By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 89)
Taped November 10, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts at Agganis Arena
Streamed November 14, 2022 on the AEW YouTube Page
Paul Wight and Matt Menard were on commentary this week. Dasha Gonzales was the ring announcer.
1. “Gates of Agony” Toa Liona and Bishop Kaun (w/Prince Nana) vs. Big Cuzzo and Teddy Goodz. Goodz and Kaun started the match. Goodz attempted a shoulder tackle to no effect. Kaun tagged in Liona and Liona attempted a bodyslam that Goodz slipped out of and he made the tag to Cuzzo. Cuzzo avoided a corner splash from Liona and then hit Kaun with a double chop. Cuzzo set up for an elbow smash but was hit with a Pounce from Liona. Kaun then hit his finisher on Cuzzo and got the pinfall.
“Gates of Agony” Toa Liona and Bishop Kaun defeated Big Cuzzo and Teddy Good by pinfall in 1:45.
After the match Liona gave Goodz a belly-to-belly suplex.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Quick and dominating showcase for the Gates of Agony.
An ad for DraftKings aired
2. Tay Melo vs. Paris Van Dale. Melo dominated until the finish when instead of going for the DDTay, she turned Van Dale around and hit the TayKO for the victory.
Tay Melo defeated Paris Van Dale in 1:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another quick win for Melo.
A Shop AEW 10-day Black Friday sale aired.
3. Matt Hardy and “Private Party” Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy vs. Kyle Bradley, Smiley Fairchild and Channing Thomas. Hardy and Private Party isolated Fairchild in the early portion of the match. Hardy had Fairchild on his shoulders and Quen came off the top rope with a springboard dropkick. The referee tried to clear the ring but Quen got on the top rope again. Quen got pushed off the top rope by Bradley.
Fairchild was able to tag in Thomas who quickly tagged in Bradley after a snap mare. Bradley attempted a vertical suplex but Quen slipped out and tagged in Hardy. Hardy powerbombed Bradley and went for the cover but it was broken up. Kassidy and Quen sent Fairchild and Thomas out of the ring and dove onto them as Hardy locked in the Leech on Bradley. Bradley quickly tapped out.
Matt Hardy and Private Party defeated Kyle Bradley, Smiley Fairchild and Channing Thomas by submission in 3:45.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A showcase match for Hardy and Private Party to get them back on the winning ways.
An AEW Heels ad aired
4. Athena vs. Kayla Sparks. Sparks had Athena in a headlock early. Athena pushed off and Sparks threatened to hit Athena. Athena rolled outside the ring. Sparks dropkicked Athena under the bottom rope and followed Athena outside the ring. Athena recovered and sent Sparks into the ring apron. Athena then face planted Sparks outside the ring. Sparks found herself leaning against the stairs and Athena hit her with double knees to the face.
Athena waited for Sparks to get back in the ring and went for a crossface. Sparks avoided and rolled up Athena for a 2 count. Sparks followed up with a neckbreaker but only got a 1 count on the cover. Athena recovered and hit Sparks with a thrust kick then mounted punches. Athena then choked out Sparks.
Athena defeated Kayla Sparks by submission in 3:15.
After the match Athena lifted up Sparks then climbed the top rope and hit the O face.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Athena’s aggressive attitude continues. Sparks put up a little fight.
5. The Butcher and The Blade (w/The Bunny) vs. “Waves and Curls”. Butcher and Blade threw Waves and Curls around the ring for a minute then hit Drag The Lake for the pinfall victory.
The Butcher and The Blade defeated Waves and Curls by pinfall in 1:25.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Waves and Curls didn’t stand a chance. Quick win for Butcher and the Blade. Wight and Menard didn’t even know the names of Waves and Curls.
6. Daniel Garcia vs. Leon Ruffin for the ROH Pure Championship. Bobby Cruise was the ring announcer for this match. BJ Whitmer, Jerry Lynn and Christopher Daniels were the judges. Garcia dominated the early portions of the match. Ruffin was able to avoid a couple of strikes but got knocked off the top rope and onto the floor. Ruffin started to make a comeback with an enzuigiri. Ruffin came off the middle rope with a cutter for a two count. Garcia punched Ruffin in the face to get his warning. Garcia followed up with a butterfly suplex into the turnbuckles. Garcia then dropped Hammer elbows onto Ruffin and locked in a choke. Ruffin tried to fight out by lifting Garcia onto his back. Garcia readjusted and fell back and Ruffin tapped out.
Daniel Garcia beat Leon Ruffin to retain the ROH Pure Championship by submission in 5:40.
Garcia shook Ruffin’s hand after the match as Ruffin was knocked out on the mat.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Fine showcase match for Garcia. Obviously, Garcia was never in any danger of losing this one.
7. Jora Johl vs. “10” Preston Vance. Johl attacked Vance as the bell rang. Johl dropped Vance with a modified Attitude Adjustment. Wight said he may have taken that move a time or 2 from someone from Boston. Vance recovered and hit Johl with a spinebuster. Vance then hit a discus lariat and got the pinfall.
“10” Preston Vance defeated Jora Johl by pinfall in 1:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: I expected a little more out of this match then 90 seconds considering Johl has a couple of wins.
8. AR Fox vs. Serpentico. Serpentico attacked as the bell rang but Fox quickly recovered and kept Serpentico off balance with his speed. Serpentico was sent into the corner but he came out with a tijeras on Fox. Serpentico then kicked Fox and followed up with a DDT. Fox recovered and hit Serpentico with a pair of Cutters. Fox tried to come through the ropes but was caught up and Serpentico caught him with a Flatliner and a double stomp. Serpentico went for the cover but held onto the ropes and the referee saw it. Fox then caught Serpentico with a Spanish Fly then climbed the top rope and came off with a 450 splash and got the pinfall.
AR Fox defeated Serpentico by pinfall in 3:05.
Bailin’s Breakdown: AEW always shoe horns a win from someone new the week they are set to appear (and most likely lose) on Dynamite and Rampage. AR Fox is just next in line. Solid win and showcase for Fox before he teams with Top Flight against Death Triangle this Wednesday on Dynamite.
9. Willow Nightingale and Riho vs. Emi Sakura and Mei Suruga (w/Baliyan Akki).Sakura and Nightingale started the match. They traded shoulder tackles with neither budging. Sakura then complained to Nightingale about wearing purple. Nightingale then said she looked good in purple and they posed together. Sakura elbowed Nightingale and they went for shoulder tackles again. Nightingale finally dropped Sakura but Sakura got right back up and dropped Nightingale. Suruga then came into the ring and both her and Sakura tried to armbar Nightingale.
Nightingale powered out, flipping Sakura and Suruga in the process. Nightingale tagged in Riho who hit Sakura with a 619. Akki tried to grab Riho by the air but she elbowed out. As Riho reentered the ring Sakura lifted her in the double underhook and dropped Riho midsection first on Sakura’s knee. After throwing Riho across the ring by her hair, Sakura tagged in Suruga. Suruga came in and started to bite Riho’s hand. With Riho on the mat, Suruga locked in a full nelson then slammed Riho’s head against the mat.
Riho recovered and then rolled through Suruga and landed a double stomp. Riho made the tag to Nightingale who pounced Suruga halfway across the ring. Nightingale then lifted Suruga but Suruga repositioned herself onto Nightingale’s back and raked the eyes of Nightingale before tagging Sakura back in. Sakura then hit Nightingale with her Rock You chops and splash then ran the ropes again. Nightingale caught Sakura with a spinebuster and tagged in Riho.
Riho came in with a high cross body off the top rope but was then caught by a backbreaker from Sakura. Nightingale came in and Sakura with a drop toe hold onto Nightingale who landed on Riho. Sakura and Suruga then hit the Transformer on both Nightingale and Riho. Sakura then climbed the top rope but missed a moonsault. Riho then came off the top with a double Meteora but only got a two count.
Riho ran the ropes but got tripped up by Akki and rolled up by Sakura. Nightingale broke up the pin attempt. Sakura and Suruga tried to double clothesline Nightingale but Nightingale ran through and clotheslined them both instead. Nightingale then hit a Death Valley Driver on Sakura and Riho hit Sakura with double knees for the pinfall.
Willow Nightingale and Riho defeated Emi Sakura and Mei Suruga by pinfall in 6:10.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A pretty good back and forth match and match of the night. Honestly it wasn’t even close. Elevation took a step back from the previous couple of weeks of improved episodes. Just not a lot happening with this episode and a lot of under two-minute showcases. Again, for a roster full of young competitors I just don’t see the value in working a bunch of under 2-minute matches week after week, whether it’s a win or a loss. Episode 89 clocked in this week at 47 minutes and 36 seconds.