The SmarK Rant for AEW Dark Elevation – 03.20.23
And we wrap up with the last taping remnants from my Winnipeg adventure! Spoiler: Not much happens on this one.
Taped from Winnipeg, MB
Your hosts are Paul Wight & Daddy Magic
Skye Blue v. TFA
This was indeed the first match of the night. TFA attacks at the bell and puts the boots to Skye for two. Skye counters a powerbomb for two and gets the knee strike on the ropes before going up with a flying bodypress for two. TFA comes back with a sideslam for two, but Skye comes back with the Code Blue for the pin at 3:00. A decent show opener. 1 for 1.
Jake Hager v. Adam Knight
Knight is apparently a longtime Winnipeg guy, so he got a pretty big reaction from the crowd. Hager of course was over as a babyface due to his association with Jericho. Jake takes him down while still wearing the purple hat and then passes it off to Angelo for safekeeping. Knight comes back with a clothesline, but that just annoys Hager and he slugs away in the corner and then finishes with the Hagerbomb at 2:07. So they actually edited a bit of stuff out of the match, with one notable spot outside where Parker was messing around on the floor and dropped the hat, drawing a big heel reaction and cracking up Hager for a bit. It was a funny bit and I’m kind of sad they cut it out. 1 for 2.
Emi Sakura v. Zoe Sager
Emi’s new graphic looks nothing like her for whatever reason. Also they’ve switched up her music to a more ominous dirge rather than the Queen-ish stuff she used before. Sakura hits her with chops to start and then hairtosses her and slams her for two. They slug it out with chops and Sakura puts her down with a backbreaker for two and follows with the delayed butterfly suplex, but Zoe escapes from that and comes back with running knees in the corner. Sager goes up with a missile dropkick for two off that. But then Emi cuts her off with a neckbreaker, which Daddy Magic calls “the TSN turning point” for a nice bit of Canadian inside humor, and then Emi puts her in a bow and arrow hold and rolls around the ring with her to tap her out at 4:00. Cool submission finish to that one. 2 for 3.
Brandon Cutler v. Jason Geiger
Geiger actually puts Cutler down with a back elbow and follows with a suplex before using a nice legscissor takedown on him and going after the knee. Cutler makes the ropes, but Geiger hits him with a corner clothesline and they slug it out. Cutler drops a couple of goofy elbows and dances in celebration, but falls into a rear naked choke and bodyscissors from Geiger. Cutler powers out of that and escapes with an airplane spin, but that leaves both of them dizzy. So Geiger tries a sleeper and Cutler spins him to escape that and falls on top for two. Geiger sinks in another choke, but Cutler rolls him over for the Bret Hart pin at 3:45. This was a fun match live and on TV. 3 for 4.
Matt Hardy, Ethan Page & Isiah Kassidy v. Massive Damage, Mo Jabari & Sebastian Wolfe
As expected, the crowd went NUTS for Matt’s music, although Ethan quickly demanded that they stop because he wants to be a good Canadian host and introduce Kassidy to work the crowd. Stokely standing there looking grumpy through all of this is tremendous. Also Ethan dancing to the Hardy music is also great, as his heel heart has been won over by his new friends. Jabari manages to outwrestle Kassidy for a bit to start (with lots of people around me making “Wish.com Kofi” jokes about him) but Matt comes in and beats on him with his calcified forearms to take over. Over to Wolfe, but Ethan comes in for a double-team forearm with Matt, having a grand old time with this. Kassidy slugs away in the corner, but Massive Damage provides distraction and Wolfe puts Kassidy down and the enhancement guys take over for a minute. But then Page gets the tag and destroys Jabari with a powerslam, and we get triple Side Effects to set up the Ego’s Edge 4:01. Grumpy old Stokely still isn’t into it, but then they set up Jabari for him and he gets a rear naked choke on the guy to show his mad submission skills. I think Hook might be in trouble, guys. 4 for 5.
Top Flight v. Michael Allen Richard Clark & Shawn Moore
Is the one guy any relation to David Morton Tyler Jericho? Why does he need that many names? It’s hard enough for those of us who only have two first names, this poor guy has FOUR. Darius works a headlock on Moore and hits him with an atomic drop and a neckbreaker, and the Martins double-team in the corner and hit the other guy with a double dropkick, but Darius walks into a dropkick from Moore. Mr. Four Names comes in with a powerslam on Darius and does some pushups on him. To be fair, he does have “Pushups” on the back of his trunks. Darius fights them off and makes the hot tag to Dante, who cleans house and comes off the top with a flying bodypress for two. Darius tosses Dante onto Clark outside, and back in the ring for Dante’s frog splash to finish Moore at 4:15. Darius has been looking a tad pudgy lately for some reason. 4 for 6.
Athena v. Taylor Rising
Athena wallops her out of the ring and follows with a dropkick on the floor, but Taylor runs her into the stairs and teases a Pedigree out there. Athena backdrops out of it and turns it into a whiplash slam on the floor to escape, but Taylor comes back with a rana and pump kick in the ring. She finally gets that darn Pedigree for two. Daddy Magic: “What do we call it?” Taylor goes up and misses whatever, and Athena dropkicks her into the corner and then finishes with the double knees and crossface at 3:17. Glad to see Athena has a direction and fun character as purveyor of needless violence now. 5 for 7. And speaking of which, she suplexes Taylor to the floor just to amuse herself and then slams her face into the ROH belt while singing the Canadian national anthem.
Dustin Rhodes & Keith Lee v. Levi Night & Jessie V
This was actually taped after Dynamite as a buffer match before Rampage, for everyone who was on the edge of their seat wondering. Luckily I was able to return from the bathroom just in time so I didn’t miss this showcase. Levi Night would fit in perfectly as a Crockett jobber in 1987 getting squashed by Ronnie Garvin or the Midnight Express. He gets beat up in the babyface corner, so it’s over to Jessie, and he slugs away on Keith. That goes terribly for him, as Lee tosses him across the ring and then throws Night around as well. Back to Dustin, who cleans house on the jobbers, and Keith tosses Dustin onto both of them. And the Final Reckoning finishes at 2:48. Good to see Keith in a tag team relationship that isn’t toxic for once. 5 for 8.
The Dark Order v. Tony Nese & Ari Daivari
One thing I want to point out is that although they made sure to switch up the Shazam progaganda to “Now Playing” for the Rampage show that was taped at the end of the night, all the banners for Dark show the “coming March 17” date for this show, which of course airs AFTER Rampage.
Oh yeah, everyone at DC got fired, I forgot. The Varsity Athletes put the boots to Johnny on the floor and Daivari drops a knee in the ring for two. So I guess Ari has just replaced Josh Woods in the team permanently then? Nese with a spinkick for two and a superkick, but Silver flips out of a german suplex and drops knees on Nese to set up the hot tag to Reynolds. He runs wild and gets rid of Nese, and powerbombs Daivari for two. But then Nese provides distraction and Ari gets an inverted DDT on Reynolds. Silver comes in again and Reynolds tosses Daivari into Silver’s forearm, and they finish Nese with their wacky double-team series at 4:40. This was fine and I’m glad to see Dark Order getting a solid win and not doing the job for once. 6 for 9.
And that wraps up everything from Winnipeg! I hope you all enjoyed it because I’m never returning to that miserable hellhole if I can help it!