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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Mar. 14, 2022): Shaolin Kaz vs. Tiger Ruas’ style

Episode 54 of 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, Tony Schiavone and Mark Henry. Let’s talk about what went down (or up) on Elevation this week — but first, a rest in peace salute to Scott Hall — a truly one of a kind wrestler and human being. You will be dearly missed.

Nyla Rose (w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs. Catalina Perez

Rose came out 61-23 for our opening match. Perez brought a record of 0-1 to the match and tried to fire a forearm into Rose’s face before the opening bell. Rose nearly knocked the pink out of her hair with a front forward roll into the corner and gave her the Beast Bomb seconds later to finish her off. Henry: “They may have to call a paramedic.” Guerrero got in the ring and tore up a doll, throwing the pieces on Perez, and laying a shirt over her like she was draping a coffin at the funeral. Wight: “Well on the positive at least she got a t-shirt.”

Frankie Kazarian vs. Tiger Ruas

Kazarian brought a record of 64-29 to this contest. Ruas’ was waiting for him in the ring with a record of 2-7. For whatever reason Schiavone didn’t join the commentary until this match — maybe these matches were from two different tapings. Kaz and Ruas got into a shoving contest and then Ruas hit an arm drag and laughed. Henry put over the fact that Ruas is a black belt in BJJ as Kaz hit a few deep arm drags of his own. He threw Ruas to the corner for some chops. Ruas charged him in the corner, missed, and ate a leg drop when his head was in the ropes. Kaz tried to follow up and got a head kick and a German suplex, all while Wight was trying to get the hang of the “R” being “H” in Brazilian names.

Ruas gave Kaz a knee but Kaz gave him a backslide for a near fall. Ruas landed some more strikes and tried to cinch up the left arm to ground Kaz. He fought back to his feet with open palm strikes and knocked Ruas down with a double axe handle and a flying forearm. Scoop slam by Kaz. Springboard off the ropes. Chop to the throat.Ruas and Kaz started trading strikes. Ruas landed a knee to the kidney. Kaz landed a spin kick. Ruas went for an arm bar and an inside cradle. Kaz went for a roll up. Ruas landed a high knee strike. Kaz took his back and sank in the crossface chicken wing for the submission! Very fun, very competitive match. Even though Ruas’ came up short he showed his potential in pro wrestling with this bout.

Emi Sakura & The Bunny vs. Skye Blue & KiLynn King

Blue and King came out first with respective records of 3-3 and 0-1. 32-10 and 24-18 were The Bunny and Emi Sakura respectively. King landed double knees to Sakura but it didn’t lead to the pin, not that you’d expect it to in a match like this. Blue tagged in and The Bunny attacked her from outside of the ring to slow her momentum, and then Sakura did her “We Will Rock You” crossbody. Henry: “Why would I celebrate with someone that I don’t like?” Bunny tagged in, stomped on Blue’s face, and mocked King in the process. Bunny mocked the crowd too for being behind Blue, slammed her face into the canvas, and the crowd chanted even louder for her.

Bunny put a boot to Blue’s throat in the heel corner and then tagged in Sakura to throw some chops. Blue finally avoided Sakura long enough to go for a roll up and then crawl through her legs to tag King. King threw some chops and knocked Sakura down with a lariat. She knocked Bunny down for good measure, picked Sakura up, and slammed her down for a near fall. Sakura shoved King into the heel corner, Bunny tagged in, and after a little miscommunication Sakura and Bunny did simultaneous Down the Rabbit Holes before Bunny got the win. Two-on-two women’s matches are much better than three-on-three.

Jay Lethal vs. Ace Donovan

Lethal brought a record 7-1 to the ring as the camera zoomed in on people filming his entrance. Donovan was waiting for him to make his AEW debut with this match. Wight: “Lethal’s in his name because he has such an extravagant offense. He has so many tools to work with.” Donovan gave him a flatliner and celebrated like he had the win before going for the pin. Henry: “I guess I’ve been excited once or twice in my life.” Jay fought out of a headlock with elbows to the body and Donovan bonked his head on the turnbuckle trying to hang onto him. Double leg takedown, back bridge pin, figure four attempt but Donovan did an inside cradle for a near fall. Lethal called for the injection, Henry made a sound like an elephant, and Lethal made the pin (in that order).

Ruby Soho vs. Amber Nova

Soho brought a record of 19-4 to the ring. Nova was waiting for her in the ring with an AEW record of 0-4 in singles competition. Nova accepted a handshake and then hit a knee to the body while she had a hold. Soho didn’t take kindly to that and went on offense with kicks and headbutts. Schiavone: “Ever since the cheap shot by Amber it’s been all Ruby.” It was right up until the point they played chase in and out of the ring and Nova caught her with a double axe handle to the back as Soho was coming back in. She grounded Soho and tried to crank on her face with a side headlock. Soho escaped, hit a suplex that drilled Nova’s head into the canvas, then gave her the No Future kick for good measure. Considering Nova showed enough to have a (brief) run in Impact, I’d like to see what she could do if they gave her a win or dare I say a contract. She looked just fine in this match with Soho.

Alex Reynolds & John Silver vs. Chaos Project

Chaos Project brought a 2022 record of 0-3, which shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. Reynolds and Silver brought a record of 13-9 as a flock of The Dark Order acolytes stood at the top of the entrance ramp to cheer them on. Luther was less annoying than usual on this show. I think it helps when he’s actually involved in the match instead of screaming at Serpentico from the outside. Reynolds took the beating here as he seems to do in most Dark Order tag team matches. Reynolds rolled and hit Silver with the hot tag so he could clear the ring single-handedly and throw Serpentico around like a rag doll. Power bomb for two before Luther made the save. Silver gave him an enzuigiri and a knee for his trouble.

Serpentico tried a super kick but Reynolds tagged in, and they did the double team jack knife and back bridge for the victory. Luther was unhappy about the win and used Serpentico like a battering ram on both men, so the entire Dark Order ran down to make the save. Henry: “You know they’re like the Wu-Tang Clan, there’s 30 of them. C.R.E.A.M. get the money, dollar dollar bill y’all.” Thank you Mark! You just tied my report together nicely.

What to watch/skip

This weeks’ Elevation recap is brought to you by Shaolin and Wu-Tang, also known as Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang in some collections. I can’t think of any better way to describe what we saw from Kaz and Ruas tonight. It was a battle of two different styles — pro wrestling versus mixed martial arts — and on this night it was the Shaolin shadowboxing of Kaz that reigned supreme. Put the two of them inside a steel cage and it would (most likely) go the other way. The entire show was good tonight and I have no recommendations for a match to skip. I was disappointed Soho and Nova didn’t get more time but that’s my only complaint.

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!

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