It’s the Ocho! Week 8 in 2023 of Dark & Elevation! So this week there were 5 matches but remember when I said that if a match stuck out enough I’d give it its own wholesale review? Well that time has finally come! Because Emi Sakura vs Billie Starkz was most certainly that! You can check out that review here.
Feb. 20-Dark Elevation
Athena kicks us off with a match against Texas native Evelyn Carter (3 years, 25 matches). Commentary puts over that Athena beat up Yuka Sakazaki so bad she had to go back to Japan for medical treatment. I guess that’s one way to pace this feud until Supercard of Honor. Athena, as she’s want to do, opens the match with a ferocious forearm to Evelyn’s jaw. She has delivers a really great spot where she drops Carter on the apron and then baseball slides at her, sending Evelyn flying to the floor.
There’s no way that didn’t hurt. Athena’s matches are so great. Every one of her strikes looks like death. AEW could potentially put the division on her back. She’s that good. Athena finishes the match with a crossface submission and then post match slams Carter’s face onto her ROH World title.
Winner: Athena (2:52)
The heels come out to Nyla’s music while the babyfaces enter to Willow’s music. Skye Blue is accompanying them. Leva has a much different look than usual but she still has a book. It’s probably not The Book Of Hobbs.
I’m liking this trios team of Nyla, Shafir and Emi. The storyline of Vickie turning on Nyla seems to have fully evaporated. So much for the article I wrote on the topic. Their opponents are literally a hodgepodge of babyfaces and I’m already eyeing up Leva to be the one taking the pin.
Leva Bates, in this match, is mostly ineffective which makes her good fodder for the heels. This match starts out pretty slow, to be honest. And for a 5-minute trios match you expect higher octane action but it was booked very much like a normal tag team match.
We get a callback from last week when Skye Blue steps up to an interfering Vickie Guerrero. You’ll recall Vickie SPEARED Blue in El Paso last week. Nyla steps in and gets a thrust kick from Skye.
Willow gets the hot tag and gets to show her power and athleticism. She’s just simmering in AEW right now. They could give her a serious push at any moment. Finally the action “breaks down” as all 6 women get involved and, as I called it, Nyla hits Leva with an STO and then a Beast Bomb for the win.
Winner: Nyla, Shafir & Emi Sakura (5:10)
Devlyn Macacbre (22, 1 year, 31 matches) facing Julia Hart (21, 3 years, 57 matches) in her 3rd ever appearance on AEW Dark. Julia’s gear look pretty cool with a heart cut out of the top. She definitely feels more and more comfortable in this character. It’s basically a nearly perfect offensive run for her. I’ve made no secret how these matches at Universal Studios aren’t my favourite as it’s hard to garner any crowd reaction. Nothing stuck out as “off” or “mistimed” to me which isn’t nothing given the relative inexperience of both women in this match. Everything looked fluid, Devlyn sold and moved well. A good rep.
Winner: Julia Hart (2:47)
I’ll be honest, there wasn’t a lot to take away from this match so rather than review it, I thought I should take a deeper look at Lizzy & Payton Blair who at this point don’t even have profiles on Cagematch. Actually, why don’t I just link a Tweet from one of my favourite Twitter accounts, AEW Enhancement Talent, about them:
Somehow I totally missed that they’re sisters and Lizzy isn’t just “Lizzy” but “Lizzy Blair” (one of the shortcomings of the match card format). As for the match itself; Renegades jump Lizzy & Payton prior to the bell. They bring Payton into the corner for like over a minute kicking and chopping her. The Renegades win with a double-team maneuver that looks like the Hart Attack. Renegades, still coming along. Still so young at just 22.