The PG Era Rant for AEW Elevation, Episode 38 (“Grapitol Region Represent!!!”), November 22, 2021.
From Norfolk, VA.
Your hosts are Tony, Paul, and Mark… at first.
TONIGHT! The Sakura/Mizunami tag war continues as Emi is with Penelope Ford and the Bunny against Ryo, Kris Statlander, and Leyla Hirsch! Wheeler Yuta of Best Friends takes on Serpentico of Chaos Project! And PAWD World Champion Trish Adora gets worldwide exposure against Riho!
BUT ALSO! Two friends of mine are on the show! The Champion of the One Percent, Logan LaRoux, takes on the Premier Athlete, Tony Nese! And, Erica Leigh teams up with Willow Nightingale to face Anna Jay and Tay Conti!
PLUS – Frankie Kazarian, Dark Order, and Team Taz!
Opening match: Anna Jay (7-4) and Tay Conti (#4 women, 38-6) vs. Willow Nightingale and Erica Leigh!! (debut). And we open with one of my friends! (Erica, before you ask.) Paul says he’s glad he doesn’t have to wrestle Tay or Jay because he’d be too stunned to do anything.
Anna and Erica start. Anna with a quick Booker T hook kick and a leg lariat in the corner. Tay in, and she gets a running back elbow before Anna returns with a suplex. Erica with a jawjacker to escape, but Willow runs into Tay and gets slugged out. Tay ducks a lariat and gets a roundhouse kick and German suplex. Pump kicks in the corner, and she gets the DDTay as Anna chokes out Erica and the match is over at 1:26. Yeah, sorry, Erica, I wasn’t expecting more than that.
Tony Nese (1-0) vs. Logan LaRoux!! (debut). Excalibur and Eddie Kingston step in with Paul Wight for this one, so you know it’s a big deal and I’m even more hyped. Eddie puts Logan over on the mic.
Nese goes behind with a waistlock takedown and poses. He backs Logan into the corner and slaps him on a clean break, then gets a back heel kick and left hook. Logan fights back and we go International~!, with Logan nailing a dropkick and getting a nice pop for it. Nese begs off to the corner, but he suckers Logan in and backflips over him. Matrix duck and a series of kicks gets two for Nese. Running back elbow follows. Big chops in the corner by Nese, but Logan fires back with shots of his own. Nese goes to the throat and gets a Hotshot, then lands a double-jump moonsault for two.
Nese to a bodyscissors, but Logan backs him into the corner when they stand up. Nese leverages Logan into the corner but walks into an elbow, and Logan comes back with a five-arm and big boot into an enzuigiri. Mizline rattles Nese and Logan goes up, and the shotgun dropkick gets two. Suplex is escaped, but Logan tries a sunset flip only to get kicked into next week by a spin soccer kick. Nese German suplexes Logan into the corner, and the Running Nese ends it at 4:48. Crowd wanted an upset so bad in this one, but Logan showed some great selling skills. So I think, anyway. *1/2
FTW Champion Ricky Starks (17-3) and Powerhouse Hobbs (25-6) (w/Hook) vs. Lucas Chase and Irvin Legend. The big story here is that Team Taz tries to steal Dante Martin as a member while Lio Rush was absent attending a family funeral.
Starks and Legend start. Starks with a step-back waistlock that gets reversed, but Starks gets it back only to fall into a headlock. Hammerlock, but Legend elbows out only to walk into an armdrag and dropkick. Chase in, and Hobbs wants him. So Hobbs enters to a nice pop, and he shoves Chase down off a lockup. Chase tries a waistlock, but that gets him shoved AND run over. He goozles Chase into the corner, and he and Starks stomp a mudhole in Chase. Slam and kneedrop combo gets Starks two.
Starks with a chop, then a Hammer Throw, but the blind charge misses and Legend is in. Starks catches him with a neckbreaker, though, but Legend escapes Rochambeaux and brings Chase in. Chase smacks Hobbs and goes to work on Starks, rocking both men before running into a lariat from Hobbs. Jawjacker by Chase and he low-bruidges Hobbs, then rolls away from Starks and brings in Legend. Legend is caught in a flying slam by Starks, and Hobbs lariats Chase. Rochambeaux ends Legend at 3:58. Shockingly competitive match. *1/4
Emi Sakura (8-2) & The Bunny (10-7) & Penelope Ford (16-5) (w/Mei Suruga) vs. Ryo Mizunami (14-5) & Kris Statlander (#5 women, 25-4) & Leyla Hirsch (20-5). Kingston out, and Ruby Soho steps in because she’s facing Statlander in the TBS tournament. This is part of the ongoing war between Mizunami and Sakura, which I’m starting to get into.
Mizunami and Ford start, and a lockup goes nowhere. Ford slugs Mizunami, who tanks it and chops Ford into oblivion. Machine gun chops in the corner, with an exclamation point, and Hirsch is in to throw Mizunami into Ford. Statlander checks in, and she throws Hirsch into Ford with a dropkick. It gets two. Statlander wants Bunny, but she refuses and Sakura tags in instead. Statlander with armdrags, and she whips Sakura into the corner and DEMANDS Bunny. This time, Sakura tags her in, and Bunny clubs Statlander only to walk into a boot.
Running chop in the corner and Hirsch is in with double knees in the corner for two. Ford grabs Hirsch’s hair on a whip, then Suruga trips Hirsch and Bunny tosses Hirsch into the corner. Sakura back in, and she gets hairpull slams on Hirsch. Butterfly backbreaker follows to set up the We Will Rock You corner crossbody. It connects, and we get a group pose before Sakura tags in Ford. Ford rakes Hirsch’s eyes on the middle rope, then gets the handspring elbow.
Hirsch escapes the Gut Check but gets booted down, and Sakura in as Ford chokes Hirsch on the bottom rope and we pose. Single-leg takedown by Sakura into the Romero Special as the announcers question if the referee has the capability to keep this match under control. Big chop by Sakura, but Hirsch fires back with forearms before crawling through Sakura and getting an enzguiri. Hot tag Mizunami, and everyone gets shoulderblocks!
Bunny and Ford double-team Mizunami, so she spears them both at once. Statlander in, and they do criss-cross blind charges… that miss. Double-whip do-si-do leads to clotheslines and the blonds collide before being clotheslined into each other. Statlander with a half-senton for two, Sakura saves. Hirsch gives Sakura a German suplex, so Ford gives Hirsch the Gut Check. Mizunami in with a spear, and Bunny lands a SUPERKICK to Mizunami, but she forgets there’s still Statlander. Big Bang Theory ends it at 7:06. Really good trios match. **1/2
Frankie Kazarian (31-7) vs. Joe Keys (0-1). Kazarian is still the Elite Hunter despite not crossing their paths since, what, June? Keys is a Maryland-based wrestler who has done some time in Ring of Honor. Soho leaves, her job done, and Mark Henry returns.
Kazarian with a hammerlock and drop toe hold into a front facelock to start. Keys stacks him for one, but Kazarian pulls him up and keeps the headlock on. Keys misses a corner chop and Kazarian gives him one, then backflips over a backdrop and gets an armdrag and dropkick. Keys blocks an Irish whip and gets an uppercut, then catches Kazarian in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Keys works over Kazarian in the corner, but a charge eats elbow and Kazarian with a rollup for two. Big chops from Kazarian, and he smashes Keys with an elbow and leg lariat. Rollup is blocked, but Keys runs into a lariat. Keys with a kneesmash, but Kazarian reverses a backslide attempt into the CFCW for the win at 2:37. If you establish his finisher can win from nothing, it could work in the future. 1/2*
John Silver (20-6), Alex Reynolds (19-12), and Preston Vance (33-6) vs. Team TME (Duke Davis and Ganon Jones) and Baron Black (first time teaming). Glad to see the three enhancements back. Dark Order is crazy over. December 29, AEW returns to the AEW Arena! Davis and Jones dwarf Black, which is amazing. Wight puts over Team TME.
Reynolds and Black start. Reynolds with the armlock, but Black reverses. Black uses the hair to pull down Reynolds, then gets an uppercut and chop in the corner. Blind charge eats boot and Reynolds goes to work with chops. Black’s charge misses and Reynolds with a flying uppercut. Davis in, and Silver wants that matchup, so, sure, let’s do it. We get a face-to-chest between the two as the crowd goes wild. Shoulderblock try does nothing for Silver, so he tries again, only to get kicked. Hammer Throw by Davis, but Silver kicks him away and gets a Patriot Missile. Reynolds back in, and he gets some forearms before avoiding a slam and trying to cradle Davis.
Jones tags in on the attempt and boots down Reynolds. Team TME with a double flapjack on Reynolds, and Black in only for Reynolds to try to fight out. Davis whips Black into a boot from Reynolds (oops) and it’s hot tag Vance. Black eats clotheslines, and Davis gets one as well, then it’s a Blue Thunder bomb to Jones! Corner pump kicks to Davis and Black, then Davis is clotheslined out. Jones recovers to attack, but Silver cuts him off with a dropkick and German suplex. SPINEBUSTER by Vance, and it’s the ending sequence with the Full Nelson to get the win at 4:54. I love me some Dark Order. *1/2
Riho (9-2) vs. Trish Adora!! (debut). Adora is the Pan-Afrikan Diaspora World Champion, and PWI says that’s a title so deal with it. Tony comes back to replace Excalibur. Adora is also a DC native and one of the brightest rising stars in wrestling. She was signed to Ring of Honor before that fell apart.
Adora with the armlock on Riho, who reverses. Adora with a right to rock Riho, and she runs over Riho with a tackle for two. Riho bridges out and gets a cradle for two. Backslide by Riho gets two. Adora blocks a small package, though, and suplexes her from the ground (Mark Henry pops for it). Chops in the corner, then a big clothesline. She sends Riho into the corner, but a charge eats boot, twice. Riho goes up, and a crossbody connects. Riho sends Adora into the ropes with a tilt-a-whirl, then the Area Code Kick follows for two. Double stomp by Riho wins it at 2:13. THAT’S IT!? Note to AEW: Adora deserves a more competitive match than that! 1/2*
Main event: Serpentico (12-52) vs. Wheeler Yuta (w/Chuck Taylor and Kris Statlander) (14-11). I think Serpentico has the most losses in AEW history. Wight tries to spin it by saying no one takes a beating like he does. Yuta gets a nice pop. As he should – he’s done some work in Virginia before being discovered.
Serpentico with arm control to start, but Yuta springs out and takes down Serpentico. Charge eats boots, and Serpentico with a rana. Yuta gets a single-leg, then rolls through a monkey flip and gets a backslide into an arm drag. Over/under/through dropkick floors Serpentico and gets two. Big chop by Yuta, but Serpentico avoids the charge only to get knocked to the floor. He drags Yuta out and sends him into the guardrail. (Serpentico: “I’m okay!”) Back in, he goes to tag Luther, but, oh right, singles match.
So he throws himself into a headbutt on Yuta instead, for one. Yuta slugs back, getting a big boot, but he can’t follow up. Serpentico goes to the apron and suckers Yuta into a Hotshot. Slingshot double stomp gets two. Slam by Serpentico and he goes up, but stops to yell at the Best Friends at ringside. He gets the thumbs-up from Taylor and Statlander, but all that time means Yuta’s up to slam him off. Dropkicks by Yuta, then a Manhattan Drop into an enzuigiri. Running forearm in the corner and he goes up, and a flying forearm follows.
Yuta gets knocked out and in, then deadlifts Serpentico into a German for two. Serpentico with a jawjacker, but Yuta with a Manhattan Drop. Enzuigiri misses, and Serpentico with a roll-through into a Flatliner for two. He tells Best Friends to stand back (they weren’t about to come in) and goes up, but the diving headbutt misses by a mile. Yuta jumps to the apron and back in, catching Serpentico’s limbs and tying him up in a cradle for the pin at 5:43. Too much Serpentico stupidity to be as good as it could’ve been. *1/4
So Erica Leigh didn’t do much and I expected that. Logan LaRoux got a fine match and I was hopeful for that. Adora being shortchanged was a disappointment, though. I dunno – a friend of mine who watched live with me said LaRoux was at least getting a callback based on that performance. What do you think of how he and the others did?
BELL-TO-BELL – 32:45 over eight matches (average time 4:06)
MATCH OF THE NIGHT – Women’s trios
- Kris Statlander
- Wheeler Yuta
- Logan LaRoux – shut up, I’m biased.
See you tomorrow for more Dark, likely from Universal!