By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 24)
Taped August 18, 2021 in Houston, Texas at Fertitta Center
Streamed August 19, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
The broadcast team of Tony Schiavone and Paul Wight welcomed us to a special edition of Elevation on a Thursday night. It’s special because tomorrow night is AEW Rampage “The First Dance” at the United Center. Wight said it was going to be AEW’s largest crowd to date, and they will blow the roof off the building and have one hell of a Rampage. Dasha Gonzalez was the ring announcer…
1. Santana and Ortiz vs. Warren Johnson and Zack Mason. Johnson and Ortiz were going to start the match, but Johnson knocked Santana off the ring apron and Mason entered the ring so he and Mason could double team Ortiz. It was short lived, as Johnson and Mason attempted to Irish whip Ortiz, but Santana pulled Mason out of the ring and then Ortiz took over. A short time later, Santana lifted up Mason for a Samoan Drop while Ortiz spun Mason around into a cutter for the pinfall…
Santana and Ortiz beat Warren Johnson and Zack Mason by pinfall in 2:00.
2. Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. Steff MK (w/Ashley MK). Steff and Ashley are twins. Nyla took over quickly with punches and pushed Steff into the corner. Nyla hit her knee drop off the top rope onto Steff, who was draped over the middle of the top rope. Vickie Guerrero got on the apron to gloat, allowing Ashley to roll Steff out of the ring and take her place. Nyla went to lift Ashley (not knowing the switch was made) and Ashley countered with a roll up for a two count. Ashley headbutted Nyla, but Nyla absorbed it and hit the Beast Bomb on Ashley for the pinfall.
Nyla Rose defeated Steff MK (officially) by pinfall in 2:00.
After the match, Nyla saw the replay on the screen and threw Steff MK into the ring and powerbombed her on top of Ashley. Vickie got a mic and said she is disgusted every week that the people support Britt Baker. She said Baker resembles weakness, as she went from a broken leg to a broken nose to a broken wrist. Guerrero said Nyla is a picture of strength and is indestructible and unbreakable. She said everyone needs to take a long look at their reality because at the end of the day broken Barbie’s get thrown in the trash…
3.Madi Wrenkowski vs. Emi Sakura. Wrenkowski did not receive a televised entrance even though she is on the opening graphics for Elevation every week. Sakura took over early, throwing Wrenkowski around by her hair. Sakura then locked in a surfboard and then dumped her to the mat. Sakura continued her assault finally wrapping up Wrenkowski in a La Magistral Cradle, which she transitioned into a Dragon Sleeper for the submission victory…
Emi Sakura defeated Madi Wrenkowski by submission in 3:00.
Backstage, Jade Cargill and “Smart” Mark Sterling delivered a promo. Sterling started by saying that Kiera Hogan has a huge opportunity in front of thousands of people in Chicago on Friday’s Rampage. Sterling said Hogan has been impressive. Jade cut him off and said anyone can be a slight bit impressive. She said Hogan is nobody. Jade said she is the star and on Rampage she will show Hogan why she is that bitch…
4. Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen (w/Matt Hardy) vs. Will Allday and Edge Stone. Allday and Kassidy started the match. Kassidy threw his watch in the air and kicked Allday and took over. Quen was tagged in as Kassidy dropkicked Stone in the leg and off the apron. Matt Hardy threw Stone into the ringside barrier as Private Party hit Poetry in Motion. Private Party followed up with Gin and Juice for the pinfall.
Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen defeated Will Allday and Edge Stone by pinfall in 1:30.
5. Daniel Garcia vs. Matt Sydal. Sydal took over early with a Tijeras, but Garcia stopped an Irish whip attempt short and hit Sydal with a back elbow before locking him up in a Bow and Arrow. Garcia continued to work on Sydal’s legs. A short time later, Sydal managed to lock a Bow and Arrow on Sydal followed by a stomp on Garcia’s back. They traded chops and then Garcia attempted a vertical suplex that Sydal flipped out of and hit a high leg drop on Garcia followed by a spinning backflip with a twist for a two count.
Sydal tried to lift Garcia on the top rope but Garcia held on and dropped Sydal. Garcia then focused his attack on Sydal’s back. Sydal started to mount a comeback with kicks to Garcia and managed a couple of near falls. Sydal climbed the top rope and attempted a moonsault, but Garcia rolled out of the way and Sydal landed on his feet. Sydal went to bounce off the middle rope, but Garcia kicked Sydal on the leg. Garcia hit a backbreaker on Sydal and locked him in a Sharpshooter and cranked all the way back. Sydal quickly tapped out for the Garcia victory
Daniel Garcia defeated Matt Sydal by submission in 8:00
After an advertisement for Rampage, Daniel Garcia delivered a promo. Garcia said he could have gone to any company in the world but he chose AEW to get the best competition in the world and that’s exactly what he got. He beat Matt Sydal tonight and he is coming after the best people on the roster. Garcia said he has watched Jon Moxley for years and he knows that Moxley knows nothing about him nor would he expect him to. Garcia said it doesn’t matter how many matches Moxley has won or how many titles Moxley has won, his bones break the same and his muscles tear the same, and after Garcia wins their match, Moxley will have no question in his mind who Garcia is…
Bailin’s Breakdown: With this being a special edition of Elevation and a brief episode, I figured I could combine all my thoughts at the end this time. Once I saw the advertised matches, I waited to see if they would add any more. When they hadn’t by show time, I realized there was literally one main purpose with this episode and that was to get Daniel Garcia a win against a “name” talent before his match with Jon Moxley on Rampage. I say that because Garcia up until this episode has not had that victory in AEW. Does that make me think he has a chance tomorrow? Well, of course not. Do I think Moxley will make Garcia look good? Yes. Maybe a little too good? Well, yes again.
We also heard from Jade Cargill, who has a match tomorrow against Kiera Hogan, and Private Party also got a dominant win going into their Rampage match against the Jurassic Express. But in the end, I truly do feel this episode was used solely as a vehicle to get Garcia a win. It was good to see Emi Sakura again, and seeing Nyla Rose beat up a pair of twins was fun also, but it didn’t really do much else. I do not want to see AEW do this every week. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, but at 32 minutes this was an easy watch and I could at least see the reasoning why it even needed to air in the first place.