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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Nov. 14, 2022): AR Fox finally gets his props!

Episode 89 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 “Daddy Magic” Matt Menard and Paul Wight called the action. Let’s talk about what happened!

Gates of Agony (Kaun & Toa Liona) w/ Prince Nana vs. Teddy Goodz & Big Cuzzo

Gates of Agony brought a record of 2-2 in both AEW & ROH combined. Cuzzo and Goodz were making their tag team debut. The local fans were familiar with one of them as a brief “Ted-dy” chant rang out, which reminds me that an AEW Heels member told me that Goodz owns a toy store in New Bedford and “is a fairly popular local wrestler.” That didn’t help his team fare any better though. Lung blower from Kaun on Cuzzo for three. Total squash. Toa Liona picked up Goodz and gave him a post-match slam for good measure.

Tay Melo vs. Paris Van Dale

Melo brought a record on Elevation of 23-0. I would have said it was surprising that Sammy Guevara didn’t come out with her, but we know Sammy was at Global Titans last week. Van Dale was waiting in the ring with a record of 0-1. Melo told Van Dale she was done and proved it by hitting the D-D-Tay. Another completely one-sided and short squash.

Matt Hardy & Private Party vs. Smiley Fairchild, Channing Thomas & Kyle Bradley

Hardy and the Party came out to the Hardy Boyz theme music. Their record together in trios competition was 4-1. Their opponents had no prior trios record and Menard was not impressed by Fairchild a/k/a “the bozo in the mask.” Quen did a dive to the outside to wipe out one of the jobbers, and Hardy put another on his shoulders for a combined dropkick Doomsday. Thomas got the tag and did a knee drop then tagged out to Bradley. Bradley got one roll up before Hardy got tagged in to pounce his head off every turnbuckle as the fans chanted “delete delete delete.” Thomas ate a Side Effect. Private Party both kicked Bradley in the face. His partners broke up a power bomb from Hardy. Party did double springboard flips to the floor to clear the way for Hardy to sink in The Leech for a submission win.

Athena vs. Kayla Sparks

Athena brought a record of 12-2 in singles competition to this contest. Sparks brought a smile and a record of 0-2. Athena nearly got caught in a schoolboy but then hit a reverse heel kick in response. Sparks fired off a forearm and a neckbreaker but Athena kicked out at one. Another big kick from Athena to the face followed by vicious ground and pound, and she shoved Mike Posey when he tried to pull her off for good measure. Hammering blows to the back. Athena locked in a choke for the tap and refused to let go. After the match was already over she hit an O-Face for good measure (and to remind us all she’s evil now).

The Butcher and The Blade (w/ The Bunny) vs. Waves & Curls

Butcher & Blade had an undefeated record of 6-0 on Elevation. That wouldn’t change tonight as Waves & Curls were making their AEW debut here. They could have Dragged the Lake in the first 30 seconds and I would have been fine with it. They did it in the next 30 though. Seriously. If this was more than a minute it was only by a second. Wight: “I don’t care to see The Bunny that much because she frightens me. If Bunny walks in the same room, jump out the window.”

ROH Pure Championship Match: Daniel Garcia vs. Leon Ruffin

Ruffin brought an Elevation record of 0-1 to this match. Garcia wore his ROH Pure Title to the ring and brought a record on Elevation matches of 2-0. Garcia took Ruffin down, sat on him, gave him an alligator roll, paintbrushed him, and steamrolled him. Menard: “What are you going to do about it Ruffin? Nothing!” He did though. He jumped over him, hit a drop kick and an arm drag. Garcia knocked Ruffin out of the ring and Menard encouraged the ref Mike Posey to count him out. Instead Garcia went outside and threw him into the barricade then dropped him back first on the apron. The crowd booed. Menard: “Don’t pay attention to the fans. They’re dumb. This is Boston.”

Ruffin tried to hang onto the ropes to keep Garcia off him and the announcers debated whether that counts as a rope break. I thought it only counted as one if you used it to escape a submission or pinfall. Ruffin did a corkscrew cutter and Garcia kicked out at two. Posey gave Garcia a warning for using a closed fist. He then suplexed Ruffin into the turnbuckle for a near fall. Garcia went for a rear naked choke and Ruffin nearly flipped him onto his shoulders for a pinfall. Garcia kept it on and Ruffin stood up and walked toward the ropes for a break, but Garcia re-positioned himself and cranked backward to contort Ruffin in a way that genuinely looked painful enough to tap out to. He shook the hand of his opponent’s prone body afterward.

Preston “10” Vance (with Dark Order) vs. Jora Johl

Johl brought a record of 7-4 for 2022 to this match. Vance brought a record of 24-3 on Elevation to this bout. Johl tried to jump start the match right after the bell and actually slammed Vance for a near fall. He hit a suplex and flexed double biceps. Wight pointed out that no matter how much time you’ve spent on the gym, you shouldn’t waste the time showing off when you have the advantage. Vance immediately took over the match and hit a spinebuster. Johl came back with a kick but it didn’t save him from the discus lariat mere seconds later. Johl got more than most of the squash victims this week.

AR Fox vs. Serpentico

Serpentico had a record of 13-97 overall in AEW. They didn’t show Fox’s overall AEW record though (understandable since he hadn’t won yet) and instead referred to him as “making his Elevation debut” on the chyron. Fox was in control early. Wight: “He’s going to have to do a lot worse though. Serpentico does worse to himself.” Serpentico hit a DDT for a near fall. Fox dived through the ropes and hit a twisting suplex for two. Cutter, splash, cutter, near fall. Menard: “He’s spamming the cutters!” Double stomp by Serpentico for a near fall that was broken up when Stephon Smith caught him holding the ropes. Fox went to the top rope for a 450 and that was that! I’m very happy to see Fox finally notch a W in AEW.

Riho & Willow Nightingale vs. Emi Sakura & Mei Suruga (w/ Baliyan Akki)

Sakura and Suruga were 1-0 as a team on Elevation before the main event. Nightingale and Riho were making their first appearance as a team on any AEW brand. Riho hit a 6-1-9 on Sakura and Akki interfered so that Sakura could recover, hold Riho upside down in the air, and then hit a gut buster before she and Suruga had a spot of tea. Suruga tagged in and was biting Riho’s hand or arm while the ref wasn’t looking. She smashed her face into the canvas repeatedly for good measure. Wight said that was Sakura’s training kicking in.

Riho recovered and did a roll through and a double stomp before tagging in Nightingale. POUNCE. Suruga nearly flew all the way out of the ring. Suruga jumped on her back and raked the eyes then hit a dropkick before tagging Sakura. “We will rock you” chops and crossbody. Spinebuster by Nightingale in response. Riho hit her with a high crossbody when she tagged in. Backbreaker from Sakura. Sakura gave Nightingale a drop toehold onto her partner then they did the Transformer. Sakura went top rope but Riho avoided the moonsault. Riho did the double stomp for a near fall. Sakura pulled the ref into the way and Akki yanked her legs out, but Nightingale made the save. Suruga hit her with a forearm. Nightingale hit a double clothesline and Riho hit flying knees on Sakura for three!

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by Freddie Foxxx a/k/a Bumpy Knuckles, because he’s yet another Fox who deserves all the props. After last week’s episode of Elevation it would be hard to top it this week — and they didn’t — but this was still plenty of fun. Go out of your way to watch the main event, Fox vs. Serpentico, Ruffin vs. Garcia and Hardy w/ the Party. Skip Gates of Agony, Tay Melo, and Butcher & Blade unless you’re bored.

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 after it airs at 7 PM ET, 6 CT.

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