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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Mar. 13, 2023): Mucha Lucha!

Episode 106 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 as per normal. Time to rock!

Emi Sakura vs. Zyra

Sakura brought a record of 6-0 on Elevation to this match. Zyra was waiting for her with a record of 0-1. For what it’s worth this show started 18 minutes late because someone forgot to account for Daylight Savings Time and it was scheduled for 8 PM ET. It was strange to see AEW tweet about people “heading to the ring” for matches we couldn’t even watch. Sakura slapped Zyra right in the face, gave her a pair of chops and screamed “Come on!” Zyra gave her a couple back in return and a DDT, then went outside and climbed to the top rope for a crossbody and a two count. Sakura lost part of her outfit planting Zyra into the canvas in response, and cleverly decided to slap Zyra with it repeatedly. Scoop slam, “I am your highness,” moonsault, pin. She kicked Mike Posey in the leg so she could sit on his knee afterward.

Jake Hager vs. Levi Shapiro

Hager and his hat were accompanied by “Cool Hand” Angelo Parker for his first match on Elevation in 2023. Menard was as excited as you’d expect him to be about seeing both of his friends come to the ring. Shapiro was making his 2023 debut, not just for Elevation, but for any AEW program. Hager handed the purple fisherman hat to Parker for safe keeping. Shapiro dodged Hager and did a Flair strut. Hager took offense and pushed him into the corner for some closed fists to the body. Hager: “Do you know who I am? Get up!” Shapiro gave him a double shove to the chest and a couple of forearms, but Hager picked him up and slammed him down with an arm around his neck, choking Shapiro into a tap out submission.

Marina Shafir vs. Mighty Mayra

Wight: “If you want to find out what your favorite AEW stars are passionate about, you should go to” Menard: “Let’s throw it back down to Dasha at ringside!” And that’s exactly what they did as Shafir made her way to the ring with a record of 7-0 on Elevation this year. Menard: “Alone this evening! Marina Shafir!” Mayra was in the ring with no prior record in AEW. Right away I appreciated her matching hair, boots, and trunks and the California crowd did as well — not surprising given she’s from Malibu. Shafir showed her no respect and gave her a judo throw, shadowboxed, and kicked her across the ring. The fans chanted “put some shoes on” at Shafir in response. She kicked Mayra in the gut, missed with a clothesline, ate a dropkick to the gut, and then picked Mayra up and stretched her over her shoulders for another submission victory.

Brian Cage (w/ Prince Nana) vs. Jack Cartwheel

Cage brought a record of 15-0 on Elevation to this match. Despite his great performance on Dark last week, I didn’t expect Jack Cartwheel to hand Cage his first loss on this show, but he did do a nice dive over the ropes to wipe Cage out for a moment. Nana put the badmouth on him as Cage dropped him on the barricade, then hung him on it for a big chop. He threw Cartwheel back in and did some curls with him before releasing Cartwheel overhead to do a bicep flex. Cartwheel hit a dropkick and an enzuigiri, followed by a leg sweep and a dismount off the ropes, and even Menard had to admit Cartwheel had great core strength. Cage tried to give him a powerbomb as he flipped off the top rope, but Cartwheel kicked out at two. Cage gave him a thumbs down, Cartwheel blocked the Drill Claw and got another near fall, missed Cage coming off the top, ate a powerbomb and was turned over for a submission while Cage was standing on his head. Jack Cartwheel’s matches are so fun it really doesn’t matter whether he wins or loses (but a win would be nice).

The Butcher & The Blade vs. Vinnie Massaro & Midas Kreed

Butcher & Blade (sans Bunny) brought a record of 8-2 on Elevation to this match. I think AEW must have been embarrassed about their tweets running ahead of their delayed broadcast, because this was the first match we didn’t read about before seeing it. Massaro and Kreed were making their tag team debut here.

After seeing what Cage and Cartwheel could do when they wanted to give each other the office, this match felt incredibly out of place, especially given that Butcher probably weighed more than both of his opponents put together. It didn’t take them long to dispatch Massaro and Drag the Lake with Kreed for the unrepentant squash.

Athena vs. Inder Mundi

Athena came out smiling and laughing, yelling at fans and security guards, showing off her ROH Women’s World Title, and sporting a 2023 singles record of 7-0. Mundi was waiting in the ring as a fan in the crowd held up a sign behind her reading “Light the Beam.” Okay.

She continued to insult Mundi, the people at ringside, and even referee Mike Posey, screaming “You don’t tell me what to do!” when he tried to enforce some semblance of order. Athena threw Mundi down by the hair, gave her knees to the face, and laughed some more. Athena grabbed her by the throat, bounced her head off the canvas, and pinned her. Even by the standards of her squash matches, this was as one-sided as anything she’s done. She laid the title down for the post match belt shot and Posey ran for dear life. Athena kicked Mundi in the face, dragged her by the hair to the belt, and slammed her into it. Menard: “Right in the kisser!!”

Best Friends vs. Starboy Charlie & Olumide

Taylor and Beretta brought a 2023 tag team record of 2-0 to this match. A new fan popped up with a “Sign Starboy Charlie” sign. He and Olumide were making their AEW debut.

Olumide was a tall well defined athlete with black trunks and white boots. Charlie was straight off the farm in his overalls, but he pulled the straps down and begged Taylor to give him a chop. Taylor decided to do the same, took one, and unlike Charlie he pulled the straps back up. Charlie did a running moonsault for two and ate a sitout power bomb in return. Beretta tagged in, Olumide ran in and ate a knee, then the Best Friends gave Charlie a taste of Sole Food before the big hug. Olumide broke up a two on one and Charlie ran wild for a bit before legally tagging him in. Olumide ate a suplex, Charlie was throw onto Olumide, and the Best Friends drilled both men into the canvas and made a double pin. We got another hug after the match!

Lucha Bros vs. Ryan Nemeth & Peter Avalon

Nemeth and Avalon were taking their first tag team match on Elevation for 2023. Lucha Bros brought a record of 1-0 in 2023 along with Alex Abrahantes, and Sacramento was excited before they could even hit the entrance ramp. Avalon didn’t want to face Fenix and insisted on Penta coming in, flipping him off to make his point. As soon as Penta tagged in, Avalon tagged out to Nemeth, so Penta came over and insulted his manhood. Nemeth tagged him back in, Avalon pretended not to want to come in, and when Penta came over they double teamed him on the apron and threw Fenix into the barricade on the outside. Wight: “Good plan by Peter and Nemeth!”

Penta gave Avalon a sling blade and found Fenix after he had just made his way back to the apron. Aubrey Edwards allowed the double teaming (because how would you say no to an act like the Lucha Bros, but Nemeth recovered enough to give Fenix a DDT for a near fall. Menard: “This broke down quickly didn’t it?” Penta dragged Avalon groin first into the ring post. Double team double piledriver, Nemeth pinned, and that was that! Wight: “They are so fun to watch.” Menard: “One of the most dominant teams no doubt about it!”

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by Rey Fenix on Twitter. They definitely saved the best for last on this episode, although Jack Cartwheel continues to prove that even on an overloaded AEW roster, he’d be worth finding some kind of spot for. In short I recommend the main event and Cartwheel vs. Cage. None of the other matches offended me, but they +were+ skippable.

Cageside commentary crew! Share your thoughts in the comments section below, as well as your pro wrestling talk in general. What was your favorite moment on tonight’s episode? I want to know. See you tomorrow night for AEW Dark!

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