31st Mar2021

‘AEW Dark: Elevation – Episode 3’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to the first review of AEW Dark: Elevation here on Nerdly. The first you say? But this is episode 3, how can this be the first review? Well, if I’m honest, I thought the first episode of Elevation was so bad I actually turned it off before the end of the show… bad as in it just felt like a retread of Dark; there was nothing – in my opinion – to distinguish it from AEW’s other YouTube show. So, with a sour taste in my mouth from the debut episode, I also skipped episode 2 last week. I didn’t even watch it. But you know, AEW fan boy that I am I had to give Elevation another go… Which leads us to this review!

Match #1: Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor def. JD Drake & Ryan Nemeth

My Thoughts: This match had two things going for it. Orange Cassidy’s brillaint new Pixies theme song and JD Drake. Yes, I’ve extolled the virtues of Drake a myriad of times in the past but I still stand by it – he’s one of the best wrestlers currently on the AEW roster, an unsung hero of Dark and Elevation, always delivering excellent matches no matter the opponent; be it singles matches or, like this, a tag team match.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #2: Jon Moxley def. Bill Collier

My Thoughts: Moxley facing a jobber? What is this, the WWE? I jest (maybe). However like Cody Rhodes, who was accused of letting Peter Avalon get too much offense on him during their match a few weeks ago, Moxley didn’t make swift work of Collier, in fact Collier got in some decent offense against the crazed Mox. I guess AEW will put this one down to Moxley being “injured” after his PPV match.

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #3: Penelope Ford def. Leila Grey

My Thoughts: Well colour me surprised, Penelope Ford actually got a chance to actually wrestle, in a match, for longer than a couple of minutes. About bloody time! Though, sorry Penelope, its looks like all those weeks (months?) out of the ring have made you a little rusty.

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #4: The Gunn Club def. Rex Lawless & Milk Chocolate (Randy Summers & Brandon Watts)

My Thoughts: Trios action featuring the Gunn Club. Which is what it is. There’s nothing exciting or remarkable about the Gunn Club and that applied to this match too. At least indie veterans Milk Chocolate got some “TV” time. Oh, and the score – those points all go to Lawless and Milk Chocolate. Screw the Gunn Club.

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #5: Joey Janela def. Chandler Hopkins

My Thoughts: I love watching Joey Janela’s matches. It’s like watching the wrestling version of Jackass – insomuch as Janela seemingly doesn’t give a sh*t about making things look pretty and looks like he puts his body on the line every time. Here he took on AEW newcomer Chandler Hopkins in an ACTUAL wrestling match. With wrestling. Kind of the antithesis of everything I’ve just said about Janela! And it turned out great – Janela let Hopkins shine (with some great offense but some silly decision-making) whilst still looking his usual badass self.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #6: Thunder Rosa def. Alex Gracia

My Thoughts: Thunder Rosa takes on one of the women from her promotion Mission Pro Wrestling, giving her “student” a chance to shine on TV. Which is essentially the mission statement for AEW Dark: Elevation isn’t it? Gracia looked a little too clumsy against the smoother, more experienced Thunder Rosa here but it’s was probably great experience for the young Gracia who, at times, looked too much like she was waiting for Rosa to run the show. Plus this gives Rosa her twelfth straight win in AEW!

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #7: Leyla Hirsch def. Vipress

My Thoughts: Vipress makes her second appearance on AEW and, even against the stronger Hirsch, managed to look good, picking apart Leyla’s arm with aplomb. However this match was Hirsch’s… her offense, both on and off the mat, looked more vicious, more effective, than anything Vipress had. Hirsch is definitely a wrestler whose skills tell you everything you need to know about her!

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #8: Frankie Kazarian def. Danny Limelight

My Thoughts: Danny Limelight got a chance to show what he could do against the veteran Frankie Kazarian and unfortunately, tonight, Limelight had some issues… In particular too much showboating! You don’t want to showboat in a match against Frankie Kazarian. Seriously. Kazarian’s grizzled veteran shtick means he’ll kick the living crap out of you and he does that to Limelight here. Though honestly, neither man really looked like the loser of this one.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #9: Ethan Page def. Fuego Del Sol

My Thoughts: Two of my favourite wrestlers in one match? Sounds like my kind of wrestling and this was. Loved how they had page perfectly scout Fuego’s attempts at the Tornado DDT… Both men looked great here, even Fuego looking good in defeat.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #10: Tay Conti & Hikaru Shida def, Tesha Price & Jazmin Allure

My Thoughts: Can you say squash match? Hey, at least Tay Conti got to do all the squashing, landing the DD-Tay for the win!

My Score: 1 out of 5

Match #11: Jungle Boy def. Jack Evans

My Thoughts: This was a decent wrestling match, though I still don’t get the hype around Jack Evans (or TH2 for that mattter)… Jungle Boy outshone Evans here both in traditional wrestling and the high-flying, fast-paced stuff. Though that wasn’t that hard given the “shoddy” work Evans put in here – the schoolboy roll-up being a particular low point for Evans, looking incredibly amateur-hour. Though I sometimes can’t tell when Evans is being super-skilled and out-working his opponents or just making cock-ups look good!

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #12: QT Marshall & Lee Johnson def. Adam Priest & Aaron Frye

My Thoughts: The second squash match of the night. Meh. Question: Does the “QT” in QT Marshall stand for quickly ticking fans off? Or is it just me?

My Score: 1 out of 5

Match #13: Ryo Mizunami def. Kilynn King

My Thoughts: This was EASILY the best match of the night. Kilynn King looks superb here, the best she ever has but Ryo Mizunami looked even better – letting her personality come to the fore, playing up to the camera and the ref; delivering a perfect balance of playfulness and badassery! We need a lot more Mizunami on AEW television please Tony Khan!

My Score: 4 out of 5

Match #14: Dark Order’s Alan “5” Angels and 10 def. D3 & Vary Morales

My Thoughts: This was an odd one. Essentially this was 5 and 10 squashing D3 and Morales but if went on for quite some time and even with the Dark Order on offense for 95% of this match it never felt like a squash. Though 10 doesn’t need to copy Bobby Lashley and the full nelson submission. No one does.

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #15: Private Party def. Bear Country

My Thoughts: The wrong team won this match. Seriously. You only have to watch the promo/video package for Bear Country before this match to see that. Private Party maybe the chosen ones (having been “picked” by the Young Bucks to come to AEW) but Bear Country are the ones who can do the work… Private Party seem to be happy to coast along in AEW and their team-up with Matt Hardy, whilst exciting at first – after all who wouldn’t be excited to see a high-flying tag team under the tutelage of the extreme one Matt Hardy? – it’s floundered under Hardy’s “Money Matt” gimmick. The score, 2.5 out of 5, reflects the fact that only half the men in this match put in the work.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #16: Scorpio Sky def. Mike Sydal

My Thoughts: Scorpio Sky, the “Face of the Revolution” gets to main event another AEW programme but like Moxley’s earlier match Sky let Mike Sydal get too much offense in. Given how Sky is supposed to be angry at how he’s been treated in AEW, disrespected etc., this match SHOULD have been the squash match of the night. Sky should have annihilated  the other Sydal brother… But then that wouldn’t have been much of a main event would it? What we did get was a good demonstration of professional wrestling – though Sydal’s “flexibility” and “yoga skills” started to grate after a while.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

News of the Night:

  1. Looks like Thunder Rosa and Diamante are setting up a new feud after the latter interupted the formers backstage promo
  2. Christian Cage came out after Kazarian’s match, furthering their feud/Dynamite match.
  3. Ethan Page came out at the end of Scorpio Sky’s match to help beat down the Sydal’s… setting up… something? Maybe?

Final Verdict: 2/5

I still think AEW Dark: Elevation feels too much like Dark. Yes we get more promos (in fact Jack Evans said more here than I think he has in months!) and some story beats but this is just another two hours of AEW product to get through a week. Two hours… this should NOT be that long. Cut out the squashes for a start!

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