VENUE: Daily’s Place (Jacksonville, FL)
COMMENTATORS: Tony Schiavone, Paul Wight, & Mark Henry (and also Eddie Kingston)
VIEWING METHOD: YouTube
AEW Dark: Elevation kicks off its 2022 with Jay Lethal, Jake Atlas, and many more in action. Way more. Too many more for the time allotted, to be exact.
- Riho vs. Valentina Rossi
- Andrade El Idolo vs. JP Harlow
- Megan Bayne vs. Leila Grey
- Scorpio Sky vs. Ray Jaz
- John Silver & Alex Reynolds vs. Mike Orlando & Shayne Stetson
- Jake Atlas vs. Serpentico
- Skye Blue vs. Angelica Risk
- Jay Lethal vs. Troy Hollywood (***)
Riho defeated Valentina Rossi via pinfall after Somato (3:33)
- Valentina Rossi has only been wrestling for seven months and already has one of the greatest ring names in modern-day pro wrestling.
- Riho challenges Britt Baker for the Women’s World Championship at Battle of the Belts this coming Saturday. She’s 3-0 over the good doctor so her chances are looking pretty good.
- Mark Henry is a parody of Charles Barkley’s parody of Shaq from Saturday Night Live. It’s fascinating.
Andrade El Idolo [w/ Jose the Assistant] defeated JP Harlow via submission with La Muerta (2:58)
- This was Harlow’s AEW debut but the third appearance for his mustache. I can’t explain it either.
- Andrade worked the arm for the bulk of the match to set up the finisher, which was the first time I’ve seen it. That looked BRUTAL.
“The Greek Goddess” Megan Bayne [w/ Royal Servant Ladies?] defeated Leila Grey via pinfall with a Tombstone Piledriver (2:40)
- Bayne got a full-on flashy entrance here, fawned on by masked servant ladies and wearing the BIGGEST headpiece in the company. She and Malakai Black should hang out. This ruled.
- Both ladies came into this one with zero wins so far in their AEW careers, Bayne 0-6 and Grey 0-10.
- Bayne overpowered Grey for most of the match but almost got in her own way after stopping her own pinfall, allowing Grey a brief comeback. However, that got squashed pretty quick courtesy of a big ol’ Greek boot.
Scorpio Sky [w/ Dan Lambert] defeated Ray Jaz via pinfall with a TKO (2:40)
- I spent a lot of 2021 skipping Dan Lambert segments so this is the first time I’ve actually seen Scorpio Sky wrestle in awhile.
- Fun fact: in the Star Wars universe Ray Jaz is known as Ray Jiz.
- Ray Jaz got some moments in this one, showing off his athleticism and a near-fall with a floatover backslide. Not enough to win though.
The Dark Order’s John Silver & Alex Reynolds [w/ -1] defeated Mike Orlando & Shayne Stetson when Reynolds pinned Stetson followed by a flurry of offense (3:48)
- Reynolds took a little offense just so Silver could get that BABYFACE HOT TAG and get the crowd pumping.
- Shayne Stetson is apparently only 18 years old. I am twice his age and I sit here starting and stopping a wrestling recap blog. What have I done with my life?
Jake Atlas defeated Serpentico via pinfall with a cartwheel off the top rope into a DDT (2:18)
- Atlas was last seen as part of WWE’s NXT/205 Live brands, and from what I had read retired following being released from the company. It’s pro wrestling though so that’s my fault for taking that somewhat seriously.
- Eddie Kingston replaced Paul Wight on commentary for this match, much to Henry’s dismay.
Skye Blue defeated Angelica Risk via pinfall with a full nelson into a faceslam (2:55)
- Kingston saving the commentary by clowning Henry’s bad jokes instead of letting him get away with it like Big Nasty.
- Angelica Risk might be 0-6 but goddamn is she intimidating.
Jay Lethal defeated Troy Hollywood via pinfall with Lethal Injection (3:56)
- This is Lethal’s first Dark: Elevation’s appearance and Hollywood’s AEW debut. HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE.
- A ton of fun, with Hollywood getting in much more offense than I was expecting. A surprise snap German suplex almost netted him the win AND got the crowd chanting his name. Don’t be a stranger, Troy Hollywood.
- RATING: ***
Decided to check out Dark: Elevation to kick off 2022, see if it was worth adding to my weekly wrestling diet. And while there were some moments to be had, plus a surprisingly fun Lethal/Hollywood match, I’m not sure how consistent it’s going to be. Only 40 minutes long but they crammed 8 matches into it and the pacing was glacial. Also Mark Henry is like Bizarro Jericho where he sucks at commentary but in a boring way instead of a loud way. Kingston showing up for the final few matches saved it for me.
- MATCH OF THE SHOW: Jay Lethal vs. Troy Hollywood
- MOMENT OF THE SHOW: Hollywood impresses the crowd so much with his snap German suplex that they start chanting his name despite it being his first-ever AEW appearance.