26th Oct2021

‘AEW Dark: Elevation – Episode 34’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to this weeks review of AEW Dark: Elevation, which this week comes from the University of Florida in Orlando – which looks and particularly sounds like is a smaller setting than usual. Let’s hope the crowd get into this one. But the big news for this episode is that Leyla Hirsch and Ryo Mizunami are back together!!

Match #1: Leyla Hirsch and Ryo Mizunami def. Diamante and Xtina Kay

My Thoughts: I could watch the tag team of Leyla Hirsch and Ryo Mizunami wrestle all day. Both women seem to bring the best out of each other and both have a hard-hitting style that compliment each other brilliantly. And their double-team moves were on point too. Diamante gave as good as she got as usual but it wasn’t enough against the on-point duo of Hirsch and Mizunami. LOVED this opening match!

My Score: 4 out of 5

Match #2: FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) def. Mike Reed and Toa Liona

My Thoughts: FTR working Elevation? After their big tag team match win against the Lucha Bros? What’s interesting about this match though was how good Toa Liona came out of it. He looked imposing and powerful against the veteran tag team, going toe-to-toe with BOTH men at one point. Hopefully Liona sticks around – after all, Wardlow needs some bigger opponents and Liona fits that bill perfectly! Still, this match was, ultimately, one of AEW’s “patented” quasi-squash matches with FTR picking up the win.

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #3: Emi Sakura def. Reka Tehaka

My Thoughts: At first I thought this one seemed a little unfair. After all, we’ve just seen how new Reka Tehaka is to wrestling in Rhodes to the Top (as commentary pointed out this was her 25th match ever) and to put her up against a true wrestling veteran in Emi Sakura seems “cruel”. But Tehaka pulled one out the bag here and she actually looked good here – matching Sakura in chops at one point and hitting two huge headbutts! I love how Sakura plays the heel in her matches though, it’s like she’s always playing with her opponents, teasing them that they can pick up a win against her and that was the case here too!

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #4: Dark Order’s 10 def. QT Marshall

My Thoughts: One hell of a pop for 10 and Dark Order to open this one. Speaking of opening… 10 popped QT in the face with his elbow, which looked like a complete accident as both men went in swinging at each other, and QT’s eye swelled up like a balloon! Good on QT for keeping going and (taking plenty of physicality from 10) completing what this match set out to do – make 10 look strong going into his match against Jon Moxley later this week.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #5: Paul Wight def. Arjun Singh, Cole Karter, and Carlie Bravo

My Thoughts: Paul Wight in a squash match? What a surprise! This 3-on-1 match one literally looked like something put together to send fans home happy (though did they go home after this one?) rather than some serious competition for Wight. Still it’s always fun to see the big man demolish other wrestlers – even moreso when its a handicap match – and Wight even left his feet in this one!

My Score: 1 out of 5

Final Verdict: 4/5

This was a fun and fast episode of AEW Dark: Elevation that opened with a superb women’s match and kept up the momentum till the close. We got to see one of AEW’s best tag teams in action – no NOT Harwood and Wheeler, I’m talking Hirsch and Mizunami – and a shining new talent in Toa Liona. That’s what Elevation is perfectly made for!


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