There were 5 women’s matches this week between Dark & Elevation totalling about 18 minutes of in-ring action. A few matches with interesting prospects and a couple that didn’t really hit with me. Let’s get into it…
Jan. 23-Dark Elevation
Zoe Dubois vs Skye Blue
The episode opens with a Skye Blue entrance! Who doesn’t like Skye Blue? Her opponent (already in the ring) Zoe Dubois has an interesting look with her makeup and ensemble. Somewhat Circe De Soleil-adjecent. And actually, she kind of moves gracefully like a dancer. Paul Wight mentions “Black Swan” on commentary and now this makes a lot of sense.
Dubois actually gets some good offence in here and the crowd starts to get behind her a bit. She gets in a trio of suplexes where she floats over after each one into hitting the next. I really like the full buy-in to the gimmick. She might actually have something here. She has excellent flexibility and strength. She is a dancer after all!
Blue gets back into the match threw sheer force with some hard forearms, then a hurricanerana, and then her blocked-kick-into-spinning face kick spot. Blue ends this with a Superkick and then into the Skye Fall.
Really short match but I definitely didn’t feel cheated. There was so much well-executed and fun action per minute packed into this match. I had to look up Zoe Dubois on Cage Match. No dice. So I searched her up on Twitter. Apparently she’s wrestled a few matches as “Black Swan” and previous to wrestling, she’s been dancing for 20 years. Colour me impressed man! Wow! I’m really looking forward to seeing Zoe Dubois again!
Winner: Skye Blue (3:09)
Emi Sakura vs Brooke Havok
I can remember watching Brooke Havok a couple years ago on a Nightmare Factory presentation which she is now a graduate of. Emi gives this young pupil a scolding by putting her over her knee and spanking her. Humiliating, lol.
Havok shows some good “fire up” ability, even if her forearm shots weren’t effective on Emi. She does hit a unique backroll into a pendulum DDT on Emi while she was down on one knee. Emi hits a very long stalling backbreaker and then finish it with a SNUG moonsault.
Again, another squash but some fun action and a pretty good showing for Brooke who’s still only 23.
Winner: Emi Sakura (3:16)
BRITT BAKER VS BILLIE STARKZ
Just like Dark Elevation, this episode of Dark kicks off with a women’s match! And it’s Dr. Britt Baker, DMD! It always kind of takes me aback when Britt Baker is on Dark, especially in Universal Studios where Britt once famously said “DMD don’t do Dark”.
This match scans as maybe Tony Khan wants a more thorough look at Billie Starkz who’s all of 18 years old(!) but she has 4 years under her belt including 332 matches according to Cage Match! She actually has more career matches than the Good Doctor herself! Wild. Billie’s gear looks very joshi looking with the wide colour palette and asymmetrical patterns.
We get some early pin reversal sequences which includes a tease of a Tombstone pile driver from Starkz which Britt reverses. Starkz is pretty fluid in the ring, not every sequence was implemented smoothly but the execution sure was. Starkz delivers a nice German Suplex, reverses a suplex into a Fisherman suplex. At this point in the match Britt’s nose starts bleeding. Can’t blame that on Billie, these things just happen and they happen to Britt more than most.
Billie hits a Tombstone that had me thinking “AEW just put the face of their women’s division in Billie Starkz hands right there”. Britt finishes the match with a MASSIVE Canadian Destroyer and a Curb Stomp. We get a great blood soaked smile from Britt down the barrel of the lens. Good stuff.
I’d say this was a pretty big statement that AEW sees something in Starkz. And I thought the big spots in this match were done really well and Billie does a great job at portraying her emotion on camera. She’s one to watch.
Winner: Britt Baker (7:27)
BRITTANY J VS HARLEY CAMERON
So this is low key the most confusing match graphic of the week as neither woman is a signed wrestler. I wasn’t really sure who was to be considered the favourite but that was cleared up right away when Harley Cameron got her own entrance but Brittany J was “already in the ring”.
Harley, from a moves and in-ring standpoint (and actually an appearance standpoint) reminds me of Lana from WWE. There’s a couple spots that went a bit stop & start but overall, the action was pretty smooth. Cameron wins the match with a backstabber. To be honest, I wasn’t any more taken with Cameron in this match than I was Brittany J. I have to assume AEW has some interest in Cameron from how this match was presented, right? I kept thinking Brittany J, who has a look like Harley Quinn, should’ve been the one called Harley Cameron. Judging prospects in Universal Studios can be a challenge. Like imagine if Athena vs Jody Threat was in this venue.
Winner: Harley Cameron (2:51)
MADISON RAYNE VS KACI LENNOX
Kaci Lennox had a very brief match (49 seconds) against Kiera Hogan. Lennox is quite a bit bigger than Rayne and she gets a chance show some power moves before she’s ultimately stopped dead by Madison who looks like she’s going for a twisting neck breaker but then turns it into a face buster for the win. Lennox has size & power at the very least but again, not a lot to gleam from this match. I already know what Madison Rayne can bring but it’s tough to get a read on Lennox. This was a bit like when Orange Cassidy Superman punched an unsigned “Will Hobbs” on Dark for a fast win.