By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 32)
Taped October 6, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Liacouras Center
Streamed October 11, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
This week’s Elevation began immediately with ring announcer Justin Roberts introducing Penelope Ford as her entrance music played. The broadcast team of Paul Wight and Eddie Kingston mentioned on commentary that Tony Schiavone was not there this week so that meant no rules…
1. Notorious Mimi vs. Penelope Ford (w/The Bunny). Mimi is making her AEW debut. Bunny took a swipe at Mimi’s legs which distracted Mimi and allowed Ford to attack. Ford stomped on Mimi’s back and then sent her into the corner. Mimi caught a charging Ford with a back elbow then hit a cross body off the second rope. Mimi followed Ford outside the ring but was met with a thrust kick. Ford went to Irish whip Mimi into the ring steps but Mimi reversed it. Ford was quick enough to stop herself from hitting the steps. Ford then kicked Mimi again and hit a moonsault from the top of the stairs. A short time later Ford locked in the Muta lock for the submission victory.
Penelope Ford defeated Notorious Mimi by submission in 2:10.
Bailin’s Breakdown: While Ford did control the pace and this was obviously a showcase for her, Mimi was given a chance to hit a few moves but was unable to sustain any offense.
2. Adrien Soriano and Matthew Omen (w/ Gabriel Hodder) vs. Santana and Ortiz. Tony Schiavone joined Paul Wight and Eddie Kingston on commentary. Soriano and Omen were also making their AEW debuts. Santana and Ortiz took care of Soriano with a double powerbomb then cleared the ring of Omen and Hodder. After an assisted Poetry in Motion Cannonball, Santana and Ortiz lifted Soriano and flipped him over into a face crusher for the pinfall.
Santana and Ortiz defeated Matthew Omen and Adrien Soriano by pinfall in 1:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick showcase for Santana and Ortiz. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are being prepped for a title match against the Lucha Brothers at Full Gear.
3. Lee Moriarty and LSG vs “FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler (w/Wardlow). LSG and Wheeler started the match. Wheeler and LSG started the match with some mat wrestling. LSG dropkicked Wheeler and then tagged in Moriarty. Wheeler attempted to bait Moriarty with a handshake and tried to pull Moriarty into his corner but Moriarty smacked Wheeler’s hand to break free. Wheeler then tagged in Harwood. Harwood put his hand out to Moriarty but slapped him when Moriarty took it. Moriarty chased after Harwood who retreated outside the ring. Moriarty stayed in the ring but Wheeler swiped at Moriarty’s feet which allowed Harwood to attack Moriarty from behind.
Harwood knocked Moriarty down to the mat then attempted an elbow drop but Moriarty moved out of the way then got the arm drag on Harwood then tagged in LSG. LSG came in and had a brief flurry of offense until he ran the ropes and got hit by Wheeler from the outside. Wheeler worked over LSG’s leg and faked a tag while the referee was distracted by Moriarty. When the referee turned around, he saw Harwood in the ring and did not allow the “tag”. Wheeler came back into the ring and was rolled up by LSG for what was longer than a three count, but the referee was distracted again, this time by Wheeler, who was arguing his case.
Eventually, LSG got the tag to Moriarty who fought off both Wheeler and Harwood including hitting both with an enzuigiri. Harwood reversed an Irish whip but sent Moriarty up and over which allowed Moriarty to hit Wheeler with an X-Factor. Moriarty then hit a DDT on Harwood. LSG ran in and dove over the ropes to try and hit Wheeler but Wheeler moved and pushed LSG into the ring post. Back in the ring Harwood and Moriarty are going back and forth with Moriarty countering everything Harwood tried resulting in a trio of near fall pin attempts. Harwood pushes Moriarty into the ropes and into a forearm by Wheeler which pinballed Moriarty back into Harwood who hit Moriarty with a brain buster and pinned him.
“FTR” Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler defeated Lee Moriarty and LSG by pinfall in 7:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Yes, FTR’s new theme is catchy. I should have said Paul Turner was the referee in this match and not Rick Knox. If it was Knox, he wouldn’t have bothered to enforce any tag. Anyways this was a pretty good match. Both Moriarty and LSG looked very good at points with Moriarty showing a ton of potential. This was ROH regular LSG’s second appearance on Elevation I believe. Moriarty, we know, is signed to a contract so expect to see a lot more of him moving forward. In fact, I think he would be the perfect client for whatever Lio Rush is doing.
4. Dani Mo vs. Tay Conti (w/Anna Jay).Mark Henry joined the commentary team. This is also Dani Mo’s AEW debut. Conti dominated this match from start to finish, ending it with the DDTay.
Tay Conti defeated Dani Mo by pinfall in 2:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: The problem I have when the same people are spotlighted week to week in short matches is that I feel like I can go to any past report, change the opponent, and keep the exact same description. Unfortunately, that was the case in this match. The fans in the audience loved it, of course.
5. Crowbar vs. Joey Janela (w/Kayla Rossi). Janela walked out with a mic and spoke how Philadelphia was the birthplace of extreme. He called the fans a bunch of idiots and said the only smart man in Philadelphia was Ben Simmons because he wants out. Janela said he will never do a hardcore match in AEW again and especially not in Philadelphia. Crowbar then came out to a decent reaction while Tony, Paul, and Mark act surprised. Janela was also surprised.
Crowbar had the early control and hit a double underhook suplex followed by a dropkick. Janela rolled out of the ring and walked up the ramp but was met by the Blue Meanie. The fans chanted for Meanie as he started to follow Janela and Rossi back down the ramp. Crowbar threw Janela around the ringside and hit a splash off the ringside barrier. Janela tried to hide behind Rossi and Crowbar walked away but as Crowbar turned back around, he was met with a thrust kick by Janela. Janela then threw Crowbar into the crowd then set up a chair. Janela ran from the other side of the ringside area and used the chair to jump onto Crowbar.
Janela sent Crowbar back into the ring and worked over Crowbar until he ran the ropes and was caught with a drop toe hold that bounced Janela off the middle rope. Crowbar then dropped Janela with a gourd buster and climbed to the top rope. Janela tried to stop Crowbar but then fell off the rope. As the referee checked on Janela, Kayla Rossi came into the ring and hit Crowbar with a huracanrana who was still on the top rope. Janela had faked being hurt and hit Crowbar with a pair of thrust kicks and a brain buster for a near fall.
Janela climbed up to the top rope and mocked Rob Van Dam’s 5-star frog splash (including the R-V-D taunt) but Crowbar rolled out of the way. Crowbar hit Janela with a side suplex then locked Janela’s arms and legs in a submission hold. Meanie got on the ring apron to complain about Rossi who was about to throw a chair into the ring. As Rick Knox sent Meanie off the apron Janela tried to use the chair but Crowbar flipped Janela over. Crowbar then took the chair and suplexed Janela onto the chair as Knox turned around. Knox just yelled at Crowbar who threw the chair out of the ring. Crowbar went to pick up Janela but Janela hit a quick Death Valley Driver and pinned Crowbar.
Joey Janela defeated Crowbar by pinfall in 6:30.
After the match, Sonny Kiss ran out to attack Janela but Rossi grabbed her and Janela hit Kiss with a thrust kick. Rossi then climbed up to the top rope and landed a corkscrew splash onto Kiss. Janela’s music played and he and Rossi walked to the back.
Bailin’s Breakdown: The only issue I had with this match was the broadcast team acting surprised that Crowbar came out when the graphic for the match was voiced over by Schiavone. Yes, this was taped before Dynamite but people do avoid spoilers. They could have easily advertised it as a mystery or surprise opponent. Otherwise, I really did enjoy this. Crowbar didn’t look too bad at all. Good to see a bit of nostalgia on Elevation. The post-match was effective in letting us know that Kiss isn’t done with Janela yet. And Rick Knox proved me right by completely ignoring the chair being used even though he clearly saw it.
6. Ruby Soho vs Emi Sakura (w/Lulu Pencil).Both women received televised entrances with Soho getting a very loud response from the fans. Soho went for a handshake but Sakura slapped her hand away. Sakura then threw Soho across the ring by her hair a couple of times. Soho recovered and hit Sakura with a back heel trip. Soho then sent Sakura into the corner and charged but Sakura flipped Soho over the top rope and onto the apron. Sakura blocked a strike and chopped Soho. Sakura then tripped Soho flat onto the apron.
Lulu began to chop Soho’s back to no effect. The distraction was enough for Sakura to meet Soho with a pair of chops followed by a stalled standing switch into a backbreaker for a two count but Sakura pulled Soho up. Soho tried to fight back and slam Sakura but Sakura flipped over and hit Soho with a spinning neckbreaker. Sakura then hit her cross-body splash into the corner and then sent Soho to the opposite corner. Soho fought back and was able to use her legs to send Sakura into the turnbuckle. Soho hit a series of kicks followed by a flatliner for a near fall. Sakura fought back and dropped Soho with a belly to back suplex.
Soho slipped out of a Queen’s Gambit attempt but Sakura eventually managed another near fall with a roll up. Sakura then hit Soho with a chopping lariat. Sakura yelled to the crowd and attempted the Queen’s Gambit again but Soho slipped out and hit her finisher for the pinfall
Ruby Soho defeated Emi Sakura by pinfall in 5:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: My apologies for not knowing what Ruby Soho is calling her finish now. I am sure by the next time she is on Elevation I will know it. That is about as good of a 5-minute match you will find. Both women looked good and Sakura lost nothing in defeat. Match of the night so far.
Crowbar and the Blue Meanie were backstage. Crowbar spoke how it’s been 20 years since he wrestled for a major company. He talked up AEW and hoped for this opportunity to perform for AEW. He was happy to do it in Philadelphia. He was happy to be able to do it with his good friend Blue Meanie by his side. They have been friends for a long time but never got to work together. He thanked AEW and said he loved Meanie. Meanie said the feeling that he got when he got when AEW called he hadn’t felt in a long, long time. They then thanked everyone again.
7. The Butcher, The Blade, and “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy (w/The Bunny) vs. Lee Johnson, Brock Anderson, Chuck Taylor, and Wheeler Yuta (w/ Kris Statlander). The Blade and Johnson started the match. Johnson hit Blade with a dropkick then tagged in Anderson who hit Blade with a reverse atomic drop into a neck breaker by Johnson for a 1 count. Blade tagged in Butcher and quickly each team would tag in and out with no one getting an advantage until Yuta was in the ring with Quen. Yuta pushed Quen into Kassidy then hit Quen with a dragon suplex. The Butcher broke up the pinfall attempt with a hard kick to Yuta’s ribs.
The Butcher suplexed Yuta into the turnbuckle and drug him into the HFO’s corner. They all worked over Yuta until Quen and Kassidy attempted to double suplex Yuta. Yuta slipped out and fought off Quen and Kassidy and made the tag to Taylor. Taylor powerbombed Quen onto Kassidy then fought off The Butcher and The Blade and hit them with a double dropkick. Lee Johnson made the blind tag and hit the Butcher with a springboard dropkick off the top rope. Taylor and Johnson hit the HFO with a tandem dive over the top rope onto the HFO.
Johnson sent The Blade back into the ring and into a spine buster from Anderson. Johnson came off the top turnbuckle with a high splash but Quen and Kassidy broke up the pinfall attempt. Johnson fought off Quen and Kassidy but The Blade was the legal man. The Blade tagged in The Butcher and The Butcher flipped Johnson inside out with a lariat for the pinfall.
The Butcher and The Blade and “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy beat Lee Johnson, Brock Anderson, Chuck Taylor and Wheeler Yuta by pinfall in 7:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: I’m surprised Lee Johnson took the pinfall, as he is the one who has been featured the most out of his team. I’m not surprised it was The Butcher who got the pinfall, as he should be a difference maker for the HFO. I would probably rate this match a little higher if we hadn’t seen some variation of it for what seems like an eternity.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable episode of Elevation. I enjoyed the format of this episode as well in regards to match placement. It seems like the plan on commentary is to give both Eddie Kingston and Mark Henry what amounts to about half an episode each with Tony and Paul. Henry has done pretty good in this role as opposed to being overshadowed when he was on Rampage commentary.
This episode clocked in at 49:03. There were four matches that could be considered competitive by Elevation standards with Emi Sakura and Ruby Soho maintaining the match of the night. Lots of debuts this week as well.