When AEW Dark Elevation was announced earlier this year, I was curious about what this show would add to the tapestry of AEW. With the title of "Elevation" I assumed that the focus would be on newer talent who would have an opportunity to perform to a larger audience. Was my assumption correct or was I reading too much into the title? Here I will take a statistical look into the workers that have been featured over the first six weeks of Elevation.
A note about the data being presented. I excluded performers who only had a single appearance. While it was great seeing Pentagon show up on an episode, it felt like a guest appearance and I want to spend time analyzing workers who have shown up more than that. For most of the charts below I've singled out data on a per minute basis. In order to compare someone who has 2 minutes of ring time, vs someone else who has 20, I like having metrics that make things fair. I think this paints a more accurate picture when comparing workers.
Strikes and Strikedowns
One of the standout performers from Elevation has been Ryo Mizunami. She's a talented in-ring worker who is full of charisma. She leads in strikes per minute, mostly due to her Kenta Kobashi-esque flurry of corner strikes. Curiously I counted 23 strikes both times she pulled this move off, whether this is coincidence or planned only future matches will confirm. It shouldn't surprise anyone that Orange Cassidy puts forth the least effort for both categories. It did result in him having an overall strikedown rate of 50% though so he gets the most reward out of his lack of effort.
Grapples, Submissions, and Dives
I grouped these three categories together not due to any relation between them but just to save space. For grapples I was surprised that Abadon is our 2nd highest total. It makes sense when you consider that her total ring time for these first six weeks was only 6 minutes and 20 seconds. Shorter and more grapple heavy matches will result in a higher per minute rate. Compare this with Thunder Rosa who had a ring time of 18:20 (across three matches). I would say that Rosa has a more diverse repertoire of moves and her submission total shows this. I did like that Britt Baker is our leader for submissions as that strengthens the threat of the Lock Jaw. No surprises in the dives category as one half of Top Flight is the leader. I want to make special mention of Danny Limelight who in my opinion is the MVP of these first few episodes of Elevation. He has the most appearances (five) and the most ring time (almost 35 minutes).
Dirtiest Player: Taunts and Fouls
I mentioned Mizunami's charisma earlier and it didn't surprise me that she leads the category for taunts and showmanship. When measuring taunts I judged any movement that would have been a non-offensive move in a video game as a taunts. Mizunami has some great facial expressions and mannerisms and while her mime routine is a bit odd, it certainly counts in my eye. Our dirtiest player goes to Mike Nakazawa and he wins by a country mile. Whether it's hitting someone with his headset, choking them with his headset cable, or a variety of groin strikes, Nak is nothing if not creative with his fouls.
I wanted to briefly mention the tag-team match-ups that have been featured. Elevation has been a nice showcase for the new team of Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky. I do hope that in the coming weeks some of the newer teams get some wins. M Black/Lyon are pretty goofy, but they do stand out. Montoya/Morales deliver some great high spots and could be a nice addition to the main roster. The tag team matches on Dynamite have displayed some of the best action in the company's history. The tag matches on Elevation don't compare but I am seeing some teams who have very bright futures ahead of them.
Overall I've enjoyed Elevation and look forward to it. It's exhibition based approach is a great way for workers to get some exposure and work on their craft. I do hope to see more from the lesser known talent. Workers like Fuego del Sol, Baron Black, and Bill Collier have elements that could be the groundwork for success. It will be interesting to see where the show goes in the coming weeks. We should have five more episodes before Double or Nothing and my plan is to continue tracking stats and then see who elevates their game by then.