The John Report: AEW Rampage 02/03/23 Review
This week’s AEW Rampage featured The Elite defending their Trios Tag Team Titles, plus Rush facing Christopher Daniels in the main event.
As usual for Rampage, I’ll do a summary review of the matches and then play-by-play for one match this week.
This is AEW Rampage from the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio. Check out the AEW PPV listing archive only on TJRWrestling as well. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. This was taped after Dynamite.
It’s Friday night and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Jim Ross, and Tony Schiavone.
AEW Trios Tag Team Championships: The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) vs. Ethan Page, Matt Hardy & Isiah Kassidy
The commentary team was joined by Don Callis. Tony thinks that The Elite should be concerned about these opponents. No. They are not. Nick and Kassidy started with a gymnastics tumbling routine for about 20 seconds leading to Nick hitting an arm drag. Matt tagged in for a Young Bucks backbreaker/neckbreaker combo. Excalibur claimed it is a “loaded” show in terms of matches. No. It is not. Omega faced off with Hardy, Omega missed a knee in the corner, Hardy sent Omega out of the ring and Matt knocked Omega off the apron to the barricade. Hardy teased a moonsault, but Page hit Omega with a shoulder tackle instead. Page had tagged himself in leading to a body slam on Omega in the ring. Omega broke free, Young Bucks with a double kick, Omega hit a hurricanrana and Matt launched Page into the air for nick to hit a hurricanrana. The three Elite guys did a bunch of moves including Omega hitting a leg drop bulldog. With Kassidy and Page on the floor, Nick hit a twisting dive over the top onto them. Matt gave Page an overhead suplex across the ring. Page held onto Matt’s leg, so Hardy hit a Side Effect for two. Page back in with a backbreaker on Matt.
Page hit a big boot to knock Matt down to keep Matt in the ring as the face in peril. Hardy was back in to send Matt into the turnbuckle repeatedly followed by Hardy hitting a sitout slam. Matt wanted a move off the middle rope, but Page tagged in to steal the glory. Page jumped off the ropes with nothing as Matt hit him with a superkick. Omega got the tag with a cross body block on Page, then a rolling senton and a moonsault for two. The challengers were in the ring randomly for running corners plashes and Matt hitting a clothesline. Young Bucks illegally into the ring with a superkick on Kassidy. Omega with a Snapdragon Suplex on Page and Omega-Hardy hit double clotheslines. Kassidy and Nick each hit senton bombs off the top even though they’re not legal. Matt superkicked Kassidy out of the ring, Page hit a powerslam on Matt and Omega hit a V-Trigger knee on Page. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Nick and Kassidy exchanged forearms, Kassidy hit a spinning kick to the head and Nick came back with a knee/kick combo. Nick hit a bulldog on Kassidy. All three of The Elite were in the ring until they got tripped and pulled out of the ring. Kassidy hit a Canadian Destroyer on Nick. Kassidy with a corner splash, Nick was slammed off the ropes and Matt hit a Twist of Fate for two with Kassidy making the cover, but Matt broke it up. Omega hit a V-Trigger on Page again. Hardy sent Omega out of the ring. Hardy hit Page by accident when Matt moved. Kassidy hit a Cutter on a leaping Nick Jackson for a two count. Good nearfall there. Matt was checking on Page while Omega tagged in and hit Kassidy with a V-Trigger to the back. Omega hit the One Winged Angel on Kassidy, then a BTE Trigger (triple knees) on Kassidy for the pinfall win. It went about 15 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson)
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match that was very predictable in terms of the result. The Elite did some cool stuff, but they didn’t go crazy like in some of their matches. The last five minutes were terrific. It furthered the Page-Hardy story with page ordering Matt around a lot and it ended up costing the team by the end, but it’s not like they really had a chance. There was the usual double and triple team moves by The Elite while ignoring tag team rules. We are used to it by this point. The Elite are still a fun entity to watch. No doubt about it.
Ricky Starks was interviewed by Lexi Nair about the gauntlet against the Jericho Appreciation Society next week on Dynamite. Starks said he always finds a way so it doesn’t matter if the JAS is in front of him because he will get his way and embarrass Jericho again.
The group of Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh did a promo about their stolen Golden Globe. There was also a promo from the Best Friends including Danhausen talking about their boring match that I already forgot about. Danhausen said they will be cursed while adding that it won’t happen again.
Analysis: I guess this feud must continue. I’m not thrilled about it.
Swerve Strickland (w/Parker Boudreaux & Trench) vs. Brian Pillman Jr.
Swerve was aggressive on offense with a headscissors takedown. Pillman got an up kick to the head, then they exchanged holds and Pillman walked on Swerve’s back, which led to a hard chop to the back. Pillman hit an impressive dropkick.
Pillman managed to get a kick for a knockdown. Swerve kicked the left knee and Swerve hit a running kick to the head for two. Trench distracted Swerve, so Parker tripped up Pillman since he was looking at tattooed face Trench. Swerve hit a Death Valley Driver on the apron. Pillman had to sit up waiting for a Swerve Stomp off the top, which Swerve hit for the win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland
Analysis: *3/4 An easy win to put over Swerve as a heel on the rise. I like Swerve a lot as a heel. Pillman doesn’t really get used very well by AEW since he really didn’t get pushed as a tag team wrestler and I doubt he’ll do well if they put him in singles regularly.
Post match, Swerve and friends beat up Pillman with Parker hitting a clothesline. Dustin Rhodes saved Pillman while yielding a steel piece of a turnbuckle. Swerve and friends ran away.
Analysis: That should lead to Swerve beating Dustin in a singles match soon.
A video aired about the House of Black talking about how they corrupted Eddie Kingston to cause Eddie to hate his friend Ortiz. House of Black didn’t want Eddie Kingston to be with him, they just wanted to corrupt him.
Toni Storm & Saraya vs. The Renegades (Robyn & Charlette Renegade)
Toni and Saraya are heels now that are against home grown AEW stars. That’s the main women storyline in AEW now. Storm took down Robyn with a Thesz Press followed by punches. Storm sent Robyn into the barricade. Saraya was aggressive with clotheslines along with some knee strikes for a two count. After Storm wore down Robyn with a full nelson, Robyn hit an enziguri kick. Charlette got the tag, did about one move and Storm hit a dropkick followed by a hip attack. Saraya with a superkick and Storm Zero by Storm got the pinfall win after five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Toni Storm & Saraya
Analysis: *1/4 Easy win for Storm & Saraya as heels to give them some momentum while The Renegades had no chance of winning this match. It was a squash match with Storm/Saraya barely selling in the match.
Post match, Saraya and Storm spraypainted “L” on the bodies of their opponents to call them losers.
Analysis: Mean girls are so mean, pal.
Adam Cole spoke about how when he returns you are going to get the best damn pro wrestler on the plant and his name is Adam Cole…bay bay.
A video aired featuring Christopher Daniels and Rush (with Jose The Assistant translating) talking about their main event. Mark Henry did his “it’s time for the main event” line.
This Wednesday on AEW Dynamite:
* The Acclaimed defend the AEW Tag Team Titles against The Gunns. A Billy Gunn heel turn perhaps? Maybe.
* The Elite defend the AEW Trios Tag Team Titles against Top Flight & AR Fox.
* Jamie Hayter vs. The Bunny in an AEW Women’s Title Eliminator Match.
* MJF vs. Konosuke Takeshita in an AEW World Championship Eliminator Match.
* Rush vs. Bryan Danielson.
* Ricky Starks takes the Garcia-Guevara Gauntlet facing 3 opponents from the Jericho Appreciation Society.
Analysis: It’s a good lineup with a rare MJF TV match as well.
Rush (w/Preston Vance & Jose The Assistant) vs. Christopher Daniels
They are both former ROH World Champions. Daniels is a respected 30+ year veteran pro wrestler, but he works for AEW in Talent Relations and doesn’t wrestle that much on TV. With that said, Daniels is still in good shape at 52 years old.
Daniels got a nearfall after a forearm to the back and a running kick. After Rush went to the floor, Daniels hit a suicide dive. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
Rush was in control during the break leading to kicks to the ribs. Vance punched Daniels with money in his hand while the referee was distracted by Rush. When Vance and Jose tried another attack, Daniels avoided it and knocked them down. Daniels back in with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Rush hit a superkick, but Daniels came back with a Death Valley Driver (popular move on this show) for a two count. Daniels went for a submission, but Vance put Rush’s foot on the ropes. Daniels with a uranage slam. Rush blocked a moonsault and hit a belly-to-belly suplex into the turnbuckle. Rush hit the running double dropkick aka Bull’s Horns for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Rush
Analysis: **1/4 It was an average match with an obvious result. Rush is facing Bryan Danielson in a match that Danielson should win, so Rush getting the win here was the obvious result. Daniels is a talented veteran that is respected by the fans, so using him in a spot like this is fine.
Rush and friends celebrated the win while Excalibur shilled Dynamite matches. End show.
Three Stars of the Show
1. The Elite (Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks
3. Ethan Page, Matt Hardy & Isiah Kassidy
This Week: 5.5 out of 10
Last Week: 6.25
The show was just average again as usual for Rampage. The opening match with The Elite beating Ethan Page, Matt Hardy & Isiah Kassidy was very good. It got plenty of time and The Elite are entertaining to watch for the most part.
Other than that, it was mostly just extended squash matches to put over pushed talent against people that had no chance of winning.
I think AEW could do a better job of using this TV time, but it’s not up to me to book the shows. Excalibur called it a “loaded” show. It was not even close to that, but that’s how AEW announcers are.
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