By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 38)
Taped November 17, 2021 in Norfolk, Virginia at Chartway Arena
Streamed November 22, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Tony Schiavone welcomed us and said he was being joined on commentry by Mark Henry, Paul Wight, and others. He said Virginia was pumped up because their native son Adam Page was the new AEW Heavyweight Champion. Tony then sent it to ring announcer Justin Roberts for introductions to our first match…
1. Tay Conti and Anna Jay vs. Willow Nightingale and Erica Leigh. Jay and Leigh started the match but that didn’t last long as Jay landed two kicks to Leigh then tagged in Conti. Jay and Conti made another quick tag but Leigh hit Jay with a jawbreaker and tagged in Nightingale. As Nightingale came into the ring Conti was tagged in and landed repeated shots to Nightingale.
Conti hit a German suplex followed by Conti’s trio of pump kicks. Conti set up Nightingale for the DDTay but Leigh came in and attempted a clothesline that Conti ducked. Jay came into the ring and locked Leigh in the Queen Slayer as Conti hit the DDTay on Nightingale for the pinfall.
Tay Conti and Anna Jay defeated Willow Nightingale and Erica Leigh by pinfall in 1:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A really quick showcase match for TayJay this week.
2. Tony Nese vs. Logan LaRoux. Excalibur and Eddie Kingston joined Paul Wight on commentary for this match. Nese went for a go behind and threw LaRoux down then posed. Nese then backed LaRoux into the corner and pushed LaRoux during the break up. Nese backed off from LaRoux but then hit a spin kick to LaRoux’s gut. LaRoux hit a dropkick to Nese but did not capitalize fast enough. Nese then took over with a series of kicks followed by a leg sweep for a two count.
Nese and LaRoux continued their back and forth with LaRoux (who was getting cheered by the hometown crowd at this point) even landing a top rope dropkick for a two count. Nese flipped out of a suplex attempt then hit a spin kick to Laroux head. Nese performed a German suplex on Laroux into the corner and then hit the running knee to Laroux for the pinfall.
Tony Nese defeated Logan LaRoux by pinfall in 6:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A slightly competitive showcase match for Nese, who is now 2-0 in AEW.
3. Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs (w/Hook) vs. Lucas Chase and Irvin Legend. Starks and Legend started the match. Kingston said he liked the look of the FTW title. Starks hit Legend with a deep armdrag followed by a dropkick and allowed him to tag in Chase while Starks tagged in Hobbs. Chase tried to lock up with Hobbs but Hobbs pushed him off. Hobbs and Starks continued to tag in and out working over Chase including a powerslam, kneedrop combo.
Starks sent Chase into the corner but as Starks charged Chase rolled out of the way and tagged in Legend. Legend attempted a kick but Starks caught it and then hit Legend with a neckbreaker cutter. Legend made the tag to Chase again who started punching both Hobbs and Starks. Hobbs stopped it with a shoulder tackle but as Hobbs ran towards Chase, he pulled down the top rope and Hobbs fell outside the ring but landed on his feet. A short while later Starks hit the Roshambo on Legend and pinned him while Hobbs locked Chase in the torture rack.
Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs defeated Lucas Chase and Irvin Legend and Lucas Chase by pinfall in 4:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good showcase for Hobbs and Starks, and it was especially nice to see Starks back in action.
4. Penelope Ford, The Bunny and Emi Sakura (w/Mei Suruga) vs. Leyla Hirsch, Ryo MIzunami and Kris Statlander. Ruby Soho replaced Eddie Kingston on commentary for this match and was there to scout Statlander. Mizunami wanted the Bunny to start but Ford stepped in. Ford and Mizunami traded shots with Mizunami winning that exchange with her chops. Hirsch tagged in and Irish whipped Mizunami into Ford, then Hirsch tagged in Statlander who assisted Hirsch with a dropkick. The match continued to go back and forth. Eventually, the match broke down with everyone hitting moves on their opponents with Statlander finally hitting the Big Bang Theory on The Bunny for the pinfall.
Leyla Hirsch, Ryo Mizunami and Kris Statlander defeated Penelope Ford, The Bunny and Emi Sakura by pinfall in 7:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A couple of commentary notes. Excalibur mentioned that Lulu Pencil has gone back to Japan. I’ve heard Mizunami may be going back soon as well. If that is the case, it was good to finally see Mizunami and Hirsch together again. Excalibur even mentioned that they had formed a semi-regular tag team and Wight liked that Mizunami brought out Hirsch’s personality. So, I will ask again why they haven’t been teaming through all these random tags and six women tag matches we have seen the last few weeks. The match was a good back and forth with the result not being guaranteed for either team.
5. Frankie Kazarian vs. Joe Keys. Mark Henry replaced Ruby Soho on commentary for this match. Kazarian had control early until Keys was able to land an uppercut. Keys then hit a spinning back breaker as Kazarian rushed into Keys. Kazarian quickly recovered and hit Keys with a clothesline and then locked in the crossface chickenwing and Keys quickly tapped out.
Frankie Kazarian defeated Joe Keys by submission in 2:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick showcase for Kazarian this week. Keys, who is/was a ROH regular, did have a few bright spots.
6. Duke Davis, Ganon Jones and Baron Black vs Dark Order’s John Silver, Alex Reynolds and 10. Schiavone replaced Excalibur on commentary. Black and Reynolds started the match trading armbars. Black pulled Reynolds’s hair to throw him down then hit a pair of uppercuts. Black charged but Reynolds kicked Black and followed up with an uppercut. Black tagged out to Davis and Silver requested the tag. Silver went right up to Davis but was only as tall as Davis’ chest. Davis said he wanted 10 but Silver went for a shoulder tackle that didn’t move Davis. Silver went for it again but Davis kicked Silver and posed.
Silver was backed into the corner and as Davis charged, he was met with a kick by Silver and then Silver climbed up to the top rope and hit Davis with a shoulder tackle and tagged in Reynolds. Reynolds sent Davis into the ropes but Jones made the blind tag and kicked Reynolds as Jones entered the ring. Jones and Davis then lifted Reynolds and hit a double flapjack. Jones tagged in Black but Reynolds fought out of the corner and made the tag to 10. 10 cleared the ring and isolated Black. Silver and Reynolds hit the tandem offense, then 10 put Black into the Full Nelson and go the submission win.
John Silver, Alex Reynolds and 10 defeated Duke Davis, Ganon Jones and Baron Black by submission in 5:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Poor Baron Black. He can never catch a break. Seriously, though, Black was the right one to take the loss in this match, as Jones and Davis are a big team that could be used in the future, so in a way it’s smart to protect them when they can just in case AEW ever decides to do more with them. Otherwise, another solid showcase for the Dark Order.
7. Trish Adora vs. Riho. Adora made her AEW debut. They traded forearms to start and Adora went for a quick pinfall but Riho matrixed out of it. Riho then went for a couple of quick pinfall attempts but Adora kicked out. Riho went for a third roll up attempt but Adora held on and suplexed Riho. Adora with a bunch of forearms and chops to Riho in the corner. Adora then sent Riho back into the corner and charged but Riho got her feet up. Riho then took over with a top rope cross body block followed by a flying head scissors which sent Adora into the ropes. Riho hit the area code kick which gave her a near fall. Riho then climbed to the top rope with the double stomp for the pinfall.
Riho defeated Trish Adora by pinfall in 2:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another quick showcase for Riho, but Adora looked good for the short time she had on offense. It seemed they both worked snug against each other, so while the match was quick it still looked good.
8. Wheeler Yuta vs. Serpentico. Both wrestlers received televised entrances. Serpentico came out alone while Yuta came out with Kris Statlander and Chuck Taylor. Yuta had the early advantage until Serpentico wound up outside the ring and pulled Yuta out with him. Serpentico rammed Yuta’s head into the ringside barrier and then brought him back into the ring.
With Serpentico on offense he climbed onto the top rope and looked to Statlander and Taylor for assistance as Luther would typically give him. Taylor gave Serpentico the thumbs up and that distracted Serpentico and allowed Yuta to throw Serpentico off the top rope. Serpentico and Yuta continued to go back and forth until Serpentico climbed up to the top rope again and went for the flying headbutt but Yuta rolled out of the way. Yuta then rolled up Serpentico for the pinfall.
Wheeler Yuta defeated Serpentico by pinfall in 6:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good back and forth match, but I never bought into the idea that Serpentico would pull off a win. Maybe if Luther had been with Serpentico, but even then this seemed like a Yuta win. Overall, an okay episode of Elevation. Nothing of any consequence happened unfortunately, it was just kind of there this week. The episode went about fifty minutes and I would give the match of the night to the six-women tag match followed by the Yuta vs. Serpentico main event.