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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Apr. 18, 2022): The Hardys take (top) flight

Episode 59 of AEW Dark: Elevation is in the books! If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream. The announce team this time was Excalibur, Mark Henry and Paul Wight. Let’s talk about what went down (or up) on Elevation this week!

Kris Statlander vs. Ashley D’Amboise

Statlander brought a record of 40-17 to the opening contest on Monday night. D’Amboise brought a record of 0-3. The “new look” Statlander bulldozed her at the opening bell and hit a running knee in the corner. Reverse suplex, delayed vertical suplex, kip up, and back breaker. Wight: “Wow this is a very dominant Krist Statlander.” D’Amboise got picked up and spiked right on her head for the pin. As squash as squash can get. Take a look for yourself!

Andrade El Idolo (w/ Jose the Assistant) vs. Alan “5” Angels (w/ The Dark Order)

El Idolo came to the ring 12-7 overall. Angels brought a record of 6-7 for 2022. The same number of losses, but definitely a disparity in the wins. The Dark Order stayed at the top of the entrance ramp, while Jose the Assistant planted himself firmly at ringside. El Idolo immediately took a side headlock and wrenched on it when Angels tried to shoot out, then he knocked Angels down with a shoulder tackle. Angels responded with a reverse ‘rana and El Idolo had to roll out to recover. El Idolo caught him with a dropkick when he was coming out of the air and laid on the ground to mock him. Tetsuya Naito would approve. Angels came at El Idolo with chops and kicks then got a bridging suplex for two. He went to the top rope again but El Idolo swept the legs and Angels fell into the tree of woe. El Idolo missed a double stomp off the top, Angels hit a thrust kick, and went up for a frog splash that got two and change. Angels signaled for the end with a discus lariat but El Idolo countered him and grabbed the arm with the head scissored to try and rip it out of his shoulder. Angels tapped. This was a more competitive match than you might have expected going in!

Tony Nese (w/ “Smart” Mark Sterling) vs. J. Spade

“The Premier Athlete” Tony Nese brought a record of 10-2 to the ring. J. Spade was in the ring waiting for Nese and waiting to make his AEW debut. They tied up for a test of strength and Nese threw him down face first. They locked up again, Nese overpowered him to the corner, then flexed a bicep in his face. Spade gave him one back in return and fairly so because he’s a young man with a good physique. Nese snapped his neck off the ropes as he jumped over the ropes to the floor, then ran him over with a back elbow, pulling him back up by the hair for Spade to fire up and throw a leg lariat. Wight chastised him for playing to the crowd and sure enough it cost him as Nese gave him a pump handle slam and finished him with the running Nese. Spade looks like he could be something in the future, but Nese is something right now, so this was the correct outcome.

The Dark Order (Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Jon Silver & Alex Reynolds) vs. Allen Russell, Dale Springs, Izaiah Zane & Kameron Russell

Would you be surprised to know The Dark Order’s opponents were already waiting for them in the ring? No you wouldn’t. TDO actually got an “8-man tag record” of 2-2 as they entered for this contest. Naturally their opponents had no record in the mythical 8-man division.

Eight man or woman tag matches tend to be a mess and this was no exception. In an athletic endeavor where “rules” are selectively enforced, they tend not to be enforced at all in this match. Grayson and Evil Uno combined for a fatality and whichever one Uno had slung over his back took the pin from Stu. At least it was short and one-sided. Here’s a replay of the finish!

Roppongi Vice (Trent Beretta & Rocky Romero) w/ Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor vs. The Factory (Aaron Solo & Nick Comoroto)

Comoroto and Solo brought a tag team record of 3-8. Roppongi Vice brought a record of 1-1 to the ring. If nobody else is going to ask the question I will — how long does a wrestler with the size and strength of Comoroto want to be losing one match after another on the Dark shows? If he was green I could understand keeping him hidden for a while longer, but he’s Factory trained and good enough to work with anyone he gets in the squared circle with. He and Beretta exchanged chops until Comoroto no sold a series of shoulder tackles and did a drop down for Beretta to eat a lariat on the rebound.

Wight: “I’m confused by that whole scenario.” Paul... that’s because you’re thinking like a big man. Comoroto is a well trained athletic and capable pro wrestler! Beretta played face in peril while The Factory cut off the ring and made sure Romero was knocked to the floor so he couldn’t tag in. Romero cleaned house with clotheslines once he got the hot tag. Solo exchanged chops and went for a jaw breaker, Beretta blind tagged in, and Comoroto pulled Solo out before they could hit a double team move. Comoroto threw Beretta face first into the apron and threw him back. Solo hit a corkscrew kick, Comoroto hit a spear, and Beretta kicked out! Solo went for the diving stomp and Romero broke up the pin. Double knee lifts sent Comoroto to the floor and Romero did a suicide dive to wipe him out. Beretta hit a back drop driver and Romero went top rope to hit the Strong Zero piledriver for the win. A great tag match but are you surprised The Factory lost? They always lose! Aaron needs to go Solo and Comoroto needs to go anywhere else.

Anna Jay, Hikaru Shida & Ruby Soho vs. Emi Sakura, Raychell Rose & The Bunny

Sakura, Rose and Bunny were teaming together for the first time in this match. Their opponents were all listed by their singles records instead of by their team, but before I could even ponder this for too long the faces got jumped by the heels in the middle of Ruby Soho’s song. Excalibur: “This is deeply personal any time Emi Sakura and Hikaru Shida are in the ring.” Thanks for pointing that out Ex, but Raychell Rose and Anna Jay were in the ring at the moment you brought it up. Sakura tagged in briefly but Rose was doing most of the beatdown on Jay until she finally escaped and gave Soho the hot tag. Soho hit a knee, Shida made a blind tag, hit a running knee to the back of the head and Bunny kicked out. Bunny raked the eyes and tagged in Rose for a spear. Sakura came in for an illegal crossbody but Shida caught her and dumped her on the apron, then gave Rose a suplex right into Sakura for a near fall. Jay put the Queen Slayer on Bunny, Shida put the Full Metal Muffler on Rose, and Soho kept Sakura in the crab until Rose tapped out to Shida. An above average six woman tag match compared to many on Dark or Elevation.

The Hardys & Top Flight vs. Angelico, The Blade & Private Party

The heels from the Andrade Family Office were “making their 8-man debut” here.

Top Flight brought a record of 9-5 to the match. The Hardyz brought a record of 2-0 and got a huge ovation from the crowd when they came out!

The early going of the match featured Isaiah Kassidy and Dante Martin working with each other. Private Party ate a double dropkick so Blade & Angelico came in, and the Hardyz cut them off and hit their signature moves as the crowd roared. Jeff Hardy went up after the legal tag but Blade pulled the top rope when he went up so that he’d crash and burn... or at least that was the official explanation according to the announcers. I didn’t see it myself. Either way Jeff hit a jawbreaker on Angelico to escape the beatdown and leapt out to Darius Martin for the hot tag. Darius got tripped on the apron and thrown into the barricade on the outside. Wight: “That’s great stuff but you can’t beat him on the floor. You can beat him up though!” Excalibur: “The referee definitely needs eyes in the back of her head in this match.”

Private Party ate a noggin knocker and Dante got the hot tag to turn Kassidy inside out. Matt Hardy made the blind tag right as Martin did a suicide dive. He signaled for a deletion, the Twist of Fate got blocked, Jeff taggedin but ate a cutter when he was about to jump off Matt’s back. Angelico ate a Side Effect from Matt. Matt ate a corkscrew neckbreaker from Blade. Darius gave Angelico and Blade a double drop kick. Mar Quen did a leaping enzuigiri. Trying to keep track of every move in this match was like trying to watch a colony of ants have an all night rave. Twist of Fate, Jeff Hardy went to the top rope, swanton bomb on Angelico, 1-2-3. Nothing else could have been the main event of this episode.

What to watch/skip

This week’s “what to watch/skip” for Elevation is brought to you by the Hardy Boyz music. It’s rare for me to knock The Dark Order but my only complaint this week was their eight man tag match. It did nothing for their opponents, it did nothing for them, and since it wasn’t even the main event of Elevation it felt unnecessary. At least when members of TDO have a multi-man match it usually seems to headline whether it’s four, six or eight people. Skip that bout and watch everything else.

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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