A total of 6 women’s matches across AEW’s YouTube shows, 3 aside, with the first 3 being of particular interest to me since I was at the Winnipeg, Manitoba show where these took place. Week 12 of After Dark though is highlighted by Toni Storm taking on prodigy Billie Starkz on Dark. Let’s get into it…
Mar 20-Dark Elevation
This episode of Dark Elevation, and my night in Winnipeg, opened with Skye Blue’s entrance. Her opponent, announced as “TFA” until later in the match when I noticed the initials on her gear, I thought her wrestling name was “Tina Fey”, lol.
Skye Blue, as she does, takes a good portion of the punishment in this match. TFA is a good deal bigger than Skye. TFA rolls Blue off her shoulder into something that looks kind of like one of Athena’s finishers. Blue kicks out of course. Soon after Skye gut kicks TFA, runs off the ropes and, if you listen very carefully, you can hear a single voice from the front row shout “CODE BLUE!” because I knew what was coming. Lovely finisher.
Winner: Skye Blue (3:02)
Emi Sakura had some fun on this night with Zoe Sager, basically no-selling a lot of her early offence before a particularly rough looking scoop slam (which Daddy Magic labels a “scoop and a dump”). After eating several of Zoe’s chops, Emi fakes the chop and then just slaps Zoe. Sager escapes from a stalling underhook suplex and starts getting some good offence in. Emi recovers though, hits her crossbody spear in the corner and then a trio of Mexican Surfboards followed by a submission, all of which would’ve made my knees explode.
A great outing by Emi. She even kicks out the leg of referee Stephon Smith to sit on his knee. It was wonderful to see this woman do her thing live.
Winner: Emi Sakura (4:03)
Oh fuck yes. The last time I had seen Athena live was in Toronto versus Jody Threat, which was the genesis of her change. Again, being wise to her game, that same voice from the front row in the Skye Blue match cried out “LOOK OUT” prior to Athena decking Taylor Rising to start the match. There’s so much good shit in this match but if you want to know how spectacular I think Athena is, go read literally any other match review I’ve done of her’s.
So on that note, let’s talk about the impressive Taylor Rising! First off, she looks great. Right away, the neckbeards in my row were taken by her. She spends the early part of this match flexing her ability to bump but then she comes in with a beautiful Tiaress, a flush pump kick, and then hits a Pedigree! Athena kicks out at two and then soon after Shot Gun Dropkicks Rising which sends Rising flying. Athena wins with the crossface submission and, as she does, kicks Taylor’s ass after the match.
I was really impressed by Taylor Rising. She doesn’t have a CageMatch profile so info on her is a bit scarce.
Winner: Athena (3:21)
A battle of the O.G. Baddie vs the Last Baddie Standing. A rare Dark match where I didn’t know who’s going to win. These women really moved in this match. Leila seems to be really feeling her character. I feel like Kiera Hogan’s character is in transition as the only thing she really has at the moment is “former Baddie” which should’ve have told me who’s winning this match. Leila wins with a roll-up and a hand full of tights, so it wasn’t without a little cheating.
Winner: Leila Grey (5:35)
Mafiosa and Avery Breaux show some fun personality right off the hop. Charlette puts a stop to that though. Renegades do a double team move I’m not sure I’ve seen before where they each wrap their legs to one of Breaux’s and flip her.
Mafiosa shows off some hella impressive flexibility in a kick that really seemed to spark this crowd. The match started to fire up but soon after the Renegades would hit Mafiosa with their double team finisher. It’s a rep. So hard to tell how good any of these women are in such a short match but all the offence looked pretty good.
Winner: The Renegades (3:12)
Billie Starkz, complete with ring music, tron, and fucked up looking bunny head comes to the ring! Toni Storm enters wearing what looks like a kimono.
The bell rings and Toni blitzes Starkz in the corner, opening the match with a very aggressive tone. Billie gets Hip Attacked off the apron and then beat up outside the ring, highlighted by getting whipped head first into the ring post.
Billie gets herself back into the match with some nice kicks before Toni German Suplexes her. Learning from before, Billie baits Toni into trying another Hip Attack to the apron and she dodges it, sending Toni falling out of the ring. Great Senton Bomb from Starkz for two.
This was another match where Billie just looked like a total pro: How her offence looks, how she sells, her facial expressions, her timing with the crowd. She’s a prodigy and I’d be shocked if Tony Khan hasn’t signed her already.
Billie Starkz makes the German suplex and Storm Zero both look particularly devastating at the end of the match.