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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Jan. 23, 2023): Mess with the bull, get the horns

Episode 99 of AEW Dark: Elevation is in the books. If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream. Ian Riccaboni, Paul Wight and Matt Menard called the action tonight. Our continued thoughts and well wishes go out to the family and friends of Jamin Pugh. Let’s talk about today’s episode.

Skye Blue vs. Zoey Dubois

This is Blue’s first match on Elevation for 2023. For Dubois this was her AEW debut altogether. She caught Blue with a kick and an uppercut in the corner, then hit the Three Amigos of suplexes (not acknowledged by the announcers, but the Fresno crowed popped). She put a boot to Blue’s throat in the corner until the ref made her break at four. Blue fought her way back into the match with closed fists and a head scissor. Running knee to the ropes, roundhouse kick to the jaw, two count from Paul Turner. Dubois double legged Blue but Blue kicked her off and then nailed her with a superkick. Sky Fall, 1-2-3, it’s over. One of the better looking matches I’ve seen from Blue lately, and not a bad debut for Dubois either.

The Butcher and The Blade (w/ The Bunny) vs. David McCallion & Richie Slade

Butcher & Blade brought a record of 7-1 on Elevation. Wight called them “two heartless mercenaries led by a sociopath.” McCallion and Slade were making their debut, and although Dasha didn’t mention it, Menard was sure to tell us their team name was “Beef Candy.” No, I’m dead serious. Beef Candy. They looked more like shredded beef after Butcher & Blade were done with them. Riccaboni: “Beef Candy in big time trouble here early on.” Wight: “It’s been a mostly one sided affair.” Mostly? How about entirely. Slade broke up a three count and got thrown onto his own partner, then Butcher & Blade decided to Drag the Lake for the win. I’m not sure Beef Candy hit one offensive move, unless you flip the word and say that they +are+ offensive. I kid. I’m sure they’re fine — we just didn’t get to see it.

Lexi tried to interview Athena backstage but she ended up getting in a fight with Yuka Sakazaki instead that was broken up by backstage officials. Let, them, fight! Let, them, fight!

RUSH & Preston Vance (w/ Jose the Assistant) vs. Papacito Blanco & Papacito Negro

La Faccion Ingobernables brought a team record of 1-0. Their opponents were making their AEW tag team debut. Riccaboni: “Not much known about these men but they have very impressive physiques.” Wight immediately informed us cosmetics would not be good enough against the intensity of RUSH and Vance. Vance hit Blanco with a spinebuster and mocked his old “ten” moniker by holding up both hands. Negro tagged in and threw some chops. Vance immediately blew threw him with a shoulder tackle, tagged in Vance, and both men attacked Negro in the corner. Aubrey Edwards tried and failed to stop them from both stomping on him. They teased kicking a field goal through him, then saluted the crowd to tick them off even more. RUSH gave Negro the bulk’s horns, Vance hit the discus lariat on Blanco, then they pinned both men at once. The Papacitos got their masks ripped off afterward.

Emi Sakura vs. Brooke Havok

Sakura brought a singles record of 1-0 for 2023. Spoiler alert — she would remain undefeated for the year, especially with her opponent Havok waiting for her in the ring and sporting a record of 0-2. No, not that Havok. I wish it was. She’d have given Sakura a real fight. Sakura raked the eyes, tossed her opponent like a sack of flour, spanked her ass and raked her back. Sakura mocked Havok and she came back with some forearms, and Sakura responded with some loud chops. She missed with the third one and Havok hit a neckbreaker and a pendulum DDT. Well, you can’t say Havok didn’t put up +any+ fight. Sakura planted Havok in response and did the “we will chop you” in the corner followed by the flying crossbody. Delayed vertical, backbreaker, to the top rope, Sakura yelled “I am your highness” and hit a moonsault for the pin. She sat on Stephon Smith’s knee and kissed his bald head afterward.

Tony Nese & Ari Daivari (w/ Mark Sterling) vs. Big Fonz & Jordan Cruz

Sterling interrupted the introduction from Dasha as the team of Nese and Daivari made their AEW debut. “We’re going to get this match over with, we’re going to get in our car, and we’re going to drive to San Francisco and party with the good looking people.” Fonz & Cruz were making their AEW tag team debut. The announcers chastised Nese for wasting his time showing off his muscles. I don’t know, if I had worked as hard as he has, I think I’d show it off too. Fonz tagged in and towered over Daivari, who had to put him down with kicks and tag in Nese for some help. Cruz came in and got taken out by Daivari, and Nese put down Fonz with the running knee for three. Wight: “I just don’t like Sterling.” Riccaboni: “That makes two of us.”

Dark Order (John Silver, Evil Uno & Alex Reynolds) vs. Ryan Nemeth, Peter Avalon & Serpentico (w/ Luther)

Nemeth, Avalon and Serpentico were 0-1 so far as a trio. Dark Order brought a record of 2-0 in this formation for 2023. Wight: “Johnny Hungee is like a modern day Ivan Putski.” Just in case you have no idea who Wight is talking about here’s a link for your perusal.

Avalon hit Reynolds with a suplex for a two count and tagged in Serp. Serp jumped off the ropes and tagged him right back in. Avalon ate a backdrop and Uno tagged in as did Serp. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Nemeth ran in and ate a cutter. Uno dropped Serp’s head right on his knee for a near fall. Silver got tagged in and went for the Pendulum Bomb but Avalon yanked his leg from the outside. The announcers had no idea who the legal man was at this point, and since all six men were in the ring, I can understand their confusion. Avalon got double teamed by Silver and Reynolds and pinned, so it’s safe to say Avalon was the legal man for +his+ team. That’s how the show ends!

What to watch/skip

This week’s “what to watch/skip” for Elevation is brought to you by RUSH’s Twitter. Give him a follow or get the horns! This was a sub-40 minute episode so my only “skip” is Butcher & Blade vs. Beef Candy. It was a fun squash but so one sided that I wouldn’t blame you for not bothering with it. Los Ingobernables was equally one sided but the heel turn for Preston Vance has been entirely to his benefit. The best match of this short episode was Sakura vs. Havok.

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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