14th Apr2021

‘AEW Dark: Elevation – Episode 5’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to this weeks review of AEW Dark: Elevation, and I can’t believe we’re back to a ridiculous 2 AND A HALF(!) hour long show. Really AEW? Really? Do you want people to NOT watch your product… Seriously, last weeks 90-odd minute show was the perfecrt length. This one? Not so much.

Match #1: Dark Order’s 10 def. Zack Clayton

My thoughts: Poor 10. Just when you thought he was due for a push up the card, facing some decent opponents, he gets to face a reality TV star come wrestler in Zack Clayton. Who looks less like he was green and more like he was literally walking through an over-rehearsed match. Slow, cumbersome and telegraphing a lot of moves this was amateur-hour stuff that went on – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – too long! Poor 10… But hey, at least -1 got to have fun.

My score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #2: Miro def. Hayden Backlund

My thoughts: Backlund got ONE offensive move in, that’s all. Otherwise this was a quick effective squash match for Miro. A waste of his talents but still he looked like a badass doing it.

My score: 1 out of 5

Match #3: Tay Conti and Hikaru Shida def. Katalina Perez and Leila Grey

My thoughts: Tay Conti has been making massive strides in her in-ring ability since joining AEW and nowhere is that more evident than here. Conti is teamed with AEW Champ Shida, making a great tag team with good communication, and a great flow between the two. The fact they were essentially fed Katalina Perez and Leila Grey in a squash tag match is a shame 0 though its a credit to Chida that she let Perez and Grey get some decent offence in against her. It’s clear that this entire match was really a set-up or the final moments where Conti eyed-up Shida’s belt… Looks like I’m not the only one who thinks Conti is headed for the womens main event spotlight.

My score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #4: The Hybrid 2 def. Carlie Bravo and Dean Alexander

My thoughts: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t get the TH2 hype. Yes they’re good but their showboating and their egos seem to get in the way of my enjoyment of their matches. Some might say they got a certain charisma but I just think they act like egocetric d*ckheads. Which means I was rooting for Bravo and Alexander through out this one… Especially Bravo, whose been putting in the work week after week on AEW’s Dark programming.

My score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #5: Orange Cassidy def. John Skyler

My thoughts: John Skyler is yet another wrestler who has been putting in the work on Dark and Elevation. He hasn’t won a match yet but he always, always, looks good in defeat. Though you know he’s never going to win against Orange Cassidy… who’s another wrestler who ALWAYS looks good, no matter the match! I did like the fact Skyler got to at least show some of his persona in this match too.

My score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #6: Konosuke Takeshita def. Danny Limelight

My thoughts: Danny Limelight is another unsung hero of AEW’s Dark programming and its great to see him given a chance to face one of DDT-Pro’s best wrestlers in Konosuke Takeshita; which also shows the confidence AEW have in Limelight to deliver a great match and help guide Takeshita on his first outing for AEW. And goddamn did both men come out of this one looking good!

My score: 3.5 out of 5

Match #7: FTR def. Midas Black and Jay Lyon

My thoughts: I’m not even going to sugar-coat this. FTR squashed their opponents with ease. Yes, Black and Lyon got a little offence in but I’m guessing that was just FTR playing with them. Otherwise Dax and Cash were in control for the entirety of this one; and they pretty much looked like arseholes for dragging this one out waaaaay longer than it needed to be.

My score: 1 out of 5

Match #8: Pac and Rey Fenix def. Andre Montoya and Vary Morales

My thoughts: Like the previosu match this was a squash that was dragged out longer than it needed to. Though unlike the aforementioned FTR match there was a least a reason for Pac and Ray Fenix dragging this one out – to taunt the Young Bucks… Literally. Still Pac and Fenix looked badass as usual.

My score: 2 out of 5

Match #9: Baron Black vs. Dante Martin

My thoughts: A nice singles match for Dante Martin against Baron Black who never disappoints. Well I say never but you can’t but disappoint when you’re getting manhandled by Lance Archer. Anyway, back to this match which saw two guys put on a decent wrestling match. Can’t complain about that.

My score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #10: Britt Baker def. Skye Blue

My thoughts: Skye Blue got in a little offence but this one was all Baker’s. and was yet another exmaple of a match whose existence was merely to lead into a promo from Baker about how she’s starting at the bottom on Dark to get into the women’s championship picture thanks to AEW’s policy of “wins and losses matter”.

My score: 1 out of 5

Match #11: QT Marshall and Nick Comoroto def. Andrew Palace and Cole Karter

My thoughts: Jesus christ… Is this the squash episode of AEW Dark: Elevation? It certainly seems to be the case. Hey, at least Comoroto looked good. As usual.

My score: 1 out of 5

Match #12: Mike Sydal def. MT Nakazawa

My thoughts: All I can say about this one is thank god Sydal won. At this point I’m starting to think gouging my eyes out would be preferable to watching Nakazawa play out this sh*tty gimmick. Credit must go to Mike Sydal for selling this one and actually putting in the work. Unlike Nakazawa.

My score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #13: Leyla Hirsch def. Shanna

My thoughts: Another good showing from AEW’s womens division. Leyla Hirsch looked particularly “legit” in this match and Shanna stepped up her game to match Hirsch, with both women taking a vicious root to try and get the win. Which Hirsch did. Though the squaring off the duo did post-match seems to suggest this feud is just beginning. And I’m here for it.

My score: 3 out of 5

Match #14: Penta el Zero M def. Brandon Cutler

My thoughts: The winner of this match was never in doubt but the journey to get there was well worth watching. Penta gave Cutler plenty of room to shine without ever looking weak himself. Not the squash match I was expecting. A nice end to this one as well, with Death Triangle using a destroyed and bloody Brandon Cutler to taunt the Young Bucks again.

My score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #15: Thunder Rosa def. Diamante

My thoughts: Good god. can we have these two fight each other every week please AEW? ONly make this the main event next time, it certainly deserved to be there instead of the Best Friends tag match that did close the show. Some great work from two women at the top of their game, with each women giving the other a spotlight in a great back and forth display of wrestling.

My score: 3.5 out of 5

Match #16: Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky def. Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela

My thoughts: I mentioned in my review of Dark. last week that Janela and Kiss had upped their game, back to a well-oiled machine worthy of the tag team main event and that trend continued here. Just a shame they were up against Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky, two men who’ve come together and in a VERY short space of time shown that they are a force to be reckoned with… Seems Page can tag with anyone and make it look uber-polished.

My score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #17: Best Friends def. Ryan Nemeth and Cezar Bononi

My thoughts: Why was this the main event? Don’t get me wrong, this was a good match but definitely not main event-worthy. Even for a YouTube show. Bononi still looks green but Chuck and Trent did a lot to help make him look less clumsy than he has in the past. Best Friends gave the people what they wanted to close the show. Maybe that was the thinking behind ending on this one? On a warm fuzzy feeling?

My score: 2 out of 5

News of the Night:

  • This week featured a ‘Rising Star’ segment on “The Captain” Shawn Dean, telling his story and giving an extra depth to Dean’s on-screen persona. Which is what these rising star vignettes and Paul Wight interview segments should do.
  • DDT’s Konosuke Takeshita made his AEW debut.
  • Takeshita was tricked into teaming with Nakazawa in a match against the Sydal’s next week.

Final Verdict: 2/5

Too long, too many squash matches. You know the drill by now. Thankfully Konosuke Takeshita’s debut and a few of the women’s matches saved the day.

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