The PG Era Rant for AEW Elevation Episode 13 (“Back To Semi-Normal”), June 7, 2021.
TONIGHT! The Varsity Blonds mix it up with the Wingmen team of Ryan Nemeth and JD Drake! Mike Sydal faces off with Ethan Page as both need a momentum boost! Alex Reynolds and Alan Angels represent the Dark Order against The Acclaimed! In prep for his TNT Title shot, Evil Uno faces Danny Limelight! And in our main event, Hikaru Shida looks to begin the climb back to the gold as she faces Diamante!
PLUS: Kris Statlander, Team Taz, Santana and Ortiz, Scorpio Sky, and Jade Cargill!
Santana and Ortiz get the cold open. They say they’ve only had one tag team title match, and they lost it. And that’s dangerous, because it’s made them hungrier than wild dogs. They pride themselves on learning from their mistakes. This means they will be back for the top spot, and it begins tonight. Their opponents will pay the price tonight. Face the BEST! THE BEST! THE BEST!
From the AEW Arena.
Opening match: Rache Chanel (first match in 2021) vs. Jade Cargill (w/Smart Mark Sterling) (6-0). Well, let’s get this out of the way. Longtime readers know I’m not a fan of Chanel and think she doesn’t have it. And now they’re putting her against the greenest of their stars in need of someone to help her out? Hoo boy. And I think both women got introduced as if they came out first.
Cargill calls Chanel to meet her in the middle of the ring, and on the lockup, she shoves Chanel down. Chanel with a go-behind, but Cargill tosses her down. Pop-up Samoan Drop follows – okay, I admit it, that looked good – then a pump kick. Glam Slam ends it at 1:13. Keep it short with newcomers, this is fine. NR
But wait, Mark Sterling has a mic and says everyone knows what they have in Jade Cargill. No more exploitation from AEW. Cargill has representation – not a manager – and that’s what he is, the best lawyer in wrestling. Their first step will be to re-negotiate the contract.
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and A Man Without A Wisdom Tooth. Commentary will be crazier than normal.
Santana and Ortiz (17-9) vs. Liam Gray and Adrian Alanis (0-4). Good reaction for the Inner Circle, especially compared to what Cargill got. Let’s see if Gray and Alanis get more shine tonight.
Santana and Alanis start. Santana goes behind and works the arm, with Alanis using his elbow to reverse it. Santana spins underneath and gets a waistlock takedown. Another lockup follows, and we go International~!, with Santana getting a dropkick for one. Ortiz in, but Alanis tries to fight both men off only to get caught and dropped on the top buckle as Ortiz finally enters with a DDT for two. Gray in, and he and Ortiz exchange armdrags. Ortiz with a spin-around lucha armdrag into a shotgun dropkick for two.
Big slam by Ortiz, but the senton misses and we have a double-down. Santana and Alanis enter, but Santana gets the better of it with chopsbefore throwing Alanis into Gray. German suplex on Alanis gets two, Gray saves. Santana dumps Gray (nasty bump there), but on a hammer throw, Alanis smashes Ortiz and ducks Santana. Santana flips back in, and after Alanis tries to fight both, Proud-n-Powerful get a double Spin Cycle suplex. Powerbomb/kneelift combo gets the win at 4:03. It felt like there was some miscommunication in this one. 1/2*
The Dark Order is with us to discuss Uno’s match with Miro for the TNT Title. They promise the belt is coming back to the Dark Order as everyone pretends to be Miro to get chopped. Uno will not look past Limelight, who is a fantastic competitor, but he’s no Evil Uno.
Scorpio Sky (13-2) vs. Trevor Read (first match in 2021). Ethan Page joins commentary for this one and immediately tells Schiavone to shut up.
Lockup, and Sky shoves Read back into the corner and musses his hair. Sky with a single-leg, then a headlock to keep control. We go International~!, with Sky blocking a Read drop toehold only to walk into an armdrag and lock. Read adds a chop in the corner, but Sky slams on the brakes when Read tries an up-and-over before shoulderblocking him down. Face scrape by Sky, then a backbreaker. Sky HITS THE CHINLOCK, adding a knee to the back at least, then adds an uppercut. He puts his head down and Read gets a punt and cradle for one. Manhattan drop by Read, then a back elbow, but Read gets caught in the headlights and Sky gets the dragon screw and heel hook to win at 3:12. Ethan Page is just as annoying on commentary as he is in the ring. 1/2*
The Varsity Blonds, yeah, may have lost to the Bucks, but they rebounded against Chaos Project. And now they’re ready to do it again against the Wingmen. They are each other’s wingmen, and Julia is their wingwoman, and that’s before you get to the crowd chanting VARSITY!
Brian Cage (15-3) and Will Hobbs (12-1) (w/Hook and Ricky Starks) vs. Trevor Aeon and Kendall Blake (first time teaming). As if there isn’t enough around the ring, Taz joins commentary. Taz calls it a very important match considering these two will face Adam Page and Preston Vance next week.
Hobbs talks to Cage, and Blake tries to jump him, but Hobbs no-sells and gives him a Steinerline. Hobbs then just slams Blake over and over as the crowd counts along, but he stops at nine and just lets Blake collapse to tick off the crowd. So he brings in Cage, who sees Blake’s dead and throws him to tag in Aeon. Aeon runs into a nasty powerbomb variant that nearly drops him on his head, then it’s a corner clothesline and German suplex. Hobbs runs Blake over again because he can, and Cage with the discus lariat and Drill Claw to end it at 2:20. Slaughter. 1/4*
Danny Limelight (3-6) vs. Evil Uno (14-2, but all in tag matches). The result probably isn’t in doubt since Uno is facing Miro for the TNT Title on Friday, but I still think this has a good chance of being a sleeper hit. Both men get very nice responses on their way out. The whole of Dark Order – including Brodie Lee Jr – accompanies Uno to the ring and does the salute in the ring.
Code of Honor to start. Uno with a headlock, but Limelight flips over Uno and gets an armdrag and dropkick before dancing. Uno brushes himself off, then gets a waistlock. Limelight switches to a headlock and Uno gets a shoulderblock, atomic drop, and dropkick before dancing on his own. Flip Flatliner is tried, but Limelight armdrags out of it to send Uno to the outside. Limelight follows with a twisting Fosbury Flop. Back in, he goes up, but Uno simply walks away from the diving senton. Big chop by Uno, then an elbow.
A slugfest breaks out, with Uno winning with hard chops. Hammer Throw and leaping back elbow follow, then he tries for the Flip Flatliner again, but Limelight drops down to escape and boxes away. Uno with a big boot to stop it, but a charge eats a pump kick and Limelight walks the ropes for a springboard Blockbuster for two. Limelight seems to have bitten his lip. Limelight with Yes Kicks, but Uno stands up and it turns into a strike-fest. Limelight gets the edge, but Uno catches his leg and hands it to… the ref. Uno with a neckbreaker in the confusion, then a lariat. Brainbuster follows, for two.
Uno goes for the Flip Flatliner again, but Limelight is dead weight… until he gets a prawn cradle for two. Enzuigiri follows and Limelight goes up again, but Uno shoves off the double-jump DDT and stomps the hands. FINALLY the Flip Flatliner hits for the win at 5:22. Uno’s finisher is called Something Evil, according to Wight. Uno has to restrain Brodie Jr from attacking Limelight, and it’s a group hug instead. Very nice five-minute match. **1/4
Diamante says that tonight she’s going one on one with Hikaru Shida. And if what Britt did was bad, wait until Diamante gets her hands on Shida. Diamante promises to make everyone forget she was ever Women’s Champion, and she’s headed to the top.
Mike Sydal (5-10) vs. Ethan Page (12-2). Every time Mike Sydal is on Elevation, Wight asks to see Sydal and DDP do a yoga competition. As Ethan Page was at commentary for Scorpio Sky’s match, Sky is here to return the favor for Ethan’s match. Wight, in the understatement of the year: “A guy named All Ego doesn’t lack for confidence.”
Ethan with a kick off of faking a lockup, then he backs Sydal into the corner and tries a Hammer Throw. Sydal goes up, over, backflipping, and into a dropkick on Ethan, then he does a Matrix duck and enzuigiri for one. Ethan backs Sydal into the corner, but his charge misses and Sydal cracks Ethan. He goes up, but Ethan slams him into the turnbuckle early and gets a double-arm draping backbreaker. Wight and Sky are buttering each other up on commentary. Ethan with a backbreaker on Sydal for one, then he goes to waistlock and ride.
Sydal gets up and elbows out, but Ethan switches to a bearhug. Sydal fights out, catching a charging Ethan with an elbow, but Ethan with an elbow of his own before running Sydal over with a shoulderblock. Big chop in the corner and Ethan puts Sydal up top, following up after a second chop. Superplex is teased, but Sydal fights out with a headbutt and cartwheels down before ducking a big boot to get a rana. Ethan bails, and Sydal dives onto him with a tope suicida.
Back in, Sydal goes up, and the Meteora gets two. Sydal wants an inverted DDT, but Ethan just shoves him off in a flapjack. Ego’s Edge is teased, but Sydal slides out the back and gets a SUPERKICK and leg trip. Moonsault hits the knees, however, and the Ego’s Edge hits for real to win at 5:15. Sky: “Nobody gets up from that.” *3/4
The Acclaimed (Max Caster and Anthony Bowens) (9-3, #2 team) vs. Alex Reynolds (10-6) and Alan Angels (9-7) (w/Dark Order). Everyone’s back for the intro, including Uno and Brodie Jr. But now, we have diss lines… though nothing really memorable except: “Very funny like TBS / Nobody be laughing when we beat that ass!” Corporate synergy.
Reynolds and Bowens start. Bowens with some clubbing to put Reynolds in the corner, then big chops. Blind charge misses and Reynolds with a running back elbow, uppercut, and dropkick. Angels in, so Bowens escapes and tags in Caster. Caster shoves Angels in the face, so Angels kicks away until Caster throws him into the corner. Angels escapes and gets the five-punch countalong, only to be caught with a powerbomb that he counters to a rana. Caster with a left to the throat to take over.
Angels goes to the middle rope on a hammer throw and backflips over Caster, kicking him to the floor and tagging in Reynolds. Reynolds tosses Bowens to Caster, and it’s stereo tope suicidas from the Dark Order. Back in, Reynolds floors Caster only for Bowens to drop him face-first on the apron. Caster follows with a baseball slide, and back in, Caster with a back suplex on Reynolds for two. Bowens in, and he floors Reynolds with elbows to the back of the head. Reynolds punches away, but Bowens maintains wrist control to stop the hot tag.
Bowens with a brainbuster for two. Caster in, but Reynolds catches him with a double stomp and crawls over. Bowens can’t stop him, and it’s hot tag Angels. Discus lariat and enzuigiri to Bowens, and This Is Gonna Suck follows. Shiranui by Angels gets two. Reynolds comes back in, getting a pop-up kneelift into a roundhouse kick by Angels, but Caster stops the small package driver with a pump kick. Angels disposes of Caster only to get caught and thrown into the apron on a dive attempt.
Caster with the BOOMBOX OF DEATH to distract the referee, so Bowens tries the Eddie Guerrero “throw the chain to Reynolds and drop dead” trick. Reynolds just stares at him as Angels gets a frog splash on the prone Bowens in a funny bit. Reynolds gets two. Angels is escorted out, and Caster smashes the boombox into Reynolds’ back to get Bowens the win at 6:34. We need more heels that aren’t afraid to cheat. **1/2
Kris Statlander (w/Best Friends) (6-0) vs. Queen Aminata (0-2). Statlander and company are in an interesting place, where they constantly get over and do great story work, but don’t need titles even though they could hypothetically earn them. Maybe they could be the inaugural trios champs. And this is after Cassidy was part of an incredible title match at Double or Nothing.
Aminata refuses the boop at first, and they exchange armlocks. Aminata… um… disrespects Statlander on an armbar, much to her confusion. Statlander gets the armlock, reversed by Aminata, re-reversed by Statlander who teases returning the disrespect before just booping Aminata instead. Statlander with a cradle and bridge for two, but Aminata slugs down Statlander and gets a snapmare. Soccer kick and butt butt follows, for one. Suplex try by Aminata, but Statlander reverses it. She runs into the middle turnbuckle with Aminata’s help, and Aminata follows with a Rikishi hip check. And more than that.
A running kick misses, and Statlander gets a kneelift and fisherman’s driver for two. Statlander with an electric chair try, but Aminata gets a victory roll for two. Aminata with a SUPERKICK and reverse STO head drop for two. Aminata toys with Statlander, who gets very mad and chops away before stopping a tilt-a-whirl headscissors to get Big Bang Theory out of nowhere for the win at 4:20. Not a fan of some of the stuff Aminata did – I’ll let the comment section fill it in if they want – but otherwise a fine back and forth match. *1/4
Wingmen (JD Drake and Ryan Nemeth) (w/Cezar Bononi and Peter Avalon) (1-1) vs. Varsity Blonds (Brian Pillman Jr and Griff Garrison) (w/Julia Hart) (12-4, #1 team). Pinkies in, everyone! These might be two of the best acts on the B shows all things considered. Avalon and Bononi dancing along to the Wingmen music is good comedy. Also, let’s get Varsity Blonds vs Acclaimed down the line; that would be fun for a Dynamite match in the second hour.
Nemeth and Pillman start. Nemeth with a waistlock and he smacks Pillman to claim he gets two points. But he spends way too long celebrating, and Pillman gets a single-leg and insists he scored too. Shoving match follows, then Nemeth (at Pillman’s behest) slaps Pillman only to get run over with a shoulderblock and armdrag. He works the arm as he brings Garrison in to take over. The Blonds trade off, getting a swinging neckbreaker/legdrop combo, which gets Pillman one. Big chop by Pillman to Nemeth against the ropes, and Pillman trips Nemeth out by Julia Hart (who is holding a VARSITY cheer sign)… so Nemeth breaks the sign in half. So Pillman dives through the ropes to dropkick Nemeth. It’s the little things.
Back in, but Drake catches Pillman and gets the rebound forearm as the ref checks on Nemeth. Nemeth goes ground and pound to follow up. Hammer Throw and strut, followed by a corner spear by Nemeth. Drake in, and he smokes Pillman with a right and a chop. Pillman fights back but gets floored by a single chop. Nemeth back in, and it’s a headbutt/fistdrop combo to get him two. Pillman runs Nemeth into Drake off a tag, and hot tag Garrison. He goes to town on Nemeth, but Drake got the tag and is legal, only to run into a BACK body drop (.3 Warlord).
Long-distance Stinger Splash to both men, and Nemeth is clotheslined out (in theory) before Drake eats boot. Death Valley Driver by Garrison gets two. Pillman back in, and a Dropkick Hart Attack gets two, Nemeth saves. Nemeth dropkicks Garrison out, then lands Rude Awakening. Moonsault by Drake gets two, Garrison saves. Nemeth gets disposed of, and Drake eats the Discus Punch/Air Pillman to win at 6:05 (Eastern). Pillman’s MLW deal can’t expire fast enough. **
Double or Nothing look-back at Britt Baker beating Hikaru Shida, which leads to our main event of…
Diamante (22-13 overall) vs. Hikaru Shida (#4 women, 9-2). Man, they flew through tonight’s show, didn’t they? Seriously, it’s going to be under 90 minutes and an easy watch. They’ve been teasing a new look for Shida, and indeed, the topknot is gone.
Lockup, and Shida backs Diamante into the ropes, offering a clean break. Diamante shoves her and asks for a test of strength, getting a cheap shot only for Shida to power up and they begin kicking each other. Shida gets the better of this with a double knuckle-lock into a throw, then a running knee in the corner. Blind charge hits elbow, but Shida gets caught going up-and-over and tangled in the ropes so Diamante gets a Backstabber. She stomps a mudhole in Shida, then adds boot scrapes. Big chop by Diamante, then a left hook floors Shida. Boot choke in the corner follows.
Bodyslam follows, then the flop splash for two. Diamante goes up, but Shida knocks her back to the apron. Shida with all the right hands as the crowd goes nuts, then Shida sends Diamante into the turnbuckle. She sets up Diamante, adding the Drive-By Kneelift. Back in, she lifts Diamante from apron to turnbuckle, but Diamante drops her into the Tree of Woe and adds a running dropkick for two. Shida blocks the Shiranui and they switch on each other, with Shida eventually getting an enzuigiri but running into a back kick and Shiranui for real, for two.
Shida escapes Code Red, but Diamante gets a kneelift only to run into a flying knee and Falcon Arrow for two. Tomashii is caught, and Diamante comes back with a low DDT for two. Diamante: “WTF?” Diamante stands over Shida and wants a German suplex, but Shida catches her in a cradle for two. Big kick to the back and spinning uppercut by Shida, then the Katana gets the win at 6:33. Shida’s gonna be just fine. **1/4
Already announced for tomorrow on Dark is Matt Sydal facing Dante Martin. Plus, Angelico has Matt Hardy in his corner!
Well, that was quick. It’s better to leave people wanting more, especially on a B show like this, but I was a shade disappointed in how fast some of the matches ended. Pretty much all the “high-profile” clashes had another good 3-5 minutes in them, and probably would’ve gone longer a few months ago. Then again, you have crowds now and you don’t want to risk burnout, so there are tradeoffs. I feel like you’re not going to see ten-minute show-stealers like you used to, but then again, this is all appetizer for the crowd (this was taped prior to Dynamite going live, according to sources). What’s more important is that the right people won basically up and down the line. The YouTube shows never were must-see, but 2-3 matches a week being worth checking out is all you can ask.
BELL TO BELL: 44:57 over ten matches (average match time 4:30)
MATCH OF THE SHOW: Acclaimed/Dark Order
- Alan Angels
- Brian Pillman Jr
- Hikaru Shida
- Evil Uno
- Max Caster
See you tomorrow!