02nd Jun2021

‘AEW Dark: Elevation – Episode 12’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to this weeks review of AEW Dark: Elevation, which is the first (I think) to be filmed in front of a huge live crowd and deals with the fallout from this past weekend’s Double or Nothing. And in a real shocker… this episode is not even NINETY minutes long!

Match #1: The Acclaimed – Max Caster and Anthony Bowens def. Brent & Brandon Tate

My Thoughts: The Acclaimed delivered yet another great match against twins, and current OVW Tag Team Champions Brent & Brandon Tate – how displayed just why they are champs. Though it was enough for the fluid tag team work of Bowens and Caster.

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #2: Leyla Hirsch def. Robyn Renegade

My Thoughts: So, so glad that the live crowd at the taping of this match popped for Leyla Hirsch – I’ve always said she’s one of my favourite AEW stars and it now seems I’m not alone on that one. Hirsch demonstrated her skills once again and – as usual – hit the crossarm breaker for the easy win.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #3: Thunder Rosa def. Reka Tehaka

My Thoughts: Jesus! The AEW audience really, REALLY, popped for Thunder Rosa and kept cheering her on for the entire duration of this match. I didn’t believe it truly before but, yeah, what a huge difference a huge live audience makes. This typical Thunder Rosa match (where Rosa comes out fighting, takes a beating – letting her opponent look good for a while, then gets the win) felt anything but typical; this thing felt like something special thanks to the audience interaction.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #4: The Varsity Blonds – Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison (w/Julia Hart) def. Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico)

My Thoughts: I said it the other week when she debuted with them, but the addition of Julia Hart to the Varsity Blonds team is a major plus – the three really look like a viable team now, as the audience reaction can attest! Garrison and Pillman also look like they’ve been teaming for a LOT longer than they actually have, their chemistry in undeniable. I’m digging the “head of snake” references for Serpentico in the promo for this match too, to me it’s putting more empahasis on his evil side – which I’d rather see than the human cannonball joke he’s become as part of Chaos Project.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #5: Nyla Rose and The Bunny def. Red Velvet and Big Swole

My Thoughts: Now this was interesting. Velvet, Swole (and KiLynn King) have been on a roll as a team, racking up the wins. But in their first outing in front of a live AEW audience they take the L? To be fair this match did make Rose and Bunny look like dirty-playing psychos – as heels should be! Vickie Guerrero’s interference worked well to really sell this heel team; I’d definitely be interested in seeing Nyla Rose and The Bunny continue as a regular tag team… Can you imagine Nyla and Vickie joining Hardy’s stable though? I’d love to see the power struggle between Vickie and Matt Hardy!

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #6: Penta El Zero Miedo def. Jack Evans

My Thoughts: I’m not a fan of Jack Evans, as I’ve made readers fully aware of before. But it’s hard to deny that he and Penta can deliver superb matches. I couldn’t decide who got the bigger pop of the night, Penta or Thunder Rosa… I do, however, know the crowd were on fire for this match and COMPLETELY behind Penta El Zero Miedo!

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #7: Tay Conti def. Ashley D’Amboise

My Thoughts: This was essentially a squash match for Conti. She hit the TayKO followed by the DDTay for a quick win. But it was a win in front of a crowd that really made their love for Tay Conti known… You have to think that was the reason for this match, to showcase an improved Tay Conti in front of an audience. And the audience response has gotta be some great motivation for Conti going forward. She certainly looked joyous and excited in this match!

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #8: Jungle Boy def. J.D. Drake

My Thoughts: Jungle Boy really is a mega star now isn’t he? Though don’t discount J.D. Drake, a guy who I’ve been rooting for since his first appearance on AEW programming. Yes Jungle Boy got the win, as he should after the huge Casino Battle Royale win, but Drake didn’t look weak in losing either. Overwhelmed yes, weak no.

My Score: 3.5 out of 5

Final Verdict: 3.5/5

What a difference a live audience of significant numbers makes. Elevation felt like an entirely different beast this week – the excitement for each match (for the most part) felt truly palpable; adding a new dimension, previously unseen, to AEW’s newest show… And the shorter time limit helped too. Between the crowd reactions and the 80-odd minute running time this weeks episode felt like a shot of adrenalin in the arm to both the audience AND the show itself! And personally I loved the fact the crowd actually popped for all AEW’s rising stars too…

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