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AEW Dark Elevation recap (Apr. 3, 2023): Kip Up and Get Ruff

Episode 109 of AEW Dark: Elevation is in the books. If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream. Tony Schiavone and Matt Menard called the show, but before we get to that action, RIP Bushwhacker Butch.

Action Andretti vs. Nick Comoroto

Comoroto was taking his first Elevation match of 2023. Andretti was as well. Considering we’re in April now it might have made more sense to show their overall W/L record in AEW on screen. As usual now Comoroto did the spot where he throws a sucker into the face of his opponent at the bell, then hit Andretti with biel after biel as the crowd at Universal Studios booed.

Andretti finally got on offense with a dropkick and tried to follow up with a suicide dive, but Comoroto caught him and ran him into the ring apron upside down. Menard showed absolutely no impartiality and Schiavone pointed out he only hates Andretti because he gets the better of J.A.S. Comoroto hit a clothesline in the corner, a backbreaker, and lazily made the cover for two. Andretti fired up with chops but ate another backbreaker. Can Comoroto remember more than one move at a time? Schiavone: “He needs to hook the leg on these covers.” Menard: “That would be nice.” Andretti continued to sell his back for Comoroto’s one-dimensional offense. He changed it up with a single leg crab but Andretti got a rope break followed by a head kick. Andretti low bridged him over the ropes and went for a suicide dive, Comoroto caught him again, but this time Andretti shot him into the ring post and hit a split legged moonsault before throwing Comoroto back in. The second moonsault missed but the back elbow connected. Spinning torneo from Andretti knocked Comoroto down. Comoroto caught a crossbody, tried to launch Andretti into the turnbuckle, but he landed on the ropes and hit a moonsault for 2.9. He tried and failed to pick Comoroto up and ate a clothesline rebounding off the ropes. Comoroto signaled for the end and hit the backstabber for 2.99. Menard: “These guys are really going back and forth here!” In other words they are trying to give Comoroto long matches so he can finally get better. Just as I say that Andretti reversed him into a roll up and held onto the legs for the three count, high-fiving the fans on his way to the back.

Skye Blue vs. Angelica Risk

Blue brought a record of 3-0 on Elevation this year. Risk was waiting for her in the ring with a record of 0-1. The fans were chanting for Blue from the start, Risk got in her face because she didn’t like it, and Blue immediately answered her with forearms and a step up knee before going for an early cover - a one count from Rick Knox.

At this point Risk resorted to dirty tactics, using the hair and yelling at the fans while doing so, earning a “you suck” chant from the Orlando fans. Risk did her version of a 6-1-9 and got a two count. Blue avoided a charge in the cover, hit an enzuigiri and a flying crossbody, Risk blocked the thrust kick but ate the spinning heel kick for two. Schiavone: “This is our second competitive match, how about it?” Menard: “It’s the hottest hour of television.” Risk yanked Blue’s head by the hair for another near fall. Reverse heel kick, Skye Fall, and just like that the match was over. Another solid match from Skye Blue. Menard: “She’s really on a roll here Ton’. You gotta think there’s gold in her future.”

Toa Liona & Bishop Kaun (w/ Prince Nana) vs. Leonis & Maximus

The Gates of Agony (Liona & Kaun) brought a record of 1-0 on Elevation along with their manager Prince Nana. Leonis and Maximum were already waiting in the ring to make their AEW debut, sporting matching tats on one bicep and matching trunks that said “The Qrown.” Unfortunately their website didn’t seem to exist so a Facebook page was all I could find. Toa ate a pearl harbor clothesline but kicked out at one. Schiavone: “I’m not sure who the legal man is.” Wouldn’t matter. Gates of Agony threw the man in the ring down on his face and immediately pinned him. Vicious squash.

Julia Hart vs. Kelsey Heather

Hart brought an Elevation record of 1-0 for the year. Menard: “She’s a creepy girl. A real freak!” I guess I just like creepy ladies then. The look, the ominous music, the Undertaker-esque hat, it’s all good. Kelsey Heather on the other hand was beaming like a ray of sunshine, smiling and bouncing around with her pom poms like a cheerleader before her AEW debut. Hart slumped in the corner unimpressed and let Heather start a “House of Black” chant. She tried to handspring her way to Hart and ate a punch in the face.

Schiavone chastised Menard for being “a negative guy” while Heather tried to make a comeback. She went to the second rope for a moonsault but nobody was home. Hart yelled out “the house always wins” and locked her arms around Heather’s neck for the submission victory. Another one-sided match. When they were competitive the announcers made a point of it, but when they are the opposite of that they have nothing to say.

Kip Sabian (w/ Penelope Ford) vs. Leon Ruffin

Ruffin was taking his first Elevation match of 2023. Sabian brought an Elevation record of 6-1 and his wife Penelope Ford too. Sabian called for a test of strength multiple times, Ruffin kept taking the bait and getting faked out, and he finally shoved Sabian in the chest in anger. They immediately went to trading arm wringers until ultimately breaking clean. Sabian signaled for a Greco-Roman knuckle lock and took Ruffin down to the ground before stomping on him. Ruffin got up and shoved him again. Eventually Ruffin hit a suicide dive but he got caught with a kick in the head before he came back in because he spent too much time posing for the crowd.

Sabian went for a roll up and got two, then painted his head with a boot, and underneath the announcers I could hear Kip saying “I’m trying to (something something).” Trying to what? Teach him holds? Because that’s what he did to Ruffin’s arms and neck as Ford pounded on the ropes demanding a tap out. Ruffin tried to bridge the shoulders into a pin and Sabian kicked out. Forearms in the corner from Sabian. Big boot from Ruffin on a charge. Jawbreaker from Sabian. Cannonball in the corner. Sabian slashed his throat and grabbed a handful of hair. He put Ruffin on his shoulders but Ruffin slipped out and got a small package for two. Reverse elbow. Forearm to the face. Sabian caught him trying a cutter, Ruffin hit a pele then connected with the cutter for 2.9999. Menard: “That’s as close as it gets here!” Sabian with a brainbuster, a kick to the face, and an airplane spin into a flatliner for the win. Match of the night here!

Lance Archer (w/ Jake Roberts) vs. Bryce Cannon

Archer brought an Elevation record of 13-0 but was actually nice enough to let his opponent come to the ring himself instead of throwing him down the entrance ramp and throwing him in.

Cannon was taking his first Elevation match of the year, sporting spiked hair and a preppy college boy look. Archer knocked him out of the ring and Roberts knocked him down before feeding him back in. Archer did the running shoulders in the corner and Cannon flopped around like a fish as Orlando chanted “one more time.” He ripped off every layer of shirt that Cannon had on before giving him a chop, then goozled him, but Cannon hit a kick and charged. Archer blocked him with a boot, hit the chokeslam, then took his head off with a lariat - simultaneously saying “good night.” Everybody dies.

Title Eliminator: The Gunns (Austin & Colten Gunn) vs. The Infantry (Shawn Dean & Carlie Bravo)

Dean and Bravo were making their 2023 tag team debut in the main event of Elevation. Schiavone explained they’d earn a title shot with a win. Somehow I don’t think that’s happening — the win or the title shot. The Gunns brought a record of 4-0 on Elevation and the fans were chanting “Ass Boys” at them before they even hit the ring.

Somebody came down from the top row of fans to get in a shouting match with the Gunns, apparently at their invitation, to the point Schiavone had to acknowledge it on commentary. Whoever he was he promptly went back to his seat. The Gunns had a hug before starting the match as Dean and Bravo impatiently waited for things to get underway. Austin posed for the crowed but then ate an arm wringer from Dean, who promptly did the same. Austin went to the opposite corner and got booed. Dean went up and got the “yay” again. Colten tagged in and got booed. Bravo tagged in for the “yay” again. Menard: “Maybe I’ll go down there and take a turn!”

Bravo hit an arm wringer and tagged Dean back in, they hit a double shoulder block, and then Austin ran in to break it up. They took Austin down and did a double wishbone splitting the legs of both Gunns. I guess we’ll call that “Gunn Control.” All four mean started brawling and the Gunns took out Bravo so they could double team Dean in the ring. As the beatdown continued the fans chanted “oh scissor me daddy.” Dean was turned inside out on a clothesline for a two count. He fired back with gut punches but to no avail as Austin tagged in and put on a chin lock. Dean hit a jaw breaker but Colten tagged right back in. He grabbed a leg before Dean could crawl to tag Bravo. Dean hit the enzuigiri and finally leapt out for the hot tag!

Bravo proceeded to clean house on both Gunns, hit a cutter and kip up before a suicide dive to wipe out the heels. Bravo hit a springboard cutter to the inside for 2.8. Bravo went for the finishing kick but Colten got out of the way. Austin snuck in from behind for a fameasser and Dean had to break up the near fall. Double DDT from Bravo, Dean made the blind tag and went to the top rope, crossbody, Colten made the save. Bravo tagged back in and got on Dean’s shoulders, they tried a spinning combo that missed, and Austin tossed Bravo to the side before he got hit with 3:10 to Yuma. 1-2-3.

Schiavone hit the ring for the post match interview reminding us that FTR would face the Gunns on Wednesday night with their careers on the line. “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye FTR! Who’s an ass boy now?” “That same move we just beat The Infantry with, that’s the 3:10 to Yuma, and we’ll beat FTR with it too.” “What more do we have to say? We’re the AEW Tag Team Champions!” The end.

What to watch/skip

Honestly I’m so floored by today’s news that it’s the only thing I can think of to link to right now. This changes the entire landscape of the “business” as we know it, but it shouldn’t change the nature of AEW and ROH that much since they were already owned by a man worth over $12 billion in his own right — the same man who owns both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham Football Club. AEW will be fine. That’s also my assessment of Elevation this week — it was “fine.” I loved Sabian vs. Ruffin, Gunn Club vs. The Infantry was better than I expected, Skye Blue continues to improve, and there were a couple of skippable squashes. Not a bad Elevation, just an average one.

Cageside commentary crew! Share your thoughts in the comments section below, as well as your pro wrestling talk in general. See you tomorrow night for AEW Dark!

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