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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Feb. 21, 2022): Throw a rock, hit a multi-person match

Episode 51 AEW Dark: Elevation is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream. The announce team was Paul Wight, Mark Henry and Excalibur. Let’s talk about what went down (or up) on Elevation this week on a show packed with multi-person matches!

Red Velvet, Tay Conti & Anna Jay vs. Freya States, Arie Alexander & Angelica Risk

We started right away with a women’s trios match. States, Alexander and Risk were all waiting in the ring and making their debut as a team. Meanwhile Excalibur was joking on commentary that he was filling on for Tony Schiavone because “he decided now was a good time to do his taxes.” States is a tall drink of water. She was easily at least a foot taller than Conti, and tried to overpower her as a result, but as Mark Henry said “an elbow to the head will fix how big you are.” She also seemed a little shocked to be in front of a large crowd. I swear I could see her shaking nervously. Risk had no such problems as she has worked many Dark tapings, and Alexander has worked TV before for OVW. Eventually Anna Jay submitted States with the Queen Slayer, which is exactly what you would expect from a match like this. It could’ve been worse.

2point0, Daniel Garcia & Gunn Club vs. Dean Alexander, Chico Adams, Ariel Levy, Kevin Ku, Dominic Garrini

Speaking of much worse... we had a ten man tag featuring five AEW veterans on one side, and five guys who looked like they had never heard of spray tan on the other. Henry: “I’ve never seen this many people in the ring at one time!” I take it he hasn’t watched a Royal Rumble since the last time he was in one. Garrini got the crowd to chant “ass boys” at Austin Gunn by turning around and shaking his butt, so good for him. The veterans argued about who was the legal man after a tag, but none of them got out of the ring, and referee Aubrey Edwards didn’t even try to make them leave. Garcia put Alexander in a Scorpion Death Lock for a submission. The best thing I can say is they kept this one short.

The Bunny vs. Kaitland Alexis

The Bunny brought a singles record of 31-20 to the ring. Alexis was waiting for her as she skipped around the ring to make her AEW debut, and she smiled nervously as Justin Roberts announced her name. Unlike States earlier she didn’t actually wrestle nervous. In fact she ticked Bunny off by mimicking the way she skipped around the ring, causing a vicious response as Bunny tried to choke Alexis out with her ring jacket. She stomped a mud hole into Alexis in the corner, smashed her head in the turnbuckle, and took a diving elbow to the jaw for good measure. She pulled Alexis back up and screamed “C’mon! Do something!” The beating continued with a big knee lift. She pulled Alexis back up by the hair and took her Down the Rabbit Hole for the win. Alexis was a good opponent for Bunny to squash because she knew what she was doing. I’d like to see what else she’s capable of when it’s not so incredibly one-sided.

Butcher, Blade, Andrade, Private Party vs. Chandler Hopkins, Carlie Bravo, Baron Black, Jameson Ryan & Capt. Shawn Dean

We went from a singles match right back to another 10-man affair. I can’t say that one team was obviously the geeks here, because each side got their own introduction and chance to walk down the entrance ramp before the opening bell. In fact Excalibur pointed out that we’ve seen Baron Black many times before, and that’s true of each of the men he was teaming with (particularly Shawn Dean). As Blade laid a beating on Hopkins, Wight joked that “he’ll be eating soup for the rest of the week.” Dean and Bravo had a brief moment of shine after Dean hit a DDT, but the heels swarmed the ring when they tried a double team flatliner. Quen tagged Andrade and he hit double knees in the corner on Bravo before drilling him with El Idolo. He then tagged in Kassidy to pick the bones and get the pin, just to show he’s a better teammate than Matt Hardy, which naturally brought Hardy out to the ramp to cast an evil eye on the proceedings. The crowd chanted his name as all the wrestlers in the ring exchanged elbow bumps, but the camera quickly cut away to move on to our next match. A promo from Hardy would have been welcome right there.

Ruby Soho vs. Haley J

Soho brought a record of 15-4 to Nashville. J was waiting in the ring to make her AEW debut. Soho offered a handshake and J shoved her away with both hands. J tried to go on offense but got driven face first into the middle turnbuckle, kicked in the head three times, and was ready to finish the match when J hit a thumb to the eye. She followed that with a clothesline but only got a one count. Soho threw a knee and the No Future head kick and ended the match anyway. This was slightly more than a squash, but only by a hair.

Lance Archer vs. Joey O’Riley

This one on the other hand was a 100% squash. The 45-10 Archer threw O’Riley down the entrance ramp and choke slammed him into the ring apron. We never even got O’Riley’s in-ring record, but I suspect this was his AEW debut anyway. He hit the Blackout and laid in ground and pound until the referee stopped it, then shoved the referee away to pound on O’Reily some more. I think this was under 20 seconds bell to bell.

AQA, Skye Blue & Kiera Hogan vs. Emi Sakura, Nyla Rose & Leyla Hirsch (w/ Vickie Guerrero)

This match was set up with an outstanding video package for Kiera Hogan. It’s so good that I would have embedded it in this report if they had uploaded it. Hopefully they will air it again on Dynamite. AQA started it off with Nyla Rose, got slammed on her face, but gave some receipts back along with a dropkick, before Rose swatted her in mid-air and stepped on her head. She threw AQA into the heel corner and Sakura started eating her hair. I know you’ll think I’m exaggerating if you didn’t watch this show, but that’s exactly what she did. Hirsch tagged in, Hogan tagged in, and Hogan gave Hirsch a drive by kick for a near fall before tagging in Blue. They did simultaneous head kicks on Hirsch before Hogan left the ring but it wasn’t enough to put her away. Sakura came back in for her flying crossbody in the corner and tagged Rose back in. Blue elbowed her way out of a firewoman’s carry and tagged AQA back in. Rose threw her into the corner but missed a dive, AQA went to the top, but Vickie Guerrero shook the ropes and she fell. Rose went for the splash but AQA went out of the way and tagged in Blue. Rose gave Blue a choke slam as all hell broke lose with everybody just running in the ring and doing whatever they wanted. Hirsch finally ended it by giving Blue a running knee. I enjoyed this match but the end was an absolute mess.

Jay Lethal, Frankie Kazarian, Brock Anderson, Matt Sydal & Lee Johnson (w/ Arn Anderson) vs. The Wingmen & Chaos Project (w/ Ryan Nemeth)

We had one final 10-man match in the main event. Who books a show this way? Why? Lethal and Avalon took their turns doing the Ric Flair strut, complete with a “woo off” at the end. Drake took turns being pinballed between Anderson and Johnson. Serpentico ate a leaping kick to the skull from Sydal. Luther ate a standing moonsault for good measure. The heels cut off the ring to work over Sydal, but when he escaped Kaz got the hot tag and speared Nemeth when he tried to interfere. When he rolled out Anderson gave Nemeth a clothesline for good measure. Everybody hit the ring and once again Aubrey Edwards did nothing about it, but I can’t say any reasonable person would’ve expected her to. Serpentico almost got a roll up while Kazarian was distracted — almost. Brock Anderson gave him a spinebuster, Lee Johnson gave him a frog splash, and Jay Lethal gave him the Lethal Elbow for the pin. A fan of “Pro Wrestling” on NES held up a picture of Starman with the famous slogan “A WINNER IS YOU.” I think we all are since the best multi-person match went last.

What to watch/skip

Well I’m torn here. I think weekly readers of my AEW reports have surmised that I’m not a huge fan of matches involving four or more people on either side. I can handle a trios match if it’s well put together and the talent involved are top notch, but beyond that it turns into a clustertruck where everyone is trying to get their stuff in and the referee turns into an incompetent boob who just stands there and lets it happen. If I can give you one positive about this week’s episode though it’s that the artist formerly known as Zayda Ramier was here. If I can give you two I’d include seeing Jay Lethal do his impressions of Flair and Macho Man. Hey if you like squashes at least Lance Archer’s was short and violent.

Cageside commentary crew! Share your feedback and thoughts in the comments section below. You can also hit me up on social media. See you tomorrow night for AEW Dark!