The PG Era Rant for AEW Elevation Episode 23 (“Arin Hanson’s Favorite Roulette Number”), August 16, 2021.
From Pittsburgh, PA. Because I work for Scott, I’m required to say that if you give the US an enema, this is where you’d stick the hose.
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Paul Wight.
TONIGHT! Joey Janela reveals his new Bad Boy attitude against Alan Angels! Kiera Hogan escapes Impact and runs into Hikaru Shida! Anthony Bowens tries to go on his own against PAC! Diamante battles Julia Hart in women’s action! Serpentico tries to improve his singles record against Sammy Guevara! And in the main event, it’s a Lucha Underground reunion as TH2 faces the Lucha Bros!
PLUS – Jade Cargill, 2.0, Brian Cage, Thunder Rosa, and Lance Archer!
(For those wondering, Max Caster hasn’t been removed from AEW’s opening credits.)
Opening match: 2.0 (Matt Lee and Jeff Parker) (1-0) vs. Duke Davis and Ganon Jones (0-2). On Dynamite, 2.0 is taking on Sting and Darby Allin in a tornado match. I’m actually a bigger fan of Davis/Jones than of Lee/Parker.
Parker and Davis start, and Parker dropkicks Davids only to walk into a choke bomb try. Parker escapes, but Davis grabs Parker and tosses him into the corner. Blind charge misses, and Lee comes in to hold Davis for an enzuigiri from Parker. Double back suplex follows, and Lee chop blocks Davis. Leg twist and drop follows, then some 12-to-6 elbows. Parker in to stomp the legs, then he slugs down Davis only for Davis to catch a stomp to the chest.
He stands up while holding the boot and chucks Parker across the ring, and Jones is in to maul both guys. He runs through a clothesline and lariats down both of 2.0, but Lee gets a drop toehold to allow Parker an elbowdrop. Parker tags in as Lee sends Davis off the apron, and a double Hotshot wins at 2:32. Tell me what I’m supposed to see in this duo. 1/2*
Our next Dynamite is in Houston!
Diamante (25-15 career) vs. Julia Hart (w/Brian Pillman Jr and Griff Garrison) (5-7). This could go either way, but I’d be surprised if Big Swole isn’t around at some point. Diamante has a great evil sneer. Wight: “I’ve got a jacket older than [Julia]!” Schiavone thanks Wight for coming out during the QT Marshall segment.
Lockup, and Diamante throws Hart and celebrates. Another lockup, and Hart gets the arm and leverages Diamante over. Diamante rolls and gets a single-leg on Hart, who pulls herself up and lands a side headlock. We go International~!, with Hart getting the hiptoss and dropkick on Diamante for two. Diamante with a tilt-a-whirl into a Russian legsweep to take over. She stomps Hart and goes ground-and-pound with left hands. She then mocks the Blonds before stomping a mudhole into Hart’s back. She then grinds the throat against the top rope, adding a back elbow to floor Hart for two. (Pillman’s so into this match the jacket’s off.)
Snapmare and soccer kick by Diamante, then another to the arm. Flop splash gets two. She goes for the nerve and arm hold, with Hart punching her way out only to be dragged by the hair. Hart breaks and gets a hiptoss to start the comeback, though she visibly paused before going into it. Handspring clothesline and running bak elbow set up the splits bulldog. Arm wrench STO sets up the standing moonsault for two.
Running forearm by Hart and she wants the bulldog again, but Diamante shoves her off and gets a hairpull slam. Diamante rips off the top turnbuckle, and while the referee sets it back up, Diamante fishes a chain out of the opposite buckle and knocks Hart out for the pin at 5:19. It’s kind of refreshing to see heels cheat to win. *3/4 Diamante pounds on Hart some more after the match (the Blonds can’t do anything because they’re guys), but Big Swole races in and mauls Diamante to a big pop. This issue is NOT over.
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Let Us Take You Back to last week when Joey Janela turned on Sonny Kiss.
Joey Janela (5-3) vs. Alan Angels (10-14). Janela revels in his newfound heat. By contrast, even when falling short at seemingly anything on Dynamite, Angels and company get a good pop. The Dark Order’s Uno and Stu accompany Angels, but leave him to wrestle on his own.
Janela clocks Angels at the bell. He then tosses Angels over the top rope and struts. Angels returns, so Janela tosses him again. Angels returns with a gamengiri and shotgun dropkick. Janela bails, so Angels with a bottom rope suicida and Asai moonsault in locomotion. Janela recovers to send Angels into the ringpost, then sets up the draping DDT off the apron… before letting Angels drop on his own. Back in, it gets two. Slam sets up a fancy dance axhandle, and he gets a ground cobra clutch. Angels fights out only to run into a back elbow.
Janela with a big chop in the corner, but Angels reverses a Hammer Throw and gets a forearm shot. He goes up, and a diving crossbody cues the comeback into a running rana. Enzuigiri and Janela flops into the middle rope, set up for This Is Gonna Suck, which connects. Shiranui gets two. Angels goes to the top, but Janela rushes the corner only to be caught with a massive forearm. Janela recovers with one of his own, but Angels with a wacky rebound lariat. Janela blocks a suplex and gets a brainbuster, though, and he’s ready to end it.
Angels escapes the fireman’s carry and catches Janela in the C4 for a double-down. Janela’s blind charge eats turnbuckle and Angels wants the Wing Snapper, but Janela cradles him for two, reversed for two. Angels with a sunset flip for two, reversed for two. Angels with La Majistral for two, reversed by Janela with a handful of tights for three at 5:50. Janela is just good enough to be in fun matches. **1/4
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Hikaru Shida (37-4) vs. Keira Hogan (debut). Well, I guess there’s a direct pipeline from the Undead Realm to the Forbidden Door. Hogan even made that joke on Twitter, saying she followed a bunny to AEW. So here’s a trial by fire: can Hogan live up to AEW’s standards against one of their big names?
Lockup, and Shida backs Hogan in the corner and gives a clean break to a pop. Shida with a headlock takedown, but Hogan with neckscissors that Shida kips out of. Hogan grabs the headlock, but a shoulderblock goes nowhere. Hogan grabs the hair and sends Shida into the buckle, but Shida gets mad and the two trade shots into the buckle. Hogan wins that argument and stomps a mudhole in Shida (who is very over in Pittsburgh), then lands a sliding dropkick. It gets two. Hogan ducks a lariat and lands a dropkick to send Shida to the outside. She goes for a dive, but Shida returns and blasts her with an enzuigiri.
Hogan calls for time, so Shida just slaps Hogan and gets a facebuster. Running knee in the corner and Shida goes up to milk the crowd before coming off with a missile dropkick. It gets two. Shida sets up a shoulderbreaker, but Hogan slides out the back and smokes Shida with a forearm. They slug it out, with Shida winning that by CLUBBERING Hogan into a gooey paste on the mat, but Hogan recovers with a roundhouse kick for two. Hogan wants a fisherman’s buster, but Shida blocks and reverses it to a suplex try. Hogan blocks it, so Shida gets a rotation DDT. She ducks a kick and slugs Hogan hard before landing the Falcon Arrow to win at 4:25. Yeah, I think Hogan will be fine. ** Hogan got to show off some good stuff in this match, but Shida is just on another level. Always fun to see the heavy favorite give a little, though.
Lance Archer (no intro) vs. Reggie Collins (also no intro). Jake Roberts at ringside. Archer tosses Collins out from the back and chucks him to the ring. I missed this. Archer then yanks Collins back out of the ring and gives him an apron powerbomb.
In the ring (finally), and Collins tries to fight back but Archer just tanks it. Archer with a Steinerline as Roberts winces at ringside. Helicoaster can end it if Archer wanted to, but Archer wants to chop him in the corner instead. He then puts Collins up top, and the Blackout mercifully ends it at 1:31. Archer is like Sid but with the ability to be awesome in a big match. NR
Thunder Rosa (#1 women, 22-2) vs. Ray Lyn (0-2). Now they’re ready for Rosa to end Britt Baker’s winning streak and put her in her place, which would mean more if they weren’t treating Britt Baker as the all-conquering babyface for months on end. Rosa is crazy over.
Lockup, and Rosa with a waistlock as she blocks Lyn’s reversal to switch to a headlock. Lyn gets one of her own and gets a takedown, but Rosa floats through to try an armbar. Lyn stacks her for one, so Rosa goes to a waistlock. Lyn reverses and yanks Rosa down by the hair, but makes the mistake of taunting her so Rosa chops her hard. Armdrag by Rosa and she hangs Lyn on the top rope, nailing a dropkick to the back.
Rosa drops the elbows to Lyn’s neck, but Lyn with a jack-knife cradle for two. Rosa’s had enough and gets a read choke, but Lyn elbows out and lands a snapmare. Yes Kicks by Lyn and she hooks a Trailer Hitch, but Rosa reverses to a kneebar. Lyn kicks out of it, but she charges into a back elbow. A blind charge by Lyn misses and Rosa with the Mizline and double knees to set up the shotgun dropkick. Butterfly suplex gets two. Thunder Fire Bomb ends it at 4:20. Much like with Shida, the favorite wasn’t afraid to give a little and the match was better for it. *1/2
Anthony Bowens (16-6) vs. PAC (7-1-1). Okay, for those keeping track of this, Bowens has his own music but still carries the boombox, and Schiavone calls him “Anthony Bowens of the Acclaimed”. So I’m assuming Caster would be welcome back when the smoke clears. PAC gets a heck of a pop from the crowd.
The crowd chants “Bastard” as the bell rings. Bowens with a kick to start and they slug it out, and Pac dominates that. Pac ducks a lariat and misses one of his own, and Bowens hits a SUPERKICK. Pac bails, so Bowens throws him back in and follows with a back suplex for one. Big chop by Bowens, then another as Pac goes around the world. Hammer Throw by Bowens, and he drags Pac up and goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY for two. Bowens then goes ground-and-pound for one. Bowens yells at Pac as he picks him up by the chin, and Bowens with a spinkick and punt that only wakes Pac up.
Bowens realizes Pac has a second wind, but he can’t stop Pac from kicking him into next week and adding a sliding dropkick. Bowens bails, so Pac with a twisting moonsault. Bowens crawls to the back, so Pac chases him down and tosses him into the apron, then into the guardrail (Bowens hits HARD). Bowens tries to crawl away from Pac, who goes up top and leaps halfway across the ring with a dropkick for two.
Bowens crawls away from Pac again, but he gets an eyerake when he’s picked up. Back elbow by Bowens starts a combo, which ends with a brainbuster for two. Bowens tries a fireman’s carry, but Pac escapes and gets a release German suplex. Pac goes up, and the Black Arrow… won’t happen because Pac would rather end with the Brutalizer. Which he does at 6:20. I don’t think Pac realizes he’s a face now thanks to Penta. *3/4
Brian Cage (13-3) vs. Joey Keys (0-1). I forget, have we had Archer vs Cage at any time? Because I want that. Keys is a Ring of Honor student. Eddie Kingston is on commentary with the others.
Keys tries to attack Cage, but Cage tanks it and gets a lariat. He catches a crossbody and gets a five-rep overhead fallaway slam. Shoulder rams to the gut, and Cage stops Keys from attacking with a big chop. Keys goes up and over and gets a schoolboy into a kneelift into a sideways backstabber. He fires away on Cage desperately, but he runs into a big boot and Cage with a release German suplex. Death Valley Driver by Cage, and he stops Keys on the apron so he can get the Cesaroplex. Discus lariat and Drill Claw end it at 2:02. Kingston trying to find his chair on commentary was funnier and more useful than this match. DUD
Sammy Guevara (3-1) vs. Serpentico (w/Luther) (11-39). Luther drags Serpentico to the ring and rolls him in. Wight and Kingston agree on one thing: Luther is batdung crazy. Guevara’s pyro annoys Kingston. Kingston discusses that there’s something about Guevara’s face he doesn’t like, as again he’s overshadowing everything else with his funny.
Guevara dodges a charge by Serpentico and chops him in the corner. Big chop off the ropes, but Serpentico rolls out rather than take another. Guevara ducks Luther and runs Chaos Project together before chopping Serpentico on the outside. Back in, Serpentico jumps Guevara and works him over in the corner before getting a Hammer Throw. Blind charge misses, but Serpentico recovers with a tilt-a-whirl rana and dropkick. He sends Guevara packing and poses in the ring to get the ref’s attention as Luther attacks, but Guevara throws Luther into Mark Madden at ringside. GOOD.
Back in, Guevara flips off Serpentico and backflips over a sliding dropkick to land a dropkick. Discus clothesline in the corner, but Serpentico recovers to hang Guevara on the top rope before getting a back suplex slam for one. Headbutt by Serpentico gets one. Luther is barking out orders, which commentary thinks Serpentico should NOT listen to. Guevara is sent outside, and Luther slugs away on her before landing an enzuigiri. Serpentico measures Guevara against the ringpost for a chop, but Guevara moves (CLANG!) and gets a running knee on Serpentico.
Back in, Serpentico catches him with Paydirt for two. He rolls Guevara to the apron and gets a slingshot double-stomp before diving… and hitting Luther by mistake. So Guevara returns with a twisting pescado onto both men, and back in, he sets something up only to run into a SUPERKICK. Guevara recovers with another running knee, and Feast Your Eyes ends it at 5:26. ** It’s a lot of fun to see matches where the underdog is allowed to get some shine in. But as Guevara leaves, Shawn Spears attacks from behind and sends him into the ringpost. He tosses Guevara in and stalks him as Tully Blanchard throws a chair in. Running Death Valley Driver on the chair lays Guevara out, and Spears sits on the chair and poses over Guevara.
Jade Cargill (w/Smart Mark Sterling) (9-0) vs. Katie Arquette (debut). No, she’s not related to David. Either of them. Kingston has had just about enough of all this pyro. “SOMEONE WARN ME IN THE BACK, WILL YA?” Cargill flips off the crowd on the way to the ring. Arquette gets a mild hometown pop.
Arquette attacks at the bell, but it does no good and Cargill lifts her up into… something… resembling an STO thingie. Blind charge misses and Arquette fires back in the corner, but she fires up the crowd and turns around into a pump kick. Catapult into the top rope follows, then a flying back elbow. She catches a punch from Arquette and lands a pumphandle facebuster. Head vice as Cargill taunts Arquette, then Jaded ends it at 1:35. Ninety seconds and she still massively messed up a move. NR
Main event: TH2 (Angelico and Jack Evans) (4-4) vs. Lucha Brothers (Penta El Cero Miedo and Rey Fenix) (w/PAC and Alex Abrahantes) (#4 team, 6-0). For once, TH2 comes out without Matt Hardy or anyone else, but the crowd approves of Angelico’s vibing. Wight: “He’s living his best life!” Kingston says Penta is his best friend, so at least there’s a little continuity there. Bryce Remsburg, the referee, gets a sign in the crowd. Kingston: “I just love it when the referee steals heat!”
Fenix and Angelico start. Angelico with a dropstep and waistlock, but Fenix gets a drop toehold into a chinlock. Angelico escapes into an armbar, so Fenix trips him only to get tripped back and we reset. Knuckle-lock follows, and Fenix takes Angelico down into a Tequila Sunrise, transitioned into a Haas of Pain. Evans breaks it up with a big boot. Angelico with a drop step into a full nelson, switching it into an armlock, but Fenix kips up and out of it to reverse. He then headbutts the wrist, but Angelico fakes a backslide and spins around to get an armdrag and trip cover. Fenix follows, neither count gets anything, and Fenix handstands to his feet as Angelico kips up. WRESTLING!
Penta and Evans take over, and Penta milks a Cero Miedo chant. THE GLOVE IS OFF and he tosses it to Abrahantes (first try), and then the MIEDO shove. Penta ducks a 540 kick and dropkicks Evans mid handspring. Blind charge misses and Evans sends Penta packing with a 540 kick that connects this time. Baseball slide misses, though, and Penta flips Evans onto the apron and kicks him. Back in, Fenix is tagged in, and the Lucha Bros gets the casadora flip splash. Big chop by Fenix to Evans, but Evans gets flipped to the apron and Angelico trips him onto his head. Back in, Evans pounds away and stomps Fenix before nailing Yes Kicks.
Angelico in, and he hooks a Gory Special with Evans dropkicking it. Angelico finishes the Gory Bomb, Evans hooks a flip chinlock, and Angelico kicks Fenix in the head. The combination gets two. Cross-armed Delfin Clutch by Angelico, but Penta breaks it with a NASTY kick to the head. Evans back in, and TH2 get a double-stomp/back suplex combo. Standing Skytwister by Evans gets two. Angelico back in, but Fenix uses the rope to block an Irish whip and fights away with a SUPERKICK to Angelico. Evans cuts him off with a kneelift, but Fenix comes back and SUPERKICKs Evans. Angelico gets knocked away, and Fenix slingshots back in with a rolling cutter for the double-down and big pop.
VERY hot tag Penta, and it’s Sling Blades to both men. He goes up and over Angelico and SUPERKICKs Evans before rolling through Angelico to give Evans a DDT. SUPERKICK to a handstanding Angelico on the top rope, and Fenix returns with a ropewalk dropkick to Angelico in the corner. It gets two, Evans saves with a double-stomp. Evans adds a flying kick to Fenix and tags himself in, going up top. Evans dives into a SUPERKICK from Fenix, and Penta returns as they get Fear Factor Zero for the pin (with Fenix diving onto Angelico for the exclamation point) at 9:30. If it seemed like this recap was hard to follow, imagine how the match was! Lucha Brothers are insane. ***1/4
DYNAMITE ON WEDNESDAY!
- Young Bucks vs. Jurassic Express!
- Allin and Sting vs. 2.0!
- Chris Jericho gets MJF!
More shows like this. 80-90 minutes is an ideal length, and 10-12 matches is an ideal number in my opinion. Plus, we got to see some of the underdogs get some shine on the favorites, which always makes the matches better.
BELL-TO-BELL – 48:50 over eleven matches (average time 4:26)
MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Luchas/TH2
- Penta El Cero Miedo
- Hikaru Shida
- Sammy Guevara
- Eddie Kingston
See you tomorrow!