Tay Conti def. Ray Lyn
The show immediately kicking off with Conti in action was a pleasant surprise. I've discussed at length how she's coming along nicely and is gradually getting better and better by the week. The next step is getting her in a real storyline on Dynamite, and it looks like that could be the case as she takes on Nyla Rose on Dynamite. Rose has already beaten her twice, so I hope Conti pulls out the victory.
Lee Johnson def. Adam Priest
How anyone can care about the ongoing drama within The Nightmare Family and QT Marshall is beyond me. On the bright side, Marshall was nowhere to be seen here and the spotlight was solely on Johnson. He's another athlete who is making strides. I just wish I knew more about his character because he's fairly generic at this point. Did we ever find out why The Nightmare Family recruited him?
Varsity Blonds def. Fuego Del Sol and Jake St. Patrick
As I've said before, Dark and Dark: Elevation are the perfect platforms for an up-and-coming (and relatively inexperienced) team such as Varsity Blonds to showcase their skills and continue to improve. They've looked good any time they've been in action on Dynamite and I've been enjoying their development. There wasn't anything special about the match itself (and the fans seem to love Fuego Del Sol for some reason), but at least Varsity Blonds are building momentum.
Max Caster def. RYZIN
Caster is making the most of his opportunity to fly solo while his tag partner Anthony Bowens is out injured. His pre-match raps can be hit or miss, but this was one of his better ones. I've complained before how RYZIN rarely wrestles singles matches for AEW, but he thankfully got his chance here and had a solid showing. I also appreciated that he got more offense than most enhancement talents. Caster has become one to watch on these shows.
Red Velvet and Big Swole def. Madi Wrenkowski and Leva Bates
I have been (and still am) super down on the lazy formula for Dark and Dark: Elevation, but in the past, I have been in full favor of giving wrestlers the video package treatment explaining their backstory, their motivations, etc. That happened here with Red Velvet and it was really well done. She's been around for a while, but this was the first time where I felt like she established her own identity. I like her and Swole as a team and they had a perfectly passable match with Wrenkowski and Bates. Jade Cargill, Nyla Rose and Vickie Guerrero stared down the babyfaces from the stage, so we'll see where that goes.
Team Taz (Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs) def. Jorel Nelson and Royce Isaacs
Starks and Cage teased tension last week and I really, really hope that was just a red herring or will be quickly dropped. No one should be removed from Team Taz anytime soon as they're great as is (except for their booking, but that's a different story). We don't see Starks and Hobbs team up much at all, but they had a nice dynamic here. Having this be a pretty straightforward squash match was the right call.
Danny Limelight def. Baron Black
Limelight has been one of the best independent wrestlers AEW has used throughout the pandemic and I'm happy he tends to be featured more than most. He lost to Jungle Boy on the debut of Dark: Elevation last week but managed to bounce back with a win here. Unfortunately, the match was decent at best and I can't say anything Black has done on Dark has stood out to me. Limelight's offense was a highlight, though.
Orange Cassidy def. Ryan Nemeth
When I saw this promoted as being a part of Dark: Elevation's "triple main event," I laughed. Seriously, in what world is this considered a main event, even for Dark: Elevation? Cassidy is obviously a name in AEW and has been booked as a star for the most, but as I've said in the past, Nemeth does absolutely nothing for me. To their credit, this was a quality contest, but Cassidy shouldn't have struggled to beat someone the level of Nemeth after beating Chris Jericho twice last year. Based on what happened afterward, is Nemeth going to form an alliance with JD Drake? I like Drake, but I'd hate to see him paired off with Nemeth.
"All Ego" Ethan Page def. Alan "5" Angels
Page isn't the most exceptional wrestler in the world, but he is an above-average talker and it's encouraging that AEW clearly already sees that given he cut a promo beforehand as well as afterward. It's also cool that he's now beaten two people on the roster and not just an unknown enhancement talent. Angels is skilled and sold well for Page, who's off to a solid start in AEW. Hopefully he'll settle into his first feud soon.
Ryo Mizunami def. "Legit" Leyla Hirsh
I'm curious if Mizunami is sticking around in the United States for a while or if her AEW tenure will be short-lived. Even though I wasn't the biggest fan of her match against Hikaru Shida at Revolution earlier this month, she's obviously very talented and that was evident in his outing with Hirsh. They worked very well together, Hirsh once again shined, and Mizunami barely pulled out the win. It's cool that the women got to main event the program two weeks in a row.
Dark: Elevation was significantly shorter this week at only an hour and 25 minutes, so that was a plus. Ten matches is probably perfect for this type of show. None of them were too competitive, but certain stars picked up key victories and the action was mostly enjoyable albeit forgettable. As previously mentioned, I'd love to see more video packages on this show to highlight the people who need it. This episode was an improvement over last week but still feels like an extension of Dark. Given that it basically has the same name, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.