The PG Era Rant for AEW Elevation Episode 8 (“Save the Blood, Show Your Guts”), May 3, 2021.
TONIGHT! Two of the toughest women on the roster face off when Abadon takes on Ryo Mizunami! Madi Wrenckowski wants to prove her worth to the person who dismissed her, Nyla Rose! HFO vs Dark Order continues as Matt Hardy teams with The Blade to face Colt Cabana and Alan Angels! Austin and Colten Gunn look to show their worth in the tag ranks as they take on Chaos Project!
PLUS: Orange Cassidy, Nick Comoroto, Red Velvet, Preston Vance, Private Party, Miro, FTR (hopefully for real this time), Thunder Rosa, QT Marshall, and JYAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHN Moxley!
From the AEW Arena.
Opening match: Miro (5-0) vs. Will Allday (0-2). Not even getting the scan of the crowd here. This is what we call “bad news” for Will. Which is too bad, because he looked pretty good in his previous matches, but this will be a little tougher.
Lockup, and Miro shoves Allday away. Miro laughs at Allday’s gumption for wanting to continue, then throws him down again. Allday gets a rising knee and tries to pound, but one forearm floors him. Miro whips in Allday, who goes under Miro and lands a dropkick, then pounds him before hitting an enzuigiri. Stinger Splash is caught into an overhead suplex. Miro chokes him around the ropes before slugging him down and stomping away. Hammer throw levels Allday, and Miro just sneers at him. Knee to the gut doubles Allday over, and another sends him crawling for distance. Roundhouse kick and Miro wants a reaction. Avalanche in the corner and Miro wants champions.
Another avalanche and Allday can’t even stand. The third one misses, however, and Allday low bridges Miro out. Baseball slide is followed by a tope suicida that doesn’t quite hit, then a second one that Miro catches. But Allday slides out the back and sends him into the ringpost. To the top, but Miro charges to send Allday over, then Allday leaps off the middle rope straight into a SUPERKICK. Game Over ends it at 4:32. They see something in Allday given how they’re letting him get in some offense against the stars. I don’t blame them. 3/4* Miro yells at the camera to demand the champions again.
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and The Original G (Tony’s words, not mine). Blood, guts, guts, blood, guts, blood. And then we talk about the HFO/Dark Order match tonight.
Abadon (5-1) vs. Ryo Mizunami (10-1). Wait, really? I’d have made this the main event. It’s easily the most intruiging match of the night. Abadon crawls to the ring after spitting blood on the entrance way. “Aniki” is now Mizunami’s nickname. Wight says both women have unique personalities in what is probably the understatement of the night.
Ryo runs away from a charging Abadon and psyches herself up. Lockup, and Abadon pushes Ryo to the ropes before a break. Ryo knocks Abadon over on a pair of tackles, but Abadon sits up and screams, causing Ryo to run like hell to the outside. Back in, Ryo with a running kick and chops to the corner, leading to the Kobashi machine gun and exclamation point. But something freaks Ryo out and she hesitates, allowing Abadon to bite Ryo’s arm. Ryo comes back and tries a slam, but Abadon with a reverse X Factor and she pounds away. She sends Ryo’s head to the mat over and over while screaming at no one in particular.
Corner clothesline by Abadon, then double knees in the corner. She chokes Ryo in the corner and screams at the ref when asked to break. Snapmare and low crossbody gets two. Standing triangle by Abadon, but Ryo elbows out and fires off forearms. Big clothesline knocks her down, and Abadon can’t just sit up this time. Clothesline against the ropes and legdrop gets Ryo two, brother. Leg lariat to the back gets another two. Ryo tries to keep calm as she picks Abadon up, getting her own side bearhug, but now Abadon breaks.
Lariat by Ryo gets two. Ryo waits for Abadon to get up, but this time Abadon catches Ryo coming in with a lariat of her own for two. She screams straight in Ryo’s ear before picking her up, but Ryo goes for a Death Valley Driver. Abadon slips out the back and tries Cemetery Drive, but Ryo keeps a wide base and slides around into a Saito suplex. Spear by Ryo and she goes up, but Abadon sits up to avoid it. The fact that Ryzin of all people is cheering Abadon on in the crowd is neat synergy. Abadon hooks Cemetery Drive (despite Ryo fighting it) to win at 7:50. Yup, this was really fun. **1/4
GYAAAAAAAN Moxley!! (#3 men, 31-2-1 overall) vs. Andrew Palace (0-2). Justin Roberts really enjoys extending John’s name, doesn’t he? Palace has a mile-wide grin before the match, and to be fair, I’d be excited to face Mox if I had the chance.
Palace is ready and willing to go, even if Moxley is casually strolling in the circle. Lockup, and Moxley gets a hammerlock into a headlock takedown. We go International~!, with Moxley running Palace over before going to the stage and doing snow angels. Back in, Moxley works the arm and trips down Palace. He offers Palace a free headlock, which Palace gleefully takes, so Moxley reverses before running into an armdrag and dropkick.
Moxley slaps Palace off his feet for being too celebratory, then delivers crossface blows in the ropes. Snapmare, then some Yes Kicks, and Palace is struggling to breathe. Palae goes out the back of a brainbuster and gets an enzuigiri, then a running uppercut and back suplex. But Moxley pops right back up with a lariat and piledriver. Falcon Arrow into a sleeper and Palace is out at 3:08. Moxley seems bored when he’s on these shows, but hey, he is a main eventer – Dark kind of IS beneath him. 1/2*
Preston Vance (#5 men, 13-2) vs. D3 (0-1 singles). Hey, wow, D3 gets his own entrance video! I wonder if that’s a sign he’s on his way up in the world. I mean, not tonight, obviously, but in the near future you have to wonder if he’s going to be on the winning end. Don’t expect to see Vance stay in the Top 5 after his loss to Darby Allin on Dynamite.
Lockup, and Vance pushes D3 into the corner. D3 kicks him away, so Vance gives him a massive forearm and wheelbarrow slingshot suplex. D3 goes to the apron to call time, so Vance suplexes him back in with a stalling suplex (10 count, of course). D3 is on the apron again, this time getting a roundhouse to Vance, then comes at him with an uppercut in the corner. Vance reverses a whip to the corner and clotheslines D3 twice before getting the corner pump kick. D3 with an uppercut to stop Vance, but he leaps into the SPINEBUSTER OF DOOM. Full nelson finishes at 1:57. Yeah, when getting an entrance is your highlight for a night, it’s a bad night. NR
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Orange Cassidy (w/Kris Statlander) (#2 men, 9-1) vs. VSK (0-3). VSK, by the way, stands for Very Strong Kicker. Supposedly. If Cassidy is up to #2, it’s an indication they may actually pull the trigger on making him a big deal. Heaven knows the Best Friends in general and Cassidy in particular has earned it.
Cassidy with a waistlock to throw VSK in the corner, and he catches a kick only for VSK to get an uppercut and dropkick. Blind charge is blocked, and Cassidy walks over VSK out of the corner and HANDS IN POCKETS. VSK charges into a Beach Break try, but VSK sunset flips out and kicks away. They criss-cross, but VSK misses a clothesline before catching Cassidy, who reverses to the tornado DDT and kip-up. The elbow pad comes off, but VSK catches Cassidy in a C-4 and tries a piledriver. Cassidy reverses to the Beach Break to finish at 1:51. Hey, if you’re only getting two minutes, go 90 miles an hour when you do it. NR Everyone raises everyone’s hand to celebrate.
The Hughes Brothers (Terrell and Terrence) (0-1 in 2021) vs. FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) (w/Tully Blanchard) (#5 team, 3-0). This match was announced for last week, but they held off on it to make sure the show wasn’t overloaded. The Hughes brothers are the sons of D’Von Dudley, WWE Hall of Famer. Blanchard draws up plays for FTR during the entrance.
Wheeler and Terrell start. Lockup, and Wheeler with a headlock. Terrell tries to suplex out, but Wheeler hangs on. They exchange go-behinds, but Wheeler with a single-leg trip and he mounts Terrell to slap his head. Wheeler brings in Harwood, and they circle. Lockup, and Harwood forces Terrell into the corner and adds a gutshot. He chokes Terrell against the ropes before getting a snapmare and stomp. He stomps the hand next, then Wheeler enters for a double headbutt. A double falling headbutt gets two. Terrell escapes a slam and suplexes Wheeler, and Terrence comes in for a Poetry In Motion style headbutt on the mat.
Terrence with a senton for two. Harwood quicky gets the tag and clotheslines Terrence, working him over in the corner. Snap suplex and lightning legdrop follow, and he walks over Terrence to bring in Wheeler. Wheeler with a suplex of his own for two. Terrence blocks a suplex and reverses it, and both men are down. Hot tag Terrell, and he runs Harwood over before getting a back suplex, then a powerslam to Wheeler. Avalanche is sidestepped, but Terrell puts on the breaks and gets a lariat for two. Ripcord clothesline misses and Harwood gets a brainbuster to regain control. Spike piledriver connects to end it at 4:58. Fun while it lasted. *1/4
Lexy Nair’s next guest on Outside the Ring: Nyla Rose.
Nyla Rose (w/Vickie Guerrero) (6-2, #4 women) vs. Madi Wrenckowski (3-2). So the story is your straightforward “New name gets tested as a partner for a heel, fails test, turns face” bit, and this is the blowoff of the last few weeks. Not enough for Vickie to abuse Justin Roberts this week; she also bribes the ref pre-match. (For the record, the ref turns around and hands the money to the ringside attendants.)
Madi charges Rose and fires away right at the bell, adding a low dropkick and a second dropkick to floor Rose. She adds knees to the gut, but pauses to swing at Vickie, allowing Rose a release German suplex. Madi keeps fighting, but runs into a clothesline. Rose choke throws her into the corner and adds an avalanche back elbow and lariat. She deposits Madi on the top rope and goes up, dropping the guillotine knee to… pick Madi up at two. Beast Bomb ends it for real at 1:55. Congratulations, AEW, you’ve made me feel sorry for Madi Wrenckowski. NR
Nick Comoroto (7-4) vs. Baron Black (0-9). I knew I forgot a name last week when I was listing people I wanted to see get their first win: Baron Black. Comoroto, of course, picks up the steps for Marshall to watch from. Cody vs Marshall is on Dynamite, and you have to wonder how many people will be at ringside then.
QT looks at his watch at the bell, and Comoroto throws Black into the corner on the lockup. Black takes the arm, but Comoroto slugs him down with forearms and gets a crossface blow. He slams Black’s head into the corner, then adds a back elbow before glaring at the ref. Bradley beal (as Excalibur) would say by Comoroto, but Black kicks him away and gets uppercuts. He catches Comoroto’s head down and kicks, but runs into a cross-chop and is down. Black slides out of the slam and chops away on Comoroto, which just angers him. Forearms, but Comoroto catches one and yanks Black into a Kitchen Sink. Powerbomb ends it at 2:13. Black tried. 1/2* Marshall applauds slowly before the Factory heads to the back. Meanwhile, Black is attended to by trainers.
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Red Velvet (12-2, #5 women) vs. Reka Tehaka (0-1). Good to see Velvet is still in the top 5 despite her loss to Cargill. Velvet is here alone. Tehaka is Samoan, so keep an eye on any headbutts.
Lockup, and Tehaka shoves Velvet down and mocks her. Velvet with a waistlock, but Tehaka flings her off. Single-leg dropkick by Velvet, then another, and Velvet lands body blows and stomps a mudhole. Stir it up boot choke follows. Velvet charges into a big boot, though, and Tehaka hangs Velevet up on the top rope to get a pump kick. It gets one after Tehaka stalls on the cover, and yeah, I can see why that would earn a shocked face – a one-count when you were certain it was over. Tehaka with a Samoan Drop for two, and now she’s baffled.
Velvet slugs away, but Tehaka cuts it off and gets a Hammer Throw. Charge eats the post, and Velvet with running lariats to get her mojo back. Velvet drops her into the ropes and gets the double knees to follow, then the standing moonsault gets two. Notice how Velvet doesn’t show the shocked face. SUPERKICK is caught, and Tehaka with the SAMOAN HEADBUTT OF DOOM. Velvet recovers with a low kick, and the Chef’s Kiss spinkick ends it at 3:34. Experience wins out – not panicking when your moves don’t get a three. It’s the little things, you know. 3/4*
Private Party (Isaiah Kassidy and Marq Quen) (w/Matt Hardy) (3-0) vs. Duke Davis and Ganon Jones (0-1). Good to see Davis and Jones – the football guys – get a callback after they looked pretty good against the Varsity Blonds. Fun fact: much like Midas Black and Jay Lyon, they’re known as the Mane Event on the indies. And yes, I want those two teams to meet at a local show. Both Davis and Jones are 6’5, 230, according to Tony.
Davis starts against Quen. Lockup, and Davis shoves Quen down. Kassidy psyches him back up while Hardy offers advice, and Quen grabs the long hair of Davis and tags in Kassidy. This draws Jones in and the referee quickly calms it down. Kassidy slaps Davis and acts smug, which means he’s asking for a receipt. And yup, there it is, flooring Kassidy. That never gets old. Kassidy is now nervous, so he draws in Jones to get the ref’s attention. Quen throws Davis out, and Kassidy follows with a baseball slide, then Quen adds a somersault senton.
Hardy adds a left with the ref distracted, and back in, Quen with some CLUBBERIN before bringing in Kassidy. Davis with a tree slam try on Quen, but Kassidy cuts out the knees and Quen gets a standing moonsault. Kassidy gets two off of it. Kassidy with the front facelock, but Davis flapjacks Kassidy, hot tag Jones. He beats up Kassidy and gets a spinning moonsault onto both guys off the top (!!), getting two on Kassidy. Quen stops Kassidy from being suplexed, allowing Kassidy to make a sunset flip try. Quen off the top to complete the sunset flip (with the tights) for the pin at 3:58, while Matt Hardy holds Davis’ foot. Yes, Davis and Jones should get a couple more looks. Fun little story in this one of Private Party being overmatched but using heel tactics to even it up and get the W. *1/4
Thunder Rosa (#2 women, 8-2) vs. Willow Nightingale (debut). All right, another person I’ve seen in person! Nightingale is a mainstay in the Northeast, often teaming with Solo Darling as The Bird and The Bee. Everyone has nothing but great things to say about her.
Code of Honor starts us off. Lockup, and Rosa with a waistlock. Nightingale reverses, Rosa reverses to a hammerlock, then a headlock, then back to the hammerlock, then a single-leg trip, then a modified STF. Rosa floats over to a front facelock, but Nightingale escapes and gets wrist control. Slam is blocked and Rosa with a cradle for two. Rosa trips Nightingale into the middle rope and gets the Austin straddle, getting one. We HIT THE CHINLOCK, with Rosa adding 12-6 elbows to the gut, allowing her a two-count.
Nightingale tries to fight back, but Rosa drops her and sends her into the corner. Big chop in the corner gets two. Rosa keeps the advantage, but Nightingale fights her way up and floors Rosa with a big boot. Forearm in the corner, then a cartwheel to stop a Hammer Throw followed by a SUPERKICK for one. Hip attack in the corner, but a second charge misses. Rosa with a Mizline and double knees, which sets up the shotgun dropkick. Butterfly suplex follows for two.
Nightingale fights back with chops and they slug it out, with Rosa getting a sole kick. Rosa with a spinning hangman’s neckbreaker for two. She tries a German, but Nightingale fights out and gets a one-armed Angle Slam! She goes up, but Rosa follows and cuts her off. She grabs Nightingale off the corner into the Fire Thunder Driver for the win at 4:48. Tougher match than Rosa was expected to have – Willow looked pretty good there! *1/4
QT Marshall (10-0) (w/His Factory) vs. Dillon McQueen (debut). Believe it or not, the enhancement talent isn’t randomly chosen; McQueen was the standout of the most recent tryout show. McQueen doing what appears to be a cross-dresser gimmick, complete with tiara. McQueen specifically requested this match in order to uphold the honor of those who chose Cody over QT.
They jaw at each other to start, and Marshall slaps McQueen. He offers a receipt, then gives another slap before McQueen can reply. McQueen has had enough and fires off forearms like crazy to corner Marshall, but a blind charge eats boot. Lariat by Marshall, and he chops McQueen hard in the corner. Back elbow off the ropes, then Marshall chokes McQueen against the middle rope and fires a right hand. Marshall looks out to the crowd before getting a headlock and punching the orbital bone.
Commentary is disgusted with Marshall as McQueen is bleeding. McQueen slaps Marshall and pulls himself up, getting more forearms and a clothesline. Stinger Splash in the corner and a sole kick, but Solow trips McQueen and the Diamond Cutter… leads to Marshall picking McQueen up at two. Cross Rhodes instead ends it at 3:01. Commentary calls everything Marshall did uncalled-for. Meanwhile, Comoroto sets up the steps and he and Solow set up McQueen so Marshall can piledriver him on the steps. What a bastard Marshall is. 3/4*
Chaos Project (9-11) vs. Gunn Club (Austin and Colten) (2-0 as a duo). Oh, I hope Tony and Paul have been watching Dark and know what they’re in for, because as basic as Luther is, he and Serpentico have a neat idea of “teamwork” that is entertaining. For me, anyway. No sign of Billy, who is still resting from the attack on Dynamite.
Luther and Austin start. Austin does the finger-guns to Luther, who… sells it? Sort of? Luther points to his third eye and they yell at each other. Shoving match follows, then Austin with an armdrag and Serpentico tags in. He gets hit with a drop toe hold, and the Gunns work the arm as Colten comes in. Blind charge in the corner eats elbow, then boot, then Serpentico can’t get anything on a tilt-a-whirl before being hiptossed. Austin back in, and he gets a running uppercut as Colten tags back in to slam dunk on Serpentico.
Running neckbreaker by Colten, and Serpentico desperately runs to Luther to tag him in. Austin wants him, so the Gunns tag and Austin gets a waistlock. Luther throws him into the corner and forearms him down, adding a chop. Austin goes up and over, then runs the ropes as both men miss their offense and Austin slides out. Austin with a shot to Serpentico on the apron, but Luther kicks Austin down to the floor. Back in and Luther with more kicks and a standing boot choke. Luther says he has five, then slams Austin.
Serpentico in, and Luther bulldogs Serpentico onto Austin, which Serpentico approves. He adds three or four more shots of Serpentico’s head into Austin’s gut, which Serpentico doesn’t approve. It still gets two. Serpentico with the fish hook of the nose and he slugs away, and Luther comes back in to throw Serpentico into Austin before crushing both men. Luther adds a kneedrop for two. Luther chokes Austin against the middle rope and shrieks to the camera before standing over Austin and stomping away. Facebuster by Luther, and Serpentico tags in. Luther with a slam of Austin, and Serpentico with a double-jump kneedrop for two.
We HIT THE CHINLOCK, but Austin fights out only for Serpentico to drop the sledges. DDT try, but Austin slumps down and gets the waist. Serpentico tags Luther in instead, so Luther grabs Serpentico’s mask and slams him down, completing the DDT. Austin pulls himself up, so Luther with the three-point corner clothesline and Serpentico is tagged in. Charge eats Austin’s boots and Luther is disposed of, hot tag Colten. Clotheslines all around! Back and forth Stinger Splashes by Colten into the tilt-a-whirl slam, then a dropkick to Luther with some serious hangtime.
Austin returns, but Serpentico puts on the brakes and kicks Colten. Luther drags Austin out while Serpentico dropkicks Colten and boxes him against the ropes, but Austin trips Serpentico and slingshots in with the Quick Draw. Colt 45 gets the pin at 8:57. I’d said in the past I wanted to see the Gunn Club in a more competitive environment to see what they were made of, and they looked pretty good in this match. **
Matt Hardy (7-3) and The Blade (8-2) vs. Colt Cabana (9-2) and Alan Angels (7-4). I’ll save myself the trouble and just note everyone is involved in the entrance. Hardy is subbing for the injured Butcher here. Which is too bad, because they’re building to a very interesting 10-man tag if Butcher was fully healthy. Dark Order makes it clear: if you’re staying, so are we. Uno, Stu, Kassidy, Quen, and Bunny stick around.
Blade charges the Dark Order and gets tossed at the bell. But he returns and tosses Colt as Angels gets hit with a double back elbow. Hardy works the arm after throwing Angels into the corner, adding shoulder shots to the arm. Blade in, and he drops an elbow on Angels’ arm. Big chops in the corner lift Angels off his feet, then a running chop. Angels goes up and over on a charge, getting a lariat and going ground and pound. Colt tags in, and they get a double arm twist into a double punch. Colt chops away on Blade in the corner, but misses a double chop and Blade takes over. Colt throws him away, but runs into a slam.
Colt kicks Blade with his heels from the ground, then takes him down by the arm before throwing him into the Dark Order corner. Angels in, and he kicks away on Blade. Angels with the five-punch count-along, and he tags Colt in for a whip into a Bionic Elbow for two. Colt rolls Blade through off a Hammer Throw try, then adds another elbow before catching Hardy trying to cheat from the apron. It works, as Blade kicks Colt outside and the HFO mugs him as Angels argues with the ref. Back in, Blade gets two.
Hardy in, and he gets shoulders to the gut in the corner. Elbow to the back of the head follows, then a standard elbowdrop for two. Blade in, and he and Matt double-team Colt before Blade steps on his head. Blade works the eyes of Colt, then Hardy returns only for Colt to flip Blade away. Hardy hastily jumps off the ropes and cuts off the hot tag, and both men work over Colt. Hardy (the legal man) gets a front facelock on Colt, who tries to push Matt so he can get the tag. Matt sends Colt into the HFO corner and Blade is in to work the kidneys. Snapmare by Blade and we HIT THE CHINLOCK. Colt fights out and slugs away on Blade, who rushes Colt into a neutral corner and puts him up top. Colt slugs and headbutts Blade down, getting the Flying Apple off the ropes(!).
HOT tag Angels, who disposes of Hardy and fires away on Blade with lariats. Enzuigiri to Blade and he’s hung up, leading to This Is Gonna Suck. Wing Snapper is set up, but Blade blocks. Angels catches Blade with the C-4, but Hardy tagged himself in and gets the Side Effect for two. Hardy signals for the Twist of Fate, but Angels shoves Hardy into a Bionic Elbow off the apron, and Angels gets a spin kick and assisted moonsault for two.
Both partners are tired, but Bunny gets on the apron and Private Party yanks Angels away. Cabana dives onto Private Party and Uno and Stu get in their licks to chase them off. Meanwhile, Angels is up top, but Blade shoves him off (Colt is busy fighting Kassidy), and the Leech by Hardy wins at 9:31. The HFO runs off when Uno and Stu realize what happened and charge back. This needs to end in a ten-man when Butcher and Silver are healthy. **1/4
Hardy doesn’t do it for me compared to everyone else in this HFO/Dark Order feud, but he’s able to keep up his own in tag matches and this shows it. There was a lot of good character and story advancement tonight, whether involving Abadon getting the big win, Nyla Rose disposing of Madi, QT Marshall being a huge jerk, or the HFO/Dark Order feud continuing and still not having what I would call a decisive winner yet. The only shame of the latter is that it’s mostly on B shows – you’d think they’d allow some of it onto Dynamite given how well the performers have done. Oh well.
BELL-TO-BELL: 62:13 over fourteen matches (average time 4:27)
MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Abadon/Ryo
- Ryo Mizunami
- Duke Davis and Ganon Jones
- Gunn Club
- Matt Hardy
See you tomorrow!