AEW Dark Elevation recap: Level up before the Final Boss

Episode 100 of AEW Dark: Elevation is in the books. If you missed the live broadcast click here for the Cageside Seats stream. Ian Riccaboni, Paul Wight and Matt Menard called the action tonight. We have a special main event for the century episode. Let’s get to it!

Red Velvet vs. Billie Starkz

Velvet brought a record of 1-0 for 2023. Starkz was waiting for her in the ring with a record of 0-1, following the incredible match she had with Britt Baker last week. All three announcers commented on how impressive she is for only being 18 years old, and as if to prove it she hit Velvet with a German suplex and went to the top rope. Velvet yanked her off with an Iconoclasm for a near fall. Velvet got rolled up for a near fall and hit with an elbow and a boot when she charged the corner. Starkz kicked her in the head and went for another German but Velvet grabbed the ropes to escape, then tripped her into said rope for double knees to the back. Starkz went for another German and Velvet blocked initially, but eventually Starkz bridged the suplex for a near fall. Starkz went to the top rope for a Swanton and another near fall. Velvet countered it into a two count. Starkz set Velvet on her shoulders and paid for it with a poison rana and a kick to the head for the win. Not as good as last week… but still fun!

Athena had a backstage interview but wanted no part of it and took the mic and took control of the segment. She had the camera follow her to Diamante (having to ask the cameraman for her name), and Diamante was insulted that she offered her a chance to tag with her. “Last time you kicked my freakin’ head in!” Athena then offered her a ROH Women’s Title shot if she’d tag with her on tonight’s episode. “Now you’re talking my language!” Athena slapped a bag of glow sticks in her chest and said “Don’t forget these for my entrance.”

The Dark Order vs. The WorkHorsemen

The WorkHorsemen (Anthony Henry and JD Drake) brought a record of 0-1. The Dark Order (John Silver and Alex Reynolds) brought a record of 1-0 and were accompanied to the ring by Evil Uno. Silver and Henry started the match. Silver took him down and flexed his giant biceps, did a head takeover and a running kick to the chest. Henry got to the apron and tagged Drake, and he knocked Reynolds off the apron before giving Silver a scoop slam for two. The Horsies cut off the ring to work Silver over. Menard: “They’re not letting him breathe!” Wight: “Isolate him, wear him down and get the cover.” Reynolds got the tag and went to work. He leapt outside the ring to wipe out Drake on the floor, got back in the ring for a pop up knee and a Tiger Driver for two on Henry. Silver and Reynolds bonked heads, Drake hit a Shining Wizard, and Henry hit a frog splash for two. The Horsies tried and failed a double team, and The Dark Order did their finishing sequence for the pin — running forearm, German suplex, and Reynolds leaping over the top to bridge the pin.

Rush vs. Brian Pillman Jr.

Pillman brought a record of 0-1. Rush brought the Ingobernables and a record of 2-0. Pillman was a house of fire early but Rush cut him off with some chops and a big discus punch. Pillman rolled out and Rush ran him into the barricades, one after the other, then seemed to be looking under the ring for a weapon. He changed his mind and went back to giving Pillman knees in the barricade, while Jose the Assistant dumped a bottle of water on him and Preston Vance threw him into the barricade again and fed him back into the ring. Rush was laughing as he stomped on Pillman and kicked him in the chest. Pillman fired up to throw chops. Rush and Pillman started chopping each other so hard it was almost a shoot. Both men had beat red chests. Pillman hit a dropkick, Rush hit a suplex into the corner, stepped all over his face and backed up to hit the bull’s horns. He dragged Pillman out of the corner and made the easy 1-2-3 pin. He choked Pillman with a green rope or production cable afterward.

Skye Blue & Yuka Sakazaki vs. Athena & Diamante

Athena and Diamante were teaming together for the first time as noted by the backstage segment, and they were already fighting on their way down to the ring as Athena’s music played. Blue and Sakazaki also had no 2023 record and were accompanied to the ring by Madison Rayne. Sakazaki and Diamante started the match. Blue quickly tagged in for some double teaming, and Mike Posey lost all control of the ring. Athena tagged in and put Blue in a headlock before pounding on her. Blue came back with a head scissor and a spinning head kick. Athena charged and missed in the corner. Blue went to the top rope, Diamante distracted her and Athena took advantage with a boot to the face. Blue fell out of the ring and the heels worked together to throw Blue into the barricade. Athena patted Diamante on the head and she swatted her away. Diamante got pulled away for not letting Blue out of the corner and Athena choked her while Posey had his back turned. 10 punches in the corner and a cover from Diamante. Athena tagged back in. Blue fought her off with body shots but ate a forearm and boots in the corner. Diamante in for a suplex. Athena in to mock Blue and slap her around. Blue fought off both women and kicked Athena away to tag Sakazaki in. Athena gave her a big chop. Sakazaki gave her a series of elbows and a spinning lariat. Running step up kick. To the top rope for a dropkick! Scoop slam. Diamante broke up the pin. Sakazaki got folded up on her head with a suplex. Athena came in to plant Blue. Sakazaki and Athena both got back up slow. Sakazaki hit an enzuigiri, Diamante tagged in, ran in for a roll up and Sakazaki kicked out. Back elbows from Sakazaki. Sakazaki spun Diamante around and pinned her while Athena sold her leg out on the floor. She got back up, got in the ring, but Madison Rayne was in the ring too so she realized she was outnumbered. She bailed and hobbled her way back up the ramp as Diamante mocked her and she hugged her ROH Women’s Title like a teddy bear.

Top Flight vs. Tony Nese & Ari Daivari

Nese and Daivari were accompanied by “Smart” Mark Sterling. They had a record of 1-0. Sterling: “Every citizen in Kentucky must shower once a year. That’s a law. And judging by the smell in here a lot of you are breaking the law. Out of the kindness of his hearts Daivari has bought each and every one of you a bar of soap. Look under your seats. Every one of you who checked is guilty, and I have notified the authorities!” Top Flight also brought a record of 1-0. I’m wondering if Josh Woods is hurt given Nese has been tagging with Daivari. I don’t know that for a fact but Nese and Woods had such good chemistry as a team that +something+ must be going on.

Nese got a two count on Darius and mocked Dante on the apron as the heels double teamed him and ref Rick Knox did nothing to break it up. Riccaboni complimented Daivari on continuing to wrestle despite his huge storyline inheritance. Dante got the hot tag and immediately started to flip fly and flow like only he can. Wight: “We call that hang time!” Suicide dive from Darius. Suicide dive from Nese. Suicide dive from Dante onto both heels. He threw Nese back into the ring and Daivari grabbed his leg for the distracted. Nese with a gutbuster and a tag to Daivari. Double team pin attempt broken up by Darius. All four men in the ring. Clothesline sends Nese out to the floor and Martin hits Daivari with the Nose Dive for the win!

Lexi was backstage with Sakazaki and Dark Order, and they asked her if she’d join The Dark Order. She said “hai” but they didn’t understand she was saying “yes.” Lexi apologized for them as they left dejected. She looked at the camera, said “hai” again and made The Dark Order’s hand sign. Magical Girl is just so dang cute!

Malakai Black & Brody King vs. Turbo Floyd & Truth Magnum

Kings of the Black Throne (Malakai Black and Brody King from the House of Black) brought a record of 1-0 and their spooky entrance, complete with the skull mask and ski mask, while Magnum and Floyd were waiting in the ring with a record of 0-2. Riccaboni said they are also known as The Outrunners and Menard was laughing at them before the match even began. Wight: “They time traveled here from 1988!” Riccaboni tried again to put them over by saying they had won the Nightmare Cup in Ohio Valley Wrestling.

I’d like to tell you that the Outrunners stood a chance in this match, but I’d be lying. Brody single-handedly destroyed both men with chops. One tried to rake the eyes and got put down with a vicious clothesline. The other tried to run in for the save and failed. Brody hit a piledriver for the pin while Black simultaneously kicked the other half of the Outrunners off the apron. This was a glorious squash.

ROH World Championship Match: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Blake Christian

We’ve got a main event title defense for Episode 100. That feels very appropriate! “All Heart” Blake Christian brought a 2023 record of 1-0 to the ring. Caprice Coleman joined commentary before Castagnoli entered the building, wearing his ROH World Title and sporting a 2023 singles record of 1-0. Both men were introduced by ROH ring announcer Bobby Cruise — a nice touch. They each shook hands, the bell rang, and Castagnoli immediately hit a dropkick and went for a pin. Scoop slam, drop elbow, another pin attempt. Castagnoli attempted to snap off the left arm and Christian fought free. He tried and failed to pick up Castagnoli. Knee, Leg drop. Elbow. Two count.

Christian pulled down the rope to send Castagnoli to the floor, but Castagnoli picked him up, dropped him on the apron, and ran him into the ring post. Castagnoli got back in the ring, adjusted his Jay Briscoe armband (if you didn’t know this was taped last Wednesday you definitely do now) and hit Christian with a clothesline when he got back in. Christian briefly got Castagnoli off his feet but ate some hard strikes. Castagnoli gave him a back breaker and a double foot stomp for two near falls. Hard blows to the back of Christian. Coleman: “He’s focusing on that back. He’s honing in on it. He knows what he wants to do.” Christian with a bulldog and a handspring heel kick and a spear on the apron. Fosberry Flop to knock Castagnoli down on the floor! Double stomp back in the ring. Near fall for “All Heart.” Chop to Castagnoli. Another chop. A third. A fourth fifth and sixth. Christian avoided an uppercut but got cradled when he went for a Big Swing for two. Spcioli Driver! Springboard 450! Castagnoli kicked out at 2.999. Coleman: “Every second he’s looking at the ref it’s a second going by for the champ to recover.” Can we have Coleman on commentary more often? Dead left straight jacket power bomb from Castagnoli. Big Swing time! Christian verbally submitted when Castagnoli refused to stop swinging him around. Great finish to episode 100. Have yourself a coffee sir, you earned it! Giev one to Christian too for being a fine opponent for this match.

What to watch/skip

Tonight’s “what to watch/skip” is brought to you by the Chugs Army. It’s Claudio’s favorite gaming channel don’tcha know. I apologize if this post-show summary is anticlimactic but I have +no+ skips this week. I got to see Billie Starkz again, I got to see Athena being a low down dirty heel, I got a fun set of tag matches, I love seeing Rush and Castagnoli show off their skill and power (in completely different ways), I have no complaints here. This whole episode was a blast!

Cageside commentary crew! Share your thoughts in the comments section below and find me on Twitter for even more wrestling talk. See you tomorrow night after AEW Dark!


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