AEW ELEVATION: April 5, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Elevation Episode 4 (“How Do You Counter Mania Week?”), April 6, 2021.

TONIGHT! Preston Vance steps in with Danny Limelight! At both wrestlers’ requests, it’s Matt Hardy squaring off with Alan Angels! Doctor Britt Baker takes on Thunder Rosa’s student Alex Gracia! Max Caster and Colt Cabana face off! And in our main event, the Sydal Brothers square off against Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky!

PLUS – The Hardy Family Office, Varsity Blonds, Big Swole, Ryo Mizunami, M.T. Nakazawa, Lance Archer, and Hangman Page!

From the AEW Arena.

Adam Page (8-0 in 2021, #1 men; “Doesn’t know it’s not Wednesday”) vs. Bill Collier (0-2). One way they’re distinguishing this show from Dark: on Dark, we open with Taz and Excalibur welcoming us like it’s a recap show. Here, they show the crowd fired up and Tony saying welcome to the show. It’s a small thing, but it makes Elevation feel like a bigger deal.

Lockup, and Page slips out the back of a lift and tries an O’Connor Roll. Collier blocks and tackles Page, but Page comes back with chops. This leads to a chop-off, won by Page, but Collier stops it with a forearm smash. Uppercut by Collier, but Page fights back only to get a knee to the gut. Stalling suplex by Collier leads to a legdrop for one, brother. Catatonic try, but Page escapes and tosses Collier out, following with a plancha. Back in, Page with big boots and a fallaway slam. Standing star press gets two. Collier stops a move and goes up, but Page stops him and follows. Frankensteiner is blocked, but Page gets him over second try and gets some clotheslines. Buckshot ends it at 3:39. Just a warm-up for #1. 3/4* Page gives Collier a beer post-match.

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and, as YouTube puts it, “Paul White”. They talk about tonight’s tag team main event.

Dean Alexander and Carlie Bravo (first time teaming) vs. Varsity Blonds (4-1 in 2021). The students get the Nightmare Factory entrance. They haven’t taken sides in the Cody/QT argument, however – and why did we stop teaming Bravo with Shawn Dean? Also, don’t look now, but the Blonds have done very well on the B shows. Could they get ranked soon?

Alexander and Garrison start. Headlock by Alexander, which Garrison reverses into a hammerlock and back to the headlock. Garrison gets the arm twist, and Pillman drops an elbow on it. The Blonds work the arm as Garrison comes off the second rope with an elbow and they maintain control. Garrison with a headlock takedown. Pillman back in with a gut kick and another headlock takedown. He chops Alexander, and the Blonds get a drop toe hold into a double-stomp for two. Garrison tries a slam, but Alexander slides out the back and clips Garrison.

Bravo wraps the leg around the post, getting one. Alexander in, getting a Russian leg sweep, and Bravo returns for a double basement dropkick for two. Garrison gets the “escape the double back suplex” spot and fights both men off, hot tag Pillman. Clothesline for Bravo, powerslam for Alexander, and a through-the-ropes dropkick to Bravo on the floor. Back in, Air Pillman / Powerbomb combo gets the win at 3:57. Garrison keeps selling the knee post-match. *1/4

Alex Gracia (0-6) vs. Dr. Britt Baker (w/Rebel, not Reba, Rebel, get it right Britt) (5-2, #4 women). Side story here, as Gracia is one of Thunder Rosa’s students and we all know what Britt Baker thinks of her. Britt’s bloodied visage has been added to her entrance video. Rebel is still on a crutch. But wait, Britt has a mic: we all know how this is going – Britt’s the star, Gracia isn’t, it’ll be quick, that’s all, no one remembers the match. But Britt was impressed with the showing against Thunder Rosa that Britt’s ready to elevate women’s wrestling here on Elevation. So, yeah, Gracia’s not winning, but hey, how about some applause for her? Baker isn’t just deathmatch, she’s qualified in Greco-Roman and many other styles, so she will start the match from the underneath like in freestyle.

And Britt instantly reverses to the Lockjaw, with the glove from Rebel, to win in 27.8 seconds. Disappointing – I was kind of hoping this would be an interesting match. NR – barely a match

Danny Limelight (3-2 in 2021) vs. Preston Vance (5-1 in 2021). Limelight’s salsa dancing and flippy stuff are going to get him over with the AEW audience. It’s great to see sunlight out during the B show tapings. Summer is coming. No sign of Brodie Jr.

Lockup, and Vance shoves him down. Limelight uses a kick to take control and goes to the turnbuckle, but Vance reverses and sends Limelight around the world. Limelight escapes a slam but gets run over. BACK body drop by Vance, then a fallaway slam. Limelight leverages Vance into the turnbuckle to take over, then drapes his arm on the middle rope. Roundhouse kick to the arm, and back in, Limelight dances only to get slugged loopy. Kitchen sink stops Vance, though, and Limelight kicks away at the arm. Hammerlock in the middle rope follows, then Limelight kicks the rope to hurt Vance’s arm.

Vance goes for a slugfest in the corner, but Limelight kicks the arm and goes to a chickenwing. La Majistral gets two. Limelight keeps kicking away at the arm (though he switches arms), but Vance tries to fight back only to get a SUPERKICK to the arm. Limelight reverses a whip into a Fujiwara armbar, but Vance stacks for two. Limelight runs into a lariat as the comeback begins. Blind charge eats boot and Vance comes off the middle rope with a Sling Blade. He runs into Limelight’s elbow, but recovers with the SPINEBUSTER OF DOOM.

Full nelson try, but Limelight with a judo throw and armbar. Vance rolls him up for two, then blocks a roundhouse and gets a pump kick for two. Powerbomb try, but Limelight switches to Hell’s Gate. Vance tries to fight out of it, eventually slugging Limelight enough to break. Another roundhouse to the bad arm keeps Limelight up top, and he tries a sleeper. Vance reverses to the full nelson for the win at 6:04. Not a fan of the full nelson ending it given the armwork. *3/4

Big Swole (4-0 in 2021) vs. Jazmin Allure (0-4). Wight says if Swole doesn’t excite you, you don’t have a pulse. Allure is another Thunder Rosa student.

Lockup, and Swole pushes her into the ropes and gives a clean break. Swole with a waistlock takedown and ride, and she adds knees to the back before getting a ground abdominal stretch. Allure tries a hiptoss, but Swole blocks and reverses. Allure falls outside, so Swole throws her into the barricade, then the apron, then the barricade, then back in. Swole drops her weight on Allure and goes to a camel clutch.

She smashes Allure down out of it, but Allure fights to her feet only to get caught with a Kitchen Sink. Diving uppercut to the back follows. Allure kicks Swole away from the Malenko Special, then lands back elbows and a clothesline. Armdrag follows, then a trip and shotgun dropkick for two. She goes ground and pound on Swole, but she races to the corner and is caught in the Samoa Joe uranage. Malenko Special (powerbomb into Texas Cloverleaf) ends it at 3:21. Just dominance, bell to bell. 1/4*

Dasha is backstage with the Sydal Brothers, asking what their mindsight is. Mike says he was beat up, but he bends without breaking. That’s why he’s standing strong to fight with his brother. Matt is disappointed in Scorpio Sky – you were the welcoming committee, but you’re a phony! And why are you picking a fight with brothers? Payback is coming tonight. The Sydals see through their makeshift partnership and tonight, you’ll see what the Sydals can see.

MT Nakazawa (1-1) vs. Vary Morales (0-1 singles). I didn’t think it possible, but I miss Mr. Baby Oil. At least there was some creativity in his comedy then. Oh, and last time he was on Elevation, he got pantsed. Yay.

Nakazawa stops a lockup to check on his headset (because he has his headset on for the match), but Morales rips it off only to get kicked. Headlock by Nakazawa, but Morales stops him with the headset and gets a satellite headscissors and lucha armdrag. Morales blocks some punches and gets a ropewalk armdrag on Nakazawa for two. Another ropewalk try, but Nakazawa blocks it to tumble Morales before crotching him on the top rope and getting the Hentai Slide. Atomic drop and running back elbow gets two.

Nakazawa chokes Morales with the headset cord, which somehow isn’t a DQ. Forearm strike by Nakazawa and he chops away. Morales blocks a back body drop and gets a dropkick to knock him out of the ring, diving off the top buckle with a pescado to follow. Back in, it gets two. Blind charge eats elbow, and Nakazawa with a spear. Morales slips out of the slam and gets two with a cradle, adding a SUPERKICK. Nakazawa tosses the ref into Morales, then smashes him with the laptop. Cover Me Callis Slam wins at 4:22. I could live without ever seeing that finish again. Morales was made to look pretty good in this one – I can live with this form of Nakazawa. 1/2* Nakazawa slams the laptop around Morales’ head post-match just to be a jerk.

(Guest on commentary: Jake Roberts.) Lance Archer vs. Baron Black. No chyrons for anyone because…

Archer drags Black from the back and tosses him into the ring before the bell. Black tries to chop Archer down, but Archer absorbs them and gets a Pounce. Short-arm clothesline follows, then Archer chokes Black on the top rope. Northern Lariat follows as Roberts talks about Sting. Archer stomps a mudhole in Black, then slugs away. Hammer Throw into the corner and Archer gets a twisting splash for two. Black tries to fight back, which just fires Archer up and allows him to floor Black with a single right. Black ducks a short-arm clothesline and fires back with chops that finally make impact. Archer’s charge eats boot, but Black runs into the chokeslam. Blackout ends it at 2:56. Legalized murder, which Archer does very well. 1/2*

And now Jake has a mic. People ask why they’re always getting in Sting’s face, and why not? No one’s removed them yet. Nobody wants Roberts or Archer in a match – no surprise – so they do it themselves. Archer has a simple message: it’s his time. So why does Sting or anyone else get interview time and not him? Must be because they’re scared. Why do they do this? It’s not because they’re good or bad – it’s just because everybody dies. So why not go for one of the best? This is respect – Sting inspired Archer and a bunch of other AEW wrestlers. But when Sting came back, it became all about him. The crowd chants for Sting, so Archer says they’ll chant for him soon. Sting’s time is Archer’s time – and it’s showtime.

Tesha Price (0-5 in 2021) vs. Ryo Mizunami (8-1, #2 woman). Price’s mugging for the camera and pigtails makes me think she’s going to be face, but who knows. Last week, Ryo beat KiLynn King in a fun wild slugfest. Price can’t afford to do that, say the announcers.

Lockup, and Mizunami backs Price into the ropes as Price screams for a break (sigh). Price screams at the ref before turning around into a chop and shoulderblock. Price slips out of a slam and grabs Mizunami by the hair, but Ryo breaks it and slams her anyway. Price gets a drop toe hold into the middle rope and a sliding punch. Hammer Throw by Price, but Mizunami races back with another shoulderblock and shakes the ropes. Slugfest, which Mizunami is clearly winning as Price realizes she’s in over her head.

Kobashi machine gun in the corner as Price turtles up, and Mizunami goes for the finale – that hits the turnbuckle as Price ducks, then bites Mizunami’s arm. Handspring roundhouse by Price follows, then a running facejam for two. Price with a running kick and German suplex try, but Mizunami blocks so Price switches to a full nelson. Mizunami escapes and gets a spinning chop and lariat, but the legdrop misses. Price walks into a powerslam for two. Lightning legdrops get two, brother. Torture Rack, but Price rakes the eyes and cradles Mizunami for two. Another cradle gets two. Backslide fight, but Price flips over the back and gets a sunset flip (sort of) for two. Enzuigiri, but Price runs into a lariat for two. Spear gets the win at 6:06. Mizunami is perfect for these showcase matches – she’s willing to give the opponent a lot of shine and is the type who can make someone better by osmosis. *1/2

Colt Cabana (7-0 in 2021) vs. Max Caster (w/Anthony Bowens) (6-1 singles in 2021). The Dark Order come out with Cabana, but he sends them to the back. “You were a legend, now a novelty. / The Dark Order more forced than your comedy.” “Puttin’ screws to you like it’s shop class / Dark Order getting canceled like your podcast.” But wait – Anthony Bowens stays at ringside, so Colt goes to the back and asks Evil Uno to be an equalizer. Uno reluctantly agrees.

Caster ducks out to start. They lock up and go around the ring, with shoves off the break. Colt with a hammerlock, reversed by Caster. Colt with a headlock takedown for one, then another for one, reversed by Caster for one three times. Colt switches to an armlock, then goes up and over Caster before doing a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Colt wants a monkey flip, but Bowens holds Caster and Colt splats on the mat. Arm twist drop and Colt rolls out, so Bowens tosses him back in. Caster works the arm as Uno and Bowens argue, but Colt gets a sunset flip for two before Caster switches to an MMA armbar.

Colt gets a one-count to break, but Caster with a lariat. He hammerlocks Colt around the ropes, with Uno getting the ref’s attention to break it. Colt tries to fight back from his knees, but a left hook hurts his own arm and Caster pounces. Colt tries to break a wristlock with right hands, so Caster runs his shoulder into the top turnbuckle and adds a top wristlock takedown for two. Caster stomps away on the arm and punches awa on Colt, getting two. Hammerlock around the ropes again and Caster slugs at the shoulder blade. Caster with a cross chop in the corner and a Hammer Throw, but the follow-up airballs. Colt tries to slingshot in, but he has nothing in his left arm.

He comes in the old-fashioned way after slamming Caster into the top turnbuckle, then gets the Flip Flop and Fly all with the right arm. Flying Apple follows and Colt goes up, and the double-jump splash out-thinks Caster, getting two. Big chop by Colt as he lights up Caster, but Caster with a neckbreaker and keylock camel clutch. Colt flips it into a pinning predicament for two, but Caster keeps control of the arm. Caster runs into the butt-butt for two. Bowens and Uno are on the apron, and Bowens tosses the chain… to Uno. In the chaos, Caster drop toe holds Colt into the boombox for the win at 7:36. MUCH better than last week. Caster is getting better by the outing, and Colt is absolutely the right hand to use. **1/4

Adam Priest & Ryzin & D3 & Fuego Del Sol vs. The Hardy Family Office (Butcher & Blade & Isaiah Kassidy & Marq Quen) (w/Matt Hardy and the Bunny) (1-0 as a unit). Wight just couldn’t resist calling Allie a bad bunny, could he? Quen and Butcher both do the knee lunges.

The Hardy Family Office attacks before the bell and isolate D3. Butcher with a corner clothesline, then Blade Hammer Throws him. Butcher back in, and he goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY. Knee choke by Butcher and a chop, and Kassidy comes in with shots shots shots in the corner. Sorry, had to. Blade bites D3 behind the ref’s back, and Kassidy with a knee to the gut setting up a double-team hotshot by Private Party. Quen with kneedrops and a shin choke. D3 with a standing rana out of nowhere, but Quen recovers with a dropkick (with incredible elevation) and legdrop.

Blade in, and he mugs D3 with kicks and choking. He dumps D3, so of course Bunny gets in her shots. Back in, Blade with a front facelock and Quen tags in with Mongolian chops. D3 escapes a suplex and it’s hot tag Fuego. He sends both members of Private Party reeling, then ranas both men together and moonsaults them both at once off the top. It gets two on Quen, Blade saves and EVERYBODY INTO THE POOL. Hardy’s men clear the ring and leave Fuego alone, so Private Party get a double enzuigiri on him. Drag the Lake ends Fuego at 4:30. Priest and Ryzin did nothing. 3/4*

AEW Casino app ad.

Paul Wight sits down with John Silver in a pre-recorded bit that’s kind of like the spotlight. Silver had a long journey to get to AEW, starting at age 14 when he was just 110 pounds. He and Reynolds clicked immediately, and they formed a team called the Beaver Boys (yes, that’s a Tim and Eric joke). It took them forever to get a look with AEW, where they were “local talent”. So much for getting signed, but they had their match with Santana and Ortiz that caught Uno and Stu’s attention. Joining the Dark Order was their best decision.

Brodie was big to Silver’s career, taking them up a level. Brodie was a genuine man who, despite what it looked like, really cared about everyone in the Order getting better. A couple weeks ago, Silver got his career high – a title match with Darby Allin – but during the match he messed up his shoulder while going over the guardrail. He knew he had to keep going with the spotlight on him, but the result made him realize how much he’d improved. He was overjoyed that Sting gave him respect post-match. Silver thinks he’ll be a champion at some point in 2021 – whether with Alex Reynolds or on his own against Allin. Or, heck, why not the big gold? Wight gently shakes his hand to end the interview.

Matt Hardy (4-2 in 2021) vs. Alan Angels (6-1 in 2021). So this was apparently set up on Twitter, but I forget the details. Ah, this is because last week the Dark Order went after the Hardy Family Office for a ringside melee. Thanks, AEW! In a neat touch, Uno tells Colt not to start anything as the Dark Order comes out with Angels.

Hardy shoos off the Dark Order at the bell. Hardy berates Angels, who shoves him. Angels with punches and he goes nuts in the corner until the referee pulls them apart. A charge eats boot, and Hardy suplexes him into the middle buckle. Elbow to the back of the head follows, and Hardy wraps Angels up in the ropes. Back elbow by Hardy and legdrop, then Matt showboats. Angels fights back from underneath only to get a kick to the gut and Hammer Throw, but Angels goes up and over. Hardy catches him in Snake Eyes and adds a running clothesline.

He goes up and drops an elbow on the neck, then pulls the shirt off for the Twist of Fate. Angels escapes, but Hardy with a kick and Razor’s Edge try. Angels reverses that to a rana and both are down. Angels kicks away on Hardy, but a roundhouse misses. Twist of Fate is reversed to a backslide for two, and Angels adds a basement dropkick. Hardy’s stuck in the ropes, so Angels adds a backsplash and shiranui for two. Double jump moonsault misses, and Hardy with the Side Effect for two.

Twist of Fate is blocked again, and this time Angels gets the Wing Snapper, but Hardy rolls out of the ring. Angels follows and powers Matt back in, but Matt kicks the ropes to crotch Angels and gets a DDT. Butterfly choke (which he calls the Leech) gets the submission at 5:58. I question the sanity of putting Matt Hardy over anyone of note at this point. **

And now, on the mic, Matt Hardy says March Madness is over – yes, people are watching the championship game, but watch Matt Hardy. It’s April, so now Matt Hardy is making all his money, and he is so angry at what happened he’s taking it out on all the Dark Order. Angels is first, but all will fall. He’ll do it either by himself or with the Family Office, which will take all the money and the titles. Oh, by the way, Darby Allin called him a sellout, eh? Allin grew up idolizing Matt – who smartened up, not sold out. Matt is here to come after the TNT title – which he will get alongside the paycheck that comes with it. Please no – Matt looks like he’s practically done.

MAIN EVENT: Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page (first time teaming) vs. The Sydal Brothers (2-3 in 2021). This is all about last week, when Sky beat Mike Sydal but wouldn’t let go of the heel hook. Matt broke it up to save his brother, so Ethan Page raced in to mop up. Sky and Page are both full of themselves, but both former tag team champions says Tony (hey, Impact’s titles are canon in AEW, I’ll allow it).

Matt and Sky start. They slug it out, with Matt getting the advantage before everyone races in and the heels get the edge. Sydals with a double Matrix dodge and double spinkick to send Page packing, then a toehold baseball slide combo for two on Sky. Mike in, and he double-stomps Sky off the top rope before adding a standing moonsault for two. Mike is shaking off the leg pain and goes to a corner mount on Sky, but he stops to smack Page down and Sky nails the knee. Page drags Mike out and throws him knee first onto the apron. Sky gets two off of it.

Page in, and he gets a right hand and big elbow before working the knee. Page stomps on the knee and drags Mike to his corner, and Sky comes in to stomp the knee. Mike tries to prone kick out of it, but Sky with a standing facewash and backbreaker. It gets two. Page in, and he pump kicks an open Mike in the ribs before adding a shinbreaker. He keeps the leg in his reach and brings in Sky, who stays on the leg. Half-crab follows, then Sky stomps on the knee to break it himself. Mike fights out, but Sky cuts off the tag. Prawn rollup by Mike gets two, hot tag Matt.

Slingshot dropkick and he kicks the tar out of Sky, then a spin kick to Page. Brainbuster gets two on Sky, but Sky with a snapmare and Page gives Matt a Steinerline. Matt blocks the pump kick and gets a roundhouse for two. Mike wants back in, so the Sydals make the tag only for Page to work the leg. Double keylock takedown gets Mike two, Sky saves and Matt dropkicks him away. The ref wants Matt to leave the ring, allowing Sky to kick Mike’s leg out of his leg. Ego’s Edge finishes Mike at 6:32. Seeing a sthis was the main event, couldn’t it have gotten a few more minutes? **1/4

Well, this was disappointing, as it was the first time we didn’t have a Dynamite quality match in my opinion. Spotlighting John Silver was a great move and Wight did what he could to be impressed with him – it’s a shame that he can’t follow up for a few weeks. Actually, shame is the best thing for this episode. It’s a shame the main event was done in 6 minutes; it’s a shame Matt Hardy beat Alan Angels when he can barely walk; it’s a shame Baker/Gracia was done in 30 seconds; and it’s a shame Michael Nakazawa is still a thing. If this were Dark, I’d be a little more optimistic, but c’mon – don’t devalue your show THIS fast.

STATS

BELL TO BELL: 55:29 over twelve matches (average time 4:37)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Caster/Cabana

FIVE STARS:

  1. Ryo Mizunami
  2. Colt Cabana
  3. Max Caster
  4. Danny Limelight
  5. Mike Sydal

See you tomorrow when people actually read this. Maybe they’re punting because it’s Mania Week, who knows.