AEW ELEVATION: May 17, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Elevation Episode 10 (“Double Digit Matches for a Double Digit Show”), May 17, 2021.

TONIGHT! KiLynn King invades the Hardy Family Office as she faces The Bunny! Lance Archer hosses it up with Bear Bronson! Mike Sydal gets another chance at Team Taz as he goes against Brian Cage! Private Party continues the war with the Dark Order as they face Alex Reynolds and Alan Angels! It’s Family against Factory as Dustin Rhodes takes on Aaron Solow! And Danny Limelight tries to give Royce Isaacs his first win, but it’s a tall task as they face Eddie Kingston and GYAAAAAAAAAAAAAN MOXLEY!

PLUS: The Acclaimed, Leyla Hirsch, Penta El Cero Miedo, Ethan and Sky, Tay Conti, QT Marshall, Joey Janela, Thunder Rosa, and Jungle Boy Perry!

From the AEW Arena.

Opening match: Adrian Alanis (0-4) vs. Jungle Boy (w/Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt) (5-1). Okay, so unlike prior episodes where there’d be a premiere watch, there was none of that and I had to wait until the show was uploaded in full. PANIC MODE ON. Not cool, AEW. Warn us if you’re doing that. Luchasaurus is back after missing last week. Also, Perry lost 10 pounds since last week. Don’t ask.

Crowd keeps singing after the bell, which is awesome. Lockup, and Perry with the arm control, reversed back and forth into a headlock by Perry. He cartwheels over a drop-down and catches Alanis in a side headlock. Alanis stacks him for one. Perry goes up and over Alanis, then lands a lucha armdrag and ropewalk springboard into another lucha armdrag. Dropkick and kip-up follow. Big chop to Alanis, and Perry follows up with a step-up rana. Alanis bails and gets nailed with the tope suicida.

Back in, Alanis absorbs a big chop before getting forearms and a hairpull slam. Perry fights back up, but Alanis comes back with a Sling Blade backbreaker. Alanis boxes away in the corner, then adds a back elbow and corner clothesline. Suplex follows, getting two. Alanis runs into a back elbow, and Perry gets a corner uppercut and lariat to fire up. Blind charge eats boot, but Perry catches Alanis and gets an overhead suplex into the buckles, then a release German suplex and back elbow to the head. Snare Trap wins it at 3:57. Marko kicks Alanis out. Does he think he’s Brodie Jr or something? *1/4

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and A Very Large Interviewer – he’ll sit down with Ryan Nemeth later. They mention QT Marshall will be in action, plus talk about Private Party/Dark Order.

Aaron Solow (w/ The Factory) (5-12) vs. Dustin Rhodes (3-1). Anthony Ogogo will face Austin Gunn on Wednesday to build up to his match with Cody Rhodes at Double or Nothing. QT gets his stairs seat. Pretty sure Dustin has been wrestling longer than Solow’s been alive.

We start hot with a slugfest, and Dustin clotheslines Solow out of the ring. Another clothesline on the outside, and he whips Solow into the barricade before tossing him into the crowd. Dustin follows him and chops him against the fan seats twice, then gives him an uppercut before Solow throws him into the barricade. He charges into what should be a powerslam, but Solow overshoots and it looks like an armdrag. Headlock punch by Dustin, then he tosses Solow in (what a concept) before Comoroto threatens him. Back in, Dustin sends Solow into the turnbuckle and follows him, but Solow pulls himself up by the ref and Comoroto pulls Dustin off the ropes. The ref may not have seen it, but she knows darn well what happened and ejects the rest of the Factory. Solow, after being upset (and not without reason), attacks Dustin on the outside and sends him into the barricade, then the apron.

FINALLY, we fight in the ring with ground punches by Solow. Dustin rolls him up for two, though, so Solow delivers a back elbow to the throat. Solow chokes him with the bottom rope, but Dustin fights back only to get clubbed and fall into the middle rope. Solow chokes him over the middle rope before delivering a chop and a Hammer Throw. Solow toys with Dustin before letting him get to his feet, which allows Dustin to fight back and get a back elbow when he blocks a second Hammer Throw. After the double-down, it’s a slugfest, with Dustin winning and getting clotheslines to cue the comeback.

BACK body drop follows, then the kneeling uppercut and a much better powerslam, for two. Running bulldog is signaled, but Solow pushes him off and gets a SUPERKICK. Dustin recovers with a big boot and spinkick, then the Code Red for two. Final Cut is escaped and Solow gets a 540 kick and Exploder suplex. He goes up top, and the double-stomp gets two.

Solow grabs the bullrope that Dustin came to the ring with, but Dustin ducks the swing and gets the flying bulldog… only to pull him up at two. Now Dustin gets the bullrope, and after a long tease of using it, just does the Final Cut instead to win at 9:18. I could’ve lived without the bullrope silliness – if Dustin is going to tease using it, he should lose. **1/4 Dustin sets up for Shattered Dreams, but Comoroto returns and slams the cowbell into Dustin’s head. Lee Johnson arrives with a chair to make sure there’s no more damage.

Danny Limelight and Royce Isaacs (first time teaming) vs. Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston (3-0). It’ll be interesting to see how much offense Limelight gets, and it’s also worth noting that Isaacs usually has a different tag partner. Moxley is back to his old music, meanwhile. Mox/Kingston will face The Acclaimed on Wednesday.

Limelight and Kingston start. Limelight tries to use leg kicks to get an opening, but Kingston blocks and clubs Limelight down. Chop misses, and Limelight with an armdrag and casadora armdrag. Dropkick doesn’t knock Kingston over, so he gives Limelight a Steinerline. Moxley tries to calm Kingston down, but Kingston powerbombs Limelight instead. He tosses Limelight to the corner, and Moxley and Isaacs take over (Kingston: “You think you can do better?”).

Isaacs with a waistlock takedown, but Moxley reverses to a hammerlock. Isaacs with a drop toe hold and amateur ride, but Moxley reverses to a kimura. Isaacs with a waistlock takedown into a headlock and low dropkick. Fisherman’s suplex gets two. Discus forearm lands and Moxley is pissed off at himself, Kingston, and anyone that moves. Moxley slaps Isaacs during a Code of Honor offer and backs Isaacs into the corner, tagging in Kingston. Both men give Kitchen Sinks to Isaacs, and Kingston with a belly-to-belly for two.

Big chops by Kingston, but Isaacs fires back only to eat more chops. Backfist to the Future misses and Isaacs gets a back suplex. Limelight in with a double-jump DDT for two. He goes up again, but lands right into a T-Bone Suplex, and here comes Moxley. Can I even call it a hot tag if there’s no drama in the match? Limelight blocks it with a pump kick, but he tries a springboard Stunner only to get caught in a rear choke. Kingston in, and the Violent Crown to Limelight and Paradigm Shift to Isaacs ends it at 4:59. Kingston says “let’s go get some beers” post-match. *1/4

Jake Roberts says it’s time to have two Mack trucks collide. He’s managing Archer to lead him to gold, but he needs someone to lead him. Archer says he’s on a mission, and it’s nothing personal to Bear Bronson. Archer then wants Miro, but it’s not for free. Archer says it’s time to do it HIS way. Nothing’s going to stop Archer from getting a hold of Miro, and then… everybody dies.

And with that…

Bear Bronson (8-5 overall) vs. Lance Archer (8-2). Bronson is 260 according to Justin Roberts, and he’s the SMALL one both in his team and in this match. This is going to get very much hosstastic. Roberts is on commentary. No pre-match murder from Archer this time, as Bronson is ready for anything Archer tries. (Roberts then says they’re extra surly because their flight was delayed for 3 hours.)

Archer sits in the corner and offers Bronson a free shot, which Bronson takes. Archer’s impressed, and they go to opposite corners as Bronson demands Archer return the favor. Archer’s right does more damage, but Bronson smiles it off. Chop by Bronson just makes Archer take his shirt off and ask for another. The second one gets Archer’s attention, and he pulls a strap off of Bronson and returns the favor. Bronson paces as Archer just stares at him, and they continue exchanging right hands, with Archer winning on the eighth try or so.

Clothesline is ducked and Bronson follows, but Archer steps behind and gets a Northern Lariat. Short-arm clothesline follows. Archer teases Bronson as the latter tries to stand, and after tanking a right, Archer sends him down again. Another chest chop by Archer and three straight locomotion running back elbows follow. It gets ONE. Archer clubs Bronson and nails cross-face blows. Blind charge in the corner misses and Bronson gets a corner clothesline and tries a suplex, but Archer gets it instead. Rainmaker is ducked, and Bronson gets a release German suplex.

Archer runs into a back elbow, but he catches the boot only to miss a clothesline. Bronson corners Archer and gets shoulders to the gut before pummeling him down. Archer is seated in the corner, so Bronson gets the Cannonball to him. Bronson is gassed as Archer takes over with a big right, but Bronson low-bridges Archer and follows him outside with a tope suicida. Back in, Bronson with a senton splash for two. Bronson wants a back suplex, but Archer elbows out and gets the goozle.

Bronson escapes, but Archer with a headlock punch to stop another back suplex try. They pound each other, with Bronson seemingly getting the upper hand only to run into a Pounce from Archer. Archer with a twisting corner splash for two. Archer with a senton of his own for two, reversed to a crucifix for two. Bronson runs into a boot stomp from Archer, and the chokeslam follows. Archer puts him on the ropes, and the Blackout ends it at 9:24. Big Meaty Men Slapping Meat. **1/2

Wight interviews Ryan Nemeth. Nemeth’s life has changed a lot since AEW called him – no details given, but he feels appreciated and valued as himself and not as a little brother. Wight praises him for making his own identity, but what does Hollywood Hunk mean? Nemeth says the Hunk part is self-evident, and then they show some of his stunt work. Nemeth thanks his Hollywood team. He says being part of the Hollywood bit has helped him in AEW. If there’s a way to make Nemeth thrive, he’s in for it.

Next: what’s the connection with the rest of the AEW team? Nemeth says every star in Hollywood has a team, and it’s the same in AEW. Everyone in the Pretty Picture play a part, but the fans can decide who does what. Wight asks what Nemeth’s strategy is. Nemeth says his goal is to become the face of AEW and the reason people watch. He knows he has to start somewhere, and Elevation and Dark are where he’s starting.

Leyla Hirsch (11-3) vs. Natalia Markova (debut). Someone start a USA chant, I dare you. Markova’s profile photo has the mask on as if she’s a femme fatale, but don’t fool yourself – she’s the SHINE Nova champion.

Lockup, and Hirsch with a hiptoss takeover but they keep connected and Markova responds in kind. Hirsch with a waistlock takedown, and Markova takes the ropes just to get a reset. We resume the lockup, with Hirsch getting the headlock takeover. She switches to a waistlock ride, but Markova elbows out and kicks away. A clothesline misses, and Hirsch with a release German. She gets a second one to fold up Markova, who falls out of the ring. Markova tries to drag Hirsch out, but Hirsch kicks Markova into the safety rail. Hirsch then whips Markova into the safety rail, then into the apron. Back in, Markova catches Hirsch with kneelifts, but Hirsch with a back suplex and running knee. Armbar ends it at 3:03. 1/2*

On Friday, Lexy Nair interviews The Butcher.

Jaylen Brandyn and Traevon Jordan (0-1) vs. Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky (#3 team, 6-0). Okay, now I got the spelling right on the enhancement team. Ethan and Sky may have lost almost as much as SCU did – I’d have expected them to be the first challengers to Sky’s former teammates had there been a title change last week.

Jordan and Ethan start (as Sky does the Sting howl in the corner). Jordan gets the crowd behind him with some strutting, then backs Ethan into the corner on a lockup. He poses, leaving himself wide open for Ethan to slug him down and drop an elbow. Corner whip is reversed, and Jordan with an avalanche and snapmare, and Brandyn comes in for a senton/legdrop combo that gets… nothing. Brandyn keeps slugging away, then speeds himself up only to be caught by Sky. The hold-up allows Ethan to run over Brandyn and knock Jordan off the apron, and Sky comes in for an elbowdrop.

Uppercut by Sky, and Brandyn eats Ethan’s boot before getting a pump kick from Ethan off the tag. Ethan taunts Brandyn by dragging him to the middle of the ring and suplexing him while glaring at Jordan. Ethan teases Brandyn about tagging, then drags him to Sky, who tags in with a boot scrape. Corner forearm by Sky, but Brandyn gets a boot and slugs back. Sky cuts him off with a knee to the gut, but Brandyn escapes a suplex and hot tag Jordan. Leg lariat to Sky and side suplex to Ethan for one. Back body drop try, but Ethan kicks him and tags Sky. An oblivious Jordan goes for a chokeslam, but Sky clips the leg and gets the heel hook to win at 4:35. Brandyn eats Ego’s Edge because that’s how Ethan Page is. 3/4*

Matt Hardy says that when people join him, they get better. Heck, have you noticed how Bunny has improved? More aggression, more violence, more dementedness… and Hardy loves it! Bunny is underestimated everywhere she goes. But have you gone down the rabbit hole? Because that’s where KiLynn King is going tonight.

And by tonight, we mean next!

KiLynn King (10-2) vs. The Bunny (w/the HFO) (14-5). King is one of those in a weird place. She keeps getting wins on Dark and Elevation, but they don’t really want to move her up to the next level on Wednesdays. Adding to it is that she doesn’t have a signature win, but has a lot of wins. It’s like the Varsity Blonds only on a lower level. Oh, right, meanwhile, the entire HFO – minus the injured Butcher – is at ringside for Bunny as if this wasn’t more lopsided.

King dodges a charge from Bunny and gives her armdrags and a slam for one. King tries to bring Bunny out of the corner, but has to let go after a stalemate and runs into a knee strike. Bunny rakes the back and kicks King down, but King ducks a right and gets a snapmare and Hennig neck snap for two. Bunny goes to the Hardy corner to get distance, but King charges with an uppercut. Bunny gets a corner whip, but misses a blind charge. She recovers to Hotshot King to the floor (where Private Party taunt King as Bunny laughs), and on the outside, Bunny tosses King into the guardrail.

King takes a swing at Quen to keep Private Party away, but they surround her and Bunny chokes King against the guardrail. Back in, it gets two. Bunny with mounted punches for two. She stomps King’s hand before choking her against the middle rope. She stomps a mudhole in King and gets a boot choke in the corner. King boxes away to try to take over, but Bunny with knee strikes. She tries a running knee smash, but King catches her in a fallaway slam for a double-down. Clotheslines cue the comeback, then a standing roundhouse kick.

Kingdom Falls is blocked as Bunny elbows out, but she runs into a spinebuster by King for two. Pump kick by King, and she wants the ten-punch countalong, but Blade gets on the apron and Hardy slips something to Bunny. Thwack, and we’re done at 5:47. Announcers don’t realize there was an international object until the camera sees it on the lfoor. Bunny kicks away on King and gives her Down the Rabbit Hole anyway, but Big Swole arrives and sends everyone running. King’s a better wrestler than Bunny. *1/2

The Acclaimed (#4 team, 15-4) vs. Kevin Bennett and Kevin Blackwood (first time teaming). “You can punch the guy who tatted you up / look at your arm, you’re blacker than us!” Not a very inspired rap if that’s the best line. Acclaimed vs. Mox/King on Wednesday. Bennett and Blackwood are both Buffalo Boys, the four kids who recovered from a near-fatal car accident and all work the Northeast together.

Blackwood and Caster start. Lockup, and Caster with a shot to the gut and he elbows the back of the head. Caster controls with a headlock, resisting Blackwood’s attempt to power out or shove him off, but Blackwood eventually breaks and gets leg kicks. He holds the leg and brings in Bennett, who stomps the knee. He trips Caster and gets a slingshot stomp and Area Code splash for two. Caster with a kneelift to take over, but Bennett flips out of a back suplex. They switch around waistlocks, but Bennett’s O’Connor Roll doesn’t count because Bowens tagged himself in.

He kicks Bennett and goes to mounted punches before knocking Blackwood off the apron. Caster back in, and a swinging neckbreaker from Bowens leads to a Caster dropkick for two, Blackwood saves. Bowens tags in, smashing Bennett down and mocking a tag attempt, then Caster returns with a snapmare. Kneedrop misses, however, and Bennett with an enzuigiri before tagging Blackwood. Running uppercut to Caster to take him out, and he strikes away on Bowens to rattle him before getting a German suplex. Blackwood is ready, but Bennett tags himself in and whips Blackwood into Caster… who misses. Bowens with a Blockbuster to make Bennett DDT Blackwood, and the Acclaim to Fame wins it at 4:43. I think AEW sees something in these two – as they should. *1/4

Sky and Ethan say they’re unbeatable. They want to celebrate – if only the camera didn’t get in the way – so instead they’ll celebrate Darby Allin losing his title. They won’t take full credit, but they think they had something to do with it – and the thing they did was make sure Sting didn’t get involved. Miro earned his shot and deserved his moment, and they stopped Sting from stepping in – they’re heroes, really! Okay, camera man, you got us on TV, now let’s go celebrate Allin’s loss.

QT Marshall (w/Nick Comoroto and Anthony Ogogo) (13-1) vs. Baron Black (0-10 singles). The last time Baron Black faced a Factory guy, it was Nick Comoroto, and that ended poorly. Marshall’s 13-1 record feels quite artificial, much like King’s, but in this case, it seems like that’s the point. Solow isn’t here because he’s already wrestled.

Lockup, and Black with a hammerlock, but Marshall gets a drop toe hold and headlock. We go International~!, ending with Black getting an overhead suplex and armdrag. He works the arm, but Marshall with chops to get out of it. Black goes up and over in the corner and gets a Manhattan Drop into a spinning chop. THE STRAPS ARE DOWN for Black, and he unleashes another one on Marshall. Uppercut follows, then Black tries an armdrag only to be stopped and chokeslammed by Marshall (who “dedicates” it to Wight).

Black is tossed outside, so Comoroto throws Black into the stage. Back in, it gets two. Marshall slugs away on Black, adding a hard right in the corner to stagger him. Dropkick by Marshall gets two. Black chops to get back into it, adding an uppercut, but Marshall catches Black’s crossbody attempt and gets something like the Lethal Combination for two. Marshall slugs Black into a seated position in the corner before yelling at the ref, but Marshall’s charge eats boot and Black starts slugging back. Uppercut and spinning chop, but rolling elbow is ducked and Marshall floors him. Black bounces back up to get the comeback, getting an atomic drop into a Backstabber.

Corner discus lariat and T-Bone suplex get two. Black catches his breath before following up, and he wants the Cloverleaf, but Marshall kicks him away. Short-arm clothesline by Marshall and he goes up, getting a diving headbutt for two. Marshall yells at Black and slaps him around, but Black with a Cripples Crossface out of nowhere. Marshall reaches, but Black pulls him back to the middle, so Marshall stacks him for two. Diamond Cutter out of nowhere wins it for Marshall at 7:22. You can tell that Marshall is a great trainer/wrestler from how well he was able to mesh with Black. He tends to have very good matches with the students. **

Joey Janela (8-6) vs. Daniel Garcia (first singles match). Janela against a Buffalo Boy? Oh, this ought to be FUN. Janela makes a point of showing that Sonny Kiss isn’t with him, much to his disappointment. Garcia is dead serious, compared to the fun-loving Janela.

Garcia with the arm, taking Janela down with a hammerlock, but Janela slides under to get the legs and hook a Mutalock. Garcia reverses to a kneebar, so Janela makes the ropes (and checks the knee, given what happened last week). Lockup, and Janela gets a waistlock as the two keep switching off until Janela gets a German suplex out of it. Janela tries a brainbuster, but Garcia gets out and chops the bejabbers out of Janela. A single-leg sweep leads to a crucifix for two, then a release German suplex gets Garcia another two.

Garcia pounds away on Janela, but a big boot misses and Janela with a clothesline to take him down. Janela adds a fistdrop, then an elbow to the neck. Janela corners Garcia and gives him a massive chop, then does another one by the ropes. Crowd wants One More Time, so Janela obliges with a Mongolian chop and right cross. Clothesline, but Garcia refuses to go down twice before slapping Janela. He runs into a forearm, but comes back with a Claymore knee into an STF. Janela drags him across the ring to the ropes.

Garcia with a right forearm to floor Janela, then an uppercut. Janela slaps Garcia and it’s a slugfest, then a slapfest, and Janela wins with a rolling elbow. Blind charge is vaulted over, but Janela slams on the brakes and gets a SUPERKICK and brainbuster for two. THE STRAPS ARE DOWN on Janela, but Garcia escapes the Death Valley Driver and dropkicks Janela into the middle rope. Piledriver try, but Janela charges Garcia into the corner. Blind charge eats boot and Garcia goes up, but Janela with an uppercut and he follows. Superplex (with fisherman’s bridge) gets two. Death Valley Driver ends it at 7:36. Garcia doesn’t look like a wrestler compared to most AEW stars, but he had the chops and showed it in this match. I want a rematch on a Beyond show. *3/4

The Factory is happy AEW is on the road, because he wants to show Ogogo how beautiful America is – since Jacksonville is a Cody town and an ugly place. Jacksonville – and the whole South – is a dump, but Ogogo says he hates that America puts money over life. People die on the streets because they can’t afford health care. There’s kids in cages at the border. Is that the America you’re proud of? This is what Cody is – a Yank you’re proud of. But at Double or Nothing, Ogogo will smash Cody and cave in his ribs. Does Cody think he’s tough, well British wrestlers are double tough. Ogogo is the Great Briton and the toughest man ever. The UK knew it from his boxing career and on ITV4, and they’ll see it again at Double or Nothing, when Cody is buried under the Union Jack by order of the Governor. Oh, yay, this feud is “Murican vs Foreigner”. I’d have hoped Ogogo wouldn’t lean into it.

Private Party (Isaiah Kassidy and Marq Quen) (w/Blade and Matt Hardy) (4-0) vs. Dark Order (Alex Reynolds (10-4) and Alan Angels (8-5)). As part of their entrance now, they step through the velvet rope and Hardy tips the bouncer. Schiavone is still confused by Private Party wrestling in “street clothes” – Wight claims they’re working on getting Private Party an endorsement deal. The entire Dark Order wants to head to the ring, but the referee refuses and tells everyone not in the match to go to the back. And that includes for the HFO.

It’s a brawl to start, with Reynolds chasing Quen around the ring and sending him into the guardrail. Kassidy sends Angels into the stage at the same time, but Angels reverses and sends Kassidy into a guardrail as well. Angels chases Kassidy up the stage while Quen throws Reynolds into the post. Reynolds slugs away on Quen and sends him back into the stage, while Angels tosses Kassidy up the stage. FINALLY, Angles and Quen are in the ring with Angels doing leg kicks. Five-punch countalong follows, and Reynolds enters to toss Angels into Quen and get something resembling GTS to the gut for two.

Quen sends Reynolds into the corner, and Kassidy (who has returns) stomps a mudhole in him. Reynolds recovers with a dropkick and kip-up, then he knocks Quen off the apron and Hotshots Kassidy. Reynolds catches Quen coming and sends him into the guardrail, but he spends too much time looking and Kassidy suplexes him on the floor. He resets the count and tosses Reynolds in, getting a one-count. Quen in, and he sends shoulders into the kidneys of Reynolds. Kassidy in, and Private Party stops Reynolds from coming back with a Boston crab/senton atomico combination. Kassidy gets two off of it. Hammer Throw into the corner (with Reynolds taking the Bret Bump), and Quen returns to kick Reynolds and land a back suplex for two.

Quen with a front facelock to keep Reynolds away from his corner, but Reynolds gets a BACK body drop and tags Angels… but Kassidy distracts the ref and Angels’ tag doesn’t count. Poetry in Motion on Angels, but Reynolds with a discus elbow to Quen. Quen catches Reynolds with a modified gogoplata, and Kassidy adds a swanton. Quen gets two. Kassidy in, and he puts Reynolds on the top rope and chops away. Quen gets the tag and they try Gin and Juice. But Reynolds blocks the rana and kicks away Kassidy.

Hot tag Angels, and he dropkicks Kassidy and lariats Quen. Overhead throw by Angels on Quen, then an enzuigiri to Kassidy beofre giving both men a rana. They’re both on the middle rope, so he gives both This Is Gonna Suck at the same time. He follows with a bottom-rope tope onto Private Party, and he tosses Quen in. Angels with a slingshot into a moonsault off the middle rope for two.

Reynolds in, and he gets a pop-up knee into a roundhouse from Angels, into a small package driver by Reynolds, Kassidy saves. Kassidy and Angels fight outside, which allows Matt Hardy to return and give Reynolds a Twist of Fate. Quen is put on top to win at 9:09. The HFO beats down Reynolds and Angels, whipping them with belts before the Dark Order charges en masse to stop it. This NEEDS to be a ten-man tag at Double or Nothing. **1/2

Alex Marvez is with Kris Statlander, who will face Diamate tomorrow… but Britt Baker steps in and talks about how she’ll beat Shida. Then Shida interrupts the interruption to smash the crutch away, telling Britt and Rebel to bring it. Britt promises Rebel will on Dynamite.

JD Drake and Ryan Nemeth (w/Cezar Bononi and Peter Avalon) (0-1) vs. Roman Rozell and Derek Pisaturo (debut). You know, I was just thinking this show needed more matches. Rozell and Pisaturo are joined by their First Sergeant and are doing a military veteran gimmick. Schiavone tells us they are former Army men for real.

Rozell and Nemeth start, with Nemeth getting a single-leg and two points. Rozell reverses a waistlock into a drop toe hold, which infuriates Nemeth. Nemeth relaxes and offers Code of Honor, but he kicks Rozell and gets a fireman’s carry. Drake in, but Rozell with an armdrag. Nemeth gives Rozell a knee from the apron, so Rozell knocks off Nemeth and Drake dumps Rozell. Pisaturo enters, allowing Bononi a shot on Rozell. Back in, Drake with a very loud chop and he tags in Nemeth. Atomic Drop/dropkick combo floors Rozell, and Nemeth works the eye.

Drake in now, and Nemeth throws Rozell into a slam by Drake. Double fistdrop gets two for Drake. Forearm by Drake, and a chop in the corner, and Nemeth is in. Rude Awakening is teased, but Rozell shoves Nemeth into Drake, and it’s hot tag Pisaturo. He runs over Nemeth and gets a facecrusher on Drake, but Bononi trips him and Drake gets the Claymore. Rozell is off the apron, and Nemeth’s Rude Awakening connects on Pisaturo. Drake with a moonsault to finish at 3:50. Kudos to AEW for giving the former Army guys a payday, but they didn’t show much in this match. 1/2*

Meanwhile, Tony Khan is in a photo shoot for Forbes with the stars of AEW, and Britt Baker causes trouble. She wants pics with the belt if she becomes champ, and Shida takes offense and all the guys have to keep them apart.

Tay Conti (#3 women, 14-4) vs. Kiah Dream (debut). Dream is a Dudley Boys student in her second year as a wrestler. Both women apparently have martial arts backgrounds.

Lockup goes nowhere. A second one also goes nowhere. Conti with a hammerlock on the third try, which she turns into a dragon sleeper and chops away on Dream’s chest. Dream escapes, though, and gets a hairpull slam, which infuriates Conti. SUPERKICK floors Dream, then running Yes Kicks follow for one. Dream with a kneelift and low Flatliner for one. Dream stomps away, but Conti with a spinning heel kick and uppercut and she chops away.

Dream shoves her away only to get clotheslines from Conti, then some judo throws. She’s sent to the apron, but catches Dream’s hair and has her go back and forth into the buckles. Pump kick through the ropes floors Dream, then another in the corner leads to a Broski Boot. Dream hangs on for dear life, so Conti kicks her wrist away (“Sorry”), and the DDTay ends it at 3:15. Conti is crazy over with whatever the crowd is here for Dark. 1/2*

The HFO brags about winning. Matt Hardy says Private Party didn’t need help, but after last week when Reynolds cheated Kassidy, he had to give a receipt. But that’s okay, because in the aftermath, Hardy leeched the life out of Reynolds. Hardy guarantees he can win every day of the week… and hey, John, how did you enjoy watching it? If Silver were medically cleared, Hardy would Leech him too! He’ll do it to everyone in the Dark Order until they’re no more. That’s the truth.

Penta El 0M (w/Alex Abrahantes) (28-18 overall) vs. Robo the Punjabi Lion (debut). Oh, if you’re a Beyond person, you’re ready for this. Inerestingly, no sign of PAC or Fenix, so I wonder if the Death Triangle is being phased out. Wight says he’s impressed with Robo.

Robo offers Code of Honor, but Penta gives him the 0M to the face. Robo is unhappy and shoves him off, but Penta recovers with a spinkick and chop. We go International~! After Robo grabs a headlock, ending with Robo landing a dropkick. Robo runs into a SUPERKICK, though, and Penta with another roundhouse, snapmare, and low SUPERKICK for two. Penta with a nasty chest chop on Robo (quieting the crowd like Wight used to do – Wight appreciates the homage), then he leg kicks Robo down. Penta works the ear of Robo before getting crossface blows.

Another SUPERKICK off of a whip by Penta, and Penta asks for noise from the crowd. Fear Factor is set up, but Robo escapes and headbutts Penta. He walks into yet another SUPERKICK, only to recover with a big boot for two. Robo picks Penta up, but Penta slides out the back and gets a Backstabber. Penta sets Robo up in the Tree of Woe and dropkicks him. Penta with the Armbuster on Robo, and now the Fear Factor ends it at 4:43. I’ve heard good things about Robo from my friends in Beyond, so I’m actually disappointed that Penta didn’t seem too interested in playing ball tonight. 3/4*

Thunder Rosa (#2 women, 11-2) vs. Robyn Renegade (debut). Rosa’s a former NWA Women’s Champion, which allows us to say the NWA Women’s Title will be on the line on Wednesday as Serena Deeb defends against Red Velvet.

Rosa with a go-behind, but Renegade reverses, so Rosa with a single-leg and she floats to a front facelock. She switches to arm control, into a hammerlock, but Renegade with a fireman’s carry. Rosa reverses back to a waistlock and cradles for one before getting a hiptoss cradle for one. Snapmare by Rosa, then a shotgun dropkick for two. Rosa with a corner boot choke on Renegade, then she boxes the gut. She adds a chop to the gut (on the suggestion of a fan), then clotheslines down Renegade for two. Rosa throws Renegade into the corner andgets back elbows, but the third one misses and Renegade with a rope-help kick and running double knees.

Snapmare gets one as Wight calls the Lights Out match “Well done and well thought-out”. Hey, Paul, KAYFABE! Renegade with a lift of Rosa, but Rosa sends her into the corner from a waistlock before adding a Mizline and double knees. Corner dropkick follows, then a butterfly suplex for two. Renegade with a Sling Blade out of nowhere for two. Fireman’s carry, but again Rosa escapes and catches Renegade’s clothesline for a Flatliner. Peruvian Choke gets the win at 4:31. Renegade did not look ready for prime time. 1/2*

The Pretty Picture and Wingmen celebrate their win… and Drake says Nemeth has finally found his mean streak. Drake isn’t sure what he’s into, but Bononi says it’s the hottest, sexiest, most dominant AEW faction. Pinkies in.

Mike Sydal (w/Matt Sydal) (1-2) vs. Brian Cage (w/Hook) (#4 men, 6-1). I think there’s some follow-on from Sydal/Hobbs last week on Dark. Hobbs won, but Matt Sydal stopped him from doing too much damager post-bell. Cage is announced as FTW World Champion (Roberts CAN be taught), but this is of course non-title. The title isn’t sanctioned anyway.

Lockup, and of course Cage wins that by tossing Sydal halfway across the ring. Cage with a back elbow and we get a slugfest, with Sydal being shoved away but getting dropkicks. He ducks a clothesline Matrix style and sends Cage out with an enzuigiri, following with a tope suicida… that Cage catches and turns into an F-5 on the apron. Uppercut on the floor follows, then Cage sends Sydal into the apron before back suplexing him onto it. Back in, Cage tosses Sydal into the corner and works over the gut, then chops Sydal down.

Sydal tries a tilt-a-whirl rana off the ropes, but Cage just shoves him away and follows with a bicep curl fallaway slam. It gets two. Cage slugs away on Sydal, then catches a kick to drop Sydal into the splits before smashing a knee into his head. Choke lift into an overhead suplex follows as commentary has no idea what to call it. Cage measures Sydal and lands an uppercut and rope kick in the corner, but Sydal lands on his feet on a German suplex and dropkicks Cage in the head. Sydal with a roundhouse as both men get up, then a SUPERKICK to drop him to his knees.

He charges, getting a pop-up rana to send Cage outside, and he flies off the top with a moonsault to the floor to take Cage down. Back in, Sydal goes up, and the Meteora gets two. He goes back up, but Cage catches him with a rising knee and does the Cesaro superplex for two. Drill Claw is called, but Sydal escapes and gets a cradle for two. Cage returns with a spinning lariat, and Weapon X ends it at 6:12. Nice big/little match here. *3/4

WEDNESDAY! The road to Double or Nothing is full underway! Will the Inner Circle accept MJF’s ultimatum? (Yeah, that’s the only thing they promise.)

These shows shouldn’t be 150 minutes long, and we should get a warning if there’s no “premiere watch”. I need to go to bed.

STATS

BELL TO BELL: 92:24 over sixteen matches (average match time 5:46)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Private Party vs Reynolds/Angels

FIVE STARS:

  1. Lance Archer
  2. Alex Reynolds
  3. Brian Cage
  4. Private Party
  5. Daniel Garcia

I swear, Dark better not be this long.