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AEW Dark Elevation recap (July 25, 2022): No Take-soup for you JD Drake!

Episode 73 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 Excalibur, Caprice Coleman and Mark Henry called the action tonight. So it has been a quiet week since the last episode right? No big news over the weekend? Nothing major today either? Obviously I’m kidding. If you love drama in and outside of the squared circle it has been one hell of a roller coaster. Before we get started with Elevation here’s Tony Khan trolling the WWE “universe” about it.

Angelico & Private Party (Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen) vs. Adrian Alanis, AR Fox & Liam Gray

Private Party brought a record of 5-4 for 2022, while their partner Angelico was 2-0 in singles action. AEW didn’t even bother saying this was their debut in the “trios division.” They did say it for their opponents waiting in the ring though. You know if there’s an actual trios division it’s in the promotion AEW has under its umbrella now, Ring of Honor, but I digress. Caprice Coleman put over what a “technical wizard” Angelico is, right before their opponents gave him a little bit of a beatdown. He managed to escape and tag Kassidy. After a dive to the outside he tagged in Quen for a crossbody and a near fall. Coleman: “It would be a game plan to keep AR Fox out.” It would be an even bigger one to feature him in singles competition, but I digress again! He tagged in at the same time as Angelico and hit a cutter right as Coleman dubbed him “a human highlight reel.” He did a flip off the ring post to the floor but once Angelico dragged him back in the Navarro Death Roll brought his momentum to a screeching halt via submission. This needed three or four more minutes.

Marina Shafir & Nyla Rose (w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs. Angelica Risk & Shalonce Royal

Rose brought a record of 72-31 while Shafir’s record was 11-5. Henry dubbed this team “a loud scary problem” but I thought he was taking about Risk & Royal, and true to character Royal immediately started singing opera. This was their first time teaming together though and if you’ve ever watched a Dark show you know what that means. Hell even if you’ve +never+ watched a Dark show you know what that means. Shafir treated Risk to a painful series of holds, throws, and stomps before tagging in Rose. Rose just hit clotheslines. Risk tried to hit the ropes and got hit with a back elbow. Rose turned a torture rack into a cutter and Royal ran out to make the save. Rose hit Risk with knees to the face, Shafir kicked Royal off the apron, Shafir hit a kick to the spine and a kick to the face as Rose did a spinebuster. Shafir picked up the scraps with the pin. I don’t remember seeing a tag but who cares?

Toni Storm vs. Emi Sakura

Sakura came out with a record of 18-6 flanked by Bailyan Akki. Storm brought a record of 11-2 ranked as the No. 2 contender in the women’s division. Sakura attacked her with her royal cape before the bell could even ring. Storm eventually fought off a waist lock with back elbows and started throwing Sakura around. Sakura took control back with a dragon sleeper as the crowd booed and a “To-ni” chanted started. Storm got back up and the two started trading chops. Sakura won the war and cackled like the anime villain she is, and even started mocking the crowd chant. Storm reversed a backbreaker, threw Sakura out of the ring, and the two continued their stiff ass fight on the floor. Henry: “Have you seen Toni Storm take this much punishment before?” Storm finally gave her a DDT into the pretty black mats for the fans wearing Shark Week hats. Back in the ring Storm hit a top rope crossbody for a near fall. “Let’s go To-ni!” Storm went for the hip attack and missed, so Sakura did her “we will chop you” crossbody combo. Delayed backbreaker from Sakura. Storm kicked out! Henry: “Man you talk about a close one.” She went for a second one but Storm picked her up for a slam and connected with a brutal looking hip attack, a swinging DDT, and a pendulum DDT for three. Fantastic match between these two!

Kris Statlander vs. Brittany

Statlander brought a singles record of 49-18 ranked No. 3 in the women’s division. Brittany brought a record of 0-2. Coleman talked about being one of her trainers along with George South and said she brought “a lot of attitude” to the match with Statlander. That wouldn’t be enough to stop Statlander doing a shoulder press handstand into a drop kick and a power slam, a combo which nearly gave Coleman apoplectic fits. She charged Brittany with a knee in the corner, then changed a crucifix attempt into Night Fever for an easy victory. Henry: “She absorbed all her energy, yoked her up on her shoulder, then spiked her like lawn darts!” I couldn’t put it better than that.

Hikaru Shida vs. Robyn Renegade

The women’s division is getting a lot of shine on Elevation this week and I like it! Renegade was accompanied by her sister Charlette and brought a singles record of 1-4. Shida brought a record of 56-13 to this match. Henry thought she was wearing the Eye of Agamotto to the ring. “I may not be able to pronounce it but I know it when I see it!” Excalibur picked up the ball and ran with it by saying Shida was a big Benedict Cumberbatch fan. Renegade and Shida wound up brawling outside the ring, but Renegade hit a backstabber for a near fall when they got back in. Shida came back with elbows and hammerfists. Henry: “That’s what you call a good old fashioned ass whooping.” Shida slapped the taste out of her mouth in the corner and hung her over the top turnbuckle for a running knee on the apron. Springboard meteora, brainbuster, near fall. Shida herked her up and Renegade gouged the eyes. Charlette took her sister’s place for a spinebuster but Mike Posey figured it out and disallowed the pin. Shida made them collide heads then gave the original Renegade an axe kick and the Falcon Arrow to finish off the legal woman. A little silly at the end but fun.

The Dark Order (Evil Uno & Preston “10” Vance) vs. The Factory (Aaron Solo & Nick Comoroto) w/ QT Marshall

The Factory brought a record of 5-10 to the ring for this bought. Dark Order brought a record of 5-0 and were ranked No. 4 in the tag team division for the first time ever. That doesn’t seem like enough wins to be No. 4 but it’s not like they have a panel of journalists voting on who deserves to be where. In terms of popularity they’d be up there regardless. The entire crowd counted along for Evil Uno doing a delayed vertical suplex to the ten count. He went outside to stop QT Marshall from interfering, but Marshall sent him into a ring post and Comoroto took advantage. Marshall hit Uno with a right hand with the ref distracted and Solo tagged in for a dropkick and a near fall. I know this was taped last Wednesday but it’s still weird to see the shark cage hanging over the ring during the show. Vance finally got the hot tag and ran over both men with ease. Spine on the pine for Solo. Uno made the blind tag and they did the rip cord DDT combo before Comoroto made the save. Comoroto speared Vance and The Factor did a combination backbreaker foot stomp until Vance pushed Comoroto into the pile to break up the pin. Uno hit Something Evil on Solo and tagged in Vance. Comoroto swept the legs of Vance, Marshall hit Vance with a right hand, then put his hands on Solo’s legs for leverage on the ropes. He got caught red handed though and thrown out of the match to the crowd’s delight! Vance hit the discus lariat on Solo and picked up the win to improve their record to 6-0.

Brandon Cutler vs. Baron Black

“Associate Stooge” Brandon Cutler brought a record of 1-4 and a microphone. “Do you people know who my best friends are? I’m friends with the Young Bucks, the two time tag team champions, and with friends like that you get perks baby! I asked them to give me a match with the biggest loser in the company.” Black’s 2022 record was 0-2 but Cutler claimed his singles record was 0-50 and mocked Atlanta +and+ their “hometown hero.” Cutler: “Buddy you don’t have a chaaaaaaance.” Black gave him a spinning chop to the throat and the bell rang. Black unzipped his hoodie and hit a series of chops. Cutler tripped him face first into the turnbuckle and the camera zoomed in to show the impact of Black’s chops, and Cutler zipped up his hoodie to hide it. Cutler started strutting and dancing, dropped an elbow, and Black kicked out. Coleman: “Some people find out dances really late and think that they’re cool.” I laughed. Can we keep Coleman on commentary even more? Black hit a power bomb and stacked Cutler up for a near fall. Cutler used the cold spray on Black and hit a thrust kick, but Black kicked out. Black did a roll up with a handful of Cutler’s ridiculous pants and got his first AEW win. Henry: “Aw man that’s beautiful!” It is indeed.

Konosuke Takeshita vs. JD Drake

Drake brought a singles record of 4-41. Takeshita’s record was 7-5. Drake got the heat from Atlanta by sending Takeshita back first to the floor. Coleman put him over as not having the million dollar look or million dollar smile but being as tough as they come. Commentary agreed and said that not being liked by the fans just motivates him even more. Coleman: “You don’t ask JD Drake to bring it because that’s exactly what he’s going to do.” Drake blocked a blue thunder bomb but Takeshita missed even bigger with a flying knee that flipped him over the corner to the floor. Drake threw him into the ropes for a rebound lariat then threw him back in for a near fall. Drake missed with a chop and ate a German suplex. Takeshita missed with a lariat and ate a backdrop. Cannonball in the corner. Drake went to the top rope and hit a moonsault press. Henry thought it was over when Takeshita kicked out. “It don’t get closer than that!” Drake bit him in the forehead, Takeshita responded with a blue thunder bomb and got a near fall, then hit the jumping knee for the +sudden+ victory. Coleman: “That’s an amazing young athlete right there.” Yes Coleman, he is!

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by the Uppercut Swingphony in honor (pun intended) of Claudio Castagnoli’s big win. True story — my wife once took a Claudio sign to a WWE PPV where we had ringside seats reading “Swiss Money, Yeah Yeah.” Yes that doubles as a Cryme Tyme joke, which should tell you how long ago it was (RIP Shad Gaspard). Her sign made television so many times WWE security came over and told her not to hold it up again for the rest of the show. She was pretty salty about that, but after all of these years she’s finally been proven right — Castagnoli is indeed Swiss Money, yeah yeah. Please go out of your way to watch Toni Storm and Emi Sakura, Konosuke Takeshita vs. JD Drake, and Dark Order vs. The Factory. Even though it was a comedy match show Baron Black a little love too for finally getting his first AEW win — it was long overdue. Nothing was bad enough to skip but those four matches were the highlights.

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