By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 29)
Taped September 15, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey at Prudential Center
Streamed September 20, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
This week’s Elevation began immediately with ring announcer Justin Roberts introducing Thunder Rosa. Tony Schiavone, Paul Wight and Eddie Kingston were on commentary…
1. Kaia Mckenna vs. Thunder Rosa. Mckenna managed to hit Rosa with a chin breaker but that angered Rosa. Rosa threw Mckenna to the ropes and hit dropkicks to Mckenna’s back and then chest. Rosa then finished off Mckenna with the Fire Thunder driver.
Thunder Rosa defeated Kaia Mckenna by pinfall in 2:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A fine showcase for Rosa, unfortunately not much else to say. I understood these matches before Rosa was officially signed. I even understand wanting to hold off on a rematch with Baker. But prior to All Out, Rosa was attacked by Nyla Rose and Jade Cargill and it has yet to be addressed.
2. Anthony Bennett, Ray Jaz and Leon St. Giovanni vs “Gunn Club” Billy, Colten and Austin Gunn. Paul Wight apologized as the Gunn Club made their entrance and said he was sitting this one out. Gunn Club came out to new music. Austin and Bennett started the match but Billy attacked Bennett. Jaz came in but was sent out of the ring. The Gunn’s isolated and worked over Bennett with quick tags in and out. Austin went for a cross body on Bennet but Bennett ducked, Austin ran in and was met with a chin buster. Billy ran in and was sent over the top rope and Bennett tagged in Giovanni. Leon managed a couple of clothesline but was met with a knee to the midsection by Billy. Billy then sent Giovanni into the Colt .45 by Austin and the pinfall
“Gunn Club” Billy, Austin and Colten Gunn defeated Anthony Bennett, Ray Jaz and Leon St. Giovanni by pinfall in 2:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: I liked how Paul Wight stayed off commentary for this match instead of joking around with Schiavone and Kingston during the match. The Gunn Club stays undefeated. Ray Jaz never made it back into the ring. Leon St. Giovanni is ROH regular LSG.
3. Colt Cabana and Evil Uno vs Alan “5” Angels and 10 (w/John Silver, Alex Reynolds). Angels and Cabana started the match but Angels wanted Uno. Cabana used his technical skills to keep Angels at bay and then Cabana tagged in Uno. Angels lifted Uno for a double leg and punched Uno but Cabana came in and pulled Angels off. 10 came in and pushed Cabana. Cabana continued to play mediator but every time he did, he would be pushed or punched or thrown out of the ring.
Cabana finally lost it after breaking up a 10 pinfall attempt and hitting 5 with an elbow. 10 and Cabana go to the outside leaving Angels and Uno in the ring. Uno had Angels down on the mat and went to lift him up by the mask. Angels pushed Uno off him but Uno came away with Angels mask. Angels slapped Uno but Uno punched back. Uno was going to lift up Angels but Angels grabbed a double leg takedown and floated over for the pinfall.
Alan “5” Angels and 10 defeated Colt Cabana and Evil Uno 8:00.
After the match Uno was on the mat while the rest of the Dark Order surrounded him. Angels put his mask back on and offered his hand to Uno but Uno rolled out of the ring and left…
Bailin’s Breakdown: This was more of a story with the backdrop of it being a match as opposed to it being a competitive back and forth matchup. Unfortunately, even with all that time nothing was really accomplished. Looks like Evil Uno and Stu Dos (who was not there) will be the odd ones out when all is said and done.
4. Mike Verna vs. Orange Cassidy (w/Kris Statlander, Orange Cassidy). Orange started with some of his usual shenanigans and then quickly hit the Orange Punch for the pinfall.
Orange Cassidy defeated Mike Verna by pinfall in 1:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: As I have said in the past, Orange doesn’t work by the hour. The crowd was into everything he did so as the saying goes, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it.
5. “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy (w/Matt Hardy) vs. Teddy Goodz and Jorge Santi. Quen and Kassidy double teamed Santi. Santi avoided a splash into the corner by Kassidy and both Kassidy and Santi made tags. Goodz was met with more double team maneuvers and eventually got hit with Gin and Juice for the pinfall.
“Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy defeated Teddy Goodz and Jorge Sant in 2:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: That may have been the best Private Party showcase match they have had. Their moves looked good and were crisp. The match time was two minutes, but it felt even quicker with how fast Private Party were moving.
6. Masha Slamovich vs. Hikaru Shida. Slamovich caught Shida with a clothesline early and began to stomp Shida. Slamovich then hit a gutwrench suplex for a two count. Shida retook control with a huracanrana. Slamovich retreated to the corner but Shida climbed the second rope and headbutted Slamovich. Shida followed up with a dropkick from the second rope also. Shida then hit a suplex for a two count. Shida tried to lift Slamovich but Slamovich backdropped Shida then hit Shida with a dragon suplex with a bridge for a two count. Shida got up and slapped Slamovich then hit Slamovich with a Dominator. Shida followed up with the Kitana knee strike for the pinfall…
Hikaru Shida defeated Masha Slamovich by pinfall in 3:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good back and forth showcase match for Shida. Slamovich got in a lot of offense as well. I know I sound like a broken record sometimes, but it continues to baffle me that absolutely nothing has been done with Shida since she dropped the belt to Britt Baker.
7. Sonny Kiss vs. Joey Janela (w/Kayla Rossi). Janela immediately charged at Kiss but decked him. Janela rolled to the outside but was met with a baseball slide from Kiss. Kiss then climbed the top rope and landed a moonsault onto Janela. Janela was busted open the hard way from the initial onslaught. Kiss chased after Janela but Janela hit Kiss and rolled into the ring to distract the referee. Rossi speared Kiss outside the ring and Janela rolled back outside and suplexed Kiss. Kiss hit a series of kicks but Janela responded with a thrust kick. Janela climbed the top rope but Kiss press slammed Janela back in the ring.
Later, Janela attempted a top rope moonsault on the ring apron but Kiss rolled out of the way. Janela fell to the outside of the ring again and Kiss with a Tope into a DDT. Both men back in the ring and Kiss climbed to the top rope. Janela crotched Kiss then hit a Spanish Fly on Kiss from the top rope for a two count. Janela followed up with a pair of piledrivers that also garnered a two count. Janela climbed up to the top rope again and hit Kiss with a flying elbow but Kiss hooked Janela and got the pinfall.
Sonny Kiss defeated Joey Janela by pinfall in 6:00.
After the match Rossi attacked Kiss while Janela brought in a chair. Janela hit Kiss in the back with the chair then laid the chair on Kiss’s back. Rossi then did a backflip into a double stomp on the chair…
Bailin’s Breakdown: I think Kiss had new music and I took it as a sign that he would win. A good back and forth match and match of the night up until this point. The fans loved this match, as both men are from Jersey. The only issue I had with the match is Kiss or really anyone kicking out of not one but two piledrivers, even if I turn out to be in the minority with those thoughts.
8. Avery Good and JT Dunn vs. Santana and Ortiz.Santana and Ortiz dominated from the start with double team maneuvers on Dunn finishing Dunn off with the combo powerbomb kick to the face for the pinfall.
Santana and Ortiz defeated Avery Good and JT Dunn by pinfall in 1:00
Bailin’s Breakdown: Just like in the Private Party match earlier, Santana and Ortiz made quick work of their opponents and looked really good doing so.
9.QT Marshall (w/Aaron Solo, Nick Comoroto) vs. Dustin Rhodes. Rhodes immediately started working over Marshall with punches. Solo distracted Rhodes which allowed Marshall to hit Rhodes with a knee strike. Rhodes tried to fight back but was met with a dropkick. Eventually Rhodes hit the powerslam and attempted the bulldog but Marshall pushed off and hit Dustin with an enzuigiri. QT then hit a sit out powerbomb for a two count.
Marshall signaled for the Diamond Cutter but Rhodes hooked Marshall and dropped him to the mat. Rhodes went for the bulldog again but was pushed off. Rhodes climbed the ropes but was met with an enziguri by Marshall and then Marshall hit Rhodes with a superplex for a two count.
Rhodes got up and hit Marshall with Code Red for a two count. Rhodes and Marshall traded punches. Marshall attempted the Diamond Cutter again but Rhodes slipped out and hit the bulldog. Rhodes then set up Marshall for the Unnatural kick. Solo climbed up on the apron but Lee Johnson ran down and Johnson and Solo fought to the back. Rhodes hit the Unnatural kick and then hit Marshall with the Final Reckoning for the pinfall.
Dustin Rhodes defeated QT Marshall by pinfall in 7:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good back and forth match that could have gone either way. Both men had their working boots on. This was an ok episode of Elevation. I liked that we had three matches that had actual stories attached to them. I would like to see most of the matches on Elevation get the same treatment even if that means fewer matches overall. The episode length was 54 minutes and I would give match of the night to Janela vs. Kiss with Rhodes vs. Marshall getting a very strong honorable mention. I would have liked to have seen more development in the Dark Order storyline, which is why it isn’t ranked higher this week.