By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 26)
Taped August 25, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at UWM Panther Arena
Streamed August 30, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Before the opening credits Tony Schiavone said that Tony Khan has added two more women to the Casino Battle Royale, which will take place during the Buy-In at All Out this Sunday. Schiavone named Emi Sakura and Hikaru Shida as the new additions to the match…
The broadcast team of Schiavone, Paul Wight and Eddie Kingston welcomed us to Dark Elevation. It’s All Out week. Paul said his match might be a big match, but it will be a quick match. Kingston said we all know what he has to do. Justin Roberts was the ring announcer…
1. Tylor Sullivan vs. Daniel Garcia. Immediately after the bell rang, Garcia dropped Sullivan with a double leg takedown and started to pound on Sullivan with punches. Sullivan punched Garcia to no effect. Garcia then dropkicked Sullivan and locked in the Sharpshooter for the submission victory.
Daniel Garcia defeated Tylor Sullivan by submission in 1:05.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A very quick, dominating win for Garcia. We have seen this in the past so always follow up is key. It will be interesting to see how Garcia is booked after Rampage this Friday when he faces Darby Allin.
An ad for All Out aired focusing on CM Punk vs Darby Allin…
2. Jora Johl (w/Matt Hardy) vs. Kal Herro. Matt Hardy came out first to his music to a good reaction followed by Johl. Herro received a lot of cheers when his name was announced. There was a fanny pack chant for Herro after the bell rang (he was wearing a fanny pack). Johl lifted Herro on his shoulders early, but Herro slipped out. Johl attempted a clothesline, but Herro ducked and hit Johl with a running shoulder tackle. Herro locked in an armbar and drug Johl to Matt Hardy, who slapped Johl in the face. Johl was motivated by this and leveled Herro with a clothesline and then lifted him up for a modified Death Valley Driver. Johl then hit a pump kick for the pinfall…
Jora Johl defeated Kal Herro by pinfall 1:20.
Bailin’s Breakdown: This was Johl’s first victory and the story was it took Hardy’s tough love to get the most out of Johl.
3. Emi Sakura (w/Lulu Pencil) vs. Ashley D’Amboise. Pencil was dressed as a butler. Sakura put her hand out for a handshake. D’Amboise hesitantly shook it, but Sakura started to bite D’Amboise on the forearm. Sakura took over working over D’Amboise with chops and kicks. A short time later, Sakura locked in a surfboard. D’Amboise attempted a comeback with forearms followed by a step up enzuigiri and a vertical suplex. D’Amboise performed a jawbreaker on Sakura, who shook it off and threw a low dropkick. Sakura followed up with a couple of double underhook backbreakers for the pinfall.
Emi Sakura defeated Ashley D’Amboise by pinfall in 4:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A fine showcase for Sakura. We still unfortunately know little behind her motivations beyond training Riho and Hikaru Shida.
4. Big Swole and Julia Hart vs. Nyla Rose and Diamante (w/Vickie Guerrero). Both teams were teaming together for the first time. Late in the match, Rose then attempted a body splash onto Hart, who Hart got her knees up. Hart sat on the top rope and hit Rose with the split legged bulldog but only got a one count. Hart made the tag to Swole who hit Diamante with a headbutt and then speared Rose. Swole hit a cutter on Rose for a two count. Swole tagged in Hart and then hit Rose with a diving headbutt. Swole and Hart attempted a double team on Rose, but Diamante grabbed Sole and pulled her out of the ring. Diamante had a chain on her hand and knocked out Swole. Rose hit the Beast bomb on Hart for the pinfall.
Nyla Rosa and Diamante defeated Big Swole and Julia Hart by pinfall in 6:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good back and forth match with Diamante and Rose looking really good as a team. This match was built from last week’s Elevation, so it’s nice to see a little storyline support behind it. This is the match of the night up until this point.
Matt Hardy was backstage with Jora Johl, Matt said he was proud of Johl for the first time. Matt loves it when Johl gets angry. Matt asked Johl to speak to India and translate that Matt would be there soon. Matt said to say that when they go back to India, Johl will be a big star and they will make lots of money together. Matt said when he blesses India again with his presence, he is a living deity and Matt will make a lot of money from Johl. Johl translated as “So, you know, he’s got a bit of a big head, but whatever. He’s really happy. We are going to come to India and make lots of money together”…
The video that aired on Rampage that focused on CM Punk and Darby Allin aired. The story continues Friday after Rampage on the Countdown to All Out…
5. Adam Grace vs. Dante Martin. Martin started fast as usual, at one point going for a springboard moonsault and almost slipping but recovered nicely. Martin quickly hit his modified neckbreaker for the pinfall. Tony, Paul and Eddie argued over what the move was called.
Dante Martin defeated Adam Grace by pinfall in 1:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another very quick win for Martin. Hopefully his brother will be back soon, as Top Flight could be major players for AEW in the tag division for years to come.
6.Thunder Rosa vs. Laynie Luck. Tony mentioned that Rosa and Luck have faced each other on the independents and that Rosa won both matches. Rosa dominated the early portion of the match until she tried to charge at Luck, who was in the corner. Luck moved out of the way. Luck attempted two crucifix pinfall attempts for two counts. Rosa did the same, but when Luck rolled out she kneed Rosa in the face. Rosa quickly recovered and hit a tilt a whirl Russian leg sweep. A short time later, Rosa hit the Fire Thunder Driver for the pinfall.
Thunder Rosa defeated Laynie Luck by pinfall in 3:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Rosa continued her dominating streak. If Rosa is not going to immediately be in a program with Britt Baker coming out of All Out, then my hope is they give Rosa something to do other than the Rosa squash(es) of the week.
Jade Cargill was backstage with “Smart” Mark Sterling. Jade said she would not address the peasants this week. Sterling said they made history by having the fastest match in Rampage history and walking the red carpet at the Culture Ball in one weekend. They will make history again at All Out when Cargill wins the Casino Battle Royale. Sterling said it was never a gamble with Cargill, but a guarantee. Cargill said always bet on “That Bitch”….
8. Anthony Bowens vs. Brian Cage. Powerhouse Hobbs and Hook sat in on commentary. Bowens dropkicked Cage immediately after the bell rang and then climbed up the top rope and hit a Blockbuster for a two count. Bowens chopped Cage repeatedly. Bowens sent Cage into the turnbuckle, but Cage went up and over Bowens and then hit a single leg dropkick. Cage took over with his power moves. Bowens was able to manage an Angle Slam on Cage, who shrugged it off. Bowens hit Cage with an enzuigiri and then climbed to the top rope. Cage caught Bowens in mid-air and hit the Drill Claw and got the pinfall…
Brain Cage defeated Anthony Bowens by pinfall in 3:00.
After the match, Hook came down to ringside and distracted Cage. The distraction allowed Powerhouse Hobbs to attack Cage. Ricky Starks entered the ring with a mic and told him to give Cage his Town Business finisher. Starks asked, “Who Betta?” and said it sure ain’t you, Cage.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Maybe a little more back and forth than Cage is used to on Elevation, but still a dominating win. Cage catching Bowens for the Drill Claw was particularly impressive. Again, simple storyline support for Cage vs. Hobbs this Wednesday on Dynamite.
8. Hikaru Shida vs. Heather Reckless. Reckless hit Shida with a bulldog late in the match. Reckless climbed the top rope, but Shida knocked her down onto the apron. Shida attempted to suplex Reckless back into the ring but was caught in a small package for a one count. Shida held onto Reckless and swung her around multiple times, ending it with a DDT. Shida then hit a pair of falcon arrows and scored the pin…
Hikaru Shida beat Heather Reckless by pinfall in 3:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Shida continues her more aggressive streak. She is definitely coming across more heelish these days and it will be interesting to see where this all leads. I have seen some rumors regarding a possible Joshi stable with Shida, Sakura and Riho, so maybe that is where it may possibly lead. But again, that’s just a rumor, though one I wouldn’t mind seeing turn out to be true.
9. Sammy Guevara and Fuego Del Sol vs. Luther and Serpentico. As Del Sol made his entrance, he took out his cell phone to tape Guevara’s entrance for Sammy’s Vlog. Sammy and Del Sol each got their own entrance. As Guevara posed on the apron, Luther came up behind and knocked Guevara to the floor as Serpentico started to punch Del Sol. Later, Del Sol jumped off the apron and hit a huracanrana on Luther. Guevara hit Luther with Go to Hell a short time later while Del Sol hit the Tornado DDT on Serpentico. Guevara covered Luther for the pinfall…
Sammy Guevara and Fuego Del Sol defeated Luther and Serpentico by pinfall in 5:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good fast paced back and forth match that I’m not sure even needed to happen. There was nothing wrong with it per se, but with Guevara being in the Inner Circle and Del Sol only having one win, this seems like a step down for Guevara. Maybe it’s nothing but a one-time thing. I’m not sure if it’s something I want to see become a regular thing.
Overall, another quick episode of Elevation, lasting just over 55 minutes and it seems this is the way they will go moving forward. I preferred last week’s Elevation more than this show, as we had way too many squashes this week. Last week’s matches were more competitive overall. My match of the night was the women’s tag match, which wasn’t perfect but it at least had a story behind it and felt competitive.