By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 46)
Taped January 12, 2022 in Raleigh, North Carolina at PNC Arena
Streamed January 17, 2022 on the AEW YouTube Page
This week’s Elevation began with a graphic honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., followed by an ad for the AEW Upper Deck trading cards. Back at the arena Matt Sydal’s music played while ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced him and Lee Moriarty for our first match. Excalibur and Mark Henry checked in from the commentary desk…
1. Matt Sydal and Lee Moriarty vs. JR Miller and Marcus Kross. Sydal and Kross started the match mouthing off at each other before Kross attempted a punch and series of kicks that Sydal avoided. Sydal responded with a series of kicks of his own before grabbing Kross’s arm and tagging in Moriarty. Moriarty jumped the top rope and double stomped Kross’s arm. Moriarty locked Kross in an abdominal stretch but Kross headbutted Moriarty to escape and tag in Miller. Miller missed a pair of clotheslines and a dropkick which allowed Moriarty to hit a double stomp to Miller as well.
Moriarty tagged in Sydal and Sydal also caught Miller with a double stomp. Sydal had his back turned so Kross snuck inside the ring and kicked Sydal in the back of his leg. Miller then tagged in Kross who caught Sydal with a corkscrew kick followed by a double stomp of his own except he followed up with an elbow drop. Sydal quickly regained momentum and tagged in Moriarty. A short while later, Moriarty locked Kross in the Border City stretch. Sydal intercepted Miller with a Lightning Spiral as he tried to help Kross and Kross tapped out.
Matt Sydal and Lee Moriarty defeated JR Miller and Marcus Cross by submission in 3:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Lots of double stomps in this one so since I mentioned one, I guess I had to mention them all. A good showcase for Sydal and Moriarty, and Kross got to show some offense as well.
2. Ameera vs Tay Conti. Conti dominated until Ameera caught Conti with a forearm smash followed by a roundhouse kick. Conti quickly recovered and with Ameera backed into a corner Conti hit her trio of running pump kicks followed by the Tay-KO for the win.
Tay Conti defeated Ameera by pinfall in 2:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A quick singles showcase win for Conti as she has been working a lot of tag matches lately.
3. JB Cole and T.I.M. vs Austin and Colten Gunn (w/Billy Gunn). Austin and T.I.M. started the match. T.I.M. tried to quickly pin Austin and got a 1-count. Mark Henry asked Excalibur if they can just call him Tim and Excalibur said Mark can do whatever he wants. T.I.M had control briefly with a pair of armdrags. Austin tried to push T.I.M. into the ropes but T.I.M cartwheeled out of it. Austin attempted a clothesline but T.I.M did a split to avoid hit then caught Austin with a single leg dropkick and tagged in Cole.
Cole reversed an Irish whip attempt from Austin but Colten blind tagged himself in. Cole was confused and was hit from behind with a clothesline from Colten. The Gunn’s continued to work over Cole until Cole caught Austin with a jawbreaker and made the hot tag to T.I.M.. Colten recovered and knocked T.I.M. with a punch. A short while later Colten caught T.I.M. with the Colt .45 for the victory
Austin and Colten Gunn defeated JB Cole and T.I.M. by pinfall in 3:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: The story of the match was that the Gunns were letting the fans get to them, but once they focused the other team had no chance. I guess it’s something for them to do.
4. Labron Kozone vs. Frankie Kazarian. After some initial back and forth Kazarian took early control. Kozone caught Kazarian with a modified uranage. Kazarian quickly recovered and after a springboard leg drop Kozone retreated to a corner. Kazarian charged and hit Kozone with the double knees to the chest and followed up with the crossface chicken wing for the submission victory.
Frankie Kazarian defeated Labron Kozone by submission in 3:10.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A solid showcase for Kazarian.
5. Ruby Soho vs. Kenzie Paige. Soho focused on Paige’s left elbow in the early portion of the match. Paige eventually escaped by grabbing Soho by the hair and throwing her to the mat. As Soho got up Paige caught her with a rolling elbow smash. Paige continued to work over Soho in the corner. Paige sent Soho into the ropes but Soho caught herself and caught Paige with a back elbow. Soho then used her legs to send Paige face first into the middle turnbuckle. Kenzie recovered and caught Soho with a high kick. Paige then set Soho up for a full nelson and spun her around. Soho recovered and caught Paige with the No Future kick for the pinfall.
Ruby Soho defeated Kenzie Paige by pinfall in 3:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A decent back and forth match and good showcase for Soho. Paige also got to show a little more offense than I can recall seeing from her in the past.
6. “Private Party” Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen vs. Chase Emory and Patrick Scott. Private Party came out alone with their VIP entrance set up at the top of the ramp. Quen and Kassidy dominated the match with their tag team maneuvers to include a modified Poetry in Motion. Quen and Kassidy then hit the Gin and Juice on Emory for the pinfall.
“Private Party” Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen defeated Chase Emory and Patrick Scott by pinfall in 3:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good showing for Private Party. I’m interested to see if they are breaking away from the HFO completely or if this was just a one-week thing based off of Matt Hardy’s and Andrade’s meeting last week on Dynamite.
7. Alexander Moss vs. Jay Lethal. As Justin Roberts was introducing Lethal, he said Elizabeth (in a Randy Savage voice), New Jersey. Lethal caught Moss early with an armdrag into a low dropkick combo. Moss responded with a knee to Lethal’ s midsection. Moss then tried to send Lethal outside the ring but Lethal reversed it. Lethal went after Moss but Moss reentered the ring and kicked Lethal as he came back into the ring. Moss then hit Lethal with a clothesline. Moss continued his assault on Lethal with punches and kicks and then locked in a reverse chin lock.
Lethal fought back and hit Moss with a Lethal combination then climbed to the top rope and hit Moss with an elbow drop. Lethal went for the cover but Moss kicked out at two. Lethal was shocked and took too long to lift Moss up. Moss caught Lethal with another knee to the midsection. Lethal tried to slide under Moss’s legs but Moss held on and slammed Lethal to the mat for a near fall. Moss lifted up Lethal in a Fireman’s carry but Lethal slipped up and rolled up Moss with a series of near falls. On the third attempt, Lethal was pushed into the ropes but came off them and hit Moss with the Lethal Injection for the win.
Jay Lethal defeated Alexander Moss by pinfall in 4:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A solid back and forth match. Lethal helps make whoever he is in the ring with look good. Two weeks ago, it was Troy Hollywood, last week I felt he brought out a more focused side of Sonny Kiss and this week Moss. I did think the elbow drop would have ended the match so they got me on that one. For those reasons this was the match of the night.
Elevation was solid this week if not predictable. There was no doubt who would win any of the matches but at least they weren’t complete squashes. In fact, only 1 match was under 3 minutes. Overall, the show was just 36 minutes 23 seconds and with 7 matches, only one being under two minutes was surprising. I will be able to add some live thoughts in next week’s report, as I will be attending both Dynamite and Rampage this week in Washington D.C.