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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Oct. 24, 2022): Claudio swings by!

Episode 86 of AEW Dark: Elevation is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream. The announce team of Ian Riccaboni and “Daddy Magic” Matt Menard called this episode. On with the show!

Preston “10” Vance vs. Baron Black

Jose the Assistant joined commentary for this one. Vance brought a record of 23-3 and was accompanied to the ring by Evil Uno. Black was already waiting for him in the ring with a 2022 record of 1-2. Black tried to get a hot start on the match and laid in the uppercuts and chops. Vance no sold and gave Black a hip toss and a spinebuster. He hit the discus lariat to immediately end the match. It was a minute from bell to bell if it was that long.

Eddie Kingston & Ortiz vs. T-Money & Russ Myers

Kingston and Ortiz were 8-0 and 14-0 respectively... on Elevation. That’s right. The graphics department told us their records for just +this show+, bringing the inconsistency of how they show wins and losses to previously unseen heights. Myers and T-Money were making their tag team debut here on Elevation and otherwise. Kingston fired off a dozen chops, tagged in Ortiz, he hit a leg lariat and swiveled his hips before hitting a brainbuster to end the contest. Kingston pulled down the straps and hit a spinning backfist on Myers after the bell had already been rung, but Ortiz and Bryce Remsburg tried to call him down and avoid having the decision reversed. He went outside for a steel chair and the crowd roared in approval, and they booed when Ortiz took it away from him. It’s a weird dynamic.

Serena Deeb vs. Hayley J

Deeb brought a record of 11-0 on Elevation to this match. J was waiting for her in the ring with an AEW record of 0-1. Riccaboni pointed out that J is a two time OVW champion, while Deeb was a six time champion, and as always I appreciate his attention to detail. I’m still annoyed by this new practice of listing people by their record on Elevation though. If you point out that the main roster stars are undefeated on Elevation, with win records in the double digits, you are only making it +more+ obvious that their opponents have no chance to win than it already was. Case in point - Deeb hit a neckbreaker and applied the Serenity Lock for an easy win, even after giving her opponent the opening maneuver of the match.

The Blonds vs. The Workhorsemen

The Workhorsemen brought an Elevation record of 0-1, which may make them the only people billed by their record on this show to +not+ be in the black. The (Varsity) Blonds brought an Elevation record of 7-1 by comparison. Since this episode was taped in Cincinnati, the team of Brian Pillman Jr. (a hometown boy) and Griff Garrison got a very nice pop, meaning the hapless heels JD Drake and Anthony Henry had heat from the start. Drake laid in a beating outside the ring and then fed Garrison in to Henry, where they cut off the ring to work him over and fire up the crowd for Pillman’s hot tag. When he got it they erupted as expected. Dropkicks, clotheslines, and a roll-up while simultaneously bridging a suplex. He did a dive to the outside to wipe out the heels and they got even louder. Drake fed him to Henry for a powerbomb but he kicked out. Hale did a double stomp but Drake missed with a moonsault. Garrison hit a discus forearm, Pillman hit a superkick, and Garrison picked him up for a dropkick from Pillman to get the pin. Here’s a replay!

Emi Sakura & Mei Suruga vs. Nikki Victory & Jaylee

Sakura and Suruga were making their debut as a team and not billed by their Elevation win/loss records. No consistency whatsoever. Jaylee and Victory were making their debut in the tag team division and waiting in the ring for the stars. Victory went for a suplex but Sakura blocked it and immediately went into her “we will chop you” and crossbody routine. Backbreaker. Jaylee broke up the pin. Suruga took her out in response. Sakura picked her up for a double team maneuver and then Sakura pinned Victory with a moonsault. Menard: “Double tea time! Can I get a cup ladies? Can I get a cup over here?”

Matt Hardy vs. Lord Crewe

Hardy entered with “Firm Facts” while Crewe was waiting for him with a record of 0-1. If they showed his W/L from Elevation somewhere underneath that graphic I didn’t see it. On commentary we had Ethan Page and Stokely Hathaway telling him not to use the Twist of Fate, which he did anyway to pick up the win.

Page: “Give it up for Matt Hardy. That’s a big win for The Firm!” Hathaway: “It’s not your move any more. It belongs to Page and it’s called the Page Turner.” Page: “In this contract because you did the Twist of Fate you’re fined $50,000 buddy. Pay up Matt!” Hardy shoved Hathaway. “How about another 50 for putting your hands on your boss? Better yet why don’t you take next week off? Because you’re suspended buddy. Maybe next time you’ll respect your employer!”

Claudio Castagnoli vs. QT Marshall

Marshall brought an Elevation record of 1-2. Well then! We had one other person billed by their record on this and only this show who had a losing record. Castagnoli brought an overall AEW record of 9-2 and was accompanied by William Regal, who came over to join the commentary booth. Regal: “Mister Ricca-bony! My French friend. Bonjour monsieur!”

Frankly this was the only competitive match of the entire episode, and it was only enhanced by Regal calling for more villainy in the match, saying nobody in Blackpool Combat Club would care if someone gets hurt because hurting people is their job. He also noted that Castagnoli was taught uppercuts by “the great Dave Taylor” but said Castagnoli’s were even greater. Marshall rolled out of the ring to avoid a Big Swing and rile up the crowd. Castagnoli chased him down and gave him an uppercut near the barricade before throwing him back in. Marshall blocked the Ricola Bomb and hit a neckbreaker for two. Claudio finally got that Big Swing and the crowd happily counted along as Marshall went around and around. Near fall. “One more time! One more time!” Marshall hit a chop to the throat and went for a pinfall with his feet on the ropes. Regal applauded him for cheating. Another near fall for Marshall. Back elbow. Enzuigiri. DDT. Two count. Castagnoli blocked the Diamond Cutter, hit the pop up uppercut, ten elbows to the head, and the Ricola Bomb! 1-2-3. Regal: “Gentlemen, thank you and good night!”

What to watch/skip

Let’s take a trip to Claudio’s Cafe as this week’s “what to watch/skip” sponsor for Elevation. He was horribly underutilized in WWE, and though he had a (brief) run as ROH World Champion on arriving in AEW, I hope there are even bigger things in store for 2023. Watch the entire card if you like, but frankly the post-match Hardy angle and the main event are the only things this week that are worth your time. Maybe the Blonds vs. Workhorsemen match if you really want to stretch it, but that’s it.

Cageside commentary crew! Share your thoughts in the comments section below and find me on Twitter for even more wrestling talk. See you for a recap of AEW Dark tomorrow — presumably airing at 7 PM ET/6 CT unless they change the schedule again!

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