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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Dec. 10, 2022): Final prep before Final Battle

Episode 92B 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 Tony Schiavone, “Daddy Magic” Matt Menard and Paul Wight called the action, and let’s get right to that action!

We open with a video package hyping up the history of Final Battle. That makes sense. That’s the whole reason this bonus episode is airing. Claudio Castagnoli says he feels personally responsible for Ring of Honor’s legacy being ruined by Chris Jericho, and that “you can’t be the Ring of Honor champion without honor.” If you weren’t already hyped for the pay per view today, you would be afterward.

The Kingdom (w/ Maria Kanellis) vs. Sal Muscott & Atu Valu

Matt Taven and Mike Bennett are making their AEW tag team debut with this match. The same was true for their opponents, who Schiavone tells us hail from the Rhodes Wrestling Academy. Valu is a tall drink of water and he was wearing a shirt that said “I’m Not Your Uce.” Taven slapped him to get him off his game, made him chase him around, then hit a dropkick. He tagged in Muscott and Taven immediately tagged in Bennett for some chops. Menard: “This guy’s gonna want to get out of the corner here!” He does not. Quick tags lead to a death valley driver and a running knee. Muscott never got the chance to tag back out — he got double teamed for the pin. Exactly the kind of one-sided dominance The Kingdom should show.

This was followed by a video package with Mercedes Martinez and Athena talking about their history in SHIMMER Wrestling, complete with some licensed footage, which I’m happy to see Tony Khan paid for to build up this match. Sure he can afford it, but he +did it+, and you can at least give him the credit for giving the history to this pay per view women’s title match that it deserves.

Athena vs. Madi Wrenkowski

And speaking of Athena, here she is, bringing a 2022 singles record of 18-2. Dasha Gonzalez was sure to note she hails from Dallas, Texas and the crowd for this taping gave her the reception you’d expect in her home state. Wrenkowski brought a record of 0-3 but she got some fan support too. Athena jacked her in the jaw and pounded on her for a bit. Wrenkowski tried a roll up and then they traded chops, which Athena quickly got the better of before pounding her down to the mat, which the crowd was 100% behind. Vertical suplex. Crossface. Wrenkowski tapped out. Athena kept cranking away on the chin regardless. She was admonished by the ref when she let go but still got her hand raised. She gave Wrenkowski a sliding dropkick to the floor and then threw her into the barricade. I actually heard a “one more time” chant. A forearm dropped her at ringside and she left making the sign of the belt around her waist.

Next up was a promo package for Daniel Garcia vs. Wheeler Yuta.

Top Flight vs. The Factory (Aaron Solo & Nick Comoroto)

Solo & Comoroto brought a record of 4-10 to this bout. “Nicky Boy” took time to fight with someone dressed as Santa Claus at ringside. Top Flight brought a record of 5-2 for 2022 to the ring. Schiavone was sure to point out Mrs. Claus and “Jesus Christo” were at ringside too. The Factory double teamed Darius until Dante got the hot tag and got a near fall on Solo. Darius got tagged back and they did a double team DDT until Comoroto broke it up. He tried to toss Dante out but ended up spilling over the ropes himself. Dante did a Nose Dive to break up an assist by Comoroto from the floor, and once his arms and Solo’s were broken, Darius rolled up Solo for the pin.

One more Final Battle video package for this episode — Juice Robinson putting over Samoa Joe, saying he’s been watching him since he was 16 years old, daring him to prove he’s a real badass.

Juice Robinson vs. Hagane Shinno

Robinson was making his AEW Dark Elevation debut here. That’s as weird a sentence for me to type as it is for you to read. Shinno got his own entrance and brought a record on Elevation of 1-0 after his surprising win over Nick Comoroto (which commentary was sure to mention). As soon as the bell rang Robinson immediately plowed into him, took him down, and hit the ground and pound before standing up with a smirk on his face. Shinno tried to fight back with forearms and chops, so Robinson pancaked him and did a senton before casually laying across Shinno for two. Aubrey Edwards warned him not to grab Shinno’s hair and he said “Shut up Aubrey!” Shinno knocked him out of the ring and did a moonsault to the floor. He ran all the way to the top of the ramp then ran back down to... just throw Robinson in the ring. Maybe he got too excited? Okay. He fired off a series of kicks that had Robinson reeling, hit a running knee, and was finally cut off when Robinson poked him in the eye. Edwards said “Hey!” She didn’t complain about the cannonball senton in the corner though. Shinno with a back elbow and a rana. Robinson with a lariat that turned Shinno upside down for two. Wight: “He almost got decapitated with that left lariat.” Robinson argued with Edwards for a moment, then hit a pile driver and finally put Shinno away for the win. Wight: “That standard old school pile driver. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Final Battle is at 4 PM ET!

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by “Chosen One.” There’s just one problem though — I have no skips for this episode. The winners of all four matches may have been obvious, but going into Final Battle, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Cageside commentary crew! Share your thoughts in the comments section below and find me on Twitter for even more wrestling talk. See you for next week’s Dark shows after Final Battle!

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