By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 11)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed May 24, 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 to introduce the first match…
1. QT Marshall (w/The Factory) vs. Robo. QT dominated the majority of the match. Late in the match QT hit his backbreaker/flatliner combo followed by the Cutter for the pinfall
QT Marshall beat Robo by pinfall in 4:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A slightly extended showcase win for Marshall. No interference or post-match shenanigans this week
2. Abadon vs. Leila Grey. Late in the match, Abadon hooked Grey into the Cemetery Driver for the pinfall.
Abadon beat Leila Grey by pinfall in 2:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another dominant win for Abadon, who is back after her win against Ryo MIzunami a couple of weeks ago. I am surprised there has been no real follow-up to that win and we are back to enhancement matches for Abadon.
3. Thunder Rosa vs. Ashley D’Amboise. They shook hands to start the match. Rosa quickly took control and worked over D’Amboise. Eventually, Rosa locked in the Peruvian Calavera choke for the submission.
Thunder Rosa beat Ashley D’Amboise by submission in 5:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Yet another one-sided affair of a match and another dominant win for Thunder Rosa.
A video on the Gunn Club aired. Billy Gunn said he never expected to wrestle this long but knew he would always be a part of the business in some fashion because he loves to coach. Billy made a deal with Austin and Colten when they were very young. He didn’t care what they wanted to be but they had to graduate from college first. Billy always knew it would be Austin who wanted to wrestle first. Austin didn’t want to regret not giving wrestling a shot. Billy said that if you were to make someone for this business it would be Austin, who is athletic, has charisma and personality, he has it all.
Colten was making million-dollar homes in Los Angeles for Lakers’ players and CEO’s and he gave it all up because he thought wrestling was what he was supposed to do. Billy loves tagging with his sons as he feels he has done everything in this business now he can work with them, retire, and be happy. To watch them while he is sitting in the corner is great. Colten said that they do not expect their Dad to wrestle much longer so their goal is to just have him be happy as he sets off on retirement and just go out on a high note.
Bailin’s Breakdown: This was intended to be a Rising Star type segment though it was not advertised as such. I guess you can’t call it Rising Stars if Billy Gunn was a main focus of it.
4. Lee Johnson vs. Daniel Garcia. Johnson with a dropkick early that appeared to hit Garcia right in the mouth as he was busted open a little bit. Garcia took over after he held on from an Irish whip by Johnson. When Johnson dropped down, Garcia landed a knee onto Johnson’s back followed by a double underhook suplex. Garcia maintained control until he started to mock Johnson and ask him where the fire was. As if on cue Johnson fired up with punches and then a reverse neckbreaker. Johnson then lifted up Garcia for the Brain Dog for the win.
Lee Johnson beat Daniel Garcia by pinfall in 6:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: This was the most competitive match up so far. Johnson winning was no surprise, but just like in his match with Joey Janela last week, Garcia was able to show a little more than usual for a loss on Elevation.
Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page were backstage. Sky wanted to address Page’s beefiness. Tonight, on Elevation, they are switching up the formula and working singles matches. They figure they have been racking up wins in the tag division and now that Darby Allin has lost the TNT Title, they figure they would rub salt in the wounds and bring up their singles rankings as well. No tag team is safe, no single wrestler isn’t safe, Hikaru Shida isn’t safe. Well, maybe she is, but Alex Reynolds and Dark Order 5 are not safe because that is what they do.
5. Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. Robyn Renegade. Vickie interrupted Justin Roberts’ introduction again and dismissed him. Nyla used her power to dominate Renegade. Late in the match Nyla picked up Renegade for the Beast Bomb for the win.
Nyla Rose beat Robyn Renegade by pinfall in 2:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick showcase win for Nyla. No harm, but nothing we haven’t seen many times before.
6. Ethan Page (w/Scorpio Sky) vs. Alex Reynolds. Reynolds and Page traded momentum with each having a brief advantage. Reynolds climbed to the top rope but Page tripped him up. As Reynolds went to enter the ring Page grabbed Reynolds and hit a double underhook backbreaker. Page continued to work over Reynolds lower back. Reynolds escaped a superplex attempt and hit a cross body but was unable to capitalize.
Page charged Reynolds but was met with a boot to the face. Reynolds was able to hit a cravat neck breaker and then attempted a fisherman’s buster but his back gave out. Reynolds with clotheslines in the corner followed by a running knee. Reynolds went to pick up Page but Page pulled the referee closer to them which distracted Reynolds enough for Page to lift him into the Ego’s Edge for the pinfall.
Ethan Page beat Alex Reynolds by pinfall in 9:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good match. Expected result. Rinse. Repeat. A longer than normal length match by Elevation standards.
7. Tay Conti vs. Queen Aminata. Late in the match, Conti landed a series a judo throws that she transitioned into the DDTay for the win.
Tay Conti beat Queen Aminata by pinfall in 2:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: And yet another dominant win for Tay Conti. Tay has been ranked third in the Women’s championship rankings for the last three weeks.
8. Mike Sydal (w/Matt Sydal) vs Penta El Zero Miedo (w/Alex Abrahantes). Back and forth action with neither man gaining an extended advantage. Late in the match, Mike attempted a leaping arm drag, but Penta held on for a two count. As Mike got up, Penta threw a kick to the midsection followed by Fear Factor for the pinfall.
Penta El Zero Miedo defeated Mike Sydal by pinfall in 6:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good back and forth match though it never hit a second gear really. Neither had momentum for an extended period and the win was almost out of nowhere.
9. Scorpio Sky (w/Ethan Page) vs. Alan “5” Angels. Sky took over with a kick to Angels face. Sky trapped Angels in a body scissors. Angels with elbows to Sky’s face to escape. Angels retreated to the corner but was able to hit numerous kicks to Sky. Angels attempted the wing snapper but Sky escaped. As Sky came off the ropes Angels met him with a Spanish Fly for a two count. Sky ducked a clothesline attempt and hit an inverted atomic drop followed by a Dragon screw leg whip. Sky went to grab Angels by the leg but Angels hit an enziguri, followed by a double stomp from the second rope onto Sky’s back. Angels then hit a moonsault from the second rope for a two count. Angels went for another Irish whip but Sky ducked under Angels legs and hooked in the heel lock for the submission win.
Scorpio Sky beat Alan “5” Angels by submission in 6:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good back and forth match and maybe match of the night so far. Unfortunately, that isn’t saying a whole lot due to not being able to buy into Angels pinfall attempts. But I don’t mean that to take away from the work in the match.
Matt Hardy was backstage and wanted to be transparent with us. He created and formed the Hardy Family Office to make money. In this business, you have to make as much money as you can when you can. He also built the HFO to help the younger talent as a way to give back. But he has lost focus on his original goal for joining AEW, which was to be in an environment where he could Survive, Thrive and Win. Can make people remember who he is Matt Hardy, The Survivalist, the Man who cannot die, Big Money Matt. He is all those things. But tonight, starting with Fuego, people will start putting reverence on his name.
10. Matt Hardy vs. Fuego Del Sol. Fuego received a televised entrance this week. Hardy came out alone this week as well. Late in the match Hardy locked in the Leech for the submission win.
Matt Hardy beat Fuego Del Sol by submission in 4:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick dominant win by Hardy. Again, not much else to add to this one.
11. Royce Isaacs vs. Ren Narita. Narita made his AEW debut. Schiavone said Narita was trained under Yugi Nagata. Isaacs hit a jackhammer for a two count. Narita countered a Full Nelson attempt into a rear naked choke into an abdominal stretch. Narita hit a front bridging suplex then a belly-to-belly suplex with a bridge for the pinfall.
Ren Narita beat Royce Isaacs by pinfall in 6:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A decent first showing for Narita, and Isaacs was a good contender for him. The result was never in doubt.
12. J.D. Drake (w/The Wingmen) vs. Rocky Romero. Tony spoke of Romero’s history in Japan, including being IWGP Jr. Tag champ with Trent as Roppongi Vice. Tony also said that Romero even has a win over Excalibur. Romero hit a huracanrana early and frustrated Drake with his speed. Drake sent Romero into the ropes but Romero held on. Drake charged and Romero moved out of the way sending Drake to the outside. Romero with a Tope Suicida onto Drake. Romero rolled Drake back into the ring but Drake rolled back to the outside. Drake bounced Romero off the ropes and then decked Romero in the face. Drake is able to hit a spinning neck breaker for a two count.
Drake threw Romero to the outside and distracted the ref as Avalon, Bononi and Nemeth hit Romero a few times. Drake charged Romero who was in the turnbuckle but Romero moved. Romero charged but Drake caught him and slammed him down. Drake climbed the ropes but missed a Vader splash. Romero was able to hit a tornado DDT as Drake was recovering. Romero then chopped and kicked Drake’s arm. Drake attempted a suplex but was unable to lift Romero. Drake then hit a clothesline for a two count. Romero wound up outside on the apron. Drake attempted to grab Romero but Romero snapped Drake’s arm on the top rope. Romero then hit a top rope huracanrana that set Drake outside.
Romero hit a shotgun dropkick from the top rope on Drake as Drake re entered the ring. Romero with a running sliced bread for a two count. Romero attempted a vertical suplex but could not lift Drake. Drake reversed the attempt and hit a version of a suplex powerbomb followed by a Shining Wizard for a two count. Drake performed a cannonball on Romero in the corner. Drake followed up by climbing to the top rope and attempting a moonsault that missed. Romero then hooked the arm and rolled up Drake for the pinfall.
Rocky Romero beat J.D. Drake by pinfall in 11:30.
After the match Nemeth, Avalon and Bononi attacked Romero until Best Friends and Kris Statlander came out to chase them off. Romero appeared confused as Roppongi Vice’s theme song played. Eventually, Romero high-fived Trent. Trent, Chuck Taylor, Orange Cassidy, and Kris Statlander gave the people what they wanted and embraced Romero as the show went to credits.
Bailin’s Breakdown: This was the longest and best match of the night. Both men worked hard. The result was not a given either as it could have gone either way. Unfortunately, though, this was not a great episode of Elevation. There was nothing bad, but nothing really stood out. And not a whole lot to talk about either. Actually, I do take that back a little. This show had Thunder Rosa, Nyla Rose, Abadon and Tay Conti all in enhancement matches and none of them are really in any current storylines. While I commend AEW and Tony Khan for giving a lot of indie wrestlers a paycheck and TV time, it has gotten to the point that the core of the roster, both male and female, start working against each other instead of weekly enhancement matches. There is a place for those matches but the AEW roster is big enough and talented enough to have feuds and storylines on Dark and Elevation. Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think. Until next week, thanks for reading.