Rey Fenix def. Chuck Taylor
Best Friends are currently embroiled in a rivalry with Death Triangle, so not only was this a nice opener for the show featuring two notable names, it was logical. I wish the show was shorter so matches like this one were given more time. That said, I enjoyed it for what it was. Fenix should have won, so that was the correct outcome. Alex Abrahantes continues to kill it in his current role alongside The Lucha Brothers.
Ryan Nemeth def. RYZIN
I'm really glad RYZIN is getting more exposure on his own. He's been relegated to tag team matches for far too long now and is one of the few enhancement guys AEW uses that actually stands out. He's talented to boot. Unfortunately, this wasn't the best match, and that's not his fault. Nemeth continues to underwhelm in the ring, unfortunately. He couldn't be a nicer dude (I actually interviewed him this week), but he shouldn't be wrestling as much as he does. He might be better as a manager for a guy like JD Drake.
Orange Cassidy def. Dean Alexander
After already appearing earlier in the evening during Taylor vs. Fenix, Cassidy popped up again here for a quick squash. And when I say quick, I mean it. This literally lasted less than 10 seconds. Hey, I'm not complaining. We weren't subjected to a pointless Orange Cassidy match against a no-namer, and we got to hear his awesome entrance music twice. Anything to keep these Dark shows on the shorter side is a positive.
The Acclaimed def. Liam Gray and Adrian Alanis
They're back! Anthony Bowens has been accompanying Max Caster to ringside lately, but he was sidelined with a knee injury for about two months. Caster has been rocking and rolling in singles competition and now they can continue to climb the tag team rankings together. I know nothing about Gray and Alanis, so I had no problem with this being all about The Acclaimed. I mean, why wouldn't it have been considering this was their return?
Nick Comoroto def. VSK
I've said it before, but Comoroto is one the few interesting aspects of The Factory and their feud with what's left of The Nightmare Family. He's impressed me in the past and it's clear he's making progress. He obviously stands out due to his size, but he can hold his own in the ring as well. Making this dude as dominant as possible is smart, and that's exactly what happened here. It's squashes like his this that will get him over as more of a monster.
"Legit" Leyla Hirsch and Ryo Mizunami def. Diamante and Amber Nova
Hirsch and Mizunami have only teamed a time or two and already have terrific chemistry as partners. I realize AEW doesn't have tag titles for their women (nor should they right now), but I'd keep these two as a team, or at least as allies. Hirsch will shine no matter what, but it's a good use of Mizunami, whose singles matches were starting to get old for me because of her over-the-top antics. This was a solid showing for them and the post-match angle with Hirsch and Diamante set them up to go one-on-one next week on the show.
Kris Statlander def. Tesha Price
Statlander is back after a long layoff due to injury and hasn't missed a beat. Despite always being talented, she wasn't exactly lighting the world on fire prior to her hiatus, possibly due to the alien gimmick never really catching on. Hopefully being away for a while was the reset she needed, and I do think her being associated with an act as popular as Best Friends will help her in the long run. Price is one of the better enhancement women AEW uses, so this was nice for what it was.
Scorpio Sky and "All Ego" Ethan Page def. The Dark Order (Alex "3" Reynolds and Alan "5" Angels)
Am I the only one who couldn't give two shits about the team of Sky and Page? That isn't to say that can't be a great team, but it's hilarious to me considering both guys are coming out of tag teams and should be showcased in singles competition. There is such thing as a midcard division, you know. I understand they're more allies than they are partners, but then there's no need to lump them in with the rest of the tag teams or have them beat an established duo like Reynolds and Angels (even though they don't team regularly). Good stuff here, but I miss John Silver.
Big Swole and Red Velvet def. Nyla Rose and Madi Wrenkowski
Much like Hirsch and Mizunami, Swole and Velvet work well together. I still find it strange that Swole has been back for a few months now and we haven't seen her on Dynamite at all, but maybe she'll incorporate that into a storyline or something. Hell, even Velvet has been making more Dynamite appearances than her lately. Velvet has come into her own, which is cool, and got to pick up the win for her team. There wasn't anything overly special about the match, but you had to know Wrenkowski was taking the pin seeing as how she's the only one not signed by AEW.
Matt Sydal def. Joey Janela
I was urged to turn the show off before the bout started because I care so little about Janela, but I resisted the temptation and told myself that Sydal would make it worthwhile. I kid, I kid, but I am serious about Sydal because he does have a tendency to elevate (no pun intended) anything he's in. This received plenty of time, and despite a few rough moments, it was a quality main event all things considered. I prefer Sydal on his own compared to when he teams with his brother, so I appreciated seeing him in a singles match in the main event spot.
This is a format I can definitely get used to. The show was around 90 minutes and featured 10 matches. Some were shorter than others, but I don't have many complaints for a change as the right people were spotlighted and most of the matchups were well-wrestled. The sit-downs we see on this show with Paul Wight are unique and always nicely produced, so I look forward to those more than anything else. I'd be remiss to give an hour-and-a-half edition of Dark: Elevation anything but a thumbs-up.