12/05 AEW Dark Elevation results: Bailin’s review of Dustin Rhodes, Lee Johnson, and Brock Anderson vs. Peter Avalon, JD Drake, and Cezar Bononi, Emi Sakura and The Bunny vs. Abadon and Ryo Mizunami, Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Serpentico, The Acclaimed vs. Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo

By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)

AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 40)
Taped December 1, 2021 in Duluth, Georgia at Gas South Arena
Streamed December 5, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page

There were no opening graphics this week, instead we went immediately to Tony Schiavone, who introduced Eddie Kingston and Mark Henry as his broadcast partners. Riho’s music played as Schiavone sent it to Dasha Gonzales for introductions to our first match…

1. Riho vs. Angelica Risk. After Matrixing out of an early pin attempt, Riho hit a dropkick on Risk who was sent back into the corner. Riho charged but Risk moved and Riho hit her knee on the top turnbuckle. Risk then pulls Riho down by her hair. Risk danced then rammed herself backside first to the head of Riho.

Risk then hit a spinning neckbreaker for a near fall. Risk sent Riho into the ropes with an Irish whip and attempted a clothesline but Riho cartwheeled out of it then caught Risk with a drop toe hold that sent Risk into the ropes for Riho to hit the Area Code. A short while later Riho hit a Northern Lights suplex for a two count followed by her running double knees to Risk’s face for the pinfall.

Riho defeated Angelica Risk by pinfall in 3:30.

Bailin’s Breakdown: A decently competitive showcase for Riho this week going into her match with Jamie Hayter this Wednesday on Dynamite and the upcoming title match with Britt Baker.

An ad aired for the Battle of the Belts special on January 8…

2. Dustin Rhodes, Lee Johnson, and Brock Anderson vs. Peter Avalon, JD Drake and Cezar Bononi (w/Ryan Nemeth). Johnson and Avalon started the match. After some back and forth with neither man gaining an advantage, Johnson hit Avalon with a dropkick then tagged in Anderson. Anderson went to bodyslam Avalon but Avalon slipped out and tagged in Drake. Anderson worked on Drake’s arm until Drake leveled Anderson with a punch. Drake went to send Anderson over the top rope but Anderson held on and wound up on the apron.

Anderson tried to fight his way back in but was guillotined on the top rope and fell to the floor. On the floor Bononi and Nemeth worked over Anderson until Rhodes chased them off. Back in the ring Bononi has control of Anderson and tagged in Drake who went after Johnson and Rhodes while Bononi set up Anderson in a pump handle fall away slam. Drake followed up with a cannonball and then Avalon came off the top with a splash for a two count.

Drake came back in the ring and Anderson faked punching him and hit a DDT and made the tag to Rhodes while Drake tagged in Avalon. Rhodes cleared the ring with clotheslines and powerslams motions for Johnson to enter the ring. Rhodes held the ropes open for Johnson who dove through them with a tope suicida hitting both Avalon and Bononi. Anderson then dove off the apron and hit Drake with a shoulder tackle as Johnson threw Avalon back into the ring. As Rhodes set up Avalon for his finisher, Drake tried to stop it but Anderson lifted Drake into a spine buster as Rhodes hit Final Reckoning on Avalon for the pinfall.

Dustin Rhodes, Lee Johnson and Brock Anderson defeated Peter Avalon, JD Drake and Cezar Bononi by pinfall in 5:00.

Bailin’s Breakdown: A good back and forth five-minute match. Dustin still lands a pretty good-looking power slam. I wonder if Avalon’s group is called Pretty Picture when he wrestles, but then they are called the Wingmen when Nemeth wrestles? Ok, so I doubt anyone really knows or cares to know, but I personally wish they would just stick with one name and entrance theme.

3. Brian Pillman Jr (w/Julia Hart). vs Serpentico (w/Luther). As the match began Luther distracted Pillman allowing Serpentico to gain the early advantage. Serpentico hit Pillman with a kick and then caught Pillman in a Flatliner for a quick pinfall attempt. Serpentico locked in a reverse chinlock and hopped on Pillman’s back. Pillman eventually threw Serpentico off and began to rally with chops and a clothesline. Pillman then hit a Jackhammer on Serpentico and went for the pinfall but Serpentico got his feet on the ropes.

Pillman lifted Serpentico onto the top rope as Henry and Kingston questioned Pillman’s intelligence in doing so. As if on cue, Serpentico boxed Pillman’s ears which knocked Pillman to the mat and then hit Pillman with a Swanton bomb for a near fall. Pillman rolled underneath the bottom rope but was met with a kick to the face by Luther. Luther then went to slam Serpentico onto Pillman but Pillman rolled away and Serpentico was slammed on the ring apron. Pillman kicked Luther off the apron then hit his springboard clothesline on Serpentico for the pinfall.

Brian Pillman Jr. defeated Serpentico by pinfall in 3:00.

Bailin’s Breakdown: An interesting match, at least by Elevation standards. There was no mention of Griff Garrison and it was framed on commentary that Pillman just seemed off, lacked intelligence, and needed to get his head in the game. I’m not sure if it will go anywhere and will probably be forgotten in a week or two. It’s just very odd to frame Pillman that way without a reason.

Tony Schiavone narrated still shot photos of The Factory’s appearance at Planet Hollywood in Orlando this past Thursday. It was mentioned that QT Marshall used to work there and now he was donating his autographed boots that he wore at All Out to Planet Hollywood’s memorabilia…

 4. “The Factory” QT Marshall, Anthony Ogogo, Nick Comoroto, and Aaron Solo vs. Baron Black, Shawn Hoodrich, Tony Vincinta, and JD Munoz. Ogogo walked out after the rest of The Factory with his own entrance music. Vincinta and Comoroto started the match. Comoroto took over early and threw Vincinta into the corner. Comoroto tagged in Solo then sent Solo into Vincinta with an Irish whip. Comoroto then held onto a back breaker as Solo came off the top rope with a knee drop. Solo and Comoroto then knocked Black, Hoodrich and Munoz off the apron and then motioned for Black to enter the ring. As Black was not the legal man, he was not allowed to by the referee (Rick Knox surprisingly), so Solo tagged in Ogogo.

Ogogo also wanted Black to enter the ring so he grabbed Vincinta to Black’s corner so Black could tag in. Black ducked a couple of punches but got caught with an Angle slam. Munoz entered the ring but then backed off Ogogo, Marshall entered the ring and hit Munoz with the Diamond cutter. As Hoodrich was the only one left standing Ogogo went after him. Hoodrich kicked Ogogo then jumped off the top rope over Ogogo. Hoodrich then charged after Ogogo but was elevated and knocked out by Ogogo.

“The Factory” QT Marshall, Anthony Ogogo, Nick Comoroto, and Aaron Solo defeated Baron Black, Shawn Hoodrich, Tony Vincinta, and JD Munoz by knockout in 2:30.

Bailin’s Breakdown: This match was all about reestablishing Ogogo and his knockout punch. It worked in that respect. No one else really got to show much.

5. The Bunny and Emi Sakura (w/Mei Suruga) vs. Abadon and Ryo Mizunami. Bunny and Sakura come out to the HFO music while Abadon and Mizunami came out to Mizunami’s music. Abadon stared at Mizunami which caused Mizunami to run to the ring. Abadon and Bunny started the match with the Bunny showing no signs of intimidation from and even smiling at Abadon. The Bunny pushed Abadon then hit a running knee that Abadon no sold. Abadon screamed at the Bunny and then took over with a headbutt followed by an X-factor for a two count.

Abadon sent Bunny into the ropes but dropped her head too soon so the Bunny kicked her. Abadon looked up and screamed at the Bunny again so Bunny tagged in Sakura. Sakura chopped Abadon once then attempted to get Abadon in the Queen’s Gambit but Abadon slipped out and into her corner for Mizunami to tag in. Mizunami chopped Sakura in the corner then the Bunny came in so Mizunami chopped her as well. Mizunami then sent Sakura into the opposite corner and hit a running clothesline.

As Mizunami set up her next move Suruga grabbed hold of Mizunami’s ankle which allowed Sakura to rake Mizunami’s back and then throw Mizunami back into the corner by her hair.  Sakura then hit her “Rock you” chops followed by her running splash to Mizunami. As Sakura and Suruga posed for the camera, Abadon came up behind Sakura. Suruga saw Abadon and ran away screaming and as Sakura turned to face Abadon both screamed. Sakura, still shocked by Abadon, went back to Mizunami and landed a butterfly suplex.

Sakura then locked in a Dragon sleeper all while Abadon continued to stare and freak out Sakura. Mizunami fought out and then hit a uranage on Sakura. Both Sakura and Mizunami made the tag and Abadon with clothesline to the Bunny. Abadon went for her finisher but Bunny with a double leg takedown. Abadon rolled out and was met with a thrust kick by the Bunny that Abadon shrugged off. Abadon then hits the Bunny with a back fist then wrapped her leg around the Bunny’s head and drove her face first into the mat for the pinfall.

Abadon and Ryo Mizunami defeated The Bunny and Emi Sakura by pinfall in 4:00.

After the match, Mizunami just golf clapped their victory instead of showing excitement.

Bailin’s Breakdown: I know Abadon isn’t for everyone, but I personally don’t mind her at all, so this was a fun match that broke up the pattern we have been seeing for what seems like a month now with Mizunami and Sakura and their rotating partners. It was mentioned on commentary that The Bunny eliminated Abadon in the Casino Battle Royale, so Abadon had revenge on her mind.

6. Brandon Tate and Brent Tate vs. Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus. Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus had the reaction of the night. The crowd went nuts from the first beat of “Tarzan Boy.” Jungle Boy and Brendan started the match. Jungle Boy kept on Brendan until Brendan tagged in Brent. Brent attempted a flying head-scissors but Jungle Boy held on and hit Brent with a backbreaker.

The Tates had a quick flurry of moves on Jungle Boy but Jungle Boy quickly escaped and tagged out. Luchasaurus threw the Tate’s around the ring then hit both with a double clothesline and then chokeslammed them both as well. Luchasaurus signaled for the end and tagged in Jungle Boy. Luchasaurus then backdrops Brent into a powerbomb from Jungle Boy for the pinfall.

Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus defeated Brandon Tate and Brent Tate by pinfall in 2:30. 

Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick showcase for Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus. I am assuming we will see a few more matches of theirs on Elevation and Dark before they are back and fighting for the tag titles.

7. Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo vs “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens.“The Acclaimed” also got a loud reaction as they came to the ring. Dean and Caster started the match. Caster kicked Dean before locking up and then tagged in Bowens. Bowens and Caster double suplex Dean but as the Acclaimed posed Bravo came into the ring and lifted Dean up. Dean and Bravo then hit both Caster and Bowens with forearms, then kicked out their legs and stomped on their fingers and then hit dropkicks.

Bravohit a sit out spinebuster on Bowens as Dean came off the top rope with a splash. Bravo went for the cover but only got a 2 count. Bravo kept the advantage as he had Bowens in the corner and hit mounted punches but Caster pulled out Bravo’s leg. Bowens knocked Dean off the apron then hit his sitout slam as Caster came off the top rope with the Mic Drop for the pinfall. 

“The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens defeated Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo by pinfall in 2:00.

Bailin’s Breakdown: They fit a lot into those two minutes, with lots of back and forth action. Dean and Bravo have potential as a team if they get more in ring time together, but this match in the end was about The Acclaimed, who needed a win after being on the losing end of the eight-man tag last week on Elevation.

Not only did they fit a lot into the last match but they fit a lot into this whole episode of Elevation, which was a quick one at 39 minutes and 22 seconds. I will go with the Nightmare Family vs. Pretty Picture/Wingmen and Abadon and Mizunami vs. Sakura and The Bunny as my matches of the night. This episode’s match order left me puzzled. There were three matches that would have been better in the main event slot than the one we got.

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