fight now or go hide under the bleachers. When the Blonds charged forth, the Acclaimed retreated. On the way out, Anthony Bowens tossed a jacket in Julia’s face.

Brian Cage defeated 5. The Dark Order speedster gave Cage trouble with his high flying strategy. Cage eventually broke 5 in half on a powerbomb backbreaker over the knee. The Machine finished with a Drill Claw.

Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus were in the locker room waiting for Christian Cage. Jungle Boy isn’t a promo guy, but he shared the big news of being the first AEW wrestler to 50 career wins. Now, he’s looking for a new record to break. Luchasaurus suggested the first to 51 wins.

Leyla Hirsch defeated Kelsey Heather. Legit pummeled her opponent with a German suplex, running knee, then a cross armbreaker to earn the W.

Scorpio Sky defeated Shawn Dean. Ethan Page joined the commentary team to support his pal. Sky blocked a backslide then ducked a clothesline to counter with a TKO cutter for victory.

Mark Sterling and Jade Cargill held a press conference to drop a bombshell. Cargill will be taking a break to explore modeling, film, and TV opportunities in Hollywood. Cargill will dominate all media as the next great crossover star. She is destined for greatness.

Tay Conti defeated Labrava. Conti handled business to win with a Gory GTS knee strike.

Jungle Boy defeated Lee Johnson. Luchasaurus and Lee Johnson were ringside. Back and forth bout. Highlights include Jungle Boy leaping over the ropes to execute a hurricanrana off the apron and Lee Johnson with an airplane spin and a Blue Thunder Bomb. Johnson did his scouting homework to dodge JB’s running elbow finisher. That led to a furious exchange of roll-ups with Jungle Boy prevailing for the three count.

Miro is the undefeated TNT champ. It is his divine right to be great, have a hot wife, and be God’s favorite champion. This title has made him different, so he will change it like it changed him.

Red Velvet defeated Leila Grey. Lil Cupcake stirred it up with a spinning head kick to win.

Jora Johl has thought a long time about Matt Hardy’s offer to join the HFO. Johl decided to accept, because it is a route to his dreams. The exposure on AEW can allow him to be a role model for hundreds of thousands of children watching in India.

Chuck Taylor, Orange Cassidy, & Wheeler Yuta defeated Private Party & Jora Johl. Johl unwillingly wore a Milwaukee Bucks jersey to mock the Miami crowd. When he took it off, Private Party forced him to put it back on. Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen worked quick tags often ignoring Johl. The match broke down into chaos and big moves. Quen held Yuta for Johl to punch, but Johl wasn’t interested in that type of assistance. Cassidy unloaded a Superman punch to Quen. Yuta took advantage of the hullabaloo to score a fancy roll-up on Johl.

Hikaru Shida defeated Julia Hart. Varsity Blonds were ringside. Hart got her moves in, but it wasn’t enough to keep Shida down. The former champ caught a kick then smashed Hart’s knee down to the mat. That left Hart ripe for the picking on a muffler submission.


It’s Sting! I haven’t gotten that out of my system yet. Sting still has that special attraction aura, even if he often gets relegated to sidepiece status. Those Stinger splashes popped, as did he howl. Sting stole the show for me with that physical activity.

Miro wasn’t far behind on the show-stealing scale with his promo. The conviction behind his words hooks me every time in his recent run as the Redeemer. I am intrigued by his closing line about changing the TNT title. If AEW had thoughts about altering the championship’s name prior to their move to TBS next year, this sounds like a good opportunity for Miro to do so.

Other positives include more promos and airplane spins. I like seeing Jungle Boy have the opportunity to speak. His promo wasn’t designed to be anything special, but it is still good for him to get that experience for improvement. I love airplane spins. This show served them up in bunches. Lee Johnson had a traditional spinner, Yuka Sakazaki added a slam, and Angelico topped them with a submission spinner. Sakazaki made me wonder if it is still a springboard splash if she doesn’t weigh enough to spring off the ropes. Last on my list of mentions is KiLynn King’s pumphandle pick-up into a side slam. That is an excellent twist to add flash. I’ll never get tired of seeing this slam.

Share your thoughts on Dark: Elevation. Who stood out most for episode 18? Which was your favorite match?