Reviews

The John Report: AEW Rampage 04/08/22 Review

aew rampage april 8

This week’s AEW Rampage featured Jon Moxley against Wheeler Yuta while Bryan Danielson faced Trent Beretta in singles action.

This is AEW Rampage from the Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. It was taped on Wednesday after Dynamite. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

It’s Friday and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Taz, and Ricky Starks and they were missing the yeller Chris Jericho.

Bryan Danielson vs. Trent Beretta

William Regal was on commentary to support his buddy Bryan. Trent had some tape on his left arm. They battled on the mat a bit leading to Bryan hitting a kick to the back. Trent with a running back elbow followed his own kick to the back. Bryan applied a tight headlock, but Trent came back with an overhead suplex. Trent used his legs to send Bryan out of the ring. When Trent tried a leap over the top onto Bryan, he was met with a kick to the ribs by Bryan. Bryan went for a suicide dive, Trent caught him and hit a belly to back suplex on the floor. Trent charged, Bryan avoided it and sent Trent into the steel steps.

(Commercial)

Bryan continued to attack Trent’s surgically repaired neck as Bryan hit him with strikes and Bryan did a double underhook suplex. Bryan went up top, Trent met him there and Trent hit a superplex. They exchanged, Trent avoided a kick and Trent hit a German Suplex. Trent with a running back elbow, Bryan fought out of a DDT attempt and hit a rolling elbow. Bryan with a shoulder capture suplex for two. Bryan went for a dragon sleeper pulling back on the neck leading to Trent getting to the ropes. They each countered moves leading to two counts. Bryan went for a running dropkick, Trent moved and Trent hit a swinging DDT for two. Trent wanted a move on the turnbuckle, Bryan slipped out and shoved Trent down on the turnbuckle. Bryan went for a belly to back superplex, but Trent turned it so he landed on Bryan’s head/shoulder. Trent got a two count of that. They each hit rolling elbows to the head, Trent with a suplex across the ring with Bryan landing on his knees and Trent hit a running clothesline for a two count. Trent with forearms to the head, Bryan ran the ropes and hit a running Busaiko knee. Bryan with a Gotch Style piledriver. Bryan held the arms leading to stomps to the head and Bryan wrenched on the neck for the submission. Trent gave up. It went about 14 minutes.

Winner by submission: Bryan Danielson

Analysis: ***3/4 A great match with Bryan working over Trent’s body throughout the match until he was able to wear Trent down and finish him off. Bryan works such an aggressive style to watch in AEW and the story here was about Bryan working over Trent’s surgically repaired neck. This was booked like an even matchup the whole way even though I doubt anybody watching thought Trent would win since Bryan is pushed a lot more than Trent is. I liked the finish a lot because Bryan hit a piledriver, stomped on the head/neck repeatedly and then did a neck twist for the win. Keep working on the neck and then finish him off by wrenching on the neck again. Simple psychology that works.

Hook was interviewed by Lexy Nair in the locker room. Hook was eating chips while listening to some music with headphones in his ears. Hook said nothing to her, got up and Danhausen appeared in a garbage can for a curse. Hook no-sold the curse again. Danhausen had some chips.

Analysis: This is supposed to be some riveting storyline, right? I don’t really get it. Anyway, maybe someday Hook will talk or get cursed. I don’t see why I’m supposed to care. I do like seeing Hook wrestle, though.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Scorpio Sky, Ethan Page and Dan Lambert

Scorpio Sky was in the ring with the TNT Title along with Dan Lambert with the other TNT Title and Ethan Page, who barely gets to wrestle on TV. Sky said he got rid of the open door challenge. Sky bragged about being undefeated in singles action for 394 days. Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti walked out there with Sammy saying: “Would you please shut the hell up?” Maybe he was watching some Attitude Era Chris Jericho clips. Sammy said that the man is supposed to make the title and Sky is making the title mean nothing. Sammy wondered what Dan might do or say. Sammy asked Tay to translate “sexist piece of shit” in Portuguese and Tay said: “Dan Lambert.” Lambert said he’s a father that was going to give them some advice to talk more about what they do in the ring instead of what they do in the bedroom. Sammy said they aren’t there for a lecture. Ethan said that he doesn’t lace up his boots unless it’s a money marquee match. Ethan mentioned Sammy is one of the pillars and he is one of the first cracks in this company. Ethan said that the two of them are a PR disaster waiting to happen week after week. Ethan said he’s a dad too while speaking to his daughter Gabriela that he prays that she doesn’t end up like Tay Conti. Sammy said he didn’t give a shit about Ethan’s kid. Sammy said that every week they’re going to make their life hell. Sammy said if they were mad about the car, wait until you see what they have planned for next week.

Analysis: I don’t think this storyline is working at all. It makes me want to boo Sammy/Tay for being an obnoxious couple. And why does Sammy have to keep asking for a match if he’s a former TNT Champion? There’s no explanation for why Tony Khan doesn’t book the match. The fans are turning on Sammy and it sounds like AEW had to pipe in some fake crowd noise here. You could hear some cheers for the Sky/Page/Lambert group. I saw some reports from fans at the show saying Sammy was getting booed a lot, yet when you watch the show, that’s not apparent.

A video aired of Chris Jericho naming QT Marshall of the “Chris Jericho Sports Entertainer of the Week.” What an honor. Now let’s bring out QT Marshall to lose another match.

Swerve Strickland vs. QT Marshall

Marshall ran over Swerve with a shoulder tackle. Swerve with a headscissors, then a hiptoss and a jackknife pin attempt. Marshall sent Swerve over the top, Swerve did a handspring off the apron and landed on his feet on the floor. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Swerve hit multiple forearms to the head and a jumping elbow smash off the middle ropes to the back of Marshall. QT lifted up Swerve leading to a forearm to the face, but Swerve got out of a Diamond Cutter attempt. Swerve with a kick, a dropkick to the knee, and roll through into a flatliner. Swerve hit a jumping kick to the back of the head for the pinfall win after six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Swerve Strickland

Analysis: **1/4 Easy win for Swerve over a guy that is there to lose matches on TV. Marshall is solid in the ring, but he’s not a guy that is going to get a lot of wins. I like Swerve as a talented young guy with a likable personality.

Ricky Starks, the FTW Champion, did a promo about how they are going to have a tag team match on Dynamite: Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Swerve & Keith Lee. Swerve was happy about that.

A video aired about “The Problem” Marina Shafir talking about how she was going to be the first woman to beat Jade Cargill: “I’m begging you to solve me.” That was it.

Owen Hart Cup Women’s Tournament Qualifier: Red Velvet vs. Willow Nightingale

I don’t know much about Willow, but the fans were chanting for her early on. Red hit a snapmare takedown followed by a jumping side kick and an armbar. Willow had the size advantage, so she did a shoulder block. Velvet jumped over Willow, but Willow hit another shoulder block. Willow missed a running senton when Velvet moved. Willow hit a suplex followed by a senton splash for a two count. Willow went up top, took a long time and missed a moonsault when Red moved. Red with two clotheslines, a trip into the ropes and double knees to the back. Red hit a spin kick called Just Desserts for a two count. Willow hit a spinebuster for two. Good form on that move. They each ran the ropes leading to Willow hitting the Pounce to knock Red down. That drew an applause as Willow hit a cannonball in the corner. Red hit a backstabber, then Willow had to wait there as Red hit a corkscrew kick for the pinfall win after five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Red Velvet

Analysis: ** It was a competitive match with the fans strongly behind Willow even though Velvet is the more established face. I was impressed by Willow using some good power moves like the spinebuster and the cannonball in the corner. Since Velvet is under contract and utilized more, it made sense for her to win.

Tony Nese was interviewed by Lexy Nair with Tony complaining about the weak introduction. Tony claimed he was the “hottest free agent” in AEW history. What? Smart Mark Sterling walked up to Tony saying he needs proper legal representation. Sterling gave Tony his card and they left to talk some more.

Analysis: Maybe this will lead to Nese being used more on TV. He hasn’t done much for a while after he first got there.

It was time for the split-screen interview with Mark Henry talking to Jon Moxley and ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta. Wheeler talked about how Moxley embarrassed him within a matter of minutes and the second time, Wheeler came close. Wheeler said that he is not scared of Moxley and tonight, he will earn Jon’s respect. Jon said that it is not his job to show Yuta respect. Jon said he is not his friend, he doesn’t care what Regal thinks and his job is to spill Wheeler’s blood to find out what he is made of. Henry did his catchphrase to end it: “It’s time for the main event.” The crowd chants along with it too, so that’s nice.

(Commercial)

Wheeler Yuta made his entrance for the main event. He is the ROH Pure Champion, but that title is not on the line. Jon Moxley got a big ovation from the crowd as he made his entrance in the back part of the arena like usual.

As soon as Moxley made his way to ringside, Yuta hit him with a suicide dive. That is rare to see, so it was a cool spot. They went fighting into the crowd with Yuta punching Moxley repeatedly. Yuta sent Moxley into the barricade at ringside. They finally got into the ring to start the match.

Jon Moxley vs. Wheeler Yuta

Moxley hit a German Suplex to start the match. I think Starks left commentary since it was just Excalibur and Taz. Moxley hit a regular vertical suplex followed by a running clothesline and multiple chops to the chest. Yuta with chops, but Moxley came back with a kick to the chest. Yuta chopped Moxley a bunch of times, Moxley with a headbutt, Yuta with an atomic drop and Moxley sent Yuta out of the ring. Moxley drove his boot into the back of Yuta’s head to send Yuta’s head into the steel steps. The camera focused on Moxley to allow Yuta to do a blade job and that led to a bloody Yuta on the floor. That was a big cut on Yuta’s forehead. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Moxley with a backbreaker followed by a Texas Cloverleaf submission while Yuta’s face was full of blood and Yuta got his hand on the bottom rope. Yuta managed to send Moxley out of the ring, Moxley was standing right in front of a table at ringside and Yuta hit a cross body block off the top onto Moxley through the table. That visually looked great although they could have set better instead of having Moxley wait for him by the table. Moxley got back into the ring first even though Yuta is the one that did the move through the tale. Back in the ring, Yuta got a backslide pin. Yuta hit two straight German Suplexes, Moxley came back with a rolling elbow, Yuta blocked a lariat and did a lifting slam. Yuta was wiping his own blood on his chest! Yuta did a Bryan move by holding the arms followed by stomps to the head although I would call them more like stomps to the upper chest. You could tell he wanted to be careful and not stomp the head much. Yuta went up top and hit a Superfly Splash for a two count. Yuta applied a Crossface submission leading to Moxley coming back for a rollup for two. Moxley hit a king kong lariat for a two count. The fans cheered. Moxley with forearms, Yuta no sold it and Moxley bit the cut, which was weird. Yuta bit Moxley back and raked the back as well. Yuta jumped off the top, Moxley with a kick to the gut and Moxley hit the Paradigm Shift for a two count. The fans popped huge for that while Moxley was shocked by it as he got in the referee Paul Turner’s face with Turner telling Mox it was just a two count. The fans chanted for Yuta. Moxley applied the Bulldog Choke submission, Yuta managed to get out of it and Mox drove his knees into Yuta’s face. Yuta told Moxley to bring it again, Moxley missed a kick and Yuta got a rollup for two. Yuta applied a headlock choke of his own, Moxley managed to get back up and Yuta applied a sleeper hold. Moxley rolled out of that, he delivered some hammer elbows to the head and Moxley hit a Regal knee to the head. Moxley hit a high-angle Paradigm Shift for two. Moxley applied a rear naked choke while on the mat, Yuta had his arm raised and passed out from the pain. Moxley was the winner after 13 minutes.

Winner by submission: Jon Moxley

Analysis: ****1/4 Awesome match! Moxley controlled a lot of it, but Yuta kept coming back for more and the fans loved him for it. The blood loss by Yuta told a great story because his face was full of blood, yet he kept on fighting even though it looked like he could barely see anything. It was almost like Moxley was heel in the match even though he didn’t wrestle that way. I’m just saying that because the fans were so strongly behind Yuta for this match. When Yuta kicked out of the Paradigm Shift I was surprised by it since it’s such a protected move for Moxley, yet having Yuta kick out of it makes Yuta look like a tough guy that could win a match like this. Then Yuta kicked out of a second Paradigm Shift that looked even more deadly! It’s such a great story to put over Yuta’s toughness even in defeat. Moxley had to give it his all to win. I would have liked to see Yuta get a few more nearfalls or near submissions in the match to make it seem like he might win. It’s still an excellent match that is one of the better Rampage matches ever.

After the match, Moxley had this shocked look on his face as if to say he was shocked that Yuta was able to take so much punishment. Bryan Danielson and William Regal walked out to the ring to look at Yuta. Wheeler was telling them to bring it on. The fans were chanting “shake his hand.” Regal extended his hand for a shake, Yuta looked at his bloody hand (his whole body was bloody) and Yuta shook the hand. Moxley told Yuta: “Now the real work begins.”

Analysis: It was an impressive showing from Yuta. It looks like he is going to be welcome into the Blackpool Combat Club group or at least he’s earned their respect. The crowd loved Wheeler’s performance with good reason. He was impressive and I loved how it was booked.

AEW boss man Tony Khan was happy about it.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Wheeler Yuta – I know he lost, but it was a big night for him.
  2. Jon Moxley
  3. Bryan Danielson

 

The Scoreboard

This Week: 9 out of 10

Last Week: No rating.

 

Final Thoughts

It was probably the best Rampage episode so far. The Moxley/Yuta main event was outstanding. I don’t think it was good as FTR/Young Bucks on Dynamite this past Wednesday, but it was very close to that level. Some people might have liked it more. I also enjoyed the Danielson/Trent match a lot as well, which was a very even match. You know Mox and Bryan are going to win those matches, but they are given time and are fun to watch.

I think this was a case of AEW’s boss Tony Khan realizing Rampage lost a lot of momentum, so he put some star power on the show with Danielson and Moxley in matches. Next week’s Rampage has a rare AEW World Title Texas Death Match as well with a 7pm ET start time instead of 10pm ET, so that’s great. That should be fun.

Thanks for reading. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport