AEW ELEVATION: July 19, 2021

The PG Era Rant for AEW Elevation, Episode 19 (“Faces Squaring Off Everywhere”), July 19, 2021.

TONIGHT! Chaos Project takes on the Best Friends of Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy! Dante Martin takes the air force against the Captain, Shawn Dean! Luchasaurus is back, and he tries to avoid the upset bug against Fuego Del Sol! Angelico steps up in class and tries to tie up Jungle Boy! Red Velvet and Julia Hart face off in a battle of Factory kids! Speaking of Team Nightmare, it’s Big Shotty Lee and Brock Anderson facing Gunn Club! And in your main event, the Wingmen take on Eddie Kingston and Penta El Cero Miedo!

PLUS – Hikaru Shida, Frankie Kazarian, Tay Conti teaming with Serena Deeb, Powerhouse Hobbs, and Lance Archer!

In the cold open, Eddie Kingston and Penta make it quick – they’re the only guys who beat the Young Bucks, but got screwed over. But that’s the past. Tonight, they’ll take it out on the Wingmen. That’s just how it is. Penta says welcome to the House of Penta and that he’s clipping the Wingmen, and giving them a makeover. CERO!

From Cedar Park, TX.

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Paul Wight, with Jake Roberts on commentary for the opener because it’s…

Opening match: Lance Archer vs. Zechariah. And because he can, Archer gets Zechariah backstage and throws him down the aisle into the ring.

From there, Archer puts Zech on the top rope and clotheslines him off. Catatonic follows, then a chokeslam. He puts Zech back up top, and the Blackout ends it at 1:07. He and Jake Roberts go off for barbecue. NR

Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico) (8-10) vs. Chuck Taylor (11-4) and Orange Cassidy (16-2-1) (w/Kris Statlander and Wheeler YUTA). Luther starts eating the streamers Serpentico shoots out. We get the Pixies for entrance music. It’s Orange vs Blade on Wednesday.

Taylor and Serpentico start. Serpentico goes for a single-leg, but Taylor just stares at him and gets a headlock. We go International~!, ending with Taylor getting an armdrag and lock. Serpentico escapes and tags in Luther, so Orange enters. Luther keeps hands out of pockets and gets a waistlock, then tries to put HIS hands in Orange’s pockets, which Cassidy doesn’t want. After a struggle, Orange stops him and gets his own HANDS IN POCKETS. Dropkick and kip-up follow, and Serpentico gets back body dropped.

Taylor tags in (off of Orange’s foot), and Best Friends do a very lazy Hart Attack. Luther back in, and he gets a drop toehold and stomps away. Serpentico tags in, and Luther drop toe holds him for a headbutt (or five) to Taylor’s gut. Serpentico adds another headbutt and brings Luther in, so Luther brings Serpentico back and whips him into Taylor for a corner spear. Luther clotheslines Serpentico to get a DDT on Taylor for two. Chaos Project chop away on Taylor, but Taylor goes over Luther and overhead throws Serpentico into Luther. “Hot” tag Orange, and it’s the SHINKICKS OF DOOM to Luther.

He ends it with a spinning DDT, though, getting two before Serpentico saves. Serpentico rolls Luther out, but he turns around to a Beach Break, which he escapes to SUPERKICK Orange. He tags himself in, then gets an enzuigiri on Taylor before sending him into a Luther clothesline. Luther wants a Rocket Launcher, but Taylor runs them together and Rocket Launches Serpentico into Luther’s arms. He uses it to knock down Taylor, but an Orange Punch causes Luther to fall down onto Serpentico, so all Best Friends have to do is sit on the pile to win at 6:02. Well, that’s a different finish. *3/4 And everyone HUGS IT OUT on their corpses, but that brings out Blade and Bunny. The Friends are ready and Blade’s fist is already loaded, but it’s just trash talk.

AEW Elite GM app ad.

Hikaru Shida (#5 women, 34-4) vs. Dulce Tormenta (debut). Shida is still nicely over with the crowd. Tormenta is a luchadora enmascarada, and is part of a Texan lucha family.

Lockup goes nowhere. On the second round, Shida works the arm, with Tormenta kipping up to reverse. Shida handsprings forward to break, and the two get face to face. Shida shoves her aside and runs the ropes, but a dropkick misses. Tormenta takes the arms only to get thrown by Shida, into a knee in the corner. Tormenta reverses it and charges, but Shida sends her to the apron. Tormenta comes back with a shot to the gut and gamengiri before going up, turning a diving crossbody into a lucha armdrag. Shida bails, so Tormenta runs… into an enzuigiri from the returning Shida. Rollup into Meteora gets two.

Katana misses, and Tormenta trips Shida to go for PinupStrong. She holds the hands to get a two-count before Shida breaks. Shida sells the knee to sucker Tormenta in, then ducks the charge and tries a ripcord. Tormenta escapes, but runs into a flying knee. Dominator gets two, but instead of getting mad, she gets ready to end it. And this time, the Katana connects to win at 3:45. Sloppy at points, but it seemed like that was about the two sides trying to out-counter each other. 3/4*

MEANWHILE, Mark Sterling has a scoop: he introduces Jade Cargill to John Kenac, head of talent at Activist Artist Management. Kenac talks about what Cargill’s strengths are before saying they can do in-person meetings in Hollywood. He’s willing to help her meet the right people because he sees potential in Jade as an action star. Sterling gives Kenac his card.

Powerhouse Hobbs (w/Ricky Starks and Hook) (17-3) vs. Lucas Chase (debut). Chase is introduced first, and he’s part of the Rhodes Wrestling Academy. I dig the black jacket he has. Starks is carrying the FTW title, which they took from Brian Cage before turfing him from Team Taz.

Chase is hesitant to lock up, and when he does, he gets shoved back. Hobbs’ charge eats boot, but Chase runs into a Vader attack. Hobbs glares at the camera before picking Chase up, and a spinebuster ends it at 47.0 seconds. NR

Frankie Kazarian (19-3) vs. Baron Black (0-13). Oh, hey, Black was brought on the road! Nice! Wednesday, we will have Kazarian begin Elite Hunting by going against Doc Gallows. One of these days Black will win, but not today.

Frankie chant greets the bell. Lockup, and Kazarian gets a waistlock takedown into a headlock. Black shoves off but gets run over, and Kazarian puts the headlock back on and wrenches it in. Black flips Kazarian, who lands on his feet and gets a drop toe hold before re-applying the headlock. I’m not even mad, if you can get a headlock over as a big spot you’ve won. Black sends Kazarian to the corner and slugs away after cheap shotting on the break. Hammer Throw into a rolling elbow and T-Bone suplex for one.

Kazarian chops away to slow Black down, but he runs into the atomic drop and Backstabber combination. Kazarian reverses a charge into a Brisco Brothers rollup for two, then gets a flyng jalapeno to being the comeback. Rolling clothesline in the corner by Black misses, and Kazarian with a lariat of his own. Crossface Chickenwing ends it at 2:38. I get it’s a B-show, but I felt like that needed 2-3 more minutes. *

But first, Brandon Cutler sneaks into the ring… and trips, losing his cooling spray. Kazarian sees the spray, turns around, and sees Cutler dead to rights. Cutler begs off, but Kazarian gives him a lariat and removes Cutler’s face shield to spray him in the eyes! Dude, that’s overkill! Kazarian goes to leave, then says eh, one more, and returns to hit another lariat to Cutler. He should’ve left when he could, because Doc Gallows races in and boots down Kazarian before nailing the Gallows Pole. Kazarian kinda had that coming.

Backstage, Hobbs says there’s only four because the fifth couldn’t handle it. When you don’t cooperate, things happen, Brian. He then tells Cage to stay home, or else he’ll get it again.

Angelico (w/Private Party) (8-5) vs. Jungle Boy Perry (w/Luchasaurus) (#3 men, 11-2). They’re going to have to be careful with Angelico, because the vibe dance just might turn him and Evans face. Private Party vibe with him. Fortunately, when you’re against Jungle Boy and Baltimora hits, you’re not the face. The crowd is loving singing and dancing with both entrances.

Lockup, and Perry gets a side headlock. Angelico escapes into an armlock, so Perry trips him and tries the STF, but Angelico makes the ropes. The seconds yell at each other as we get another lockup, with Angelico controlling the arm. Perry reverses, Angelico reverses while teasing a backslide, getting a lucha armdrag, and going TRANQUILO. Perry with a drop-step and a waistlock, but Angelico switches back to the wristlock. Perry reverses, then chops Angelico into a knuckle-lock before getting a tumbling lucha armdrag and dropkick. Crowd pops hard for that sequence.

Angelico goes to the gut and grabs the hair to get a headlock, but Perry shoves off. Angelico sends Perry to the apron and dropkicks him off, as Perry tweaks his knee. Angelico tells Luchasaurus to back off – and man, Angelico is TALL – before sending Perry into the timekeeper’s table. He boxes Perry against the guardrail, then gets the ref to check on Luchasaurus while Private Party double team Perry. Luchasaurus chases off Private Party, which allows Perry to chop Angelico when the latter comes out to get him. Angelico recovers with a kneelift and sends Perry into the post. He wants a countout (with Luchasaurus chasing Private Party off to make sure there’s no replay), but Perry’s back in.

He shocks Angelico with a quick schoolboy for two, but Angelico recovers with an elbow and boot choke. Angelico taunts the crowd (why IS the Sign of the Cross part of a heel taunt?), then wins a chop battle with Perry for one. The crowd is distracted, so Angelico works the knee and pretzels up Perry into a rolling leglock. Angelico shoves Perry away from the ropes, but Perry makes them eventually. Perry fights out with forearms and chops, then dropkicks Angelico’s knee before getting the bounceback lariat.

Big chop against the ropes, then an Olympic Slam for two. He tries to put Angelico on the ropes, but Angelico escapes into a legsweep roll and crucifix for two. Blind charge eats boot, but Angelico recovers with an enzuigiri. Big boot in the corner is dodged, and Perry has Angelico in the Tree of Woe. Sliding dropkick straight to Angelico’s face sets up the Snare Trap to win at 8:41. Angelico is perhaps the most underappreciated talent in AEW, and this match was as good as you’d think. **3/4

All Out is September 5.

Julia Hart (w/the Varsity Blonds) (4-5) vs. Red Velvet (10-2). Tony puts over Hart’s charisma and excitement. Crowd gives both acts a nice round of applause, but I wonder if they’re tired or muted or they’re just not as over as you think.

Lockup, and Velvet gets the wristlock. Hart tumbles out to reverse, so Velvet does the same thing back at her. Hart then cartwheels to re-reverse, and Velvet matches it. So Hart twists her into a side headlock and we go International~!, with both women hitting the splits for a standoff. They each duck clotheslines and go for dropkicks before rolling back into the splits again for another stalemate, which the crowd enjoys. This earns the Code of Honor, but Hart turns her back on Velvet to cheer and Velvet gets a waistlock.

Hart elbows out, and Velvet begins a slugfest before ending it with a leg lariat. Hart with a jawjacker to slow Velvet down, then a front handspring corner clothesline and running back elbow. Bulldog with the splits follows, then a standing moonsault for two. Hart to the front facelock, but Velvet shoves her off. Hart with a roundhouse kick to the ribs, but Velvet cuts off a charge with a back elbow and gets her clotheslines for the comeback. She low-bridges Hart to the outside where the Blonds help her up, and Velvet dives to take out… Pillman.

Back in, it gets two on Hart (for some reason). Hart catches a charging Velvet with a SUPERKICK and goes up, and the Sparkle Splash gets two. Hart runs into a rolling elbow, though, and Velvet with Overdrive to win at 4:35. They won the crowd by the end, I’ll give them that. *1/4

Big Shotty Lee Johnson (14-9) and Brock Anderson (3-0) vs. Gunn Club (Billy and Colten) (6-0). Both sides are affiliated with Team Nightmare in the Cody/QT war. Wight tells Schiavone he met Brock when the latter was a toddler, and now he’s calling Brock’s matches. He then says the same about Colten – “This is a kick in the teeth!” Tony: “It happens so fast, doesn’t it?”

Cotlen and Johnson start. Lockup, and Colten gets a monkey flip. A second lockup, and Johnson returns the favor. Colten with a headlock takedown now, but Johnson reverses and gets his own. He goes up and over Colten and exchanges armdrags, leading to a Code of Honor. Johnson controls the arm and brings Anderson in, but Colten escapes and gets a lockup instead, leading to a headlock. Brock with a hiptoss of his own, and Billy’s seen enough and tags in. Anderson goes to the armdrag, but Billy stares at him and reverses.

Anderson reverses that to a hammerlock and side headlock, but Billy clubs him down. Into the corner and Colten comes in, kicking away on Anderson and getting a suplex. It gets two. Billy back in with a backbreaker, but a blind charge eats boot and Anderson adds a back elbow. Colten and Johnson in, and Johnson cleans house and gets a neckbreaker on Colton. Billy enters and gets dropkicked, then adds an enzuigiri. Missile dropkick sends Billy back out, but Colten recovers with a Colt 45 try. Johnson turns it into a small package for two, reversed by Colten for the win at 4:51…

…but did Colten grab the tights while he was at it? Yes, replay confirms it. Johnson tries to tell Billy this, but the dad doesn’t believe his son would be a bad person. *1/2

Luchasaurus (w/Jungle Boy Perry) (43-17 total) vs. Fuego Del Sol (0-13 singles). Oh man, Fuego is crazy over. AEW has gone backwards into someone the crowd wants to see win. And then Luchasaurus comes back out to Tarzan Boy and the crowd’s on HIS side.

And then the bell rings and they chant for Fuego. Fuego charges and gets shoved down, then tries to chop down Luchasaurus and that doesn’t work. Luchasaurus throws Fuego into the corner, but Fuego kicks him away, leaps over him, and tries a crossbody… that gets caught. Military press around the ring, but Fuego slides out and dropkicks the knee before kicking him in the face. That just angers Luchasaurus, so Fuego tries a tilt-a-whirl. Luchasaurus shoves him off and gets a goozle into a GTS to win at 1:30. Perry instantly makes sure Fuego’s still alive. One day, Fuego, one day. NR To be fair, Jurassic Express holds Fuego up for an ovation.

Let Us Take You Back to QT Marshall dunking Schiavone with an energy drink.

Dante Martin (11-4) vs. Shawn Dean (1-2). Dean’s got new music that vaguely resembles Guile’s from Street Fighter and I dig it. All indications are this match is gonna be good, although I’d say Dean might be more over than Martin. Hard to tell.

Lockup, and Dean with the arm into a top wristlock. Martin leaps off the top rope to break it, then gets a criss-cross into a springboard crossbody for two. Dean rushes Martin into the corner and gets a series of corner spears into a back body drop and half-senton for two. We HIT THE CHINLOCK, with Dean climbing on Martin’s back to make it a sleeper, but Martin backs him into the corner and uppercuts him.

He Hammer Throws Dean and sends him into the top turnbuckle, then nails the double-jump moonsault press for two. Dean with strikes to take over and ground Martin, and he gets a tiger bomb for two. That move deserves more. Martin sticks and moves on Dean and gets him up top, and it’s a Muscle Buster suplex for two. Dean has the double underhook, but Martin trips him and scores the High Flight Stunner to win at 3:34. These two didn’t feel like they were on the same page. *1/4

Tay Conti (#2 women, 19-3) and Serena Deeb (5-1) vs. Vertvixen and Jazmin Allure (0-3 as a team). Oh yeah, the crowd loves Conti. Deeb has been acting heelish lately, so this is odd.

Deeb and Vert start. Knuckle-lock, and Deeb takes Vert down and controls the wrist. She wrenches the arm over and over, then brings in Conti for a cradle for two. Vert whips Tay into the corner, but a charge eats boot and Conti gets a crucifix for two. Another cradle gets two, then Vert crawls over into the gogoplata. Conti with sayonagis and a SUPERKICK, then a waistlock, but Vert breaks it and slugs away. Conti sends Allure off the apron, so Vert gets a hairpull slam for two. Allure in, and the team stomps a mudhole in Conti.

Allure with back elbows, but a charge eats Vert instead. Roundhouse kick by Conti, and hot tag Deeb. Clotheslines to Allure, then uppercuts, but Vert gets her from the apron. So Deeb dragon screws her around the ropes. She then chop blocks Allure and gets an Wahoo Deathlock (with a suplex to Vert at the same time). Serenity Lock ends it at 3:42. Deeb was vicious in there. 3/4*

Main Event: JD Drake and Cezar Bononi (0-3 as a team) vs. Penta El Cero Miedo and Eddie Kingston (w/Alex Abrahantes) (#3 team, 5-1). But Bononi cuts off the music and is furious. He yells that Avalon and Nemeth are not here because of the “stupid airport system”. How are they supposed to make others look good! Drake finally stops Bononi (who is admittedly hard to understand with his thick accent), and summarizes it: they can’t make anyone pretty, so they’ll make them ugly. Penta and Kingston are insanely over.

Penta, Drake and a large Cero Miedo chant start. They stare each other down, but the crowd chants for Eddie. Penta takes off the glove and tosses it to Abrahantes… who DROPS IT. Twice. Finally they catch it on the third try, and then FINALLY (90 seconds in), we get Drake chopping Penta. So Penta pulls down Drake’s singlet and chops him back, then offers to take it more. Drake chops him, so Penta throws him off and gets a SUPERKICK. CERO!

Penta with a springboard crossbody and tilt-a-whirl headscissors, then he kicks the leg before bringing in Kingston. Chops in the corner by Kingston, but Drake ducks the third and bails out to bring in Bononi. Kingston chops Bononi too, but Bononi shoves him off and boots him. Kingston keeps firing away, so Drake lands a kick from the apron and Bononi gets a side slam for one. Drake back in now, and it’s an atomic drop/big boot combo that gets one for Drake. We HIT THE CHINLOCK, but Kingston fights out only to run into a chop.

Drake Hammer Throws Kingston into the corner, and Bononi gets in to work him over in the corner. He goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY to Kingston, adding a knee to the spine and a big stomp. Kneelift and he Hammer Throws Kingston, then brings Drake back in. Drake and Bononi do a double-team choke against the middle rope, then Drake picks Kingston up by the ear and chops him hard in the corner. Kingston pulls himself up to fire back, but Drake goes to the eyes to stop it. Kingston reverses a corner whip and lands an STO for the double-down.

Hot tag Penta, and he gives both men Sling Blades. He goes up and over Bononi before rolling Bononi up and launching himself at Drake for a DDT. SUPERKICK to Bononi follows, and Kingston’s ready to get back in. Drop toehold into camel clutch into roundhouse kick to Bononi, then a tandem dropkick to Drake for two. Penta back in (and Bononi is stuck on the wrong part of the ring to distract the ref), and it’s the Wazzup Dropkick to Drake, Bononi saves.

Bononi tosses Kingston and works him over outside, but Kingston sends him into the post. Back in, Penta with a big chop to Drake, but Drake backdrops out of Fear Factor. Cradle by Drake, but the ref sees feet in the ropes. Claymore by Drake and he goes up, but the moonsault misses and it’s a SUPERKICK to Drake. Backfist to the Future by Kingston, and Penta sacrifices Drake’s arm for the win at 9:25. Drake and Bononi are still gelling as a team and it shows. *3/4

Post-match, Penta wants to talk. He uses the mic to stoke a Cero Miedo chant, then talks to them in Spanish. And he’s more charismatic in Spanish than I’ll ever be in English. He then says “I love you guys, thank you so much” in English, but asks Abrahantes to recap what he said in Spanish. He said it was great to be back in Texas, and he can’t wait to have another Dynamite in the Austin area. Now Kingston finishes it off to a huge Eddie chant. He says he’ll try to be good after what he said last time, but he’ll speak from the heart anyway. He says it feels so good to see fans. The energy felt amazing, so THANK YOU. He says AEW took a big chance on him and all of the guys, and that’s why he’s AEW Forever. So in closing, if you ain’t with them, you ain’t $#!%. He says drive home safely, try the veal, and thank you. Not gonna lie, showing the final speech from the babyfaces saying thank you is something I LOVE about this show.

I also love that the matches tend to fly by. I don’t give them high ratings – I mean, the matches on Dynamite, SmackDown, and Sunday shows are universally better – but being able to see them learn their craft was always the goal. Now it’s gone from “enhancement talent getting a tryout” to “lower carders improving”, and it’s still a lot of fun. Velvet/Hart was better than I thought it would be, and Colten Gunn is looking smoother than ever – maybe the heel turn tease will help him out. All in all, it feels like we’re getting in on the ground floor on these shows.

STATS

BELL-TO-BELL – 50:37 over twelve matches (average time 4:13)

MATCH OF THE NIGHT – Jungle Boy vs Angelico

FIVE STARS:

  1. Penta El Cero Miedo
  2. Jungle Boy Perry
  3. Frankie Kazarian
  4. Angelico
  5. Colten Gunn

Yeah, I threw in a couple who got character development and storyline advancement – they’re my ratings, deal with it. Anyway, see you tomorrow!