Episode 101 of AEW Dark: Elevation is in the books. If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream. Paul Wight and Matt Menard called the action tonight (save for one match). Our thoughts are with all of those affected in Turkey and Syria. Please support whatever aid group you trust to do the most good.
On #AEWDarkElevation TONIGHT, catch #ChaosProject+@zackclayton v #BestFriends+@orangecassidy, @ClaudioCSRO+@WheelerYuta v @AriyaDaivari+@TonyNese, plus #DarkOrder in action, and so much more!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) February 6, 2023
Tune in at 7/6c on https://t.co/lBSV4sbfpB! pic.twitter.com/c8R7YRZ5Kd
J.A.S. (Matt Menard and Angelo Parker) vs. The Boys
The Boys were making their 2023 debut sans Dalton Castle. Menard and Parker brought a 2023 record of 1-0, and as you might have guessed Paul Wight was calling this particular match by himself. Menard did a collar and elbow tie up to push his opponent into the corner, and then respected a clean break. That didn’t last long though as Parker interfered while ref Paul Turner’s back was turned. The Boys did a double leapfrog over Parker while J.A.S. did a double DDT to their opponents. Guess which one led to a pin? The latter. This was way shorter than you’d expect...
We're kicking off tonight's #AEWDarkElevation with #JAS's @theDaddyMagic & @theangeloparker vs #TheBoys @TateTwinBrent @TateTwinBrandon— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) February 7, 2023
Tune in here: ▶️ https://t.co/lXqN1uKFPL pic.twitter.com/gT7ioHwdF3
... which is probably because Lexi was backstage for an interview. “Smart” Mark Sterling said Tony Nese and Ari Daivari were solely responsible for the most viewed episode of Elevation together. “Wheeler Yuta, he’s a good wrestler, big whoop. Claudio, well maybe he’s the strongest guy in wrestling.” Nese and Daivari immediately dismissed his strength as coming from “jazzercise” and said they can swing a man as many times as he can.
Juice Robinson vs. Jake Crist
Robinson brought an Elevation record of 1-0 to this contest. Former Impact wrestler Jake Crist (sans Dave) was already waiting for him in the ring, with Aubrey Edwards working as the referee. I can see why they picked Jake in particular though since he’s a former X Division champion. Robinson and Edwards argued about whether or not he was using a closed fist. Menard was back on commentary by this point and quipped “Don’t even get me started on Aubrey Edwards!” Crist hit a big kick and a pancake. Robinson responded with a Russian leg sweep and a sitout senton, then hit The Juice Is Loose for the pin. Crist looked good for the short amount of time that he got.
Dark Order (John Silver, Alex Reynolds and Evil Uno) vs. Matt Brannigan, Crash Jaxon and Renny D
Dark Order brought a 2023 trios record of 4-0. Their opponents were waiting in the ring for their AEW debut, and Crash Jaxon was the biggest of the three. He had the look of a bar bouncer in Ohio, which was appropriate since these matches were taped in Dayton (and being in Ohio is also likely why they got Jake Crist). All three bonked heads in the center of the ring courtesy Dark Order, and then Crash got triple teamed before Reynolds did a suicide dive to the outside. The Pendulum Bomb came next for the pin. Another quick bout.
Yuka Sakazaki vs. Billie Starkz
After the rapid fire matches to open Elevation I was +praying+ these two would actually get some time. Sakazaki brought a 2023 record of 2-0. Starkz was waiting for her with a record of 0-1 on Elevation.
The two exchanged a friendly handshake after the opening bell. Starkz reversed an arm wringer and Sakazaki returned the favor. Starkz took a cravate and Sakazaki got a side headlock before both women got back to their feet and stared each other down. Menard: “She (Starkz) is going toe to toe with a seasoned vet!” Sakazaki hung upside down around the neck of Starkz for the count of four. Starkz responded with some boots to the face and a leg drop off the top rope to the apron. Menard: “No! Roll her in the ring! Get a cover!” She did not and Sakazaki hit a spinning kick. “I can’t believe Yuka’s up already!” Wight: “She’s tiny but she’s tough. I don’t think people understand the intense training of those Japanese dojos. They come out seasoned. They come out with a little bit more of an edge.” Starkz with boots in the corner and one to the throat. Backbreaker. Two count. Forearms from Sakazaki. Spinning jaw kick and diving clothesline by the Magical Girl for a two count. More forearms. Bridging overhead suplex by Starkz for 2.9. She went to the top rope for a swanton and the whole crowd thought it was three. Knee to the jaw from Starkz. Forearm from Sakazaki. Body slam. Magical Girl Splash! Three count. Thankfully this match got all the time the bouts before it did not. Menard: “That’s three weeks in a row now (for Starkz).” Wight: “You gotta sign this girl. A lot of talent there!”
Lexi was upset about The Dark Order interrupting her time with The Boys. Uno: “I feel real bad for you. I saw that tough loss you had today. What we’re saying is you two would make a great fit in The Dark Order.” Silver should off his dance moves. Then Lexi started dancing too and Silver yelled “Not you! We dance, you stand there!” The Dark Order offered them a contract and said to follow us, but they +ate+ the paperwork as everyone walked away.
Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta) & Orange Cassidy vs. Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico) & Zack Clayton
Chaos Project and Clayton were working as a trio for the first time. Best Friends and Cassidy were making their 2023 trios debut accompanied to the ring by Danhausen. Cassidy put his hands in his pockets to do his signature spots with Serpentico including the kip up, then tagged in Chuck Taylor for him to shove Serp off Taylor’s shoulders. Clayton tagged in and ate an arm drag. Serpentico tagged back in for a headbutt. Taylor took control again with an arm wringer and then fed him to Beretta to work over the same arm before he legally tagged in. Danhausen distracted the ref while they kept working the arm over. Cassidy ran in and got clotheslined, and then Luther gave him a slam on the floor. Clayton tagged in to punch Cassidy in the head and give him a bear hug. Chaos Project knocked the Best Friends off the apron and then gave Clayton a mocking Best Friends hug — that’s not what the people want (nor did Clayton). Cassidy kicked Clayton in the face and then walked over to tag in Beretta. Flying elbow by Beretta. Taylor tags . Luther tried to run in and got knocked out. Serp tried to fly off the ropes and ate Sole Food. Cassidy walked to the center and Clayton broke up the hug before it could be done. Cassidy responded with an Orange Punch and then they hit the assisted double chokeslam for Cassidy to make the pin. Angelico hit the ring and got shin kicks from Cassidy. Danhausen came in to give him a nut punch and stood on him for the group hug. +That+ is what the people want!
Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Corey Calhoun
Hobbs brought a 2023 record of 3-0. Calhoun was making his AEW debut. Thanks for coming kid. Even Menard scoffed at the size of Calhoun compared to the size of Hobbs. He got overpowered right away and whipped into the corner at high velocity. Hobbs told ref Stephon Smith he could do whatever he wanted — and he was right. Menard: “We can’t get this guy a good therapist or something?” Calhoun got dropped across the ropes, kicked right off of them, and hit with a burning hammer for the easy win. That’s another journal entry in the Book of Hobbs.
Top Flight vs. The Butcher & The Blade
Bunny accompanied Butcher & Blade, who brought an Elevation record of 1-1 for 2023. Top Flight brought an Elevation record of 6-0. Butcher & Blade jumped them before Edwards could even call for the opening bell. Wight: “She was trying to gain control but how do you gain control with two maniacs like Butcher and Blade?” Dante took a beating in the heel corner while Darius looked on. Bunny choked him from the outside and then feigned innocence. “I didn’t do anything! I would never!” Darius tagged in and hit Blade with a Spanish Fly for two. DDT for another near fall. Dante got the tag but as Darius was setting up Blade, Dante got thrown into the steel steps. The heels hit Drag the Lake but Edwards told them he wasn’t the legal man. They tried to do it to Dante but he took Butcher out of the ring with a headlock scissor then hit a Nose Dive on Blade, 1-2-3.
Next up on #AEWDarkElevation, it’s The Butcher @andycomplains & @BladeofBuffalo versus @TopFlight612! Tune in NOW to see which tag team comes out on top!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) February 7, 2023
▶️ https://t.co/Dv1beW0IVO pic.twitter.com/ifXUsGbqnl
Diamante, Emi Sakura, Nyla Rose and Marina Shafir vs. Madison Rayne, Skye Blue, Queen Aminata and Hyena Hera
As if there weren’t enough people involved in this match, Vickie Guerrero accompanied the heels to the ring for their “eight woman tag debut.” Their opponents were also making their debut in this non-existent division. I can’t even begin to describe this one to you move for move. Six person matches are chaotic enough. Eight and up is an absolute clustertruck. Sakura took to the top rope and told people to worship your highness as usual. Blue got worked over until Rayne got the tag. Rayne hit Shafir with a cutter for two. Every woman came in illegally and ref Rick Knox did nothing to stop it. Menard: “Things have completely broken down here!” As expected. A bunch of women did a dive onto a pile of bodies outside. Rose hit Hera with a Beast Bomb for the win. Rose found a camera afterward. “Don’t be mad! It’s just the nature... of the Beast.”
.@DiamanteLAX, @EmiSakura_gtmv, @MarinaShafir, and @NylaRoseBeast are ready for a fight! Don’t miss a second of the action on #AEWDarkElevation RIGHT NOW!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) February 7, 2023
▶️ https://t.co/Dv1beW0IVO pic.twitter.com/0Rc2NGE90v
Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta vs. Tony Nese & Ari Daivari
Sterling cut off the music to cut a promo for his 1-1 team. “There’s a law in Ohio that says you can’t fish for whales on Sunday. That’s unfortunate for the bachelors in Ohio as there is one less day to pick up the women.” Castagnoli and Yuta brought a team record of 5-1 along with their ROH titles around their waists. Yuta and Nese started off the action and Nese dropped to his knee to flex a bicep. Yuta tagged in Castagnoli and he mocked Nese as being small compared to him, then hit a shoulder tackle and did his own flex and bicep kiss. Daivari tagged in and threw a chop. Castagnoli hit a European uppercut. Yuta gave him a tag while he was dazed and confused and then mocked him for being in the wrong corner. Sterling yelled “We’re over here!” in an attempt to help. Yuta came in. Nese hit a clothesline while the ref was distracted then tagged in legally. Yuta got hung in a tree of woe for a bit. Nese mocked Castagnoli. Daivari came back in for double team punches in the corner. Menard: “Why are you yelling at me?” Wight: “I’m not yelling. If I was you’d know it.” Castagnoli and Nese got the tags and Castagnoli immediately ran wild. Menard: “He’s just smoking him here! One after another!” Uppercuts, dropkick, Daivari made the save on the pin. Nese got countered and Sterling got kicked off the ropes. Nese hit a spinning back kick and went for the 450 splash. Castagnoli kicked out before three and Nese argued with Stephon Smith about it. Daivari tagged in. Nese ate a DDT. Daivari ate a backbreaker. Yuta tagged in. Big Swing for Daivari! Dropkick by Yuta at the end for the pin.
It’s time for your #AEWDarkElevation Main Event! #ROH World Champ @ClaudioCSRO & #ROH Pure Champ @WheelerYuta make their way to the ring RIGHT NOW for a tag team match against @AriyaDaivari & @TonyNese!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) February 7, 2023
▶️ https://t.co/Dv1beW0IVO pic.twitter.com/XfaaFKUi9W
What to watch/skip
Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by the Magical Girl on Twitter. Matt Menard is not wrong when he says it’s “the third week in a row” because Billie Starkz just keeps on impressing. Go out of your way to watch her bout with Sakazaki. The main event is a “must watch” too along with Robinson vs. Crist (which should have been longer). Second tier matches are Top Flight vs. Butcher & Blade, Hobbs vs. Calhoun (a dominant glorious squash) and the Best Friends vs. Chaos Project trios affair. Everything else is skippable.
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!