By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 5)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed April 12, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Tony Schiavone welcomed us to elevate your excitement of pro wrestling and said it’s time for Elevation. Paul Wight joined him on commentary and they sent it to ring announcer Justin Roberts…
1. Dark Order’s 10 (w/-1) vs. Zack Clayton. Clayton made Justin Roberts announce him again as MTV’s Jersey Shore’s number one star. Apparently, he was engaged to JWoww of Jersey Shore fame. -1 remained at ringside. Late in the match Clayton used a distraction to hit a powerslam for a two count. Clayton then lifted 10 up, but 10 slipped out and locked in the Full Nelson for the tap out. After the match, -1 kicked Clayton out of the ring.
Dark Order’s 10 beat Zack Clayton by submission in 6:00.
Tony ran over the main events for the evening..
Bailin’s Breakdown: Clayton gained a lot of offense on 10 and could be a decent get for AEW but in the end this was about 10 getting the win.
2. Hayden Backlund vs. Miro. Tony said Hayden was a distant relative of Bob Backlund. Miro immediately went on the offensive. After a couple of minutes, Miro locked in his Game Over camel clutch for the submission win…
Miro beat Hayden Backlund by submission in 2:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A very quick showcase match to get Miro back on a winning track. He was by himself with no mention of Kip or Penelope Ford other than Miro’s only loss coming at Arcade Anarchy, but it was specifically mentioned that Miro didn’t even want to be in the match.
3. AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida and Tay Conti (w/-1) vs. Katalina Perez and Leyla Grey. Late in the match, all four women ended up in the ring. Conti and Shida performed double judo throws into double triangle chokes. Shida nailed Perez with an enzuigiri followed by the Katana kick for the win.
Tay Conti and Hikaru Shida beat Katalina Perez and Leyla Grey by Pinfall in 5:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another showcase match for the winners. Tay, who is the number one contender to Shida’s title, glanced and pointed at the AEW Women’s Championship after the match, but it was done in a friendly manner.
4. Carlie Bravo and Dean Alexander vs. “The Hybrid2” Jack Evans and Angelico. Tony and Paul spoke early about Bravo and Alexander’s time in the Nightmare Factory. Evans and Bravo started the match. TH2 isolated and worked over Bravo for a number of minutes. Alexander finally tagged in after avoiding a double clothesline attempt. Alexander had a little offense, but Angelico locked Alexander in the Navarro Death Roll for the tap out.
The Hybrid2 beat Carlie Bravo and Dean Alexander by Submission in 4:30.
Dasha was backstage with Thunder Rosa, who said she has a huge target on her back. She isn’t one of the best in AEW, she is one of the best in the world. It doesn’t mean because it’s just a gimmick, she lives la mera mera, which means she trains hard, she coaches, and she fights for what she wants and what she deserves. Diamante said it was her time and her opportunity, but as a general consensus, everyone wanted to Diamante vs. Rosa, but like Rosa said, Diamante can have it whenever she wants…
Bailin’s Breakdown: A dominant outing for TH2, who needed a win. A good promo by Thunder Rosa as well. She spoke in Spanish and then translated what she had just said. I appreciate that.
5. Orange Cassidy (w/Trent, Chuck Taylor, Kris Statlander) vs. John Skyler. Skyler stopped Orange from putting his hands in his pockets twice while screaming this is a wrestling show. Orange took off his sunglasses and put on his elbow pad. They went for a lockup which Orange moved away from. Orange avoided three uppercuts. Orange continued to frustrate Skyler and then put his hands into his pockets. A dropkick sent Skyler out of the ring and as Orange attempted a dive (with hands in pockets) outside the ring, Skyler launched himself at Orange with a shoulder tackle. Skyler with strikes and an uppercut followed by a bodyslam. They crisscrossed the ropes with Orange avoiding a clothesline and instead hitting Skyler with a spinning DDT. Orange followed up with the Beach Break for the pin.
Orange Cassidy beat John Skyler by pinfall in 5:00.
The Rising Star segment with Shawn Dean. Old footage showed Kenny Omega at an indie show. Dean was at that show. Dean didn’t know how long it would take, but he knew he would join AEW. Dean joined the Navy shortly after 9/11 because he wanted to help the country. After his time in the Navy, he went to college and played college then arena football. After he was done with football in 2015, he still had the urge to complete. He started training to be a wrestler around 30 years of age. He was not getting the reps in Chicago, so he moved to Atlanta with $20 to his name just to get a job. He had started to get booking after booking and then the pandemic hit. The dream felt snatched away. On Mar 5, 2020, Tony Khan tweeted Dean to welcome him onboard, and he was now All Elite. He had just lost his job a week earlier. He ended by asking, “Do you copy that?”
Bailin’s Breakdown: Skyler had the majority of the offense, but Orange quickly won. The Rising Star segment was not unlike the others before. Good background on a wrestler we had seen but knew little about beforehand.
6. Konosuke Takeshita vs. Danny Limelight. Excalibur joined Tony and Paul for his Elevation debut. Tony mentioned how Paul spoke with Limelight for a future segment on Elevation. Late in the match, Takeshita nailed Limelight with a Wheelbarrow German Suplex with a bridge for the pinfall.
Konosuke Takeshita beat Danny Limelight by pinfall in 9:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: The match of the night up to this point. Both men looked good throughout the match. Takeshita definitely made a good first impression on me and Limelight continues to impress. If there was one match to watch in these first few matches this would be the one.
Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela were backstage. Janela said he met two girls backstage who wanted to suck on his nipples. Sonny said they had a match with Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky. Janela says he will be 10 seconds. Janela was surprised to hear they were wrestling Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page. He said he thought they were wrestling the Puerto Rican guys. Janela said the girls can wait because he is coming hard for Page and Sky…
7. Midas Black and Jay Lyon vs. “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler (w/Tully Blanchard, Wardlow). Lyon started the match with a steak in his mouth. Harwood slapped the mask off of Lyon, who rolled outside. Black helped Lyon put the mask back on. FTR worked over Lyon for a few minutes but Lyon eventually made the tag to Black, who hit and chopped Harwood. Eventually, Harwood caught Black with a brainbuster suplex. He tagged in Wheeler and they hit Black with the Spike Piledriver for the win…
FTR beat Midas Black and Jay Lyon by Pinfall in 4:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: All FTR, which is probably the way it should have gone.
8. Andre Montoya and Vary Morales vs. Pac and Rey Fenix. Pac and Fenix hit superkicks then posed like the Young Bucks. It was all Pac and Fenix on Montoya until Fenix pulled Montoya to his corner and allowed him to tag Morales. Late in the match, Pac and Fenix threw repeated kicks at Montoya. Pac performed a powerbomb followed by a frog splash by Fenix for the win.
Pac & Rey Fenix beat Vary Morales and Andre Montoya in 5:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown:As Paul mentioned on commentary, Pac and Fenix were toying with Morales and Montoya, playing with their food so to speak.
9. Baron Black vs. Dante Martin. Late in the match, Black lowered the straps of his tights and charged Martin, who caught him with a superkick. Martin the climbed to the top rope and nailed the 450 splash for the win…
Dante Martin beat Baron Black by pinfall in 4:00.
Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page were shown backstage. They requested this time to air some grievances. They wondered how Joey Janela got a TNT title match with a less than stellar singles record, and how Sonny Kiss also received one from Cody Rhodes with a not so flattering record of his own. Sky had to win a grueling ladder match and Page with an amazing record and neither gets a title shot. They said they will take anything and everything they want in AEW and this week will end like last week with their hands raised in victory…
Bailin’s Breakdown: An okay match, which allows Martin to continue to look good. The backstage segment with Sky and Page was well done with them making valid points in regards to them, and especially Sky, not getting the due the feel they deserve.
10. Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. (w/Rebel) vs. Skye Blue. Late in the match, Britt rolled back into the ring as Rebel used her crutch to choke Blue. Britt started to toy with Blue, but they traded elbows and Blue worked over Baker in the corner. Blue charged, but Britt planted her face first into the turnbuckle. Britt followed up with a curb stomp for the pinfall.
Dr. Britt Baker beat Skye Blue by Pinfall in 5:00.
Tony entered the ring after the match to interview Baker, who said she would play by the rules and get her wins up, so she better see an update to the rankings on Wednesday.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Skye looked good at points. Britt had to work a little for this one, but the victory was never in doubt.
11. Andrew Palace and Cole Karter vs. QT Marshall and Nick Comoroto (w/Aaron Solow). QT’s group was called The Factory by Tony, so that is what they will be using moving forward. QT and Karter started the match and QT immediately took over. QT allowed Carter to tag out to Palace. Comoroto tagged in and he took over with power moves. Comoroto brought Palace into the ring and hit a huge press slam. Comoroto tagged in QT, who picked up Karter and hit the Diamond Cutter for the win.
QT Marshall and Nick Comoroto beat Andrew Palace and Cole Karter by Pinfall in 3:30
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick squash to establish the new Factory faction.
12. Mike Sydal vs. “MT” Michael Nakazawa. Michael came out in his headset and khakis again. It’s supposed to be a knockoff of QT Marshall backstage. Nakazawa stalled to start saying he had a call. Mike decided to do some yoga. Nakazawa went for an elbow drop and missed. Nakazawa with a drop toehold then crotched Sydal on the ring post from the outside and held on. Nakazawa performed a Hentai slide on Sydal. Nakazawa went to hit Sydal with the laptop, but Sydal avoided it and rolled up Nakazawa for the pin. Afterwards Nakazawa hit Sydal anyway and then ran away.
Mike Sydal beat Michael Nakazawa by pinfall in 6:00.
Pac and Rey Fenix were shown backstage and hoped the Bucks saw what happened earlier. Pac promised it’s just a taste of what’s to come. They said they would headbutt the Bucks’ faces flat and leave with the AEW Tag Team Championships.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Honestly, I just don’t get Nakazawa. I’m not exactly sure why he is cosplaying as QT Marshall and right after a match with QT in it. At least Sydal won the match and was not sacrificed to Nakazawa in this way.
13. Leyla Hirsch vs. Shanna. They headed to ringside early. Shanna threw Hirsch into the ringside barrier then back in the ring. Shanna choked Leyla with her t-shirt. Leyla went for an arm breaker, but Shanna blocked it and rolled over into a pin attempt for a two count. Shanna picked up Hirsch and slammed her to the mat. Shanna went for a double underhook, but Hirsch flipped out and locked in the arm breaker that forced Shanna to tap out.
Leyla Hirsch beat Shanna by submission in 5:00.
Alex Marvez spoke with Konosuke Takeshita. Kenny Omega interrupted and had Michael Nakazawa translate. Kenny welcomed Konosuke to AEW. He said they are doing a little scouting and the talents that make an impact wind up on Dynamite thanks to Kenny. When Kenny came to DDT, he was a nobody in Japan, but Konosuke put a roof over his head, food in his mouth, and money in his pocket, so now it’s time to pay him back. The Sydals have been a thorn in Kenny’s side and he wants Konosuke’s help. Konosuke thought he was tagging with Kenny, but instead he is teaming with Nakazawa. Next week its Konosuke and Nakazawa vs. The Sydals…
Bailin’s Breakdown: Hirsch vs. Shanna was the most intriguing match of the night, as I genuinely was unsure who they would go with for the win. It got heated many times, which continued after the match, so maybe they can continue with this program for a bit. Shanna came off as the heel here with Leyla getting the majority of the cheers. Kenny with Konosuke was okay, maybe a little long to get to the point.
14. Brandon Cutler vs. Penta El Zero Miedo (w/Pac, Rey Fenix). Late in the match, Cutler went up top, but Penta kicked Cutler’s legs out. Cutler performed a Full Nelson slam for a two count, then leapt off the center of the top rope. Penta caught Cutler and and performed the arm snap followed by the Fear Factor package piledriver for the pinfall. Death Triangle then posed around Cutler mockingly…
Penta El Zero Miedo beat Brandon Cutler by pinfall in 6:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: The match was more competitive than it probably needed to be, but with Pac and Fenix going for the tag belts and Penta’s issues with Cody on the back burner, there isn’t much for Penta to do these days.
15. Thunder Rosa vs. Diamante. Diamante backed Rosa into the corner and chopped her. Rosa attempted an armbar and Diamante rolled out of the ring. Rosa threw a dropkick thru the ropes outside the ring. Rosa worked on Diamante’s arm outside the ring. Diamante performed Sliced Bread off the ring post outside the ring and then Diamante rolled Rosa back inside the ring. Later, after trading punches, Diamante performed a float over suplex into a pin attempt. Diamante then hit a cutter for a two count. They went back to trading punches and Diamante went for Code Red that Rosa blocked. Rosa hit the Fire Thunder Driver for the win.
Thunder Rosa beat Diamante by pinfall in 7:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A very competitive match that made Diamante look good as well the winner.
16. Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page vs. Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela. Late in the match, Page tagged in and went for the Ego’s Edge, but Janela slipped out. Kiss climbed the top rope and hit his split legdrop on Page. Kiss climbed the ropes again, but Sky pushed him off. Sky kicked Kiss and then Page hit him with a shoulder tackle. Page lifted Kiss up for the Ego’s Edge and got the three count.
Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page beat Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela by pinfall in 10:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good matchup, though the result was never in doubt. Sky and Page continue their winning ways. Schiavone also mentioned that they were very interested in what Sting said last week. I’m enjoying Sky and Page as a team.
17. Ryan Nemeth and Cezar Bononi (w/JD Drake) vs. “Best Friends” Trent and Chuck Taylor (w/Orange Cassidy, Kris Statlander). Later in the match, Nemeth sent Trent into the ropes and Bononi tripped him. Nemeth delivered a DDT and then tagged in Bononi, who performed a pumphandle slam and then tagged out. Bononi tried to pick up Taylor outside the ring, but Taylor was able to send Bononi into the ring post. In the ring, Nemeth wasted too much time with a hanging neck breaker attempt. Trent slipped out, nailed a side suplex, and tagged in Taylor. They hit Strong Zero on Nemeth for the win…
Best Friends defeated Ryan Nemeth and Cezar Bononi by pinfall in 9:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good match to get Best Friends a win and to especially make Trent look good in his first match back from injury.
I don’t know if it is WrestleMania hangover, or the fact that I received my first COVID vaccine today, but the idea of four “main events” on a 17-match, two and a half hour show was really frustrating to me. It’s not that it was bad, it really is just too much and, in the end, it diminishes the entire show. If you made it to the end of this review then there isn’t a lot of need to sit through the whole show or even a majority of it.
As far as recommendations, you should go back and see Konosuke Takeshita vs. Danny Limelight, and Thunder Rosa vs. Diamante. The final two tag matches get honorable mentions, but the outcomes were never in doubt.