By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 25)
Taped August 18, 2021 in Houston, Texas at Fertitta Center
Streamed August 23, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Before the opening credits, Tony Schiavone narrated clips of the CM Punk debut on Rampage this past Friday… The broadcast team of Schiavone, Paul Wight and Eddie Kingston gave us a proper open and said we would be seeing Death Triangle and Best Friends appearing. Dasha Gonzalez was the ring announcer…
1. Anthony Bowens vs. Dante Martin. Bowens’ new music now says “The Acclaimed have arrived.” They used each other’s hand signals to mock each other at the start. Bowens hit a spinning facebuster to Martin, who was on Bowens shoulders that garnered a near fall. Bowens planted Martin with a spinning DDT with Martin’s legs on the ropes. Martin took over by stepping on Bowens’ foot and then hit him an uppercut followed by a Pele kick. Martin went up and over Bowens with a Stunner for the pinfall…
Dante Martin defeated Anthony Bowens by pinfall in 9:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A really good back and forth match that a couple of weeks ago could have gone either way. Both men had a chance to show off their innovative offense.
Big Swole was backstage with Julia Hart. Swole said cheating must be a trend for Diamante because she cheated against both Julia and Swole. Julia said you may have gotten me one time, but the second time the two-time national champion won’t let it slide. Swole told Diamante to find a partner, and her and “Miss two-time” can make sure it doesn’t happen a second time.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Would it be a fair assumption that Diamante’s partner will wind up being Kiera Hogan? It was nice that we got to hear a little from Julia as well.
3. “The Varsity Blonds” Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison (w/Julia Hart) vs. Warren Johnson and Zack Mason. Mason and Johnson worked over Pillman briefly, but Pillman moved out of the way of a kick from Johnson that instead hit Mason. Pillman made the tag and cleared Mason from the ring and worked over Johnson. A short time later Garrison and Pillman hit their Roaring Elbow and Springboard Lariat combo for the pinfall.
Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison beat Warren Johnson and Zack Mason by pinfall in 4:30.
Diamante was backstage with Alex Marvez, who asked Diamante about Swole and Hart’s challenge. Diamante asked if Hart was the best Swole could find and then said of course she accepts. Diamante introduced Nyla Rose as her partner…
Bailin’s Breakdown: Well, I was wrong. I think I would have been more interested if it was Diamante and Hogan, but that was never my decision to make. No date or show was set for this match as of yet.
3. Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor and Wheeler Yuta (w/ Kris Statlander) vs. The Blade, Angelico and Jack Evans (w/ The Bunny). At one point, Blade, Evans and Angelico looked like they were going to go for some kind of triple move on Yuta, but Blade took a swing at Cassidy, who rammed Blade’s head into the turnbuckle. The distraction allowed Yuta to climb to the top rope and hit both Evans and Angelico with a dropkick.
Later, Taylor came in and hit Soul Food on Blade then ran the ropes and dove over the top rope onto Evans and Angelico. Cassidy hit the tornado DDT on Blade and then Yuta hit a splash on Blade for a near fall. Evans pulled Cassidy off the apron and then he hit an elevated double stomp as Angelico held Yuta. The Blade came in and hit Yuta with a tombstone for a two count, which was broken up by Taylor. Taylor hit a Flatliner/DDT combo on Evans and Angelico that sent them both outside the ring. Cassidy hit the Orange Punch followed by Beach Break on The Blade for the pinfall…
Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor and Wheeler Yuta beat The Blade, Angelico and Jack Evans by pinfall in 8:00.
After the match, Matt Hardy came down the ramp with Private Party to stare down Cassidy and yell “Delete” many times at Cassidy. Cassidy responded by putting his hands in his pockets. Best Friends gave the people what they wanted (a group hug)…
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another good back and forth match but this time advancing (or at least covering) the storyline between HFO and Best Friends.
A new ad for All Out aired focusing on the CM Punk and Darby Allin match…
4. Tay Conti vs. Promise Braxton. Conti dominated the early portion of the match. Braxton was sent out of the ring and as Conti went to grab her Braxton guillotined Conti on the top rope. Braxton followed up with a hair pull and then mounted punches which Conti blocked. Braxton locked in a reverse chinlock that Conti fought out of. Conti sent Braxton into the corner and then floated over and hit an Ace Crusher on Braxton. A short time later, Conti hit Braxton with TayKO followed by the DDTay for the win…
Tay Conti defeated Promise Braxton by pinfall in 4:30
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another dominant win for Conti, but I just don’t understand why AEW cannot find a program for her. The same can be said for a lot of talent on Elevation and Dark. Conti always looks good in the ring, but the best part of this match was the commentary and hearing Kingston question the names of some of Conti’s moves and how Schiavone called them.
Schiavone ran down the card for Dynamite to include CM Punk’s Dynamite debut, the Varsity Blonds vs. the Lucha Brothers, Red Velvet vs Jamie Hayter, Orange Cassidy vs. Matt Hardy, and Malakai Black vs Brock Anderson…
5.Colt Cabana, Evil Uno and Alan “5” Angels vs. Pac, Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix (w/Alex Abrahantes). Andrade El Idolo walked out with Chavo Guerrero Jr. and the interpreter Jose (he has a name now). Andrade and company had tickets and took their seats. Death Triangle tagged in and out while working over Angels. Pac charged at Cabana and Uno in their corner and then left the ring to stare down Andrade. Penta then got into Andrade’s face as well. Pac entered the ring but Angels was able to hit a lariat.
Angels made the tag to Cabana. Pac made the tag as well to Fenix and Penta also entered the ring. Cabana hit the flip and flop on Penta and Fenix and the Fly on Pac who tried to break it up. Cabana then hit an Asai moonsault onto both Penta and Fenix. Cabana then spiked Fenix with a flying head-scissors for a two count. Fenix made the tag to Pac who then tagged in Fenix. Pac hit Cabana with a kick to the face and then held Cabana’s legs open for Penta to come down on Cabana’s “boom boom” (Wight’s words not mine) for a two count. Cabana was able to get away and made the tag to Angels.
Angels went to climb the top rope but Uno tagged himself in and told Angels to dive on Pac who was outside the ring. Uno then hit a Swanton on Penta for a two count. Uno tagged in .Angels and Uno whipped Angels into Penta, who was in the corner. Angels was going to send Penta into a forearm by Uno but Penta reversed it and hit Angels instead. Penta and Fenix then hit the assisted Fear Factor. Pac was tagged in. He climbed the top rope and hit the Black Arrow for the pinfall…
Pac, Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix defeated Colt Cabana, Evil Uno and Alan “5” Angels by pinfall in 12:00.
After the match, Cabana went to check on Angels, but Uno pushed Cabana away and started to yell at Angels. Cabana played peacekeeper as Alex Reynolds, John Silver, and 10 came out. Cabana tried to talk down Uno, who was showing frustration. Angels walked to the back as the show ended.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another good back and forth match with a lot of outside stuff going on. We saw more dissension in the Dark Order, and Andrade continued his head games with the Death Triangle.
Overall a better than average episode of Elevation. First, the run time was 55 minutes. This show was taped along with the matches that aired Thursday night and was taped before and after Dynamite. The two trios matches and Bowens vs. Martin are all worth watching. Based on reports, AEW may have taped two episodes of Dark prior to Rampage on Friday. Of course, they could just air all the matches they taped on Friday tomorrow, but with Rampage taping after Dynamite this week, I expect another shorter episode of Elevation next week as well. Of course, I have been wrong before so I guess we will find out together next week.
I also want to quickly mention how much of an improvement Eddie Kingston has made with his addition to the commentary team. Not only is there more energy and humor, but it’s also obvious that Kingston has a bit more knowledge of the moves being done, especially the more innovative ones.