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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Dec. 19, 2022): Claudio had his working boots on

Episode 94 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 Matt Menard and Paul Wight called the action. Let’s get to it!

Marina Shafir vs. Jasmin Allure

Shafir brought a 2022 record of 14-6. Wight took notice of the fact that Shafir came to the ring by herself without Nyla Rose or Vickie Guerrero. “I think they think she’s got this handled.” Menard: “I think something more is going on here.” Allure brought a record of 0-6. Shafir immediately threw Allure across the ring, tripped her to the ground, then tried to snap her arm off with strikes. Allure got a few kicks in but got kicked right in the nose. Wight: “Jasmin almost got decapitated with that kick!” Shafir grounded Allure, bent her elbow backward, Allure tapped and the ref repeatedly told her to let go.

Backstage Matt Hardy and Isaiah Kassidy were doing an interview with Lexi. Hardy: “Marq Quen is doing better. We’re going to know in a couple of days if he’s cleared.” Stokely Hathaway and Ethan Page interrupted and Hathaway said that Page would be taking Quen’s place tonight. Page: “Since Quen’s hurt and not here to earn his pay I brought in Stokely to be the boss tonight. You’re going to team with a legend, a guy who held titles all around the world, and tonight I’m going to show you how to get the job tonight and tonight we’re going to be winners. Grow the hell up.”

Emi Sakura & The Bunny (w/ Penelope Ford) vs. GiGi Red & Lady Bird Monroe

14-12 Bunny, 24-11 Sakura. No combined record listed. Red and Monroe however were given a combined billing of having no previous tag team record. Sakura blasted Monroe with a chop and tagged in Bunny for a running knee and they struck a pose. Red tagged in and Bunny choked her hanging upside down in the ropes. Sakura tagged in for “we will chop you.” Question — why is Red wearing yellow and Monroe wearing red? Either Menard was wrong about who is who on commentary or they didn’t color coordinate. Double tags and Bunny came back in along with Monroe, She went Down the Rabbit Hole while Sakura kept her partner at bay. 1-2-3.

Konosuke Takeshita, Darius & Dante Martin (Top Flight), Isaiah Kassidy, Matt Hardy, Ethan Page vs. The Trustbusters & The Wingmen

As much as I appreciate that there’s an angle going into this match, it would have been better as three on three. The more people you put into a match, the more of a clustertruck it becomes. Takeshita got the largest reaction of any of the 12 people who entered for this match. Aubrey Edwards was the referee and tried to keep control. “Tried” is the operative word. Page refused to take a tag from Kassidy and yelled into the mic that he’s the boss and will only take a tag when he wants to. The crowd booed him and he said “What? I didn’t even have my jacket off yet.” Hardy tagged in for some deletion with the turnbuckle. Ryan Nemeth ran in and got more of the same. Avalon and Hardy traded kicks to the gut and then Page yelled into the mic that he’d be fined again for using another Twist of Fate. Wight: “Really sad sign of professionalism to come out and pull that crap in the middle of a match.”

Hardy got worked over until he hit Slim J with a neckbreaker. Page chriped at him to “do something” and he tagged Dante. Standing moonsault on Avalon for two. Darius tagged in.Nemeth ran in and got kicked out. Multiple dives to the outside by the faces, peaking with Takeshita’s dive. Takeshita hit a flying clothesline, Hardy hit a side effect, Kassidy hit a swanton, and Page insisted on being tagged in. Kassidy reluctantly walked over and made the tag. Page hit the Twist of Fate on Avalon (after yelling out “ohh yeah” like Matt’s old music by Monster Magnet) and made the pin. Page mocked his teammates and said if they don’t like that he’d “delete delete delete” their paychecks, so they should get their asses to the back.

Eddie Kingston & Ortiz vs. Hagane Shinno & Steven Andrews

Shinno and Andrews were teaming together for the first time. Commentary put over Shinno and then Menard quipped they knew nothing about Andrews except “he’s bald and he loves camo.” Kingston and Ortiz brought a record of 7-1. Ortiz loves camo too and his looked more military while Andrews’ matched his blue boots. Andrews did an arm drag from the ropes and seemed to earn Ortiz’ respect. He tagged out to Shinno and Ortiz tagged in Kingston. Chops from Kingston. Kicks from Shinno. Wight: “This is like two rams locking horns.” Shinno hit the ropes and took him down with a ‘rana and a dropkick. Kingston hit an overhead suplex and tagged in Ortiz. Ortiz hit a suplex and tagged Kingston. Double team suplex. Kingston covered for two. Kingston and Shinno slapped each other from their knees. Kingston got the better of it. Shinno hit an enzuigiri and tagged out. Ortiz tagged in. Shinno dived to the outside to wipe out Kingston. Andrews ate a boot, Kingston hit a DDT, Ortiz a backbreaker, and Ortiz bridged a pin to keep Andrews’ shoulders on the mat for three. Fun match!

ROH Women’s Title: Athena (C) vs. Vertvixen

Athena brought a record of 19-2 and had the title around her waist. Vertvixen brought a 2022 record of 0-1. I’m guessing they didn’t list her overall record to make her a more credible challenger. If you’ve seen her wrestle before though you already know that she is. Athena immediately hit a dropkick to send Vertvixen out to the floor, then came outside to throw her into the barricade while fans in Santa Claus outfits applauded her intensity.

She threw Vertvixen back in and slammed her face into the canvas. She hit a diving strike and Mike Posey complained about a closed fist, then complained when she didn’t let Vertvixen out of the corner for a series of kicks. German suplex throw, powerbomb, reverse heel kick, Athena howled like a wolf and then applied a crossface to make Vertvixen tap out. Menard: “She can finish you any way. On the mat, through the air, with her hands.” I like it. I also hope that one of these days Vertvixen will get a chance though. Athena slammed her face into the title belt afterward and I think the fans chanted “one more time” but commentary didn’t acknowledge it. I certainly didn’t ehar anybody in the crowd booing. Wight: “This extra stuff is bad news for your career.” No Paul, I’d say it’s working in her favor.

Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta vs. The Workhorsemen

Main event time! Anthony Henry and JD Drake came in 0-2 to date on Elevation. Yuta had the ROH Pure Title around his waist, and Castagnoli had the ROH World Title around his. Their tag team record in AEW to date was 3-0. Yuta and Henry started things off. They traded arm wringers and Henry repeatedly tried and failed to take Yuta down. He hit a back heel kick and an uppercut, a scoop slam and a senton for a one count. Yuta had enough and tagged in Castagnoli, and Drake tagged in as well. Drake unloaded with a chop. Castagnoli gave him an uppercut. Chop. Uppercut. Chop. Uppercut. Castagnoli leapt over Drake, kicked him in the face, and Yuta tagged in for a double team DDT. Drake raked the eyes and Henry lent an assist with the ref’s back turned. The heels worked Yuta over for a while. Yuta crawled for a tag, Henry pulled him away, but Yuta rebounded from the ropes into a suplex crawled for it again. Drake ran over and knocked Castagnoli off the apron to prevent it.

Castagnoli finally got his hot tag and went wild then hit Drake with a dropkick for two. The crowd popped as they expected Drake to get the Big Swing. He escaped it but ate a slam for his trouble. Henry broke up a piledriver and ate a pop up uppercut. Yuta hit a dive to take him out and Drake went for a cradle for two. Castagnoli kicked out and picked up the big boy Drake for a Big Swing, and he tapped out to it in mid-air just like Chris Jericho did. That’s how it’s done!

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by an uppercut swingphony. You shouldn’t be surprised when I tell you the main event is one to +not+ skip. Shafir’s match is one you should. There was nothing to it — not even the satisfaction of her feuding with her supposed friends Vickie and Nyla. Everything else fell somewhere in between but the Kingston & Ortiz match was the best of that bunch.

Cageside commentary crew! Share your thoughts in the comments section below and find me on Twitter for even more wrestling talk. See you tomorrow night after AEW Dark!

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