By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 19)
Taped in July 14, 2021 in Cedar Park, Texas at the HEB Center
Streamed July 19, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Eddie Kingston and Penta El Zero Miedo were backstage with Alex Abrahantes. Kingston said he would keep it short and sweet. He said he and Penta were the first team to beat the Young Bucks in over a year and then they got screwed in the title match, but that is in the past. He said Cezar Bononi and JD Drake would pay for them getting screwed over. Penta said (as translated by Abrahantes) welcome to Casa Del Penta, tonight the Wingmen will get their wings clipped, and Bononi and Drake would get a makeover…
Tony Schiavone welcomed viewers to Elevation and said he was sitting between two legends in Paul Wight and Jake Roberts. Jake said he has been eating BBQ all day. Tony said they were in Texas and sent it to ring announcer Justin Roberts…
1. Lance Archer vs. Zacharia. Archer threw Zacharia down the ramp as his entrance music played. Archer threw Zacharia around a bit before lifting him on the top rope and then hitting the Blackout for the quick pinfall.
Lance Archer defeated Zacharia by pinfall in 1:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Quick showcase for Archer leading to his IWGP US Title match with Jon Moxley on Dynamite. It was also an excellent way to start the Elevation tapings as the crowd was into all of it.
2. “Chaos Project” Luther and Serpentico vs. Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor (w/Wheeler Yuta, Kris Statlander). As has been the case, Orange received a monster pop as he and Taylor made their way to the ring. Late in the match, Luther told Serpentico to climb to the top rope. Taylor pushed Luther into Serpentico then hit a knee strike to Luther. Taylor threw Serpentico into Luther’s arms but Luther used Serpentico to knock Taylor down. Luther then also hit the referee but then Cassidy rolled into the ring and hit the Orange Crush. Luther, still holding on to Serpentico, fell on top of Serpentico and Taylor and Cassidy sat on Luther’s back for the pinfall on Serpentico.
Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy defeated “Chaos Project” Luther and Serpentico by pinfall in 6:00.
After the match. Orange and his friends gave the people what they wanted (group hug). The Blade and The Bunny came out to stare down Cassidy. Blade put on the brass knuckles and yelled at Cassidy…
Bailin’s Breakdown: This was mostly a comedy match, but the fans were into it as well. The Blade coming out after and showing his brass knuckles was simple but effective enough build up to his match with Cassidy on Dynamite.
3. Hikaru Shida vs. Dulce Tormenta. Late in the match, Shida lifted Tormenta onto her shoulders and then slammed Tormenta down face first. Shida attempted a pinfall but Tormenta kicked out at two. Shida then immediately hit her Kitana knee strike for the pinfall.
Hikaru Shida defeated Dulce Tormenta by pinfall in 3:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another quick showcase for Shida this week. I find it frustrating that since Shida lost the AEW Women’s Title, she has not been in a meaningful match. Shouldn’t she have at least been given a rematch at this point?
“Smart” Mark Sterling was backstage with Jade Cargill. He said last week Jade was going to Hollywood but this week he brought Hollywood to Jade. He introduced her to the head of Film and Television at Activist Artists Management John Kanack. John gave Jade some advice and said he wanted to put her in the room with the right people. He said it was a marathon but he sees a lot of potential in Jade in the action star space.
4. Powerhouse Hobbs (w/Hook, Ricky Starks) vs. Lucas Chase. Chase was billed as being from the Rhodes training facility and was in the ring with the Nightmare Family’s music playing. Hobbs backed Chase into the corner and then charged Chase but Chase got the boot up. Hobbs quickly knocked Chase down then lifted him up for Town Business for the pinfall.
Powerhouse Hobbs defeated Lucas Chase by pinfall in less than a minute.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A very quick showcase for Hobbs.
5. Baron Black vs. Frankie Kazarian. Late in the match Black attempted a discus clothesline to Kazarian who was in the corner. Kazarian moved out of the way then hit a lariat of his own. Kazarian then locked in the chicken wing for the submission victory.
Frankie Kazarian defeated Baron Black by submission.
After the match Brandon Cutler came out with two cans of the cold spray to attack Kazarian but tripped as he entered the ring. Kazarian clotheslined Cutler then sprayed Cutler in the face. Kazarian was going to leave the ring but came back in and hit Cutler with another clothesline. Doc Gallows ran out and hit Kazarian with a big boot and then slammed him to the ground.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A showcase match for Kazarian, but Black had more offense than he gets most weeks. The post-match attack was both simple and effective enough to set up Kazarian vs Gallows on Dynamite.
Powerhouse Hobbs was backstage and warned Brian Cage to stay home and don’t come back or he will be laid out like he was last week when Ricky Starks won the FTW title.
6. Jungleboy (w/Luchasaurus) vs. Angelico (w/Private Party). Private Party danced like Angelico as they came to the ring. Schiavone then said get ready for an eruption Jungle style as Jungle Boy made his entrance and erupt the place did. Jungle Boy attempted the Snare trap early but Angelico quickly grabbed the ropes. Jungle Boy sent Angelico into the ropes but Angelico held on. When Jungle Boy charged Angelico moved out of the way and Jungle Boy wound up on the apron.
Later, Angelico locked in a version of the Navarro Death roll but Jungle Boy grabbed the ropes. Angelico wasted too much time and allowed Jungle Boy to make a comeback. Jungle Boy attempted to lift Angelico onto the top rope but Angelico blocked it and pushed off. Angelico then rolled up Jungle Boy in a unique cover for a near fall. Angelico attempted a pump kick to Jungle Boy who was in the corner but Jungle Boy moved and Angelico got his leg caught in the top turnbuckle. Jungle Boy finished getting Angelico in the Tree of Woe and hit a dropkick. Jungle Boy then locked in the Snare Trap for the submission win.
Jungleboy defeated Angelico by submission in 10:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A really good back and forth match. The crowd was absolutely into everything Jungle Boy did. Match of the night up until this point and will probably still be when this episode is over.
An ad for All Out aired.
7. Red Velvet vs. Julia Hart (w/Varsity Blonds). They traded armbars with both doing cartwheels to reverse the others’ attempt. Red Velvet was sent in the ropes and landed in a split and Julia leaped over her and landed in a split as well. They both attempted clotheslines with both missing, they then both attempted a dropkick and both did a backwards roll into a split. They smiled at each other, got up and shook hands.
Later, Hart sent Velvet into the ropes and as Julia charged Velvet pulled down the top rope which sent Hart outside. Velvet then hit a tope suicida but it hit Brian Pillman Jr. who was helping Hart up. Hart was sent into the corner again but hit a kick to knock Velvet down. Hart then climbed the top rope and hit a spinning dive onto Velvet for a two count. Velvet and Hart then traded forearms. Velvet held onto Hart’s wrist then wrapped her leg around Hart’s neck and slammed Hart down for the pinfall.
Red Velvet defeated Julia Hart by pinfall in 4:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another good back and forth match. You can tell both are still learning as they go but the effort is definitely there. I would not mind seeing a rematch in the future.
8. Brock Anderson and Lee Johnson vs. Billy and Colten Gunn. Late in the match, Johnson hit a neckbreaker on Colten and a dropkick to Billy. Billy flipped Johnson over the top rope but Johnson hit a step up enzuigiri followed by a missile dropkick on Billy. Colten attempted the Colt 45 on Johnson, but Johnson rolled up Colten. Colten reversed it and held onto Johnson’s tights for the pinfall. After the match Johnson had words with Colten and Billy, who did not know what his son did…
Billy and Colten Gunn defeated Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson in 5:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: An ok match but there was a lot of basic mat wrestling early, which makes sense as Anderson is still learning. Plus, the idea was since The Gunns, Johnson, and Anderson are all part of the Nightmare Family and train together. This may have been the start of a slow turn for Colten or the entire Gunn Club, but it’s still too early to tell. Colten is still undefeated so that will most likely play into it.
9. Luchasaurus vs. Fuego Del Sol. Del Sol received a televised entrance and received a huge pop as he made his entrance. Fans also chanted for Del Sol as the match started. Del Sol used his speed early but Luchasaurus caught him and pressed Del Sol over his head. Del Sol slipped out and hit a couple of kicks to Luchasaurus which upset him. Del Sol attempted a Tornado DDT but Luchasaurus held on and threw Del Sol off. Luchasaurus then lifted Del Sol up for a chokeslam but instead flipped Del Sol into a knee strike. Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy helped Del Sol up after the match and raised his hands.
Luchasaurus defeated Fuego Del Sol by pinfall 1:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick showcase for Luchasaurus, but the pop for Del Sol was absolutely amazing and surprising to hear. Maybe more people are watching Dark and Dark Elevation than I assumed, particularly in Texas.
A video was shown on QT Marshall pouring his drink on Tony Schiavone. Paul Wight was mad about it and told Tony so.
10. Dante Martin vs. Shawn Dean. Dean received a televised entrance. As Martin made his entrance Tony spoke about QT Marshall and called him a bully. Paul said it was low and uncalled for. He said the trash that happened to Tony pissed Paul off. Paul said he had no respect for Marshall and wanted to focus on the match.
Later, Dean hit a double underhook powerbomb for a two count. Martin was able to lift Dean on the top rope and then put Dean on his shoulder and threw Dean down. Martin sent Dean into the ropes but Dean held on as Martin attempted an Alabama Slam. Martin back kicked Dean’s hands off the ropes then spun Dean around. Martin then hit a flip over stunner for the pinfall.
Dante Martin defeated Shawn Dean by pinfall in 3:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good back and forth match. They might have been too fast for themselves at points. Dean received a good bit of offense. Again, the QT Marshall talk from Wight has to be leading to Wight’s wrestling debut against The Factory, right?
11. Tay Conti and Serena Deeb vs. Vertvixen and Jazmin Allure. Conti and Deeb made separate entrances but walked down the ramp together. Late in the match Deeb had Allure legs tied up and then suplexed Vertvixen. Deeb then locked in the Serenity lock but not before slamming Allure’s knee into the mat a few times. Conti stopped Vertvixen from breaking up the hold as Allure submitted.
Tay Conti and Serena Deeb defeated Vertvixen and Jazmin Allure in 4:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A showcase win for the makeshift team of Conti and Deeb. They didn’t really work together, but there were no signs of issues between the two. Hopefully it’s the start of a program between them. Conti was selling a knee injury, but I did not see where it happened so hopefully it was just selling.
12. Eddie Kingston and Penta El Zero Miedo (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. Cezar Bononi and J.D. Drake. As Bononi and Drake entered the arena Bononi asked for the music to be stopped and he was angry because Nemeth and Avalon were not able to fly in. Drake took the mic and said they may not be at full strength so they can’t make you pretty but they can make you ugly. The crowd was giving Bononi the “What” treatment as this was going on. Penta and Kingston received another monster pop as they made their entrance.
Later, Kingston then held Drake’s legs open while Penta dove down low with a double stomp for a two count. Bononi sent Kingston outside, but Kingston slammed Bononi’s head into the ring post. In the ring, Penta attempted Fear Factor, but Drake backdropped Penta out of it. Penta charged the corner and Drake attempted a rollup with his feet on the ropes. The referee saw it so Drake hit a low dropkick on Penta. Drake attempted a top rope moonsault, but Penta rolled out of the way. Penta hit Drake with a thrust kick followed by a back elbow from Kingston, which Penta followed with an arm snap for the pinfall
Eddie Kingston and Penta El Zero Miedo defeated Cezar Bononi and J.D. Drake in 9:00.
After the match Kingston took the mic, but Penta said he wanted it. Penta got the crowd to chant Ciero Miedo. Penta said (again as translated by Alex Abrahantes) it felt great to be back in Austin, Texas and they cannot wait to come back. Alex handed the mic to Kingston, who said last time he talked shit he got into trouble so he will try not to do that tonight. He said he was going to speak from the heart and thanked the fans for their energy.
Kingston said AEW took a chance on him and all of them and that is why he talks his shit and says AEW forever. So, in closing, if you ain’t down with AEW then you ain’t shit. He said he was going to say his tagline because he wants to see everyone home safe and back next time they are in town.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another good back and forth match to end this week’s Elevation. The result was obviously never in doubt. It seems Kingston takes the bulk of the other team’s offense on these Elevation matches, then Penta comes in and cleans it up. It doesn’t really mean much, just something I have been noticing.
All in all, this was a very good episode of Elevation for the most part. The show length was an hour 34 minutes. The match of the night goes to Jungle Boy vs. Angelico with the main event a little behind. The main take away from this episode was the fans. I just can’t get over how much of a difference an AEW crowd makes. The word out of the tapings was that Elevation was taped last and the crowd was just as hot at the end of the night as they were in the beginning.
Again, even Fuego Del Sol was getting chants in a match with Luchasaurus (who is even more popular). I know most people who probably read this review do so because they are not watching the show or an episode for whatever reason. Now that fans are back, take some time to watch an episode in the future just to see the reactions a lot of these AEW wrestlers are getting if you have time. It really is amazing. Whether they can sustain that as they move from town to town will be telling, but I have no doubt at this point they will.