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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Mar. 6, 2023): Athena is relentless!

Episode 105 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. Let’s a go!

Nyla Rose & Marina Shafir vs. Sandra Moone & J-Rod

Rose and Shafir brought a tag team record of 11-1 to this bout, but were +not+ accompanied by Vickie Guerrero to the ring. Moone and J-Rod were waiting in the ring with no prior record in the tag team division. Menard: “Big opportunity for these ladies here.”

Shafir wasted no time taking her opponent down and she quickly realized she was in the deep water and tagged out. Shafir decided to return the favor and tag in Rose, and both women pie-faced each other. Double shoulder tackles left each woman standing. Rose: “I date you to try that again.” She did and Rose blew threw her like she wasn’t there. She tried to pick up Rose for a move and Shafir ran in on a tag to beat her down. Shafir nearly got rolled up and kicked her opponent’s head off. Rose tagged in and they hit the double DDT for the pin. It was a squash but Moone and J-Rod looked decent here.

Brian Cage (w/ Prince Nana) vs. Rob McKnight

Cage brought a record of 14-0 on Elevation to this match. McKnight was waiting in the ring to make his AEW debut. Menard: “Oh boy! This guy’s a real character!” I think that was his best explanation of the fact McKnight was smiling like a doofus. He tried a chop and Cage no sold it twice and kept flexing his pecs. Cage threw him across the ring like a medicine ball, scooped him up to do curls, threw him overhead and flexed his biceps. Prince Nana applauded his showmanship. McKnight tried a running elbow and ducked a discus lariat, connecting with a high boot, but then he ate a kick flush to the jaw and got got nailed with a powerbomb. Cage turned him over and stood on his head until poor McKnight tapped out.

Juice Robinson vs. Titus Alexander

“Rock Hard” Robinson brought a record of 3-0 on Elevation to tonight’s show. Alexander was making his AEW debut against him. If you watch independent promotions you may know him from DEFY or GCW among other places. Aubrey Edwards was sick of Robinson’s attitude a minute into the match.

Robinson avoided a dropkick then landed a high boot and a back senton for two. Menard: “Is this crowd trying to get behind Titus here?” Robinson hit him with a few chops and then ate a dropkick right to the chin. Flying forearm, spinning backbreaker, and Juice got rolled through into a bridging German for a near fall. If you didn’t know Alexander before now, you’d be impressed now. Robinson raked the eyes and Edwards ripped his arm away to stop it. It still helped Juice get control back. Front senton flip into the corner with drool coming down Robinson’s face. He bounced Alexander’s head straight into the mat for the pin, still covered in his own spittle.

Skye Blue vs. Leila Grey

Grey brought a 2023 record of 4-1 to this appearance on Elevation. Blue brought a record of 1-0 on Elevation this year. Menard: “Nice reaction for Blue here in the Cow Palace.” Wight: “Why wouldn’t there be?”

Grey was in control of the match early. Blue hit a step up knee and a dropkick for a near fall. Grey got a pair of near falls back to back. Wight: “I think frustration’s getting to Grey right now.” Menard: “She started off the match so hot.” She was cold seconds later when Blue hit the Skye Fall for the win. It seemed to come right out of nowhere. I would have let this match go a minute or two longer.

Christopher Daniels vs. Cole Karter

This was Karter’s first match on Elevation for the year. Daniels had the unusual statistic of 0-1 on the show this year. This might have been one of those times where AEW should have shown his total record instead of for just one show. They do it when they don’t need to and don’t do it when they +should+. Either way “Fallen Angel” had the Cow Palace crowd behind him from the very start.

Daniels took a high dropkick early for a near fall and Karter started posing like he had already won. Daniels took him down for a roll up then got hit with a forearm for a near fall. Menard: “Took a page out of your playbook Paul!” Wight: “When in doubt hit a right cross.” Karter applied a chinlock. He escaped (of course) and a German suplex left both men down, but Daniels got up first. Jumping lariat for a near fall. Leg pick and another near fall. Karter countered an attempt at Angel’s Wings. Scoop slam by Karter for two. Karter went to the top rope and missed the 450 as Daniels got out of the way. Daniels with a uranage and the BME (Best Moonsault Ever) for three! Menard: “That is how you do it!” He’s now 1-1 on Elevation in 2023.

Athena (c) vs. Brooke Havok (Proving Ground Match)

Havok brought a 2023 record of 0-1 to this Proving Ground match. Athena brought her ROH Women’s Title and a singles record of 6-0 for 2023. Wight: “She rules with an iron fist.” Menard: “She sure does!” Menard explained to the viewers that if Havok got the upset here it would garner her a title shot against Athena in the future.

Athena hit at least six powerbombs in a row before rolling back to her feet and striking a pose. Wight: “Mike Posey might have to call this match.” He didn’t need to as Athena put her in a crossface and Havok immediately tapped. That was as one sided and dominant as it gets. Athena shoved Posey out of the way after the bell and immediately started whipping Havok’s ass, then laid out the belt to smash her face into it. Willow Nightingale tried to run down to make the save but Athena was still able to smash Havok before she could. Athena mocked her theme music by dancing to it to the back.

Lance Archer vs. Jack Banning

Archer threw poor Jack Banning down the ramp toward the ring, bringing a record of 12-0 on Elevation as he did. Banning recovered enough to strike a pose in the ring and immediately got smashed again. Dasha Gonzalez never identified him and neither Wight nor Menard knew who he was. Archer put him in the corner for a chop as Aubrey Edwards herself appeared to wince in pain. Running forearm, second one missed, that just pissed Archer off more and he clubbed him in the back before stretching him out from behind to hit shots to the sternum. “Why did you come here?” yelled Archer. Body shots. Edwards warned him about the closed fists. Archer whipped Banning into the corner so hard he flipped inside out. Archer: “Never come back to AEW!” Archer went for the Razor’s Edge but Banning escaped. Banning slapped him in the face and went to the second rope, but Archer caught him in midair for a powerbomb and then yelled “everybody dies” before hitting a lariat from +hell+. 1-2-3.

Evil Uno vs. Lee Johnson (w/ Cole Karter)

Johnson brought a 2023 record of 0-1 to the main event, followed by Karter, selling his ribs from facing Daniels earlier. Uno got a nice pop from the Cow Palace, accompanied by no one, sporting a record of 6-0 on Elevation for the year. Karter grabbed a boot before the bell to get Uno held up for Johnson to take advantage of him.

That didn’t last long though as Uno got control right back, chopped him on the ropes, and Johnson rolled out on the other side for a breather. Uno ran out and tackled him, then gave Karter a forearm for good measure. Leapfrog by Johnson and he knocked Uno into the corner for some shots, then took him to the next corner for a chop. Uno opened his jacket and begged for another then gave Johnson and even harder receipt. Johnson put him on the ropes and tried to choke him out and Karter got a cheap shot in when the ref pulled Johnson off. Uno recovered, hit a short arm clothesline, went to the top rope and hit the senton for a near fall. Thrust kick, fireman’s carry, knee, side kick by Johnson. To the top rope. Uno dodges. High boot by Uno and a +delayed+ piledriver to show off his strength before finishing the match. That’s Elevation for tonight!

What to watch/skip

Just like last week this segment is brought to you by our star’s social media account — show Athena some love! Mocking Willow’s music after the botched save attempt is the kind of psychology few people have mastered. If you want people to hate you, you do the little things too, not just the big things. Archer’s squash was one of the more fun ones I’ve seen in a long time, so watch that match too. Bell to bell Daniels and Karter was the best performance. Nothing here was +bad+ but Blue and Grey needed much more time than they got.

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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