By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 14)
Taped in Jacksonville, Florida at Daily’s Place
Streamed June 21, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Matt Sydal was in the back with Tony Schiavone. Sydal said he is tired of his brother getting jumped after their matches. The Sydals are cool and calm but they fight back and it starts tonight with Jack Evans…
Schiavone and Paul Wight were on commentary and welcomed us to this week’s episode of Elevation. They send it to ring announcer Justin Roberts to introduce the first match…
1. Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson vs “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler. Both teams faced off in the center of the ring as the match started. Harwood made a quick tag to Wheeler but Nelson and Isaacs took over with some quick double team maneuvers. Harwood made a blind tag and both him and Wheeler hit a double gourd buster to Isaacs. Isaacs fought out of FTR’s corner but was unable to make the tag until German suplexing Wheeler.
Nelson entered the ring with a spear on Harwood and then hit a cross body block on Wheeler. Nelson backed up into the corner and Harwood charged at him. Nelson lifted his foot but Harwood caught it and into a dragon screw leg whip. Harwood lifted Nelson into a brainbuster. FTR then hit a double-team onto Nelson’s knee. Harwood locked in the reverse figure four leg lock for the submission win.
“FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler beat Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson by submission in 6:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A slightly competitive showcase match for FTR to get them back on the winning side of things as a tag team. I honestly cannot remember the last time they wrestled a normal tag match.
2. Delmi Exo vs. Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero). Exo and Rose lock up but Rose pushes Exo down. Rose kicked Exo in the gut then lifted her for a crucifix bomb. Rose then hit the beast bomb for the pinfall.
Nyla Rose beat Delmi Exo by pinfall in 30 seconds.
Bailin’s Breakdown: I feel like I am suffering from Déjà vu with these weekly Nyla squashes and Vickie interrupting Justin Roberts. It’s just the same thing week after week.
3. Baron Black and Tamilian Vineesh vs. “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens. Caster rapped on the way to the ring. Baron Black didn’t like what was said so he went after Caster and was met with a boombox to the head from Bowens. After the rap but before the bell Bowens punched Vineesh. Late in the match the Acclaimed hit the S4 (which looked like a reverse Magic Killer) on Vineesh followed by the mic drop by Caster for the pinfall.
“The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens beat Baron Black and Tamilian Vineesh by pinfall in 4:0.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good showcase for the Acclaimed. Not much beyond that.
4. Bums R Us vs “Varsity Blonds” Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison (w/Julia Hart). The Bums attacked the Blonds to start the match. They threw Pillman out of the ring and worked over Garrison. Long bearded Bum lifted up short bearded bum and hit a cannonball they called the dumpster dive. Short bearded Bum climbed up to the top rope but Pillman leaped up and German suplexed short beard off the top rope. Garrison then lifted up short beard and Pillman with a standing dropkick for the pinfall.
“Varsity Blonds” Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison bear Bums R us by pinfall in 2:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick showcase win for the Blonds. Not much info on Bums R Us. Tony and Paul even said that they knew nothing about the Bums, so that’s why they are listed as short and long beards.
5. Kris Statlander (w/Trent, Chuck Taylor, Orange Cassidy) vs. Renee Michelle. Early in the match Statlander locked Michelle in an abdominal stretch and dropped down to the ground and rolled around the ring. Late in the match Michelle hit a discus punch on Statlander to no effect. Statlander responded with a lariat and leg trip combo and followed up with the Big Bang Theory for the pinfall.
Kris Statlander beat Renee Michelle by pinfall in 3:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick showcase for Statlander. I am genuinely surprised that they have not inserted her into a storyline since her return.
Taz was backstage with Powerhouse Hobbs, who asked if Hangman Page really thought he could beat him. Hobbs said Page needs to put down the whiskey and get on his horse and leave the Ponderosa because on Saturday he is going to beat the hell out of him. Hobbs said it’s just Town Business.
6. Matt Hardy (w/Hardy Family Office) vs. Jora Johl. Johl was formerly known as Robo. Hardy backed Johl into the corner and went for a clean break but The Blade grabbed Johl by the ankle allowing Hardy to take over. Hardy worked over Johl’s arm and then dumped him over the top rope. The HFO surrounded Johl but did nothing. Johl was able to hit a Michinoku driver on Hardy then climbed the top rope. Hardy met Johl and punched Johl repeatedly then hit a superplex followed by the Twist of Fate for the pinfall.
Matt Hardy beat Jora Johl by pinfall in 3:00.
After the match, The Blade brought a chair in the ring for Hardy to sit on. Hardy said that Johl impressed him and he knows that Johl is trying to live the American Dream. Hardy told Johl that if he didn’t become a success he would have to go back to India. Hardy said he could help Johl if Johl joined the HFO. He told Johl it would cost more than a small fee as he would be starting at the bottom which included sweeping the floors and ironing their clothes. Hardy told Johl to think about it and then left.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A pretty paint by numbers match for Matt Hardy. The post-match was interesting as AEW obviously sees something in Johl by giving him a name change and storyline support which is more than a lot of AEW regulars have received.
7. Shawn Spears and Wardlow vs. Ryzin and Kal Herro. Late in the match Wardlow lifted Ryzin onto the top rope then hit his knee to the face for the KO.
Shawn Spears and Wardlow beat Ryzin and Kal Herro by knockout in 3:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick showcase for the Pinnacle members. Again, in the short term this is not a bad thing as they have had few matches this year. Hopefully it does not become a weekly thing though as it has for others.
8. Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Darien Bengston. Hobbs roughed up Bengston then hit a bodyslam followed by Town Business for the pinfall.
Powerhouse Hobbs beat Darien Bengston by pinfall in 1:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A dominant showcase for Hobbs going into his match with Adam Page on Dynamite Saturday. The most interesting part of the match was Paul comparing Hobbs to and name-dropping Brock Lesnar.
9. Jade Cargill (w/Smart Mark Sterling) vs. Robyn Renegade. Before the match started Mark Sterling asked for a mic and said that Jade is now the face of the BNC (Black News Channel). Renegade charged Cargill to start the match but was caught in a Samoan drop. Cargill then lifted Renegade for Jaded and the pinfall.
Jade Cargill beat Robyn Renegade by pinfall in about 30 seconds.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A dominant and quick win for Jade again this week.
Jora Johl is backstage and said it was a dream come true to wrestle Matt Hardy. After wrestling him, Johl realized that Hardy is not the person he idolized. And then after the match being offered the opportunity to be in the HFO and work for AEW and travel around the world, it’s not something he wants to do or something he should do but he should at least consider Hardy’s offer.
10. Penta El Zero Miedo (w/Alex Abrahantes) and Eddie Kingston vs. Vary Morales and Fuego Del Sol. Kingston and Del Sol started the match. Late in the match Del Sol attempted the tornado DDT but Kingston pushed him off. Kingston DDT’d Del Sol’s arm and tagged in Penta who kicked Del Sol in the back of the head and then hit the cross-arm breaker for the pinfall.
Penta El Zero Miedo and Eddie Kingston beat Vary Morales and Fuego Del Sol by pinfall in 4:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: This was a rebound win for Kingston and Penta after a couple of losses to The Elite.
11. Jungle Boy (w/Luchasaurus, Marko Stunt) vs. Cezar Bononi (w/The Wingmen). Jungle Boy attacked immediately with a shotgun dropkick. Jungle Boy used his speed to avoid Bononi. Bononi took advantage while Jungle Boy was on the apron outside the ring and Avalon grabbed Jungle Boy’s ankle. Bononi used his strength to pound Jungle Boy until Jungle Boy was able to dropkick Bononi to the outside of the ring. Jungle Boy then hit a tope suicida and sent Bononi back into the ring.
Jungle Boy hit a step thru DDT for a two count. Bononi caught a Jungle Boy kick and slammed Jungle Boy down. Bononi then lifted Jungle Boy into a torture rack but Jungle Boy slipped out and avoided a big boot from Bononi. Jungle Boy then jumped at Bononi but Bononi reversed it and slammed Jungle Boy to the mat for a two count. Bononi attempted to pick up Jungle Boy but Jungle Boy fell to the mat.
Bononi lifted Jungle Boy again and sent him into the ropes but Jungle Boy rebounded with a clothesline then bounced off the other rope and clipped Bononi. Jungle Boy locked in the snare trap but Nemeth distracted the referee. Jungle Boy kicked Nemeth off then hit a superkick then a kick to Bononi’s knee followed by a lariat to the back of Bononi’s head for the pinfall.
Jungle Boy beat Cezar Bononi by pinfall in 6:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good back and forth match leading into Jungle Boy’s title match with Kenny Omega on Dynamite Saturday. I do slightly question having Jungle Boy fight so much from underneath before his title match. Though in the end that is more of a personal gripe than one that really affects the overall product.
12. Matt Sydal (w/Mike Sydal) vs. Jack Evans (w/Angelico, Matt Hardy).Early in the match both men used their speed with neither gaining an advantage. Sydal wound up in the ropes and Angelico grabbed his ankle long enough for Evans to hit a spin kick. Evans sent Sydal outside the ring then leaped off the apron and hit Sydal with a kick to the head. Evans sent Sydal into the ring post and rolled back on the ring to break the 10 count.
Evans met Sydal in the ring with punches and knee strikes followed by a Russian leg sweep for a two count. Evans distracted the referee to allow Angelico to choke Sydal from outside the ring. Evans went to kick Sydal who was still being held by Angelico by Sydal moved and Evans kicked Angelico. Sydal met Evans with a series of kicks but Evans caught one and then gouged Sydal in the eye. Evans charged Sydal but was met with a leg lariat. Sydal then hit a high knee followed by a bodyslam for a two count.
Evans wound up slumped in a corner and Sydal hit him with a running double knee then locked in a cobra clutch type maneuver. Evans slipped out of a lightning spiral attempt, then hit a Northern Lights suplex and floated over into a Michinoku driver for a two count. Evans then climbed to the top rope and missed a 450 splash when Sydal moved out of the way.
Evans rolled through then Sydal rolled up Evans for a two count. Sydal attempted a kick which missed and Evans responded with a kick that did not miss. Evans rolled up and bridged Sydal for a two count. Evans missed another kick and Sydal responded with a knee to the face that dropped Evans. When Evans got up Sydal kicked him again then Sydal hit the lightning spiral for the pinfall.
Matt Sydal beat Jack Evans by pinfall in 9:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A really good back and forth match and the only one where the result was slightly in doubt. I wouldn’t have been shocked to see either man win this match.
Overall, a decent but mostly unspectacular episode of Elevation this week. One hour 22 minutes this week which isn’t too bad. Again, it will be interesting to see what kind of matches and how long Elevation will be next week once they are in front of a live audience again. The reactions some of the talent will get will be eye opening as they move from town to town and see which Elevation and Dark talents are over enough to warrant them still being showcased weekly on these shows.
The matches of the night go to the two final matches, as they were the main events. It was also good to see FTR in a straight up tag match again as it’s been a while since they have been in one. The rest of the show was just more of the same we have seen. If one of your favorites is on the show, by all means enjoy but also no need to feel any guilt if you decide to miss this episode.