The John Report: AEW Rampage 04/14/23 Review
This week’s AEW Rampage featured an IWGP Tag Team Title match and Jungle Boy facing Shawn Spears in the main event.
It was taped after Dynamite. As usual, I’ll do play-by-play for one match and summary style for the rest.
This is AEW Rampage from the UWM Panther Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Check out the AEW PPV listing archive only on TJRWrestling as well. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
It’s Friday night and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross.
IWGP Tag Team Championships: Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) vs. Best Friends (Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor)
Best Friends got some momentum early on with Chuck hitting a somersault dive on the champions on the floor. Poor Excalibur had to speak really fast for about 30 seconds running down what’s coming up. Aussie Open took over, sent their opponents out of the ring and slammed both Best Friends on the apron. Aussie Open ran the Best Friends back-first into eachother. Fletcher got a delayed vertical suplex on Trent for a two count.
The champions remained in control with Fletcher getting a Cutter for a two count on Trent. There was an assisted superplex by Best Friends. Taylor was in the ring for about one minute legally as Trent hit a Doomsday knee strike for a two count. Fletcher hit a spinning Tombstone on Taylor, who I don’t think was legal. Davis got a hold of Trent from the mat and hit a piledriver. I guess Taylor was legal as both Aussie Open guys hit forearms and they hit a Coriolis double team slam for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)
Analysis: *** A good match with the champions retaining while Best Friends usually lose in TV match. It was the usual AEW tag team match where the last few minutes was full of random guys in the ring without any logic. Anyway, Aussie Open has a lot of great tandem moves and are fun to watch. Best Friends work well together too, but like I said they rarely win TV matches.
Mark Briscoe was backstage with Sonjay Dutt, Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal and Satnam Singh. Dutt tried to convince Mark to work with them. They even made Mark a shirt with Dutt putting the shirt on Mark. Briscoe threw the shirt down.
Let’s Hear from FTR
The two-time AEW Tag Team Champions FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) entered for an in-ring interview with Tony Schiavone. The fans chanted “FTR” for them. Cash said it took them two years and five months to get the AEW Tag Team Titles for a second time. Cash spoke about how there’s been a bit of speculation about their future while letting us know that we are stuck with FTR for another four years because they are still all elite. Cash said they have four more years while saying when they are done with those, they are done with those. Cash said they’ll give us everything they have and they are not stopping until they are the greatest tag team of all time.
Dax said that it’s easy to say they were never supposed to be there and then wondered why the fans liked them. Dax said it’s not about their looks or their bodies. Dax said this is their redemption story. Dax said that we have all fought, we pull ourselves up and we fight for this. Dax spoke about how for ten years, they have fought and they will keep going. Dax talked about how for the next four years, one last ride and FTR repays you with every ounce of blood. Dax said that they will do it for you, for professional wrestling and for AEW. Top guys out.
Analysis: FTR is my favorite team in AEW so I’m happy to see them as champions again and it’s nice to see them sticking around. These guys talked about their contracts publicly more than any wrestlers I can ever recall. To me, it was all part of the act to place doubt in people’s eyes. I think they agreed to stay with AEW months ago and just decided to turn it into something of an angle. I have no problem with FTR doing it. Just remember, when a wrestler says something in a podcast or interview, they can still be working an angle. They are pro wrestlers. It’s what they do.
Jeff Hardy was interviewed with Matt Hardy, Hook and Isiah Kassidy. Jeff said it was good to be back. Matt said that they are ready for this match against The Firm and when they win, they will be free of The Firm. Matt said they’ll take on Ethan Page, Big Bill, Lee Moriarty and Stokely Hathaway with Matt revealing this match will take place at the Hardy Compound. Matt yelled “delete” repeatedly.
Analysis: I think with Jeff back in the mix, we’ll see the Hardy Boys winning the AEW Tag Team Titles before the end of the year just as long as Jeff is fine and able to wrestle.
They showed Wardlow talking about how he’s going to get his TNT Title back from Powerhouse Hobbs next week on Dynamite. Hobbs said he’ll remain the champion.
Mark Briscoe, Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal & Satnam Singh (w/Sonjay Dutt) vs. Serpentico, Luther, Jake Manning & Angelico
Jarrett did a cheap shot on Manning and a trip on Manning while Mark didn’t seem to like that. Luther hit an awful kick on Mark. A bunch of guys ran into the ring to hit moves and then bump to the floor. Singh caught Serpentico and tossed him over the top onto two guys on the floor. Singh hit a Chokeslam on manning. I don’t know who is legal or if it matters. Mark hit the Froggy Bow elbow off the top for the pinfall win in about two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Mark Briscoe, Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal & Satnam Singh
Analysis: * A squash match. The story is that Mark is friends with Jay, but Mark didn’t like working with all of the guys in the group.
There was a video with highlights from Dynamite showing the continuing of The Elite storyline with the Blackpool Combat Club.
Taya Valkyrie vs. Emi Sakura
It was physical right away with chops and Taya hitting the double knees in the corner. While Taya was trying a move on Sakura, the TBS Champion Jade Cargill and Leila Grey appeared on the ramp to watch, so Sakura hit a neckbreaker.
When Taya was distracted by Cargill on the floor, Sakura hit a forearm and a cross body block into the steel steps. It sounded like some fake crowd noise was being used here. Taya came back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Taya hit a Spear and Road to Valhalla slam followed by the lay on top cover for the win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Taya Valkyrie
Analysis: **1/2 Taya remains undefeated in AEW. I think Taya should have won more decisively in about five minutes to keep building her strong as a challenger for Jade Cargill’s TBS Title. I don’t mean to disrespect Sakura since she is a good veteran, but sometimes more decisive wins help people so I’m just thinking about how it could have helped Taya to win in an easier way. Taya is already one of my favorite women in AEW in part because she’s a fellow Canadian and I certainly like her pinning style.
After the match, Grey went into the ring and Taya slammed her with Road to Valhalla slam too. Jade fought with Taya, Grey hit Taya from behind and Jade managed to hit her Jaded slam. Jade celebrated with her TBS Title.
Analysis: It’s a decent story with Taya being built up well as a title contender. I assume the title match will be saved for Double or Nothing PPV next month.
There was a video with Jose the Assistant saying Dralistico challenges El Hijo Del Vikingo for the AAA Mega Title. That match is on for Rampage next week.
The Jericho Appreciation Society’s Matt Menard, Angelo Parker and Jake Hager were in the ring doing a rap to mock The Acclaimed because Max Caster does raps. They did some really bad rapping while Hager said he liked his hat.
The Acclaimed trio of Max Caster, Anthony Bowens and “Daddy Ass” Billy Gunn appeared to beat up the JAS guys. The Acclaimed teased using actual scissors to attack Menard, but Hager & Parker made the save. Bowens said they can have this tag team match next week on Dynamite.
Analysis: I wouldn’t call it a great segment because it would be insulting to great segments. Obviously, the rapping was bad on purpose to get heat. The Acclaimed reacting to it and setting up the match for Dynamite was okay. I don’t think I’ll care that much about the match. The Acclaimed have lost a lot of steam since losing the titles.
There were split-screen interviews between “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry and Shawn Spears with Mark Henry conducting the interview. Shawn mentioned he’s been gone a long time while saying that he had a baby boy. Shawn said that he is no longer friends with MJF. Anyway, they are both determined to win to get into the AEW World Title hunt.
Next Wednesday on AEW Dynamite:
* Powerhouse Hobbs defends the TNT Title against Wardlow.
* We’ll hear from The Elite.
* The Acclaimed & Daddy Ass (that’s what the graphic said, not Billy Gunn) vs. Daddy Magic, Cool Hand Ange & Jake Hager
* Chris Jericho confronts Adam Cole face to face.
* Jay White vs. Komander
* Jamie Hayter & Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. vs. Ruby Soho & Toni Storm.
Next week’s Rampage is on Saturday night instead of Friday night on TNT for those of you in the US.
Shawn Spears vs. “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry
Shawn Spears is doing the “10” gimmick again although they can’t call him The Perfect Ten like WWE did when he was Tye Dillinger. They each hit some moves leading to some taunts including Jack hitting a dropkick. They left the ring with Jack kicking Spears in the ribs and tossing Spears into the barricade. Spears came back by whipping Jack into the barricade and over the crowd. The referee wasn’t counting them out of the ring because…AEW? Anyway, they went to a break.
They battled by the turnbuckle with Jack hitting a cross body block off the top for two and Spears countered it into two of his own. Spears hit a pump kick on a charging Jack. Two kicks by Jack, then an elbow by Spears and Jack bounced off the ropes with a clothesline as both guys laid down to sell for a bit. Jack was sent to the apron, he sent an enziguri kick, but Spears hit a forearm and a DDT off the ropes for two. JR was “baffled” that Spears was unable to win with that move. I was not baffled at all. Spears wanted the C4, Jack countered it into a pin attempt and Jack hit a leaping flatliner for two. Spears hit a backbreaker. Spears went for a cradle, but Jack countered it and laid on top for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry
Analysis: *** A good match to put over Jack Perry since he’s in the AEW World Title picture while Spears hasn’t been part of any storyline in the company for a long time. There’s a lack of drama with a match like this since Spears had no chance of winning. The finish was a surprising ending with Jack countering a move for the win to show that he can beat people in different ways.
Jack Perry celebrated the win while Spears was frustrated about the loss. Perry and Spears shook hands since they are both faces. End show.
Three Stars of the Show
- “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry
- Aussie Open
- Taya Valkyrie
This Week: 6 out of 10
Last Week: 5.25
The show was solid with two matches around the three-star level (meaning pretty good matches), so it’s better than some weeks of Rampage. Aussie Open beating Best Friends and Jack Perry beating Shawn Spears were both good matches, but they are also random matches with obvious results. I think they could do a lot better in terms of building up matches for Rampage week after week. If every match is easy to predict then is it really giving the audience a compelling show? No. More effort into the booking of Rampage would be nice.
They progressed the Valkyrie/Cargill story a bit after Taya won a match. It seems like that match will probably be saved for Double or Nothing next month.
I liked the FTR promo as they confirmed four more years in AEW. That Acclaimed/JAS segment was pretty bad, but I think it was designed that way with the comedy “rap” that happened.
Thanks for reading. You can contact me using any of the methods below.