By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 3)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed March 29, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Elevation started with a prerecorded Jon Moxley interview. He said he was not feeling too great after weeks of being jumped, burned, lacerated and left for dead, best friend had his ankle broken by a group of vicious thugs. What does he do to make himself feel better? He beats people up and he is glad to have the opportunity to do so tonight on AEW Dark: Elevation. The new show opening credits followed.
1. Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor vs. Ryan Nemeth and JD Drake. Both teams received televised entrances including the debut of Orange’s new theme “Where is my Mind” by the Pixies. JD and Chuck started things off. A minute in and Orange tagged in (Still in sunglasses). JD goes for a chop and Orange tagged back out. Later Orange covered Nemeth three separate times for 1 count and told referee Rick Knox that should be a three count. That gets followed up by a Hart Attack like double team that Orange doesn’t really participate in. Frustrated Nemeth hit Orange with a forearm that knocked off his sunglasses. There was back and forth until Orange finally hit an Orange Crush followed by the Beach Break on JD Drake for the pin.
Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor in 7:00.
After the match Miro, Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford came out. Kip says that was cute, they aren’t here to give them a taste of their upcoming match. Kip is here to wish them luck, Miro disagrees and wants to beat them up and will see them really soon. Miro and Kip leave and Orange’s music plays again. As they left Miro and Kip came back out and jumped Orange and Chuck.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Lots happening in a good way to start this episode with the Moxley interview, match, and angle after the match. Wight said there is ring music and then there is Orange’s entrance theme which fits him perfectly, I agree. Good to see some old songs get some new life to them through wrestling. While the result was never in doubt, they did make Drake and Nemeth look good in defeat. Post-match angle to further set up the arcade match on Wednesday.
2. Jon Moxley vs. Bill Collier. Collier made his debut and received a televised entrance, as did Moxley. Moxley took control early and for the most part kept it throughout. Moxley wins it with a piledriver followed by a rear naked choke that Schiavone called the bulldog choke for the tap out win.
Jon Moxley beat Bill Collier in 5:55.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick match to get some added star power on Elevation.
Earlier today, Cody made his entrance with his arm still in a sling. He had his weight belt, which he gave to a member of the Boys and Girls Club of North Florida.
3. Leila Grey vs. Penelope Ford (w/Kip Sabian). Penelope was very aggressive throughout the whole match Leila did not have much offense at all. Penelope wins with a double knee to the midsection.
Penelope Ford beat Leila Grey in 4:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Nothing more than a showcase match to get Penelope back into the Woman’s division with a win.
4. Rex Lawless and Milk Chocolate vs. “Gunn Club” Billy, Austin and Colten Gunn. The Gunns greeted Wight as they came to the ring. Gunns kept control and won with the 3:10 to Yuma.
“Gunn Club” Billy, Austin and Colten Gunn beat Rex Lawless and Milk Chocolate in 5:24.
After the match, Thunder Rosa was backstage with Alex Marvez, who asked her what it was like to win the first women’s Lights Out match. Rosa can’t get over the history of that match, what is next for Rosa is her getting back in the ring. She offered praise for her opponent tonight, Alex Gracia and is proud to empower Latina women. Diamante interrupted and said Rosa does not represent her. Diamante said she is ready to step up and face Rosa, who said anytime Diamante wants
Bailin’s Breakdown: Not enough of an opportunity to see much of Milk Chocolate and Rex Lawless. Gunn Club is 12-0 as a trio. I’m not sure how that fits in the rankings without a trio’s championship. I think its way past time the Gunn Club did something okay, anything other than them against another random trio of the week.
5. Joey Janela (w/Sonny Kiss) vs. Chandler Hopkins. Hopkins made his AEW debut. About 90 seconds in, Janela hit a German suplex on Chandler and took control. Later, Janela hit a Tope suicida and threw Hopkins back inside the ring. As Janela gloated, Hopkins came back and hit a swan dive over the top and onto the floor. Chandler attempted a handspring kick which missed. Hopkins responded with a kick to the back of the leg followed by one to the face and then hit a Spanish Fly. Hopkins hit a frogsplash from the top rope for a two count. Hopkins went up top again and went for a Swanton, but Janela got the knees up. Janela took back control and hit the top rope elbow drop for the win.
Joey Janela beat Chandler Hopkins in 8:00.
Dasha was backstage with Angelico. She asked if she could get a word with Jack Evans, who was in a trailer. Jack came out and said he doesn’t need to prepare for Jungle Boy, he just needs his coffee. To show his disappointment with AEW for putting him with the Jurassic people, he just might take Jungle Boy’s unconscious body and melee “Luchadorkus and Marko Runt” with it. Angelico was dancing the whole time. Dasha told hm that there is no music playing. He said it’s all in his head.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good back and forth match. The result was never in doubt, but the amount of offense they gave Hopkins was definitely a surprise. He looked good in defeat. Wight mentioned how Janela was pushed in this match but Elevation is where athletes can improve.
6. Thunder Rosa vs. Alex Gracia. There was some back-and-forth amateur wrestling and arm drags to start. Rosa took control and then took the win with the Fire Thunder Driver.
Thunder Rosa beat Alex Gracia in 5:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another win for Thunder Rosa, nothing more really. I am looking forward to the eventual Rosa and Diamante match though.
7. Leyla Hirsch vs. Vipress. Vipress was already in the ring. Leyla immediately went on the offensive with amateur takedowns. They got tied up in the ropes and Vipress with an eye rake. Vipress started to work on Leyla’s arm. Leyla caught a kick and took back control. Leyla with 3 release German suplexes which she followed up with her cross-arm breaker for the win.
Leyla Hirsch beat Vipress in 3:36.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another win for Leyla, who continues to look good in her matches.
8. Danny Limelight vs. Frankie Kazarian. Both wrestlers received televised entrances. An aggressive back and forth match. Limelight again looked good in this match using his high flying moves and kicks to bring the fight to Kazarian. Kazarian also looked good in this one, as both men had sustained moments of offense. Kazarian eventually was able to lock in cross face chicken wing on Limelight, who tapped out.
Frankie Kazarian beat Danny Limelight in 8:35.
After the match, Christian Cage walked out on the entrance ramp and clapped for Kazarian’s win. They jawed back and forth for a few seconds with no incident.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A nice competitive match, which gave Kazarian a single’s win going into Wedesday night on Dynamite when he faces Christian Cage. Christian being there albeit briefly, added to what has already been a star-studded show tonight.
9. Fuego Del Sol vs. Ethan Page. Fuego received an entrance this week. Page delivered knees to the midsection and then went for the Ego’s Edge early. Fuego slipped out and hit a dropkick, then attempted his Tornado DDT. Page quickly took back over. Page used power moves to ground Fuego and then locked in a waist lock. Page then hooked the leg and arm of Fuego and hit a backbreaker. Page went for the cover but lifted Fuego at two. Fuego slapped Page, and then hit a moonsault and a kick to Page. Fuego attempted the Tornado DDT again, but Page caught him and gave him a backbreaker on the top turnbuckle. Immediately after Page hit the Ego’s Edge for the pinfall.
Ethan Page beat Fuego Del Sol in 5:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Now that is more like it in terms of how Page was presented this week. Fuego was able to hit a couple of moves, but I didn’t feel like Page gave him as much as he did Angels last week. I’m not saying Page shouldn’t be having competitive matches at this point, I just feel like he hasn’t had the right opponent for that yet.
10. Jazmin Allure and Tesha Price vs. Hikaru Shida and Tay Conti. Shida and Conti came together to the ring with Shida’s music playing. The Dark Order followed them out and gave their salute and left Allure and Price making their tag debut. Tay is the number 1 contender to Shida’s title. Shida and Conti tagged quickly in and out before Allure was able to hit a chinbreaker on Shida. Allure tagged Price and they double teamed Shida for a few seconds, which brought Conti in the ring. Shida and Conti delivered double knee strikes into double hip tosses into double cross arm breakers. The referee sent Shida and Allure out of the ring and Conti got the DDTay on Price for the pinfall.
Hikaru Shida and Tay Conti in 2:23.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick match to establish teamwork between Shida and Conti, who will face Nyla Rose and The Bunny on Dynamite.
11. Jungle Boy (w/Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy) vs. Jack Evans (w/Angelico). The fans continued to sing along to “Tarzan Boy” as the match got underway. About a minute in, both men went for a dropkick at the same time and missed. Angelico was on the apron as Evans threw Jungle Boy into the ropes. Jungle Boy swung at Angelico and missed, but was then nailed with a roundhouse kick from Evans that sent Jungle Boy outside the ring. Evans picked up a mic to say “You’re welcome.”
Evans rolled Jungle Boy back inside the ring and took over until Evans locked in an armbar, which Jungle Boy was able to turn into a pin attempt and then lifted Evans into a sit out powerbomb. Jungle Boy punched and chopped Evans and then clotheslined him. Jungle Boy then picked up Evans for a suplex which Evans countered into a roll up for a two count. Evans connected on a back spin kick and then a handspring elbow which sent both Evans and Jungle Boy to the outside again. They battled on the outside.
Evans landed a spin kick to Jungle Boy from the apron to the floor. They battled on the top rope and Evans knocked Jungle Boy down. Evans slipped out of a superplex attempt from the top and threw Jungle Boy off the top rope to the mat face first. Evans missed a moonsault but landed on his feet. Evans followed with a Northern Lights suplex and then performed a sit-out powerbomb, which only was able to give Evans a two count. Evans went back up top, but Jungle Boy stepped back and caught Evans’ foot and locked him in the snare trap for the submission win.
Jungle Boy beat Jack Evans in 9:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Hopefully Jungle Boy is on the AEW’s first full arena show once things get back to whatever the new normal will be. I don’t think I’m the only one out there who can’t wait to hear a full arena sing along to AEW favorites, including “Tarzan Boy”. Anyway, back to the match, which was a really good match for both Evans and Jungle Boy. While a Jungle Boy win was expected, AEW has done enough and is still relatively new enough to make me think that maybe Evans could have won this match if this had wound up being a program they wanted to expand on. But there is no doubt that whether as a singles star or in a tag team, Jungle Boy should be a major player for AEW for years to come.
12. Adam Priest and Aaron Frye vs. QT Marshall and Lee Johnson. Johnson and Marshall made their way to the ring together and fist bumped. They showed no animosity towards each other. Marshall was aggressive at the start and tagged in Johnson. Johnson tried to tag Marshall back, but Marshall climbed the top rope. Frye pushed Johnson into Marshall and then took over. Later, Johnson blind tagged himself into the match. Marshall did not look happy. Marshall blind tagged himself back in and quickly landed a Diamond Cutter on Priest for the win. Marshall and Johnson showed no anger towards one another after the match.
QT Marshall and Lee Johnson in 2:46.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick win for the Nightmare Family to show Marshall’s new aggressive side going into his exhibition match with Cody on Dynamite.
13. KiLynn King vs. Ryo Mizunami. Both wrestlers received televised entrances. Ryo looked to be having a good time as she came to the ring. She even picked up referee Bryce Remsburg like he was a baby. Both wrestlers hit the ropes into each other and no one got knocked down. They continued to run into each other with neither budging. King went for a test of strength and showed off her height advantage. Ryo locked it in and took control.
Later, Ryo got King into the corner and repeatedly chopped King over and over. Ryo put her hands behind her back and allowed King to chop her repeatedly. Not to be outdone, King did the same. They traded control with dueling power moves. Ryo was then able to hit a spear and followed up with her top rope guillotine leg drop for the pin. They shook hands and bowed after the match. Ryo chopped referee Remsburg on the way out.
Ryo Mizunami beat KiLynn King in 9:31.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good match with some comedy added in. It was maybe a little longer than it needed to be but still entertaining even though the result was not in doubt for this match.
14. D3 and Vary Morales vs Dark Order’s “5” Angels and “10” Preston Vance. 10 and D3 started the match. 10 nailed an elbow then tagged in Angels who hit a top rope dropkick. D3 tagged in Morales. Morales slapped Angels, which Angels returned. Angels missed a moonsault, but both Morales and Angels made the tag. Angels landed a crossbody to D3, who was laid across the second rope and then 10 locked in a full nelson on D3 for the submission.
Dark Order’s 5 and 10 beat D3 and Vary Morales in 3:57.
Bailin’s Breakdown: The match was fine for what it was. It would have been even better if this show wasn’t hitting the 2-hour mark already.
Dasha was backstage with Ethan Page, who said he was going to rack up the victories but for some reason this company wants to overlook superstars such as himself. He continued by saying he knows he isn’t the only one. He doesn’t know why he hasn’t been given the star treatment and if fact no one even has even treated him nicely. Page said actually one person has, they had a nice conversation earlier. He is not going to do what AEW does and overlook the talent, he is going to go out there and watch the rest of the show, but yes, he did win his match and yes, he will continue to keep winning his matches.
The Rising Star segment featured Bear Country. They have been teaming for three and a half years. Both came from Brian Myer’s Create-A-Pro. It took time to mesh how they do now. They both wanted to be TV stars not indie wrestlers. Everything was going great until the pandemic started, they thought maybe they shouldn’t be keeping wrestling in front. They had to keep eating, they had to put food on the table, no one was going to help them. Then they got the call from AEW. They did not know what to expect when they walked into Dark. Whenever they have to prove themselves, they always deliver.
Tony Khan and Cody said how much they loved it and wanted them on the next loop. That’s when the doubt washed away and the fire reignited. They are going to do their best and do their thing. They notice a lot of backstage handshakes, but the people they idolized the Road Warriors and Steve Austin didn’t hug you or have a beer afterwards. When they heard AEW wanted to have the best tag division they knew they had to be on it. They said getting here is one thing but staying here is another. They said that AEW is a place where they can hurt people and make money doing it. AEW is Bear Country.
Bailin’s Breakdown: The backstage Ethan Page interview was interesting to hear as he was going to watch the rest of the show and had spoken to someone earlier. Another good Rising Star segment. I like how it blends the reality and the story of whoever it has been on.
15. “Bear Country” Bear Bronson and Bear Boulder vs. “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy (w/Matt Hardy). Bronson and Isiah started off the match. Isiah slowly took off his jewelry. Bronson showed off his power early. Both sides tagged in their partners. Boulder also showed off his power. Quen took over after a second wind and tagged Kassidy. Private Party are able to take over with their double team maneuvers. Quick tags continued for Private Party as Bronson remained isolated. After a back body drop by Bronson to Isiah, both teams tagged their partners.
Boulder caught both members of the Private Party and slammed them both. Matt Hardy got on the apron, which caused Marko Stunt to run out and pull Hardy down. Boulder had Bronson on his shoulders as they shouted at Marko. Quen came off Kassidy’s back with a kick to Boulder’s midsection, causing him to drop Bronson. Isiah rolled up Bronson with a handful of tights for the pin.
Private Party beat Bear Country in 7:39.
After the match Marko entered the ring and apologized to Bear Country. Boulder grabbed Marko, which brought out Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus. The teams fought each other until referees broke them up. Tony and Paul both agreed that this was all Matt Hardy’s fault.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good match that didn’t give away too much in case they want to have a longer match in the future. Before we get there though, it looks like Jurassic Express is up next for Bear Country.
16. Mike Sydal (w/Matt Sydal) vs. Scorpio Sky. Mike brought a yoga mat into the ring and proceeded to do the splits. After some back-and-forth Sky took control after a kick to the head. Sky threw Sydal out of the ring and kicked Sydal when he tried to reenter. Sky followed that up with a back breaker which he held onto for a few seconds. Sydal escaped a suplex attempt then hit a drop kick followed by an enziguri. Sydal delivered a superkick followed by a standing moonsault for a two count. Sky wrapped up Sydal for three rolling German suplexes. Sydal
Scorpio Sky beat Mike Sydal in 8:00.
Sky would not release the hold so Matt Sydal ran in. Sky rolled out of the ring and Ethan Page came out and attacked Matt. Sky and Page smiled at each other. Sky tapped Page on the shoulder and they walked out together.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good match to end the night. Sydal looked good but you never truly felt like Sky was in any danger. I guess we know Page was talking to Sky earlier. That could be interesting, though I don’t think I want to see them as a regular tag team. Now if they become the team to break up SCU… let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
This show was a mixed bag for me. First the bad, which is the overall length of this show. This show clocked in at two hours and 25 minutes, which is about an hour longer than it was last week. My hope is that the shows will get shorter once AEW gets back to touring. It’s not that this show wasn’t entertaining. There are just a few matches I may have cut out just for time’s sake. All that being said, there was a lot of good in this show as well. The star power alone even in small segments made this show feel bigger than it was.
AEW also did a good job of promoting Dynamite throughout the night with a few of the segments. There were a lot of good matches on this show, if I had to pick one as a match of the night it would be Jack Evans vs. Jungle Boy. I also like they didn’t make as big of a deal out of having a Triple Main Event like they did last week. Before the show it was promoted that way. I mean if you have to say you have three main events, do you even have one? Thanks for reading.