The PG Era Rant for AEW Elevation, Episode 7 (“Does AEW Even Know What Happened Last Night?”), April 26, 2021.
TONIGHT! FIVE big matches for your enjoyment! Leyla Hirsch and Ryo Mizunami team up again to face Diamante and Amber Nova! Alex Reynolds and Alan Angels of the Dark Order look to stop Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky! Matt Sydal preps for his tag title eliminator match by facing Joey Janela! Big Swole and Red Velvet take on the Vicious Vixens of Nyla Rose and Madi Wrenckowski! And we saw Trent face Penta, but now it’s their partners’ turns – Chuck Taylor squares off against Rey Fenix!
PLUS! Ryan Nemeth, The Acclaimed, Orange Cassidy, Nick Comoroto, FTR, and maybe more!
From the AEW Arena.
Opening match: Chuck Taylor (w/Trent) (7-2) vs. Rey Fenix (w/Penta El 0M) (5-2). Taylor comes out to the old in-house music instead of Cassidy’s Pixies music. Make of that what you will, especially since Fenix is out to the Death Triangle music and not the Lucha Bros music. Both teams are coming in hot, given their most recent Dynamite matches.
Lockup, and both men try for the arm before Fenix gets a double-leg. He goes for a modified figure-four, but can’t hold it and Taylor gets a spinning toe hold and butterfly lock combo. Fenix gets up and holds the arm, tumbling Taylor into a pinning combo for two, and we reset. Taylor worsk the arm now and gets an Atlantis stretch out of it. Fenix escapes, but Taylor tries a sunset flip. It goes nowhere, so Taylor with an armdrag and Fenix bails. Back in, he ducks under into a waistlock, switching to arm control before both men break and go to a slugfest. Fenix catches Taylor’s kick and tangles the leg in the ropes, nailing a springboard clothesline to wrench the knee.
Taylor’s stuck on the apron, so Fenix baseball slides him out. Big chop on the outside, and back in, Fenix with a keylock and neck crank combo. Taylor fights his way out of it, but runs into a dropkick and falls into the ropes. Fenix with a Hotshot and he gets in Trent’s face, as does Penta. Fenix returns and ggets two, then smokes Taylor with a kick for two. Front facelock by Fenix, but Taylor punches away to break. Taylor’s charge eats boot, and Fenix flips over Taylor to try a German, but Taylor reverses.
Rising knee by Taylor into a Falcon Arrow, but he struggles with the pinning combination and only gets two. Piledriver try, but Fenix escapes. Taylor catches the double boot, but Fenix bounces them back for a headscissors to the corner. Rolling cutter gets two. Even Penta thought that was it. Taylor elbows out of a fireman’s carry, but Fenix sends him chest-first into the corner and gets a massive chop into a lucha bounce… but Taylor redirects it to Sole Food. Piledriver gets two.
And then Alex Abrahantes appears with a mic to distract Taylor, so Orange Cassidy emerges to even the sides. Penta gives a SUPERKICK to Cassidy and all heck breaks loose, and in the ring, Fenix takes advantage to do the La Majistral into a crucifix to win at 7:21. Really, guys, a distraction finish? This match deserved better. **1/4 Cassidy and Penta will face off on Dynamite.
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Not Actually Hijo Del Andre El Gigante. They hype up FTR, Sydal/Janela, and Page and Sky/Dark Order. (Author’s note, before anyone asks: FTR’s match was cut from the show for some reason. I imagine it’ll be next week. They were supposed to face Terrence and Terrell Hughes.)
Ryan Nemeth (w/JD Drake, Cezar Bononi, and Peter Avalon) (3-5) vs. Ryzin (0-2). Hey, Pretty Peter is back! I guess we don’t need Nemeth anymore, but they’ll run with him. Given how good-looking Nemeth makes himself, Ryzin is basically the opposite.
Nemeth with a waistlock takedown and he gives a cheapshot. Ryzin backs Nemeth by the hair to the corner, so Nemeth grabs Ryzin’s hair and the poor ref tries to separate them… allowing Ryzin a cheapshot. Drake is on the apron and Bononi trips Ryzin, so Nemeth misses a dropkick. In the chaos, Nemeth gets a snapmare and elbowdrop. Fireman’s carry and Nemeth works the arm before showboating.
Stomp to Ryzin, and Nemeth gets the hammerlock and handstand. The knees drop on Ryzin’s arm, and Nemeth switches to a top hammerlock. Nemeth with a Hammer Throw on Ryzin and he dances for some reason. Corner spear by Nemeth, but Ryzin follows him across the ring with a clothesline. He kicks the head off the middle corner, then slams down Nemeth. To the top, but Avalon grabs the foot, giving Nemeth enough time to get the knees up on the Swanton Bomb. Rude Awakening ends it at 3:32. Wow, you got a win over someone who’s never won before using three guys to do it. Clearly, Ryan Nemeth is the future. 1/4*
Orange Cassidy (5-0) vs. Dean Alexander. I think this might last longer than the last match of Cassidy’s I reviewed. And here’s hoping he beats Penta on Wednesday – the Best Friends keep gaining momentum and then it goes nowhere. I wonder if they’re sleeping on something big here… and this is after Orange’s win over Jericho. When did Dean Alexander get a fur coat in his outfit? He throws it at Cassidy, who half-heartedly kicks the coat out of the ring. So Orange throws his jean jacket at Alexander’s feet.
The armpad is on at the bell, which is as serious as Orange ever gets. Alexander shoves him down when the hands are headed to the pockets. Cassidy puts THE HANDS IN THE POCKETS while still down, so Alxanders picks him up only for Cassidy to get a dropkick and kip-up. Cassidy goes over a back body drop attempt and nails the Orange Punch to win at 1:01. I mean, it was longer, but not much. NR
Backstage, Nemeth celebrates the win and having Peter Avalon back… but JD Drake is absent. He emerges wearing the clothing from last week and says he can make it work. Bononi doesn’t believe it while Avalon wants the spin to see the whole of it.Nemeth asks for Avalon’s thoughts, and he thinks that one unbuttoned button should do it. Drake wants to go to the club to celebrate. Pinkies in – you too, JD – and we’re ready to go (although Bononi still isn’t thrilled with it).
The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) (3-1) vs. Liam Gray and Adrian Alanis (debut). “Anthony’s back, everybody been askin / Knocking you out like your name is Ben Askren.” “You young boys couldn’t touch my jock / Get on your knees and” Bowens cuts him off right there. “Get on your knees and pray! That’s the line!”
Bowens and Gray start. Lockup, and Bowens just throws Gray down. Forearm to Gray, and he kicks away in the corner. Bowens with a big chop, but Gray goes up and over and lands a dropkick. Bowens moves Gray to the apron and Hotshots him down. Caster in, and it’s a double sweep into an elbowdrop into a legdrop. Caster refuses the cover and pounds away. He hooks a camel clutch sleeper, but Gray slips out and fights to break until Caster gets a snapmare and keeps pounding. Bowens in, and it’s a double suplex to get Bowens two. Bowens goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY before bringing Caster in to take over.
Caster with a cravate, and Gray finally breaks with a jawjacker. He escapes a clothesline try and ties Caster up into a pumphandle suplex, hot tag Alanis. He runs over Caster with clotheslines and gets a spinebuster, but Bowens kicks him in the gut only for Alanis to do a Sling Blade backbreaker for two. Gray returns, but Bowens escapes a suplex and throws them together. Rolling elbow to Alanis, and Gray’s hit with Acclaim to Fame to end it at 5:05. Bowens needed to work off some ring rust, but all things considered, the other team did okay. *1/4
Backstage, Alex Reynolds tries to hype up Alan Angels. Angels tries to prove he can be John… by doing John’s lines for him. Reynolds says it’s not about catchphrases and we have to win the match. Their opponents are Scorpio Sky (who got the brass ring) and Ethan Page (who debuted on Pay-Per-View)… but they’ve done nothing since. Reynolds corrects Angels: they’ve whined since. And tonight, the Dark Order will give them something to cry about.
Nick Comoroto (w/QT Marshall, Aaron Solow, and Anthony Ogogo) (6-4) vs. VSK (0-2). Comoroto picks up the steps as he did before and puts them on the stage so Marshall can sit on them and watch.
VSK dropkicks Comoroto as he enters and tries to crossbody him, but Comoroto with the catch and slam. The jacket comes off, then he clubs VSK into a gooey paste. A back elbow in the corner, then a slam. VSK tries to chop Comoroto, then stops a blind charge and lands forearms. Jawjacker and dropkick, but he runs into a clothesline from Comoroto. Marshall calls for the finish, and Comoroto gives him the military press powerslam to finish VSK at 1:48. This would be much more fun to watch if we weren’t constantly cutting to QT. NR Marshall wants another one, and Comoroto obliges.
Spotlight on Leyla Hirsch. She was born in Russia, but was adopted at age 8 by an American family. It was an adjustment, but she was given everything by loving parents. Class was tough for her at first, but sports gave her the success and the passion. There were no sports for her in Russia, so she was able to have fun in the US. She discovered wrestling at age 14, and she was immediately hooked. She knew what she wanted to do with her life.
She asked her parents what to do, and they told her to do amateur stuff first. Hirsch was on both the boys’ and girls’ teams, and it was the hardest sport she ever had. She wasn’t sure she belonged, but she proved it to herself and her team. Wrestling gave her the mindset not to give up during training. In her senior year, a scholarship to college seemed her destiny, but she met a pro wrestler who got her into it. And as soon as she got in she knew she belonged. Hirsch is the underdog at 4’11, but she doesn’t see herself that way – her success has made her feel like the person to beat.
It’s just been 3 years, and already she’s wrestled around the world, in Germany and Japan, before AEW came along. Her tour of Japan was cut short due to the pandemic, but she chose to stay in shape so that if the opportunity came, she’d be ready. It came, and she was. She’s not here to show off her body; she’s here to win. When she saw the graphic, it was proof to her it was all worth it. Her style is different from everyone else’s – and with it, her attitude. She’s been a fighter her whole life, and nothing will keep her down. If you keep selling her short, you’ll see why she’s legit.
Diamante and Amber Nova (first time teaming) vs. Leyla Hirsch (7-3) and Ryo Mizunami (9-1). Diamante has wins and Nova doesn’t, so there’s an off-chance of a first win. Then again, considering who got the spotlight, maybe not. They both have the Aniki sunglasses and shoulderblock each other to fire each other up.
Hirsch and Nova start. Hirsch with a takedown out of her opponent’s headlock, then keeps the ride for the one-count. She maintains back control, then switches to an armlock to bring in Ryo with an elbow. Ryo tosses Nova to Diamante and wants the tag, which she gets. Ryo pushes Diamante to the ropes, but during the separation, Diamante goes to the eyes, then the throat. Forearms to Ryo’s chest, but she runs into a shoulderblock from Ryo. Hirsch tags in, but Diamante stops short before being double-teamed and it’s EVERYBODY INTO THE POOL.
The faces get the do-si-do on the double-whip, but Diamante recovers and suplexes Hirsch for two. Nova in, and she puts her boot up for Hirsch’s face before yanking her head-first into the buckle for two. But she covered back-first, so Hirsch spins her around and gets a gutwrench suplex. Ryo in, and everybody gets run over. Ryo breaks through a double clothesline and spears both women, then lights up Nova with a chop. Kobashi machine gun chops follow, with an exclamation point, and Hirsch tags in to land the double knees and dropkick.
Ryo armdrags Hirsch onto Nova, Diamante saves. She kicks Ryo out of the ring and gets a Shiranui on Hirsch, Ryo throws Diamante onto the pile to save. Hirsch with a fireman’s carry into the armbar to win over Nova in 4:25. Diamante attacks Hirsch after the bell, so Ryo kicks her away and I think Diamante wants another shot at one or the other. Ryo Mizunami is a national treasure. *3/4 Tony Khan (via Schiavone) announces that Hirsch and Diamante will be on Dark in eight days.
Backstage, Scorpio Sky tells Dasha to shut up and settle an argument. They don’t know their tag name. One wants “Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky”, the other wants “Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page”. Basically both want their name last. Back to the topic: Sky doesn’t underestimate anyone – Dark Order is talented, no doubt. But Sky is a savant and Page is a winner. Page has never been pinned one on one, and on top of that he’s a tag team specialist. Page adds that John Silver isn’t even there, so what great tag team is there to face two tag legends? Good luck keeping up with them.
BONUS MATCH: Tesha Price (0-6) vs. Kris Statlander (w/Best Friends) (1-0). I do wish they’d just announce all the matches ahead of time. Price is dancing to her music as she’s in the ring. Statlander boops her friends as she heads to the ring. She’s facing Penelope Ford on Wednesday, so this may just be a warm-up.
Stalling to start as Price yells at Taylor. Statlander with a side headlock takedown and she spins Price around on the mat. Statlander with a snapmare and she tries to boop Price, who shrieks at her to get away – even Schiavone notes how loud Price is. Price swats her away, so Statlander gets the goozle. Price breaks it and gets a dropkick before sending her into the ropes. Statlander catches her with a powerslam, but a blind charge misses.
Price tries a handspring, but Statlander catches her and German suplexes her into the middle buckle. Roundhouse kick misses, and Price gets one of her own before running into an STO backbreaker. Big Bang Theory ends it at 2:27. Great, they’re making her shriekiness her gimmick – was Iron Mike Sharpe that much of an influence? 1/2* The Friends pose with Statlander after the match in a modified group hug, then Trent and Statlander do mutual trust falls to each other. Wight notes no one does that with him.
Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky (3-0) vs. Dark Order (Alex Reynolds and Alan Angels) (first time teaming). They use Sky’s music, he gets to get the name last. Schiavone notes that they’re trying to get in the crosshairs of Sting and Darby Allin. Vance, Uno, and Colt come out with them, but none of them stay at ringside.
Reynolds and Sky start. Sky ducks a lockup and acts like he accomplished something. Lockup, and Reynolds with the side headlock. Sky reverses to a waistlock takedown and walks over Reynolds before wiping his feet on the mat. Reynolds doesn’t follow up when Sky turns his back to Reynolds, but this time Reynolds ducks Sky’s lockup and mocks Sky. Sky charges into an armdrag, and they criss-cross until Reynolds floats over on an armdrag attempt into a crucifix for two. Another armdrag and lock by Reynolds, with Sky trying to break via the hair. Sky grabs the ropes before cheap shotting Reynolds.
Page is tagged in, but Reynolds clocks Page and tags in Angels. Double drop toe hold, and Reynolds with a dropkick into a standing frog splash by Angels. Sky gets tripped inot the ropes, so Angels lands This Is Gonna Suck. He corners Page and gets the five-punch count-along. Dropkick by Angels gets two. Big calf kicks from Angels to Page, then a chop. Sky catches Page and takes the bullet for him, allowing Page to run over Angels. Sky in, and the two choke away on Angels in the corner. Snapmare by Sky and a facewash, then a punch and another facewash. Uppercut by Sky, and Page in. Page drags Angels up, but Angels fights back with another calf kick. He runs into a powerslam by Page, who glares down at Angels before slowly cutting off the tag and throwing him back into his corner.
Sky in, and he slugs away on Angels as Page has a boot choke. Sky toys with Angels, then gets a backbreaker and stretch. Angels knees out of it, but Sky holds the ankle to stop the hot tag. Page in to stomp away as Angels favors his knee. Backbreaker by Page, and he looks for the Ego’s Edge. Angels armdrags out of it, but Sky stops the hot tag… only for Angels to catch him with a big boot. Angels with a discus lariat and finally it’s the hot tag to Reynolds. Big boot to Sky, a running back elbow and spiral uppercut to Page, and Reynolds gets the dropkick and kip-up before diving onto Sky. Back in, big right cross to Page, then a swinging neckbreaker gets two.
Page slaps Reynolds, but Angels tags in and gets a Shiranui, Sky saves. Reynolds is dumped, so Sky boots Angels to take advantage of the numbers. Ego’s Edge try #2, but Angels jack-knifes him for two. Reynolds and Sky fight on the outside, but Page flips Angels out of the Wing Snapper only to run into a boot. Angels goes up, but Sky drops him on the top buckle, and now the Ego’s Edge connects for the pin at 9:56. Very good indie tag match. **1/2
Nyla Rose (6-2) and Madi Wrenckowski (3-2) (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. Big Swole (6-0) and Red Velvet (11-2). Before you ask, KiLynn King is in the crowd. EXCUSE ME! Vickie, as is her thing, abuses Justin Roberts and does the intro on her own… although she calls Madi irrelevant and says introducing her is her disgusting honor. Why is Madi doing this again? Given how Nyla orders her around during the entrance, maybe she’s wondering the same thing. Swole has a new shorter cut, losing her braids.
Velvet and Nyla start. Velvet with a running dropkick at the bell, but Nyla shoves her away after that and Swole comes in. Swole kicks away, landing an enzuigiri, then goes for the Brisco cradle for two. Nyla, more angry than hurt, hears Madi demanding a tag, so she gives Madi the tag and throws her into the ring. Lockup, and Swole gets a snapmare and soccer kick. Swole knocks Madi down and follows with a hiptoss and uppercut to the back, bringing in Velvet. Velvet with a single-leg dropkick and she sends Madi to the corner, kicking away and getting the stir it up boot choke. Madi sends Velvet into the corner, though, and works her over with a forearm, chop, elbow combo. Wasteland by Madi gets one. Nyla demands the tag, but Madi says not yet… and walks into a 540 kick. Nyla punishes Madi with a Beast Bomb and walks off, giving Velvet the win at 3:03. Swole and Velvet, heroes and role models, dance over Madi’s motionless body. NR – all angle
Friday, Lexi Nair will interview Sonny Kiss on Outside the Ring.
MAIN EVENT: Matt Sydal (w/Mike Sydal) (4-2) vs. Joey Janela (w/Sonny Kiss) (3-1). As a reward for their great performance last week on Elevation, the Sydals get a Tag Title Eliminator match against the Young Bucks. Which means – if they win, they get a title shot, but if they lose, they cannot get a title shot until the gold changes hands. Janela sees a 500-pounder at commentary and decides not to praise Stupid Sexy Sonny Kiss the way he sometimes does.
Lockup, and Janela and Sydal exchange armlocks, with Sydal grounding Janela. Janela slides under Sydal to reverse to a front facelock, but Sydal switches back to a front facelock and cartwheels while in it. Janela escapes into a top wristlock, but Sydal with a modified armdrag and he gets a reverse headlock. He switches to a spinning toe hold, then floats over to a bow-and-arrow, but Janela falls on top for one. WRESTLING! Both men respect the other before going for the knucklelock.
Janela gains control and rolls through, but Sydal reverses to a keylock before taking Janela down. Janela escapes to the apron for a timeout, with Sydal letting him back in. Janela with a waistlock, but Sydal gets the drop toehold into a Mutalock. Janela makes the ropes. Sydal flips through an armdrag try and gets a double-limb lock on Janela, holding his entire right side. Again Janela gets to the ropes. Hammer Throw and elbow by Sydal, but Janela reverses and gets a corner clothesline and back suplex for two. Snapmare by Janela and an elbowdrop, but a second one misses. Sydal wants a moonsault, but Janela catches him with a cradle for one. Sydal with a back leg trip, and THEN the standing moonsault connects for two.
Janela and Sydal fight on the apron, with Janela getting a head kick and suplex on the Hardest Part Of The Ring. Both men got something bad out of it, though. Back in, Janela with a straight right and Hammer Throw for two. Janela with a grounded cravate on Sydal, turning it into snapmare and grounded headlock. Sydal fights to his feet, elbowing out only to get CLUBBED HARD on the back. Slam by Janela, but he showboats instead of following up. A second slam gets reversed to an armdrag, and Sydal comes back with kicks. Sydal runs into a boot from Janela, but trips Janela into the middle buckle. Sydal’s too beat up to follow up, though.
Running knee in the corner by Sydal dazes Janela and Sydal goes up, landing the Meteora for two. Janela ducks a leg lariat, but Sydal keeps running and we get a double clothesline for the double-down. Crowd is still into this match. They slug it out, with Sydal switching to a kick before both men try to chop each other dead. Sydal goes back to more kicks, but Janela blocks one and gets a right hook. Sydal escapes a suplex and gets a rising knee before running into a lariat that turns him inside out. Suplex try is reversed to a rana by Sydal (!!) and both men are down again.
Sydal with left forearms to take over, and he tries to dive onto Janela off the middle rope only for Janela to land the Death Valley Driver for a very close two. Crowd chants for Both These Guys. Janela goes up now, but the Heartbreak Elbow hits the knees. Standing enzuigiri and Lightning Spiral wins it at 10:52. Someone show this match to Jim Cornette so he’s forced to praise Janela as a wrestler. Fantastic face/face match. ***1/4
- Brian Cage vs Hangman Page!
- The Inner Circle and Pinnacle go face-to-face!
Well, the matches that had to be short were short, and nothing overstayed its welcome. Having two people win in under two minutes definitely helped. Leyla Hirsch getting the spotlight treatment and getting a match set up for next week is a big help. Three matches delivered greatly, as Taylor/Fenix moved the chains to the trios blowoff, Page and Sky worked greatly with Dark Order, and Joey Janela was able to keep up with Matt Sydal. I’m not sure who Madi Wrenckowski got mad backstage, but she was basically treated like a nobody after being important enough to appear on the thumbnail.
Overall, getting three Dynamite-quality matches and another great profile of a rising star makes me say this was 90 minutes well spent.
BELL-TO-BELL: 49:30 over ten matches (average time 4:57)
MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Janela/Sydal
- Matt Sydal
- Rey Fenix
- Leyla Hirsch
- Joey Janela
- Alan Angels
See you tomorrow!