Preston "10" Vance def. Baron Black
Black was one of the enhancement guys AEW used regularly early on in the pandemic. He actually went winless until beating Brandon Cutler not too long ago. Well, he was back to losing here as he was completely killed by Vance in record time. Vance failed to win the AEW All-Atlantic Championship last week on Rampage, so this helped him get back on track and I appreciated how it was a straightforward squash.
Eddie Kingston and Ortiz def. Russ Myers and T-Money
Kingston and Ortiz have been teaming up on the Dark shows fairly frequently recently and I'm not complaining because they work well together. It feels like a waste of Kingston, but I'm not sure what else you do with Ortiz while Santana is out injured. I was surprised how much offense Myers and T-Money scored early on, but Kingston and Ortiz went over decisively, regardless. Not only that, Kingston lost his temper again afterward, so they're sticking with that storyline and we'll see where that leads.
Serena Deeb def. Haley J
Deeb is back to being in a holding pattern after unsuccessfully challenging Toni Storm for the AEW Interim Women's World Championship on Dynamite last month. They had a good match that was overshadowed by Saraya and the shenanigans surrounding the Lumberjack stipulation. I'm all for her racking up wins and dismantling her opponents, though. She's pretty much the stepping stone of the division at this point.
The Blonds def. The Workhorsemen
Varsity Blonds are going by simply The Blonds after having the Varsity part of their team name trademarked and taken by Mark Sterling, Josh Woods and Tony Nese (who are now going by The Varsity Athletes). I guess they had to graduate from school and ditch the letterman jackets eventually. In all seriousness, I enjoyed this outing and thought both teams worked hard. The Workhorsemen are a talented tandem and thus I had no issue with this being as competitive as it was.
Emi Sakura and Mei Suruga def. Nikki Victory and Jaylee
I'm not familiar with Suruga, but it's possible she and Sakura will be teaming together more frequently in the future in AEW. They made for a good team here and this match basically served as a showcase for them. It's well-documented that I don't care much for Sakura, but at least giving her a tag partner switches things up with her so she isn't doing the same stuff week after week.
Matt Hardy def. Lord Crewe
Stokley Hathaway and Ethan Page, who are now Hardy's bosses in The Firm, told Hardy before the bout that he couldn't use the Twist of Fate. I found it funny that Hardy used it anyway because that usually doesn't happen, but Hardy clearly doesn't care and wants out of the group. The match itself was whatever, but this was all about furthering the story. Unfortunately, it's not a very interesting story, and Hardy being in The Firm after wasting a year-plus on the Hardy/Andrade Family Office stuff is disappointing.
Claudio Castagnoli def. QT Marshall
I've given Marshall crap in the past for being a boring character, but as I've said before, he excels at elevating others. Yes, Castagnoli is established and doesn't gain anything from beating Marshall, but as opponents, they had chemistry and a fun dynamic. This was an entertaining affair and a great reminder of what Castagnoli can do as he heads into Wednesday's Dynamite to team with Wheeler Yuta against Chris Jericho and Daniel Garcia.
These 45-minute editions of Elevation are always a breeze to sit through and this was no exception. This episode in particular had a nice energy to it and there was slightly more storyline stuff than usual including Hardy with The Firm and Kingston's anger issues. There were some well-wrestled matches on this show that made it an easy watch. This is the formula Elevation (and Dark on Tuesdays for that matter) should follow more often instead of the filler we tend to get on Rampage most weeks.