By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 9)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed May 10, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Tony Schiavone and Paul Wight were on commentary and welcomed us to the show. Tony sent it to Justin Roberts for the introduction of our first match…
1. David Ali vs. Lee Johnson. Both wrestlers received the televised entrance. Back and forth match throughout until late in the match. Ali went for a springboard off the ropes but was met with a superkick from Johnson. Johnson then lifted up Ali into a Blue Thunder Bomb (that looked more like a shoulder breaker) for the pinfall.
Lee Johnson beat David Ali by pinfall in 5:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A somewhat competitive match to start Elevation this week, though I am not sure I would have started the show with this match. It wasn’t bad at all, just that every other advertised match tonight has someone more established attached to it.
2. Eddie Kingston vs. VSK. Kingston held up VSK for a stalling vertical suplex. VSK avoided a charging Kingston then hit a couple of pump kicks while Kingston was in the turnbuckle. Kingston attempted the back fist but VSK avoided it and hit a back stabber. VSK climbed the top rope but Kingston rolled away from a splash attempt. Kingston then rolled up VSK for the pinfall.
Eddie Kingston over VSK by pinfall in 4:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A slightly competitive match for Kingston. The result was never in doubt though.
3. Baron Black and Fuego Del Sol vs. Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky.Sky and Page isolated Black to start the match. Black is finally able to make the hot tag to Fuego who was able to land a top rope moonsault on both Sky and Page. Fuego attempted the tornado DDT on Page but Page slipped out then hits Fuego with a shoulder tackle. Page then lifted Fuego up for the Ego’s Edge and pinfall.
Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky by Pinfall in 3:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick, dominating showcase win for Page and Sky.
Paul Wight’s Spotlight with Danny Limelight. Danny became a fan of wrestling in 1997. He didn’t train to become a wrestler until 2014. Paul mentioned how they had previously met and showed a picture of the two of them from Camp Pendleton. During his senior year, Limelight entered a recruiting office and the Marine recruiter told Limelight to see the Army guy. Limelight walked back to the Marine recruiter, impressed that the Marine was able to direct him and told the recruiter he wants to be a Marine and questioned if the recruiter would sign him up.
Limelight was 17 at the time and he shipped off right after high school. He became a drill sergeant and made over 350 Marines. He started his wrestling training while he was still a Marine. The Marine Corps helped prep him for wrestling, as he was in the nest shape in his life. He was already accustomed to the sacrifices being on the road as a Marine, and it helped him as a wrestler also. Limelight left the Marine Corps in October of 2019.
Limelight then did stunt work for a movie and was John Hennigan’s (Morrison) stunt double. Hennigan got Limelight in touch with New Japan and he had a tryout. The tryout went well and New Japan was going to get back to him but then the pandemic hit. In October 2020, he got the call from AEW and was able to make enough of an impact that they brought him back. Limelight wants to be an inspiration so that five or ten years from now, people can look at him and see they can do whatever they want. Paul said that at the very least, Limelight has a career as a motivational speaker.
4. Thunder Rosa vs. Renee Michelle. Rosa took control early in the match. Michelle avoided a clothesline with a cravat face buster to Rosa into Michelle’s knee. Rosa regained control and went for the Fire Thunder Driver. Michelle slipped out and hit a bridging German suplex for a 2 count. Rosa with a boot to the head of Michelle then locked in a submission move that Michelle quickly tapped from. Tony mentioned he had never seen that move before. Paul said Rosa had Michelle’s neck pinned.
Thunder Rosa beat Renee Michelle by submission in 6:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A unique submission. I apologize, as I’m not sure what to call it. A good competitive match. Michelle, who was mentioned as being a four-time Maryland Championship Wrestling Women’s Champion, (which is my hometown indie fed) could be a good addition to the AEW women’s division.
Eddie Kingston was backstage. He said he could talk about the match he just won but what he really wants to talk about is the Young Bucks. Kingston signed there because of the Bucks. Kingston said he was there with the Bucks on the independents. Kingston said he suffered with the Bucks when no one liked them. They had to share appetizer samplers because they weren’t making money. But now that the Bucks are EVPs they are going to sit there and cry about it.
Kingston said the Bucks are going to team up with Kenny Omega and the biggest carny POS he has seen (and he has seen a lot) because things got too hard. The Bucks are becoming what they always hated. They make Kingston sick, he believed in the Bucks, but they super kicked Moxley and embarrassed Kingston and the fans. Kingston said this is his last stop. He isn’t going anywhere. If the Bucks are going to take this company down and treat it like a joke, they are going to have to take out Kingston’s heart and he dares them to do so.
5. Chuck Taylor (w/ Trent, Orange Cassidy, Kris Statlander) vs. Vary Morales. Late in the match, Taylor hit the Awful Waffle for the pinfall.
Chuck Taylor beat Vary Morales by pinfall in 2:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown:A quick showcase win for Chuck Taylor.
6. Leyla Hirsch vs. Dani Jordyn. Jordyn quickly took over with a snap mare, followed by a drop kick. Jordyn missed a spin kick and Leyla countered with a German followed by a kick to the head of Jordyn. They traded forearm shots until Leyla locked in the cross-arm breaker for the quick tap out.
Leyla Hirsch beat Dani Jordyn by submission in 3:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another quick win for Hirsch, who could really use some direction to take her to the next level.
Dasha was backstage with Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page. They keep racking up wins and attribute it to how great they are. Sky and Page complimented each other. Sky said they were lucky he didn’t heel his opponents tonight and Page said like Sky did to Sting. Then Sting disappeared, because it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. “Like Darby?” Sky asked. Page said Darby is really hurt, but he wishes Darby luck if he even shows up for his match with Miro. Sky and Page said they will be watching.
7. Matt Sydal vs Manny Smith. Late in the match, Sydal hit the Lightning Spiral for the quick pinfall.
Matt Sydal beat Manny Smith by pinfall in 3:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown:A quick and dominant showcase win for Sydal.
8. Jade Cargill vs. Reka Tehaka. Tehaka missed a pump kick and Jade responded with one of her own. Cargill hit Jaded and got the pinfall.
Jade Cargill beat Reka Tahaka by pinfall in 1:30.
After the match Mark Sterling Esq. (MJF’s former adviser) came out to speak to Jade. He said he made sure MJF is the highest paid athlete in AEW. Sterling said he can do the same for her. Sterling said there is more money to be made and if Jade would just give him 30 minutes of her time, he can explain it all to her. Jade walked out with Sterling.
Bailin’s Breakdown: An interesting development with Sterling coming back and Jade being interested in what he has to say instead of the known suitors she has. The match was a quick dominant win for Jade.
9. Matt Hardy and Marq Quen (w/Isiah Kassidy) vs. Dean Alexander and Dillon McQueen. Quen was in his street clothes. Quen hit McQueen from behind while Hardy attacked Alexander who was standing on the apron. Hardy with a Side Effect on McQueen to take over the match. McQueen was able to make the tag to Alexander by breaker a sleeper hold with a jawbreaker. Hardy and Quen did Poetry in Motion then Quen with an assisted dive onto both Alexander and McQueen on the outside. Quen threw Alexander into the ring and Hardy locked in The Leech for the submission victory.
Matt Hardy and Marq Quen beat Dean Alexander and Dillon McQueen by Submission in 4:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A showcase win for the Hardy Family Office. Meanwhile, the two Nightmare Family standouts remain winless.
10. Britt Baker (w/Rebel not Reba) vs. Raychell Rose. Late in the match Britt planted Rose with a curb stomp for the quick pinfall victory.
Britt Baker defeated Raychell Rose by pinfall in 2:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Tony and Paul framed this as Britt using new moves in preparation for her match against Hikaru Shida at Double or Nothing.
11. Madi Wrenkowski vs. Tay Conti. Both women got the televised entrance. Tay tried showing respect early with a fist bump but Madi responded by trying to punch Conti in the face. Conti avoided the punch and landed one of her own. Late in the match Conti hit the DDTay for the pinfall.
Tay Conti beat Madi Wrenkowski by pinfall in 3:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Madi was able to get in a little offense, but this match was all Conti otherwise.
Alex Marvez was backstage with Thunder Rosa. Her new move is the Peruvian choke or, as she wants to spice it up, some call it the Peruvian Calavera choke. She has been stepping up her game in MMA and has been adding new stuff to her arsenal. So, whoever is in the ring with her needs to watch out. Rosa congratulated Britt Baker on her upcoming title match. She said Baker has beaten everyone but her. Rosa will be next in line no matter who wins at Double or Nothing. Rosa also has her eyes on the NWA Women’s Championship and becoming a double champion. So while Rosa knows Serena Deeb has other things to take care of first, she is patiently waiting.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Well, now I do know what to call that move, the spelling is my best guess.
12. “Jurassic Express” Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt vs. “Chaos Project” Luther and Serpentico. Luther and Jungle Boy started the match. Bling tag on both sides and Stunt takes over on Serpentico. Jurassic Express worked over Serpentico until Marko was distracted by Luther. Serpentico makes the tag and took over on Stunt. Luther with a buckle bomb then Luther tagged in Serpentico who was used as a battering ram on Stunt. Luther and Serpentico continued to use double team moves on Stunt with Luther using Serpentico as a weapon. Marko is sent to the outside and Serpentico charged but Stunt backdropped Serpentico over the ringside barricade.
Stunt attempted a sunset flip on Luther but Luther lifted up Stunt by the hair and hit an overhead belly to belly suplex. Luther tagged in Serpentico who climbed the top rope at Luther’s direction. Luther attempted to slam Serpentico onto Stunt but Stunt escaped and was able to make the hot tag to Jungle Boy. Luther power bombed Jungle Boy which brought in Stunt to break the pinfall. Stunt sent Luther to the outside while Serpentico climbed the top rope and hit a Swanton for a 2 count. Serpentico charged at Jungle Boy who hit Serpentico with a couple of elbow shots. Jungle Boy then tagged in Stunt and they hit their top rope neck breaker finisher for the pinfall.
“Jurassic Express” Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt beat “Chaos Project” Luther and Serpentico by pinfall in 10:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A really good back and forth match with the expected Jurassic Express win. That said, with Marko instead of Luchasaurus in the match, it would not have surprised me if the result was different. This was the match of the night so far.
Britt Baker was backstage with Rebel. Baker said its another win and another week where she spends more time lacing up her boots then she does in the ring. She said the world finally gets to sink their teeth in the most anticipated match in women’s wrestling. Britt hopes the champ is ready because she is. Britt said she would “Shida later.”
13. Isiah Kassidy (w/Matt Hardy, Marq Quen) vs. Alex Reynolds (w/Colt Cabana, Jon Silver). Kassidy also wrestled in his street clothes. Reynolds had control early until Kassidy is able to send Reynolds outside the ring for Matt Hardy and Marq Quen to attack. Kassidy started to work over the lower back and sent Reynolds outside the ring again. Kassidy backdropped Reynolds on the ringside barricade and then rolled back in the ring hoping for the count out.
Reynolds returned to the ring, but Kassidy met him and continued to work on the back of Reynolds. Reynolds took control when and landed a couple of elbows and a dropkick to Kassidy. Reynolds tried to lit Kassidy but was unable to do so. Kassidy performed a step-up enzuigiri followed by a sling blade back breaker. Kassidy climbed up top but missed a top rope leg drop. Kassidy then removed his belt and Hardy climbed on the apron to distract the referee. Silver and Cabana go after Hardy and Quen. Kassidy got distracted and Reynolds rolled him up for the three count.
Alex Reynolds beat Isiah Kassidy by pinfall in 8:00.
After the match Kassidy attacked Reynolds with his belt. Hardy rammed Cabana into the ring apron. Private Party wrapped up and held Silver in the ropes while Matt locked in The Leech on Reynolds.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Did Private Party’s baggage get lost somewhere? It’s odd that they both wrestled separate matches in their street clothes with no real explanation given. A good match until the distraction finish that we have seen too often in the HFO vs. Dark Order matches.
A video package then aired on the Jon Moxley vs. Yugi Nagata IWGP U.S. Title match on Dynamite.
14. IWGP U.S. Champion Jon Moxley vs. Danny Limelight in a non-title match. Both wrestlers received televised entrances. Moxley showed frustration with Limelight early in the match. After a snap mare and a kick to the back Moxley danced like Limelight to mock him. Limelight caught a kick from Moxley and they then traded forearms. Moxley took over with a lariat. Moxley put Limelight on the top rope and raked Limelight’s back.
Moxley charged but Limelight broke free when he walked across the middle rope and hit springboard Meteora from the middle of the top rope. Limelight ducked a clothesline and responded with a pump kick to Moxley. They traded forearm shots again. Limelight hit a high knee that sent Moxley outside. Limelight then leapt over the top rope onto Moxley on the outside. Limelight flipped out of a German then hit a top rope Blockbuster on Moxley. Moxley and Limelight were fighting on the top rope and Moxley bit Limelight on the nose. Moxley landed a Paradigm Shift from the middle turnbuckle for the pinfall victory.
IWGP U.S. Champion Jon Moxley defeated Danny Limelight by pinfall in 8:00 in a non-title match.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Much more of a competitive match than what we usually see out of Moxley on Elevation. Limelight was given a lot of offense and opportunities to stand toe to toe with Moxley. This was definitely a good night for Danny Limelight, who hasn’t had many, if any, bad ones on Elevation.
Overall a good episode, though it was a little longer than the last two weeks, clocking in at one hour and 52 minutes. Anything more than 90 minutes is probably pushing it in terms of length. There were a lot more backstage interview segments than normal as well. The Eddie Kingston backstage promo was really good to the surprise of no one. The Limelight vs. Moxley match barely beat out the Chaos Project vs. Jurassic Express for match of the night. Reynolds vs. Kassidy was also a pretty good match as well.