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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Dec. 26, 2022): Konosuke vs. Kazarian

Episode 95 of AEW Dark: Elevation is in the books. If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream. Paul Wight called the action all by himself at the start and was joined by Matt Menard later. I hope you had a good holiday if you celebrated, or a day off if you didn’t. Either way here we go with another show!

Nyla Rose & Marina Shafir vs. Leva Bates & Karizma

Shafir & Rose brought a record of 9-1. Bates and Karizma had never teamed together before. Karizma got taken down with a few kicks from Rose and had a leg dropped on her head for good measure. She tagged out after being headbutted into the turnbuckle, and Shafir tagged in at the same time. Shafir stepped over Bates just to give Karizma a chop to the body, then got on top in mount, then got off again just to kick Karizma on the apron. She finally got tired of beating both women and tagged in Rose, who tried a splash and ate double knees. Rose shoved Karizma like she was nothing, hit a choke slam, and Bates made the save. Rose threw one woman into the other for a cutter and then Shafir put Karizma in an arm bar and refused to let go after the tap (as usual). This was a one sided squash but at least it got enough time for Rose and Shafir to show off.

Julia Hart (w/ Brody King) vs. Promise Braxton

Matt Menard arrived for commentary on this match, but the match didn’t go long enough for him to say much.

Hart brought a record of 18-3 to this contest. Braxton was 0-2. She quickly got grounded and put in the Hartless Lock, tapping out with her foot, while Wight talked about how vicious she was in the match. Backstage Vickie Guerrero screamed at Nyla Rose and Marina Shafir about not feeling any respect and saying “nothing works any more.” Lexi for Shafir’s response to that and she just walked away.

The Bunny (w/ Penelope Ford) vs. Madison Rayne

The Bunny brought a record of 11-7 to this match. Rayne brought a record of 1-1. Bunny attacked her before the opening bell but Rayne came back with an enzuigiri and finally took off her ring jacket. Bunny charged in the corner and missed, but Penelope Ford provided an assist from the outside.

Bunny hit a running high knee and a diving forearm in the corner along with some reverse elbows before hooking the leg for a two count. She got into full mount and bounced Rayne’s head like a basketball. Rayne reversed a whip but ate a back elbow charging in. Bunny wrapped her legs around Rayne’s head and leaned back into the ropes. Rayne hit a cutter but Ford distracted the ref before she could make a three count. Rayne tried a roll up but it didn’t work. Bunny went Down the Rabbit Hole and got the pin — as you’d expect. If she had that many distractions and still didn’t win it would be a failure. Skye Blue ran out to stop a post-match 2-on-1 beatdown.

Backstage “All Ego” Ethan Page dragged Matt Hardy and Isaiah Kassidy away from their families for Christmas and continued to berate them and tell them they only win matches because of him. Zay said they did all the work last week and Page stole the pin. He reminded Zay that the pecking order is him, Hardy, and Zay last so he’d better remember his place, then told them to enjoy Boxing Day. Hardy seemed to tease that he’d had all he could stand and he had one of his “Broken/Woken” outfits with him.

Konosuke Takeshita vs. Frankie Kazarian

Kazarian brought a record of 17-1 on Elevation. Takeshita brought a record of 10-0 on Elevation. Paul Wight and Matt Menard both acknowledged the large crowd response that Takeshita got. The bell rang and Kazarian nodded his head like he was acknowledging his opponent, and then the dueling chants from the crowd began. Kazarian tried a shoulder tackle and ran into a brick wall, but the second time he got Takeshita off his feet. Kazarian tried a head lock takeover and Takeshita countered, he tried again and got him down for a little bit, he tried to keep the head lock on and Takeshita just picked him up and dropped him on his back. Flying forearm from Takeshita. Kazarian lifted him over to the apron and dropped a leg on his head. Kazarian smiled, ate a chop, and flew over the ropes for a DDT and a two count. Takeshita and Kazarian tested each other with a series of chops. Kazarian took him down with a clothesline. Russian leg sweep, near fall for Kaz. Menard: “I thought I’d see a little more authority on that kickout. I think Frankie’s wearing him down.” Scoop slam, springboard blocked, blue thunder bomb, Kaz kicked out at 2.99999. Kazarian with a roll up for two, a neck breaker, and another near fall. Kazarian went for the cross face chicken wing and got countered. Takeshita bridged a German suplex and got the pin! Excellent match.

Ruby Soho & Willow Nightingale vs. Vertvixen & Madi Wrenkowski

31-6 Soho, 14-10 Nightingale. Vertvixen and Wrenkowski were teaming together for the first time. On commentary Wight claimed he doesn’t do cartwheels because they’re “unnecessary.” Paul. Big guy. I’d like to see you do a cartwheel if it +was+ necessary. I’m not saying he can’t, but I’d sure like to see someone his size try! Soho nearly smashed her nose into the floor whens he got thrown out, which presumably was the point since she also got her face slammed into the ring apron. Is everybody going to target her nose now? I suppose so. Wrenkowski and Vertvixen cut off the ring and distracted referee Mike Posey for some dirty tactics. Nightingale played cheerleader on the apron trying to get Soho to fight back. She finally rolled under Vertvixen for the hot tag. Nightingale threw a series of chops and a hip attack in the corner. Second rope dropkick for a near fall. Wrenkowski tried to run in to help to no avail and Soho did a double team backbreaker face plant to get the pin. Wight dubbed the move “The Runaway Face Plant.” Surprisingly the social media team didn’t share any highlights from this bout.

ROH Women’s Title Match: Athena (c) vs. Kiera Hogan

Hogan came out first with a 2022 record of 9-3. The Ring of Honor women’s champion brought her world title and a record of 20-2. Menard called Athena his favorite competitor of the last few months. Hogan was in control early and sent Athena out to the floor with a kick, then hit a baseball slide to follow up. Athena recovered quickly though and sent Hogan into the barricade, then draped her across it to pound on her back. She told the camera man where to stand then gave Hogan a drop kick to send her into the crowd. “Zoom it!”

Athena got back in the ring and laid down to take a break while Hogan tried to beat the count out. Hogan got back in at 7 and immediately got the boots put to her. Elbow, kick to the back, Hogan winced in pain before Athena got behind her and sank in the fish hooks. She slammed Hogan’s head into the mat repeatedly, hit a senton, and Hogan kicked out at two. Hogan tried to fight back and got stomped on. Athena cranked on Hogan’s neck while she screamed in pain. If this was UFC that would have been a verbal submission. Hogan finally hit a counter into a DDT and both women were down. Hogan got up first for a few forearms and punches, whipped Athena into the corner, then hit a sliding dropkick. Roundhouse kick, back kick, Athena kicked out. Hogan pounded the mat in frustration. She tried to go top rope and Athena cut her off and threw her down by the hair. Now it was her turn to go to the top. Hogan cut her off and they fought until Athena jumped off for a super powerbomb, then hit double knees to the body for the finish. Another excellent match! As usual Athena gave her opponent an unnecessary post match beating (which I love).

Dralistico (w/ Jose the Assistant) vs. Blake Christian

Christian was competing on Elevation for the first time, while Dralistico was taking his first singles match on this episode. Christian and Dralistico opened the match with chops back and forth. Dralistico did a ‘rana, a flip to the outside, threw Christian into the barricade and back into the ring, then posed with Jose for the camera. He hit a moonsault off the ropes for a near all and Wight complimented him on being “All Heart” for kicking out of that. Christian caught Dralistico on the apron then did his flip dive over the ropes, landing on his feet and then hitting a reverse DDT. Now it was Christian’s turn to go to the top rope, but Jose grabbed his feet and Dralistico took advantage with a ‘rana for a two count. Jose pounded on the mat and complained to Aubrey Edwards that it was a three count. Dralistico pounded on the top turnbuckle, went for a moonsault and landed on his feet. Christian hit a Spanish Fly and a 450 but Dralistico kicked out at 2.99. Wight: “He literally put everything he had on that. We’re gonna find out if he’s all heart or not.” Jose grabbed a leg again and Dralistico hit a modified Canadian Destroyer to get the pin. Jose raised his hand afterward, and then Preston Vance and RUSH came out to celebrate with them. All four men stood on the apron like a modern day Elevation. Is it a mystery? You tell me!

What to watch/skip

This week’s “what to watch/skip” for Elevation is brought to you by hbomberguy. That’s somewhat random I know, but I think his long form YouTube videos are as good or better than some big budget documentaries. Anyway to keep this simple and plain there wasn’t a “bad” match this episode, but Takeshita and Kazarian were so good that if you watch one thing... that’s the one. Athena vs. Hogan was a very close second, and Christian vs. Dralistico not far behind!

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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