Welcome to this week’s review of AEW Dark: Elevation, the opening salvo in the AEW wrestling week. We’ve got a repeat of last week’s commentary team, Excalibur and Matt Menard, for this episode so let’s see what the show has to offer!

‘aew dark: elevation – episode 78’ review

Match #1: Dante Martin def. Wes Barkley

My Thoughts: After last week’s match I was expecting Dante Martin to thoroughly squash his opponent here but that wasn’t the case, Wes Barkley managed to hold his own for a short while, even getting a 1-count on Martin. Still, we were in quasi-squash territory with this one!

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #2: Julia Hart def. Arie Alexander

My Thoughts: Another strong match for Julia Hart, who now feels like she’s really relishing in her heel persona. This one was another quasi-squash, with Arie Alexander getting just enough offence in for this to not be a total decisive squash!

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #3: Marina Shafir and Nyla Rose def. Skye Blue and Queen Aminata

My Thoughts: Marina Shafir and Nyla Rose continue their successful run as a tag team. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Shafir looks more comfortable in a team than in her singles matches – which can only lead to her looking better in singles matches in the future! Skye Blue took it to Nyla Rose in this one, much more so than she has before… Are we building to Blue finally defeating Rose, finding her Achilles heel if it were? I hope so.

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #4: Matt Hardy def. RSP

My Thoughts: Hardy played the martyr in this match, letting RSP get strikes in as some kind of penance. Which ties into what Hardy is doing on BTE but if your audience isn’t watching BTE then this would’ve just looked self-destructive IMHO. Nice bit of storytelling with RSPO being too big to get a Side Effect from Hardy though!

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #5: Serena Deeb def. Katie Arquette

My Thoughts: I think I counted less than a half-dozen moves from Katie Arquette here, with only some elbow strikes look effective. But that’s the case with all Serena Deeb’s matches isn’t it? Matt Menard has called how fast these matches go (this week predicting under 3 minutes) for a few weeks now. Maybe it’s time Deeb got some actual strong opponents again?

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #6: Frankie Kazarian def. Andrea Guercio

My Thoughts: If it wasn’t for a brief 1-count from Andrea Guercio this would have been a complete and utter squash. It actually felt, for most of this match, like Kazarian was playing with Guercio – toying with him in a tune-up match as it were. Whatever. Always, ALWAYS, good to see Kazarian in action.

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #7: Rush, The Butcher, and The Blade def. Elijah, Zach Nystrom, and Chase Oliver

My Thoughts: I have a love/hate relationship with matches like this. You know that the AEW talent, especially bigger names like those involved here, are going to win – probably squashing their opponents decisively; so the outcome is never in doubt. But at the same time it’s fun to see how decisively they squash their opponents! Here our enhancement talent did get some offence in but it was mainly no-sold by their opponents – which is never a good look!

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #8: Regina di Wave Title Match – Hikaru Shida def. Emi Sakura

My Thoughts: Wow. We get a title match for a Japanese promotion on Elevation this week. Love it. This was a great way to follow up Emi Sakura’s challenge last week and I did not expect to see a Regina di Wave match on American soil, let alone broadcast on a YouTube show for a US promotion. We were pretty much guaranteed a banger for this match though weren’t we? Sakura and Shida ALWAYS work well together and this match was no expectation. Shame they only got around 7 minutes on a YouTube show to do it though.

My Score: 3.5 out of 5

Final Verdict: 3/5

I’m pushing this week’s show above the usual average score merely for featuring THAT title match main event. Otherwise this was another squash-filled show.

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